Skepchick Quickies 8.6


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

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  1. re: Centrifugal birthing machine – OK so the father’s role in the birth room would be to run around the outside keeping pace and catch? Dude, I already don’t relish the idea of being there (I am very squeamish), and the idea of having baby-plus spraying everywhere…. Geez ! Women have it rough!

  2. Hello adventurer, there has been an increase in radioactive wild boar activity in the woods to the south. I hope to develop a cure for their radioactivity. To do this I need samples, please bring me 10 radioactive boar intestines and 10 radioactive boar livers so I can study the nature of the infection.

  3. I feel terrible for this Jonah character. I hope he doesn’t bother to read the comments on his article there, since there’s really not a lot of support. Somehow he’s managed to flush out every single angry and disillusioned conspiracy-minded person out there.

    I’ve recently had an experience just like this, arguing with a well-spoken, intelligent person who happens to believe that capitalism will solve all our problems. Just as in the posts on Judah’s argument, when I attacked his ideas, he had to attack me personally. I think that’s the real teller when it comes to the whether someone is engaging in the doubling-down behavior that Jonah is talking about – the anger. When people are forced to retreat deeper into their belief in light of evidence to the contrary, it must trigger a accompanying defense response that makes them want to attack. In my opinion, the first one to attack the other personally loses.

  4. Lol, that tilt-a-whirl babyshooter is hilarious. They put the mother’s head at the CENTER of the device! The tidal forces will be hugely disorienting and dizzying. That thing is vomit spewing machine, not a baby machine.

    As a general idea though, I’d say it’s sound. If you make the diameter of the thing much larger so that the tidal forces are reduced to insensibility, such as in a pilot training centrifuge, I’d bet you’d need very little force, perhaps less than an additional 1 g to have substantial effect.

  5. Can I just say, news rarely cheers me up, but I am THRILLED to live in a world where the amount of wild, radioactive, traffic-snarling boars is on the rise? This is wonderful, like living in a video game.

  6. Can’t . . . take . . . the . . . cute . . . bebe . . . anteaters!!! *squeee!*

    Did anybody else notice they look a lot like something out of Brian Froud’s head? I swear one of them needs a gelfling on its back.

  7. It seems to me that while it is obvious that conspiracy theorists experience cognitive dissonance when their predictions fail to materialize and they hang on all the harder to the theory more often than not, I don’t see any reason to believe there is a cause and effect relationship between those two things.
    We experience cognitive dissonance all the time. Show a 4th grade science class how to make a penny disappear from a clear glass full of water and you’ll see that cognitive dissonance can even be fun. It’s what makes magic shows so appealing. It’s part of how we learn, and most of the time we resolve it very efficiently and adapt to the new information. Cognitive dissonance seems very much the wrong culprit.

    As part of a research review on Milgram’s obedience studies I came across this study conducted by Nissani and published in American Psychologist in 1990. She asked group of people to read and evaluate an instruction manual that contained an incorrect formula for the volume of a sphere. As part of the process, they were asked to calculate the volume of a given sphere using the formula, and then empirically, by filling it with water. What Nissani found was a marked reluctance to doubt what we have accepted as real,

    “even when we deal with ideologically neutral conceptions of reality, when these conceptions have been recently acquired, when they came to us from unfamiliar sources, when they were assimilated for spurious reasons, when their abandonment entails little tangible risks or costs, and when they are sharply contradicted by subsequent events”

    In other words, they were asked to check the book f0r errors, but having found one they seem to be ready to assume they themselves must have done something wrong rather than that there is a problem in the book. She calls this cognitive shift resistance. I would imagine it is stronger the more invested someone is in the belief being challenged.

  8. It honestly doesn’t surprise me that alt med regulation is so poor. Almost all the people who really care about this stuff are on the pro-woo side, so a politician can gain votes by giving it an easier ride through the process.

    I don’t know what to do about this,, so long as the problem is being driven by consumer demand I don’t think there is a policy solution, government is ineffective, but I don’t think market mechanisms are going to help either (the unwillingness to blame supplements when things go wrong means Friedman’s liability insurance model probably won’t work on this either).

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

  9. That centrifuge article was the most painful thing I have ever read.

    A centrifuge creates excess gravitational force (G’s) by spinning things

    That’s the first line, the first line! I get that physics is hard and I’ve come to expect that quantum physics in particular will be as misunderstood by the skeptic community as much as it is by Deepak Chopra but come on. There needs to be some kind of limit to butchering physics, this is so far over that limit that it makes me want to cry.

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