Episodes Archive

Tracking the Chupacabra #120

July 08, 2011

This week, Skeptical Inquirer Managing Editor Benjamin Radford returns to the show, to discuss his newest book, Tracking The Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast In Fact, Fiction and Folklore. He’ll explain his investigation of the legendary monster, and his startling conclusion about the real story behind its origins. And writer/producer Kennedy Goodkey joins us to celebrate the DVD release of his film, The Beast of Bottomless Lake, about the Canadian lake monster Ogopogo. Read More

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Mistakes Were Made #119

July 01, 2011

This week, we’re learning about the ways our brains are hard wired to fail at reality. Guest host Rachelle Saunders will speak with Dr. Carol Tavris, co-author of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by ME): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts. The bestselling book investigates cognitive dissonance, and the fascinating ways that it affects not just our memories, but politics, business and society. And for the podcast, we’re joined by University of Toronto statistics professor Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, to discuss why we’re so bad at grasping probability. Read More

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The Reasonableness of Weird Things #118

June 24, 2011

This week, it’s an hour with Daniel Loxton. The editor of Junior Skeptic and author of Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be returns to the show to share “The Reasonableness Of Weird Things,” his keynote address from LogiCON 2011. Join us for the complete presentation, and an exclusive interview about the science communicators who inspired it. Watch the Pale Blue Dot video on YouTube. Read More

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Rural Medicine #117

June 17, 2011

This week, we’ll look at how society and geography affect people’s access to healthcare, and the quality of care they receive. We’re joined by Dr. Sasha Mullally, professor at the University of New Brunswick, to discuss her research into the social history of rural medicine and medical practices. And for the podcast, we’ll speak to Aaron Acharya, Project Manager at HealthRight International, and Dr. Gary Stadtmauer, about their work on healthcare and human rights. Read More

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What is Mental Illness? #116

June 10, 2011

This week, it’s an hour on the brain, and the diseases and conditions unique to this amazing organ. We’re joined by Dr. Richard J. McNally, researcher in the psychology department at Harvard University, and author of What Is Mental Illness? And we’re joined by Maia Szalavitz, author and editor at Time.com’s Healthland blog, to discuss the chemistry and controversy of antidepressant medications. Read More

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Cell Phone Science #115

June 03, 2011

Researcher and Scientopia blogger Scicurious returns to discuss the fact and fiction of mobile phones. What effect do they have on brain cells? What about sperm cells? And do they have anything to do with declining populations of bees? And we’re joined by medical physicist Dr. Marc MacKenzie, to discuss the science of microwave radiation. Read More

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Practical Wisdom #114

May 27, 2011

What exactly is “wisdom,” and how can we apply it in our daily lives? We’re joined by Barry Schwartz,  Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College, and Kenneth Sharpe, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College. They’ll discuss their new book Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do The Right Thing. And we’re joined by Brendan O’Brien, to learn about :60 Second Science, the international science video competition. Read More

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Science-Based Medicine and the Media #113

May 20, 2011

What is science-based medicine, and how does the media (perhaps unwittingly) distort it? Our guest this week is Dr. Steven Novella, academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, Executive Editor of the website Science-Based Medicine, and a senior fellow and Director of Science-Based Medicine at the James Randi Educational Foundation. And we’re joined by Maria Walters, to talk about the Grassroots Skepticism Workshop at SkepchickCon. Read More

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Strange New Worlds #112

May 13, 2011

We look at the cutting edge science and old-fashioned wonder of the hunt for planets circling other stars. We’ll talk to Ray Jayawardhana, Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, and author of Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life beyond Our Solar System. And we’re joined by Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, to discuss the current progress, and the uncertain future, of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Read More

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Animal Testing #111

May 06, 2011

We’ll look at the practical advantages, and the ethical pitfalls, of using animals in scientific and medical research. We’re joined by Janet Stemwedel, Associate Professor of Philosophy at San Jose State University, and author of the blog Adventures in Ethics and Science. And we’ll talk to Bill Barry, Chief Historian at NASA, about the history of animals and spaceflight. The study mentioned in tonight’s episode is available here: Differences between chimpanzees and bonobos in neural systems supporting social cognition. Read More

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A History of Childbirth #110

April 29, 2011

We explore the changing ways that medicine and culture have treated pregnancy and childbirth. We’ll talk with doctor and medical journalist Randi Hutter Epstein, about her book Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank. And on another edition of Everything You Know is Sort Of Wrong, Greg Laden looks at common misconceptions about life expectancy. Read More

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A Lifetime of Data #109

April 22, 2011

We'll get the scientific perspective on the causes and effects of aging, and how they change over a lifetime. We'll speak with Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, about the biology and genetics of aging. And we're joined by Professor Diana Kuh, to discuss her work as the head of the UK's National Survey for Health and Development. Read More

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Magical Thinking #108

April 15, 2011

We ask professional magicians how the study and practice of magic can help teach critical thinking skills. We'll talk to sleight-of-hand master Jamy Ian Swiss, and Scam School creator Brian Brushwood, about the ways that magic can demonstrate - and help us overcome - our cognitive limitations. And we're joined by Michael Goudeau, to talk about his career as a performer, and his work on Penn & Teller's television projects. Read More

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Zombie Attack! #107

April 08, 2011

We dig into the fascinating ways these movie monsters overlap with real-world science. We talk to entomologist David P. Hughes, about his work studying parasites that use mind control to direct the behavior of their hosts. And mathematician Robert Smith? shares the results of his paper that models the best ways to control the spread of a zombie infestation. Read More

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Science and Culture #106

April 03, 2011

This week, we examine the ways that society and science inform and influence each other. We're joined by Marie-Claire Shanahan, Professor of Science Education at the University of Alberta, and President of the Canadian Science Education Research Group, to discuss how science fits into the broader framework of our common culture. And we'll talk to science writer Mike McRae, author of the new book "Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs and Bad Ideas," that looks at how brains that evolved to maintain social connections can manage to make objective observations. Read More

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Making Science Funny #105

March 25, 2011

This week, it’s a panel discussion on the plusses and pitfalls of using humor to promote science. We’re joined by Science Comedian Brian Malow, blogger Scicurious, and Brian Thompson, host of The Amateur Scientist Podcast. They’ll look at how engaging the funny bone can help the brain absorb the science that powers our world. We also speak to Rachelle Saunders, one of the organizers of the upcoming LogiCON, an event celebrating critical thinking for everyone. Read More

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Blood Work #104

March 18, 2011

It's an hour on the blood that runs through your veins, and how modern medicine can supplement your supply. We'll talk to Holly Tucker about Blood Work, her book exploring the pioneering science and the political intrigue behind the world's first blood transfusions. Skepticality co-host Robynn "Swoopy" McCarthy shares her experience training as a phlebotomist. And we're joined by William Rutherford, of Telus World of Science, to tell us about Edmonton's first ever "Yuri's Night" celebration. Read More

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Sewer Science #103

March 18, 2011

This week, we take another look at water, and what happens to it after it goes down the drain. Researcher Liz Borkowski joins us for a look at the connection between sewage and civilization, and the struggle to introduce modern sanitation in the developing world. And we’ll talk to Dr. Alistair Boxall, about the sources and effects of pharmaceutical contaminants in the environment. Unfortunately, we had some issues with Dr. Boxall's recording that we couldn't overcome in post-production. As a result, his interview is not up to our usual technical standards. We apologize for the inconvenience. Read More

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Fluoride and Water Tech #102

March 11, 2011

From the Roman aqueducts to the latest research on what happens when you turn the tap, it's an hour on water. Dr. William James joins us for a lesson on the history and technology of municipal water systems. And we’ll talk to University of Toronto researcher Dr. Marc Grynpas about the science and safety of water fluoridation. Read the Canadian Dental Association's statement on the safety and effectiveness of fluoride. Use the following links for more information regarding home water filters and fluoride: Brita Filter FAQ Carbon Water Filters Reverse Osmosis Filters Water Distillation Activated Alumina Filters Read More

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Brain Games #101

March 04, 2011

It's an hour on the brain, the senses, and how you can fool them both. We're joined by neuroscientist Tom Stafford, co-author of the book Mind Hacks: Tips and Tricks for Using Your Brain. We'll talk about how your brain processes information, and all of the fascinating ways you can make it mess up. And researcher Dr. Sarah Brosnan explains her study of game theory, and how humans compare to other primates when it comes to cooperative play. If you'd like to help the victim of the Christchurch earthquake, please visit the New Zealand Red Cross. Read More

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