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Links With Your Coffee


  • EU Panel Spanks Some Specious Claims

    We need more of this in the US

  • Richard Dawkins: 'Strident? Do they mean me?'
    With his latest book, creationist-basher Richard Dawkins believes he has amassed all the evidence he could ever need to convince unbelievers that Darwin was right. Now he just has to get them to read it...

  • From the atheist meetings
    It’s the first time I’ve been in a group of fellow atheists (and I haven’t detected one sign of stridency or militancy), and it gives one a warm supportive feeling. One of the functions of speaking at these meetings, even if one is preaching to the choir, is to give solidarity to the atheist community, many of whom feel isolated and alone.
  • And now, nerd news
    There are some very obvious problems that never seem to go away. Right now I can see 1,592 articles on Google News about one poor girl who died unexpectedly after receiving the cervical vaccine, and only 363 explaining that the post mortem found a massive and previously undiagnosed tumour in her chest. Meanwhile the Daily Mail this week continue their oncological ontology project with the magnificent headline: “Daily dose of housework could cut risk of breast cancer”. But while the media wound themselves into an emotive frenzy of elaborate conspiracy theories, killer vaccines and industry cover-ups, the real death action was to be found hidden away in bland, dry data. This month the Journal of the American Medical Association quietly published one of the most damning papers to have appeared all year. We have known for decades that academic publishing faces two serious problems. One is that trials often go missing in action: a drug company might do eight trials of a drug, say, but only two have a positive result. So those two positive trials will appear in an academic journal, while the six remaining with negative results quietly disappear. Bizarrely, regulatory bodies like the FDA get to see this negative data, but often enough doctors do not.
  • Waitrose dumps Fox News in protest over remarks about Barack Obama
    His last-minute Olympic sprint to back Chicago may have come to nothing, the Afghan quagmire may be bubbling away and Sarah Palin may be topping the bestseller list, but Barack Obama can at least take comfort from the fact that Britain's most upmarket supermarket chain is on his side.

    Waitrose, which prides itself more on its "quality food, honestly priced" than staring down rightwing attack dogs, has become the latest firm to pull its ads from Fox News after presenter Glenn Beck's remarks about the US president.

    Here is an example of a Waitrose ad. (tip to Pedantsareus




    I am loosing any negative association with the word Strident.

    Sorry Red, but I am in a particularly pedantic mood this evening. Loosing - present participle of the verb 'to loose' (transitive) to set free, to release eg let loose the dogs of war.

    I have been upset by the following News Item -

    My negative association might have been loose.

    We make better french fries than the French. I don't think the French let it bother them.

    er yeah, and that's not ad ad for waitrose. it's for john smith's bitter. :-)

    Most people who've read Jerry Coyne's book Why Evolution is True prefer it over Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth. Here's an Amazon customer review excerpt on why that is:

    The "Greatest Show on Earth" is an ambitiously large survey of evolutionary biology; more than 400 pages (plus many color photos) one long argument for why evolution is a firmly-based scientific explanation, a fact. Even for those who accept the evidence for evolution, Dawkins' book is a stimulating and refreshing read; not least because of its conversational yet authorative tone (although Dawkins can't help but to lash out at religion here and there, it certainly is not an anti-religion book like "The God Delusion"). As one reviewer noted: if Charles Darwin would want to know how his theory had fared in the 21th century, this is the book he should read. My own first recommendation, however, would be Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True. The latter book is equally well written and informative, but more concise and focused. What's more, Coyne is less polemical than Dawkins (BTW, Dawkins praises Coyne's book in his first chapter).


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