I do love this holiday, although I haven’t had sufficient time to plan for it this year. Boo!
What is my favorite part of this Pagan day? The candy? The costumes? Nay, say I… the scary stories!!!
And, what is more frightening than the usual creatures of the night? You might think it would be whatever is attacking and killing the most well known night-romping creature, the bat. That’s right, brown bats and others in New England are succumbing during their winter hibernation to an unknown cause. The only clue scientists have so far as to the cause of death for the little flying mammals is the white fuzz that grows on the noses of the bats; a strange fungus of the species Geomyces. Unfortunately, colonies that are afflicted with the fungus lose a large portion of their populations during the hibernation period.
The only thing that to me is even scarier than things that kill scary things are people who promote irrational thinking. I’d like to thank Kent Archie, Nerd for hire, for sending me a truly terrifying website reminder of with what science must contend. Sauropods in Africa. I haven’t stopped screaming yet from the shock.Filed under Esoterica | Comments (3)
The SkepticBlog has officially launched. I will be blogging there once per week on Fridays as a part of an effort to promote skeptical and critical thinking by the fabulous team of The Skeptologists. I don’t know that I’ll only blog science there, but that would make sense. In any case, it will be different stuff from what you read and watch here. So, go ahead and add it to your RSS feed reader as something else to ingest with your morning coffee.Filed under Esoterica | Comments (3)
When is it ok to not take responsibility for your actions? When is it ok to be passive in your approach to life? Is it ok to maintain anonymity when your actions may have forever changed someone’s life?
I ask these questions because of a report out this week in the PLoS online journal regarding an anonymous approach to telling people that you might have given them a sexually transmitted disease. The method uses postcards, and seems to be quite successful.
On the one hand, I understand why it works. I can see the appeal, and why it would be successful. STD’s are looked down upon in our society. They are socially embarrassing to the people who have contracted them. Hence, there is a problem with the reporting of STDs to sexual partners. If you could tell past sexual partners that they might be at risk without actually having to tell them it was you, wouldn’t it make you more likely to be honest?
Any method that can increase the rate of reporting is a good method because it will lead to more people being tested and treated, and to a decrease in transmission. So, I would never say that this isn’t a useful program.
However, I think it points to a problem in our society with the acceptance of sex as a natural process. And, moreso, acceptance that sex with more than one partner over one’s lifespan is a fact of life for many people. It’s hard to face up to something that is viewed as dirty by society. The way that we teach children to view sex is the starting point for many of the problems that we’re now trying to solve with things like anonymous postcards.
Second, the postcard approach makes me feel like we as a society are saying that it is ok for people to disregard personal responsibility. Where’s that going to leave us?Filed under Esoterica | Comments (11)
I’d like to invite you to join the new TWIS book club.
We’ll be reading a book a month about something science-y. At the end of each month we will get together online and discuss the books and the science. I’m really looking forward to getting to hear what others think about the books we read, and sharing my thoughts with other people.
So, check it out if you are so inclined. Let’s get smart together!Filed under Reads and Watches | Comment (1)