Favorite SGU episode: Episode #423 - August 24th, 2013 - Hearing about the serious threats to rationalists and skeptics on a global level was eye-opening with the “Indian Rationalist Shot Dead” segment. The show also featured a critique of a hydrating beer study. The discussion of free roaming planets was also interesting because I never knew there were so many rogue planets. Finally, the show talked about the assumed link between sugar and hyperactivity…something that I thought was obvious until hearing this episode.
Favorite bit: The segment on misused scientific terms from April 13th. Many in the general public misunderstand science or specific hypotheses because they do not understand what common scientific terms mean. It’s important to point these out.
Favorite guest: Cara Santa Maria. I like her as a popular science contributor. And she’s cute…but that would be a sexist reason. So, yeah, I like her as a popular science contributor.
Science item of the year: I don’t think it was discussed on the show. But my science item of the year was human DNA identified in a 400,000 year old bone from Spain. With a close genetic relationship to a Siberian population from 80,000 years ago, it has added a new twist to how human evolution may have occurred. This new evidence adds plausibility to the idea that some human traits were the result of multiregional evolution. At the very least, it reveals that modern human evolution was not as straightforward as previously hypothesized by many paleoanthropologists.
Skeptic win of the year: I could say the death of Sylvia Brown, but that would be insensitive. Instead, I will go with another win. Book publishers in Texas choosing not to include information about “creation science” or intelligent design in their science textbooks despite the recommendation to do so by several Texas school textbook reviewers.
Jackass of the year: Deepak Chopra for his article series on “militant skepticism.”
Also, I’d like to mention...
My proposed skeptical movement slogan: “Skepticism: Keeping Science Scientific” I know it doesn’t quite capture the idea of following evidence or trusting a scientific consensus...but at least it’s easy to remember.