Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Forget Nessie, Israel’s got a mermaid!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 13, 2009

And a Million Dollar Challenge to go with it! The other day I wondered how deep the well of human gullability is.  Today, I learn it was a bit deeper than I thought!

According to numerous eyewitnesses, the mythical sea creature looks like a cross between a little girl and a dolphin, and only comes out at sunset. “People are telling us they are sure they have seen the mermaid and they are all independent of each other,” said Natti Zilberman, a local council spokesman.

They’re independent of each other. Well that settles it! A creature out of a Hollywood cartoon must therefore really exist!

Whatever the truth of the tale, it has done wonders for the tourist economy.

Oh ABC when will you learn the abc’s or critical thinking? “Whatever the truth“? Here’s the trugh in simple terms: People are stupid! Period!

Local officials are now offering a cash prize of $1 million for the first tourist to take a photograph of the mermaid.

Heh, local officials are slick. They are guaranteed the price will never be collected and the extra tourist money won’t hurt either. I make a prediction:  Just like the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge, this million dollar challenge will also go uncollected for a long, long, long…..long time!

Elf Detection 101

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 13, 2009

Hat tip to Skepchick for pointing our attention this way.

An article on Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy in the April issue of Vanity Fair notes that a “large number of Icelanders” believe in elves or “hidden people.” This widespread folklore occasionally disrupts business in the sparsely populated North Atlantic country. Before the aluminum company Alcoa could erect a smelting factory, “it had to defer to a government expert to scour the enclosed plant site and certify that no elves were on or under it.” How do you find an elf?

Illusration by Rober Neubecker. Click image to expand.With psychic powers. According to a poll conducted in 2007, 54 percent of Icelanders don’t deny the existence of elves and 8 percent believe in them outright, although only 3 percent claim to have encountered one personally. The ability to see the huldufólk, or hidden folk, can’t be learned; you’re just born with it. To find elves, seers don’t really need to do anything—they’ll just sense an elfin presence. The Vanity Fair article says that elf detection can take six months, but it’s usually a quick process that can last under an hour. And although the magazine claims that a “government expert” had to certify the nonexistence of elves, the Icelandic Embassy insists that these consults are performed by freelancers, not government contractors.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “SLATE.COM”

Tooth or Consequences

Posted in The Rogues Gallery by Skepdude on September 8, 2008

My daughter, Rachel, who is 5 years old, lost her first baby tooth last night. It was a rather tender moment – she was giving me a hug goodnight as I was tucking her in to bed. During the hug, she pressed her head very firmly against mine, so much so that the force of my face up against hers actually sent the already loose lower right incisor free from the gum. I could actually hear the “crunching” sound of the tooth coming away from its socket, and I knew right away that the tooth popped out. The sight of blood coming from her mouth caused her to cry for a minute, but it was quickly replaced with pure elation and giddiness of this momentous occasion in the life of a 5 year old.

At this same moment came a time of pause and reflection on my part. Do I, a skeptical non-believer in non-science, willfully add to my daughters growing mental rolodex of fantasy creatures and characters by re-enforcing the idea that there is a “Tooth Fairy” that will come in the middle of the night tonight to take away the tooth and leave behind a gift?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “THE ROGUES GALLERY”