Skepchick Quickies 10.13

  • Two dead at “The Secret” sweat lodge retreat – “Criminal charges are possible against The Secret author James Arthur Ray after two people died in a “sweat lodge” that was meant to provide spiritual cleansing for the 64 people crowded inside.” From Samuel.
  • Sid the Science Kid to explain vaccinations –  “Science-based preschool series Sid the Science Kid will explain the germs, viruses, vaccines and how to stay healthy during flu season in a special episode to air Oct. 26.” There are a lot of parents who could benefit from this too.
  •  Vegetarian spider first of its kind – “A jumping spider found in Central America is the first known spider species to subsist primarily on plants, according to American scientists.” From Steve.
  • More proof that aliens want our beef - Surely, there is nothing else that this photo could be other than a flying cow being sucked up by a UFO. From Sydney.


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

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  1. Awesome. My 3yo loves Sid. He seems to actually pick up a lot of stuff from it. I hope they do an episode about not talking constantly, then switching to yelling if other people are talking too.

  2. I’ve done a real sweat lodge. It’s always vented and never goes over an hour. There were only 6 people in the lodge and there was someone outside to monitor things. He checked in every few minutes and if someone didn’t look right to him, he pulled them out. We did have water available to avoid dehydration.

    The idea of a sweat lodge is to sweat out the impurities and meditation (woo stuff). It is not a place to teach a course to 64 people for 2 hours.

    My Native American side wants to scream – ANOTHER STUPID WHITE GUY PERVERTING OUR CULTURE!

  3. UFO blog Inexplicata has followed up on last week’s report that a cow was spotted flying above Rosario, Argentina, until it was swallowed up by a flying saucer.

    I’m so embarrassed by such a piece of dumbosity coming from my birthplace. And, at the same time, I’m so insanely amused by it.

  4. I’m tempted to say something snarky like, “I guess now we know what was on their vision board!” But, no matter how gullible these people were, they deserve better than to have their lives recklessly endangered by the greedy, apparently criminally incompetent fucks behind The Secret.


  5. What? People couldn’t simply believe there would be enough oxygen in an enclosed, over-heated, over crowded space? I guess they didn’t believe in The Law of Attraction enough…

  6. Oh, and on a related note:

    The author of the misbegotten horror that is “The Secret” is Rhonda Byrne, not James Arthur Ray. He’s just one of many self-help flacks out there who was interviewed in the movie version.

    (Why do I know this? Because I have a relative who believes heavily in the woo and inflicts it upon me on a regular basis.)

    news.com.au needs to visualize doing some fact-checking.

  7. “In a testimonial on the Angel Valley retreat’s website, Ray said it ‘offers an ideal environment for my teachings’. ”

    Because when people are physically overtaxed and delirious from lack of oxygen, ANYTHING seems reasonable.

  8. Well, Ray said it would ‘change their lives’ and I bet it has- for the survivors. The UFO might be the Flying Spaghetti Monster and it needs meatballs.

  9. Virtually every culture not in a tropical region has the tradition of sweat baths. Europeans had it too, Scandinavian sauna, Russian bania and Roman baths. My hypothesis is that people did it not to sweat out “toxins” (which is a complete myth, there are no “toxins” that sweat removes) but instead to nourish their biofilm of ammonia oxidizing bacteria by sweating. People in tropical regions didn’t need to sweat extra because it never got that cold.

    What is interesting is that many cultures that didn’t have enough fuel for sweat baths used another source of ammonia to bath in, that being urine; for example Tibetans and Inuit. One of the traditional folk remedies for impotence, the golden shower uses this method too. In “the wild”, if you had a biofilm of the bacteria I am working with, adding ammonia or urea to the external skin would cause prompt NO release, and it is NO that activates erectile tissue in both men and women.

  10. We built a sweat-lodge during a scouts camp once (many years ago, when I was still in the scouts). Although we didn’t do this on a whim, but actually had a guy along who knew a bit about genuine native American sweat lodges.
    We did use old tent-canvas to cover the frame rather than wool blankets. But tent canvas isn’t airtight, unlike a plastic tarp …
    Also essential was the freezing cold little river nearby to cool off quickly.

  11. Check the third enhanced image in the main image, I see a goat’s head. I love how they can convince themselves it’s a cow, even to the point where they can claim to see hooves.

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