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Manual of monsters from cinema and culture – Book Review

monstro-coverI found an advertisement somewhere online for Rue Morgue Magazine’s Monstro Bizarro collection, “An Essential Manual of Mysterious Monsters”.  Maybe it was via the editor, Lyle Blackburn. I pay attention to Lyle’s books because I’ve liked them all so far but I’m not a Rue Morgue reader. This collection of columns looked interesting so I ordered it directly from Rue Morgue. (Later, I saw it on the shelf at BAM bookstore.)

At only 130 pages, I would quibble with the “manual of monsters” moniker but I enjoyed this book. I found that at the end of a stressful day, I was eager to get back to it.Read More »

Doubt and About – Fall 2016

Things always seem to ramp up in the fall, after school starts again and vacation time is over. This September, I started posting again on Doubtful News. I realized that DN had 30x more reach than this personal blog so there was little excuse for posting about news stories here and not there. However, due to the time off and that DN does not get courtesy posts on Facebook or Twitter from any big orgs, we don’t have the hit counts we used to. It’s clear to me, and I hate to keep saying it, effective skeptical outreach requires a support network. Not money so much as basic human support, a foundation of people who believe in the goals and promote the information to their friends and family. If advocacy was less about fundraising and more about getting things done at a grass-roots level, I think we’d be much better off and have made more progress.

In light of those goals – doing what you can to reach people who haven’t been exposed to practical skepticism and applying critical thinking – I’ve been doing things…Read More »

When Everyday is Doomsday: Slip, sliding away

As a geologist, I get mightily annoyed with apocalyptic-themed sites that broadcast media reports about normal processes of the planet with the tone that End times are upon usEvery friggin’ day! The end of the world seems to be perpetually right around the corner. Every report of strange sounds (often hoaxes or explainable), lights in the sky (typically meteors and space junk), weird or destructive weather, mass mortality events, earthquakes and volcano eruptions, are reported as a sign of the end times. With the ability of the internet to transmit nearly instant details of each event from anywhere in the world, it may seem like they are happening more often. But there is way more too it than that and human activity plays a part.Read More »

Practical skepticism on “experience makes it real for me”

It takes me quite a bit of time to write a long post. First, I have to think about it, then I have to figure out what I want to say and then say it and then make sure I’ve said it so people can understand. Commenters, on the other hand, react and write their opinions often in a slapdash manner. They expect me to post them even if they make no sense. I often don’t. That’s my choice, to frame the discussion a certain way. I get that you don’t agree. The Internet has made it appear that everyone has an equal voice in every matter. That’s untrue. I’ve done considerable and careful research on most of the things I write about. But to some, their own personal experience trumps all that. Nope. And here’s why.

A VERY common comment I get when I criticize claims of the paranormal is this one: You’ve obviously NEVER experienced this. If you did, you’d change your mind.

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Doubt and About – Summer 2015

Hello everyone,

End of summer is a good time to take stock of what’s been done and what to do next. I’m keeping busy as usual, with many day-to-day tasks and some new pilot projects launched.

This past year I served on the planning committee for The Amazing Meeting 2015. TAM#13 was an absolute success with an array of new speakers and familiar friends. I was so happy to see the overwhelming positive response to the conference.  I learned a ton about conference organizing, as well. While there I headed a panel on Practical Skepticism. This is one of my new themes.

I’ve now bowed out of any work for skeptic organizations. I’ve provided direct input to two organizations but, to me, things are in a strange state right now. I think the skeptic community will regroup in the future. I’m better to steer clear of that and focus on my own goals, one of which is outreach to the public.

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SFR 332: Duggar Family Values

An excellent show from an excellent podcast. I encourage people to listen to the last few minutes especially, as Bobby and Jason give their insightful thoughts on the Radford/Stollznow statement.

Strange Frequencies Radio

–TLC pulls “19 Kids and Counting” after a sexual molestation scandal is revealed which implicates reality show star, and anti-LGBT campaigner, Josh Duggar.
–Has the time come to stop referring to ourselves and others as black, white, etc? An article seen on Addicting Info prompts a discussion about the social construct of race, and why, despite the objection of many, we think it can still be useful.
–Shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco disproves the idea of more guns leading to polite society. But it also prompted us to think about the era of the Wild West, and finding out it wasn’t as “wild” as we once thought.
SFR_Eye–Recommendations: Bobby does his best to insert Star Wars into every discussion by recommending…Star Wars.  Meanwhile, Jason thinks many will find value in the HBO documentary “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” which he feels is an…

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