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Skepchick Quickies 1.22

  • Taliban demands end to music on Pakistan buses – “Transport workers in Mardan town received letters this week from militants saying that buses offering such entertainment were guilty of spreading ‘vulgarity and obscenity’.”  From Dave.
  • Calling all robohooker lovers – Here’s step one.  The device was invented by a former NASA engineer.  This link is safe but the actual website for the product is very very NSFW.  From Larry.
  • The US Airways Hudson River Conspiracy – No, really.  I guess 9/11 and chemtrails are getting old and the conspiracy theorists needed fresh meat.
  • Graphic encouragement to wash your hands – “A simple petri dish test revealed that by overlooking basic hygiene, a medical student infected a quadriplegic Iraq war veteran with MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that plagues hospitals.”

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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28 Comments

  1. That petri dish handprint thing looks like it’d be a fun science fair project. Do before and after handprints using various forms of hand sanitation and compare the results. I guess you’d have to work out how to get your hands consistently dirty before each test.

  2. @Steve: “I guess you’d have to work out how to get your hands consistently dirty before each test.”

    In a confluence of Skepchick Quickies I think there’s a NASA engineer who can lend a hand with this.

  3. Along with washing your hands, know what else would be awesome? NO MORE ABUSING ANTIBIOTICS! When I read recently that docs like to give out ANTIBIOTICS as PLACEBOS, I was right pissed. Thanks, docs, for helping us make it impossible to fight infections!

  4. Hey, that thing has mechanical and electrical components inside. Sorry, but I’m not touching it with… Well, I was about to say “with a 10 foot pole,” but then other people would have rolled eyes and gone “yeah, right.”

  5. Re: USAir: Some ignorant people, I swear. At least ignorance is curable. At least, we can try to cure it. The unfortunate victim must want the cure, of course.

    Of course you’re not going to hear a plane ditch in the middle of NYC. It’s ‘playing glider’ (as in NO engine noise) and the traffic and crowd noise would easily drown out any aerodynamic noise (and the splash in the middle of the river. The Hudson is a WIDE river, too).

    Plenty of people in the area saw it ditch. The USCG even got a videotape of the whole thing. Several people took cellphone pictures of the plane as it glided in and hit the water, too.

    The NTSB has already reported that they have found multiple soft impact dents on the airframe. They also found bird tissue and a feather in the engine that’s still attached to the airframe. That’s AFTER it was in the water for a day or so, with much of it washed off in that time. Totally consistent with both the crew testimony, their MAYDAY call and the ATC radar data.

    The most obvious problem to me is what possible motive anyone would have to do this? WHY would it be a conspiracy? What’s the point? :-D

  6. @Steve: It’s a standard Lower School Science experiment in the UK. According to MrsS it’s the third exp of year 8 as part of the “Microrganisms” module. It then comes up again in year 9 when they do a comparison “investigation” of the effectiveness of various antibacterial soaps, and again as part of GCSE “investigation” into antibiotic resistance.

  7. Some people are just too dumb to live. Of course a jet airliner’s wing can hold the weight of 20 people, that’s nothing compared to the weight of jet fuel inside the wing when the plane is fully fueled (not to mention the fact that the wing was floating on water at the time). Try looking it up before you make a fool of yourself. But of course, he doesn’t reply to the answers the other pilots on that forum give him, instead he says, “The vast majority of the responses here actually make me think there’s more to this… I was actually hoping my questions would get debunked. For the exception of the wing point… they haven’t.” Oh noes, people were mean to me, therefore there must be something to this conspiracy! His “other points” were simply too stupid to bother responding to. I mean, a pilot friend who lives nearby the crash scene didn’t see or hear anything. …That’s one of his points! Sigh… It’s sad really.

    @QuestionAuthority: Of course you would say that. How much is the FAA paying you to cover up the truth?!

    PS: What is the truth? You can trust us not to tell anyone. :)

  8. @Imrryr: Considering that the wings take the majority of the approximately 150 to 175 ton weight of the aircraft while it’s in the air, twenty people standing on it would be a tiny fraction of what it normally takes in everyday service. Not to mention that airliners are designed to stress tolerances of +2.5G and -1.5G…He probably believes that aircraft contrails are really some kind of “chemtrail,” too. :-D

    Hell, I wish SOMEONE involved in aviation would pay me to write…I’ve been doing software documentation for two years because aviation writing is my field…I just do this for fun and edification.

  9. <>

    There is no way something that heavy can float, so you see the conspiracy to turn the hudson river into a jello type sustance is now proven.
    I know large ships float but that is a whole different issue and we can’t talk about the Triad in public.

  10. @QuestionAuthority: Consider me edified!

    To be honest, I didn’t hear of the chemtrail conspiracy until recently and didn’t bother to look it up until today. Unfortunately, the mind-control fluoride in my drinking water has made me dismiss such chemtrails as completely ridiculous. The Malevolent Forces of the UnSeen win again!

  11. Skepticblog’s debunking of the Great Hudson River Conspiracy is like a ballet dancer falling on his butt. 99.9% of the performance is extremely graceful, but the one ass-plant sure stands out:

    The plane was “…floating and supported by the buoyancy of the fuel in the tank.”

    As an ex-physicist / physics teacher, I’ve been trained to craft my explanations with maximum detail and obsessive attention to clarity, so I’d like to say NNNNGGGRRRRKKKK!!!

    This claim that fuel in the tanks somehow increases the buoyancy is showing up everywhere from Popular Mechanics to the Associated Press to major television news channels. Friggin’ PILOTS are quoted offering this explanation. Nobody is challenging it.

    Again, NNNNGGGRRRRKKKK!!!

  12. @chew: Dude, air is less dense than jet fuel.

    Consider an empty, sealed jar floating in a bathtub. Now, take the lid off the jar, fill it with jet fuel, and screw the lid back on. Put the jar back into the tub. Now please tell me how the jet fuel is helping the jar float better.

    Yes, the jar still floats (barely) because the jet fuel is less dense than the water, but it the fuel isn’t _helping_, it’s hurting. It’s weight is making the jar float much lower in the water, and that is its only effect.

    @everyone: I think I tracked down the source of at least some of the media errors. An expert explained that (paraphrasing) “an aircraft wing fully loaded with fuel can still float because jet fuel is less dense than water.” That’s a true statement.

    Then the media converted this statement into “jet fuel helped prevent the aircraft from sinking because, being less dense than water, it increased the buoyancy. ” That is a very wrong statement, confused in several ways. That aircraft would have floated higher in the water if the tanks were empty.

  13. @ekimbrough: Thanks, perfesser. One of the initial news reports I saw said the fuel tanks had cracked in the landing. If the tanks had been mostly empty, they would have flooded. Since they were almost full of fuel, the water would not displace the fuel.

  14. @Chew – Yep, if there’s a significant crack in a fuel tank, this becomes a much tougher problem, sensitive to the exact size, shape, location, etc. of the rupture. Then, as you said, you have to ask whether fuel could help keep water out of the tank. Latest news is that there was just a small leak in the right tank only, so the complications didn’t arise this time. Hope we don’t repeat the experiment any time soon.

  15. ” I guess 9/11 and chemtrails are getting old and the conspiracy theorists needed fresh meat.”

    Listen, if you want to advocate for critical thinking and the scientific method, you really need to stop conflating skeptics of the official 9/11 fairy tale with your garden variety bigfoot flakes.

    Seriously – is there a single respected scientist anywhere in the world who has looked at the 9/11 story (and is not under the employ of the government) who does not think it is a total fraud? Just one? I mean the official story is a laugh out loud ridiculous joke.

    Here is the kind of scientist I assume is respected amongst skeptics:

    Lynn Margulis, AB, MS, PhD – Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983. Former Chair, National Academy of Science’s Space Science Board Committee on Planetary Biology and Chemical Evolution. Recipient of the National Medal of Science, America’s highest honor for scientific achievement, in 1999.

    She is just one of many who believe the official story is a total fraud:

    http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg08596.html

    There are numerous scientists, engineers and other experts who share the same view:

    http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/

    Here is a simple primer, where a mathematical egghead makes a good, short presentation to the effect that the official story is “ludicrous” in his words. And it is. You have to totally suspend all the laws physics to believe the official joke:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5721945375919981724

    Here is a much more detailed and in depth destruction of the official story, which very strictly follows the scientific method:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8182697765360042032

    This video was recently provided to the FBI, which responded a few weeks ago stating:

    “Mr. Gage provides an interesting theory backed by thorough research and analysis.”

    and “The FBI will continue to examine the 9/11 investigation from every angle as new evidence develops ….”

    http://gators911truth.org/PDF/FBI-Response.pdf

    The FBI has never, ever signed off on the official story. The FBI did not have access to all the evidence. Cheney also tried to pressure the FBI into linking the anthrax attacks to muslim extremists. Well now Cheney is gone. The official story is going to unravel.

    The big NSA whistleblower was holding back for Bush/Cheney to leave, and he just divulged widespread illegal surveillance of US citizens and the press.

    Why are so many skeptics hung up on believing the Bush/Cheney Administration? Where is the credibility there?

  16. @Amanda: Oh hell, I don’t want to see what happens when furries get ahold of the RealTouch.

    ———

    Well, the good news is that that the real touch will be inside the furry costume, so you won’t have to see it… but… where are you going that you see a lot of Yiffage?

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