Episodes Archive

Sex, Genes and Evolution #49

March 05, 2010

Biologist John Logsdon joins us to discuss the genetic and evolutionary aspects of sexual reproduction. Why do we have sex, anyway? Why do some creatures reproduce sexually, while others don't? And beyond the simple act of making other humans, what role does sex play in the survival of our species? And on Speaking Up, we talk to Don Riefler about the Gen Con Guerilla Skeptical Symposium. Read More


The Interactive Conference #48

February 26, 2010

We looked at the increasing focus on interactivity at science and skeptical conferences. Science Online 2010 organizer Bora Zivkovic discusses the evolution of that conference model, and his experience putting together a massive multi-day, participant-driven gathering of scientists and science enthusiasts. And on Speaking Up, we talk to Skepticamp founder Reed Esau talks about the creation of the Skepticamp interactive conference. Read More


The Wakefield Study #47

February 19, 2010

We take an in depth look at the recent Lancet retraction of Andrew Wakefield's research into a correlation between Autism and the MMR vaccine. Pharmacist Scott Gavura, research ethicist Nancy Walton and author and philosopher Chris MacDonald explore the shoddy science, questionable ethics and the repercussions of more than a decade of misinformation. And on Speaking Up we talk to Rodrigo de la Jara of the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society on the value of basic research. Read More


The Independent Investigations Group #46

February 12, 2010

We spoke to three members of the Independent Investigations Group, to discuss their organization and their $50,000 Paranormal Challenge. Steve Muscarella, Jim Newman and Spencer Marks explained how they investigate extraordinary claims, and put them to the (scientific) test. And on Speaking Up, we talk superstitions with Joey Haban of Newly Nerfed. Read More


Skeptical Scientist Dr. Rachel Dunlop #45

February 05, 2010

We spoke to Rachel "Dr. Rachie" Dunlop, Australian scientist and Skeptic Zone podcaster. We discussed her work as a scientist, researcher and blogger, as well as her efforts to promote reason and critical thinking to her fellow Australians. And on Speaking Up, we talk about Skeptic North, the Pan-Canadian Skeptical Blog Collective. Read More


Evolution Education #44

January 29, 2010

We sat down with Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, to talk about the state of evolution education. How is the science being presented in schools? What new tactics are anti-science advocates using to challenge the teaching of evolution? And how can skeptics and friends of science best communicate the information? Plus, we discussed the new children's book Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Junior Skeptic author and illustrator Daniel Loxton. And on Speaking Up, we talk about Skeptical Activism on Facebook with Travis Roy of the Granite State... Read More


Skepticism and Race #43

January 22, 2010

Is the face of modern skepticism really as monochrome as it appears? How do we make our message appeal to a broader, more diverse audience? And how do racial demographics influence belief in pseudoscience and the paranormal? Our panel includes LaVerne Knight-West, Stephanie Zvan, and Girl 6. And on Speaking Up, we talk to Rhys Chouinard with the University of Alberta Atheists and Agnostics and K.O. Myers from Grassroots Skeptics on their new Skeptical Speakers Bureau. Read More


Climate Change #42

January 15, 2010

Guest host Mike Harrison spoke to Dr. John Gamon, professor and researcher at the University of Alberta, researcher for the TROPI-DRY Collaborative Research Network, and cofounder of SpecNet, about climate science and research. And on Speaking Up, we talk about dinosaur vocalization with Della Drury. Read More


How Many Licks? #41

January 08, 2010

We spoke to author and physicist Aaron Santos about his new book, How Many Licks. Have you ever wondered how many calories are in the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? How many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? How long it would take to dig your way to China using a spoon? Aaron knows. Approximately. And on Speaking Up we discuss the merits of paper vs. plastic with Naomi Baker. Read More


Alcohol #40

January 01, 2010

In honor of your possible New Year's over-indulgence, we discussed alcohol with Dr. Rob Tarzwell and Dr. Ken Mukamal. How does intoxication work? When is alcohol actually good for you, and how much is too much? And of course... how to get rid of a hangover. Read More


The Paradox of Choice #39

December 25, 2009

Barry Schwartz, psychologist and author, contends that although you may think you want more options, and that having those myriad alternatives will make you happier and more satisfied... you're wrong. It's actually making you miserable. Read More


Microbiology #38

December 18, 2009

Lisa Hammett talks to us about pathogens, viruses, probiotics, antibiotics... if it's too small to be seen without a microscope, it's up for discussion. And on Speaking Up, we talk to Mike Meraz with Actually Speaking: Exploring the Human Side of Skepticism. Read More


Radiation and Health #37

December 11, 2009

Dr. Marc MacKenzie, medical physicist, discusses radiation: why a little can be good, why a lot can be bad, and why radiation is more important than you think. And on Speaking Up, we discuss The James Randi Educational Foundation with Bart G. Farkas. Read More


Belief and Education #36

December 04, 2009

We spoke to Martin Bridgstock and Kylie Sturgess, who recently completed one of the largest surveys of paranormal, pseudoscientific, superstitious and conspiracy theory beliefs in Australia. They've studied how age, gender, religion, and voting preference relate to belief in the paranormal, and whether there's a single underlying tendency to be "a believer". Some of their conclusions are quite different than what we've seen in other studies. What does this mean mean for skeptical education and outreach? And on Speaking Up, we talk to Richard Stelling with The Skeptic Exchange. Read More


Punk Rock Skepticism #35

November 27, 2009

We spoke with Nicky Garratt, guitarist for the legendary punk band, the UK Subs, who also happens to be an outspoken skeptic. Does speaking out against pseudoscience, magical thinking and unexamined beliefs get in the way of damning the man? And, by popular demand, we introduced our new semi-regular segment "Ask a Pharmacist" with Scott Gavura. Answering all the questions you'd ask your own pharmacist, if the line wasn't so long. Read More


Health Fraud #34

November 20, 2009

We spoke with Brent Homan from the Canadian Competition Bureau, about their attempts to combat health fraud. Questionable cancer cures, fake vaccines, miracle machines, creams and treatments. What's the government doing to educate consumers and smack down the bad guys? And is it working? Read More


Human Research Ethics #33

November 13, 2009

Nancy Walton helps us explore the intricacies of human research ethics. The Millgram Experiment. The Stanford Prison Experiment. Randomized trials on orphaned and abandoned children. Stem cell research. Studying the effects of torture. Does "ethics" mean what you think it means? And on Speaking Up, we talk about chronic illness and alternative health with Joey Haban. Read More


The Skeptical Alt-Heath Practitioner #32

November 06, 2009

Paul Ingraham is a Vancouver Registered Massage Therapist and science writer who criticizes questionable practices in alternative health care -- and his professional regulator calls it offensively unprofessional and wants to censor his website with tens of thousands of dollars in legal defense expenses at stake. Science-based alternative health? Rebellion within the alt-health ranks? And on Speaking Up, we about Science Online 2010 with Bora Zivkovic. Read More


Science Fiction and Skepticism #31

October 30, 2009

Discussing the intersection of science fiction and skepticism with Derek Colanduno, co-host of the podcast Skepticality. Saying that "both involve science" is only scratching the surface. And on Speaking Up we talk about horror movie superstitions with Jill Powell. Read More


Digital Footprints #30

October 23, 2009

Keith Schon of Cataphora discusses how computers can track behavior, and find out all your dirty little secrets. What are the limits on what your company is allowed to find out about you, and how are they doing it? How do we figure out, after the fact, whether "Yeah, go do that" means "Yes, grab me some lunch" or "Yes, perpetrate that multi-million dollar fraud scheme." And what do your online behavior patterns say about you? And on Speaking Up we discuss sports superstitions with Colin McIntyre. Read More