Keep on Taking the Beads and Mirrors

26 May, 2016

by Dr Peter Thorne

Dr Peter Thorne was formerly the Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Melbourne. He has been a member of Tender Boards for major Government IT projects including the re-equipment of the Australian Tax Office and Australian Customs. He was a member of the National Procurement Board established by the Hawke/Keating Government.

peter thorne

Peter Thorne

In the “beads and mirrors game” industrially advanced nations acquire primary products won from the land, or even the land itself, from less industrially advanced nations in return for manufactured goods.
Australia was still an economic colony of Great Britain until the middle of the 20th century. Our principal role in this relationship was as a primary production nation. For the past 50 years transnational corporations have taken over from the UK as our masters in the beads and mirrors game, particularly in the advanced technology business.

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Trivia Night 2016

20 May, 2016

trivia 2016 poster

A Skeptic’s Guide to Firewalking

16 May, 2016

This article first appeared here in 2010. It is also available as a classroom discussion pamphlet.
The full range of our discussion pamphlets (and much more) can be downloaded from our  USEFUL INFO page.

What is Firewalking?

Typically, firewalking involves walking with bare feet across a level bed of hot glowing coals, the remnant of a wood fire. On the Pacific Islands, heated stones are substituted for coals. Read the rest of this entry »

The Science Talent Search Search

6 May, 2016

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Are YOU a former Victorian student who earned one or more Science Talent Search bursaries while at school?

Do you know such a person?

If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Please tell us what you’re doing now, and send us your STS reminiscences including your name and school, and whatever you can remember about your entry (how old were you at the time? What category did you enter; models, essays, research, computers, photography or games? What was the title of your entry?)

Send to vic[at]

We will not use any of this information without your permission.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine at RMIT: roll up and start a new life in woo

6 May, 2016

RMIT Open Day TCM 2015

by: Mal Vickers

Imagine you’re in the midst of the stress of VCE and facing those life-changing questions: What do I do with my life? Which university course should I do? You’d want accurate and reliable information, right?

Sadly I witnessed an audience of impressionable, aspiring young people who were considering career moves being given poor information by an Australian university.

In August 2015, I sat in on RMIT’s Open Day presentations promoting a degree courses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). By the look of the demographic in attendance, most were Year 12 students. About one quarter looked to be the parents, with a few possible mature-age students and one known skeptic, MOI.

Young people are going to be exposed to misleading information and dubious advertising in society, that’s a given. As a society, we’re already taking up a lot of valuable educational time in teaching science and critical thinking, but class time is limited. How much time should we devote to educating students about the many ways people can be misled?
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30 April, 2016

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This brief article takes note of an auspicious conjunction of events in May. Both Vic Skeptics and our good friends at Mordi Skeptics have a Soapbox evening as our monthly public meeting.

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A Skeptic’s Guide to Astrology

30 April, 2016

This is an edited repost of an article which first appeared here in August 2010. You can also download a similar classroom discussion pamphlet (and a lot more) from our USEFUL INFO page.

The basic proposition of Western Astrology is that your personality and fate are influenced by the apparent positions and motions of heavenly bodies. Read the rest of this entry »


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