January 2009

New Topics New College: Charles Darwin at 200: The Concise Story of An Extraordinary Man

On Wednesday, February 4, 2009, New College will host the third lecture in the New Topics New College series.  Professor Tim Berra, professor emeritus of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University, will discuss the life and legacy of Charles Darwin.  The event will take place at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion and begins at 7:00 pm. (Address: 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL, 34243 – Campus Map)Charles Darwin

Berra is the author of over 75 scientific papers and six books, including Evolution and the Myth of Creationism and A Natural History of Australia. His latest book, Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man, will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in November 2008 and features 60 black and white illustrations and 16 color plates.

Sponsored by New College of Florida and the New College Foundation, the series pairs prominent national speakers with New College faculty for stimulating discussions on relevant topics of our time. The final program is entitled Crystal Balling the Economy” and will be held on March 11.

New Topics New College is the successor to the New College Foundation’s successful Hot Topics series, which started on campus in 2004.  The series sponsor for this year’s programming is once again U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.  The Fedder Lecture Series of the TREE Foundation is also underwriting the lecture on Charles Darwin.

You may view the complete program at http://www.ncf.edu/new-topics-new-college/2008-2009-program.

Tickets are $15.  The event is free for New College faculty, students and staff.  The For more information and to reserve tickets, contact Greg Hite, special events coordinator, at (941) 487-4155 or events@ncf.edu


Source: http://www.ncf.edu/news/?p=1091

Darwin cake from the event:

From Time.com:

January is a big month for winter sports and post-Christmas sales. It’s also — as people who treat substance abuse know — a big month for drinkers who want to quit. The holidays are over and bank accounts are thin, but addicts can’t stop partying. Many choose January to ask, at long last, for help. But what sort of help is the most useful?

For decades, the primary approach to rehabilitation in the U.S. has been 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Twelve-step doctrine defines addiction in a contradictory way: as a medical problem, like a lifelong illness, with a spiritual solution (surrendering to a higher power). The model has become so culturally hegemonic that it’s hard for many to imagine any other way to stop getting drunk or doing drugs — or gambling, overeating or watching porn, for that matter. When we see Anne Hathaway’s character in the film Rachel Getting Married at a 12-step meeting or when we watch D-list celebrities work the steps on VH1’s new reality show Celebrity Rehab Presents Sober House, it’s easy to think 12-step is not only the best way to get well, but the only way. There’s a growing body of evidence, however, that suggests that’s not so.

From FTC.gov:

A federal judge has ordered infomercial marketer Kevin Trudeau to pay more than $37 million for violating a 2004 stipulated order by misrepresenting the content of his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”

In August 2008, Judge Robert W. Gettleman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had ordered Trudeau to pay more than $5 million and banned him, for three years, from producing or publishing infomercials for products in which he has an interest. The ruling confirmed an earlier contempt finding, the second such finding against Trudeau in the past four years.

Urged by both the FTC and Trudeau to reconsider aspects of its August order, on November 4 Judge Gettleman amended the judgment to $37,616,161, the amount consumers paid in response to the deceptive infomercials. The judge also revised the three-year ban to prohibit Trudeau from “disseminating or assisting others in disseminating” any infomercial for any informational publication in which he has an interest. On December 11, the court denied Trudeau’s request to reconsider or stay this ruling.

The FTC filed its first lawsuit against Trudeau in 1998, charging him with making false and misleading claims in infomercials for products he claimed could cause significant weight loss and cure addictions to heroin, alcohol, and cigarettes, as well as enable users to achieve a photographic memory. A stipulated court order resolving that case barred Trudeau from making false claims for products in the future, ordered him to pay $500,000 in consumer redress, and established a $500,000 performance bond to ensure compliance.

In 2003, the Commission charged Trudeau with violating the 1998 order by falsely claiming in infomercials that a product, Coral Calcium Supreme, could cure cancer. The court subsequently entered a preliminary injunction that ordered him not to make such claims. When Trudeau continued to make cancer-cure claims about Coral Calcium, he was found in contempt. In 2004, Trudeau agreed to an order that resolved the Coral Calcium matter. He was directed to pay $2 million in consumer redress and banned from infomercials, except for informational publications such as books, provided that he “must not misrepresent the content”
of those publications. The 2004 injunction remains in effect.

I have been watching this quack making millions by scamming people for quite some time. Good to see some justice.

Enjoy this Daily Show segment they did on him back in 2005:

From Spiegel Online:

Human beings, animals and plants were not created by God, but are the result of evolution. Charles Darwin published this revolutionary theory 150 years ago. It’s been a huge success with scientists, but it was never popular. Is the human brain wired toward supernatural belief?

From Telegraph.co.uk:

Charles Darwin, the scientist whose theories have become a corner stone of modern biology, was motivated to carry out his famous research by a desire to rid the world of slavery, according to a new book.

From comcast.net News:

DENVER — Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard’s former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard — a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an “overwhelming pool of evidence” pointed to an “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” that “went on for a long period of time … it wasn’t a one-time act.” Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.
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From Season II of The Best Damn Poker Show:
Annie Duke debunks ‘The Secret’ – Annie Duke tries to convince prospective contestant Scott Lopez that ‘The Secret’ is not true.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

(If you have any trouble viewing the video, try clicking here.)

I think Annie is correct to basically say that “The Law of Attraction” doesn’t work as most believers claim (you can make physical reality change by just thinking about it), but I think the way she tries to refute it is partially flawed.  She seems to associate the belief in the Law of Attraction with the accepted law of Gravitation when she talks about physics, mass and “attraction”.  Believers may think that The Law of Attraction works like Gravitation, but I don’t think they feel is is based on the same principle or science.  And Hellmuth is clueless when he starts to try and defend The Secret.

Some additional videos dealing with The Secret:

Shannon Elizabeth at the National Heads-Up Championship talking about using the “Law of Attraction”.

The “Chaser’s War on Everything” take a hilarious look at “The Secret” in their new segment: Nut job of the week.


From the American Humanist Association:

(Washington, D.C., January 19, 2009) In both editions of tomorrow’s special inauguration issue of the Washington Post, a prominent ad from the American Humanist Association will appear, praising the non-religious upbringing of Barack Obama. “President Obama: Living Proof that Family Values Without Religion Build Character,” the ad says. It goes on to quote from Obama’s own account of his upbringing in his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope. In his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, Obama had written that his mother stood alone in her community as a “witness for secular humanism.”

A full-sized image of the ad is available online at:

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