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2013 Episodes

December 31st: Pieces of You

Do you know that everywhere we go, we all leave behind small traces of our own genetic material? In this week’s Skepticality, Derek speaks with Heather Dewey Hagborg, an artist who has a massive curiosity about just how much of our personal information we leave behind in the form of DNA evidence. Heather went on a personal mission to find out if she could artistically replicate portraits of people from the DNA they leave behind everywhere they go.

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December 25th: Just a Skeptical Holiday

Derek convinces Swoopy to sit down and do a short holiday episode.

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December 17th: Out of Iraq

With the coming anniversary of Isaac Newton’s birthday, Derek sat down to have a chat with Faisal Saeed Al Mutar. Until about 9 months ago, Faisal was living in Iraq where he was at odds with the Sunni, Shai, and Al-Qaeda. He now lives in the United States after being granted asylum. In his short time living in the United States, he was gone on to help build an amazing community of people dedicated to making society a better place through the promotion of humanism, secular values, and skeptical thinking.

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December 3rd: Neuromarketing: You Know You Want This!

With the shopping season upon us, Derek decided to sit down and talk with someone who knows a thing or two about swaying people using the power of marketing. Neuroscientist, Dr. Peter Steidl, has been an advisor to the World Health Organization, represented Australia at the European Center for Social Science Research, and is an author and working professional in the world of neuromarketing. Just how much power, or sway, can marketing really have on our spending habits?

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November 19th: Shout Science!

This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Scott Dubois, a teacher and artist who has always wanted to explore ways to better teach and explain science to his audience. Using his artistic talent and his love of teaching, he set out to create Shout Science!, an interactive application that teaches using a fun, narrative method.

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November 5th: Make a Connection

Many of us who are science-minded, or are champions of rational thought, may lament the fact that our messages often fall upon the deaf ears of a populace seemingly without the patience, nor care, for science literacy. Past Skepticality guest, Randy Olson, has spent his time working on ways to help people to understand and communicate information to a broad audience. Teaming with actors Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo, he has formed a well-proven storytelling methodology, which anyone can learn to use, to engage an audience and help people better understand complex information. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Randy, Brian and Dorie to discuss their work, its origins, and how anyone can learn to become a better storyteller.

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October 22nd: A Creepy Neuro-Revolution!

It is the creepy time of year once again. This week on <em>Skepticality</em>, to celebrate the coming of All-Hallows-Eve, Derek chats with Greg Gage, a neuroscientist dedicated to bringing citizen science to the world of what goes on in the brain. As the founder of “Backyard Brains,” Greg has invented do-it-yourself equipment, which you can use at home, to conduct experiments demonstrating how the nevous system works. Nothing could be more fitting around Halloween than learning how you can create your own “zombie” cockroach!

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October 8th: Just Apply Rationality

This week on Skepticality, Derek spends some time talking with Julia Galef, the president of the Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR). Along with her impressive work heading up an entire think tank dedicated to rational thinking, she is the co-host of the popular podcast, Rationally Speaking, with Massimo Pigliucci. Find out more about how CFAR came to be, and how Julia and her group are aiming to spread critical thinking to the masses.

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September 24th: Do You Believe In Magic?

This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews Dr. Paul Offit, who discusses his work in science-based medicine, from his time as a vaccine inventor to his tireless work educating the public about harmful medical fads and misinformation. His latest book, Do You Believe In Magic? is a scathing exposé of the so-called “alternative medicine” industry and gives insights into how to decide if a treatment is real, a helpful placebo, or just hogwash.

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September 10th: Reality Check

This week on Skepticality, Derek presents another interview conducted at The Amazing Meeting 2013. In Las Vegas, he sat down with Dr. Donald Prothero to discuss another of his books which was recently released, Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future. Find out why Dr. Prothero has dedicated so much of his time attempting to ensure the public becomes more scientifically literate, and what he fears will happen if they don’t.

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August 27th: Abominable Science!

The new book penned by Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero, Abominable Science!, made its debut in an exclusive pre-release on the first day of The Amazing Meeting (TAM) 2013. While at the conference, Derek sat down with Daniel and Donald to learn more about this informative tome. Hear their thoughts about their research into the many cryptozoological topics covered by the book — this week on Skepticality.

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August 13th: The Science of This vs. That

This week on Skepticality, Derek speaks with Jon Hotchkiss, well known for the many science based television shows he has produced, directed, and written, including: Bullshit! starring Penn and Teller, and Pumpkin Chunkin’ from the Science Channel. Jon’s latest television project is another science show, This vs. That, which he is bringing to the masses via the Internet so he can ensure that the show is about the science, without the issues which plague the major media outlets. If you want more science-based entertainment, find out where your next fix might come from in this episode of Skepticality.

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July 2nd: The Limits of Neuroscience

It seems that every other day there is another news story or article touting some breakthrough in the world of neuroscience. This can tend to cause even the most ardent science lover to be confused as to what the practical applications are of the brain research we keep hearing about. This week on Skepticality, Derek speaks with Dr. Robert A. Burton, author of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not, about his latest book A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves. Dr. Burton’s latest focus is on identifying the strengths and limitations of modern neuroscience. His book helps us to better understand the topic so we can make better use of the information contained with the plethora of published studies.

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June 18th: Talkin’ Death and Injury

This week on Skepticality, Derek has a discussion with Geoffrey “Thor” Desmoulin, a Biomedical Engineer from Vancouver, Canada. Geoffrey works in accident reconstruction and medical device testing. Most people, however, know him best from his well-loved Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior. Using scientific testing and a bit of investigation, the show featured highly detailed dramatizations of historical combat scenarios to find answers to questions like: ‘Who would win in a toe to toe fight, a Ninja or a Spartan?’ It’s kind of like Mythbusters, but more dangerous.

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June 4th: Watching Bad Science

This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Michael Kruse, the current Chair of Bad Science Watch, “an independent non-profit consumer protection watchdog and science advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by countering bad science.” Kruse and his group have been in recent struggles with anti wi-fi panic caused by a misinformed public, frustrating governmental restrictions on scientists communicating their findings, and ‘nosodes’ — a form of homeopathy claiming to be an effective vaccine for preventable disease, which has been contributing to a low vaccination rate in several areas across Canada.

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May 21st: What The Frak!?

This week on Skepticality, Derek spends some time talking to Dr. Michael Webber, an alternative energy expert and advocate, based out of Austin Texas. Webber describes some of the current issues he sees related to power generation and consumption. In a time when everyone seems interested in better ways to gather and produce energy for an increasingly power-hungry world, it is good to assess all potential energy solutions—weighing their pros and cons—in the search of the silver bullet that will keep the lights on in the future.

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May 7th: Science, ASAP!

Scientific laws, concepts, and theories can be difficult to understand. Thanks to the duo at ASAP Science, you can watch short, bite-sized videos on YouTube and learn some pretty cool facts. This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Mitchell Moffit, one of the co-creators and producers of ASAP Science.

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April 23rd: Superlaw!

This week on Skepticality, Derek chats with James Daily and Ryan Davidson, the creators of the popular legal blog, Law and The Multiverse and the newly released book based on the site, The Law of Superheroes. If there’s one thing that many science and reality-minded people tend to do quite a bit, it’s over analyze every little detail in the movies, TV shows, books, etc., that they find entertaining. James and Ryan, being lawyers, decided to take that same mindset and explore what might happen, legally, if some of the fantastic things depicted in comic books and superhero entertainment actually happend in real life.

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April 9th: Goin’ Prehistoric

This week on Skepticality, Derek presents double dino-related goodness! First off he has a discussion with Tyler Keillor, a Fossil Laboratory fossil preparator and paleoartist. Then Daniel Loxton, Editor of Junior Skeptic, joins in to talk about his newest book, Pterosaur Trouble, the next installment in the Kids Can Press series Tales of Prehistoric Life.

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March 26th: Spot The Bull

This week on Skepticality, Derek has a discussion with Loren Collins, the author of Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation, a guidebook for people to distinguish between real conspiracies and conspiracy theories, and real science from pseudoscience. Collins’ book provides a way to use the tools of critical thinking to spot real evidence from information which has been manipulated to create false impressions of the truth.

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March 12th: Rocks Don’t Lie

This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews geomorphologist and Professor of Earth and Space Sciences (University of Washington) David R. Montgomery about how his work led him to write his latest book The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood. The book is thoughtful and readable, and attempts to respect both young Earth creationist views and the world of evidence-based geological science. According to the book’s publisher, with “an explorer’s eye and a refreshing approach to both faith and science, Montgomery takes readers on a journey across landscapes and cultures. In the process we discover the illusive nature of truth, whether viewed through the lens of science or religion, and how it changed through history and continues changing, even today.”

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February 26th: Intelligence and The Future

This week on Skepticality, Derek sits down with Nicholas Eftimiades, Chinese Intelligence expert who was the Chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency Space Division for a period of time. He recently penned a book called Edward of Planet Earth—a science fiction novel set 200 years in the future in which a few androids decide to communicate with the Almighty.

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February 12th: Should You Answer Aristotle?

This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews Massimo Pigliucci about his latest book, Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life, discussing what led him to write the book, and getting his personal take on the modern skeptical movement.

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January 29th: Happy 200th Birthday, Skepticality!

In this, the 200th episode, Derek sits down with Swoopy for a long while to ramble about the past (and future) of the podcast (and a bit about what Swoopy’s been up to while absent from the show). Derek then talks with Dr. Michael Shermer about the recent news surrounding Lance Armstrong and the reality of doping in athletics. They also discuss Michael’s recent articles about the Sandy Hook mass shooting, and the new conspiracy thinking which has cropped up in the few days since that tragic event.

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January 8th: 2012—Another Doubtful Year

We all survived one more end of the world scare! Now that we are still here, Derek decided to sit down with Doubtful News Editor Sharon Hill to review some of the big skeptical news stories of 2012 and get her thoughts on what might be looming over the horizon for 2013.

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