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The Adventure of Links: Sept. 13, 2010

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science posts a weekly summary of interesting links. Since this is one of the posts I most look forward to reading, I thought I would start my own version.

Welcome to The Adventure of Links for Sept. 13 2010.

Health

The weaknesses of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check Program.

Doctors warn against homeopathic “vaccines” which may leave patients vulnerable to fatal diseases.

Yet another study which shows absolutely no association between thimerosal and autism.

Crap about electromagnetic hypersensitivity in the Winnipeg Free Press. Once again, they refuse to interview anyone who actually knows what they are talking about but instead opt for scare tactics to increase readership.

More alternative medicine propoganda from the Huffington Post.

Study suggests that when parents are more accepting of children’s sexual habits, it results in a reduction in teen pregnancy.

Astronomy

Large solar flare from September 8 caught in photos.

The ancient Greeks may have documented Halley’s comet back in 467 BC.

Special relativity could explain the origin of galactic magnetic fields.

Physics

“The Physics of Mud and Hair Gel”

The future of nuclear energy could rest on the use of Thorium for fuel. Thorium is theoretically more energy efficient and less likely to produce materials which could be used in weapons.

How breakfast cereal can help physicists explain the universe.

Australian scientists developing a real life tractor beam. It can only move tiny particles about a meter, but its a start.

Researchers at MIT announce they are creating self-repairing solar cells.

Stephen Hawking said some stuff in the past week which had nothing to do with god, but is much more important to our development as a species.

Fun/Funny

Playboy magazine for the blind.

Ways to reduce the amount of cow farts which contribute to global warming.

The first ever Klingon Opera. Yup, Klingon Opera.

Sony Playstation turns 15 this year. Let us celebrate all the wasted hours I’ve spent on mine.

Vancouver using a 3D image of a girl chasing a ball on the road to get drivers to slow down.

You thought we had put this one to rest, but no. “Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right”, the first annual Catholic Conference on Geocentrism is being held in November. I don’t think I’ll go, but I might get myself a mug.

CNN Gets It Right With Article on Vaccines and Autism

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

The state of science reporting and science journalism is pretty dismal. And in the past few years, there have been few better examples of this than the reporting on the Vaccine/Autism “debate”.

Vaccines DO NOT cause autism. This has been known in the scientific community for a long time, and I’ve blogged about it before. But every so often a story will come up in the news which gives equal representation to the scientists who know vaccines are safe, and the quacks and conspiracy theorists who believe they are evil.

But CNN actually impressed me yesterday. They reprinted an article which was originally posted on Parenting.com concerning the vaccine/autism debate.

The article gave a clear history of the issue, reviewed the scientific evidence and gave a sound conclusion: that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism.

My only problem with the article is the title: “The End of the Autism/Vaccine Debate?” I’m not a big fan of that question mark. If you are going to do an article which debunks the whole “vaccines cause autism” notion, you may as well make that clear in the title. You will still garner lots of attention, and your position will be made clear from the get-go.

But thats me being nit-picky. The article is good, and the fact that it got reprinted on CNN is a step in the right direction. With cases of whooping cough on the rise in the United States and the proliferation of misinformation by the anti-vaccine movement, we need more articles like this to get public attention.