Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

For the Gullible Man: A New Baldness Calculator

Posted in News, Skepdude by Skepdude on June 24, 2009


A new baldness calculator, touted as being very accurate in an article at a British newspaper’s web site that just lost even more of my respect, is little more than an advertisement cloaked in a quiz framed under the guise of science.

It preys, of course, on the nearly universal fear among men that they’ll go bald, a fear I’ve never understood. Interestingly, scientists speculate that since so many men go bald, it must’ve had some evolutionary advantage, such as acting as a sign of physical and social maturity, thereby increasing status.

The web-based program — designed mysteriously for UK men only — asks you 12 questions, including your age, what state your hair is in now, whether you wear a hat frequently, and how often you are stressed out, and where in the UK you come from. Apparently those in London have different odds for baldness than, say, someone from London who now lives in Wales. Yeah, right.

The calculator is, as you’d expect, provided by a company with an ulterior motive: It makes shampoos.


Skepdude says – I took the test too, and according to them I am likelty to go bald at 55. Oh noooo! I did tell it that I was from Scotland though, so maybe my answer will change if they add NYC to the list. Of course they recommended I buy their shampoo. Pathetic.


Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on June 24, 2009

How can people go so wrong? This is beyond words. It’s beyond stupid. I don’t think there is a word to describe this kind of behavior. I’m left speechless. All I seem to be able to say is What The Fuck???

Lin Zongxiu, from the southwestern province of Sichuan, heard in 2008 that soup made with a man’s head could help cure her daughter who had suffered from psychiatric problems for years, the Chengdu Commercial newspaper reported.

Lin and her husband decided to enlist the help of a man in December who knocked unconscious a drunk 76-year-old passer-by before beheading him, the paper claimed.

The couple then gave their 25-year-old daughter soup made from the man’s head, and duck.

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Evolution faster when it’s warmer

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 24, 2009



Climate could have a direct effect on the speed of “molecular evolution” in mammals, according to a study.

Researchers have found that, among pairs of mammals of the same species, the DNA of those living in warmer climates changes at a faster rate.

These mutations – where one letter of the DNA code is substituted for another – are a first step in evolution.

The study, reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, could help explain why the tropics are so species-rich.

DNA can mutate and change imperceptibly every time a cell divides and makes a copy of itself.

But when one of these mutations causes a change that is advantageous for the animal – for example, rendering it resistant to a particular disease – it is often “selected for”, or passed down to the next few generations of that same species.

Such changes, which create differences within a population but do not give rise to new species, are known as “microevolution”.

The idea that microevolution happens faster in warmer environments is not new. But this is the first time the effect has been shown in mammals, which regulate their own body temperature.


Mozambique: ‘Alternative Medicine’ Enters Mozambican Law

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 24, 2009


Maputo — The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Tuesday passed the first reading of a government bill which amends the law on private medicine so that it includes, not only evidence-based medicine, but also “alternative medicine”.

The bill defines “alternative” medicine as “health practices not covered by the National Health System and which are constituted by range of diagnostic and therapeutic practices without the appropriate scientific validation, or which are regarded as inaccessible to the scientific method and experimentation and in this latter case may use metaphysical and spiritual curative practices”.

At first sight this looks as if purveyors of all manner of superstition and fraud – homeopathy, chiropractic, aromatherapy, naturopathy or vitamin therapy – will now be treated the same as qualified doctors. All can go into private practice and open up clinics.


If homeopaths think this means they will be able to open clinics in Maputo tomorrow, they may be in for a shock. For they will have to apply for a licence, just as a clinic offering genuine medical care has to apply. And the Health Ministry will decide whether to grant the licence or to refuse it.

“We will decide on a case by case basis”, Garrido stressed.

The law also allows the Health Ministry to shut down any private practice on grounds of “proven professional incompetence” or “grave acts that damage the physical and moral integrity of the users”.


Scientology: Ecclesiastical justice, Part 3 of 3 in a special report on the Church of Scientology

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 24, 2009

Skepdude says – Part 3 of the St. Petersburgh’s Times expose of the Church of Scientology – just keep in mind that as much as this agrees with what we skeptics think of the cult of Scientology, at this point we’re witnessing a he-said-she-said battle and it is hard to pick out the truth from simply anectodal evidence, so let us be good skeptics and not crucify them for this unless real hard evidence is presented.


The four high-ranking executives who left Scientology say that church leader David Miscavige not only physically attacked members of his executive staff, he messed with their minds.

He frequently had groups of managers jump into a pool or a lake. He mustered them into group confessions that sometimes spun into free-for-alls, with people hitting one another.

Mike Rinder, who defended the church to the media for two decades, couldn’t stomach what was happening on the inside.

The tactics to keep executives in line “are wrong from a Scientology viewpoint,” said Rinder, who walked away two years ago. “They are not standard practice of Scientology. They are just not humanitarian. And they are just outright evil.”

Church spokesmen confirm that managers are ordered into pools and assembled for group confessions. It’s part of the “ecclesiastical justice” system the church imposes on poor performers.

Rinder and the other defectors couldn’t cut it in the tough world of Scientology’s Sea Org, a group whose members dedicate their lives to service of the church, the church says. Rather than accept their own failings, the defectors are putting a sinister twist on something that is normal.

The Sea Org is a “crew of tough sons of bitches,” said church spokesman Tommy Davis, an 18-year veteran of the group.

“The Sea Org is not a democracy. The members of it agree with a man named L. Ron Hubbard. They abide by his policies . . . and we follow it to the T, to the letter, to the punctuation marks. And if you disagree with that and you don’t like it, you don’t belong. Then you leave.”

A better thetan

The order came about 10 p.m. on a winter’s night: Report to the swimming pool.

From around the church’s postcard-pretty base in the mountains east of Los Angeles, some 70 staff members turned out in their Navy-style uniforms. David Miscavige was unhappy with the troops, again.