Episodes Archive

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Semen Science #100

February 25, 2011

Evolutionary biologist John Logsdon returns to explain the amazing diversity of sperm design, and its connection with mating behaviour. And Scientopia blogger Scicurious joins us to discuss some of our favorites from her Friday Weird Science archives. We'll talk about everything from the antidepressant properties of semen, to smelly semen, to testicle receptacles, and so very much more. Here are links to all the Friday Weird Science posts that we discussed with Scicurious. Do your balls hang low? Your balls can't take the heat from your laptop. A tote for your scrote, a recepticle for your testicle. Rats in pants.... Read More


Quacks and Scams #99

February 18, 2011

It's an hour on scams and charlatans, with Dr. Stephen Barrett. He's the creator of QuackWatch, a family of websites that tracks dubious healthcare claims, and the people and practitioners who make them. James "The Amazing" Randi joins us for a history of scams, and Jamie Williams of the Centre for Inquiry Vancouver discusses the fact and fiction of ear candling. Read More


An Optimist's Tour of The Future #98

February 11, 2011

We’re joined by science writer Jessica Wapner, to examine the intersection between ethics, economics, and drug development, and what it means for the future of pharmaceutical research. And we sit down with author, comedian and futurist Mark Stevenson, to discuss his new book, An Optimist’s Tour Of The Future, about the cutting edge science that’s going to sustain and entertain the human species. Read More


The Science of Kissing #97

February 04, 2011

We’re joined by researcher and science writer Sheril Kirshenbaum, to talk about her book The Science Of Kissing. We’ll learn about the surprisingly complex chemistry that’s going on during a passing peck or a passionate liplock. And Greg Laden returns for another edition of Everything You Know is Sort Of Wrong. This time, Greg asks, are there really universal traits that appear across all human cultures? Read More


Human Factors Engineering #96

January 28, 2011

Researcher and blogger Ash Donaldson joins us for a pre-recorded discussion on the fascinating field of Human Factors Engineering. This multi-disciplinary science draws on anatomy, physiology, physics, psychology and communications research, as it tries to improve the ways that humans interact with technology, and use technology to interact with each other. And health science journalist Paul Ingraham returns with a primer on the causes and treatment of repetitive strain injuries. Read More


The Science of Allergies #95

January 21, 2011

Dr. Gary Stadtmauer returns for a pre-recorded discussion on the science behind the causes, symptoms and treatment of allergies. And we start the hour with paramedic Michael Kruse to talk about 10:23, a campaign to raise awareness about the scientific perspective on homeopathy. Read More


Art and Science #94

January 14, 2011

This week, it's an hour on the intersection between science and the creative arts. We’ll speak to Lauren Redniss, author and illustrator of Radioactive, a visual narrative about the work, life and love of Marie and Pierre Curie. Art historian Jenna Marie Griffith explains the historical influence of science on the visual arts. And we’re joined by Glendon Mellow, painter, illustrator, and author of the blog The Flying Trilobite, to discuss the tension between creativity and scientific accuracy. Read More