Category Archives: Biographical

The 2013 Pigasus Awards

gk324_flying-pig-rgb-final_lr_web

Every year, the James Randi Educational Foundation gives awards to recognize the special few uncritical thinkers who do more to peddle pseudoscience and damage the public in ways that only celebrities could. Below are five “winners” of various categories whose success in nonsense have given actual science communicators like myself a greater challenge – not only to inform the general public of the way things are, but to do so while battle the faulty preconceptions caused the non-scientific thoughts and beliefs caused by such purveyors.

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Biographical, Culture, Media, Science, Skepticism, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Egyptian Satirists Are in Serious Danger of Angering the Authorities

Bassem Youssef with Morsi pillow

If you watch any of the English-subtitled videos of Bassem Youssef, you get the distinct feeling that his TV show “AlBernameg” is the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This is by no means a coincidence, because Youssef, an Egyptian satirist, modelled his show after the American comedian’s. In fact, Youssef has even been on Stewart’s show before. But unlike Stewart, Youssef does not live in a country where free speech is a constitutional right. That’s why he is now at threat of being prosecuted for insulting the highest authority in the country.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Legal Issues, Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Should Parents Tell Their Kids “The Truth” About Santa?

The whole truth about Santa Claus

Spoiler Alert! Santa is a dangerous alcoholic, suffering from obesity, and doesn’t exist.

Actually only one of those is true. Well, maybe two… but if you pass the age-test, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Japan, Skepticism | 7 Comments

If Toby Becomes Japan’s New Prime Minister, Will Japan Cease to Be a Pacifist Nation?

Toby’s at it again. The dream of having to never blog about Tokyo’s most famous bigot – who I hesitate to call anything other than Toby (explanation here) – has been short lived. A few days from now, the country will vote in a general election. Having been a governer of Tokyo for over a decade, Toby has proven that he is a stable leader, which has become an increasingly attractive quality for a prime minister here. Is it possible that he could become the leader of the country? And what would that mean for Japan?

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The International Gangnam Style Phenomenon

Music videos aren’t usually, in my opinion, news worthy. But one video has gone so viral that it should probably now be described as a worldwide infection. It seems like everyone has caught the “PSY” bug, and this English-speaking Berklee-educated Korean pop star is now one of the most famous people in the world. The music video for his satirical song “Gangnam Style” has become the most watched video in the world, skyrocketing in popularity shortly after its release in the middle of July, and it’s now a global phenomenon.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Japan, Media | Tagged , | 1 Comment

SATIRAN – Part 2: Ahmadinejad, Israel, and the Presidency

In Part 1, the recent health issues of Ahmadinejad were discussed, showing a man more human that people give credit for. But the timing was unfortunate. Ahmadinejad’s collapse was during a political time in which the public perception of his strength as a leader is rumoured to be at risk. For example, his recent attempts at improving his image through Iranians’ love of sports have been failing due to international sanctions that make it difficult for players to continue playing. Now, the president is finding new obstacles from all strata of society.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Legal Issues, Media | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SATIRAN – Part 1: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Suffers in Silence

Reports are coming in now saying that Iranian President Mahmour Ahmadinejad was rushed to a hospital earlier this month following a sudden collapse during a meeting regarding the “false Zion regime” – known to the West as “Israel.” At first, doctors reported the early signs of cranial-rectal insertion syndrome, a rare yet devastating disorder – which may finally be included in the newest revision of the controversial DSM, to be released next year – that has left many suffering throughout the world. However, after the doctors operated, the diagnosis turned out to be far less complex, though no less hard to live with.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Media | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Only All Bully Stories Ended Like This…

I feel like I’ve been writing so many articles about disappointing or disconcerting events in recent months that when I came across an amazing story from a random high school in Arizona, USA, I felt like it was necessary for me to write about this. The main character of this story is Chy Johnson, a sixteen year old girl with a brain disorder. The setting is Queen Creek high school, where she was an immediate – not to mention easy – target for bullying. But the story has a happy ending, which is why I’m so excited to tell it.

Posted in Biographical, Culture | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Russian Boy Commits Suicide Over a Japanese Anime Character’s Death

Who cares about “anime”? Lots of people, evidently. In 2009, the anime (Japanese-style cartoon) industry in Japan alone was worth 77.7 billion yen ($865 million) from DVD and Blu-ray sales. And though the industry seems to have peaked around a decade ago, anime have become an international cultural product that people who feel absolutely no connection to Japan consume (many don’t even realize that they are made in Japan). Just like American movies have become a worldwide phenomenon, so have anime. But anime fans the world over were shocked a few days ago by the connection between two teens who just died. One was the Japanese anime character, Itachi Uchiha. The other was the real Russian boy, Leonid Hmelev.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Japan | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Say “Tata” to Unwanted Wrinkles and Slap the Years Right Off Your Face!

Are you willing to pay $350 in the name of beauty? Do you have no sense of scientific literacy and want to get a quick fix? Do believe that anything coming from the “mythical land of the East” is magical? Then welcome to Tata Massage, where trained specialists are waiting to literally slap the wrinkles away! These Thai specialists are waiting to smack some sense into you, and some wrinkles out of you. So come on down to the new store in San Francisco, California, where Tata Massage celebrated their grand opening on October 23rd! Or, you know… don’t.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Medicine & Health, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment