Archive for the skepticism Category

Twitter Experiment in Follow-Bots

Posted in Random, Science, skepticism, twitter with tags , , , , on June 16, 2009 by Northernskeptic

On Saturday night (June 13) I decided to perform an experiment.  I sent  3 tweets to see what sort of followers I would gain, and today I present the results.

First the tweets that I sent the fourth was suggested by the totally awesome @SurlyAmy who you should be following:

  1. Network Marketing Opportunity
  2. HHO Water Power
  3. Subluxation align chiropractic
  4. Hippy Idiot Liar

Since that time which was about (9:00 pm mst) and now (10:00 pm mst) I have gained 27 new followers, I’ll break them down below.

  1. Tianna Lynn (TiannaLynn78): Generic pretty girl account already suspended
  2. Virginia Green (LuTachison): A single tweet and a link to the Library of Congress
  3. belle (belletyler111): average adolescent tweets, no deep details on the bio or linked site
  4. Mike Hobbs (mikehobbs): Network Marketing/MLM/Internet sales and he has a “Seminar” to sell too
  5. Jarod M Farnham (jarodmicah): Another Network Marketer
  6. Pam Thompson (bewellbypam): And another Network Marketer
  7. UC Chiropractic (bharshe):  Apparently he is a Chiropractor
  8. Rich OBrien (itsrichobrien): Network Marketer
  9. Mladen Bartolić (mbartolic): no tweets, no bio, no link
  10. MikeTheInfidel (freeplay): Skeptic/Atheist/Critical Thinker (my kinda guy)
  11. Joe Dawson (plumberjoeohio): A Plumber who tweets exclusively about…plumbing
  12. Greg Kelley (edumaster): A science educator
  13. zeta hanif (airempire95059): Suspended account
  14. plumbing guy (prettypipeplumb): Another plumber???
  15. Average Albertan (averagealbertan): Umm, an average albertan I guess.
  16. Edmonton Alberta (EdmontonFans): Generic gimick account
  17. Jenny Green (arithmeticsweep): Suspended account
  18. ilovebing (ilovebing): no bio but links to 4chan (please don’t hurt me anonymous)
  19. Marcus Richter (MarcusRichter): Vitamin pushing wootard
  20. Spray Adaptogens (SprayAdaptogens): The health product woo is strong with this one
  21. Néstor Pabón (HealthBeatToday): CAM homeopathy and Aromatherapy wootard and medical science denier
  22. Vancouver Canucks (canucksnews): A Vancouver Canucks fan
  23. Kerstin’s Chocolates (kerstinschoc): Edmonton based specialty chocolate shop
  24. Stargate Universe (stargateuverse): Fan of the as yet unreleased new Stargate spinoff
  25. pulseproject (pulseproject): Another Skeptic and follows the Awesome @SurlyAmy
  26. Nicole Draper (nicoleeislegit): another Myspace cam girl advertising for new “friends”
  27. Andy Lambros (andylambros): Internet “consultant”

From the looks of it I pulled in 4 network marketers, 2 supplement junkies, 1 homeopath, and 1 chiropractor.  I didn’t even get a free energy fanatic.

On the plus side I did gain 2 new skeptics and a science educator so that’s cool.

On the weird side 2, I repeat 2 followers who tweet about PLUMBING????

To fill things in I got the usual follow junkies, fansites and cam girls.  I haven’t checked to see if any of them are still following me I only went on the e-mail alerts so this is really an unscientific test but then again my targets weren’t that scientific either.  It is interesting to note that the keywords do tend to bring the woo-bots down on you.

Oh and in case you missed the subtle hints earlier follow @SurlyAmy.

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UFO…or not.

Posted in Science, skepticism with tags , , , on May 13, 2009 by Northernskeptic

The other evening I looked up in the sky and saw a dark object hovering in the sky.  I observed for about a minute when it suddenly put on a burst of speed and moved what appeared to be a great distance to the south west.  It hovered there again for another half a minute and shot off to the south east.  Was this some extra-terrestrial vehicle moving against all physical laws?  No it was in fact a bird struggling against an extremely strong wind from the north, I thought to myself as I watched that the poor thing was displaying many of the same characteristics that are attributed to so called UFO’s.  It makes me wonder just how many such sightings are in fact just birds, besides the other phenomenon that are labled as “unexplained”, yet have likely explainations (ie Venus, weather balloons, planes, the moon….etc).

When is it appropriate to call friends on questionable science?

Posted in activism, Science, skepticism with tags , , , on May 3, 2009 by Northernskeptic

I realize it has been a little while since I last posted, I guess I needed to be inspired.

My roomies and I had some friends visiting from out of town and last night we were talking about some of our favourite shows. I mentioned The Big Bang Theory and that led to a bit of a discussion in which it was clear that my science loving hackles were raised. Upon my mention of the show title one of our guests said that “evidence” shows that it didn’t happen. I being the good geek that I am tried to first understand where this information came from and hopefully try to correct what I suspected was a misrepresentation by a creationist tract.

My suspicions were confirmed by my friends claiming that the “evolutionist” explaination of the big bang couldn’t account for why one moon (they couldn’t say which one) rotates in the opposite direction from what “evolution” says it should. Instantly the flags were raised, since every time I’ve heard evolution being applied to cosmology there has been a creationist argument behind it, and invariably a flawed one at that. So being on the offensive I asked for the basis, and was not impressed apparently all bodies in the universe are supposed to rotate in the same direction and some moon in the outer solar system doesn’t so the big bang is wrong. I didn’t even get into observations from the WMAP of the CMB, we instead talked about their source.  No names could be given (though to be fair I did put them on the spot) just the assertion that this was a “scientist” who said this and not from one of their Christian sites (and no I didn’t bring up religion they did). The discussion then jumped to how the wife’s father in school 50 years ago learned about 3 mutually exclusive evolutionary theories, to show how wrong science can be.  She then rattled off 3 observations that can all be explained by currently accepted evolutionary models.

I was on edge but since they were our guests I quickly dropped the matter and went off to shake my head.  This leads me to the main question of this post, when we have friends that spout anti-scientific and pseudo-scientific talking points just how far in polite company should we go in calling it?  I’d be interested in your thoughts and opinions.

Edmonton Skeptics In Cartoon Form

Posted in Awesome, Random, skepticism with tags , , , , on February 1, 2009 by Northernskeptic

The face of The Edmonton Skeptical Society has been caricatured by our friend and Skepchick Jill. I Feel truly honored to have such an awesome sketch made of me, and my friends. Those who aren’t friends with such an awesome person should be jealous.

In order Me (hey it IS my blog), Desiree, Sean, and Mike. Jill is full of awesome for these.

@northernskeptic Here you are. I re-did this about seven time... on TwitPic @teh_skeptic This is just a rough sketch. I promise it will g... on TwitPic

P on TwitPic And here's @Dippoldism...and my hand is officially dead and m... on TwitPic

Now go click on the hyperlinks and check out Jill’s site 😀

PZ Myers in Edmonton!

Posted in atheism, skepticism, The Amaz!ng Meeting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by Northernskeptic

Recently PZ was in Edmonton to debate Kirk Durston on the existence of a personal god. Well Durston’s arguments were atrocious full of the usual strawmen, false-dichotomys, and post-hoc fallacies we’ve come to expect from apologists. It was educational to watch PZ show how a god is not needed to produce complexity from an evolutionary standpoint, otherwise it was a case of dogmatism being blind to reality on Durston’s part.

The fun in the evening really got going at the obligatory Pharyngufest afterwards at RATT in SUB on the UofA campus. PZ was the center of attention but was very accomodating even allowing me to request that our picture together was with drink in hand. The most amusing part though was when I asked and he signed my copy of “Death From The Skies” by Phil Plait

Thanks again to CFI Calgary for organizing the Lecture at the UofC which I also attended. Thanks also go to UAAA in cooperation with Campus for Christ for putting the debate in Edmonton together.

And now for some pictures, courtesy of my friends Marc-Julien and Bill

Hold.....

Hold.....

.....and drink!

.....and drink!

Hmmm what could he be signing?

Hmmm what could he be signing?

One of my favourite books.

One of my favourite books.

Now wait until I go to TAM this year and get Phil Plait to sign it.

Now wait until I go to TAM this year and get Phil Plait to sign it.

TAM!!!!!!

Posted in JREF, skepticism, The Amaz!ng Meeting with tags , , , , on December 18, 2008 by Northernskeptic

A way has been made available thanks to one of my best friends ever.   We still have lots to do, and there will be a group of us psyched and ready to go together (on the same freaking flight even).  Can it be July now please?