While I Was Sleeping

In the weeks since I stopped posting regularly and while I was reconstructing last year’s posts, a lot of interesting things have happened.

  • Two of my posts will be included in the 2009 Young Australian Skeptics Blog Anthology. This will be available in both eBook and printed form, similar to Open Laboratory. The list is impressive and I am looking forward to what will clearly be a great sample of skepticism and critical thinking.
  • I am now on the official Guest list for Dragon*Con 2010! As such, I will participate in at least as many panels and/or talks as last year, maybe more. I hope I am able to participate in both Skeptrack and the Science Track as both offer great opportunities for fun and outreach in addition to the opportunity to work with some amazing people.
  • The biggest news is that The Lancet finally fully retracted the article that Andrew Wakefield used to start a panic over the safety of vaccines in 1998. It took several years and many examples of clear ethics violations, but the anti-vaccination movement is in a tailspin over it and the catalyst, a ruling made by the General Medical Council after a fitness to practise hearing that Wakefield acted “irresponsibly and unethically”. In the wake of this:
    • Wakefield was forced to resign from his position at Thoughtful House, a group he co-founded in 2005. Another founder, Arthur Krigsman, was not far behind.
    • A paper scheduled for publication in the journal Neurotoxicology with Wakefield as its author has been withdrawn after the editor took a closer look.
    • Of course, none of this stopped Jenny McCarthy and her sidekick from proposing a ridiculous explanation which would allow them to maintain their delusional stance on the relationship between vaccines and autism.
  • Meryl Dorey announced that she will probably step down as head of the Australian Vaccination Network, a particularly vile anti-vax propaganda mill that she founded. The group is likely to close its doors as well, citing a lack of funding. I have had confrontations with her online myself and find this less than surprising. It does not help that the AVN is currently under investigation for their particularly disgusting practices.
  • Rachael Dunlop beat out CAM artist Joe Mercola for a Shorty Award in Health after a campaign launched by woo peddler Mike Adams hit the skids when he was disqualified for cheating (well, somebody cheated on his behalf at least).
  • Podblack Cat Kylie Sturgess is now a columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer website and created a new podcast, Token Skeptic.
  • Heidi Anderson has created “a place to discuss, promote, encourage, and celebrate women in science, skepticism, and critical thinking.” She Thought will launch on Pi Day and I hope to contribute on a regular basis. I wonder how Heidi will feel about that…? :)

Coming soon: the CTEG website is about to experience a major overhaul and I will soon announce a new organization to be feared by all who choose to peddle woo.

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