1. The Genesis II Church advertised a seminar at Clayton Community Centre from 14th to 16th of November at $500 per participant. The Church’s leader, Jim Humble promotes MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution) as a cure for diseases such as Malaria, HIV, autism and Ebola. MMS contains bleaching agents – including sodium chlorite, chlorine dioxide and calcium hypochlorite.
These are seriously dangerous chemicals. A spokesperson for the Victorian Poisons Information Centre said a total of 10 people – with four needing further treatment at the hospital – had reported feeling ill after administering MMS with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.
The Genesis II Church’s practices have already been the subject of joint FDA and ACCC investigations and legal action.
2. In October, Stefan Browning, New Zealand Greens MP supported using homeopathy as a treatment for Ebola, which Prime Minister John Key described as as “barking mad”. As a consequence, he lost his natural health portfolio; The Greens wished “to send a signal that it took an evidence-based approach to public health issues“.
3. And speaking of evidence based approaches…
Physicist Dr Larry Marshall has been appointed to head the CSIRO from January 2015. In the light of Dr Marshall’s on-the-record partiality to water divining, this has created some concern among Skeptics and the Australian scientific community in general.
Australian Skeptics are happy to share with Dr Marshall the experience of several thoroughly conducted Australian trials, which suggests that Water Divining does NOT have much of an evidence base.
4. Eminent seers Joan Quigley and Simon Turnbull both died recently. Quigley was the astrologer of choice for American President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Turnbull was President of the Australian Psychics Association, a Master Mason, an authority on tarot and a practicing astrologer.
5. Australian Cricket’s Devil’s Number of 87 (13 short of a Century) re-surfaced with the dismissal of Mitchell Marsh in a recent test v Pakistan. In fact Australian test batsmen have had their innings terminated more frequently on 85, 86, 88 and 89. Even English batsmen have been dismissed on 87 more often. (Incidentally, English Cricketers have their own Devils Number, aka “Nelson” which is 111; more poms have been out for 87 than for 111).
6. The Science Talent Search Annual Exhibition and Awards Day was held at Latrobe University in late October. The Science Teacher’s Association of Victoria’s Science Talent Search has run annually since 1952. This year over 3000 students participated by submitting a variety of projects including computer programs, games, science photographs, posters and wallcharts, working models, inventions, experimental research, creative writing and video productions. About 600 cash bursaries were awarded. Australian Skeptics has been a major supporter of the Science Talent Search, along with other corporate and individual sponsors. Support from either Federal or State governments was disappointingly not much in evidence.
7. Australian con-man Peter Foster was arrested by New South Wales police near Byron Bay. Foster is well-known to Skeptics; he has been convicted and jailed on three continents for offences involving weight loss products and property transactions; and he disappeared while facing charges over his involvement in bogus weight loss product SensaSlim, in defiance of a Federal Court order banning him from such activity.