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EPISODE # 170

Michio Kaku — The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Synthesizing relativity and quantum theory would be the crowning achievement of science, a profound merging of all the forces of nature into one beautiful, magnificent equation to unlock the deepest mysteries in science. In this episode, Michael Shermer speaks with professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku about: the Big Bang, black holes, worm holes, the multiverse, time travel, dark energy and dark matter, gravity, string theory, ETIs, meaning, and God.

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‘HAVANA SYNDROME’ SKEPTICISM: POSTSCRIPT

The Biden CIA Is Re-Examining ‘Havana Syndrome’

The Biden Administration has named a new head of the ‘Havana Syndrome’ Task Force. Pamela Spratlen, former Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, is overseeing the panel that is taking a second look at what happened in Cuba.

A State Department report on ‘Havana Syndrome’ obtained by CNN through a Freedom of Information Act request “concludes that the US government’s response and investigation into the so-called Havana Syndrome may have been botched from the beginning” and was characterized by “chaos” and disorganization (Oppmann, 2021). This may help to explain a recent New York Times report that the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Donald Trump, Gina Haspel, has expressed skepticism as to whether an attack even took place (Barnes 2021). As the head of the world’s most powerful data collection agency, if there had been clear and convincing evidence for the origin of ‘Havana Syndrome,’ she should have known.

The likelihood that ‘Havana Syndrome’ is an outbreak of mass psychogenic illness that was exacerbated by government incompetence, appears more and more likely. In many respects, it is a story that is far more interesting than any sonic or microwave weapon.

  • Barnes, Julian E. 2021. “C.I.A. to Expand Inquiry Into Mysterious Health Episodes Overseas.” The New York Times, March 4.
  • Oppmann, Patrick. 2021. Will US diplomats finally return to Havana, after a rash of mystery injuries? CNN, February 19.

This is an update to Robert E. Bartholomew‘s article “Havana Syndrome Skepticism” in Skeptic 26.1 (December 2020). If you missed it, you can read it free on skeptic.com.

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Retrospective

Skeptic cover art by Pat Linse

Art of the Skeptic

In celebration of Skeptic magazine’s 100th issue, we present sage graphic art advice for skeptical groups and a gallery of art reflecting more than 47 years of skeptical activism from Skeptic’s long time Art Director, Pat Linse

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.

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Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

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The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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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!

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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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The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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