CRAP! It’s Virtual Skeptics. Who’s your TEDdy?

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This week on Virtual Skeptics, there was (virtual) poop. I talked about crap.

The news is always chock full of ridiculous claims but, for some reason, this week was particularly looney. It could be the 12-12-12 business and the fact that we’re all stressed out (not really) about December 21. Here is a rundown of silly stories that were all *facepalm* moments this week.

I’ll go from scammy to insane.

First, ultrasonic bug repellents don’t work. We heard this week that a study came out to show that you can’t get rid of bedbugs by using ultrasonic repellents. Gotta do some work to accomplish that. But worse, they were advertising electronic mosquito repellents in areas where malaria is a real issue. They have devices that emit a high pitched sound that is supposed to resemble either a male mosquito to shoe away the biting females or to resemble a dragonfly sound. It doesn’t work but it may prevent people from using tools that actually do work and that’s pretty terrible. So, consumer warning, the only thing these device annoy is dogs and teenagers. So, they should be labled appropriately, I think.

But, it SOUNDS plausible. Rating 5 out of 10 on the red flag BS scale.

Then there was this story:

“Researchers at The Intelligence Institute, a conservative non-profit group, tested 5,000 people using a series of tests that measure everything from cognitive aptitude to common sense and found that people who identified themselves as Fox News viewers and ‘conservative’ had, on average, significantly lower intelligent quotients.”

Also sounds plausible for those of us with cognitive bias. We KNOW that Fox news does skew their coverage but it’s not at all related with intelligence. This was a hoax and the person who did it just put out a press release. He was amazed at how people just swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Also, possibly plausible but should have set off your BS meters at 7 out of 10.

Next is the case of the crystal skull. This one was sent to me along with the real story and I looked it up, found it Unbelizeable.

Dr. Jaime Awe, director of the Institute of Archeology of Belize is suing Lucasfilm, its new owner the Walt Disney Co. and Paramount Pictures on behalf of Belize over the Crystal Skull artifact, popularized in the 2008 Steven Spielberg film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Awe is demanding the return of the Crystal Skull from a treasure-hunting family who allegedly stole it 88 years ago from Belize, and asks for damages from the film companies for their profit for using the replica of the skull in the movie.

The problem? The skull didn’t come from Belize and that is well established.

The Mitchell-Hedges skull is not quite 3,600 years old, and it was likely bought from a London art dealer, through a Sotheby’s auction on October 15, 1943, as determined by investigator Joe Nickell and others. The story of it being stolen from a Mayan alter is concocted.

That kills the whole lawsuit. Of course Crystal skull are claimed to be extraordinary, made possibly by extraterrestrials or from Atlantis. They have magical powers and give off of weird sounds. A study of several crystal skulls by the British Museum in 1996 indicates they were made in Germany within the past 150 years.

This was giggle inducing. 8 of 10 on BS meter.

It’s 12-12-12. Astrologer Jessica Adams said it would make computers crash.

“On 12.12.12 the world is feeling the impact of a stressful pattern between Mercury and Neptune, the planet that rules leaks (like Wikileaks) and also flooded computer networks,” said Adams.

That’s silly and it didn’t. Nonsense. No one should have believed that 9 of 10.

And finally, the Mayan apocalypse story is heating up as there are rumors that people are getting a bit panicky in Russia and China. Not so much in the US it seems but give it time. However, I suspect we’ll use it more of an excuse to party that Friday night. There are special places were people are trying to congregate such as magic mountains in France and Serbia.

I did see one article that actual did explain that the mythos of 2012 is completely made up and has no validity whatsoever. It’s New Age speculation and pseudo-archaeological mumbo jumbo made up by people who wanted to feel important and make some money. That’s all. But, the public was never really told about that part or maybe that was just not so interesting and they missed it.

Unfortunately, every unusual thing is being attributed to the upcoming doomsdate. Unexplained booms were reported across the country last week. Most remain a mystery as to their source. Mystery mongering sites have taken notice and associated them with a coming catastrophe. It was more likely they were sonic booms or possibly weather events or even some rare phenomena, we may never know but it has nothing to do with the world end. It’s PRETTY darn hard to blow up a planet contrary to our fictional portrayal of the end of alderon. It just doesn’t happen like that. So, prepare to file your taxes. There will be a 2013.

So 10 of 10, complete BS, shouldn’t believe a word of it, no basis in reality and totally implausible.

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