Episode 115: Holiday Charity Special

On the Life, the Universe & Everything Else Holiday Special, Brendan Curran-Johnson joins Gem, Laura, Ashlyn, and Lauren to talk about charitable giving, including how an organization qualifies as a charity, how to maximize the good your contributions can do, and some of the questionable practices of the most popular charities. The episode concludes with a rebroadcast of a segment from 2013’s holiday episode contrasting the various nativity accounts.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Definition of Charity: What is charitable? (Canada Revenue Agency)

Image vs. Effect: Dems help reopen a NC Repub office by David Weinberger (GoFundMe) | MEDIA ADVISORY: NCGOP Sees Encouraging Early Voting, Obama/Clinton Coalition Tired, Fail to Resonate in North Carolina | Courts are finally pointing out the racism behind voter ID laws (The Washington Post) | Today I did a lot of screaming about the anti-LGBT bill North Carolina passed (mcclure111) | Susan G. Komen Partners With Fracking Firm, Despite Possible Cancer Links (Huffington Post) | Pinkwashing (Wikipedia) | Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Promises to Spend $3 Billion to Research and Cure All Diseases (Forbes) | Mark Zuckerberg can’t believe India is debating net neutrality rather than being grateful for Facebook’s free internet (Quartz)

Effective Altruism: Effective altruism (Wikipedia) | GiveWell (Charity Reviews and Research) | Giving What We Can | 80,000 Hours | TRC #270: Effective Altruism + Drinking While Eating + Square on Toothpaste Tube (The Reality Check) | TRC #325: Cells On A Plane + Effective Donating Revisited + Sad Music (The Reality Check) | TRC #379: Charitable Giving + Premium vs Regular Gas + Elf On The Shelf (The Reality Check) | The Way to Produce a Person (The New York Times)

Donations in Kind: Understanding the Impact of Donated Clothes (WhyDev) | Why second-hand clothing donations are creating a dilemma for Kenya (The Guardian) | Stop donating canned goods to food drives: Your corned mutton castoffs are only making things worse (National Post) | Charities Need Your Money, Not Your Random Old Food (Slate) | The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys And Voluntourism (Huffington Post)

Winnipeg Harvest: Winnipeg Harvest | Winnipeg Harvest (Charity Intelligence)

Salvation Army: The Salvation Army in Canada Non-Discrimination | UK Salvation Army chief defends ban on gay members (PinkNews) | Here’s The Internal Document The Salvation Army Doesn’t Want You To See (Queerty)

World Vision: FAQs (World Vision International) | World Vision Canada statement on sexual orientation and hiring practices | A World Vision Donor Sponsored a Boy. The Outcome Was a Mystery to Both. (The New York Times)

Other Charities That Need Your Help: Top Charities (GiveWell) | American Civil Liberties Union | Canadian Civil Liberties Association | Planned Parenthood | Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights | Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) | National Center for Transgender Equality | Trans Equality Rights in Canada | Advocating for LGBTQ Equality (Human Rights Campaign)

The “Charity Slump”: The Holiday Giving Season: A Make or Break Time for Small Charities (CanadaHelps) | Charitable Giving in America: Some Facts and Figures | Why Charities Receive Less During The Summer (CanadaHelps)

Other Links: Episode 72: The War on Christmas: A Brief History (LUEE) | Episode 107: Solving Homelessness (LUEE) | Power In A Union on Vimeo | C.R.E.A.M. (Wu-Tang Clan) | The best God joke ever (Emo Phillips) | Are We the Baddies? (That Mitchell and Webb Look)

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Episode 107: Solving Homelessness

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Gem, and Laura discuss strategies aimed at ending homelessness with returning guest Brendan Curran-Johnson. This episode also features an interview with Greta Christina and Alex Gabriel discussing The Orbit, a new blog network focusing on atheism and social justice.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Links: The Orbit: Atheism, Activism, Culture | Help Launch The Orbit (Kickstarter) | Trends & Issues in Affordable Housing & Homelessness (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) | Better Off in a Shelter? (University of Toronto Centre for Urban and Community Studies) | Poor Housing, edited by Josh Brandon and Jim Silver | Cheating Welfare, by Kaaryn S. Gustafson | Hobos to Street People, by Art Hazelwood | Hand to Mouth, by Linda Tirado | Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments (Popular Science) | Basic income (Wikipedia) | Guaranteed minimum income (Wikipedia) | Guaranteed Annual Income (CanadianSocialResearch.net) | Mincome (Wikipedia) | The Town with No Poverty (Evelyn Forget) | Welfare trap (Wikipedia) | Humans Need Not Apply (YouTube) | Silicon Valley’s Unchecked Arrogance (The Development Set) | Pathways to Housing: Supported Housing for Street-Dwelling Homeless Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities (Pathways to Housing) | Substance Use Outcomes Among Homeless Clients with Serious Mental Illness: Comparing Housing First with Treatment First Programs (Pathways to Housing) | A multi-site comparison of supported housing for chronically homeless adults: “Housing first” versus “residential treatment first” (Tsai, Mares, Rosenheck) | Housing First for Homeless Persons with Active Addiction: Are We Overreaching? (Kertesz et al) | Outcasts on Main Street: Report of the Federal Task Force on Homelessness (Google Books) | The Plan to End Homelessness (Medicine Hat Community Housing Society) | Housing First (The Homeless Hub) | Housing First (Wikipedia) | Misandry Angie

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Episode 99: Forensic Science

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn discusses the scientific (and sometimes pseudoscientific) underpinnings of several forensic investigation techniques with Laura, Gem, Ian, and Lauren.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Links: The CSI effect (National Post) | FBI Testimony on Microscopic Hair Analysis Contained Errors in at Least 90 Percent of Cases in Ongoing Review (FBI.gov) | Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI’s ‘mass disaster’ of false conviction (The Guardian) | FBI admits it fudged forensic hair matches in nearly all criminal trials for decades (National Post) | Hair analysis (Wikipedia) | Comparative bullet-lead analysis (Wikipedia) | Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis: A Case Study in Flawed Forensics | Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis: A Retrospective by Paul C. Giannelli (SSRN) | Ballistic fingerprinting (Wikipedia) | Forensic entomology (Wikipedia) | Forensic science is biased and inaccurate, but juries believe it and convict the innocent (Slate) | Flawed Journalism on Flawed Forensics in Slate Magazine (Forensic Science, Statistics & the Law) | More on the Mistakes in “Forensic Science Isn’t Science” (Forensic Science, Statistics & the Law) | Fix the Flaws in Forensic Science (The New York Times) | Pseudoscience in the Witness Box (Slate) | John Schneeberger (Wikipedia)

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Episode 98: Crime & Punishment

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, Laura, Brendan, and Lauren discuss the criminal justice system, focusing on profiling, deception detection, changes in crime rates over time, and the prison abolition movement.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Note: If you’re in Winnipeg for the Fringe Festival and are interested in coming out to see Of Blood and Ashes, written by Ian James and Adam Johnstone and featuring Gem Newman, we’re at Venue #3 (The Playhouse Studio) at 180 Market Avenue. Here are the showtimes:

Thursday, 16 July 2015, 9:00 pm
Saturday, 18 July 2015, 5:15 pm
Sunday, 19 July 2015, 7:00 pm
Tuesday, 21 July 2015, 12:00 pm
Wednesday, 22 July 2015, 5:15 pm
Thursday, 23 July 2015, 10:30 pm
Saturday, 25 July 2015, 3:30 pm

Links: The Sunset Tree by the Mountain Goats (iTunes) | The Sunset Tree by the Mountain Goats (Amazon) | Correctional Service of Canada CSC Research | Legalized abortion and crime effect (Wikipedia) | Tetraethyllead (Wikipedia) | Lead-crime hypothesis (RationalWiki) | High gun ownership makes countries less safe, US study finds (The Guardian) | Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study | Report Says Long Sentences Don’t Deter Crime (Business Insider) | Longer prison sentences are not the way to cut crime (The Guardian) | Highest to Lowest – Prison Population Rate (International Centre for Prison Studies) | Polygraph (Wikipedia) | Lie detection (Wikipedia) | Paul Ekman (Wikipedia) | Criminal Podcast Episode Two: Pants on Fire | Offender profiling (Wikipedia) | The Effectiveness of Profiling from a National Security Perspective | Essays: To Profile or Not to Profile? (Part 1) (Schneier on Security) | Essays: To Profile or Not to Profile? (Part 2) (Schneier on Security) | Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis (Amazon) | Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex by Eric Stanley (Amazon) | Abolition Now!: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex (Amazon) | The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (Amazon) | Black Prisoners and Their World by Mary Ellen Curtin (Amazon) | Worse Than Slavery by David M. Oshinsky (Amazon) | Cain Sentencing Transcript (The Marshall Project) | Justice is served, but more so after lunch: how food-breaks sway the decisions of judges (Not Exactly Rocket Science) | Extraneous factors in judicial decisions | Need a good reason to oppose the death penalty? How about 4 of them? | The Economic Costs of Seeking the Death Penalty (Seattle University) | Smiley face murder theory (Wikipedia) | FBI Statement Regarding Midwest River Deaths | Noble & Whimsical on Etsy

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Episode 94: Free Will

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem is joined by Donna, Ashlyn, and Ian to talk about free will, determinism, and what it means to make a choice. Also on this episode, Donna sits down with August Berkshire of Minnesota Atheists to discuss the moral implications of a world without free will. We went a little long, but don’t blame us: determinism exempts us from all ethical responsibility!

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Note: Barium. Radioactive caesium decays into barium.

Links: Free Will: What is it? and Do we have it? (The Winnipeg Skeptics) | Free will (Wikipedia) | Phineas Gage (Wikipedia) | Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) | Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain (Nature Neuroscience) | A Brief Defense of Free Will | Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ corroborates theory of consciousness (Phys.org) | Quantum indeterminacy (Wikipedia) | Uncertainty principle (Wikipedia) | Minnesota Atheists | Freedom Evolves (Wikipedia) | Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett (Amazon.ca) | Free Will by Sam Harris | Breaking the Free Will Illusion by ‘Trick Slattery | Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner (Amazon.ca) | Killing of Tim McLean (Wikipedia) | Li case exposes ugly truth about Tories (Winnipeg Free Press) | The Fallaway Slam Podcast (The only podcast that matters!)

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Episode 85: AllTrials and Vanessa’s Law

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem Newman and Richelle McCullough discuss Bill C-17 (“Vanessa’s Law”) and are joined by Ian Bushfield of Sense About Science’s AllTrials project to discuss the problem of publication bias.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

For those curious what we were talking about near the end of the episode when we joked about white college students being the “perfect generalizable group”, we were referencing the fact that much of the research purporting to show great insight into human psychology is done on young people from western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic societies. Psychologists are increasingly skeptical of the generalizability of these results, as these traits are hardly representative of humanity as a whole. See the links to Salon and Behavioral and Brain Sciences below for more information.

Links: The AllTrials Project | Sense About Science on Twitter | Bad Science Watch on Twitter | “Vanessa’s Law” Bill C-17 (Bad Science Watch) | Cochrane Collaboration (Wikipedia) | LUEE Episode 81: Book Reviews (with Greta Christina!) | Discrepancies between Meta-Analyses and Subsequent Large Randomized, Controlled Trials (NEJM) | I Never Meta Analysis I Really Like (Science-Based Medicine) | Cochrane Reviews: The Food Babe of Medicine? (Science-Based Medicine) | Daryl Bem’s “Feeling the Future” Controversy (Wikipedia) | Psychology Is WEIRD (Slate) | The weirdest people in the world? (Behavioral and Brain Sciences)

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Episode 76: Life, Death, and Dying with Dignity

Episode 76: Life, Death, and Dying with Dignity

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Donna Harris and Richelle McCullough talk about the ambiguous line between life and death, and Donna interviews Cheri Frazer from Dying with Dignity.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Man wakes up in body bag hours after being pronounced dead | When death is near: Religions offer their perspective on assisted suicide | Brain-dead woman taken off life support | B.C. woman on life support dies after baby boy is safely delivered | Brain-dead Marlise Munoz taken off life support in Texas hospital | Alberta Health & Human Services (Personal Directives, Goals of Care Designation, Understanding Goals of Care Designation) | Dying with Dignity | Advanced Care Planning Kits

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Bad Science Watch Criticises Patient Safety Act for Neglecting Natural Health Product Users

Reprinted from Bad Science Watch.

Bad Science Watch Criticizes Patient Safety Act for Neglecting Natural Health Product Users

Bowing to lobbyists the Harper Government has excluded Natural Health Products from newly tabled “Vanessa’s Law”, sacrificing consumer safety for political expediency

Toronto, ON – December 6, 2013 – Bad Science Watch has criticized the newly tabled Patient Safety Act, known as “Vanessa’s Law”, for explicitly excluding Natural Health Products from the regulations to appease lobbyists.

The consumer protection organization claims that the already insufficient regulation of NHPs will be weakened as a result, neglecting the safety of NHP users and practitioners and compromising informed healthcare choice.

“What is otherwise an excellent proposal is horribly undermined by this glaring omission,” said Jamie Williams, Executive Director of Bad Science Watch. “The exclusion of Natural Health Products from the definition of ‘therapeutic products’ means the government would be able to issue a recall for a bad batch of lip balm, but not for herbal remedies adulterated with pseudoephedrine or tainted with toxic heavy metals.”

Bad Science Watch believes Canadians deserve robust safety and enforcement regulations for all health care products, and will be fighting to have the Act’s definition of “therapeutic products” amended to include NHPs.

Bad Science Watch is an independent consumer protection organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by advocating for good science in public policy. More information can be found at www.badsciencewatch.ca.

For More Information Contact:
Jamie Williams
Executive Director
1-888-742-3299 ext. 102
jwilliams@badsciencewatch.ca
http://www.badsciencewatch.ca

Episode 69: Québec’s Charter of Values

Episode 69: Québec’s Charter of Values

In the second anniversary episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, we fulfil our CanCon requirement! Gem Newman discusses the proposed “Charter of Values” in the Canadian province of Québec with Scott Carnegie, Greg Christensen, and special guest Shayne Gryn.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: HAAM Meetup | Drinking Skeptically | Québec’s Proposed Charter of Values | Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms | Reasonable Accommodation | The “Notwithstanding Clause” | National Post: Quebec Releases Controversial ‘Values Charter’ | Montreal Gazette: The Public Favours Charter of Values | Globe and Mail: Quebec’s Secular Charter Is Clearly Unconstitutional, But Could Still Become Law | Quebec’s White, Privileged Feminists Don’t Speak For Me | Canadian Atheist: A Practical Guide for Discussion of the Charter of Quebec Values | Canadian Atheist: A Practical Guide for Avoiding Discussion of the Charter of Québec Values | Shayne Gryn: The Racialized and Gendered Impact of Quebec’s Proposed Charter of Secularism | National Post: Woman Says She Was Accosted in Mall Over Her Islamic Veil | CBC: Sikh Mounties Permitted to Wear Turbans

What Are You Listening To? The Nerdist Podcast | This American Life | Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! | Penn’s Sunday School | Quirks and Quarks | The Brain Science Podcast | Reasonable Doubts | The Reality Check | The Flop House

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Episode 47: News Update

Episode 47: News Update

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Richelle McCullough, Gem Newman, and Donna Harris discuss local and international news of interest to skeptics, including an investigation of anti-WiFi activism in Canada, a new study examining the negative impact that personhood amendments have on women, a governmental report in Québec endorsing the right to euthanasia, and more.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Bad Science Watch’s Investigation of Anti-WiFi Activism in Canada | How Long Does a Cough Last? Comparing Patients’ Expectations with Data from a Systematic Review of the Literature | New Study Shows Anti-Choice Policies Leading to Widespread Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women | SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2012 Videos | Québec to Proceed with ‘Dying with Dignity’ Legislation | Spot the Station | Thought Experiment (Outtakes)

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