Category Archives: Media

Debating whether or not America is a Force for Good

Captain America BG

Now that recent stories have come out about America’s widespread NSA tentacles, along with more news about how drones have been killing far more civilians than actual terrorist targets in countries, the world is asking an important question: Does America do more harm than good? This isn’t about Americans per se; this isn’t about discriminating against a people. This is about foreign policy, organizations, and administrators, such as overreaching spy agencies and the political leanings of President Barack Obama.

Russia Today’s popular debate show “Cross Talk” looked at this issue here:

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Scientific Consensus and the Obvious Truth about Global Climate Change

You-control-climate-changeI often ask questions in my article titles, but the question “are we responsible for climate change?” is simply unnecessary. From the overwhelming evidence, we know the answer to this question; and the answer is “YES!” This is good news because we may have the power to change things, but bad news because we aren’t doing nearly enough, and we may pass the point of no return within the next few decades. Furthermore, with so many people fighting to argue against what almost all climatologists are saying, most people aren’t even trying to do something about it.

Posted in Biology & Evolution, Culture, Media, Psychology, Science, Skepticism, Social Psych, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Hamas-Israel Ceasefire Ends as Gaza Schools Drop Sports for Military Training

Hamas Children

I have been following the news regarding the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza that started in November of last year closely. The relationship between the two is incredibly tense, and the violent conflict that occurred then was thankfully over soon. The ceasefire was called, and both sides welcomed the truce, however temporary it may be. Despite the fact that Hamas actually broke the ceasefire by firing 12 rockets into Israel on Day 1 of the truce, it managed to officially hold for about half a year. The ceasefire, however, has certainly ended; and the militarization of the children of Gaza seems to be more determined than ever.

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Bollywood Zombies and The Westernization of Indian Pop Culture

Go Goa Gone poster

Go Goa Gone, the first Western-style zombie flick to be made in Bollywood, was just announced last week. The trailer was released a few weeks ago and seems to be quite popular, with already over 2.5 million hits on YouTube. This may not seem like a particularly significant thing, but it’s just another example of how Indian TV and movies are taking cues from their American counterparts, effectively transforming their pop culture. What effect might this have on Indian popular culture?

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The 2013 Pigasus Awards

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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.

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Gender, Age, Socioeconomic, and Cultural Differences in Social Networking Site Usage

Anime high school girls in London-esque BG

Online social networks has become an interesting platform for research, and hundreds if not thousands of studies around the world are investigating how we interact with others online. This article looks into recent studies that analyzed data regarding differences in age, culture, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Gender Differences

Researchers from the Santa Fe Institute used a multiplayer game “Pardus” to analyze social networks. Online video games have become increasingly seen as a gold mine of data on social interactions in recent years, and, as it turns out, many of the same gender differences seen in the real world were observed in the social networks in Pardus.

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What are the Most Corrupt Countries In the World Today?

North Koreans Marching

There is plenty of malice, crime, and corruption in today’s political systems around the world. Elections are sometimes paid for, politicians often work only with their own self-interest in mind, and citizens around the world are fighting uphill battles against authorities at every level. But recent reports show us where each country stands in comparison to the other, and that is the topic of this article. Which countries are corrupt to the core? Which are a model for the world?

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The Brain is Not Simply Split into Two Totally Separate Halves, and Other Lessons on Skepticism

left brain right brain WRONG

One year ago, I wrote an article that skewered the infographic that one website had been sending to the public. I showed the evidence that contradicted what was claimed, and I ended up busting two persistent myths in that article. The first myth was that the two hemispheres of the brain (right and left) were radically different sections of the brain; the second myth was that people have distinct learning styles, which make some people “visual learners,” while others are “audial learners,” etc. I don’t mind explaining this stuff to laypeople, but there’s something unnerving about the email I got from one of the creators of the infographic.

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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.

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Tortured Confessions – The Science of Waterboarding, Torture, and “Intense Stress”

zero-dark-thirty

ResearchBlogging.org With the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” raising a lot of eyebrows with its depiction of waterboarding, there has been a lot of talk regarding the veracity of such techniques. Namely, does torture yield the intended results? Did the results assist in the hunt for Osama bin Laden? There are the anecdotes that make this an interesting case to look at, but we also have the science to give a more conclusive answer to the question of whether or not waterboarding works.

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