Skepchick Quickies 11.18

  • Why the controversy? Vaccines save lives – “A few weeks ago, my sister asked a simple yes-no question on her Facebook page: She wrote, “should I get the flu shot?” She might as well have posted, “should I fillet this kitten?”” From jes3ica.
  • Too good to check – “On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day.” Omg, good journalism, it can exist!
  • Antimatter trapped for the first time – “Researchers at Cern, home of the Large Hadron Collider, have held 38 antihydrogen atoms in place, each for a fraction of a second.” From Dave.
  • Jesus vs. vampires – “When one of their own betrays them to follow a strange young rabbi from Galilee, the elders of the vampire race dispatch Theron, a nine hundred year old assassin, to kill them both. The rabbi’s name is Jesus. Killing him should be easy.”


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

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  1. “When one of their own betrays them to follow a strange young rabbi from Galilee, the elders of the vampire race dispatch Theron, a nine hundred year old assassin, to kill them both. The rabbi’s name is Jesus. Killing him should be easy.”

    Is this going to turn out to be slash fiction?

  2. Is this going to turn out to be slash fiction?

    Not my thing, but if it were written as well as, say, anything Elf Sternberg wrote, I’d try it out.

  3. but the vampires win as they nail the rebellious rabbi to a tree.

    Err…looking back from 2k years later, I wonder if they actually “won”. :P

  4. @Trotter Jelly: COTW seconded!

    @James Fox: They’ve become a slavering horde of brain eating zombies. At least in my head. And Cherry Ames, Army Nurse? Werewolf. Hardy Boys – Demon Hunters.

    I really wish you’d given me this idea before Nanowrimo started. I may have to put pen to paper now :D

    Re: Vaccine article – huzzah. Except for some of the commenters there.

    Re: India trip – it makes my head hurt how eager politicians are to use unsubstantiated information to further their ends; and how people do believe them.

    Re: antimatter. So, so cool.

  5. Love the comments on the Jesus v Vampires post, and I third the COTW for @Trotter Jelly.

    Oh, and I suddenly feel all the SF authors I’ve read have missed out on a neat idea. Christian apologists searching through the histories of aliens we encounter, looking for their Jesus.

  6. I’ll have to second the “huzzah” for the vaccine article. In fact, I think the author of it finally figured an important point about the fear of vaccines: Parents would rather their children are harmed because of their own inaction than because of their action. The risks of harm from inaction versus action don’t come into play in their mental calculus. In fact, this point was confirmed by a few commenters who unintentionally confirmed the author’s point.

    The question is then, what to do about it to convince parents to vaccinate? I don’t know for sure, but perhaps there needs to be a campaign to show parents just how dangerous some of these vaccine-preventable diseases are, and try to pound in the message that if they refuse to vaccinate and their child gets sick, they’re the ones to blame.

  7. @Mark Hall: When we did the lists our 15 most influential authors, I can’t believe I left off “Franklin W. Dixon”. (I also can’t believe I remembered his name, but I did! It was almost 50 years ago! Why can’t I remember anything important?)

    I put his name in quotes because, according to Wikipedia, he is, as I suspected when I was 9, a pseudonym for a group of ghost writers, who I think were also responsible for Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey twins, Tom Swift, and many other serial novels. I’m not sure if I was a skeptic or a conspiracy theorist…

  8. “But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism.”

    I think the guy in the fact-checking article should check on how many people actually heard about the $200 million a day being false…

    Good journalism isn’t an antidote. It’s a band-aid put on an axe wound.

  9. I can’t believe someone actually commented on the vaccine article saying, “We need to boost our natural immunity” instead of getting vaccinated!

    Are people actually so ignorant as to how the immune system works? You can’t “boost” your immunity by eating certain foods or taking supplements. If you’re exposed to one of these diseases you have just as much chance of getting is as any other non-vaccinated shmuck, even if you did drink your colloidal silver-blueberry-acai-9000mg dose of Vitamin C smoothie this morning.

    What can we do to educate these people? How do I explain to my woo-woo sister that drinking a Coke does not “suppress” your immune system for a full 24 hours? {sigh}

    We need more sites like this one, with readers capable of rational thought.

  10. @Buzz Parsec: Just because this is skepCHICK I think you should know that Frank Dixon was a pen name for a WOMAN!!! I know, these things are hard when they get dumped on our laps as adults. ;-)

    @Mark Hall: Don’t boys usually co…, never mind.

  11. @James Fox:
    Wow… that reminds me that my first real experience with people refusing to even consider changing their mind when presented with a different viewpoint had to do with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

    I consumed those books like other kids scarfed down Halloween chocolate. I collected them, loving to get multiple editions as they were re-written for kids of later generations. When I found a book about the history of the two series and the TV shows, I thought it was interesting, and fairly obvious, given the re-writes they’d been through over the years.

    One of my schoolmates said something to me that made it clear that she thought that Nancy Drew was a real person. I tried to explain that they were fiction, and about the Stratemayer Syndicate and how multiple writers worked on the series. She absolutely refused to believe me. I was gobsmacked that someone could believe these books were real.

    I even had an original edition of one Hardy Boys book with the phrase “There’s a [n-word] n the wood pile” and a later edition where it was replaced with “There’s a tramp in the wood pile.” Which completely blew my naive little mind at the time.

    I offered to show these proofs to her, but she completely refused to be swayed.

    That was when I first learned that people love to hold tightly to even unimportant faulty conclusions.

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