I’ve just learned that all three episodes of my TV show, "Phil Plait’s Bad Universe", will air in the UK on DiscoveryUK from August 15th through the 17th. The air times vary, so check the link to find out when it’s playing.
Hope you like ‘em!
Can you imagine the United States issuing a coin like this?
Sigh. Yeah, me neither. This is a special issue £2 coin from the UK, which came out in 2009 commemorating the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth (and the 150th of the publishing of Origin of Species). I missed this somehow, which is too bad. Wish I had picked one up when I was over there for TAM London!
I would love to live in a country where science and scientists enjoy this sort of celebration, instead of being attacked by their own government because they won’t toe an ideological fantasy-based line.
has used to have Copernicus on their money. Copernicus! I’d love to see a Feynman quarter, or an Einstein dollar coin. If something like inspired a kid to look at it and think, I wonder who that is and why they’re on a coin, then it would be worth it.
Tip o’ the white lab coat to reddit.
American authors, journalists, and bloggers can breathe a sigh of relief: with broad bipartisan support, a short time ago President Obama signed a bill into law that makes sure that the awful and regressive libel laws in the UK cannot be enforced here in the United States.
I’ve written about this issue many times; skeptic and journalist Simon Singh was sued for libel by a UK chiropractors group for saying they "happily promote bogus remedies". In the UK, when sued, you have to prove the claim is false, the opposite of the way it works in most of the rest of the world, including the US. It should be up to the prosecution to prove the claim is true. So in the UK this puts undue burden on the person accused, an almost guilty-until-proven-innocent situation.
Oh, how I loves me an alt-med smackdown: at a meeting of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors, Dr. Tom Dolphin, deputy chairman, said:
Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street [in London] there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS [National Health Service].
Ha! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Despite what homeopaths say, homeopathy has been shown beyond any reasonable doubt to have no effect above that of a placebo. That won’t stop homeopaths from still claiming it works; they’ll use anecdotes, they’ll use evidence distorted and twisted into a Möbius strip, or they’ll simply make stuff up.
As I write this, it’s about -15 C outside where I live in Boulder, and even the snow looks like it’s shivering. So I’m not sure if I’m happy to share the grief or feel badly about the weather for folks in the UK, who generally don’t get (metric, I suppose) tons of snow. But then I saw this image from NASA’s Earth observing Terra satellite:
Holy Haleakala, that’s gorgeous! I won’t say I’m exactly glad they got lots of snow, but still, wow. Sorry, my anglic friends, but your suffering has produced this stunning beauty.
BABloggee Steven Duckworth just pointed out to me something very cool: the UK government has a campaign running to promote science! It’s called (and I love this) "Science: So What? So Everything", and their website has lots of info about science, its impact on society, examples of everyday science, news, science events, and interviews with famous scientists.
It’s rare for a government to have such a nice program promoting science, and it’s even rarer when they seem to have an actual ability to make it fun… for example, sponsoring a green race car (there’s a picture for proof, too)! Of course, it helps when the person who owns the company making the car is Lord Drayson, the UK Minister for Science and Innovation.
All in all, very cool. I’d love to see my own government doing something like this…