Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Righteous Indignation, Quackcast

The Indignates this week on Righteous Indignation were made up of Trystan Swale, Hayley Stevens, and Michael Marsh.  It was quite an interesting show.  I know I almost always write that.  I write it because it is true, and not because I get cheques in pound sterling in the mail with a Liverpool stamp upon it.  I really enjoyed the episode because the episode was full of what makes the show tick, which is some amicable discussions where the Indignates do not always agree along with some nice light-hearted and not mean-spirited mockery.  An email asking a question also made me do a mental comparison between Righteous Indignation and a staple of the skeptics podcast list.

Marsh and Hayley entered into a thoughtful discourse on the pros and cons of the Belgium law outlawing the burqa.  As I have noted in previous posts, I loathe the notion of outlawing someone's religious dress for nearly any reason.  I just have that "free exercise" clause of the Constitution drilled into my head from elementary school through law school.  However, Marsh makes a valid point that the burqa in not a purely independent act of women of certain muslim faiths, but an item of clothing expected by their peers and peer culture to wear.  Hayley argued that legally mandating that women not wear the burqa is oppressive in itself and women should be allowed to wear it, but also generally encouraged to not wear it and independently toss the shackles of oppression.  Both agreed that the excuse by the Belgium authorities that it is a necessary security measure so that people can be readily identifiable is both creepy and crap.

Where the mockery came to fore is when discussing Cheryl Cole's blood diet.  (No.  It is not some Twilight-inspired Vampire TV dinner.)  The diet is based upon the growing popular notion that a person's blood type is indicative of the proper diet that a person should eat.  For example, blood type AB people should feast upon the fishes and the loaves, but avoid the burgers and shakes, while type O folks should seek out rice and salad.  Trystan asked "Cheryl" a question about the diet which was answered by Marsh in a terrible girl voice.  I was in stitches walking Ike.  He thought I'd gone a bit looney, and then lost interest when he spied a dread squirrel.

The Indignates then covered the story also covered on the SGU about the Indian Swami who claims he has not eaten or drank a thing for seventy years and is being tested by the Indian military for applications for use by their soldiers.  (can I use the term, Swami?  If not, I apologize.)  They discussed all the ways the non-eater/drinker could fool the observers, all the frauds turned up in the past, and how the studies ought to be controlled.  They pointed out the Indian officials were starting with the supposition that the eatless/beverage-free man was telling the truth, rather than testing to see if it was the real deal.  I thought Hayley brought up a good point.  Why not eat?  It's food.  It's enjoyable.  He's really missing something. I grilled some lovely hot dogs tonight.  Lady and I enjoyed the official food of baseball and being a freedom gut-battling American quite a lot, and Ike enjoyed half of one too.  Good grief, the air only diet means he is missing out on chicken vindaloo.  Honestly, what's the point?

The Indignates interviewed Kevin Goodman on the Warminster UFO flap or incidents.  I did not quite follow what the Warminster incident was for him, but it sounded like a friend of his heard a noise and tripped, or he hit a force field.  It was something.  Goodman told of seeing lights in the distance on a clear night.  There were four of them flying in a line, but then one of them broke and shot up into the sky.  (Why do aliens always feel the need to fly in some formation with a dramatic Blue Angels' style fly away by one of the group?) Although he could not really judge the distance and speed, they move at an incredible rate and did 90 degree turns.  The Indignates asked if it could be chinese lanterns, or an aircraft, or a trick of the eye.  Goodman protested that it was clearly none of those, you had to be there.

The area of Warminster also had anomalous sounds of tiles being ripped off a roof in the area.  The original sounds predated the first UFO flap.  Goodman also discussed strange recorded clicking sounds that were found on a tape recorder after the fact that he recorded years later.  The Indignates asked the right questions on whether it could be EMF interference, but Goodman seemed steadfast that it had to be something else.

It seemed to me that in an area that apparently has or at least had a lot of military activity that much of the activity could likely be linked to it.  Goodman, while a good sport, seemed to be quite convinced otherwise.

Now back to the emailer ending comment, which I referred to at the start.  The emailer indicated that he enjoyed RI more than he enjoyed the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.  My then dog walking mind started pondering how do I compare the two shows.  They both follow the same general skeptical panel show with interview format.  My take is that the SGU is the more formal and academic and fact specific-based show, while Righteous Indignation is more of a fun listen.  This is not to impugn the Indignates' research and digestion of stories and the facts around various topics.  They do quite an impressive job.  The depth of knowledge and skeptical chops of Dr. Novella and brute skeptical chops of Rebecca Watson is tough to top.  However, the Indignates more irreverent style such as in this episode with Marsh speaking with a feminine voice was fantastic.  The SGU, especially Jay Novella's, funny cornball voices is fun.  There is a bit more restraint that Dr. Novella lends to his show.  I find myself listening to the Rogues because I must... otherwise my life will have a hole in it appoximately 120 minutes in length each weekend, but I listen to the Indignates because it is an enjoyable diversion on a Monday night.  I learn from both but each fills a slightly different place in my life.

Crislip tackles the nine

Dr. Mark Crislip on his Quackcast Podcast did a companion piece to his recent Science Based Medicine blog entry answering nine questions about vaccines.  One David Mihalovic, ND on his blog posted an entry on nine questions that stump pro-vaccine advocate and their claims.  Dr. Crislip not only goes on to answer each question in a unmerciful yet logical fashion, but on some of them shows how his 12 year old son could find the answers within seconds.  It was a rather brief episode clocking in at a tad over thirty minutes, but it was classic Crislip.  A must listen to anyone who generally has a great dislike or loathing of complimentary and alternative crap based medicine.

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