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Posts Tagged ‘Fake Science

When the facts are just too confusing…

Fake Science to the rescue, with entries both informative…

and useful…

More, at Fake Science.

As we try to remember how to spell “paramecium,” we might recall that this is the birthday of the first woman in the Western world considered to be a mathematician:  Maria Gaetana Agnesi, born this date in 1718.  While she thought and wrote broadly about natural science and philosophy, she is best remembered for her work in differential calculus– perhaps most particularly for her work on the cubic curve now know as the “witch of Agnesi.”

Maria Agnesi

Shooting down flying pigs…

Every year (appropriately enough, on April 1), James “The Amazing” Randi (magician and debunker of scientific frauds) and his James Randi Educational Foundation give out the Pigasus Awards:

…a dubious honor to people or organizations that have done their best in the past year to snuff out science and promote irrationality. The award is named after the beloved mascot of the JREF because, after all, when paranormal powers are proven, pigs will fly.

The five categories of the Pigasus Award are:

  1. To the Scientist who said or did the silliest thing relating to occult, supernatural, or paranormal subjects in the preceding twelve months.
  2. To the Funding Organization that supports the most useless study related to the occult, supernatural, or paranormal during the year.
  3. To the Media outlet that reported as fact the most outrageous occult, supernatural, or paranormal claim.
  4. To the Performer who fooled the greatest number of people with the least effort in that twelve-month period.
  5. For the most persistent refusal to face reality.

This year’s (dis)honorees are:

  1. Dr. Colin Ross, who claims he can shoot electromagnetic radiation from his eyes;
  2. The Producers of the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”;
  3. Late night cable TV stations and Enzyte ads;
  4. Jenny McCarthy; who has written books and appeared on countless TV shows promoting measles; and
  5. Kevin Trudeau; who sold quack books even after the government fined him for it.

Details of these prestigious fakers are here— and are well-worth a look. Winners receive no actual trophy, no prize money, no plaque; just the publicity they generally seek, though perhaps not in the way they want it.

As we recover our sanity, we might recall that It was on this date in 1800 that President John Adams signed legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress,” thus establishing the Library of Congress.

Construction of the Library of Congress

Written by LW

April 24, 2009 at 1:01 am

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