Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

10:23 campaign in video

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 30, 2010

We start off with a British TV show discussion. There’s one skeptic in there; I only wish he’d objected to the host’s use of the word “cynic” when referring to him.

Let us being our video coverage with our dear Australian friend, Richard Saunders and a few of his friends. They each consumed 40 tablets of homeopathic sleep medicine. I regret to inform you that none of them fell asleep until later that night (it’s already Sunday in Australia due to time difference)!

Next, we move on to our Leicester brethren and sister….thren something something. I don’t know exactly what they were taking, but whatever homeopathic “medicine” there was on those bottles it didn’t seem to have any effect whatsoever.

Moving on to this homemade 10:23 experiment. We may have to disqualify the young girl because she spit some pills. Obviously she was cheating the test!

Next up: Southampton

I have to stop now. There’s too many videos coming in on YouTube. Just do a search yourself you lazy bum!

And to close it off, here is the super secret, Deleted Video!

Sceptics stage homeopathy ‘overdose’ to discredit drugs

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 30, 2010

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT BBC NEWS

Homeopathy sceptics have staged a mass “overdose” of homeopathic remedies, in a bid to prove they are worthless.

Protesters ate whole bottles of tablets at branches of Boots in places such as Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, London, Leicester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

They have asked the pharmacy chain to stop selling the remedies, which they call “scientifically absurd”.

The Society of Homeopaths called it a “stunt”. Boots said it followed industry guidelines on homeopathy.

From 2005 to 2008 the NHS spent almost £12m on homeopathic treatments, according to a 2009 Freedom Of Information request by Channel 4 News.

‘Placebo effect’

Supporters of homeopathy say it is a system that uses very highly diluted substances to trigger the body to heal itself, but critics argue there is no evidence they work.

The demonstrations were organised by the Merseyside Skeptics Society (MSS).

Michael Marshall, from the MSS, said: “We believe that they shouldn’t be selling sugar pills to people who are sick. Homeopathy never works any better than a placebo. The remedies are diluted so much that there is nothing in them.”

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT BBC NEWS

Bill Gates rocks

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 29, 2010

Steve Jobs and his iThings just got left in the dust by Bill Gates whoss $10 billion pledge to vaccines will do more to save/improve human lives in this Earth than any iGadget ever did or will do. Way to go Bill Gates, you’re an icon!

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Bill and Melinda Gates said on Friday they would spend $10 billion over the next decade to develop and deliver vaccines, an increased commitment that reflects progress in the pipeline of products for immunizing children in the developing world.

Over the past 10 years, the Microsoft co-founder’s charity has committed $4.5 billion to vaccines and has been instrumental in establishing the GAVI alliance, a public-private partnership that channels money for vaccines in poor countries.

By increasing immunization coverage in developing countries to 90 percent, it should be possible to prevent the deaths of 7.6 million children under five between 2010 and 2019, Gates told reporters at the World Economic Forum.

Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization described Gates’ commitment to vaccines as “unprecedented” and called on governments around the world and the private sector to match it with “unprecedented action.”

Vaccination rates have already climbed remarkably in recent years, with even a poor African country like Malawi now boasting coverage rates similar to those in many Western cities.

“Over the last 10 years, the success of both increased vaccine coverage and getting new vaccines out has been phenomenal,” Gates said.

Rotavirus vaccine ‘could save millions of lives’

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 28, 2010

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A vaccination campaign to combat rotavirus in the world’s poorest countries could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, according to a pair of studies published this week.

Around the world, more than half a million infants and children die each year from rotavirus infection, a leading cause of severe diarrhoea in children under the age of five, with more than half of the reported cases in sub-Saharan Africa.

The studies published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine found that vaccination campaigns in Malawi and South Africa reduced the rate of rotavirus infections by 61.2 percent during the first year of life, while another campaign in Mexico saw diarrhoeal disease rates drop by over 65 percent.

In industrialized countries, the vaccine is part of a standard paediatric immunization protocol.

“We now have another powerful weapon to add to our armamentarium to combat diarrhoeal deaths — rotavirus vaccines,” John Hopkins University health professor Mathuram Santosham wrote in an editorial accompanying the studies’ results.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

Breaking News: Andrew Wakefield in deep sh#$

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 28, 2010

UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) has concluded that Andrew Wakefield has “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” England’s Sky News reports.

Dr Andrew Wakefield showed a “callous disregard” for children’s suffering and abused his position of trust, the GMC’s disciplinary panel found.

His conduct brought the medical profession “into disrepute” after he took blood samples from youngsters at his son’s birthday party in return for payments of £5.

He also acted dishonestly and was misleading and irresponsible in the way he described research later published in The Lancet medical journal, the panel of experts ruled at a hearing in London.

Wow, those are strong words, callous disregard, abuse, disrepute, dishonestly, misleading, irresponsible! How many adjectives like these are left unused? But this surprises us in the skeptical movement not a single bit; we’ve been pointing out the problem with Dr. Wakefield’s research for a while, though probably not in such strong terms as the GMC just did.

But that’s not the end of it. Dr. Wakefield may lose his license apparently.

Dr Wakefield now faces being struck off the medical register after the panel decided the allegations against him could amount to serious professional misconduct, which will be decided at a later date.

Let us watch the antivax crowd go apeshit to deify Wakefield as some sort of hero being framed by Big Pharma as part of their evil conspiracy. And now the mike goes to Age of Autism who’s bound to spew more stupidity than Mike Adams showered on us over the past week or so.

Sign the English Libel Law Petition now

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 27, 2010

I just signed myself and left the following message to accompany my signature:

Freedom of speech is sacred; it is an inalienable human right and the cornerstone of any democratic society. It cannot be allowed to be silenced by the rich and powerful, helped by a system which puts undue burden on the defendant. The Davids of this world ought to have the right to stand up to the Goliaths, and that is why I support this petition to reform the English libel laws, so that the little guy may not have to face financial ruin for summoning the courage to speak the truth. England has nothing to loose, and everything to gain by updating its libel laws, so that the charlatans and the self deluded may have a harder time misinforming its citizens.

The religious references were included on purpose, since most politicians seem to be religious, and I figured those words would be understood best (assuming they get to read these messages). Don’t fear, I haven’t turned religious! Please do the same and sign the petition here. Let us help  Simon Singh do the impossible and tame the beast that is English libel law.

UK warns world about useless ‘bomb detectors’

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 27, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT BBC NEWS

A UK government ban on the export of “magic wand” bomb detectors to Iraq and Afghanistan becomes effective on 27 January, as the BBC reveals further shocking evidence of the shortcomings of these devices.

The restriction is being imposed following a BBC Newsnight investigation which showed that the supposed detectors were incapable of detecting explosives or anything else.

There are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks which have killed hundreds of people.

The British Foreign Office has told the BBC that they will now be urgently warning all governments who may have bought devices such as the ADE651 and GT200 that they are “wholly ineffective” at detecting bombs and explosives.

The ADE651 is made by a company from Somerset called ATSC. The director of the company, Jim McCormick, was arrested at the beginning of this month on suspicion of misrepresentation.

The GT200 is sold by Global Technical in Kent.

Global concerns

Despite advice from the British embassy in Baghdad, the ADE651 is still in use on checkpoints in Iraq, while an investigation ordered by the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues.

In the past three days, 58 people have died there in bombings.

In Pakistan, which is not covered by Britain’s export ban, rows have broken out after newspapers highlighted the continued use of similar devices at Jinnah International Airport in Islamabad.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT BBC NEWS

Girl gets raped in bakcwards muslim country….

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 27, 2010

I think you can guess how the story progresses, roughly right? Let me recap it for you: 16-year-old gets raped; she gets pregnant; “elders” issue fatwa against her and her family; she’s given 101 lashes; rapist is pardoned. Surprised?

The girl was raped by a 20-year-old villager in Brahmanbaria district in April last year.

Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper reported that she was so ashamed following the attack that she did not lodge a complaint.

Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.

Her rapist was pardoned by the elders. She told the newspaper the rapist had “spoiled” her life.

“I want justice,” she said.

Guess God works in mysterious ways huh?

Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on January 26, 2010

But that’s not the funny part. The funny part is this comment from company spokesman Jim “Out on Bail” McCormick:
“He added: ‘We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.’”
Oh, flashing lights! That’ll look nice as the bombs drive past…
Teacherninja
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For Good Reason with D.J. Grothe Premiers

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on January 26, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

D.J. Grothe, host of the weekly radio show and podcast Point of Inquiry for the last four years, has launched a new podcast in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation. Each episode of the new show will feature long-form interviews with leading thinkers on issues at the intersection of skepticism and belief. For Good Reason will also feature regular audio essays by acclaimed magician and skeptic Jamy Ian Swiss, The Honest Liar. Grothe’s podcast compliments the format of the popular Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, which is also produced in association with the JREF.

The first episode of For Good Reason, featuring an interview with James Randi on the importance of the JREF, is now live at www.forgoodreason.org.

Randi discusses his recent experience of chemotherapy, and pseudoscientific cancer treatments, such as acupuncture.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

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