"A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." - Dr. Steven Novella of The New England Skeptics and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast.


So I'm back and trapped in Palmerston North for around a year. I'm keen on making skeptics in the pub happen, though I have no illusions about it being big.

I guess the first three things to determine would be interest, location and what night suits people. I think it would be wise to rule out Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday. Initially I think the best periodicity would be monthly.

I've got no clue about what a good location might be.

Denis Dutton

1944-02-09 - 2010-12-28
Photo of Denis Dutton

Another Candle Goes Out...

Vicki Hyde
Media Spokesperson, former Chair-entity, NZ Skeptics

We've lost another light against the darkness, with the death of Denis Dutton.

Denis was a founding member of New Zealand Skeptics, back in 1984 when it was known as the NZ Committee for Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal. For many years he was the face of organised scepticism in New Zealand, fronting up to the media with many a pithy comment and a wry sense of humour.

New Zealand's UFO reports are set to be made public

Stuff have just reported that the NZ Defence Force have released the accumulated UFO reports from the last 30 or so years.

Defence lifts lid on Kiwi X-files
STACEY WOOD - The Dominion Post
Thousands of secret files on New Zealand's UFO reports are set to be made public, nearly 32 years to the day after our most famous sighting.

The files include every witness account of unidentified flying objects reported to authorities since the early 1950s, including the 1978 Kaikoura mystery.

Lunar Eclipse and Ken's Predictions

So, tonight is the shortest night of the year and we've got a total lunar eclipse happening from 9pm. I wonder what Ken Ring has predicted for this day? I just took a look at his site but the thing is impossible to navigate. I half way suspect that that is by design.

So, does anyone know of any predictions Ken made? Able to provide links to them?

Power Balance removed from Trade Me

So, in the last few days it was suggested that I should start listing the Placebo Bands on Trade Me with a more... honest description of what these things do. i.e. nothing.

As I started composing the listing I wondered where to list them and searched for them so where others had listed them. I want to say that I was surprised how many listings there were, but I wasn't. :/ Then I had another thought that wouldn't be as taxing on my wordology. (read: faster) I hunted out a few links (thanks to VicSkeptics for the great post), composed a message and started reporting the listings as "user intends to defraud". I hit the first couple of pages of results for a search on "power balance bands" and submitted about 30 reports all with the same explanation. I stuck to Power Balance as the report from the TGA was specific to that company.

I found a bug! ... (maybe)

Has the 'Recent Comments' on the LHS not been updating for anyone else?

Power Balance instructed to withdraw claims and advertising

Power Balance have been called out to withdraw their claims and advertising by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA).

There's a very good report on this by the Vic Skeptics.

[tickets] The Styrofoam Tour


The Christchurch gig is open for RSVPs. Signups are being managed though http://thestyrofoamtour.org/event/christchurch-nz

Skeptical podcaster, entertainer, multi-instrumentalist and all-​​round swell guy, George Hrab will be visiting Christchurch for a one-night gig during his Styrofoam Tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Only in America...

Does tendering out rubbish collection and introducing kerb-side recycling turn into a leap into socialism. Obviously a mafia conspiracy to take over the rubbish collection is a tad boring, socialist rubbish collectors make much better press.

'Tea partyers' oppose changes to Fountain Hills trash collection

Rebecca Watson NZ Tour :: Auckland

2010-12-11 19:00

Rebecca Watson leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears regularly on the Curiosity Aroused podcast, the weekly Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and the Little Atoms radio show. She currently lives in London but travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it.

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