Skepchick Quickies 5.1


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. i can’t even distinguish a *baby* half the time in ultrasounds, so i’m sure you can see whatever you want to see in them…. :)

  2. The first thing my buddy saw was a Jedi. And yet, I’ve heard no followers of that religion claiming any intervention from the force.

  3. Ya know, I thought I saw an airplane heading right for me in that ultrasound. Maybe it’s that scene from North by Northwest? Hitchcock IS sort of like the Jesus of cinema if you don’t think about it too much.

  4. The story about science fiction authors advising the government reads like an Onion article:

    “The 45-minute panel discussion quickly deteriorated as federal, local and state homeland security officials, and at least one congressional aid, attempted to ask questions, which were largely ignored.

    “Instead the writers used their time to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.

    “David Brin, keeping on the topic of empowering citizens with mobile phone technology, delivered a self-described “rant” on the lack of funds being spent to support citizen reservists to back up the military, homeland security officials and first responders in times of crisis.

    “‘It is impossible for you to succeed without us!’ he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.”


  5. As I said at Tim Lambert’s place, I think the “us” in the bit which wb4 quoted refers not to SF writers, but to citizens caught in emergency situations. You know, the ones who jump on terrorists in airplanes. David Brin has advocated adding peer-to-peer capacity to cell phones, so that a robust text-messaging system can be activated when the spaghetti hits the fan. The passage in the news story is unfortunately ambiguous; I don’t think one can get the meaning from it without having hung out at his blog before.

    Conflict-of-interest disclaimer: I met Brin at a conference a couple years back, and he seemed like a sensible fellow (although he takes a positive pleasure in being a professional contrarian).

  6. Before modern treatment of syphilis with antibiotics, there was another successful treatment for tertiary syphilis also known as neurosyphilis, that of “fever therapy”. If you got neurosyphilis, it was a death sentence, in a couple of years you were dead. The first really effective treatment for it was to give people malaria, let them go through about 10 cycles of fever and then cure the fever with quinine. The man who developed fever therapy won the Nobel Prize for it. He cured many thousands of people with neurosyphilis. It was the “standard of care” for decades. I talk about the physiology of it (in the context of nitric oxide and autism) on my blog.

    It was a desperate treatment (not a small percentage died from it) for a desperate disease that was 100% fatal.

  7. Poor Albert Hoffman — another drug casualty, clear evidence that drugs kill!

    Odd coincidence: this past weekend the history channel showed a documentary called “Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey”. In the film, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead is interviewed saying that the LSD accelerated the psychic connections between the people at the so-called Acid Tests. I found myself thinking, “Gee Bob, you think maybe the hallucinogens were just… you know… making you hallucinate?”

    Maybe that’s Jerry Garcia in that ultrasound?

  8. It’s supposed to be “far out” rather than “far our”, right? Cause I’ve read it eight times and it doesn’t parse. %-|

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