Friday, July 29, 2011

Episode 016 Poe's Corner

This week's "Poe's Corner" asks the panel, and you loyal listener, to try and tell the difference between actual church marquee signs and ones used on The Simpsons' First Church Of Springfield signs. ENJOY:
  1. Whoever is praying for snow please stop.
  2. Have trouble sleeping? We have sermons-come hear one.
  3. There's something about the Virgin Mary.
  4. Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush!
  5. Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday.
  6. Rapture Threat Level: ORANGE.
  7. Christmas Service Jesus: 2005 Years Young.
  8. Church parking only. Violators may be baptized.
  9. God loves you whether you like it or not.
  10. Evil women in history: from Jezebel to Janet Reno.
  11. Today's Topic: He Knows What You Did Last Summer.
  12. Thou Shalt Turn Off They Cell Phone.
  13. Dysfunctional family welcome. You’ll fit right in.
  14. Free Wi-Fi During Sermon

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Youtube videos discussed in podcast 016

Two very good youtube accounts!

NonStampCollector's "Noah Parts 1 and 2"

Aron Ra's "Response to Prick Error"

Episode 016 wants to segue but can't quite get there from here

Download it directly here or get it on iTunes

This Week:
Texas' SBOE passes a good curriculum and supplements
Thoughts go out to Norway
Alaska's Cryptozoological Cadborosaurus
Chupacabra killed in Texas?
Poe's Corner: Church Sign or Simpsign?
Study: 10% Tipping for ideas to become accepted in the mainstream
Holistic Chamber of Commerce
Lightning Round

Brought to you by Awkward, Elongated Seques and Dogs Who Don't Like Them

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Episode 015 Extra: TAM 9 overview

You'll still get your normal dose this week, but here is something we did and curse it all, we shall release it.

Download it here or get it on iTunes

Special Episode for those who really really really really really want to know about TAM 9.
If you're wondering why David sounds weird, it's because he was wandering around the studio.
TAM videos can be found at
The TAM 9 Program can be found at:

We started the podcast as a regular recording, but then it got..a little...sidetracked
1:20 Mormons on the Doorstep
5:07 TAM INtro
7:40 How to find and meet skeptics at TAM
9:00 Setting the scene
12:15 Penn & Teller's Show
14:30 Workshop: Medical Myths
19:01 Workshop: Grassroots Campaign,
23:00 Advancing Skepticism online
27:58 Rebecca Watson's Comedy Hour
30:50 Quick List: Michael Shermer, Skeptical TV, Eugenie Scott, Lawrence Krauss, Jamy Ian Swiss and the Project Alpha,
34:15 Jennifer Michael Hecht,
35:58 PZ Myers
36:10 Pamela Gay, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Lawrence Krauss panel (moderated by Phil Plait)
38:50 Neil de Grass Tyson
39:48 Paul Provenza's Comedy show and Penn Jillette's Rock'N'Roll Donut and Bacon Party
42:00 Women Thinking Free Foundation vaccine clinic
43:20 Panel Ethics of Paranormal Investigation...with nearly everybody.
44:30 Sadie Crabtree
45:00 Getting Things Done
46:15 Placebo Panel
48:47 Elizabeth Loftis Manufacturing Memories
51:13 Richard Wiseman Magic and Psychology
56:42 An elevator aside by Greg and friends
1:02:40 SGU Live 1; Carol Tavris Dissent and Dissonance
1:04:29 Bill Nye
1:06:18 Richard Dawkins new book preview, brief aside on the size of TAM
1:13:48 Dinner with friends
1:14:20 Max Maven's "Thinking in Person"
1:15:30 Late night bar, Norway!
1:17:55 TAM paper presentations
1:20:42 Suzanna Martinez Conde and Stephan Macknik Sleights of Mind
1:22:24 Sara Mayhew Secular Storytelling
1:24:00 Panel on Communicating skepticism
1:28:19 Desiree Shell Learning from other social movements
1:28:45 Steven Novella on Mental Illness Denial
1:31:30 Diversity Panel
1:36:18 Jennifer Ouelette How Views on Space and Science have changed
and Sean Faircloth and The Attack of the Theocrats
and Randi's Closing

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching up on my podcast listening...

With a family wedding in June and TAM9 in July my personal schedule has been pretty busy lately. Long story short: it's taken me a while to catch up on a backlog of podcasts that I listen to. Being a good, obedient skeptic one of those podcasts is, of course, the Skeptics Guide To The Universe.

So I'm sitting at my desk listening to their episode 313. Good news stories and an interview with Matthew Chapman about his movie The Ledge. It's all fine and good until they get to the "Science Or Fiction" section. Then I got angry, not Hulk angry, but peeved.

Steve Novella's "Science Or Fiction" category that week? Can you tell the difference between real George Bush quotes or a fake George Bush quote. Episode 313 of SGU is dated 7/10/2011. A full THREE DAYS after I posted the "George Bush or Will Ferrell As George Bush" Poe's Corner from our 7/7/2011 episode 013. Oh come on! It's bad enough you folks have a great show with thousands of listeners, but you have to (allegedly) steal ideas from us pip-squeaks!?!

Of course you realize Mr. Novella, this means war!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jesus on a receipt?

Judge well, lest ye be judged. First: the video.

Now the picture:

Or could it be Osama bin Laden?

Maybe Charles Manson?

OR maybe a not-at-all-dead Paul McCartney?

Or maybe a distorted Dustin Hoffman?

Yeah, I probably should be working on other things...

Pictures from the Podcast

The Big Board (for varying values of "big")

Calliope joins the podcast

Episode 015 fights off skeptical zombies from outer space

Download it directly here or get it on iTunes
Greg's review of TAM9 will likely be posted Tuesday. And hey: I figured out the iTunes summary bits and things.

This Week:
Donna is elsewhere so it's just David, Greg, and Gary
Quick topic: Greg at TAM 9 to be uploaded in the very near future
Placebo Study
More TAM
Poe's Corner (at the end of which Gary and Greg miss a high five despite sitting fairly close to each other)
Ionic Power Bands at the Big Box Store
RNA and life's origins
Lightning Round

And we learn Calli does not like Scooby Doo, nor ethernet cables.

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Poe's Corner from soon-to-be-up Episode 015

David did the honors this week. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to choose which one is complete confabulation.

Poe’s Corner Episode 15
I offer a selection of jewelry designed to complement your style, enhance your energy and balance your aura. Each piece of jewelry is designed to have a different effect on your energy and mood.
Red Jewelry: When you want more passion in your life then you should try this color. Red is great to get in touch with your anima. A perfect gift for the dynamic and strong person, who loves to be active and strong and is looking for some loving.
Yellow Jewelry: When you need more fun in your life, you should try this color. Yellow is great to enjoy the beautiful things in life, it protects your solar plexus area. A perfect gift for the smart & fun person, who loves to teach, but is often too busy reading or partying.
Green Jewelry: A great way to protect the heart by wearing this gem close to your heart area. The perfect gift for the talkative person, who is very social, but needs some loving for themselves!
Violet Jewelry: For the visionary person who has everything already. A perfect gift to be even more creative, magical and create that dream into reality!
Blue Jewelry: When you have a hard time to relax you should try this color. Blue is great to protect the throat area. A perfect gift for the passionate person, who loves to support others, but is often shy and introverted.

What is the Indigo?
The Indigo is a new device that arose out of an already amazing device called the SCIO. SCIO stands for Scientific Consciousness Interface Operation system. New breakthroughs in Quantum technology were developed thus leading to the launch of the Indigo.
The Indigo Quantum Biofeedback System integrates the sciences of mathematics, quantum physics, fractal dynamics, subspace theory, electronics and computer programming. The programs include information from the following modalities: naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, energetic medicine, psychology, aromatherapy, reflexology, color therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming, biofeedback and the Rife Resonator. It also incorporates knowledge of metaphysical subjects to bring a unique synergistic perspective to natural healing.

AuraLator Aura Translator
Approximately five percent of the population can see auras, but most don’t know how to properly interpret them. The AuraLator Aura Translator allows anyone to easily match an aura with our validated Aura-Match personality profile system. You just adjust the hue and density on the AuraLator screen until it matches the aura and the Aura-Match personality profile is displayed. The Aura-Match system uses a three point scale relating to the person’s physical, emotional and spiritual balance. Connect AuraLator to your computer and you can even download and print the results! The benefits of knowing what an aura tells you about a person are endless. Is this person trustworthy? Is this person reliable? Could this be the love of your life? If you are one of the lucky few who can see auras, why not take advantage of your special ability, and see what’s in the souls of the people you interact with every day!

CieAura SinusAllergyRelief
CieAura SinusAllergyRelief Chips are extremely effective in dealing with sinus allergies. CieAura’s products operate from the infusion of Intrinsic Energy into a holographic chip. The chip aids the body to move itself toward its optimum energetic state.
CieAura’s SinusAllergyRelief Chip interacts externally with the body’s energetic fields that deal with sinuses. Nothing enters the body. Intrinsic energy operates in the quantum physics area (smaller than an atom). As a result, there is currently no device capable of measuring the signal; however, the effects of the signals can be measured antidotally. Because there are no chemicals, the reaction is subtle and there are no highs, lows or other side effects.
Proper Placement: The CieAura Transparent Holographic SinusAllergyRelief Chip should be placed directly behind the right ear. For additional relief placing an additional chip behind the left ear may increase relief.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Return from TAM: NORWAY!!! YEA!!!

Yes, I have returned from THE AMAZ!NG MEETING 9. Actually I returned from TAM early Monday morning, but proceeded to sleep the entire day away. It's typical to burn the candle at both ends at one of these conferences, but I also caught a cold the first day. I'm planning on eventually doing a "Average Joe's Guide To TAM" post soon, but for now I'll give you this one tip: DON'T GET SICK. If we've learned anything from elevatorgate it's that there are some simple lessons to learn. It may seem like that should go without saying, but last year I got food poisoning the day before I left for Vegas. One day I'll learn.

Now what you came here for: a description of my experience and a run down of events:

AWESOME. 'nuff said.

You want more? Well, I'll give my full account when we record episode 015 tomorrow night (complete with envious questions from the Skeptic Wire team), but here's a slightly less brief recap:

  1. Wednesday, The night before TAM started I gathered with a bunch of early arrivals to go see Penn & Teller's show at the Rio. Great show and both are personable and friendly after the show. I got into skepticism and atheism as a movement because of Penn's short lived radio show/podcast. He seemed thrilled to hear that.

  2. Thursday is "Workshop Day" at TAM. They always have two workshops going at the same time over four time periods, so you have to choose. Mostly these are essentially panel discussions with a smaller audience size, but it's still good quality stuff. The entertainment Thursday night was the "Rebecca Watson Game Show & Variety Hour." Rebecca and the Mr. Deity cast quizzed 5 notable skeptics on science, skepticism, and religion. The audience even got involved by getting prizes if the panel missed the answer. Best TAM run entertainment of the weekend as far as I was concerned.

  3. Friday began TAM proper. The obligatory live recording of Skeptics Guide To The Universe began the day (with a second hour recorded Saturday afternoon). All the speakers did well, but the stand out couple hours included the "Future In Space" Panel and Neil deGrasse Tyson's keynote address. The panel included a rather heated disagreement between Lawrence Krauss and the rest of the panel on the necessity of manned space missions (as opposed to purely robotic). There was an AWESOME moment when Pamela Gay, tired of getting talked over, shushed the rest of the panel (notably Neil deGrasse Tyson) so she could finish her point. She's so cool. Neil deGrasse Tyson's keynote was a funny, energetic, and call to arms review of the science illiteracy he's come across in his professional career. From serving on jury duty to the Pluto kerfuffle.

  4. Saturday, like Friday, is also full of speakers and panels. Richard Wiseman and Bill Nye seemed to be popular favorites, but personally I am in love with Carol Tavris. Go buy her books, send her fan letters, and take Oprah's network away from her and give it to Carol Tavris. We also were treated to a preview of some of the pages of Richard Dawkin's new book "The Magic Of Reality." Yes, Dawkins is a VERY dry speaker, but always fascinating to hear him talk.

  5. Last year Sunday was dead quiet at TAM8. So this year I scheduled my flight back to Texas Sunday night. Of course then this year they schedule activities through Sunday night! Damn my stupid thumbs!!! Well I was able to see a lot regardless. Sunday morning is when unknowns get to present 10-15 minute papers. Some can be kinda blah, but it was a good and entertaining mix this year. Including friends of the show Susan Gerbic-Forsyth and Phil Ferguson. There were several good speakers despite the doomed Sunday afternoon time, but I felt the stand outs were the "Communicating Skepticism" and "Diversity In Skepticism" panels. I made it as far as the closing remarks by DJ Grothe and James Randi, but I had to give some quick goodbye hugs and head out for the airport shuttle before they finished. To my surprise I found another TAMite (TAMmer?, TAMmian?, TAMareno?) was on the same connection flight with me! I could experience TAM for another hour!!

But in the end TAM had to come to an end. There's so much to take in at TAM that this post just scratches the surface. In fact I recommend you (faithful listener and reader) go get the TAM speakers list and just start googling, they're all awesome. Some of them have even reproduced or reposted their talks or panel discussion points on their blogs.

Don't be too depressed that you missed out on TAM this year. I've found out that a lot of TAM8's recordings are available on a site called There's already rumors that many, if not all, of the TAM9 panels and talks will be available online eventually. I'll post links when I find them.

Even the discussion of the panels and speakers only scratches the surface of the TAM experience. You find yourself surrounded by over 1600 wonderful people all happy to chat with you about almost anything you want. For me TAM8 was just about meeting people and getting my foot in the door. TAM9, personally, was about making friends and a real connection to the skeptical movement. As great as all the official events are, it's the people at TAM that make it AWESOME.

(PS: I'll explain the "Norway...YEA!!!" bit and let you know if there were any elevator issues on this week's show. So tune in!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Big Board

(which isn't so big, really)

And last week's, now that I think on it:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Update: Republican Marriage Vow

As we discussed in our podcast this week, former Senator Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachman signed onto the conservative marriage vow put out by Bob Vander Plaats. This marriage vow which at one point contained language stating that African Americans and POCs were more likely to be raised in a two parent household during slavery than under President Obama. The marriage vow also contained pro-conservative language (read: anti-equality).

Mitt Romney and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson have both declined to sign the marriage vow. And now, Newt Gingrich, serial monogamist, has also declined to sign the marriage vow.

Lets see who else signs on to this document....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Episode 014 wants to go to the dance, too

This Week:
- Greg at TAM8
- Texas teen Shree Bose wins Google's Science competition
- Kate Hudson's baby prediction failed
- Texas Marine Sgt Scott Moore gets a date with Milka Kuniz
- James Webb Space Telescope may be defunded
- New member of SA Holiste4ic Chamber of Commerce: Subtle Energy
Scientologist Squirrel Hunters(tm) come to small Texas retirement community
Graphoanalysis story in local paper
The FAMiLY Leader's Marriage Vow pledge
Question Evolution Campaign comes to Texas
Federal Government says marijuana has no medicinal value
Psychic Fair

And the dogs stay relatively quiet, preparing their plans to wreak havoc upon unsuspecting greenery.

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Poe's Corner

Crystal, Magnet, or Powerband?

Determine if the following statements were culled from a website promoting Crystals, Magnets, or Powerbands.

-It immediately introduces those frequencies necessary to stabilize the electrical balance of your body and support an open ion exchange.

-When your energy frequencies achieve a synchronized resonance, you can experience a calming energy force comparable with that experience by a person deep in meditation, which is a resonance equal to both Earth's electromagnetic field and deep space.

-It is important to keep it clean in order to protect it from outside negative vibrations.

- They are used to cleanse the person from bad or negative energy believed to cause an illness.

- They are able to receive, store, and release thoughts and actually they absorb our vibrations if we carry them around, regardless of whether we program them on purpose or not.

- It is mind boggling to note that organs like brain emit a peak magnetic field in the region of 3,00,000 kilo-gauss! This is when the person sleeps. At normal hours, the value of magnetic field may differ.

- It is said to have soothing effect on the cells, tissues and nerves, when applied to an affected part and cause to lessen the pain, stiffness, soreness or swelling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

With friends like these....

I'm thinking we need a stronger wall for church-state separation. Unless Perry makes it clear their advise will go directly into the "what absolutely is the wrong thing to do" file. Well maybe not directly: even a broken clock is right twice a day. Unless it's a broken clock that is, in fact, losing time, in which case there is probably a nice equation that will tell you how often the clock is correct. I'm thinking these guys are the latter type of clock.

Good luck on praying and getting an answer on how to fix the problems you helped create, Mr. Perry; as you have admitted you don't have any ideas or answers at all- and in fact you have stated the problems cannot be solved by mere humans- I'm thinking you probably shouldn't be leading us anymore. And thanks for the rain, too. No wait: that prayer didn't work, either. Shame.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heading to TAM 9 (From Outer Space)!!!

OK, it's 2:00 AM and I just finished packing for TAM. So much for planning ahead.

If you don't know what TAM is (A) I'm shocked and (2) here's the link:

If you're going this year please find me and say hello. I'll even sign one of the new business cards I bought to advertise the show (not that they'll be worth anything, but you never know). I'll chat with you, give you the real dirt on my fellow podcasters, and I'll even ride the elevator with you! I don't do the booze thing, so except for sleep deprivation I'll be coherent for talking any time of day or evening.

If you can't find me based on this pic from last year's TAM talent show, then your other option is that on Thursday or Friday I'll be walking around with a shirt that says "Ask me about my podcast!!!" on the back.
Good night folks. I'll see you soon and give you the full report when I'm back!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And now it blows up?

So gawker has taken up Elevatorgate, which has now turned into Everybody dog on Dawkins Gate (and rightfully so, for the moment). And yesterday we learned that the Texas Freethought Convention has changed locations, at which Richard Dawkins is suppose to speak. Maybe the organizers of the conference aren't going to tell Professor Dawkins that they have changed venues? And perhaps they expect that Professor Dawkins will drive (or, realistically: be driven) around angrily until he finally finds an appropriate platform to give his talk.

Oh, yes: it's a conspiracy I tell you. And a rift in the community! And...and...disagreement and futzy headedness! Oh noes!

Let's hope Prof. Dawkins gives his stance a bit of thought and attends some to his apparent inability to see a different perspective.

Episode 013's Poe's Corner

This week's Poe's corner brings us back to the original meaning of "Poe's Law." When dealing with satire, can you tell the difference between it and the real thing? Will Ferrel is pretty well known for his SNL George W Bush impression. So this week we have some lines from both Ferrel and "W." Some quotes are from George W Bush’s biography “Decision Points”, the others are from Will Ferrel’s one man show “You're Welcome, America.” Which are Poe?

Episode 013 is triskaidekaphobially afraid of itself

Download directly here or on iTunes

This Week:

- A few of us discuss church this weekend passed
- We saw Tim Minchin in concert
- Richard Wiseman releases "Paranormality" on Amazon
US Military promotes accupuncture
Poe's Corner
Holistic Chamber of Commerce
Lightning Round

And the dogs dine like Kings...well: Queens. And attend to their human by presenting dead critters mid 'cast. (Check out the very end of the podcast)

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blah blah blah blah blah

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poe"s Corner (Almost a week late)

One of the following statements is false. Click here to find the answer

The medical benefits of magnets have been touted since the days of ancient Greece, when Hippocrates reportedly used the magnetic rock lodestone to treat sterility.

Ancient scientists theorize that magnets promote healing by stimulating blood flow to the affected area, bringing extra oxygen and nutrients while reducing toxins.

Another hypothesis is that magnets create a field that alters how pain signals are sent along the nervous system.

Magnets don't just have to worn to be useful. Having a magnet near your work area will increase productivity and in the bedroom, magnets can help increase your longevity with your partner.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Episode 012 is well on it's way to reach 3

Download directly here or on iTunes

This Week:
- Kudos to Granite State Skeptics

- Alt-Med debate on The Atlantic

- Zombie Bugs

- Poe's Corner: Magnetic Therapy by Donna
(see blog for the text)

- Gay Marriage passed in New York

- Brief digression to furries/ plushies

- New members of San Antonio Holistic Chamber of Commerce

- Lightning Round

- A challenge to the Atheist Experience

And the dogs do a moving re-enactment of "Let me in! I won't spill any more beverages: honest!"

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Richard Wiseman is self-publishing his book

Called "Paranormality", it appears US distributors wanted a less skeptical look at the paranormal. So Mr. Wiseman is telling them to stick it. I agree with that attitude and he should be supported, much like skeptical hard sci-fi horror and space-football author Scott Sigler.

You can buy the Kindle version or "Paranormality" here (Amazon link)

Or the tree-version here (Amazon link) Link
Alas, I have a B&N Nook, but that wont stop me! It'll just slow me down. Maybe.

Richard Wiseman's site

Wiseman's letter:
Just a quick email to say that Paranormality, my book about the science of the paranormal, has just been launched today in the USA.....under rather strange circumstances!

Paranormality takes a scientific look at the paranormal, exploring psychic readings, out of body experiences, mind control, ghosts and dream precognition. It is very interactive and allows readers to develop various ‘superhero’ powers. Richard Dawkins was kind enough to provide an endorsement, writing “Wiseman shows us a higher joy as he skewers the paranormal charlatans, blows away the psychic fog and lets in the clear light of reason”.

The book has done well in the UK. However, the major American publishers were reluctant to support a skeptical book, with some suggesting that I re-write it to suggest that ghosts were real and psychic powers actually existed! We didn’t get any serious offers and so it looked like the American public (around 75% of whom believe in the paranormal) wouldn’t get the opportunity to read about skepticism. Then I had an idea.

I am going to self-publish an unashamedly skeptical book in America and see what happens. Today the book launches on Kindle and my UK publisher will ship physical editions into America (and it will appear as an iBook very soon). It all feels like a scary but exciting experiment.

If you are in the USA you can buy the Kindle edition here:

or the physical edition here:

This is the book that lots of people don’t want Americans to read and I hope that you will support the project.

As ever, thanks for your continued interest in my work!

Best wishes