CFI conference on the science of the future

Last Saturday’s Northeast Ohio Center for Inquiry conference was excellent. It is impressive how the volunteers who organize these events manage to put it together. The key people were Mark Tiborsky and Brian Harrington who are in charge of programming for the Cleveland and Akron areas and Monette Richards who is the president of the Cleveland chapter, and they and the other volunteers deserve congratulations.
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Stunning animals does not affect blood loss

Many countries adopt the policy of stunning cattle before killing them as it is supposedly more humane. But Muslims and Jews have religious prohibitions against consuming the blood of animals and so they oppose stunning and instead require that in order for the food to be certified as kosher or halal, that the animals must not be stunned and their blood must run freely when killed, presumable to drain the meat of all blood.
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Challenging the 10,000 hour rule for expertise

The nature vs. nurture argument has been around a long time and one area that has been much contested is about what it takes to achieve expertise at something, say at music or games or science or the professions. Is it innate ability or practice? The likely answer is ‘a bit of both’. But how much of each? In 1869, Francis Dalton argued, based on observations that certain kinds of expertise ran in families, that it must be due to something innate and genetic in origin. But others argued that it was due more to practice.
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Terrorists? We ain’t afraid of no stinkin’ terrorists!

As Paul Waldman writes, it is almost inevitable that some person who is angered by what is happening in the middle east will be inspired by ISIS/ISIL or whatever the terror group du jour is, to get a gun and shoot up a crowd somewhere in the US. Then instead of treating it as just another mass shooting of the kind that has become routine, the terrorist connection will cause everyone to flip out and hide under their beds and demand that the government do something so that they can come out.
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Superstition and science

Well, Thursday came and went with absolutely none of the goodies arriving for me as promised by astrologer Susan Miller. I did not get a “big professional victory” nor a “surprising influx of unexpected cash” (can something be surprising and expected?). Of course, I did not “help things along” by doing the things she recommended such as arranging for a “big presentation, interview, or other major career event” nor did I launch a “new website or send out a press release on a recent victory”, so it may have been all my fault. I suspect that this is how believers in astrology rationalize when things fail to materialize.
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