Thursday, 30 April 2009

Homeopathic Treatment for Pigfluenza. Bwahahaha!

This is just too funny.

The misguided loons over at Homeopathy Plus are preparing to tout their magic memory water as a cure for . . . Swine Flu!

... we are working with homeopaths around the world to crossmatch the swine flu symptoms with the homeopathic remedies that will best treat and prevent them.

But never fear, because

... your existing bottle of Flu-Stop still contains the most common remedies used by homeopaths for the treatment and prevention of flu.

Phew, that's a relief. Your existing bottle of magic water will still work until you can get a special replacement bottle of magic water.

Of course, the new Swine Flu remedy will be identical to Flu Stop, because they'll both be just water.

So what is the delay all about? All they need to do is slap a sticker on the "Flu Stop" bottles to make them "SWINE Flu Stop".

But maybe that's not enough.

After all, what font should they use for the sticker? Should they include a picture of a pig? Should the pig be wearing a top hat?

So many decisions. And so little time!

Hurry, homeopaths of the world. We need you!


Monday, 27 April 2009

Vaccination Story Shock

Last night Channel 7 aired a shocking story on vaccinations.

The shock was in its complete lack of tabloid scaremongering, its scientific content and the fact that it was clearly a carefully researched story.

We really needed this. The anti-vaccination crowd has been incredibly vocal of late. The whole vaccines-cause-autism thing just won’t go away, despite its architect Andrew Wakefield being discredited as a fraud.

The anti-vax cause has impassioned believers and celebrity endorsements (most recently Jim Carrey), which have real power to sway a public sadly under-educated on this very important topic.

While the smackdown on Carrey’s ill-informed rant was swift (this one was my favourite), the damage will have been done.

The science is in on this topic but the message just isn’t getting out there. The voices of reason are all too often drowned out by the cries of those irrationally and ideologically opposed to vaccination, and children die as a result.

For all these reasons, Rebecca Maddern is to be congratulated for her great segment on last night’s Sunday Night.

This also gives you some idea of the scientific non-credentials of the anti-vax crowd.

Homeopathic treatment for whooping cough? Please. Your magic homeopathic water does nothing. How could it? After all, it’s just water and nothing else.

It’s a shame that nonsense wasn’t exposed for what it is, but maybe in the next segment. How about it Channel 7?

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Bea Arthur

The legendary comedienne and actress Bea Arthur has passed away at the age of 86.

Stealing our hearts as Maude in the 70s and acerbic Golden Girl Dorothy in the 80s, she will be sadly missed.

Let’s remember her with one of my favourites . . . a duet with Rock Hudson and a lovely ode to recreational drugs.

RIP Bea.

And Benn, 14 points for you.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


In a remarkable display of consistency, director Alex Proyas follows up uneven science fiction thriller I, Robot with uneven science fiction thriller Knowing.

Nic Cage Nicolas Cage mopes his way through the movie as grumpy academic John Koestler, whose son finds a sequence of numbers buried in a time capsule which, when analysed, turn out to accurately predict the dates and locations of major disasters.

Happily it’s not just pareidolia, and audience fears that the plot might devolve into the silliness that was Jim Carrey’s The Number 23 are quickly dispelled.

Nic Cage in KnowingThe disasters actually do unfold in predictably spectacular fashion, and the movie thunders along with lots of nice set-pieces and some very impressive effects. In fact, the action is so relentless that one is left with barely a second to ponder the immense implausibility of it all. Which is probably just as well.

Proyas handles it all very nicely, right up until the final sequence when the subtle biblical imagery inexplicably morphs from a tap on the forehead to a sledgehammer in the face. I’m not sure that was strictly necessary.

Nic Cage and Rose Byrne To top it off, there’s a garbled explanation of Determinism that deserves to join Jurassic Park's treatment of Chaos theory in the Hollywood Hall of Scientific Theory Abuse Fame.

Still, it's all good fun.

On a side note, Melbourne viewers will be amused by the attempts to pass Melbourne off as Boston, particularly when it involves geographical miracles like getting from the CBD to Carlton by heading south on Princes Bridge.

3 out of 5

Sunday, 19 April 2009

What Would Jesus NOT Do?

It doesn’t take much to scratch the surface of a religion and reveal it as man-made artifice.

In the case of Christianity, this video beautifully shows the man behind the curtain.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Look at that. Almost a week since the last post and another week back to the one before.

I’d like to claim that Life has spectacularly intruded and instead of writing about it I’m out there Living it.

Sadly it’s not true. Although I have been to some cool comedy festival shows.

This week has just been a regular work week (albeit foreshortened for Easter) and I’ve arguably had more time for such things . . . particularly as my lovely wife is off jetting between Tokyo, New York and London for work.

The culprit? Twitter. It’s a rampant and unforgiving time thief. Hours that would have been spent here researching and ranting (admittedly less of the former and more of the latter) has instead been spent Tweeting. With . . . um . . . my Tweeps.


Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Microblogging is its own special joy. And besides, while it’s made me less productive in this space it’s given me a renewed burst of enthusiasm for the medium in general, which was starting to wane a little.

The other plus with Twitterland is the connection to a community of cool skeptics, some of whom are minor internet celebrities (I’ll let them decide who I might be referring to) and some of whom I’ll meet in person at my first Vic Skeptics meeting on Monday night.

I’m hugely looking forward to that.

That’s enough for the moment. I’m off to do something constructive. Like watch the latest episode of Dollhouse.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Haikus

As an atheist enjoying this long weekend, it’s only right that I should address the origin of the season.

While the pre-Christian pagan history of the Easter festival is interesting, every second atheist blogger seems to have done one already.

So I wrote some haikus instead.

Crucified. Blood, Pain.
Celebrated with chocolate.
How appropriate.

Crucified rabbit.
For the sake of a day off.
Wait. I have that wrong

Crucified Saviour.
Still just a day off, of course.
Thanks anyway God.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Scientists call for Evolution to be taught in Sunday Schools

This is a short satirical article I wrote in a moment of whimsy. However, it’s been brought to my attention that the jovial nature of the piece is not necessarily clear. I’m choosing to take that as a compliment.


In what is shaping up to be a major theological controversy, priests and ministers have hit back at the suggestion that they should include alternative ideas of species origin in their Sunday School classes.

For many years churches have taught only a traditional view of “Creation”, that the Earth and all humans, plants and animals were brought into existence over the course of 6 days some 6,000 years ago by a being referred to only as “God”.

This position has been challenged recently by the emergence of “Evolution”, a theory which maintains that the Universe and even the Earth are much older, and that humans and animals evolved over millions of years from simpler organisms.

Father Ralph McCluggage of Our Sacred Lady Church said:

“For years we’ve been happily teaching the biblical story of Creation to our children. They grow up with a clear understanding that the world began with a naked couple frolicking in a garden, a tree with fruit they weren’t supposed to eat and an evil snake. This story has everything they need to know: the origins of the universe, where all the plants and animals came from and why women shouldn’t be trusted.

This idea that we evolved over millions of years may be supported by mountains of physical evidence, but the fact remains that it says nothing about it in the Book of Genesis.”

After initial attempts failed to have Evolutionary theory taught alongside biblical Creation, scientists have taken a different tack and are now encouraging churches to “teach the controversy”.

Dr Miles Plankton of the University of Melbourne:

“It’s important to recognise that the idea that God created us in 6 days is only a theory. Evolution is another theory. What’s wrong with kids learning that there are different ideas about how the world began?”

But even this watered-down approach has been met with resistance. Father Ralph had this to say:

“This attempt to force Evolution into our curriculum is nothing more than a veiled attempt to introduce atheism into Sunday School classes.

Now I don’t care what these scientists teach in their science classes. That’s their business. But our Sunday School classes are for teaching the basis of our faith.

All this Evolution stuff may be rational and evidence-based, but the fact remains that it’s simply not religion.”

Dead Pool 2009 - March Update

Celebrity Dead Pool now has its own blog!
Find it at Celebrity Dead Pool 

March turned out to be a reasonably quiet month, although there were a few celebrity deaths all the more tragic for their unexpectedness.

PD*4914109 On the 18th actress Natasha Richardson died at the age of 45 following a skiing accident in Canada. Daughter of the legendary Vanessa Redgrave and granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave, Richardson was the product of great acting stock but still a respected star of stage and screen in her own right.

Jade GoodyOn the 22nd reality TV star Jade Goody died of cervical cancer at the age of 27. After becoming famous as a UK Big Brother housemate in 2002, Goody turned what could have (and arguably should have) been fleeting notoriety into a lucrative career, and had the cameras rolling right up to the moment of her death. Expect a somewhat macabre documentary to be released very soon.

Andy Hallett as Lorne Finally, the 29th saw the death of US actor Andy Hallett at the age of 33. Best known as the singing demon Lorne in the TV series Angel, Hallett suffered heart failure as a result of cardiomyopathy contracted soon after finishing his stint on Angel.

A tragic month it was, but the score for our contestants is still nil-all.

Stay tuned for next month’s update.