Daniel Loxton Wins Victoria Book Prize
Daniel Loxton, author of Pterosaur Trouble (Kids Can Press) was named the winner of the 7th annual Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize worth $5000. Illustrated by Loxton with Jim W.W. Smith, Pterosaur Trouble is book two in the Tales of Prehistoric Life series. It follows the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus, a majestic flying reptile, as he encounters a pack of tiny but vicious dinosaurs.
Daniel Loxton is the editor of Junior Skeptic, the children’s science section bound within Skeptic magazine. Daniel previously won the 2010 Lane Anderson Award for his Junior Skeptic-based book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be.
INSIGHT at Skeptic.com sheds light, offers critical perspective, and serves as a broadly accessible, evidence-based resource on mysteries of science, paranormal claims, and the wild, woolly, wonderful weirdness of the fringe. This week’s highlights are:
Reports of the Demise of Books
Are Greatly Exaggerated
Dr. Katherine Freese, On Demand
Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter
The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe constitute only 5% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. The Cosmic Cocktail is the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling enigmas of modern science—what is the universe made of?—told by one of today’s foremost pioneers in the study of dark matter, acclaimed University of Michigan theoretical physicist Katherine Freese. Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. Dr. Freese describes the larger-than-life characters and clashing personalities behind the race to identify these elusive particles.
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MonsterTalk # 92
Fangs That Go Bump
in the Night
We’ve all seen the vampires of cinema and pop culture. Caped aristocrats, sparkling teens, monstrous revenants—which of these best corresponds to the real legends of vampires? Richard Sugg returns to talk about his fascinating research into historic vampire cases. He’s uncovered a recurring relationship between outbreaks of vampirism and poltergeist activity, which will be the subject of his next book.
Alfred Russel Wallace Centennial Celebration at UCLA
November 15, 2014, 9am – 4pm
Schoenberg Hall, UCLA Campus
UCLA will be hosting an exciting weekend in November commemorating the life and legacy of British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913), the co-discoverer along with Charles Darwin of evolution by natural selection and the father of biogeography.
- 9am – 12 pm
- Andrew Berry, Jared Diamond, Ed Larson & Michael Shermer
- 1pm – 4pm
- Frans de Waal, Tim Laman and Edwin Scholes, and Wade Davis
- Full Day Registration: $35 ($30 tax deductible)
- Half Day Registration: $25 ($20 tax deductible)
Registration includes coffee and light refreshments, souvenir program, field notebook and book signing opportunity. Seating is limited, register early. For assistance with registration, please call 310-206-6503.
All proceeds will support the A.R. Wallace Fund, providing need-based financial support for field research and discovery in international settings.
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The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)
For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.
Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine
Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.
Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?
This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.
The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs
Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.
Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?
What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?
The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts
Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…
Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)
If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!
Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.