31 January, 2018
Our Puzzles Page has been updated. All monthly puzzles from 2016 and 2017 have been placed in a new PUZZLES ARCHIVE 7
Our Puzzles Archives go back to 2010
New for February are:
- a new set of Picture Puzzles
- Mixed Bag Questions (Twenty Trivia / General Knowledge questions)
- A Skeptical Crossword, this month’s theme being Astrology
- More Logic & Maths Puzzles.
18 January, 2018
1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread eaters.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on intelligence tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and influenza ravaged whole nations.
4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread. Read the rest of this entry »
10 December, 2017
This is a re-blog of an article which was first posted on this site in April 2012. Like most of our “Skeptics Guides” it was based on a Vic Skeptics discussion pamphlet. The full range of our discussion pamphlets can be downloaded in .pdf form by clicking the “useful info” link here or at the top of the page.
When naturalists started examining the Earth in the 18th century for evidence of its age, they were to a large extent seeking to confirm the suggestion of the Bible that the Earth was several thousand years old; but the closer they looked, the less certain they were that this was the correct answer.
Geologists examined the rocks across Britain, and noted that the same sequence of rocks occurred in different places, suggesting that the rocks had a common source. They also noticed that different levels of rocks contained different groups of fossils, including fossils of animals different from those of today, and not mentioned in the Bible. Yet the fossils were in similar orders in different locations. Rocks were also classified according to how they were made, and by the order in which they’d been created. In the first case, rocks were classified as sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic. Sedimentary rocks are rocks created by grains of mud or sand laid down over the years on lake or sea floors, and compressed into rock by the weight of material lying above them. Igneous rocks are rocks of volcanic origin. Some are from lava which has cooled solid on the surface of the Earth (such as basalt), while others have cooled while still inside the Earth (such as granite), and emerged after they’d solidified. Metamorphic rocks are rocks (usually sedimentary) which have been altered by heat or pressure (such as limestone being converted to marble). Read the rest of this entry »
20 November, 2017
Followers of this site will be well aware that Australian Skeptics are proud long-term sponsors of the Science Teachers Association of Victoria’s annual Science Talent Search.
Here are the statistics for 2017:
2017 was the 66th year of the STS.
3,369 Victorian students entered; the largest level of participation for several years.
704 Cash bursaries were awarded.
There were 42 sponsors, ranging from multinational companies to private individuals.
The Australian Skeptics were a major sponsor: 90 students received bursaries funded by the Australian Skeptics.
Science Talent Search: Bursary Winners sponsored by The Australian Skeptics
We congratulate Janice Teng and her team of volunteers for a great event. If you are interested in STS and would like to know more, go to http://www.sciencevictoria.com.au/sts/
8 November, 2017
by Ken Greatorex
Whack-a-Mole was a popular 1970s arcade game which consisted of repeatedly hitting cartoon moles on the head with a cartoon hammer. Moles nevertheless kept cropping up with undiminished energy more or less at random; so the term Whack-a-mole came to signify “a repetitious and futile task.”
Problems with Regulation of Therapeutic Goods
The situation regarding the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia is unsatisfactory. The complaints process is frustrating, exhausting and often ineffectual. Complaints to the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) must be made against one product or service at a time. Because such complaints are almost invariably made by volunteers, and there is no financial incentive to complain, only a relatively tiny number of questionable products ever get put under the microscope.
An astonishing 87 % of such complaints have historically been upheld. Yet the offending companies rarely receive more than “a slap on the wrists”.
Read the rest of this entry »