Skepchick Quickies, 8.3


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. and when will sonar artifacts stop being news? It’s like taking low res jpeg pictures of everything and discussing the weird blurry square shapes as if they are real. Boring! And the answer is always the same!

    (I don’t know if that’s what this is, sonar glitches are usually squareish in appearance, but I wouldn’t be surprised)

  2. .
    Not only is there a UFO, but the area around it has the image of Jesus in a kung fu pose! This not only proves that Christianity is literally universal, but also that Jesus was way cooler on other planets!

  3. I wonder why they call the female moose’s vocalization a “protest moan”? It sounds a little too anthropomorphizing to me.

    1. I don’t think so. Leaving aside the connotations of “moan”, if they’re making vocalizations that usually result in someone else showing up to fight the allegedly undesirable male and court them… what is that but a protest?

      1. Well, the point is that when humans “moan” it tends to imply some strong emotion, while this may not necessarily be true of moose. One might decide the female moose was making a “general invitation call”, which she doesn’t do if the male she’s got happens to be welcome as is.
        Actually, I know it’s impossible for us not to anthropomorphize animals, but I think one can minimize it, and that one should.

  4. I should not have clicked on that flying saucer link. I ended up getting sucked into the Daily Fail for 20 minutes. I read a story about Heidi and Spencer. HEIDI AND SPENCER! I can never look at myself in the mirror again. Also, the gossip section on the Daily Mail is called “FeMail.” Seriously. WTF?

  5. ” … although geologists have said it was naturally formed.”

    Too bad the article couldn’t have gone in to a little more depth on this part. Surely the geologists would have provided an explanation of what sorts of natural processes could have formed this shape.

    If, y’know, someone had asked them.

    1. Yeah, geology rocks like that.
      Google the devil’s postpile, most non-geologists will question, at least for a moment, if that isn’t manmade.
      Nature is clearly awesome.

  6. “this is what scientists are claiming is finally evidence that Earth has been visited by aliens.”

    I hate this about journalists. What scientists are saying this? I bet the answer is “Well, the janitor. He enjoys science fiction. That’s like a scientist, right?”.

  7. I think the slow-science article makes some good points.
    A “hot” topic, like say the coming technological singularity, is far less likely to bear fruit than “cold” topics, like say the technological advances in prosthetic devices.
    We may not “live forever” but if we lose a limb we very well have a better life than was previously possible.
    But hasn’t it always been the case? I like to look at retro-futuristic articles to see just how wrong they were about the future and just how right they were too.
    Everyone saw ubiquitous robots while very few saw the internet, somethings don’t garner attention until they are put into practice.
    And so it goes.

  8. “Newspapers in Sweden have put the story on their front pages and asked if this is really the first sign of extra-terrestrial life.”

    I live in Sweden and this was the first time I heard of it…

  9. That UFO article was seriously painful. When is someone going to invent the ability to reach through the screen & slap people upside the head? I’d be seriously down for that. At least until I got fishslapped back. :/

  10. Oh! I love the first comment on that moose article:

    “A moose once bit my sister… ”

    Hahahaha, I don’t even know what to say to that. HOW does one get bitten by a moose?!

    1. No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse
      with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given
      her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and
      star of many Norwegian møvies: “The Høt Hands of an Oslo
      Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Mølars of Horst

  11. So, children are still using one-at-a-time testing when they play? Feh. That paper should have been titled, “Children’s Play Could Benefit from Factorial Designs”.

    Stupid backwards children.

  12. The Millenium Falcon? That is very clearly a Bird of Prey (although not sure if it’s Romulan or Klingon though.)

    1. Oh no…more controversy than feminism, raisins and sweet potatoes combined! — Star Trek vs. Star Wars!!

  13. Beard of Pants: That “Moose bit my sister once” comment is found in the beginning credits of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” ;-)

    I read the Daliy Fail for laughs, just like I read Cracked. And I take them both about as seriously. OTOH, Cracked usually does their homework on their artiles, which is more than i can say about the Fail…

    1. Hunh. I *hate* that oft-quoted movie, but I guess I hadn’t heard that one being oft-quoted enough. (For the record, I LOVE monty python, but consider that to be sub-par).

      Thanks for the clarification.

  14. “Now, however, his team do not have the money or resources to examine the shape further.”

    Isn’t it always the case? You’re working hard on your free-energy machine, and accidentally discover the cure for cancer, but you just don’t have the money or resources to develop it further. Here’s an idea: hold a press conference and announce your findings and ask people to invest. Oh, wait…

    Also, that was the single worst and most pointless video ever posted on the Internet. If you haven’t watched it, it consists of 3 minutes of 1) very slowly zooming text of a single paragraph describing the “UFO”. I think they were trying to duplicate the text scroll at the beginning of Star Wars, but couldn’t figure out how to do it, so they used the zoom function instead, and couldn’t afford John Williams. 2) The same static sonar map as included in the article. (Not a speck of animation.) 3) A bunch of very low quality still photos of the crew and some water. The didn’t even pan around the pictures, Ken Burns style, not that there was anything interesting in any of them. My friend jaznet77 produces infinitely better and more interesting shots on her cell phone, let alone her real camera. 4) A static text copyright notice. 5) No audio track.

    If anyone here ever produces a skeptical video, here’s a perfect example of how not to do it.

    1. Thinking about this further, I find it completely hilarious that Skepchick is sponsored by “Christian Mingles.”

  15. Just in case anyone wants a citation for the article about children playing like scientists learn, it’s as follows:

    Where science starts: Spontaneous experiments in preschoolers’ exploratory play
    Claire Cook, Noah D. Goodman and Laura E. Schulz
    Volume 120, Issue 3, September 2011, Pages 341-349

    the paper itself can be found here:


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