Tag: Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe

Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (of asteroid mining and Mayans)

By Phil Plait | May 20, 2012 7:00 am

As a change of pace, I was the guest rogue on this week’s episode of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. We covered a lot of ground, from Futurama heads to asteroid mining to Mayans… and I have an abysmal record at the Science or Fiction segment when I’m on the show, so you can hold your breath in anticipation to see if I finally get one right, or once again go down in flames. I’ll note, obviously, that I always get it right when I listen to the show at home.

And nothing says love like Rebecca promising she’d freeze my head. Such a romantic.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Debunking, Science, Skepticism

People's Choice podcast awards

By Phil Plait | October 13, 2011 2:00 pm

Every year at this time the People’s Choice Podcast Awards are held. This year, three different podcasts with which I am involved in some way are nominated in the Science category!

Big Picture Science (what used to be Are We Alone) is the SETI podcast/radio show where I do the (roughly) monthly Brains on Vacation segment with astronomer Seth Shostak. My friends Fraser Cain and Pamela Gay do the Astronomy Cast podcast (I’ve been on it a few times). And the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, where I’m a frequent guest and general rabble-rouser, is also nominated.

I like all three, so I have no problem if my readers vote for any of these. You can vote every day, once per day, until October 27. Voting resets at midnight Eastern US time.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science

Calling Dr. Oz: defend alt-med on Skeptics' Guide

By Phil Plait | April 27, 2011 1:53 pm

The other day, noted skeptic Dr. Steve Novella appeared on the Dr. Oz TV show. Steve is a promoter of medicine based on solid science, proven techniques, and reproducible results. Dr. Oz, um, not so much. In fact, on his show Oz has promoted questionable (at best, if not outright dangerous and provably false) things like homeopathy, faith healers, and even talking-to-the-dead guru John Edward. Oz has had such anti-science leanings of late that the James Randi Educational Foundation gave him their 2011 Pigasus Media Award.

Steve did a great job on the show, the best he could, but was hamstrung by the format of the show which gave Oz the last word and allowing him to frame the entire situation. You can read Steve’s synopsis of the episode on his site, and Orac has an excellent summary as well.

As a followup to this, Steve has invited Dr. Oz to appear either on his blog or on Steve’s podcast, the excellent Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. I think this is a fantastic idea, since that would remove Oz’s ability to frame things the way he wants, and would force him to defend his alt-med claims on their actual merits.

I liked this idea so much I tweeted about it:

That link goes to the short invitation mentioned above. I encourage my readers to retweet that tweet, write about this, and (politely!) contact Dr. Oz about it as well.

It’s easy to defend alt-med when you control the venue. But I think it would be interesting indeed to hear Dr. Oz defend it when he’s a) given enough time to fairly and completely make his point, and then 2) have educated, intelligent, well-informed skeptics questioning it.


Related posts:

- Steve Novella goes to Oz
- Homeopathy slammed by Australian TV news show
- 2011 JREF Pigasus awards
- Homeopathy: there’s nothing to it

Going rogue. Skeptically, that is.

By Phil Plait | January 16, 2011 7:00 am

One of the very few podcasts I listen to is Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Steve, Jay, Bob, Evan, and Rebecca speak out about topics scientific and skeptical every week, and for some reason (I suspect blackmail) Steve invited me to be a Guest Rogue on this week’s episode. I’ll note it’s the 287th episode, and OJ287 is the name of a prototypical active galaxy located 3.5 billion light years away! COINCIDENCE?

Yes, in fact, it is. Still, we did talk about active galaxies (COINCIDENCE?*) and other fun things, and while I won’t give anything away, I’ll add that my streak for Science or Fiction remains unbroken. Oh: it’s entirely possible we ran a little long, which is of course all Rebecca’s fault.

You can grab the show on the episode page, and I suggest you subscribe to the podcast using RSS, too. If you want to discuss the episode, join other fans on the SGU forum where you can talk about how awesome I was, too.

And yes, I was told it was Pauli, not Pauling. I was 70% correct, at least.



* Again, yes. Please pay attention.


Related posts:

- Rogue astronomer
- I have arrived as a skeptic, part 2
- Guiding skeptics to the Universe


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Debunking, Humor, Science, Skepticism

Rogue astronomer!

By Phil Plait | September 1, 2010 2:00 pm

sgu_logoLast week I was honored to be a guest rogue on one of the premier critical thinking podcasts in the world: The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Shockingly, we talked about "Bad Universe" but also UFOs, neutrinos, and I even tried my hand at Science or Fiction (I won’t spoil how I did, but apparently I suck at that quiz).

If you’re not subscribing to their podcast, you are most definitely missing out. It’s a lot of fun, and I bet you’ll learn something while you’re enjoying yourself.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Bad Universe, Skepticism

I have arrived as a skeptic, part 2

By Phil Plait | January 8, 2010 10:59 am

sgu_logoThe Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe is one of my favorite podcasts. It’s funny, informative, goofy, but most importantly goes right to the heart of a lot of issues important to the critical thinker.

I’ve done a lot of interviews with them, and sometimes they call me at the last minute when there’s some breaking astronomy news. So a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t too surprised when Steve Novella sent me a note asking if I could record with them that evening for their annual year-end wrapup episode.

What did surprise me is why they wanted me on: the SGU listeners had voted for me as Skeptic of the Year!

Well, wow! I was really floored when they told me this during the interview. It was totally unexpected, and quite an honor. I made some jokes about it in the interview, but now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I want to reiterate how honored I am. It was a great year for skepticism and skeptics themselves, with Simon Singh publicly defending himself from craven chiropractors who tried to sue him into silence, Amy Wallace writing about antivaxxers in Wired magazine, the Australian Skeptics heroically taking on (and being attacked by) the awful antivax guru Meryl Dorey, Randi publicly fighting his cancer with medical science, and so many more.

In that company, I stand paradoxically humbled and proud. My sincere thanks to everyone who cast their vote my way on the SGU forums.

I always really like the SGU year-end wrapup; it’s fun to listen in on the rogues reminiscing on the past year. This one in particular is a great episode. Here’s a direct link to the MP3 of the show, and if you don’t already subscribe to SGU, then go do it now!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: About this blog, Skepticism

Skeptical about methane and Uranus

By Phil Plait | December 18, 2009 10:45 am

I hate to make the obvious jokes, so I’ll simply say I was on this week’s Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe talking about methane on Mars and the tilt of Uranus. I’m glad they invited me on; I hadn’t heard of either of these stories until Steve Novella alerted me to them before we did the interview.

Basically, a new hypothesis has come out that the large tilt of Uranus (98°) is not from a collision, but instead had its natural tilt reinforced by a large moon that has since been ejected. Also, scientists tested the idea that the methane seen to change on Mars with the seasons might be from meteorites, and find that they don’t supply nearly enough to explain the observations. We also talk JREF, solar power, the Norway lights, and the usual nonsense. I just finished listening to the whole episode, and thought it was pretty good despite me being on it, so go give it a listen!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Skepticism
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