Got a grant off earlier today, so I’m unwinding a little bit tonight (before I unleash an exam upon my students tomorrow). In the meantime, I just found out an interview I did about my S. suis research back in August was in last week’s JAMA.

Back with more tomorrow…

Belief doesn’t protect you from being maimed by swords

Last week, our friendly neighborhood germ theory denier told us that:

A thing can only be a problem as long as you believe in it.
Now, think and don’t stop before you’ve seen the light. (Hint: think of evil witches, dragons, ghosts etc. Do you believe in them? Yes? Then they’re a problem for you. No? Then you laugh about them). (emphasis in original)

Well, just in case you needed further assurance that this kind of magical thinking is just wrong, Evil Monkey has a rather graphic demonstration up of just how incredibly, and painfully, wrong it is:

…by aligning one’s energy and going through ritualized moves, objects, chants, and breathing, one can prepare his or her mind and body to ward off blows. From swords.

Video included, though as he notes, if you don’t like blood, don’t watch.

DonorsChoose–2007 Scienceblogging challenge kicks off!

Last year, a number of us here at Scienceblogs participated in a fundraising challenge to help an organization called DonorsChoose. This is a charity that brings together proposals submitted by teachers out there in the community, and individuals who are looking for a way to help out our schools and students. As the name suggests, donors can peruse the many proposals on the site, and donate to ones they find interesting.

19 of us participated in 2006, and our readers (together with a generous donation from Seed magazine, and bonuses from itself) collectively raised over $34,000 for teachers and students around the country. This year we’re doing it again, and aiming higher. Janet has a list of participants for this year’s challenge; I’m on board, of course, and the direct link to my challenge is here. Last year Aetiology readers generously donated over $1300, so this year I’m aiming a bit higher and shooting for an even $2000. Progress will be noted in the little thermometer you may notice has popped up along the sidebar to the left, and the challenge will run through the end of the month.

I’ll post reminders throughout the month, but if you have a few minutes and a few extra dollars, take a peek at my challenge and throw a couple bucks toward it if you’re able–and if you can do more than that, check out other Scienceblogs challenges as well. Sure, it’s a bit of a competition, but in the end it’s the kids and teachers that win, so spread the wealth.

(Again, my challenge, this link. Did I mention to check it out?)

EDITED TO ADD: One thing I forgot to mention is that there will be drawings for prizes for those of you who contribute. Janet notes:

DonorsChoose will send you a confirmation email. Hold onto it; our benevolent overlords at Seed will be randomly selecting some donors to receive nifty prizes. Details about the prizes and how to get entered will be posted here soon!

In addition to the Seed prizes, “Vaccine” author Arthur Allen has generously agreed to donate a few copies of his book for donors to my challenge–so send along a copy of your email confirmation to me and winners will be randomly selected from the batch of emails.