Friday, September 27, 2013

Global Warming - It's Here With a Force

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be releasing it's 5th report on Monday, September 30th, but the Summary for Policymakers is out already.

For those who follow the climate change "controversy" for the last 20 years, there are no surprises: the climate is getting hotter and it is happening faster than previously expected. Despite some temperature fluctuations and other small factors changing from year to year (regression to the mean, anyone?), the world is getting hotter, and while it might be just mildly "inconvenient" for our generation (I'm not sure if you can say that to the victims of the last year's hurricane Sandy), it'll be disastrous for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

There are things that can't be changed anymore, and we'll have to live with the consequences of our stupidity and excess, but there is still plenty that can be done to lessen the impacts on various parts of the world and to make sure that we don't hit the extremes predicted by the report. Those things will depend on us, the way we vote in the future and the politicians we elect as our representatives. We can keep voting for the deniers, who accept only science that fits their ideology, or we can start picking people who are smart and who understand what science is. Otherwise, we'll see what it means when reality just does not care and goes over us like a steamroller.

In the meantime, since we are going to hear all kinds of denial in the coming weeks and months, here is a great primer, from Mother Jones, on the most important points:

4 Climate Myths You'll Hear This Week

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ayurvedic Medicine - Same Crap, Different Name

If you are looking for an "ancient" wisdom (as in, from the times when people had no idea how the world worked, and made up thinks as they went along), an alternative way of thinking about health, and a new (old) way of treating your ills... look no further... try ayurvedic medicine!

Ayurvedic medicine, in my view, is just a step up from homeopathy, since it actually utilizes "active" ingredients (unlike most of the homeopathic drugs, which are either pure water or sugar), like herbs and various chemicals contained in them. It also focuses on proper diet, which, of course is probably a good idea in any healthy lifestyle.
The first problem with ayurverdic medicine is the fact that it uses magic made up body types for diagnostics, and those types are governed by three "doshas": air/space, fire/water and earth/water. Sounds like nonsense? It, probably is!

The second issue with ayurvedic treatments is that a lot of them contain dangerous substances, and sometimes, just plain poisons. Since, they are mostly classified as supplements in the U.S., they are not in any way controlled, nor regulated. So, buyer beware!

More on the topic can be found in the Skeptic Dictionary (Ayurvedic medicine) and on the Rational Wiki.

So, the next time, someone attempts to sell you this newest fad, just say no. It'll save you a lot of money, and maybe your health too.