Skepchick Quickies 9.16


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

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  1. I’m not sure that I would take a statistical study from Astrology Today very seriously.

    “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

  2. @QuestionAuthority: Oh no, of course I don’t take it seriously. I was just struck by how morbid that quote is. “Hey, since you were born a Virgo, you’re more likely to hang yourself!” How creepy and wrong.

  3. Hanging? But the Onion’s horoscope said different…

    “Smoking will finally kill you, but not in the way you or any of the other gas station attendants will see coming.”

  4. Hi Amanda,
    I didn;t think you took it seriously – I just can’t find an icon for “tongue in cheek.”

    Personally, I like the Onion’s horoscopes much better! :-D

  5. Those sexy halloween costumes were a bit…ridiculous. Were they package up straight after their brief stint on a porn set?

    I think I shall stick to my Dr. Horrible costume, thank you very much

    In other news, I still don’t like McCain, but luckily he’s a Virgo, and Virgos statistically show a 1 in 300 million chance of becoming president.

  6. Well, D. Foster Wallace was in the middle of his “Jupiter return” so it only stands to reason that he’d commit suicide.

    (I’m using an astrological term I’ve never heard of that I learned over coffee this weekend with a new agey hippie type).

  7. How can McCain claim “I am uniquely qualified to lead our nation during this technological revolution.” when he doesn’t even know how to use a PC? Or is he saying that’s the reason he’s qualified? From the first comment on the blog: “…And apparently his Navy days were the high water mark for McCain’s relationship with technology. The man doesn’t use a computer or the internet.”

    The wireless spectrum policy has been derided as a massive giveaway to industry.

    He will “eliminate wasteful earmarks.” That’s nice, but those are only a few percent of the Federal budget. What about the other 95% or so of the budget?

    I’m not in love with either candidate, to be honest. Once again this November, I’m going to have to vote for the candidate that I think will do the least damage to our country. This sucks, especially when I remind myself that a democratic republic gets the government it deserves.

  8. There is, of course a Jupiter Return, but this had nothing to do with Wallace’s death. To ridicule something that you know nothing about it what is sad and a bit creepy as well.

    The point of the article about Wallace is that we have our choices, which are influenced by various factors, but they are our choices non-the-less.

    The point about the statistical study quote by Astrology Weekly is that among those who commit suicide, the zodiac sign of Virgo was show to be statistically significant. This is important in that many statistical studies of zodiac signs do not show statistical relevance by the zodiac sign itself. It does not mean that anyone with a significant Virgo signature is prone to suicide.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but isn’t skepticism supposed to be a healthy examination of the facts rather than dismissing information without examination?

  9. @starrynightastro: There’s a big difference between “being born in a summer month is correlated with a higher suicide rate” and “being a Virgo causes you to be more likely to hang yourself.”

    One is a healthy examination of the facts, one is a leap to an unverified conclusion.

  10. Thanks for posting about DFW. That made me physically ill to see that run down of why he killed himself because he was a Virgo. How callous.

  11. I think I would look a little funny/creepy in any of the sexy costumes and not in any good way either. I think I will stick to my standard annual costume. “Father giving candy to trick or treaters.”

  12. Surely Dita Von Teese’s short film is evidence that science is sexy rather than science sells.

    Dressing up for Halloween is a big thing in America isn’t it? Or isn’t it related to Halloween, you kinky devils? ;)

    The McCain answer are politically vague as you’d expect. He’s older than Yoda so I’d hardly expect him to be au fait with the latest technologies. I just hope that he’s willing to listen to experts.

    I have nothing to say about astrology except that it is piffle and I scorn it as such.

  13. There’s a big difference between “being born in a summer month is correlated with a higher suicide rate” and “being a Virgo causes you to be more likely to hang yourself.”


    That is not what I said. Read my comment again. Among people who commit suicide (a very small portion of the population), according to that one study, the sign of Virgo was correlated with a higher rate of suicide.

    Why would this be? We don’t know why. I don’t have the data set for this study, the ages of the people involved, the nation in which is was conducted (believe it or not the birth patterns of signs vary from nation to nation) or a whole handful of variables.

    Let’s take another study, one that I did of serial killers. Out of the data set of thirty people, Capricorn was the most frequent sign. Does this mean that all Capricorn’s are serial killers. Of course not. And let’s take it a step further, the study is only from serial killers that were caught. We don’t know about the ones who weren’t. I wasn’t making a sweeping generalization and I am a little dismayed that a supposedly intelligent group of people keep parroting it.

  14. I was simultaneously attempting to lampoon the general idea that the rules of astrology have any control over a person’s ultimate destiny while also lampooning myself by betraying my own lack of knowledge on the subject.

    That said, yes, I should not ridicule stuff I don’t understand, and I don’t mean to make light of the tragedy of D. Foster Wallace’s death, or anyone else’s.

  15. Well, with this administration’s current view of utter anti-science, I’m more inclined to throw my dice with Obama simply because he does not oppose stem cell research, and because he is willing to listen to people like Al Gore when it comes down to money vs environmental progress. I’m sure they both had other people write their answers to all of those questions, and if they themselves were asked to even repeat what they ‘said’ would completely fail.

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