It was Hayley, Marsh, and Trystan making up our intrepid band of Indignates on this week's Righteous Indignation Podcast. It struck me as a very British RIPodcast. Yes, I know. It is a British Podcast from the heart of her Majesty's realm, but typically I get most of the references. (I do have BBC America, and I once spent five hours in Heathrow Aeroport*.) This week more often than usual I was left thinking "wha, huh, hum." I do not even have the cultural crutch of being Canadian to figure some of this stuff out. I might just be bitter that the tracking of my new iPad from the factory in China to Hershey has been stalled in the former British Colony of Hong Kong and is really beginning to get under my skin.
The thing I do have some awareness of was the story they discussed where an animal communicator telepathically spoke to a cross swan and calmed the avian down. I also learned that the Queen owns all Swans of a certain species that are on public waterways. I thought the Queen owned everything on the Isle of Great Britain unless she didn't. In other words, it's her Majesty's mail, and her Navy, and her Air Force, etc. Maybe I am taking this Monarchy thing too far. (I wonder for Karl's sake if all the puffins that are on the open waters in Canada are also the property of Elizabeth II?)
I have met an animal communicator who talked to horses, dogs, and crickets. I posted a few years ago on the SGU forums, and all I could think is that people pay you to do a cold reading through a pet or draft animal? It's all a bunch of baloney as the Indignates point out. Interestingly, Hayley (a vegetarian) and apparently not very keen on swans shared that you could eat a swam if you wrestled it and won. It all sounds pretty hardcore to me. I suggest she discuss with Karl starting a sister site to Puffin Watch called Swan Watch. (Also, I think she was joking.)
The show also discussed how proponents of exopolitics (you know the folks who think that various Earth based governments are in secret talks with various alien races) are all excited that the new Prime Minister of Great Britain David Cameron is going to release everything the government knows about alien visitations. A similar excitement hit this same crowd when President Obama came to power as was pointed out by Trystan. There is a quote by Cameron that he believes aliens have visited the planet, except he was actually quote-mined and taken out of context. Cameron was making a joke about the Exchequer or Lord Privy Seal, or the Minister for Funny Walks. I get all those positions mixed up. My guess is that Cameron is going to stay mum and not release a darn thing.
The Indignates announced a new competition to compose of a conspiracy from scratch supported by anomaly hunting and craptacular evidence. The winner gets a used copy of a David Icke book as once owned by none other than Trystan Swale.
A British psychic Joe Powers was shown to be a fool on Derren Brown's show on the Beeb. I looked Brown up on Wikipedia, and this guy is great. He's a sceptic and perhaps even a skeptic who regularly appears on mainstream television. We don't have anything like this across the pond. Randi used to do this type of thing all the time, but he's doing other things now such as keeping D.J. Grothe from eating all the complimentary candy corns at the JREF's front desk. I am so damn jealous. Anyway, Brown put Powers to the test and Powers failed big time. I am not really surprised psychics and their ilk rarely hold up under any scrutiny as this clip from the past with Randi shows.
The guest this week was Stephen Volk who wrote the screenplay to a British Television Movie "Ghost Watch" in 1992, and seems to have a cult hit. It was filmed "Blair Witch" style with the movie appearing as if it were the real deal. It focused on a ghost named Pipes terrorizing a dysfunctional family with hijinks ensuing. Volk touched upon some other British shows, but what was truly interesting was the discussion on how many authors of supernatural books don't believe in any of it. Indeed, they are in large part quite skeptical of ghost, ghouls, goblins, and other creatures that do not begin with 'g.' Also in the discussion was how creative people are inspired by and perhaps borrow from one another and from those who actually believe in the paranormal. Hayley did a masterful job leading the interview, and even though I have a nasally 'merican accent I enjoyed the talk with Volk thoroughly.
Now I have to get my hands on some Derren Brown television shows, and find a copy of "Ghost Watch" to view when Lady is not around. (Not a fan of spooky things.)
As a programing note, Kylie Sturgess is continuing her surge technique of releasing many episodes of the Token Skeptic Podcast at once. I have listened to two so far, and iTunes informs me that a third has arrived. I aim to cover them all later this week, and I am halfway through Reasonable Doubts featuring an interview with some guy named Steve Novella. (Actually, Reasonable Doubts has not been coming out regularly lately. It is a bit frustrating.) Karl is going to release his latest episode of the Conspiracy Skeptic, which will be covered on this blog by a guest author that is deeply and passionately known and loved by the gang at the SkepReview.
*As a kid I thought the "aeroport" was the place that handled biplanes, so imagine my chagrin when the plane from London to Munich was a 737.