Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’


Dec 20th, 2014 1:04 pm | By

A team of researchers led by Christina Korownyk of the University of Alberta’s Department of Family Medicine took a look at the medical information on two tv doctor shows, “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Doctors,” which have average daily audiences of 2.9 million and 2.3 million respectively. The paper was published in the BMJ.

When looking at the shows individually, there was evidence to support 46% of the claims made on the “Dr. Oz Show.” Approximately 15% of the claims made on the show were contrary to what has been reported in scientific literature. There was no evidence to support or reject 49% of the claims made on the show. “The Doctors” had slightly better results, with

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Not the Girl Scouts

Dec 20th, 2014 12:28 pm | By

So the Vatican has issued its final report on the rebellious nuns in the US. It dresses it up in cuddly language but Mary Hunt at Religion Dispatches is wholly unpersuaded of its cuddliness.

Despite herculean efforts to make nice, the 12-page report and its presentation reinforce the Roman Catholic Church’s patriarchal power paradigm. And although many have hailed the report as a sign of the Vatican’s warming toward women, I am not convinced.

Many will hail anything as a sign of something cuddly, because that’s what they do. The rest of us turn a very yellow eye on Vatican reports.

The first shoe dropped in 2008 when Cardinal Franc Rodé announced an Apostolic Visitation of active women’s religious

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Provocative or offensive?

Dec 20th, 2014 10:50 am | By

Massimo Pigliucci has a post about the American Atheists billboard campaign and the utility of what Dave Silverman calls the “firebrand” approach to fighting religion.

In this essay I will first explain why I object to “firebrand” atheism and on what principled (i.e., before evidence) grounds. I will then look at David’s data and argue that it doesn’t show what he thinks it does, and why even if it did this would still not settle the matter. I will then end with some constructive suggestions for atheist activism more generally.

Why firebrand atheism is a bad idea

American Atheists’ billboards have carried messages the likes of “You know it’s a myth… and you have a choice,” “What myths do you

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Teenagers wanting to become ‘Jihadi brides’

Dec 19th, 2014 5:37 pm | By

This is a sickening story.

British girls as young as 14 are being helped to marry Islamic State fighters in Syria in increasing numbers by London-based “facilitators”.

Teenagers wanting to become ‘Jihadi brides’ are being assisted with applying for passports, given funding and sometimes even accompanied to the region after being groomed online.

Ew. What a golden opportunity – marry a murderer and give up all your rights for the sake of the bright lights of IS-held Syria.

Pockets of east London in particular are becoming hotbeds for organised groups of men and women helping young IS supporters to get to the Syrian conflict zone, the Evening Standard reported.

Haras Rafiq, an expert at British counter-terrorism think-tank, the Quilliam Foundation,

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

But we mustn’t get emotional

Dec 19th, 2014 5:07 pm | By

Ireland and the US are so alike in so many ways, most of them bad.

In Ireland, a woman who is clinically dead but 17 weeks pregnant is being kept alive against her family’s will. At this painful time, her relatives must go to court to stop the Irish state treating their loved one’s body as a cadaveric incubator.

Yeah we do that too. Marlise Munoz was kept alive after brain-death despite her family’s wishes for two months last year because she was pregnant.

Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant with the couple’s second child when her husband found her unconscious on their kitchen floor November 26. Though doctors had pronounced her brain dead and her family had said she

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

All eight

Dec 19th, 2014 4:34 pm | By

Obama’s gone all radical extremist ideological gender feminist on their asses. TIME – avid fan of Christina Hoff Sommers – reports on his gender-feminist press conference today:

President Barack Obama’s traditional end-of-year press conference Friday was historic for reasons that had nothing to do with the substance of the president’s comments. All eight of the reporters who questioned Obama were women—and nearly all were print reporters—an apparent first for a formal White House news conference, a venue traditionally dominated by male television correspondents.

It makes news, yet all-male gatherings hardly ever make news.

“The fact is, there are many women from a variety of news organizations who day-in and day-out do the hard work of covering the President of

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

More amaze

Dec 19th, 2014 3:59 pm | By

This is basically an ad for a 3D printer but I don’t care, the technology is just so astounding I have to share it anyway.

Tara Anderson, a director at 3D-printing company 3D Systems, adopted Derby from non-profit dog rescue Peace and Paws. “I kept looking at his photo and reading his story, and I cried literally every time,” says Tara in the video. So she decided to do something about it and created a pair of specially fitted prosthetic legs for Derby, built in a loop configuration similar to kids’ “jumping shoes” to stop him digging them into the ground. The result is one happy dog.


H/t karmacat… Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: Gender is a huge deal in this field

Dec 19th, 2014 3:46 pm | By

Originally a comment by MrFancyPants on Yes that’s right, exactly like this.

I wonder if the people (mainly men?) complaining about “why is gender even an issue” are even professionals in a computer science field. If they are, they’re stunningly unobservant.

I am a computer science professional (formerly academic, now in the private sector) and I can confidently state that gender is a huge deal in this field. As an academic, I repeatedly saw promising female grad students drop out of the computer science program or switch to a different field, and it was apparent that this was happening due to the boys’ club nature of the research labs at that time (and at that university).

Now, as a … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Printed in space

Dec 19th, 2014 3:04 pm | By

Wow. I knew the ISS now had a 3D printer, because it’s much more practical – that is, possible – to make needed equipment on board than it would be to pack all potentially needed equipment, but even knowing that, this story is very cool.

For the first time ever, hardware designed on the ground has been emailed to space to meet the needs of an astronaut. From a computer in California, Mike Chen of Made In Space and colleagues just 3D-printed a ratcheting socket wrench on the International Space Station. “We had overheard ISS Commander Barry Wilmore (who goes by “Butch”) mention over the radio that he needed one,” Chen writes in Medium this week. So they designed one

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Yes that’s right, exactly like this

Dec 19th, 2014 12:27 pm | By


At Wired, Elena Glassman, Neha Narula and Jean Yang tell us what happens when women in a STEM field talk about…oh, whatever.

“We’re 3 female computer scientists at MIT, here to answer questions about programming and academia. Ask us anything!” we wrote for our Reddit Ask Me Anything session last Friday. And then, boom:


Dozens of questions like these were interspersed with marriage proposals and requests to “make me a sandwich” in our AMA. We had intended for the AMA to be a chance to answer questions about what our lives are like

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

They said they said

Dec 19th, 2014 11:49 am | By

The BBC’s Panorama said; Apple said. Panorama did an investigation of bad working conditions for people who make Apple products; Apple said it was “offended.”

Apple has said it is “deeply offended” by a BBC investigation into conditions for workers involved in manufacturing its devices.

Rules on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were routinely breached, the Panorama programme witnessed.

In a staff email, senior Apple executive Jeff Williams said he knew of no other company doing as much as Apple to improve conditions.

But he added: “We can still do better.”

Well let’s be real about this. Why does Apple get its products made in China in the first place? Because it’s cheaper. They can’t … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Drawn to what they imagine

Dec 19th, 2014 10:35 am | By

Mark Oppenheimer has an article in the Atlantic piquantly titled The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side.

Eido Shimano is the founder of the contemporary Zen Buddhist network in the US. One night in 2010 a student at Dai Bosatsu, Shimano’s rural branch of the Zen Studies Society, stood up at the end of dinner and gave a rambling speech about secrecy, shame, and the need for openness.

Fred Forsyth, an artist who now lives in New York City, remembered that her speech “was very long, and she had clearly been preparing it.” She spoke of “authority” and “power,” and how she was “secretly in a relationship” with someone who wielded much more power than she did. As

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Hold that pose

Dec 19th, 2014 8:33 am | By

Meet Fools Do Art.

His name is Chris.  His name is Francesco. They love recreating famous paintings. All of the painting remixes are done at the Squarespace office in NYC. The only rules are that all props must be things found in the office and all editing must be done on a phone (Android or iPhone). Enjoy!

Update: Must add the new one. H/t chigau.

The most recent one, dated December 17, is my favorite:

You can send them suggestions.… Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

More poor Muslims than rich westerners

Dec 18th, 2014 6:17 pm | By

Oh look. Looky there. A headline on a Guardian Comment is Free post by Ben Doherty –

Pakistan attack reveals the truth about terrorism: it kills more poor Muslims than rich westerners

Golly gee, that’s exactly what I was saying in that post on Sunday that got so many people in such a (mostly fake) rage. How shockingly ideological to make that point! Why shouldn’t terrorism kill more poor Muslims than rich westerners? Why even mention it? It’s political correctness run mad.

Doherty commits the thought-crime all over again in the first paragraph. (Or, rather, he commits it too, since it was probably an editor who chose the title.)

Those who suffer most from Islamist extremism are not people in

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The procedure involves slicing through the cartilage and ligaments

Dec 18th, 2014 5:36 pm | By

And speaking of doing horrible things to people…The Guardian reports another one of Ireland’s grim secrets.

“Mary” was delighted to be pregnant at 23, but she was in labor for a long time, and they got worried about her heartbeat, so they called in the doctor.

When the doctor arrived, he did something Mary cannot forget. “They gave me gas and air and an injection, and took me to another room, where they tied my legs up on each side,” she recalls. “There were two nurses on each side of me. I saw this doctor at the end of my bed with a big, long silver thing. They made a hole in your private parts, and he inserted

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The next thing we knew, she was on fire

Dec 18th, 2014 4:47 pm | By

Yesterday the Telegraph reported some heart-breaking details of the slaughter at the army school in Peshawar. Be warned: they’re not happy reading.

The Taliban attackers reserved particularly horrific deaths for the adults, pouring fuel over at least three and setting them alight and killing the head, Tahira Qazi, with a hand grenade.

“Our principal showed extreme bravery,” Wasif Ali, a grade six pupil, said from his bed at the Lady Reading Hospital, where he was being treated for abdominal and head injuries. “She wasn’t afraid even when the militants were firing shots.” He said that as the firing started, she rushed from classroom to classroom, shouting at those inside to lock themselves in. Other pupils said she was trying

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Self-appointed experts

Dec 18th, 2014 1:08 pm | By

NPR did a blog post about Vani Hari aka “Food Babe” the other day.

…as her profile grows, so too do the criticisms of her approach. Detractors, many of them academics, say she stokes unfounded fears about what’s in our food to garner publicity. Steve Novella, a Yale neuroscientist and prominent pseudoscience warrior, among others, has dubbed Hari the “Jenny McCarthy of food” after the celebrity known for championing thoroughly debunked claims that vaccines cause autism.

Hari is a self-styled consumer advocate and adviser on healthful eating.

Her website,, offers recipes, tips for nutritious dining while traveling, and, for $17.99 a month, “eating guides” that include recipes, meal calendars and shopping lists. But she’s best-known for

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Arctic feedback cycle

Dec 18th, 2014 12:50 pm | By

Here’s a disquieting press release from NASA:

NASA Satellites Measure Increase of Sun’s Energy Absorbed in the Arctic

NASA satellite instruments have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000 – a trend that aligns with the steady decrease in Arctic sea ice during the same period.

While sea ice is mostly white and reflects the sun’s rays, ocean water is dark and absorbs the sun’s energy at a higher rate. A decline in the region’s albedo – its reflectivity, in effect – has been a key concern among scientists since the summer Arctic sea ice cover began shrinking in recent decades. As more of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The daily horror

Dec 18th, 2014 11:28 am | By

Boko Haram this time.

Militants have stormed a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria, killing at least 33 people and kidnapping about 200, a survivor has told the BBC.

He said that suspected Boko Haram militants had seized young men, women and children from Gumsuri village.

The attack happened on Sunday but news has only just emerged, after survivors reached the city of Maiduguri.

The BBC headline is peculiar: Boko Haram unrest: Nigerian militants ‘kidnap 200 villagers’. It’s not “unrest” – it’s organized murder and kidnapping. And the people doing it aren’t really “militants”; their goal is to kill some people and enslave others. Calling them “militants” makes it sound as if they have genuine political goals, but it’s … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Got secularist?

Dec 18th, 2014 10:39 am | By

The NSS is taking nominations for Secularist of the Year.

Who do you think should be the 2015 Secularist of the year?

The Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year is awarded annually in recognition of an individual or an organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the secular cause.

This year’s prize will be presented on Saturday 28 March at a lunch event in central London so please get your nominations to us by Friday 23 January.

The nomination form is right there on the page, so if you have a candidate, get to it.

 … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)