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Homeopathy & Nutritionists vs. Real Science

Comedian Dara O’Briain is hilarious!

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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26 Comments

  1. The Dara O’Briain led me to Dara O’Briain on a show called QI hosted by Stephen Fry. Imagine a panel show where people are given props for being funny and smart. What an odd country the UK is.

  2. I agree with Charlie Brooker rather than Dara on what to do with psychics, astrologers and the like.

    ahem….

    ‘My stance on psychics is hardcore, they should die alone in windowless cells.’

  3. @banyan:

    Yeah, well, I was an hour late to work today watching the clips on youtube. Call me totally, and irredeemably hooked. I can dig out our region-free DVD player and it looks like I can get the discs on eBay. Woot!

    I watched one clip where QI tried to assert that the earth has two natural moons. Sorry, Cruithne, but having a synchronized orbit with us doesn’t make you our moon. My candidate for a second moon would be Oprah, but she’s not natural.

  4. Bah, they edited out the bit about Chinese medicine that he did after the herbal stuff. Here’s the money quote from that

    “Here’s the skinny on Chinese medicine, a hundred years ago the life expectancy in China was 30, now it’s 73 and it’s not fucking tiger penis that turned it around for the Chinese. Didn’t work out to well for the tiger either, if you don’t mind me pointing it out. Oh, but they’re so wise, they have one word for crisis and opportunity. Yea, but they also have one word for China and Tibet, and it’s China, so fuck them.”

    And for the record, I am completely addicted to Mock the Week.

  5. @MiddleMan: @davew: State Broadcasting at it’s best. The BBC is paid for by the TV Licence (a ~£150 tax you have pay to own TV or radio receiving equipment every year), so there’s no advertising or sponsors or viewing figures to worry about.

    The BBC’s “constitution” mandates they produce a certain amount of “educational” programmes (and half an hour of religious TV on sunday evenings)

    Most of what they make is high quality, high-brow and provocative (Jerry Springer the Musical going out live on BBC2 at 8pm caused a right furore). Unfortunately, an informed intelligent population is something the Conservatives don’t want and it’s likely they’ll destroy the BBC when they get elected next year.

    So get on the BBC website and download show while you can

  6. @davew: Over here we have a channel that at the moment shows two episodes of QI almost every night. It’s fantastic.

    The best part of the QI Series A DVD (QI series are indicated by letters, and the majority of the topics in that series begin with that letter) is the unbroadcast (and low budget) pilot episode which features the always fantastic Eddie Izzard in his only appearance on the show.

    To be fair, they did correct themselves on the Cruithne thing on a later episode. Another amusing correction was done on the gentlemen in the video above, where he said that the triple point of water was 0C. On the next series, he was told that it is actually 0.01C, and he was docked his points from the original episode, and docked a further 10, stopping him from winning the show.

    It is by far my favourite show on TV, and I would quite happily kill to watch a live recording.

  7. @russellsugden:

    Unfortunately, an informed intelligent population is something the Conservatives don’t want and it’s likely they’ll destroy the BBC when they get elected next year.

    Too true…

    They did them same damn thing here to our national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) repeatedly since the Reagan years. Don’t let them do the same there!

  8. @russellsugden: Excuse my pedantic nature, but you no longer need a TV license for owning radio equipment, and you don’t need a license if you own a TV that you only use for playing on a games console or watching DVDs.

    Apart from that, I pretty much agree with you. There is the odd problem with the BBC, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

  9. @davew:

    I watched one clip where QI tried to assert that the earth has two natural moons. Sorry, Cruithne, but having a synchronized orbit with us doesn’t make you our moon.

    Dust has collected at the L4 and L5 points of the Earth-Moon system; why haven’t any rocks taken up residence there?

  10. @pciszek: “Dust has collected at the L4 and L5 points of the Earth-Moon system; why haven’t any rocks taken up residence there?”

    L4 and L5 are not all that stable. I think it would be highly unlikely for a rock to dissipate enough of its kinetic energy as arrives at L4 and L5 to stay there. Plus, a rock at this point would still be orbiting the sun so it could not be considered a moon of the earth. In the same manner I may act like a four year old and I’m usually somewhere near my wife, but this doesn’t technically make her child. We both orbit her mother.

    @Andrew Nixon: “Another amusing correction was done on the gentlemen in the video above, where he said that the triple point of water was 0C. On the next series, he was told that it is actually 0.01C”

    This bugged me a little, too. I didn’t know the triple point of water was near 0C, but I do know the pressure has to be much less than 1 atm. Triple point don’t mean squat without both temperature and pressure.

  11. @davew:

    L4 and L5 are not all that stable. I think it would be highly unlikely for a rock to dissipate enough of its kinetic energy as arrives at L4 and L5 to stay there. Plus, a rock at this point would still be orbiting the sun so it could not be considered a moon of the earth.

    Anything at the L4 or L5 points of the Earth-Moon system would be orbiting the Earth by any meaningful definiton of “orbiting the Earth”. The Moon, the ISS, all the communications satellites, etc., happen to go around the Sun as they are orbiting the Earth, but no one has any problem with referring to them as “orbiting the Earth”. The L4 and L5 points of the Earth-Moon system lead and trail the the Moon in its orbit; anything at those points would be orbiting the Earth every bit as much as the Moon does, at the same distance and with the same period.

  12. @pciszek: “Anything at the L4 or L5 points of the Earth-Moon system would be orbiting the Earth by any meaningful definiton of “orbiting the Earth””

    Right you are. I have L2 on the brain this month.

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