Daily Archives: February 14, 2013

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Conference for the Curious

CollegeOfCuriosityIt’s official: I will be a speaker at the College of Curiosity Conference on May 25th.

Furthermore, they list my speakerly qualifications as being Queen of the Lizard People. (!)

After those two sentences, you’re probably wondering what the hell is going on.

The College of Curiosity is a non-profit online and offline tribute to curious things. They organize field trips and conferences with a focus on oddity and fun. Lately, their website has been running a fun project where someone posts an image of a strange item, and the community at large has to figure out what the hell it is. I recommend having a look.

The upcoming conference will be at the Glessner House Museum in Chicago. The event itself will be one day (Saturday, May 25th), but related events will flank it on both Friday and Sunday. Keep your eyes on the site for details and updates.

As for what I will be presenting at the College of Curiosity… I haven’t the foggiest idea yet. I was given carte blanche, which is a frightening and dangerous thing.

Into the Fray of the Chiropractic Debate

Whale Spine

A whale spine, as found in the Galapagos in 2008.

In the film Amazon Women on the Moon, there is a segment called, “BULLSHIT OR NOT?” (…or “Baloney or Not?” if you saw the film on broadcast TV). In the segment, Henry Silva asks, “Was Jack the Ripper in fact a sixty-foot sea serpent from Scotland? Did I take this job to make a quick buck? We may never know the answers to these questions.”

I sometimes feel like I’m in the dead center of a BULLSHIT OR NOT debate, albeit one with far fewer sea serpents. See, I’m a skeptic, which means I’m one of those people who advocates for good science and asking lots of questions and educating the general public. I’ve also been known to go to a chiropractor.


If those two statements made you go, “…uh, where’s the problem?” you’re probably not running within the skeptic or medical circles, so I’ll fill you in.

To the general public (at least, here in the USA), chiropractic medicine is seen as a fairly benign alternative medical treatment. It works off the idea that many medical ailments branch from misalignment of the skeleton, and that adjusting everything back into order will give relief without the administration of drugs or invasive techniques. Sounds pretty good in a holistic sense, right?

On the other side of the equation, we have the skeptics, who are pointing out that chiropractic medicine hasn’t really been shown to do anything in controlled scientific tests. Furthermore, crazier alternative therapies and other general quackery tends to run rampant in chiropractic offices. And beyond that, some chiropractic treatments can be actively harmful. The Skeptic’s Dictionary has a fairly thorough article about the arguments against chiropractic therapy.

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