Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday's list of recent listens . . .

The best skeptic in Pennsylvania

The latest episode of Monster Talk is note worthy as it is not a conventional episode where a guest is interviewed regarding a particular monster.  Instead, this installment was more a general episode for Blake to explain why the episodes have not kept as of late to their bi-weekly schedule along with some TAM house keeping with the JREF’s own Brian Thompson and blogger Sharon Hill.

There is a skeptic near Commonwealth's
Capitol? Incredible, but true.
Mr. Thompson was on to urge all those who are interested to book that flight, bus, or rent that zip car to travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the luminaries and comradeship that is The Amaz!ng Meeting.  Next after Thompson made his pitch Blake, Karen, and Ben interviewed Central Pennsylvania’s* favorite skeptical daught Sharon Hill.  Hill will also be presenting at TAM on how to communicate and interact in a useful and civil manner between skeptical and believers.  She also discussed her excellent curation and aggregation website Doubtful News which shares various news items of dubious events, people, or mass media reporting.  The interview also allowed Hill to share a brief history of her background and introduction to skepticism (it's not listening to the SGU-amazing!) and how she came to be Central Pennsylvania favorite skeptical daughter.**

I must admit.  I have only been browsing Doubtful News for the past couple months, but for me it is an at least a daily check-in on my daily internet rounds.  I highly recommend it.

Brian Thompson's newest podcast . . . 

Speaking of Mr. Thompson, I have finally listened to an episode of Quit it, which is Brian's new podcast that has replaced the long running and racy The Amateur Scientist podcast.  The episode I listened to was "Growing Up with Jordan Morris."  I found the episode rather entertaining.  Instead of the old show's tone and content ranging from R to NC-17 I found at least this particular episode to be more PG-13.  Thompson is a skilled interviewer, and help bring to life the 'quit it' topic for Morris.  (The hook in this podcast is to have quests on the show who have a particular beef with something and wish people to 'quit it.'  Get it?  I thought so.) Morris was on  explain why he is annoyed by people (mostly nerds) who become upset when nostalgic pop cultural movies and comics from their childhood are rebooted.  The cries of childhood memories being dashed to bits by a relaunch or re-imagination of a childhood favorite are overblown.  The nerds should just calm down.  It was an entertainingly wondering hour long discussion.

My pitch idea sorta kinda came to fruition.

Also, I listened to couple episodes of the Ask an Atheist podcast.  The podcast is a rebroadcast of a radio show that originates from the Pacific Northwest.  The two episode I heard dealt with the current skepticism/feminist discord.  The show has quite the NPR vibe about it, but not in that over the top way.  It's slick without being ridiculous.  The podcast clearly could not work as a replacement for Irreligiosophy.  It is far too erudite.  I suspect the two episode I listened to are not likely not fair samples for their normal topics.  However, the hosts Sam, Becky, and Eileen seems like reasonable folk.  I plan to give it a future listen.  As I noted in the comment section of my last post, the discussion was in the general spirit of my proposed 'skeptical crisis' podcast.  It was a useful lesson.

Not the man with the Golden Gun.

NOT this Scaramanga 
Last, but never least, the latest Token Skeptic Podcast was about one of the more concerning, although sadly not surprising, topics I have listened to in a bit.  Kylie Sturgess interviewed Jonny Scaramanga about A.C.E.  A.C.E. is not aces.  No.  A.C.E. stands for Accelerated Christian Education teaching curriculum, and it sounds pretty messed up as discussed A.C.E. is more than just bible studies in the religious portion of junior's education, but a set of standards that weave religion and far right wing politics into the entire learning process.  The "science" teaches young Earth creationism, at least hints at existence of the Lock Ness Monster, and that evolution is a conspiracy of atheist scientists.  As Scaramanga points out this system of educational standards are not teaching science in science class.  This is bad.  A large portion of the A.C.E. instruction method is taken up by the pupils study in isolated in private cubicles, which just sounds like something out of a dystopian science fiction movie.  Sure, this type of thing might not be unusual in parts of the United States, but A.C.E. has been exported from its birthplace from the U.S. exported to the U.K.  and sadly even Australia.  Scaramanga was actually taught in such a school.  Scaramanga is a blogger, planning on authoring a book on A.C.E., and he is a musician.  Heck, the guy has appeared on the Pod Delusion on multiple occasions.  He's a multi talented threat.

*For reasons I still do not quite even after living in Central Pennsylvania for 38 years is one never mentions a particular city such as the state capital of Harrisburg when referring to this part of Pennsylvania to the outside world.  It is nearly alway referred to by the region of South Central Pennsylvania.  We can be an odd sort.  

**As far as I know I am the only one referring to Hill in this manner, but others ought to as well.

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