Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Skeptical Review What is this all about?

First things first, the reason I am blogging about other productive people's podcasts is because I am too lazy to go out and actually do something for the scientific skeptical cause if it cannot be done from the comfort of my own home.
For the moment I plan to post two or three times a week on one of the various science based skeptical podcasts of which I am so very fond. I do not plan to do a post on each podcast as I listen to it, but hopefully over the period of a month or so will endeavor to hit all of the ones that I listen to regularly. See below for a list of podcasts that I listen to on an ongoing basis. I plan for my posts to be a bit of commentary, a spot of criticism, a few deep (a-hem) insights, and some recapitulation. I am sure it will change as I get my blogging legs.
I really do not know how this blog will wind up in two weeks let alone two years from now. Perhaps, I'll be a drunk with my face down in the gutter and only my broken dreams to keep me warm at night.
Here is a list of podcast that I listen to regularly usually on my commutes to work, or while walking my dog:
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
Skepticality
Quackcast
The Conspiracy Skeptic
Point of Inquiry
The Amateur Scientists
Reasonable Doubts
Science Talk
Skeptoid
There are others, but the above are the main one I plan to cover.
To start off my blog here are a few brief thoughts on my stable of podcasts:
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe: Skeptic Geeks unite and worship at the alter of Novella and Watson. I am partial to this podcast. Dr. Novella’s calm voice and the rogue’s interactions with each other have a certain chemistry which is nearly undeniable. The banter of the panel is both entertaining and educational. Often in the discussions between the panel members errors in skeptical thought can be brought out and explained, and disagreements between the rogues can be discussed in a civil and friendly manner. Unfortunately, with the passing of Perry DeAngelis the show has never quite hit its once near perfect tone. The show is very good, but a slight refreshing of the show might be in order --a musing for another blog post.
Skeptoid: You’re reading about Skeptoid, I’m Howard Lewis writing about Skeptoid.com. I wish I had the patience to research like Mr. Dunning. This is probably the best short form podcast. It’s tight –in and out and nobody gets hurt except for the woo.
Skepticality: This is the first podcast to which I subscribed. I have a great deal of respect for Derek and Swoopy in being trailblazers, and for Derek continuing in the face of some daunting medical issues that befell him just as the show was picking up a following. I enjoyed the original format. Yes, it was cheesy but monkey news was fun, and now Swoopy currently seems depressed far more in the last few months. Did she expect woo to vanish in a few short years? I like the show a lot, but I do not wait for each new posting with unbridled anticipation. On the other hand, I never miss one.
Point of Inquiry: Serious. Sober. Anal retentive. I’ve always wondered if around the studio nobody dare tells a joke for fear of being found politically incorrect and then forced to undergo six months of sensitivity training. For all that, I enjoy the show. The interviews make me think, even if about a quarter of the time I am pondering if the guest is either just attention seeking or plain kooky. The music is provided by an Emmy wining composer so you know quality abounds.
The Conspiracy Skeptic: Karl Mamer obviously is not a big believer in editing. Then again, if it were a tightly edited 30 minutes jam packed program with wall to wall content, I probably would not listen with such pleasure. (Anyway that podcast is called Point of Inquiry.) I enjoy the show a great deal, because I think if I had a podcast it would be similar in tone and rambling style. I do wish the show would come out more regularly.
Scientific American Podcast: I wish I did this podcast. Steve Mersky sounds as if he’s having a heck of a good time at it. It's not the forced funny ha-ha fun, but just someone who generally enjoys what he’s doing. If only D.J. Grothe could take a swig from SciAm’s can of joy.
Amateur Scientists: Does Bob live in a flop house? I think he might. Can’t any listeners get this man a proper job? Then again, would I hire him, after all he does seem to live in a flop house. Anyway, the first time I listened to the show I hated it. I thought it was crap based podcasting. I then listened to it the next week, and then the next. I had the same reaction to Bevis & Butthead in college. I am supposed to hate this dribble as much as I hate Broadway show tunes. Yet, I have grown accustomed to its ham fisted face and often brilliant banter.
Quackcast: I am convinced the host, Dr. Mark Crislip, will someday be discovered beat to within an inch of his life by a gang of homeopaths, natureopaths, Chinese medicine doctors, GNC store managers, and Bill Maher. The only person I can sort of compare him to is the late great Perry DeAngelis, in that they both shared a blunt "I wish I said that" style. It is a good thing not all skeptics are like Dr. Crislip, but I am sure glad we have him and his show on the scientific side.
Special Mention:
Logically Critical: It has not been in production for well over a year. Yes, in the last few shows it all seemed to fall apart. It was not exactly a skeptical podcast, but boy it was a lot of fun when it clicked. I miss it.
Mysterious Universe: Yes. M.U. was not a skeptical podcast by any stretch. It was indeed a happy home of woo and ghost stories. Yet, it was a slick and entertaining way to listen in on the other side without having to subject myself to George Noory, possibly the least skeptical man alive. Ben’s show was so damn well produced, edited, and mixed. I was truly sad to see it disappear. Perhaps Bigfoot or the New World Order got to Ben.
I know this list in incomplete. The skepchicks have a podcast, there is the skeptic zone, and others. I will do my best to cover them from time to time. However, my commute each day is only so long, and I doubt my dog wants to walk two hours a night so I can listen to more shows. I also listen to other non-science/skeptical podcasts. My final excuse is that I enjoy being married . . .

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