Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Righteous Indignation, The Token Skeptic, and Skeptoid

Indignation LIVE! - in prerecorded form.  (Think "Frampton Comes Alive" sans the wah-wah sound)*

It was a very special Righteous Indignation as the Indignates appeared LIVE! as guests of the Manchester Skeptics in the Pub, and as you might guess the gang was all there: Trystan, Hayley, Marsh, and Gavin.

The show started after a lecture on ghosts and ghost hunters given by none other than Trystan Swale, which will be released for general consumption at a later date.

The show started off with a pop psychology test to determine if Hayley was indeed a moralizing girl as indicated by a opinionated ex-listener.  (An ex-listener who was not happy with the SGU, Skeptoid, or Righteous Indignation being skeptical podcasts which are skeptical and not woo ridden.)  Trystan quizzed Hayley and an audience volunteer on ethical questions such as is it wrong to eat a road kill cat.  Surprisingly to me their answer was no.  To me, it would be horrifyingly wrong as a striped gray feline slept tucked under my arm like a football last night, so I may be moralizing.  I cannot find a sleeping companion edible.

Anyway, the results were not surprising and quite humorous.  Then the Indignates broke into the news.  Hayley covered a story of a charlatan who was a house healer.  You see, dear reader, houses can be unhealthy due to radiation, electromagnetic waves, or emotional energy.  There is a woman who will use her special powers of healing and dowsing rods along with the homes' blueprints to read the level of house illness, and positive thought it away.  All this from the healer's home, and not even on the spot.  It was a delightful story of woo, which can be had for the low, low price of 175 pounds sterling.  A bargain at twice the price i.e. dollars.

Gavin covered a story of cattle mutilations on the Wales, England border.  Certain locals believe that orange colored lights and beams are associated with the mutilations, which are done with surgical precision.  Or the mutilations could be deceased animals partially consumed by wild predators and "cleaned" by maggots.  However, that is so banal, I like the UFO story better, and it seems so Kentucky.  Britain could use a little Kentucky.

Then Marsh, Karl's skeptical superman, covered a story of website that claims to help cure AIDS, cancer, anxiety, or bring weight loss with the use of healing marginally performed jazz music.  The website is so nice that if you send them a picture of your fat self on the weight loss regime, a photoshopped black and white thinned version will be sent back.  I suppose it was some sort of visual cue to take your mind off that sad soulless jazz.

The show sounded a bit rough.  Trystan seemed to be a bit out of his element at the beginning of the show, but warmed up as the program rolled onward.  All of the Indignates proved to be impressively quick on their feet.  Dare I say it, even quicker on their feet than the Rogues.  The SGU has had a lot of polishing and experience doing live programs, and they have it down.  The Indignates are not there yet, but with a few more live programs under their belt, it could be scary good.  Marsh's wit was rapier sharp on the show, and Gavin - despite earlier protests of him not fitting into the program - clearly clicked.

Yes, the show was rough around the edges but the banter and in particular the pop psychology test showed some true originality.  It was a fun listen.


Fresh clear skin using the most natural of abstracts, or not

This week's episode (or the first of three) of the Token Skeptic was making sense of the superstition of skin care products.  Ok.  This week's episode was not about superstition, it was making sense of science based skin care, and debunking all the crap products out there.  It's all skepticism.  It's all good.

Anyway, this was an edited version of a lecture Dr. Julia Nixon, no Rosemary Nixon, Dr. Rosemary Nixon (no relationship that I know late to the late tricky Dick's daughter.  Who can't hear the name Nixon, and think "I am not a crook." or "My wife wears a good Republican cloth coat."  or "We're keeping Checkers.")  I digress.  Dr. Nixon gave a rather concise speech covering a wide range of common myths about the key to good clear skin.  The one that  surprised me is that cleaning the skin with scrubs and other various ointments really does not do a whole lot.  If anything if you use the wrong preparation or do it incorrectly you can cause irritation and bad skin.  Tomato (pronounced Tomato) or tomato (pronounced Tow-Maw-to) extract do nothing to promote good skin health.  Anti-biotics are of limited usefulness too.  Dr. Nixon was using various advertisements to help make her point, which I am sure were enlightening, but not much good while listening to a podcast driving down route (pronounced rout or root and not rout) 322 on my way to work.  I am sure Dr. Nixon had no idea that soon to be wonder skeptic Kylie Sturgess at her first skeptical conference was going to air the interview on a podcast four years hence.

It was an enjoyable lectured timed just perfectly to get me from my home garage to the parking garage on my commute.  (Sturgess's timing and editing are that good.)  If you enjoy listening to Scientific American's Science Talk podcast, you'll enjoy this Token Skeptic.


Meanwhile high up in the Andes . . .

You're reading a commentary on Skeptoid.  I'm Nigel St. Whitehall and this is SkepReview.com.  This week I turn my iPod and Mac keyboard toward Brian Dunning's discussion of Pumapunku, a stone structure in the Andes mountains that dates from about five centuries before the Incas kicked everyone's butt and took the area over.  The structure is made of tightly fitted stone with the use of some copper brackets.  As always, you have an ancient stone structure that looks impressive and not built by Greeks or Chinese and it must  have been ancient astronauts.  Obviously, Dunning refutes the notion that ancient astronauts or alien visitors had a hand in building Pumapunku, which is just a few kilometers away from Lake Titicaca on the Bolivia/Peru border. (I can't think of Titicaca without thinking of Cornholio of Beavis and Butthead fame.  It's a disorder of my generation.)  Dunning, using his honed skills of precise skeptical scholarship, goes about giving a more rational explanation as to the origins of Pumapunku, and giving the proper credit to their construction to the Tiwanaku peoples, and not Atlanteans or unlikely otherworldly builders.

You've read Skepreview.  I'm Nigel St.Whitehall of Skepreview.com.

*For the record, I saw Frampton perform LIVE! last year, and the man still got it even the wah way sound.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you like the show! May I just point out, in my defence, that my bloody microphone broke just before the show, so I was stuck sharing one with Marsh... you've no idea how hard it is to drag him away from a microphone :D

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