The Carnival of the Africans #11

Welcome to the 11th edition of the Carnival of the Africans, the Spring edition! September has been a very busy month for the Southern African scientific and skeptical blogging community and I have scoured the blogs to bring you a carnival bursting with newly-hatched goodness. Let’s get started;

One of the things I remember about pregnancy is how all of the old wives tales assail you. Everywhere you go people are only too willing to give you their own special hint. Strangers in shopping centers will even offer advice. This month Simon lands a strike for the sceptics in his post which takes a critical look at myths around eating sushi during pregnancy.

Dr Spurt has been collecting a bewildering number of pamphlets around Durban, handed out at traffic lights and advertising all manner of organ enlarging, fortune telling and protection from enemies and evil spirits. His series entitled “Mad Ads” is well worth reading.

Michael at Ionian Enchantment takes a careful look at chameleons, specifically whether or not their ability to change colour to camouflage themselves is a myth. Animals were clearly on Mike’s mind this month because he also features an article about the domestication of the adorable silver fox.

George Claassen has an excellent article about religious indoctrination in state schools, in which George exposes extensive contravention of the national policy on religion in education.

Richard, the Botswana Skeptic, has some excellent news regarding the legal standing of psychics in Botswana. If only our laws were as rational in South Africa!

When I first started writing the Skeptic Detective, I did so with the ambition that one day there would be a group of South African sceptics who could effect positive change when confronted by blatant pseudoscience in Southern Africa. September saw what is possibly (do correct me if I’m wrong) the first major ass-whipping handed out by the SA sceptics. Early this month I stumbled across a webpage entitled “answering the skeptics” written by one Dr. JP Prinsloo. Apart from being a shocking piece of nonsense, Dr Prinsloo saw fit to attack some of the SA sceptics in his article. I don’t think he ever expected the response that he got. Within a few days Owen had written a hilarious response, Michael had taken Prinsloo to task on his empirical claims, Michelle, the Skeptic Blacksheep, had put up a short post in support of the sceptics, and I gave my own reply. Dr Prinsloo’s response was first to change the wording of his article and then to take it off the internet all together. Sceptics 1, Quack 0!

Finally, the world said a fond goodbye to Dr Norman Borlaug this month and I’d like to finish off this month’s carnival by highlighting the South African farewell’s written in honor of this amazing man. Tim of Reason Check, Owen Swart and yours truly the Skeptic Detective, would like to say a big “Thank You” to the man who fed the world.


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