The search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is a vastly complex endeavour. But it’s an empirical endeavour — it requires valid and reliable measurement and scanning methods, and an ability to objectively verify and triangulate all incoming data in order to draw logical conclusions about where to look next. For example, the latest wave of efforts appear to be benefiting hugely from satellite imagery, and we can only hope this helps investigators to quickly solve this tragic mystery.
Of course, the fact that it is a tragedy is no barrier to the crass minds of contemporary pseudoscientists. So we end up with this abomination, on CNN of all places:
CNN, I tells ya (Pic: Screengrab from video on Mediaite.com)
Yes. It’s a psychic. Continue reading “The passengers on MH370 deserve better than this”
Just over a week ago, I gave a public lecture for Cork Skeptics at the magnificent Blackrock Castle Observatory. Subject to technological issues (i.e., assuming it worked), a video of the talk will be available online soon. In the meantime you can view the full slideshow above.
The evening was very well attended and I think the talk was a success. Also speaking was Síle Lane of Sense About Science, who presented a terrific briefing about their Ask For Evidence campaign.
That's me in the corner
(Photo: Alan B.)
Just to remind you, my lecture looked at the ways in which the human tendency toward faulty reasoning can be seen as a protective adaptation (for example, it helps us stave off depression). Continue reading “The Science of Misunderstanding”
Here’s just something for the archives. I rarely write book reviews nowadays (although I often get invited to do so), partly because they can become extremely time-consuming. After all, to be fair to the book’s authors or editors, you do need to actually read the book in question before reviewing it (a principle that, as far as I can tell, does not command universal adherence). Of course if the book is terrific, then that’s no problem; you’d be glad to read it anyway whether or not you were invited to write a review. But if the book is poor, then things become uncomfortable; reading it to completion and then writing the review can be extremely tedious indeed. Continue reading ““Extraordinary people, ordinary evidence””