What’s the most Inspirational Factual Video?

For me, Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” represents the most inspirational and poetic statement of fact that’s been recorded on video. I’m sure most of our readers are familiar with it, if not take a few minutes to enjoy it.

What are some of your favorite inspirational factual videos? Please embed from YouTube or Vimeo if you can find them there.

Severe weather alert Ireland and UK – Is their analysis reasonable?

I was just reading this weather article and wondering if the analysis was reasonable. The author states that:

“This will be a major winter weather onslaught and not just a drop in temperatures with a few local flurries.

This is like turning the eastern Atlantic into the Great Lakes, almost, when you have this much cold air rushing south this fast, it overcomes the normal tendencies of the Atlantic to modify air masses and turn streamers to mush. This setup could give blizzard like conditions even with winds somewhat west of due north, in many parts of Ireland. And we aren’t that confident that the setup is perfectly modelled yet, what’s probably equally likely at this point is that the polar low will drop into the North Sea and pull Siberian air across into the N-NE flow on following days. There is also a lot of super-cold air waiting to head west from central to northwest Russia and around Novaya Zemlya.

The Vatican Gets WikiLeaked

The ongoing WikiLeaks cable saga has split the opinionated media masses, both mainstream and “amateur”, to a degree not seen since a man lacking the pallid hues of his predecessors threatened to become President of the United States of America. Opinion seems to be split between WikiLeaks being a force for good, WikiLeaks being a force for evil, WikiLeaks being mostly a device for Julian Assange to pick up chicks, and some combination there-of. And while many have lamented that we’re not learning anything we didn’t know already (though I would argue this is blatantly not true), if nothing else seeing official confirmation of what everyone always suspected makes for fascinating reading.

Thus it was with girlish glee I fell upon the recently released batch of cables relating specifically to the Vatican, all of which rather wonderfully confirmed my preconceived notions of the Holy See’s Nation as a hierarchical, out of touch rabble of self-serving politicians. Thus it is we learn the Pope was uncomfortable with moves to allow the predominately Muslim Turkey join the EU as it would undermine his desire to build on the Christian foundations of Europe, while hoping the close ties between Poland and the Vatican would allow Poland to “serve as a counter-weight to Western European secularism as the nation makes itself more at home in an integrated Europe”.

Your Right To Discuss Your Right to Die

With the country stunned into inaction ‘neath the dual icy caresses of arctic weather and plundering politicians, I thought it was only right to lighten the mood with a brief discussion of that most festive of topics, assisted suicide. This is an issue that has received a considerable amount of attention in the last couple of years in the UK, triggered in a large part by the actions of Debbie Purdy, a sufferer of multiple sclerosis who successfully argued that it was her human right to have clarification of the legal consequences to her husband if he was to be with her when she took her own life in a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The Crown Prosecution Service duly produced an interim report which vaguely suggested that as long as you were doing it for the right reasons, you were unlikely to face prosecution if you were with a loved one who has chosen to end their life.

Naturally such a topic as fundamental as our own mortality has lead to much discussion and debate, ranging from Terry Pratchett’s beautiful and moving Richard Dimbleby lecture to Cristina Odone’s and the Center for Policy Studies deeply disrespectful “report”. Whatever people’s position on the subject, there is currently an ongoing and dynamic dialogue in the UK. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case in Ireland.

Website Update

Skeptic Ireland is changing from a publication format to a community format. The purpose of this site is to help Irish skeptics to find like minded people and share information and news. Readers can now register, start new topics, and message other members. I’m sure there’ll be a few bugs while we break the system in, so please let us know if you find any.

Skeptics in the Pub 11th December

Our next Skeptics in the Pub meeting will be in the Lord Edward on the 11th December at 6pm.

We are going to have a chat about how possible it is to apply skepticism to voting in Ireland. Fool’s errand? We will also have heard all the bad news surrounding the budget – let’s face it, we will need a drink.

Our good friends from Occam’s Barbershop will be there, trying to get you to commit your opinions to some form of recording – or so I am led to believe!

Hope to see you all there.