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astronomy

INSIGHT
Dark Matter and Periodic Mass Extinctions? Not So Fast!

Don Prothero considers a conjecture proposed to explain a supposed periodicity in mass extinctions.

INSIGHT
A Rope of Sand

Can skeptics change minds? Daniel Loxton considers the cynicism of 19th century astronomer, science popularizer, and skeptic Richard Anthony Proctor.

Carbon Comic by Kyle Sanders
A Cautionary Tale from Science History: The Life and Death of Tycho Brahe

A Cautionary Tale from Science History: The Life and Death of Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), a Carbon Comic by Kyle Sanders, appeared in Skeptic magazine 18.4 (2013).

eSkeptic for 12-10-31

In this week’s eSkeptic, Apurva Narechania takes an inside look at how astronomers are searching for extrasolar planets. This article was published this year in the current issue of Skeptic magazine (17.3).

eSkeptic for 11-04-20

In this week’s eSkeptic, Justin Trottier reviews Ray Jayawardhana’s new book Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System.

eSkeptic for 10-01-13

Could a remote African people have gained esoteric knowledge about the sky without having telescopes? Were aliens, lost technology or something else entirely involved? In this week’s eSkeptic, Liam McDaid examines these claims.

Past Lecture
The Crowded Universe

We are now nearing a turning point in our quest for life in the universe — we now have the capacity to detect Earth-like planets around other stars. But will we find any? In The Crowded Universe, renowned astronomer Dr. Alan Boss — a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union — argues that based on what we already know about planetary systems, in the coming years we will find abundant Earths, including many that are indisputably alive. Life is not only possible elsewhere in the universe, Boss argues — it is common…

Past Lecture
Black Holes Sing: Black Holes, Their Orbits & Gravitational Waves

Black Holes are the ultimate death state of very massive stars. Collapsing under their own weight, the dead cores will curve spacetime so strongly that not even light can escape. Black holes emit no light and reflect no light. They are dark against a dark sky and effectively invisible. When two black holes move in orbit around each other, they churn up the spacetime around them, emanating waves in the fabric of space itself…

Past Lecture
Origins & the Big Questions: Our 2008 Conference at Caltech

Our 2008 conference at Caltech, on the question of origins, featured lectures by Leonard Susskind, Paul Davies, Sean Carroll, Donald Prothero, Christof Koch, Stuart Kauffman, Kenneth Miller, Nancey Murphy, Michael Shermer, Hugh Ross, Victor Stenger, and a performance by Mr. Deity.

eSkeptic for 06-12-06

In this week’s eSkeptic, on Skepticality, correspondent David Federlein interviews Skepchick founder (and head volunteer) Rebecca Watson, and Derek & Swoopy talk to Bad Astronomy’s Dr. Phil Plait about his revealing 2007 Skepdude calendar photo. Also, the 9/11 issue of Skeptic magazine hits the stands, the Why Darwin Matters lecture is now on DVD, and Roy Zimmerman sings satire at Shop Skeptic.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

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.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

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.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

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.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

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.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

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?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

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…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

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!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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