Home > Events > #50 – 10:23 and Fire Breathing

#50 – 10:23 and Fire Breathing

Last night’s discussion topic was about 10:23, a now annual and global protest against homeopathic medicine. Originally started by the Merseyside Skeptics Society in the UK, last year, to directly protest Boots’ continued endorsement and sale of homeopathic remedies, it has now become an organized protest around the world, loosely organized by volunteers, where the events are run my local volunteer groups. Feb 5th is the designated day for these events, so depending upon which timezone you’re in, there may be one going on near you right now.

Luckily we had a few people on the chat that were going to participate in today’s event.

  • Maria Walters, a very active organizer for the Atlanta Skeptics, and volunteer US coordinator for 10:23 protests, was on briefly to describe their brunch and protest, where members from their group will be meeting today to eat (everyone has to eat) and have a presentation about 10:23. They will be making their own homeopathic dilutions to take in large quantities in an attempt to illustrate their ineffectiveness.
  • Michael Kruse is the organizer for the Canadian 10:23 events and will be participating in the Toronto protest. Like many of the Canadian protests (7+), this one is being organized by the Canadian Center for Inquiry, a rational educational organization. They will be consuming large quantities of off-the-shelf homeopathic remedies, talking to the press, and doing their best to get attention and to educate.
  • Cory Albrecht will be participating in an event in Ontario, not directly organized by the CFI. They are also planning on taking an off-the-shelf overdose, while standing in from the the Parliament building.

In addition to learning about what everyone is doing today, we discussed protests in general and came up with some insights and guidelines:

  • A protest can serve two purposes: To gain attention from the media in order to have an opportunity to educate some portion of the general public, but also as a social event, to strengthen relationships within the local group and gain new members.
  • Good protests: Organize well and early, pick a relevant target, have designated and prepared spokesmen, alert the press, have materials to hand out, and BE SAFE.

Fire Breathing!?

Sometimes things happen on VDS that are not planned, but because the situation arises, opportunity does as well, and next thing you know we’re being treated to a unique experience in the safety of our own homes. Last night  Hilary Nelson gave a brief demonstration of fire breathing, from his home in West Lafayette, Indiana. If you click the screen captures you’ll get full size views. He made me promise to add the following disclaimer and safety instructions below.

  1. Kids – don’t try this at home!
  2. Don’t think that because you saw how it was done, you know how it should be done. There are a lot of subtle tricks to it.
  3. If you don’t know those tricks, and do it wrong, you can easily set your hand, your face, and other parts on fire. Think Phantom of the Opera.
  4. I’ve seen it happen. (He lucked out, and only lost eyebrows and got a blister on his lip.)
  5. Hi-test ethanol is a really stupid and dangerous fuel, with a high risk for unintentional ignition. All the cool kids (i.e. people who do it for a living) use liquid paraffin: “The best fuel to use for fire breathing is ‘ultra pure clear unscented lamp oil,’ also known as liquid paraffin wax or mineral oil, which is difficult to find in most countries around the world. Improper technique using the proper fuel can still risk mist inhalation, which may cause symptoms such as headache, sinus infection, and lipid pneumonia.”
  6. To learn more about how to blow fire without ending up looking like Darkman, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_breathing

Links and Other Topics


Brian Gregory (@briandgregory), Curt Meisenheimer, Chris B, Michael Hogan (@tekphreak), Chris Bourque, Rick Gibson (@ricklesgibson), Michael Kruse (@anxiousmedic), Jeff Randall, Stephen King (@jstephenking), Brianne Bilyeu (@abiodork), Liz Gaston (@liz730),Tana Owens (@DisraeliEars), Brian George (@brianggeorge), Elyse Anders (@dELYSEious), Maria Walters (@masalaskeptic), JD Mack, Hilary Mark Nelson (@hmnelson), Ryan Jean, Cory Albrecht (@Bytor), Michael Cornett (@Vagrarian), Adam Bourque (@a_damn_bourque), Sara Mayhew (@saramayhew)

Categories: Events
  1. February 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Another fire-breathing pic

  2. February 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Whoops! I’m not part of the Ottawa Skeptics! The event I’m attending is here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=181514831879074

    • February 5, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks for the correction, that link was a guess on my part since I didn’t get the link from you last night. Good luck on your event!

  3. February 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I had planned to join live from the Perth ten23 but forgot to bring a laptop. 😦

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