Skepchick Quickies, 8.31


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Okay, I’m a believer now. Just one thing. The article never quite got around to saying which religion the broom represents. Who’s my god?

  2. I want to let everyone here know that I will be opening a gallery here in New York to sell and display my artwork. As I was setting up I noticed that there is an enchanted paintbrush suspended in midair in the showroom. I can’t figure out how it works!
    Anyway the gallery opens next week. You should all stop by and purchase… er, see this miracle before it’s too late!

  3. I am curious in a childish way as to what’s holding the broom up. But not in a supernatural way. My bet’s on the bristles sticking in the flooring, so it stands slightly off-center, but not *too* off-center.

  4. The Wired article on the nuances of the placebo effect was very interesting. The notion that placebos can be used to augment healing is plausible. The problem I have with the article is the proposed solution to the ethical dilemna of doctors deceiving their patients with inert treatments.
    The article suggests that this ethical conundrum can be overcome by playing semantic games. The doctor can carefully phrase their medical advice in such a way that the doctor is not technically lying.
    At that point, am I being treated by a doctor or a lawyer?

  5. A US judge has thrown out a case against God, ruling that because the defendant has no address, legal papers cannot be served.

    Yes, he (or He) has an address. 7 Salvation Road, Stratford-upon-Heaven. Just give the papers to some dying holy man and he will serve him.

  6. I think it’s ghosts praying to Jesus via their magnetic crystals to rid the broom’s aura of toxins, thus allowing a quantum 11-dimensional superstring to keep the broom upright, in accordance with Intelligent Falling Theory.

  7. I thought it was strange that the article about the placebo effect said “the so-called placebo effect—has long been considered an embarrassment to the serious practice of pharmacology.”

    Really? An embarrassment?

  8. The Standing Broom story just shows how low the economy has sunk. Even God with his Omniscient knowledge, and 6013 years or 13.5 – 14 Billion years of experience, depending on who you ask, can only get a job as a janitor.

  9. It seems that the broom likes one spot on the store floor. People have moved it to other areas, and it hasn’t stayed upright. Tuesday during an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser, a photographer moved the broom and was able to make it stand several feet away. It was quickly returned to its favorite spot, where Christy Burdett plopped it down and there it stuck.

    “It doesn’t stand up in any other spot, except when it does, but fortunately it still stays up when moved back.” Wha?

    Now watch me get rich from using it as a heat sink for my stirling engine.

    Oh, and the article on the placebo effect was excellent!

  10. Himalayan Bigfoot . . .

    When I was a kid I was completely into Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and similar monster myths. I used to love scouring the local library for books on similar subjects.

    Daniel Cohen, the author of this article, was a name I always looked for because he has written scores of books similar subjects: ghosts, UFOs, werewolves, vampires, monsters and the like.

    Then, of course, I grew up.

    It was still fun this morning to see this post and read something “new” about my old childhood fascination Bigfoot. And seeing Daniel Cohen’s name made me feel like a kid again (in a good way).

    I guess some things (and apparently even some people) never change.


  11. @Steve: Canned aerosol “cheese-like substances” are an abomination before Wisconsin and are a Weapon of Culinary Mass Destruction!!! :-P

    In other words, EWWWWWWW!!!

  12. Ok now, the story of the Yeti predate Big foot by a few generations. He is the original ape-man.
    It is bigfoot that is an ‘American yeti’ and not the other way around, get you fact straight people!

  13. @Simon39759: Are you positive? While I don’t know it intimately, I thought the Indian legends of such things also went back a ways (to the point we can’t really tell when they started).

  14. The placebo one reminded me of something that happened when I was a kid. My sister, now a fundamentalist Christian, used to get terrible headaches that the doctor couldn’t diagnose. Aspirin didn’t help. So my mom went and got a bag of red hots and a fancy bottle with a label and filled the bottle with the red hots. Whenever my sister had an “headache” she got a red hot and it made it better.

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