Notice of Annual General Meeting – 6th Dec 2020 – 7pm online


Notice of Annual General Meeting – 6th Dec 2020 – 7pm online


This email is notice of the NZ Skeptics Annual General Meeting


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Hi <<First Name>>

NZ Skeptics will be holding its Annual General Meeting for 2020 online on Sunday December 6th at 7:30pm. 

The URL to attend the meeting is: https://meet.google.com/egm-afct-ysi

If you cannot attend the meeting and wish to vote by proxy, please contact the Secretary to arrange a proxy vote form.

We hope to see you at the AGM.

Best regards,
Craig Shearer,
Chair, NZ Skeptics Inc.

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Skeptic News: RIP Randi, hauntings and big cats


Skeptic News: RIP Randi, hauntings and big cats


Sad news of the passing of James Randi.

NZ Skeptics Newsletter

 

Randi, hauntings, and more…

Hello fellow skeptic – and welcome to November. For me, this year has both shot by and dragged. And what a tumultuous year it’s been!

Randi
This week saw the passing of James Randi (aged 92), a noted Canadian-American magician and skeptic. Most of us in the skeptic movement will be aware of the major contributions he made and in his popularisation of skepticism itself. He certainly called out many con-artists who made their livings out of fooling the public. People such as Sylvia Browne (purported psychic medium), Uri Geller (spoon bender), and Peter Popoff (faith healer) were targets of his debunking activities.

Randi, through his educational foundation (The James Randi Educational Foundation) also set up the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge (now terminated), which has been a powerful device against those who claim to have paranormal abilities but never seem to be able to produce the goods when actually tested.

Randi visited New Zealand, lecturing at Canterbury University back in 1993, and no doubt spurred many people to join NZ Skeptics at the time. We are on the hunt for the original videos of the presentation,and intend to get them up onto our YouTube channel in due course.

As skeptics we should question hero figures (and indeed the concept of heroes). No person is without their flaws. Randi had doubts about climate change (though updated his position), and was less than critical about some bad actors in our movement. But, Randi was a product of his age. There have been plenty of obituaries praising Randi, but it’s interesting to read the opinions of his critics too. From what I’ve read, many take a tone of broadly praising his work but taking issue with a particular sacred cow of their own.

On the whole, Randi encouraged critical thinking and, I think, had a positive effect on the world.

Haunting continuation

NZ Skeptics was recently approached for comment on the bizarre story of a purported haunted house in Pukekohe, Auckland. The story was amusingly written up in the New Zealand Herald. 

Haunted NZ, an organisation that investigates haunted houses, contacted NZ Skeptics, challenging us to spend a night at a purported haunted location. I wrote about this on our website. Unfortunately the planned visit didn’t happen – the proposed venue doesn’t actually allow overnight visitors!

It seemed that the story had run its course, but I was contacted again on Friday by the NZ Herald journalist, saying they’d had some further communication with Haunted NZ. Allegedly, the spiritual entities have now been ejected from the house by their ritual, but are now haunting the outside of the house but won’t come back inside. I was told that a karaoke party was crashed by a ghost – though how this would work I’m not sure.

The NZ Herald journalist was to be sent a video from Haunted NZ that would show proof of the “goings on”. Unfortunately, this has failed to materialise as of this writing. STOP PRESS – apparently the video is still being produced and edited down. We’ll provide a link so all can see if and when it actually arrives!

I’m a little suspicious of the timing of this being around Halloween. It seems like a good publicity stunt for Haunted NZ. On the other hand, perhaps spiritual entities do exist, and Halloween is their peak season for activity! 🙂

Big cats in Canterbury

This week saw another claim of a big cat in Canterbury. And by “big cat” I’m not talking about an over-sized domestic feline, but a real wild animal variety big cat – such as a Puma or Black Panther or Tiger. Over the years there have been several claims of anomalous wildlife, including Moas and Mooses. 

It seems unlikely that a population of large wild animals could exist and not be discovered by the scientific community. We should seek more prosaic explanations until evidence shows otherwise. According to experts, it’s quite possible that well-fed feral cats can grow to quite a large size. From a distance, it’s easy to mistake the actual size of an animal. 

The evidence we have so far is mostly anecdotal or distant grainy photographs where it’s difficult to determine actual scale. For these cats to be real would require a breeding population. Most big cats are endangered species in other parts of the world. It seems particularly unlikely that a population would be able to establish itself here and without the widespread notice of people.

Election prediction/science

It will no doubt not have escaped your notice that this is the week of the US Presidential Election, pitting the incumbent Trump and Pence, against Biden and Harris. I don’t think it’s going too far out on a political limb to state that, as skeptics, we should be hoping for the candidate that respects and follows science and listens to experts will actually win.

Trump is certainly the anti-science candidate. His administration’s response to COVID is evidence of that. But then there’s the climate change denial (which is arguably an even bigger existential threat), as well as dozens of other examples of ignoring experts. I liken his penchant for rolling back regulations as akin to somebody trying to dismantle a live bomb by cutting random wires. 

But it’s not a done deal – while Biden is leading in the polls, the outcome is far from certain at this stage. The US election reminds me of a scientific experiment. The Republican Party seems to be doing all it can to bias that experiment in its favour. From measures like making it hard for people to vote, to voter intimidation, to legal challenges as to up to when or whether votes can be counted – all of these measures introduce bias into the result. We can be very thankful that we have a much more transparent system of voting here in New Zealand, and one where there’s a sense of fairness in that everybody who wants to vote should be able to. 

I recall thinking back in 2016 after Trump’s unexpected win that it might not be so bad. That he would be surrounded by people that would moderate his worst impulses. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have been the case.

This week is going to be very interesting. My opinion is that Biden will prevail, unless all of the dirty tricks and manipulation going on by Trump’s side manages to bias things so far as to upset the result.

NZ Skeptics Merchandise

Have you visited the refreshed and redesigned NZ Skeptics website yet? You certainly should – it’s got a nice, clean design, done by Weka Web DesignAnd now, we’ve got some great NZ Skeptics branded merchandise for sale. Take a look at our special merchandise pageThere you’ll find some fun items which you can use to advertise your skeptical mindset.

We think these items would also make great Christmas gifts for the skeptical and not so skeptical people in your life.

Feedback

We hope you’re enjoying our newsletters. There’s a team of three of us taking turns in writing the newsletter, and you’ll probably find that each of us has a different style of writing and a different set of opinions and values that seep into our writing. We hope you welcome this diversity of thought.

The committee of NZ Skeptics is always interested in hearing feedback from our readers. If you’ve got anything to say, or would like to contribute or help out, please get in touch by emailing us.

Have a great week!

Craig Shearer,
Chair, NZ Skeptics Inc.

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Skeptic News: Conversion “therapy” out, free expression under attack


Skeptic News: Conversion “therapy” out, free expression under attack


With Labour in, conversion “therapy” is on the way out, we are saddened by the passing of James Randi, and reflect on the murder of Samuel Paty.

NZ Skeptics Newsletter

Conversion therapy on the way out, The Amazing Randi trolling psychics, and terrorism in France.

The NZ Skeptics newsletter email, out to you after Labour day. Have you planted your tomatoes yet? Keeping you up to date with the latest skeptical news from around New Zealand and overseas.

NZ Skeptics have been organising some exciting merch! Keep your eyes open for news soon about how you can get your hands on NZ Skeptics t-shirts, tea-towels and more…

Auckland University Professor Richard Easther @REasther tweeted “DO. NOT. STOP. USING. THE. DAMN APP.” In response to statistics showing a marked decline in New Zealanders using the government’s Covid tracer app. It seems people’s ability to understand threats is great if it involves a large creature with teeth, but not so great if it involves an invisible virus. Skeptics should follow the science, and the science is telling us we need to retain good contact tracing practices or any new outbreak will be harder to track and contain. I for one have been using that damn app.
We found many people being highly skeptical of Facebook after it’s move to ban anti-vaccination ads and QANON groups, meanwhile, they remain lurking down the rabbit hole over on YouTube.

Jacinda Ardern can now move to ban conversion therapy and reform gender law. She had promised to do so, provided she had the numbers in parliament. Now the people have given Labour the numbers, there will be nothing stopping this coming into force. This is great news for the LGBT+ community and anyone who cares about human rights. Conversion therapy is an idea promoted by religion. It does not work and is cruel psychological torture, based on the misguided idea that you can pray the gay away. Forcing people to pretend to be who they are not to pass for what is acceptable by their community hurts them. I feel strongly that it is the community who needs to change and learn to accept everyone for who they are.

Mediawatch reported that the broadcasting watchdog upheld a complaint about misleading COVID-19 claims by ZB’s Mike Hosking. It wasn’t the only time he misread the stats and misled his listeners. If you can stand listening to Mr. Hosking, well, wow. Let’s just say I’d rather watch Uri Geller bend spoons all day long.
The work Ken Ring Weather Check @RingCheck does on twitter impresses me, so I’d like to throw some love their way. With persistence and attention to detail @RingCheck picks apart the random dross Ken Ring throws our way disguised as insightful and spiritually guided premonitions about weather and earthquakes. In a recent tweet @RingCheck said “Astrology has abandoned Ken in Australia now. The whole continent seems to be oblivious to the transit of Uranus through Scorpio. Must have slipped into another dimension using the “astrological energy grid of the constellations”. So, if you like a good debunking, bring your popcorn and enjoy.
The Spinoff published an article by Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris about how to bridge the gap with someone who’s been pulled in by disinformation. This is the story of people calming down and listening, rather than point scoring and repeating facts at the other person. Kindness is the key to changing someone’s mind.

Excited about:
Tim Caufield’s new book ‘Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety’ Caufield says that too often “decisions are dictated by concerns or beliefs about our world that simply aren’t true”. True that.

After the very sad news of The Amazing Randi’s passing, The Onion let us know he is already bothering psychics from beyond the grave. We would expect nothing less. Also, ha ha ha ha ha ha!
On a New Zealand tour back in 1993 he gave a lecture at Canturbury University. Were you there? Do let us know!
This writer’s other half was lucky enough to have attended the lecture, as he was studying at Canterbury at the time. It turns out NZ Skeptics actually had recordings of the event, on VHS, and were mailing them out to people on request. On learning this we’ve begun an investigation to see if we can find a copy of the recording and from there see if it’s possible to get it into some type of form that would be publishable online. I’m very curious to see it, and to see if my now husband, who would have been just 18 at the time might have been captured on camera too. Watch this space.

According to issue 29 of New Zealand Skeptic James Randi’s talks were so well received, NZ Skeptics received a bump in membership and had the best attended conference up till that point. We were also very excited that he came to thank us in person for our small contribution to his efforts to fight a legal battle with Uri Geller. The case was brought by Geller who was offended to the tune of a cool 15 million dollars, by Randi’s suggestion that Geller’s tricks were “the kind that used to be on the back of serial boxes when I was a kid”. The court sided with Randi, and Geller was made to pay 120,000 in fees.

I’d like to finish with some words about the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty. His life was taken because some cowardly people felt so offended, and justified, they thought it was acceptable to end someone’s life. Being offended is ok. You can get over those feelings. They are just feelings. Your ideas are not you. Unfortunately, religion has a way of making you conflate your sense of self with your beliefs, so that some people feel justified to do extraordinarily grotesque things, even killing. Disagreeing with someone’s views is ok. Killing someone to protect ideas is terrorism.
After the events, the hastag #JeSuisProf started trending. From NZ Skeptics, #JeSuisProf.

Back in March 2019 white supremacist terrorism had hit us all hard and we stood together with the hashtag #TheyAreUs. White New Zealanders were forced to recognise the role we all play in the passive acceptance of racism in New Zealand, a foundation of lies and injustice that supports white supremacist terrorism, and the ongoing everyday racism that continues to injure so many with a thousand tiny cuts. Unfortunately, the ideology of white supremacy has a way of making you conflate your sense of self with your beliefs, so that some people feel justified to do extraordinarily grotesque things, even killing. Disagreeing with someone’s views is ok. Killing someone to protect your ideas is terrorism.

Now in October 2020 we stand with Mr. Paty’s family, friends and colleagues, everyone who was impacted by his death. Everyone who wants to talk honestly about controversial issues, for they should not have to fear doing so. Free expression is important and must be protected.

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NZ Skeptics Member Update


NZ Skeptics Member Update


An update about your NZ Skeptics membership


Dear member

What a year 2020 has been! Obviously unprecedented in many ways. We find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic and lucky to find ourselves in a country which has sensibly listened to scientists and other experts. What a contrast we’ve seen between countries that have respected the science and those whose leaders have ignored it, taking a fairly cavalier attitude to the risks and dangers the virus presents.

We have some major changes coming up with the NZ Skeptics Society. 

Firstly, we trust that you’ve enjoyed receiving New Zealand Skeptic, the quarterly journal of NZ Skeptics Inc. The journal has been published for many years, but we’ve now taken the hard decision to stop publishing it. The Autumn 2020 issue, number 130 was our last issue.

The committee of NZ Skeptics has decided that the journal has “had its day” and to move to publishing more timely, online content, more frequently. Our plans are to publish a short regular newsletter (generally weekly, but sometimes life gets in the way), delivered via email, and to have more articles and blog-style pieces on our website. If you’re signed up to the alerts mailing list, you should have received this by now.

We hope you’ll find the new online-based content useful. We plan to cover New Zealand/Aotearoa-related content from a skeptical and science-related perspective. 

Delivering in email form will allow us to keep our members informed more frequently and hopefully encourage engagement and participation. It will also be more easily shareable with others who might not otherwise be exposed to a skeptical perspective on things. To that end, we’re going to be delivering the newsletter to anybody who’s signed up to the mailing list, not just members of the society. We see this as a way of spreading our message to a wider audience than just society membership would allow.

We’ve had some regular contributors to the journal over the years, and we hope to retain their voices, albeit in a slightly altered format. If you’re interested in writing content, we’d love to have you get in touch. Please contact us at [email protected] if you’d be interested in this. 

Speaking of the website, we’ve now refreshed the look, giving it a more modern feel, thanks to our committee member Amy, from Weka Web Design. Please make sure you check it out. We plan on adding more content and a special members’ only area in the near future.

As you’re probably aware, we normally run an annual conference. Last year’s in Christchurch was a stunning success. We had planned on running one this year in Wellington… then COVID hit. Then we planned on running an online conference, but, stressful as this year was, we could not pull things together in time. So, we have decided to forgo the conference this year, and plan on running an in-person one next year, on the assumption that things will be much more under control with the pandemic, hopefully with a vaccine in place. Things, we hope, will look very different in twelve months.

Finally, we’ve a couple of other items we think will be of interest to members. 

We’re currently setting up a page on the website where you’ll be able to order various NZ Skeptics merchandise – such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, tea towels and a few other specialty items. These items would make perfect Christmas gifts for the skeptical and not so skeptical amongst us.

Secondly, watch out in your physical mailbox in the next few weeks for a special item from us. We’re not revealing what this is yet, but we think you’ll like it.

As a committee we are interested in feedback on our decisions. If you’ve anything you’d like to let us know about, please contact us at the committee email: [email protected].

Best regards,
Craig Shearer
Chair, NZ Skeptics Inc.

 

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Edward Linney – Pharmacy Council Code of Ethics Consultation Response

Submission relating to proposals by the Pharmacy Council to alter Clause 6.9 of the code of Ethics

I am Edward Linney a consumer with an active interest in evidence based medicine.

I do not support the intent of clause 6.9b to avoid a requirement of credible evidence of efficacy for complementary therapy or other healthcare products.

Extract from consultation document

Proposed supplementary wording – two distinct parts – clause 6.9

6.9a     “Only supply or promote any medicine or herbal remedy where there is no reason to doubt its quality or safety and when there is credible evidence of efficacy.”

 

6.9b     “Only supply any complementary therapy or other healthcare product where there is no reason to doubt its quality or safety and when sufficient information about the product can be provided in order for thepurchaser to make an informed choice with regard to the risks and benefits of all the available treatment options.”

 

The addition of 6.9b explicitly avoids any requirement for there to be credible evidence of efficacy. It moves the roles of evaluation of scientific evidence from the scientists to the consumer. This is bizarre, we all understand that the patient purchasing the homeopathic remedy for example is a believer and is most unlikely to be able to make an informed decision in the complex task of selecting the best products to treat themselves with.

Pharmacies are businesses BUT they are run by scientifically qualified people and they trade on this image. They are the only place where the public can purchase prescribed pharmaceuticals. Pharmacists enjoy a very privileged position in that regard. In my view the public expects you to sell and promote products which are shown in appropriate testing to perform better than a placebo, in short evidence based products.

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia ( The Government if you will) published an unqualified opinion in March 2015 after wide public consultation and a meta analysis of many trials that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo in treating humans. It comes as no surprise to me that when the credibility of these products which are actively promoted and sold in all my local pharmacies is vanishing that the Council proposed to avoid the requirement for efficacy in the sale of these to the public by pharmacies.

I believe there is a connection between the growing awareness that homeopathic remedies are placebos and the intention to explicitly avoid efficacy in the code of ethics in relation to their sale in pharmacies. It is a business protection step taken now to ensure that members of the public cannot take pharmacies to task for breaches of their code of ethics.

I submit it is totally unethical for the Council to put in place a provision whereby a scientifically trained seller uses that credibility to then sell known placebos as if they have efficacy. It is a betrayal of the science that trained them and a cynical exploitation of their status as health professionals. I wonder if pharmacists will have a warning label on these products which states they have NO active ingredients and they are no more effective than placebos. Perhaps the Council, if it wishes to see pharmacists selling these products should insist on a step like this, that would be the truth and assist the informed choice you are advocating. It was not so long ago that the pharmacies used to say “the health professional you see most often”, sadly you cannot make this claim today given current practice in selling known placebos.

It is telling that the consultation document suggests not promoting or recommending products which lack efficacy but is unwilling to take the ethical step of including efficacy explicitly in the code. It is simply duplicitous and puts commercial gain ahead of evidence based operations in patient and public outcomes.

The Council should retain the requirement at all times when selling products that claim to assist medical situations that there MUST be credible evidence of efficacy. Not to do so is in breach of the duty of Council to promote good practice and protect the public by being complicit in the public opting for remedies which are placebos and thereby not using genuinely efficacious products that have been proven by proper trials. The patient outcomes are likely worsened if a placebo is used in place of the best treatment.

Pharmacies seek to be taken seriously and want to expand on their offering in the evidence based market by adding things like Wharferin testing for example. They cannot have it both ways they are either just a peddler of anything the public wants or are serious health professionals. Your decisions in this matter will answer that question.

Edward Linney

Skeptical Thoughts on the Radio!

Mark HoneychurchGraeme Hill’s Weekend Variety Wireless radio show on RadioLive is a Sunday night fixture where two prominent skeptics, Siouxsie Wiles and Mark Honeychurch chat about current skeptical topics and events.

Skeptical Thoughts

Graeme HillOur current chair, Mark Honeychurch, has been filling in for Siouxsie Wiles recently on Graeme Hill’s Weekend Variety Wireless show on RadioLive. He’s had fun chatting with Graeme on the Skeptical Thoughts segment, and has talked about rugby injuries, therapeutic paint, the igNobels and the Republican Primary, amongst other topics.

Here are links to the recordings:

Keep an ear out – he may be returning to the radio soon!

Climate Change

Introduction

Until recently, the NZ Skeptics steered clear of participation as an organisation in the climate change debate. This was partly because there have been varying opinions within the membership. Also, the issue was seen as a science versus science debate, rather than science versus pseudoscience. Nevertheless , over a number of years there has been vigorous debate among members as individuals.

By 2014 the science had become increasingly settled, and there is now an overwhelming consensus among appropriately qualified scientists that human-induced climate change is real and is a serious problem that demands urgent and concerted action. Also, there was increasing concern among the NZ Skeptics membership that we were being confused in the public mind with the community of climate change doubters and deniers who dub themselves as sceptics. Accordingly, in 2014 the NZ Skeptics committee agreed to issue a position statement to clarify the society’s views. It was:

The New Zealand Skeptics Society supports the scientific consensus on Climate Change. There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating global mean temperatures are rising, and that humans have had a considerable impact on the natural rate of change. The Society will adjust its position with the scientific consensus.

Inevitably, there were some within the organisation that felt that the statement was too weak while others questioned the right of the committee to take such action on behalf of the membership as a whole.

The Science

In this short article, it is not possible to traverse all the scientific arguments supporting the reality of human-induced climate change. Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97% of peer-reviewed scientific literature agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. Most of the leading scientific organisations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. Moreover, this consensus among climate scientists is reinforced by findings in various other scientific disciplines.

The hypothesis that greenhouse gases could cause global warming was first mooted in the 19th Century, and it has been several decades since scientists first issued warnings that warming was occurring and could cause widespread climate change and trigger severe weather events.

Usually, when scientists develop a hypothesis, the scientific method demands that they run experiments to test it. In this case, that was obviously impossible, and the world had to wait to see whether the climate change hypothesis was correct. With the passage of time, the remarkable foresight of those early scientists has become apparent, as people in various parts of the globe become affected by the growing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The validity of the scientific method and the scientific consensus is increasingly being demonstrated in ways that non-scientists can appreciate.

This raises the question of whether extreme weather events are caused by climate change or whether they would have occurred regardless. The most rational answer is that the changes to the global atmospheric and ocean environments in which weather occurs mean that all extreme weather events are different to what they would have been without climate change.

The Counter-Arguments

Over the last decade or so, the arguments put forward by the climate change doubters and deniers have changed. At first, many completely denied that warming existed at all, and in fact there are still some extreme deniers, particularly among talkback hosts and right-wing politicians, who maintain that climate change is some sort of huge global conspiracy or hoax. However, most of the doubter community has moved to a position of accepting that warming exists and that it is at least partly caused by human actions.

The arguments now put forward by the more rational end of the doubter community tend to revolve around doubts that the impacts of climate change will be as serious as is predicted and doubts that the potentially disastrous feedback loops forecast by some scientists will actually occur. This is often accompanied by an optimistic view that mankind has the technological ability to adapt to the changes that will come. On this last point of the ability to adapt, it is perhaps important to note that climate change is forecast to cause global and fundamental changes to global weather and sea levels. While mankind has shown the ability to adapt to many circumstances, the fact remains that we have never been able to truly cope with the more extreme events that nature throws at us, such as earthquakes, eruptions, tsunami, floods and tornadoes. There must be real doubt that we can cope with the sort of global consequences that climate change will bring.

Climate Change and Evolution

In many ways, the debate about climate change has parallels with the debate about evolution. When Charles Darwin put forward his hypothesis about evolution by natural selection in the mid-19th Century, it met a storm of protest from vested interests, as has occurred 100 years later with the climate change debate. In the case of evolution, the protest was led by the churches, whereas for climate change, the charge has been led by big business. However, it is interesting to note that, in the USA at least, the main political opposition in both cases has come from the fundamentalist right.

In both cases, the tactics have been somewhat similar, including cherry-picking of the science and radical claims about world takeovers and conspiracies.

Summary

Following the decades of debate, the NZ Skeptics now feel confident in agreeing with the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real, with human activity being a major contributing factor. We are satisfied that the problem is already sufficiently real and serious that urgent worldwide action is required. Nevertheless, we accept that precise predictions about the future course of events and the future ability of mankind to adapt might be subject to change as the evidence accumulates. That is the nature of the scientific method.

NZ Skeptics on The Skeptic Zone

Skeptic ZoneLast week our chair, Mark Honeychurch, chatted with Richard Saunders on episode 334 of the Australian Skeptics’ “Skeptic Zone” podcast (Aired March 15). Richard pre-emptively introduced Mark with statements like “yes those New Zealanders are just as skeptical as…anybody else”. Richard asked Mark about the history of the movement in New Zealand and “what’s going on in the land of the long white cloud in skepticism”, and of course there was an obligatory comparison of our countries’ skeptical histories and successes.

Mark talked about our new look logo, journal and website, and also about debunking Uncensored magazine’s U.F.O. conspiracy theories, Shuzi bands and what New Zealand has to offer in the way of cryptozoological creatures (during which it was decided that there are worse ways to spend a weekend than searching for moa!). All round it was a great flying of our skeptical flag by Mark, ending in Richard expressing positive enthusiasm for a Skeptics in the Pub crawl and moa hunt combined. The Skeptic Zone is a podcast that is well worth a listen, being Australasian we share a lot of the issues they discuss and we have cultural similarities as well.

New Journal, Membership, Aliens

Hello there,

The latest issue of the NZ Skeptic is heading to the letterboxes of financial members, packed full of the intriguing, the informative and the infuriating. It’s a whole new look for the journal, along with our new website and brand-new logo.

Now is the time to subscribe or renew your subscription to the Society. It’s quick and easy to do online (or use the handy form in the journal).

If you don’t see the Journal in the next week or so, it’s because your subscription hasn’t come through. Either join up now, or contact the secretary to check your current status.

Real Alien Footage Revealed? Not!

The NZ magazine Uncensored is standing by its claim to have released real footage of aliens at Roswell, despite clear evidence that the film was part of a B-grade movie released in 2006. See our side-by-side comparison.

What will Uncensored reveal next? This amazing story perhaps:

Footage Released of 1960s Secret JetPack Flight Over London

We’ll award a virtual chocolate fish to the best breathless headline and image pairing you can come up with, Send your ideas to the Chair.

More weird illusions

If the debate over the colour of that dress got you flummoxed, here are some more neat ways the brain can be fooled.

Skeptics in the Pub

Lee Traynor is doing the rounds at Skeptics in the Pub locations, and will be giving a talk titled “The skeptic’s dilemma – on changing your mind”. He’s in Wellington on Friday, March 6th (6pm, Kitty O’Shea’s), followed by Palmerston North on Saturday (7pm, venue TBC) and Hamilton on Sunday (The Bank, 7pm).

Felicity Goodyear-Smith is giving a talk at Auckland Skeptics in the Pub on Monday, 9th of March. Shared idée fixe – “The case of murder that wasn’t” starts at 7pm at the Juice Bar at Windsor Castle.

Future Alert emails will be coming from our new address of [email protected], so if you’re currently whitelisting our Skeptic Alert emails, please add this new address to your list to continue receiving our alerts.

Cheers,

Vicki Hyde

Media Spokesperson, NZ Skeptics

Uncensored “Roswell Video” compared to “Alien Autopsy” movie

NZ’s Uncensored Magazine has proclaimed “ROSWELL ORIGINAL FOOTAGE OF DEAD ALIEN REDISCOVERED BY UNCENSORED EDITOR”:

The NZ Skeptics heard that it was actually just footage from an Ant and Dec movie, so we decided to put together a side by side comparison.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/CGo4BZE4gsM]

You can check out the original footage from Uncensored Magazine, read more from the Editor of Uncensored or have a look at the IMDB page for the Ant and Dec movie.