Archive for April, 2013

Measles Myths: Redux

You’d imagine that, by the second decade of the 21st century, we’d be done talking about measles. Like small pox, measles would be a distant and unpleasant memory of days gone by – at very least in the developed world.

Sadly, that is not the case. Although measles was looking distinctly peaky in the late 90s (with fewer than 100 confirmed cases annually in England and Wales), infections have risen sharply in the past few years with highly-publicised outbreaks in south Wales and Liverpool, including one possible death.

In response, Public Health England have today launched the MMR ‘catch up’ campaign, with the aim of vaccinating one million unvaccinated children between the ages of 10 and 16 before the start of the new school year.

Unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of public health campaigners, vaccination rates are still suffering as a result of uncritical reporting of the discredited Wakefield study which linked the MMR vaccine to autism. Many parents avoided vaccinating their children at the time, community immunity suffered, and with those children now of school age we are paying the price today.

Last time there was a big increase in measles cases, I wrote an article responding to common myths and misconceptions I had read in the ‘Have Your Say’ section of BBC News. Unfortunately, many of those same myths continue to persist today (my blog didn’t change the world – who’d have thought it?)

So in support of the Public Health England campaign, I’ve decided the time is right to give it another airing.

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Be Reasonable: Episode #004 – Ian Doherty

Psychic Medium Ian Doherty works with paranormal investigators and offers public and private psychic readings, giving demonstrations in Spiritualist Churches across England. Ian also claims to be able to see peoples Auras and offers Aura art and Aura photography, which he claims offer insight into a persons characteristics and personality.

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InKredulous: Episode #020

Episode 20 of our satirical comedy podcast. This show was recorded live at QED 2013 in the Douglas Adams room, sponsored by Gloo Communications.

Your host is Andy Wilson (@InKredulosi) of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and director and co-organiser of QED conference, April 13th and 14th 2013.

Appearing this time are:

  • Brian Thompson of the JREF and Amateur Scientist Industries (@AmSci)
  • Carrie Poppy of Oh No Podcast (@CarriePoppyYES)
  • Robin Ince of brilliant stand up comedy and the Infinite Monkey Cage (@RobinInce)
  • Michael Marshall (Marsh), fellow director and co-founder of QED conference and regular on Skeptics with a K (@MrMMarsh)

Thanks to the efforts of @LiveSkeptic you can also follow the live tweets from the show.

Thanks to my audience and my guests. And to you for downloading and listening. I apologise for my saxophone playing in advance!

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #095.5 – the Confession

No show this week, but Mike has a confession for you all.  We’ll be back in two weeks with the regular show – see you then!

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #095

Kurt Cobain, $5000, the Mersey Book of Monsters and the A41.  Plus wardrobes, whisky, parapsychologists and Zener Cards.  Not quite what it seems to be, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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