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The Bad Astronomer
2002-May-02, 04:26 PM
Hey hey-

The next book in the Bad Science series, "Bad Medicine", is on amazon.com now (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/047143499X/qid=1020356554/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-3065246-9533462). It's not available until September, but that's still pretty cool.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-02, 04:44 PM
Hmm, there is a Christopher Wanjek (http://www.starstuff.org/default.asp?cover=/authors/ChristopherWanjek.asp) who is a standup comedian, and there is Christopher Wanjek (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/bios/wanjek.html), science writer at NASA, and there is a Christopher Wanjek (http://www.beepollen4u.com/coloncancer.htm) who is a Washington, DC-based science and health writer. Are these all the same guy?

The Bad Astronomer
2002-May-02, 05:05 PM
Yup. He's a Renaissance man, for sure.

ToSeek
2002-May-02, 06:19 PM
On 2002-05-02 12:44, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Hmm, there is a Christopher Wanjek (http://www.starstuff.org/default.asp?cover=/authors/ChristopherWanjek.asp) who is a standup comedian


... and who has written material for Rodney Dangerfield (http://www.loper.org/~george/trends/2001/Dec/97.html).

Should be an interesting book!

_________________
"... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-05-02 14:20 ]</font>

Bad Editor
2002-May-06, 02:24 PM
If I may...
Having read both Bad Astronomy and Bad Medicine, I can say that if BA's book delivers a classic cream pie to the hydra-headed monster that is Bad Astronomy, Wanjek's tends more toward the tossing of rotten vegetables --- a bit more pungent, perhaps, and certainly no less forgiving of those who would attempt to foster Bad Science.
(Removing salesperson's hat, redonning propeller beanie.)

ToSeek
2002-May-06, 03:23 PM
And is there a third book in the works? And a fourth and a fifth ... ?

Or would that be telling?

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-06, 03:50 PM
On 2002-05-06 11:23, ToSeek wrote:
And is there a third book in the works? And a fourth and a fifth ... ?

I think it is The Universe Does Not Exist (http://www.wildev.com/clients.htm).

Bad Editor
2002-May-06, 07:51 PM
If only.

I can't resist mentioning that #3 will be Bad Weather; it's being written now. The fourth is on shakier ground, but, aptly, is slated to be The Bad Earth. And if I'm allowed to continue on this Bad spree, tops on my wish-list for #5 is Bad Math, followed by Bad Chemistry.

I should live so long....

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-06, 08:15 PM
I'm guessing, in ten or twenty years, you'll get around to Bad Eyesight.

Bad Editor
2002-May-06, 08:45 PM
Sadly, I'm already there, GoW, with the eye surgery scars to prove it. Though per Bad Med, I'm fairly certain the detached retina was not due to excessive reading (or excessive anything else, wink-wink-nudge).

Silas
2002-May-06, 10:12 PM
On 2002-05-06 15:51, Bad Editor wrote:
If only.

I can't resist mentioning that #3 will be Bad Weather; it's being written now. The fourth is on shakier ground, but, aptly, is slated to be The Bad Earth. And if I'm allowed to continue on this Bad spree, tops on my wish-list for #5 is Bad Math, followed by Bad Chemistry.

I should live so long....


Have you any interest in "Bad Logic?"

Silas

Bad Editor
2002-May-07, 01:33 PM
That'd be a good one; there's certainly a need. Unfortunately, there appear to be far fewer amateur logicians than there are amateur astronomers (who I believe are BA's main readership, not folks from the Other Side [however much they might get out of it]).

Jim
2002-May-07, 04:52 PM
On 2002-05-07 09:33, Bad Editor wrote:
That'd be a good one; there's certainly a need. Unfortunately, there appear to be far fewer amateur logicians than there are amateur astronomers (who I believe are BA's main readership, not folks from the Other Side [however much they might get out of it]).


Hmm. This struck a chord...

I remember Wiley and Sons from my college textbook days (still have most of them, btw). Have you given any thought to marketing the "Bad" series as supplemental texts? The BA's book would be a great (and inexpensive!) supplement for frosh-soph astronomy courses. The other books should be equally marketable.

And this may provide the additional market necessary to make "Bad Logic" worth printing.

Bad Editor
2002-May-08, 04:01 PM
Good idea; thanks. It's the sort of thing -- I think they call it synergy -- that tends to work much better in theory than in practice, but it's a fine suggestion nonetheless.

ljbrs
2002-May-12, 07:56 PM
What are youse guys trying to do? INUNDATE ME? My personal library is already overloaded with TOO MANY BOOKS. I have quite a science library here at home. I shall need to retire in order to find time to read all my books before, well, you know...

*So many books, so little time...*

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif

beskeptical
2002-May-16, 07:56 AM
On 2002-05-02 12:26, The Bad Astronomer wrote:
The next book in the Bad Science series, "Bad Medicine", is on amazon.com now. It's not available until September, but that's still pretty cool.


Well, this is my territory. I'll have to see this book when it's available and give you a brief note about it.

Chuck
2002-May-16, 03:51 PM
When is "Bad Astrology" scheduled for publication?

Silas
2002-May-16, 04:25 PM
On 2002-05-16 11:51, Chuck wrote:
When is "Bad Astrology" scheduled for publication?



"Arachne Rising" by James Vogh. This is actually a hoax book by John T. Sladek, purporting to show that the 13th sign of the zodiac, Arachne, was "suppressed" in the Middle Ages.

(Sladek is also known for his book "The New Apocrypha," which demolishes the usual suspects: Von Daniken, Nostradamus, Homeopathy, etc. etc. Fun book! Belongs on anyone's bookshelf next to "Fads and Fallacies in the name of Science" by Martin Gardner.)

In another thread, someone mentioned Chet Raymo: well worth pursuing. My first exposure to him was his book "A Scientist at the Seashore."

Who the heck could ever find pseudoscience interesting, when the real thing is infinitely moreso -- and represents an honest search for truth?

Silas

Conrad
2002-May-19, 12:32 AM
On 2002-05-16 12:25, Silas wrote:


On 2002-05-16 11:51, Chuck wrote:
When is "Bad Astrology" scheduled for publication?



"Arachne Rising" by James Vogh. This is actually a hoax book by John T. Sladek, purporting to show that the 13th sign of the zodiac, Arachne, was "suppressed" in the Middle Ages.




<snip>

Surely you jest!
I well remember an ex-girlfriend of mine, who fervently believed in astrology, holding forth on "The Sign of the Spider", a new 13th sign of the Zodiac that needed to be incorporated into astrology. What's more, I seem to remember one of our yellow-press papers, the Sun or the Star, printing an article on the Spider in all seriousness.
This is going back (cough) 24 years. Could both have been derived from the impish Mr Sladek?

Silas
2002-May-20, 03:39 PM
On 2002-05-18 20:32, Conrad wrote:


On 2002-05-16 12:25, Silas wrote:


On 2002-05-16 11:51, Chuck wrote:
When is "Bad Astrology" scheduled for publication?



"Arachne Rising" by James Vogh. This is actually a hoax book by John T. Sladek, purporting to show that the 13th sign of the zodiac, Arachne, was "suppressed" in the Middle Ages.




<snip>

Surely you jest!
I well remember an ex-girlfriend of mine, who fervently believed in astrology, holding forth on "The Sign of the Spider", a new 13th sign of the Zodiac that needed to be incorporated into astrology. What's more, I seem to remember one of our yellow-press papers, the Sun or the Star, printing an article on the Spider in all seriousness.
This is going back (cough) 24 years. Could both have been derived from the impish Mr Sladek?



She wasn't the only one who fell for it. The theory is still followed by some few astrologers to this very day! But it was a hoax. A deliberate, silly, laughing-up-his-sleeve hoax; James Vogh was (the late and very much lamented) John T. Sladek, author of "The Mueller-Fokker Effect" and "The Reproductive System." (And "The Fork-Lift Truck," as he never tired of telling people...)

(He later said that "Arachne Rising" was one of the greatest wastes of time in his entire life. But it is funny!)

Silas

ljbrs
2002-Jun-01, 01:15 AM
Two of my best long-time friends have two wonderful children who are BOTH Ophiuchans (a constellation which becomes a Sun Sign from 30 November to 17 December each year. I do not see the Astrologers taking note of it, but the constellation is definitely part of the Zodiac (if one is going to get *picky* about it).

It must be fun to respond to those silly questions, such as *What is your sign?* with the equally silly (but accurate from the standpoint of Sun signs) *Ophiuchus* and to wait for the questioner(s) to fall apart with indignation and/or consternation.

To have TWO children (their ONLY children) with the same *Sun sign* and a silly one at that must have been planned and is beyond the pale. (Perhaps February was a dull month.) Great kids, though!

Actually, all of our (silly) Sun Signs have changed in over 2000 years.

Read about it (among other interesting things) in Michael E. Bakich's *The Cambridge Guide to the Constellations*

ljbrs

_________________
*Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error.* Goethe

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ljbrs on 2002-05-31 21:20 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-01, 05:43 PM
On 2002-05-31 21:15, ljbrs wrote:
Actually, all of our (silly) Sun Signs have changed in over 2000 years.

The Sun Signs haven't changed relative to the calendar. Our current calendar (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=710&forum=9&2) is not based upon the sidereal year--the Earth actually takes about twenty minutes longer than our standard calendar year to go around the Sun. The astrologers have decided to keep the zodiacal signs fixed relative to the calendar, just as we've decided to keep the seasons fixed relative to the calendar.

Chuck
2002-Jun-01, 10:17 PM
What will astrologers do when people are born on the moon or Mars? Will it matter which constellation earth is in? They'll need all new charts.

When people are born in other star systems they'll all have the same sign because the sun will be in the same constellation at all times. Or will they substitute their own star for the sun? Then they'll have to make up all new constellations. Someone's going to get rich off of this.

Kaptain K
2002-Jun-02, 09:06 AM
Sorry GrapesOfWrath, But you're wrong on this one. The changing of the Sun's position WRT the constellations of the zodiac is not a result of the difference between sidereal and solar time. It is the result of the precession of the Earth's axis WRT the stars (and, by extension, the constellations of the zodiac). While it is true that our calendar keeps the Sun north of the celestial equator during the northern summer, the point on the sky at which the sun crosses the equator (by definition, the vernal equinox) moves WRT to the stars and constellations. Another name for this point is "the first point of Aries". Although this point was indeed in Aries for most of the last two millenia, it has since moved out of Aries into Pisces (I think. I'm not "into" astrology).

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-02, 03:18 PM
On 2002-06-02 05:06, Kaptain K wrote:
Sorry GrapesOfWrath, But you're wrong on this one. The changing of the Sun's position WRT the constellations of the zodiac is not a result of the difference between sidereal and solar time.

Are you aware of the difference between the sidereal year and the solar year? According to the Ame. Her. Dic., the solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.51 seconds, but the sidereal year is 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes, 9.54, about twenty minutes longer. Our calendar is based upon the solar year, not the sidereal year--just so we can keep the seasons in the same places relative to the calendar (or, at least, Easter).

Roy Batty
2002-Jun-02, 03:58 PM
Think I have to agree with Kaptain K here.. yes the seasonal months will stay the same according to our solar calender, but the background stars & hence all that astro-illogical gubbins wont (i think.. had to think & sketch a bit before posting!
/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Kaptain K
2002-Jun-02, 03:58 PM
Are you aware of the difference between the sidereal year and the solar year?
Yes! Did you read the rest of my post? I did not dispute the difference. I said it was not the cause of progression of the sun-signs through the zodiac. The cause is precession. Just as the axis of the Earth's rotation has not (and will not be) always pointed at Polaris, the point where the ecliptic and the celestial equator cross will not be at the same point WRT the background stars. The Sun will always pass through this point around the third week in March.

Roy Batty
2002-Jun-02, 04:00 PM
Doh! sorry Kaptain K ... simultaneous post /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-02, 04:00 PM
On 2002-06-02 11:58, Kaptain K wrote:

Are you aware of the difference between the sidereal year and the solar year?
Yes! Did you read the rest of my post? I did not dispute the difference. I said it was not the cause of progression of the sun-signs through the zodiac. The cause is precession.

Uh, Kaptain K, the difference between the sideral year and the solar year is the amount of precession.

Kaptain K
2002-Jun-02, 04:19 PM
Uh, Kaptain K, the difference between the sideral year and the solar year is the amount of precession.
OK, I stand corrected, but it still does not change the essence of what I said. The Sun will always be north of the celestial equator from March 21st(+/-) to September 21st(+/-), but it's position WRT the stars will change, due to precession! The "sun-sign" as figured by astrologers is at least one whole sign of the zodiac away from the Sun's actual position in the sky (and getting farther).

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-02, 04:38 PM
On 2002-06-02 12:19, Kaptain K wrote:
OK, I stand corrected, but it still does not change the essence of what I said.

Except the part where you said that I was wrong (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=1212&forum=9&start=23). /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif


The "sun-sign" as figured by astrologers is at least one whole sign of the zodiac away from the Sun's actual position in the sky (and getting farther).

They decided to keep the "seasonal" signs constant with respect to the calendar much as we decided to keep the seasons constant with respect to the calendar--but not the stars. The "dog days" of summer in the northern hemisphere come when the Sun is near the dog star Sirius--but that will not be true 13000 years from now, when it will be northern winter when the Sun is near Sirius.

<font size=-1>[Added link]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-06-02 12:45 ]</font>

Roy Batty
2002-Jun-02, 05:01 PM
Ok, I gladly profess my ignorance of astrology at this point /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-02, 07:13 PM
Still, it has nothing to do with astrology. It's merely astronomy, and our current system of timekeeping.

Kaptain K
2002-Jun-02, 07:17 PM
They decided to keep the "seasonal" signs constant with respect to the calendar much as we decided to keep the seasons constant with respect to the calendar--but not the stars.
Again, true...but! If (as the astrologers say):
1)My life is affected by where the Sun was when I was born.
2) Their charts say the Sun was in Gemini at the time.
but,
3) the Sun was actually in Cancer.

Doesn't that knock their whole (expletive) idea in the creek???

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-02, 07:28 PM
On 2002-06-02 15:17, Kaptain K wrote:
Again, true...but! If (as the astrologers say):

That's a big but


1)My life is affected by where the Sun was when I was born.
2) Their charts say the Sun was in Gemini at the time.

They don't



but,
3) the Sun was actually in Cancer.

Doesn't that knock their whole (expletive) idea in the creek???


It would, but you're wrong about number two, of course.

I'm not here to defend astrology. I do want to say that I have known some astologers who were fine amateur astronomers, though.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2002-Jun-12, 11:15 AM
On 2002-06-01 18:17, Chuck wrote:
What will astrologers do when people are born on the moon or Mars? Will it matter which constellation earth is in? They'll need all new charts.


Have you ever read Mostly Harmless, by the Late, amd also very Lamented, Douglas Adams?

In that Book, one of the Characters writes a Computer Program for a Group of Aliens, who have, Quite Literally, Lost their Minds, and who therefore, Think that Astrology, is Interesting, and . . . /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_confused.gif

Wait, I just got the Joke /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

Oh Doug, why did you have to leave us, so soon /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif

Especially without finishing your Last Book /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_mad.gif

Oh, why can't John Edward ever Contact Anyone Interesting /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_evil.gif

Anyway, for those still with me /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif , what this Program does, is that it allows The Aliens, to make Astrological Calculations, from any point in The Solar System.

I won't give away the Plot-Point, that follows, but I will say, that The Earth was Rising into Capricorn, and as Everybody Knows, that's not a very Good Thing.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2002-Jun-12, 11:29 AM
On 2002-06-02 12:38, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
They decided to keep the "seasonal" signs constant with respect to the calendar much as we decided to keep the seasons constant with respect to the calendar--but not the stars.


So, Astrology is Complete Bovine Ecxrement, but could The Seasonal Changes, in the First Year of Life, possibly have any Effect upon us, because I am a Classic Gemini, and would like to have some Excuse, for when People Catch me Reading the TV, while Watching a Book?

Or for why I am so darn Lesdyxic /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_redface.gif

_________________
If you Ignore YOUR Rights, they Will go away.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ZaphodBeeblebrox on 2002-06-12 07:30 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ZaphodBeeblebrox on 2002-06-12 07:31 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-12, 09:48 PM
On 2002-06-12 07:29, ZaphodBeeblebrox wrote:
So, Astrology is Complete Bovine Ecxrement, but could The Seasonal Changes, in the First Year of Life, possibly have any Effect upon us, because I am a Classic Gemini, and would like to have some Excuse, for when People Catch me Reading the TV, while Watching a Book?

Check out this, Astrology, Biorhythms and Science (http://mentock.home.mindspring.com/astrorhy.htm).

ToSeek
2003-Apr-30, 01:05 AM
The author of Bad Medicine will be giving a lecture in the DC area this weekend:



Shadow of a Doubt Electronic Edition
National Capital Area Skeptics
May, 2003

May Public Lecture
Saturday, May 3, 2pm-4pm
Bad Medicine: Health Myths and Quack Alternative Medicine
Christopher Wanjek, Science Journalist

Humans only use ten percent of their brains. Eating junk food
makes your face break out. Magnets and aromatherapy cure
diseases. Milk does a body good. Natural means safe.

These are only a few of the myths and misconceptions that
Christopher Wanjek will explore at the NCAS May event.
In articles, TV appearances, and his recent book Bad Medicine,
Wanjek exposes alternative medicine for the sham that it often
is, specifically: magnet therapy, homeopathy, aromatherapy,
liver detoxification, mind-body healing, touch therapy, distance
healing, and the "latest & greatest" in fashionable new trends,
"oxygen-fortified" soft drinks.

Christopher Wanjek is a graduate of Temple University and Harvard
School of Public Health. He writes on a variety of science topics
for The Washington Post and NASA. He is a fixture on Discovery
Channel Canada, has been featured on the BBC World Service and
radio programs in six countries, as well as in The Times of
London, The Guardian, Science News, and New Scientist. He is also
a contributing writer for The Tonight Show and Saturday Night
Live; humor blends with science in his writings and TV appearances.

FREE admission - Everyone welcome - members and non-members

For more information call the NCAS 24-hour skeptic line recording at (301)
587-3827

Location:
B-CC Services Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda MD

The B-CC Center is located in downtown Bethesda, across the street from the
rear of the Bethesda Metro station. It is on the plaza level of the
Metropolitan complex, above a Montgomery County parking garage. Free parking
in the garage on weekends.

Directions to the Center are at:
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/RSC/bcc/directions.asp

gethen
2003-May-06, 08:41 PM
If I may...
Having read both Bad Astronomy and Bad Medicine, I can say that if BA's book delivers a classic cream pie to the hydra-headed monster that is Bad Astronomy, Wanjek's tends more toward the tossing of rotten vegetables --- a bit more pungent, perhaps, and certainly no less forgiving of those who would attempt to foster Bad Science.
(Removing salesperson's hat, redonning propeller beanie.)

I'm reading Bad Medicine right now, and I agree with you. It's a little more uh, shall we say, acidic, than Bad Astronomy. But if you see bad medicine in practice, you might feel that its practitioners are more dangerous than the practitioners of bad astronomy. So you could be forgiven for being less generous.

Alex W.
2003-May-31, 05:56 PM
I got the Bad Medicine book in a clearance sale today (never good for an author to hear, but I'm a student) for 4. I'm impressed so far- learning a bit of medical history.