Monday, April 14, 2014

Just ask Alice . . . Skeptics with a K

It was for real.  Colin is no longer with Skeptics with a K.  At the end of the last episode, Colin announced he was no longer going to be a member of the show as he was due to be a father soon, and being a Dad was going to be a big time suck.  I almost wrote a post on this event, but decided I better not lest it turn out to be an April Fool's day hoax ala Brian died on Family Guy and the SWaK episode last April where all the stories were made up.  No.  I was not going to be a monkey of these three Liverpudlians.

I guess it was for real as this week the trio was back but instead of Colin there was Alice.  I guess I can say Colin you will be missed.  You did not speak much, and you did not speak as quickly as Marsh or Mike, but your segments were always well thought out and you kept the pacing of the show from getting overly frenetic.

Only time will tell how Alice gels with Marsh and Mike, but this first episode was a promising start.  As a bonus, Alice is an actual working scientist.  Not that I am brilliant at pronouncing scientific terminology correctly, but finally the show has a member who has a reasonable chance of knowing how to pronounce technical terms.

Beyond Alice being the newest member of the podcast, the episode itself was pretty solid, although heavy on the cancer talk.  Mike discussed an actually promising new cancer treatment that will starve cancer cells (or at least a large percentage of the multitude of types of cancer cells) to death.  Alice discussed at some length why it is difficult to kill cancer.  As cancer is not a single disease but an umbrella term that covers a multitude of disorders which makes it difficult to kill "cancer" when there are actually cancers out there being diagnosed and treated everyday.

Marsh discussed his visit to a local Mind, Body, Spirit trade show that came to his neck of the British woods.  Marsh managed to discuss his interaction with a dowser, a psychic, stomach banding via hypnosis purveyor, and past life regression expert among others.  It was highly entertaining, but Marsh's pointers for Skeptics on how to attend such a gathering I found very insightful.  Basically, don't go there to argue; just go there to talk to the people at the gathering and you'll learn much.

Finally, Marsh shares that he is the project director of the Good Thinking Society, which he gets paid for being a skeptic.  He gets paid for being a skeptic.  I won't spoil Marsh's new gig; you can listen to him announce and describe it in his own words.  I must admit, when people land a way to make a living being a skeptic I get jealous.

Time will tell how well Alice works on the show, but the addition of an actual scientist adds some nice depth to the show.  The SGU has Dr. Novella.  The Skeptic Zone has Dr. Rachael Dunlop.  The Virtual Skeptics had Sharon Hill.  Exposing PseudoAstronomy has Dr. Stuart Robbins.  While I do not think it necessary to have a trained scientist to have a useful Skeptical podcast (i.e. Strange Frequencies, SWaK classic, and the Token Skeptic,) it sure can be handy.

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