Author Archive

NEW SITE

11 September 2009

Many apologies. If you access Gotham Skeptic through RSS or a reader like Google Reader, I’m afraid you will have to manually update your reader to the new site. With the switch to our new self-hosted WordPress blog, we are experiencing some technical difficulties in forwarding the feed from the older site
http://www.nycskeptics.org/blog
Thanks for your readership!

Stay tuned

9 September 2009

Gotham Skeptic will be getting some work done today. A little nip here, a little tuck there. And hopefully by the end of the day, a fantastic new look will be revealed.

In the meantime, take our skeptics survey!

All the links will be redirected shortly, but you can view the new look now!

New York City Cricket Crawl

8 September 2009

No, this is not a frat boy pub crawl in cricket costume. On September 11th, the night before NECSS (have your tickets yet?), Discover Life in conjunction with the American Natural History Museum is sponsoring the first New York City Cricket Crawl,  “an aural expedition and a celebration of life in the leafy jungles of urban and suburban NYC and surrounding area.” More specifically, these organizations are urging people to wander their neighborhoods, with ears cocked, listening for the burring sounds of crickets and katydids. Under the hum of cars, stereos, screaming kids, droning air conditioners, and laughing hipsters, how many species do you think you can identify in your neighborhood?

(more…)

Take our survey

6 September 2009

Don’t forget to take Lisa’s quick survey. We will be analyzing the results openly on the blog. Be a part of this interesting project.

Take our survey!

Science fair project takes on major corporate claims

1 September 2009

In 2004, two 14 year old girls in a New Zealand secondary school conducted an interesting science project. They wanted to test their favorite drinks for vitamin C content. Using a simple iodine titration technique, when they tested the blackcurrant drink Ribena, the girls stumbled across some surprising results. The Ribena brand has been a staple of the UK market since the 1930’s, but despite the advertising claim that “the blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges,” the girls found almost no vitamin C content in the fruit drink, in fact, it appeared that Ribena had far less vitamin C than almost every other product they tested.

The girls then sent a letter to the makers of Ribena, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), about their findings, then an email, finally a phone call. The girls received little response from the corporate giant:

“They didn’t even really answer our questions. They just said it’s the blackcurrants that have it, then they hung up,” Jenny said. (more…)

Skepticism starts at home

27 August 2009

In “What Do I Do Next?” a list of 105 ways to become an active skeptic , editor Daniel Loxton and his colleagues discuss personal relationships at length.  Karen Stollznow, editor of The Skeptic magazine reminds us that:

We are always representatives for skepticism, and should always be ready to discuss a skeptical perspective, where appropriate, with our children, family, friends, colleagues and strangers. This isn’t proselytizing; this is promoting science, education, logic, and healthy skepticism.

This is a tall order. Being put on the spot, potentially about topics you are not well versed in, can be difficult. I would add to the litany detailed in “What Do I Do Next?” that skepticism starts at home, and it is likely that your family is a good place to start discussing the consequences and reality of pseudoscience. They might get a little pissed off, but unlikely to hold a grudge. (more…)

Sightings

27 August 2009

Over the last week or so, Nessie was caught via satellite footage and a mermaid was sighted in Israel. Atheists appeared at the Creation “Museum,” and the HuffPo wrote about pseudoscience without supporting it. This mish-mash of contradictions and coincidences can only mean one thing, our world is characterized by a series of stochastic events. Or wait… does it mean that the apocalypse is coming? I always get those two mixed up.

Pausing for reflection

26 August 2009

So, Gotham Skeptic has been chugging along for a few weeks now. I wanted to take a moment today and put out a call for feedback. The purpose of the blog was to provide a forum to explore topics that are important to NYC skeptics. And now that our contributors have spent a few weeks cutting their teeth on topics they have some experience with, we want to hear from you out there in internet-land. What topics would you like further explored? What are the burning questions that New Yorkers are skeptical about (or are unsure whether or not to be skeptical about)?

I will be at Drinking Skeptically this evening, and am eager to hear from you! Drinking Skeptically is held at the Four Faced Liar, in the West Village on 165 W 4th St. 8pm until whenever.

In addition to topic feedback, let me know if there is a particular niche in which you have some expertise. We would like to welcome guest bloggers with knowledge they would like to share with our growing number of readers.

In the near future, we will be giving the blog a facelift, and enhancing some features. If you have particular preferences when reading blogs, let me know those too. And if anyone has experience with CSS editing and wants to do some consultation I’ll buy you a beverage!

Thanks, and hope to hear from you!

WWCDD

25 August 2009
A Venerable Orang-outang, a caricature of Charles Darwin as an ape published in The Hornet, a satirical magazine

"A Venerable Orang-outang", a caricature of Charles Darwin published in The Hornet, 1871

Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, co-authors of “Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future,” wrote an op-ed piece for the Guardian yesterday rehashing their views on the tumultuous relationship between science and religion. Their points have all been made before… and have all been criticized before, e.g. But in this piece, they wrapped up their discussion of how the rift between science and religion might be assessed and resolved by asking the question: What would Charles Darwin do (WWCDD)? (more…)

Star light, start bright… Wow! I can actually see stars tonight

20 August 2009

Saturday night I zoomed up the Catalina Highway, a 28-mile serpentine course through craggy mountains leading to the tippy-top of Mt. Lemmon. An impressive 9,157 feet above Tucson, Arizona, sits the Mt. Lemmon Observatory. Operated in conjunction with the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, Mt. Lemmon has a research station that is home to some impressive space-viewing equipment and several biological research projects focused on the amazing mountain ecosystem. (more…)