Episode 182: He’s not a scientist, okay?

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, Lauren, and Laura give a primer on some astronomical pseudosciences, including astrology, the expanding Earth theory, the hollow Earth hypothesis, and the effects of the full moon on human health.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that explores the intersection of science and society.

Astrology: Is Astrology Real? Here’s What Science Says (Scientific American) | Astrology and Horoscopes Uncloaked (Relatively Interesting) | Astrology is bullsh*t. NASA’s scathing takedown perfectly explains why. (Mic) | Horoscope (Wikipedia) | List of astrological traditions, types, and systems (Wikipedia) | Astrology (Wikipedia) | Zodiac (Wikipedia) | Free Astrology Reports: Natal Chart, Compatibility, Future (Cafe Astrology) | Understanding the Free Natal Chart Report (Cafe Astrology)

Lunacy: Full Moon Effects: What Research Has Discovered (Healthline) | Lunacy and the Full Moon (Scientific American) | Lunar effect (Wikipedia)

Expanding Earth: Alfred Wegener’s Hypothesis on Continental Drift and Its Discussion in Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen (Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research) | Limits to the expansion of Earth, Moon, Mars and Mercury and to changes in the gravitational constant (Nature) | What’s Hitting Earth? (NASA Science Mission Directorate) | It’s a small world, after all: Earth is not expanding, NASA research confirms (ScienceDaily) | Debate with Hollow-Earth Proponent Neal Adams (NeuroLogica Blog) | Expanding Earth (Wikipedia) | Continental drift (Wikipedia) | Plate tectonics (Wikipedia) | J. Marvin Herndon (Wikipedia) | Neal Adams (Wikipedia) | Finally: The Utter Insanity of ‘Batman: Odyssey,’ Part 6 (Comics Alliance)

Hollow Earth: Hollow Earth (Wikipedia) | John Cleves Symmes Jr. (Wikipedia) | John Cleves Symmes: Believer in hollow Earth theory sent this open letter (Slate) | Our Rich History: The Earth’s not flat, it’s… hollow? (Northern Kentucky Tribune) | Canadian Geography (Statistics Canada)

Face Mite Update: Human Follicular Mites: Ectoparasites Becoming Symbionts (Molecular Biology and Evolution) | Face mites are losing genes (Popular Science)

Correction: Meteoroids are not “converted to energy” as they combust. Ram pressure results in atmospheric ablation, vaporizing some of the meteoroid material and reducing a good deal of it to meteoric dust. This dust can remain in the atmosphere for months, and some of this vaporized material may persist in the atmosphere indefinitely, but it does add mass to the Earth system—just not enough to cause any meaningful growth in the diameter of the Earth.

Contact Us: Email | Twitter | Facebook

Listen: Direct Link | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed


Episode 109: The Quiz Show Show!

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Laura, Gem, and Lauren each prepare a quiz to test their fellow panelists’ knowledge in a variety of scientific and pseudoscientific domains.

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

Pregnancy Quiz (Laura): 6 Bizarre Childbirth Myths From Ancient History | 15 Ancient Childbirth Myths | In Search of Human Placentophagy: A Cross-Cultural Survey of Human Placenta Consumption, Disposal Practices, and Cultural Beliefs | Against all odds | Miracle child | Vanishing Twin Syndrome | The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery

Cat Genetics Quiz (Ashlyn): Genetic Anomalies of Cats | Sphynx Cat | Tortoiseshell cat | Manx cat | Basic Feline Genetics | Basic Genetics as Revealed by Cats | Cat coat genetics | Cat body-type mutation | Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets | Inherited deafness in white cats

You Have a Degree in Baloney! (Gem): Institute for Integrative Nutrition: Curriculum Guide | Canadian School for Natural Nutrition: Natural Nutrition Courses | Canadian School for Natural Nutrition: Advanced Holistic Nutritionist Workshops | Toronto School of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Courses | Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine Post-Graduate Program Outline | Pacific Rim College Community Herbalist Certificate

Peril! (Lauren): Can We Trust Crime Forensics? | Pseudoscience in the Witness Box | The Criminal Profiling Deception | CSI effect | How to Interrogate Suspects | Turkic mythology | List of flood myths | List of Māori deities | Leviathan | Viracocha | Curiosity Sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to Itself On Mars: Video | Planets & Their Moons | Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is Shrinking | Islets of Langerhands | J! Archive

Contact Us: Facebook | Twitter | Email

Listen: Direct Link | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS Feed

Episode 75: News Update

Episode 75: News Update

This episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a classic news update show! Greg Christensen and Gem Newman discuss the #HamOnNye debate, the (latest) snake-handling preacher to die of a snake bite, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s upcoming visit to Winnipeg, and much 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: The Creation of Debate: Should we engage anti-science? | Nye/Ham Postmortem: The Apologists for Religion | Answers for Creationists (Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy, Steven Novella’s Neurologica) | I Don’t Debate Science | Reality Show Snake Handler Dies from Snakebite | Snake Handling | Neil deGrasse Tyson “The Sky Is Not the Limit” in Winnipeg | Cosmos Trailer | Astronomers Discover Oldest Star | Denmark Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter as Minister Says ‘Animal Rights Come Before Religion’ | Copenhagen Zoo Kills ‘Surplus’ Young Giraffe Marius Despite Online Petition

What Are You Reading? Bad Pharma, by Ben Goldacre | Half Empty, by David Rakoff

What Are You Listening to? Common Sense | Hardcore History | Quackcast

Correction: According to Bishop James Ussher, the universe was created on 23 October 4004 BC, which would make it approximately 6017 years, 8 months old, not the figure of 6016 mentioned by Gem. We apologise for this error. But when you’re already off by 13.7 billion years, who’s counting?

Contact Us: Facebook | Twitter | Email

Listen: Direct Link | iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed

Episode 41: News Update

Episode 41: News Update

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Jeffrey Olsson, Donna Harris, and Greg Christensen discuss local and international news of interest to skeptics, including blasphemy cases in Pakistan and India and reproductive health issues abroad, and Greg reviews some exoplanet-related news items from the last few years.

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: Sanal Edamaruku | Pakistani Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy May Appeal | High Court Rejects Case Against Girl in Pakistan | Astronomers Spot “Super Jupiter” | Astronomers Directly Image Massive Star’s “Super-Jupiter” | Oprah Tweets Her Love For Microsoft Surface Using An iPad | Exoplanet Gliese 581g Makes the Top 5 | United Nations Declares Access to Contraception a “Universal Human Right” | What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortions? | The UCSF Global Turnaway Study | Record Nine-Planet Star System Discovered? | Saudi Arabian Women Tracked with System That Texts Their Husbands | Puffy Planet Poses Pretty Puzzle | World Toilet Day

Contact Us: Facebook | Twitter | Email

Listen: Direct Link | iTunes | RSS Feed

Cosmos II: Electric Boogaloo!

Cross-posted from Startled Disbelief.

Good news, everyone!

Fox has just greenlit a 13-part sequel to Carl Sagan’s phenomenal Cosmos: A Personal Journey, called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey.

Sagan’s original collaborators, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, are involved in the production, and the series will be hosted by the only person who could possibly hope to fill Sagan’s shoes: renowned astrophysicist and all around dream-boat Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Here’s the weird bit, though: it will be produced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

At least, I thought it was weird until I read this:

“Never more than at this moment in the modern era have we needed a profound reminder of the colossally important and exciting role that science, space exploration and the human quest for knowledge must continue to play in our development as a species,” MacFarlane said. “We should be vigorously exploring the solar system by now, and who better to inspire us to get there than Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, Neil deGrasse Tyson and, of course, Carl Sagan.”

This is excellent, excellent news!