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Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine
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2009: International Year of Astronomy

The United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. Coinciding with both Galileo Galilei’s celestial discoveries in 1609 and the publication of Johannes Kepler’s Astronomia Nova (which described the fundamental laws of planetary motion), the International Year of Astronomy celebrates 400 years of discovery and exploration of our elegant universe. It is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase some amazing science — and to inspire cosmic wonder.

On this episode of Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy talk with astronomer, educator, and podcaster Dr. Pamela Gay about the many exciting global events people can enjoy during the International Year of Astronomy. She also shares her thoughts about the changing face of NASA, and about some thrilling recent astronomical discoveries.

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The Magic Cube

Readers of Skepticblog.org will immediately suspect something is up when Michael Shermer asks you to watch a video and tell him if you think he has ESP or not. Of course Michael doesn’t believe in ESP and most of you probably do not either. However, when you see this video consider that it might be something related to ESP that is not, in fact, at all paranormal…

WATCH the video at SkepticBlog.org >

While you’re there be sure to read the blog posts of the other Skepticbloggers: Brian Dunning, Kirsten Sanford, Mark Edward, Phil Plait, Ryan Johnson, Steven Novella, and Yau-Man Chan.


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new this week on MichaelShermer.com

Talking to the dead is easy. Getting the dead to talk back is hard. Why not phone them? In this Scientific American column, Michael Shermer reminds us how easy it is for our brains to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise by sharing his experience with Thomas Edison’s “Telephone to the Dead” — or at least a facsimile of the rumored machine that the great inventor never built…

READ the column >

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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