My friend Sara Mitchell works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center doing education and public outreach for the space agency. She and her partner, Maggie Masetti, interviewed me a while back for their podcast Blueshift, and the first part is now online.
We talked a bit about my history as a skeptic, and why we all need to keep asking, "Why?" There are three more segments to the interview that will go up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned to the Blueshift website and collect ‘em all!
Zach Weiner, of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and Kelly Smith, of Weinersmith, interviewed me for their new podcast, The Weekly Weinersmith. I am actually only their second guest, so we’ll see if the podcast survives.
We talked about the James Webb Space Telescope, mostly, though as usual when I talk to Zach we both revert to 15 year old boys. But only briefly, and only if 15 year old boys paid attention in world history class.
I’ll note I made a mistake in the interview: I said JWST will have 6 mirrors, but it actually has 18. D’oh! I remember very clearly picturing the telescope in my head (it’s hard to do a web search during an interview) and for some dumb reason I was thinking of the old MMT, which I’ll admit is a little bizarre. Heat of the moment, I guess. I wasn’t even within an astronomer’s usual factor of two, so I guess I have to give myself three geek demerits.
I think I made up for it by calling JWST — since its future is uncertain — "Schrödinger’s telescope".
In fact, the stuff I said about JWST deals mostly with its politics and budgetary woes. I’ve written about this before:
- Where will JWST’s money come from?
- The Senate has “saved” JWST? Hang on a sec, folks…
- The watershed moment for JWST
- Hubble’s successor: doomed or saved?
- Congress puts NASA and JWST on the chopping block
So there you go. I’ll note that it’s mostly wondering about JWST’s and NASA’s future until about 45 minutes in, and then we get all optimistic and fun.
Zach and Kelly were great hosts, letting me blather on until I ran out of air. Knowing them both — Kelly’s a scientist, and Zach a hugely devoted science enthusiast and supporter (he’s teaching himself advanced calculus and blogging about it) — this will be a podcast to keep your ear on. Subscribe to it!
I was interviewed by WGN radio host Mike McConnell this morning about the new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter pictures of the Apollo landing sites that were released yesterday. The interview is online, or you can grab the file directly.
We talked about why Hubble can’t see the landing site hardware, how the astronauts walked on the Moon, why the flags may no longer be there, why Moon Hoax stuff is silly, and so on. I had a funny moment of confusion when I was trying to count how many people had walked on the Moon, but that was quickly resolved. All in all it was a fun conversation, and I’m impressed with McConnell’s knowledge of Apollo. It’s always nice to talk to another Apollo fan!
Speaking of talking… on Friday, August 26, I was interviewed by Todd Whitehead from "Versus the World" — part of what he calls his Alpha Geeks series, including folks like geek musicians Mike Phirman and Marian Call.
As usual whenever I talk, we covered a lot of ground: attacks on science, global warming (which is on my mind a lot lately), and the like. It was a fun interview, and it’s online now, or you can grab the MP3 file directly.
You should peruse his archives, too. There’s lots of geek fodder to keep you occupied!
Every month or so I go on SETI’s "Are We Alone" radio show/podcast with Seth Shostak, and we discuss some weird scientifically distorted news item in a segment we call "Skeptic Check". The latest one is now online, where Seth and I talk about the recent news about the Sun’s potentially weakening magnetic field, and some folks who have leapt to the conclusion that we’re facing a new ice age because of it.
Here’s an article I wrote about this topic, and here’s the direct link to the show. [UPDATE: I just found out the AWA blog has links to the various show segments as stand-alone audio files, so here's the link to mine.]
The conclusion? Spoiler alert: don’t stock up on portable heaters just yet.
An interview I did with Keith Daniels of the counter-culture site Suicide Girls is now up on the SG website.
I’ll be clear: that page should be OK, but the site itself may be somewhat more than NSFW, in much the same way that standing a meter away from a supernova is somewhat more than Not Safe For Staying a Solid.
I’ve been a fan of SG for a while — it gives a strong, nerdy voice to decidedly non-mainstream thinking in a wide variety of topics, and the interview is like that. We covered a lot of ground: Hubble, NASA, skepticism, politics, life on other planets, the media, and of course Not Being a Dick (while still maintaining a motivating level of anger and passion).
Clearly, after ten years or more of doing interviews, I still haven’t learned how to make a succinct, pithy point. And while I do suffer a bit from verbal diarrhea, I’ll note that some topics deserve more subtlety and longer discussion. Sound bites tend to gloss over vital details, and not everything can be adequately covered by a bumper sticker.
To give you a taste, here’s part of what I said about skepticism:
It’s really easy to fool people, and it’s really easy to fool yourself, and if you use these skeptical ideas, you find out what the truth is. The whole idea of skepticism and science is to find out what’s most likely to be true, and what’s most likely not to be true. That’s the goal: to not fool ourselves, and that’s where the real power of skepticism is. That’s why it bugs me when people think it’s a negative thing — it’s not! It’s the most positive thing we have. It is the search for the real, objective truth.
There are tons of fascinating interviews on SG, including talks with folks like Felicia Day, Danny Pudi (Abed from "Community"), comic book writer (and skeptic!) Gail Simone, and many more. You’ll happily lose a day reading them, I promise!
[UPDATE (Saturday, February 12): the recorded webcast is now online for your viewing pleasure.]
On Wednesday, February 9, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern (US) time (01:00 Thursday morning GMT) I will be participating in a live video webcast with Andrew Shaner of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. We’ll be talking about the Moon — I’m sure the Moon Hoax will be in there, but I have a hard time staying on topic, so I imagine we’ll also talk exploration, science, and more. And really, I’m always happy to talk about any astronomy or skeptical topic.
This will be a lot of fun, and I hope a bunch of BABloggees will be there. The audience can participate by filling out a brief form and entering their question at the link above. Easy peasy.
P.S. Despite the poster, I really don’t know where you live. Well, for some of you I do. I won’t say who though.
I did a short interview via email with The Charlotte Observer reporter T. DeLene Beeland which is now online. It covers the usual stuff about how the Universe will kill us all, and it’s brief enough to read in between sneaking in games of Angry Birds at work. It’s part of a Blog of the Week feature they have there; Ms. Beeland has a list of other science bloggers she’s interviewed, too, with quite a few familiar names!
A couple of days ago I recorded a video interview with the Fourcast podcast, where four people sit around and predict the future. It was a lot of fun — we talked about beaming energy, world governments, Firefly, colonizing the Moon, and BBQs. Seriously.
Or you can watch it right here from the comfort of your monitor:
A few notes:
1) I’m not sure I was correct about Tesla coils, but they do seem to be a bad way to transmit energy.
2) It’s true, I still haven’t seen "Avatar".
4) I didn’t want to get into specifics on the religion topic (at the 24 – 27 minute mark) because this wasn’t the place, but if you take a look over at the Middle East and still disagree with me, well, I can’t help ya.
5) Yes, that’s Stewie on my wall. My wife gave me that poster a couple of years ago. Victory is mine!
My thanks to the guys at Fourcast for letting me spew unfettered misinformation* for an hour. It was fun!
That was not a typo. My friend/part-time stalker Ashley Paramore interviewed me at TAM 8 during the "Skeptics in the Tub" after-hours get-together. So yeah, we’re in swimsuits, and she interviews me. It was my first time being interviewed in a hot tub, so that all by itself is rather exciting to me. For you, seeing me partially naked may curb that somewhat. YMMV.
The background audio is a bit loud, but it’s not too hard to hear us. The red color is due to low light conditions plus the weird lighting outside at the casino.
As usual when someone interviews me, I’m a smartass for the first few minutes, but then we get down to business: my tattoo, Bad Universe, Universe Today, Pamela Gay, and skepticism. I listened to the interview, and I have to say I pontificate an awful lot for a guy standing around in swim trunks. Still, I’m glad I got a chance to say some of that stuff. The last three minutes or so are actually rather important… they’re important issues to me, but also, I think, to the skeptic community at large. And I’ll have more to say on that subject hopefully soon.