What, this is a thing?

A paper that made extravagant weight loss claims for green coffee beans has been retracted. This study had been touted by Dr Oz, of course — no fraud is to ludicrous for him — and rebutted by Scott Gavura, and I’m generally suspicious of any dietary supplement that promises weight loss without reducing calories or increasing exercise. But there’s one bit that surprised me. The study was done in India by a guy named Mysore Nagendran, and it was sponsored by Applied Food Sciences, Inc. (AFS), the company trying to exploit this Miracle Weight Loss Supplement. They couldn’t get it published, so…

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May all my enemies be this stupid

I really, really don’t understand the minds behind this: I’m getting a bunch of messages from sniggering puerile slymepit types who have jumped on a hashtag bandwagon, #wherespzmyers. They’ve got a photo of my face photoshopped onto a plush doll, and then they photoshop that into various scenes.

Warning: the very first image that turned up at that link above is a smiling picture of me spliced into a graphic ISIS beheading photo.

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Perhaps there’s something in the water in Queensland?

It’s where Ken Ham comes from, you know, and apparently the region has a bit of a reputation. Not everyone from Queensland can be bog-ignorant, of course, so it’s perfectly reasonable that someone from Queensland would be appointed head of the Australian national science organization, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). So good on their latest head.

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CJ Werleman self-destructs

And it’s really unfortunate — politically, we’re probably more alike than different, and we need more outspoken liberal voices in atheism. But he has done the unforgivable: serial plagiarism, and when caught out, has apologized, but simultaneously belittled the seriousness of the offense and blamed it on a campaign by our little neo-conservative atheist cabal of Harris and Boghossian.

I agree that they are wrong about so much else, but when they’re right, they’re right, galling as it is. This is a situation that requires much more reflection and far greater amends than Werleman has given it. He has also effectively written himself out of any of the debates, internal or external, about atheism.

The ‘evidence from comic book’ argument against evolution

Well, he did it: the Digital Cuttlefish found a novel argument against evolution. It has to be seen to be believed — this creationist is claiming that the X-Men disprove the theory of evolution.

Already you should be saying “It’s a comic book and a movie! It’s not real!”, and for a bonus you might point out that the biology of the X-Men franchise is ludicrously awful, and in general, the mass media don’t understand evolution, but let’s give him a chance. Let’s see this argument.

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Ursula Le Guin has alway been a man

That’s one of the surprising revelations from her new book of essays. It caught me by surprise; I’ve seen her speak and I’ve read her books, and she always seemed like a woman, but her point is that she was born in a time when women were subsidiary to men, and the goal was always to be manly, even in ersatz way. It’s a strange twist on a familiar stereotype, and Le Guin goes out of her way to force me to think, which is clearly a very manly thing to do.

I enjoyed her characterization of that manly paragon, Ernest Hemingway, who was everything a writing man should be. She’s really bad at being Hemingway, and she knows it.

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