Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grab bag of thoughts on Ihnatko, the SGU, Virtual Skeptics and otherstuff too

The Ihnatko Almanac has just celebrated the release of its 100th episode.  While the Alamanac is not a skeptic podcast, Mr. Ihnatko with his discussions of tech, movie, and comic book nerdery does have a fair amount of overlap with many skeptics' general interests.  Also, as I have noted before, Ihnatko is one of the best talents in podcasting today.  While I may not always agree with his opinions on tech gear and pop culture items, I never cease enjoying him discussing such matters.  In part, it is because he understands what he is doing is not radio, it is not television, and it is not even video on the web; no, he embraces the podcast. 

One of the items he discusses on this episode is actually how egalitarian the podcasting format is for being to record and share.  All one needs is a microphone, some basic software, a not so expensive computer of some sort and one is off to the races.  Unlike video, how one looks and, beyond some basic audio clarity issues, how one sounds is far less important than the content.  Content is king with podcasts.  As a bonus, podcasts can be enjoyed by nearly anyone one who has their smartphone with them. 

Yes, some folks are more polished and skilled in the verbal arts than others.  One can have the most dulcet voice, but if the content is not there week in and week out the audience won’t be there.  Ihnatko has this conversation with Dan Benjamin the head of the 5by5 network who also understands and embraces the media.  Yes, Ihnatko also appears on the T.W.i.T. network which has audio and video, and while T.W.i.T. is very slick, Leo Leporte treats it like live radio or television.  Leo is talking to a crowd while Ihnatko and Benjamin are talking to you the individual. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The Astronomer Royale™, Dr. Stuart Robbins, has returned for his annual contribution to The Conspiracy Skeptic with everyone's favorite Canadian skeptical host, Karl Mamer.  Why am I (Lady St. Whitehall) writing this review?  Duh, because I was mentioned! We shall see who gets the last word...

As Mr. Mamer queried, what's next in apocalypse news now that 2012 was a non-starter, Dr. Robbins returned to The Conspiracy Skeptic just in time to inform the masses to beware of the Era of the Blood Moon.  As you are reading this, you are living in the Era of the Blood Moon.  Or, should that be moons?  Yes, multiple moons will go through what should be properly termed as lunar eclipses.  Four lunar eclipses to be exact, which gives everyone the chance to learn that tetrad means four of something.  First of all, blood moon is a nickname for what should properly be termed a full lunar eclipse where the Earth is between the sun and the moon and the light refracting through the Earth's atmosphere casts a red glow on the moon. (I think I understood that correctly?)

Dr. Robbins stated that this all started with a pastor named Biltz, who actually wrote a book about "decoding" the blood moon signs.  In reading some articles, Biltz did deny that he thought this was the end of the world.  However, he was extremely vague otherwise, just stating that these are signals or signs from God.  As Dr. Robbins noted, Biltz has basically "predicted" dooooom, possibly for Israel.  This is because the blood moons coincide with the holy days of Judaism, such as the first one which occurred on the start of Passover.  Here's the problem with that little theory: As Dr. Robbins' explained, the Jewish holy days are basically already set up to align with eclipses as the holy days tend to follow the lunar cycles.  Most holy days are already set up to fall on the 1st or 15th of the month, which pretty much guarantees new moons and full moons occurring on these holy days.  Ta da!  

I enjoyed this episode.  Although the conspiracy does not have the grand scale of say "2012", it was still an interesting topic, and I think I even learned something about astronomy. (God, I hope so. Ed.) Of course, if I completely misstated or screwed something up in this review, all errors are mine and not of Dr. Robbins or Mr. Mamer.

Dr. Robbins is also contemplating TAM! attendance, which will hopefully happen and will give him the chance to meet myself and Nigel.  Hopefully, myself and Mr. Mamer's "hotass girlfriend" can hang out and shop and do our nails, and do you sense the sarcasm? No, I kid; shopping will likely happen as well as lots of day drinking!  And, I think Dr. Robbins is correct in his prediction that Hershey chocolate will be forced upon him by myself and Nigel!  Rumor was that a Hershey's store would be joining New York New York hotel in Vegas, but apparently, it is still not completed.  Don't worry, Dr. Robbins, we get two free checked bags* each on our flight to Vegas! 

*And I will let the shoes comment slide, only because it is completely true! True story: One whole suitcase was devoted to primarily shoes and sundries when we last went to Vegas; a girl has to be prepared!(FYI: We were in Vegas to get married. Ed.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Just ask Alice . . . Skeptics with a K

It was for real.  Colin is no longer with Skeptics with a K.  At the end of the last episode, Colin announced he was no longer going to be a member of the show as he was due to be a father soon, and being a Dad was going to be a big time suck.  I almost wrote a post on this event, but decided I better not lest it turn out to be an April Fool's day hoax ala Brian died on Family Guy and the SWaK episode last April where all the stories were made up.  No.  I was not going to be a monkey of these three Liverpudlians.

I guess it was for real as this week the trio was back but instead of Colin there was Alice.  I guess I can say Colin you will be missed.  You did not speak much, and you did not speak as quickly as Marsh or Mike, but your segments were always well thought out and you kept the pacing of the show from getting overly frenetic.

Only time will tell how Alice gels with Marsh and Mike, but this first episode was a promising start.  As a bonus, Alice is an actual working scientist.  Not that I am brilliant at pronouncing scientific terminology correctly, but finally the show has a member who has a reasonable chance of knowing how to pronounce technical terms.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Like Savoir-Faire Stuart Robbins is everywhere (or soon to be.)

Dr. Stuart Robbins was recently a guest on Reality Remix Live, which is a web radio broadcast, which as far as I can gather is not a podcast.  So when you click on the link above you'll get another link that you have to right click and save.  If you want to save it to your iPhone or other smartphone of choice to listen to while walking the dog or doing the dishes you'll have to also import it into your player.  I did all of the above, and it is a pain.  It is worth the effort.

I have never heard of Reality Remix, which is not surprising given the vast amount of content on the inter-tubes of the web.  It is a program on ATS Live Radio.  Anyway, Stuart was on the program to discuss conspiracies as described by one of the hosts as a scientific debunker.  I think of myself and Stuart as scientific skeptics, but that did stick out to me.

The show went off track and Stuart and the panel of the show ended up talking about a number of topics including the alleged moon hoax, and in particular, the sub-theory of the moon hoax that aliens have communicated to us not to return.  Stuart does a nice discussion on the pros and cons of the nuances of the peer review processes as well as discussing if the rings of Saturn are a purposely built structure of some sort and not just naturally occurring. Also touched upon was whether there is an interwoven grand universal consciousness that might help to explain UFOs.