Osama bin Laden (OBL) was shot and killed by a group of US Navy SEALs in Abottobad, Pakistan on May 2nd. We don’t want to get into the politics of the case, but there are a number of interesting skeptical and critical thinking angles here. Firstly, OBL seems genuinely to have believed he and his Arab buddies brought down the Soviet Union – a perfect example of the self-serving bias coupled with confusing correlation and causation. Also: as far as we can tell, no psychic predicted OBL’s death. One Dr. Turi claims to have predicted his death, but all he said was “Someone famous may also meet a sad fate in the water!”. Conspiracy theorists have also been working overtime after OBL’s death.
Gravity Probe B has confirmed two more of general relativity’s predictions: frame-dragging and the geodetic effect. There are, however, some problems: frame dragging had already been confirmed and some researchers are questioning the corrections the researchers had to make in their data.
Homeopaths in Kenya are advising HIV-positive people to stop using antiretroviral drugs and depend on homeopathic preparations instead. The organization responsible for this is the Abha Light Foundation. (Einstein’s Ph.D contributed to the empirical estimation of Avogadro’s constant).
Michael curates the African science and skepticism blogroll (published once a month). There are a lot of excellent blogs listed that deserve much larger audiences. This month’s highlighted blog is Quackdown, an anti-quackery blog run by the NGO Treatment Action Campaign.
Skeptics in the Pub – Durban is Thursday 19 May, 18:00, at Pizzetta, on Davenport Rd.
Skeptics in the Pub – Pretoria is Saturday 21 May, 12:30, at Braza in Irene Mall.