Several things have either come up or come together for various reasons that are probably not worthy of a post on their own, but are of interest and should probably be promoted in some way or other. So here is a fairly motely collection of links to various things:
1. A new paper by the SV-POW! (don’t forget the exclamation mark) boys has come out talking about the position of the neck in sauropod dinosaurs. Read about it in more detail at their hompage, or over at Tetrapod Zoology.
2. In a not entirely unrelated manner, a new paper is out this week on the evolution of long necks in giraffes and is covered very well at the BBC website.
3. Unrelated to these, but related to an upcoming post of mine, today Ben Goldace fo the imperious and unmissable Bad Science has turned up a particulalry interesting internet ‘personality’. His take on healing mental illnesses, fertility treatment, recussitation and others are not things I would recommend. I would suggest reading them though, for, as funny as they are (in a sense) it is disturbing to see stuff like this put forward as genuine science. OK, it’s very much at the lower end of these kinds of things, but then, where does science become pseudoscience become well, this and how do you know which you are dealing with when they contact you?
I try to avoid polemics and screeds on here (believe it or not) but some things have to be shouted out long and loud and clearly becuase they are *so* fundamental and important. Bad science kills people. When those in power are ignorant or willfully distort or evade science the results can be catastrophic.
I have written onn here a number of times about Ben Goldacre and his blog Bad Science (and frankly and ploemically, anyone who has pretensions of being a scientist should read pretty much every word he writes as far as I am concerned) and he has a revised version of the book of Bad Science coming out. Previously a chapter was missing becuase he was being sued by one Matthias Rath whom the chapter was directed at. This chapter is now in the book and has also been released free under a creative commons license online. It documents the South African AIDS crisis and Rath’s role in it as an HIV ‘denialist’, and, conveniently, as a man who sells vitamin pills that he claims cure HIV, because anti retroviral drugs will kill you.
Bad. Science. Kills.
You must understand science to use it. This is what happens if you do not. It is tragic. It is shocking. Go read it. All of it. And then paste it up everywhere where others can read it. People must see and understand about this, and pressure has to be brought on those who can change it.