Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

National Infant Immunization Week Highlights Importance of Protecting Infants from Life-Threatening Diseases

Posted in News by Skepdude on April 23, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) with events beginning April 25 and continuing through May 2, 2009. Parents, caregivers and health care providers will be reminded of the benefits of vaccination and the importance of routine childhood vaccination.

“Immunization is one of the single most important steps parents can take to help assure their children grow up to be strong and healthy. We prevent millions of cases of disease and thousands of deaths in children each year through immunization,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC′s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “NIIW provides a chance for us to remember how important vaccines are and renew our efforts to make sure no child needlessly suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of NIIW. Washington state and Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties of Illinois will host special NIIW kick off events. They will be joined by hundreds of communities from across the United States in celebrating NIIW through community awareness, health care provider education, and media events to promote infant immunizations.


The UFO Mystery Solved

Posted in SkepticBlog by Skepdude on April 23, 2009

It seems I’ve been getting ahead of myself here, posting all sorts of mysteries and puzzles, and never getting around to giving the answers. I pledge to tie up all the loose ends before continuing down this reckless path.

So, first on the hit list, is the UFO Mystery that I posted last week. I gave enough facts that I thought you’d probably be able to figure it out, and figure it out you did. (If you haven’t read it yet, check it out now, and then come back here for the spoiler.)

A number of you guessed it pretty much right on the nose. There are some power lines above those carports, pretty high up. They’re black rubber (or whatever they make power lines out of) so you wouldn’t think they’d look like a light in the dark. But somehow, car headlights on the road outside the complex are hitting something and reflecting 90 degrees into the condo complex in a thin vertical stripe. This vertical stripe of light hits the powerlines, and makes two or three (one cable was thinner) grayish lights appear in the sky. If the car turned into the complex, the lights would shoot off to the left.

And that security guard driving up? I mentioned him for a reason. Note that the appearance and movement of the lights correlated with his car coming up the road and turning into the complex.

We couldn’t find exactly what the headlights were reflecting from. There are a lot of buildings and stores and signs and stuff across the street from the entrance, and I think you’d probably need to climb up onto the powerlines to see exactly where the reflection is coming from. But a reflection it is, as even the most modest patient investigation clearly reveals. It happens whenever a car turns in, and doesn’t happen whenever a car doesn’t turn in. The condo complex is very quiet and isolated from the shops, and there’s no sense at all that you’re seeing an intrusion from that direction.


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Fire Marshall Bill discusses vaccines and autism on The Huffington Post

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on April 23, 2009

After writing about a new low of pseudoscience published in that repository of all things antivaccine and quackery, The Huffington Post (do you even have to ask?), on Tuesday, I had hoped–really hoped–that I could ignore HuffPo for a while. After all, there’s only so much stupid that even Orac can tolerate before his logic circuits start shorting out and he has to shut down a while so that his self-repair circuits can undo the damage. Besides, I sometimes think that the twit who created HuffPo, Arianna Huffington, likes the attention that turds dropped onto her blog by quackery boosters of the like of Kim Evans. Certainly, the HuffPo editors seem utterly untroubled that, among physicians and medical scientists, HuffPo is viewed with utter contempt and ridicule. Certainly, I view Arianna’s vanity project that way whenever it publishes the antivaccine stylings of ignoramuses like Deirdre Imus or cranks like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and David Kirby, especially now that HuffPo’s decided that antivaccine nonsense isn’t enough and that it needs to “kick the pseudoscience up a notch” with its latest quack recruits.

Apparently, HuffPo has decided that even Kim Evans is not enough to bury its reputation when it comes to any form of medical science so deep into the mud that it would require nuclear weapons to blast it out; that is, if you even accept the contention that HuffPo even has a reputation for medical science. What am I talking about? I’m sure many of you know; you’ve deluged me with copies of links to this article. No, no, don’t worry, I’m not annoyed. It tells me that you, my readers, feel that this article is something that so desperately cries out for a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence and that said Insolence is what you desperately want to see applied to it.

Never let it be said that I don’t give the people what they want.

In fact, I so wanted to give the people that what they wanted on this one that I decided to save the post as a web archive and write this on the plane as I was coming home from Denver last night, leaving only the addition of relevant links as necessary upon my arrival home. So, welcome the latest arrogant idiot to the Huffington Post’s merry band of antivaccinationists. No, it’s not Jenny McCarthy, although I’m surprised that HuffPo didn’t recruit Jenny McCarthy to blog for it long ago. Unfortunately, it did recruit her boyfriend, perhaps because his A-list celebrity (as in danger of fading to B- and C-list as it is) far outshines Jenny’s D-minus-list celebrity. Yes, I’m talking about Jim Carrey, who applies his “intellectual firepower” (such as it is) to an article entitled The Judgment on Vaccines Is In???

Oh, the stupid, it does so burn.

You know, reading this article, a horrific vision came into my head. What if Jenny and Jim actually had a child? What if they actually reproduced? What would their offspring be like? I fear he would be the Antichrist of Stupid, whose power would suck all intelligence, reason and science out of the world, the better to usher in an Armageddon of Stupid against which the armies of reason might not be able to stand. If that were to happen, it would usher in a new age of dumb, a dumb so deep and profund that it might be thousands of years before humans were able to rub two stones together and make fire again.

But I digress.