Skepchick Quickies 10.8

  • Supreme Court takes up church and state, but just barely – “A lone cross built to honor the dead of World War I, bolted to a desert rock on public land, raises a host of complicated issues about which religious displays violate the Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion and who may challenge them.” From Chasmosaur.
  • 30 dumb inventions – This slideshow from LIFE magazine is ridiculously funny. I think photo #4 is my favorite. From Middleman.
  • Genome-wide study of autism published in Nature – “In one of the first studies of its kind, an international team of researchers has uncovered a single-letter change in the genetic code that is associated with autism.” From Steve.
  • Dinosaur footprints found in France – “French fossil hunters have discovered huge dinosaur footprints, said to be among the biggest in the world.” From Skept-artist.


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

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  1. I don’t think that all of those 30 inventions are dumb. Some are silly, but how is a mini television and dumber than watching TV shows on a cell phone? Also, I think the authors completely missed the point of the “anti-bandit bag”. I guess if someone really wants a specific item in your briefcase, they’ll stay and search around on the floor to find it, but it would certainly be difficult for someone to get everything and make a quick getaway.

  2. The dumb inventions list made me very sad. I’ve been looking forward to a rocket belt, a flying platform, or a birdman suit since I was 10 year old. Sure they don’t work and might kill you, but that doesn’t make them dumb, just inefficient.

    As for the illuminated tires, I would buy them today!

  3. The Laryngaphone isn’t so dumb. WWII pilots used a similar system to communicate, since microphones would pick up way too much ambient noise (of which I assume there’s a lot when the machine guns in a B17 are all being used).

  4. @exarch:

    The Laryngaphone isn’t so dumb.

    That seemed a bit out of place on the list to me too. These were also used in tanks in WWII – another very noisy environment. It may be a bit overkill for a public phone, however.

    I am a Hedge

  5. My personal favorite dumb invention was the Sea-Shoes, they seemed like a bad and deadly idea when Adam made them on mythbusters. The T.V. Glasses are acually a decent idea, I believe one of the video game systems had a headset that you could wear instead of using the TV, it never caught on but I thought it was a great idea.

  6. @durnett:
    Specially if they were using the curved barrel machine guns!

    The modern day equivalent is a holder with a hinge, in which you can place a standard 9mm pistol. I think it even has a built in camera.

    The idea behind the curve is that when you try to shoot a straight barreled machine gun around a corner, more of you has to peep around the corner too to line up the barrel, which the enemy can then shoot at.

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