Author Topic: Podcast Topic suggestions  (Read 136671 times)

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Offline wannabeplato

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2009, 07:16:14 PM »
Thanks for all the input, guys. A few thoughts.

We do need to mention the forums more on the show. However, we have also received feedback from new listeners saying that the show can feel like it is just catering to the established in crowd. Everything has a down side - so we have to be careful about the balance.

We definitely like it when people suggest topics to us. Perhaps we can make this a sticky thread under Suggestions.

We actually do plan to do a "call in" segment. Here is our idea so far:
- In order to be eligible you must be on skype and have a decent headphone/mic combo, and you must be available Wednesday night between 9 and 11 pm Eastern time.
- People can submit the question or topic they wish to discuss (probably e-mail, but we could consider another venue, like a forum thread)
- We will choose a topic and contact the person to confirm their Skype readiness and availability
- We will skype them when we are ready to discuss their question.

Thoughts?

Love that idea.

Its a good way to foster the community even more, as well as get ideas and perspectives that may not normally be represented on the show.  You tend to have experts, and talk about the quacks... people calling in will potentially open up  topics that are Golden Calf's inside the skeptical community.
"Well, once again, my friend, we find that science is a two-headed beast. One head is nice, it gives us aspirin and other modern conveniences... But the other head of science is bad. Oh, beware the other head of science, Arthur. It bites." - The Tick

Offline Skulker

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2009, 07:56:58 PM »
Call-in idea could definitely work; I am assuming this would essentially be a more interactive form of the listener e-mail questions.  In any case, I think it would definitely make your listeners feel more engaged with the show.

But, do you have any way of screening people before hand?  A person may provide an interesting question or topic, but they may end up being terrible 'guests'.  Just a thought.  (Although, I suppose that's a risk you run any time you have an interview, and that's worked out pretty well...)
Pretty sure Steve could take care of this in post-production. If the caller is an ass-hat he gets cut.
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Offline JoelWhy

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2009, 07:59:29 PM »
Call-in idea could definitely work; I am assuming this would essentially be a more interactive form of the listener e-mail questions.  In any case, I think it would definitely make your listeners feel more engaged with the show.

But, do you have any way of screening people before hand?  A person may provide an interesting question or topic, but they may end up being terrible 'guests'.  Just a thought.  (Although, I suppose that's a risk you run any time you have an interview, and that's worked out pretty well...)
Pretty sure Steve could take care of this in post-production. If the caller is an ass-hat he gets cut.

I can just imagine a loud series of "BABABOOEY BABABOOEY" from a random caller.  ;D
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Offline Jake Jensen

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Bill Nelson's QXCI device prescribed Tuberculosis in a bottle to me!
« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2009, 11:02:04 PM »
I know that homeopathy already gets a lot of coverage, but I don't think I've heard anything on SGU about a specific device called the QXCI that homeopaths use to diagnose their patients.  Supposedly, it was created by a quantum physicist/nasa engineer/medical doctor/computer programmer, named Bill Nelson.  This is a quote from a stack of papers that I received from a homeopath about the QXCI.

Quote
The QXCI is a device like no other.  It is not linear.  It is a product of the cutting edge of science: Quantum Physics.  It is like virtual reality compared to an 1800's photo.  It is based on conciousness: the stuff we occasionally experience as intuition- that deep inner wisdom...

My dad took a sample of my hair to his homeopath and from that the QXCI was able to analyze the energy and vibrations of my 200 trillion cells.  It diagnosed me as having a tuberculosis miasm.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with quantum physics, this is what a miasm is.  : )

Quote
Miasms are tendencies and the inherited predisposition to certain diseases, like allergies or infectious diseases.  There are five major miasms: Psora, Cancer, Sycosis, Syphilis, and Tuberculosis.  Miasms can be inherited or acquired; dormant or active.

Inharited misasms are genetic weakness and can be trased back as far as seven generations.  With a Tuberculosis miasm there is a tendency to catch colds, coughs, chills, sore throats, pneumonia and lung disorders.  A family history of certain disease patterns helps to confirm the presence of an active or dormant miasm.  Active miasms are treated while dormant miasms are left alone until they present symptoms.

Acquired miasms are very prevalent, they can be acquired through sexual contact, or when diseases are suppressed by drugs.  These suppressed diseases can alter one's suscpetibility to the environment...

It gets funnier.  Here are the symptoms of tuberculosis miasm. 

Quote
Tuberculosis Miasm Symptoms

Acne, Albuminuria, Allergies, Appendicitis, Arthritis, Athsma, Bronchitis, Bedwetting, Bone Decay, Breast Tumors, Can't get out of bed, Catarrh, Catnapping, Chest congestion, Chilblains, Chilly, Colds, Coughs, Comea, Craves sweets, Desire for cold milk, Diarrhea, Dysnea, Ear Infection, Edema, Emaciation, Elilepsy, Erysipelas, Hunger, Exhaustion, Glands swollen, Headaches and wandering pains, Heart disorders, Hematuria, Hemoptysis, Hyperactivity, Influenza, Kidney Failure, Leprosy, Leucorrhea, Lung Disorders, Lupis, Mania, Menses, Nephritis, Neualgias, Neurasthemia, Night sweats, Paralysis, Pleurisy, Pneumonia, Psoriasis, Retracted nipples, Sensation of suffocation, sweating (profuse), Thirst (extreme), Tonsils enlarged, Vertigo, Weight loss, Aversion to work, Bored easily, changeable Moods, Creative but unable to follow through with projects, Depressed, Desire to travel, Emotions flash out, Enjoys swearing, Fear of animals, Hopeless despair of recovery, Insanity, Irritable, Mood swings, Nervous, Night Terrors, Opinionated, Phobias, Restless, Symptoms don't last long.

And here is what the homeopath recommended for me, even though I wasn't sick.   

 

Yes, you're reading that right!  It's tuberculosis in a bottle!  : )

There's a lot of information about Bill Nelson and the QXCI on the internet, most of which is hogwash.  My dad has already been taken in by this scam, and I'm sure many others have as well.  Could the amazing staff at SGU please do a piece on Bill Nelson and the QXCI?  My dad thinks I'm a government stooge.  : )

Offline JoelWhy

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #49 on: July 20, 2009, 12:11:19 PM »
Jake, that is friggin hilarious!  Ok, so it's a tad sad, but the fact your own dad thinks your a gov't stooge -- well, that's one for the ages!  Good to hear that you weren't suckered in by this nonsense.
"I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

Offline aethermist

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #50 on: July 21, 2009, 12:10:34 PM »
One thing I've noticed that hasn't been covered much on the show (at least not recently) is mass hysteria/hallucination. I think that the last time I heard anything about it was sometime last year, when the subject of genital retraction sydrome (GRS) in Africa came up.

Specifically, I'm interested in the social and psychological factors that influence these kinds of things. In many of the discussions I get into with my peers, the other person will defend versions of events espoused by multiple eyewitnesses (as in the case of accounts from 9-11 that claim to have heard "bombs" go off before the planes hit) by appealing specifically to the "numbers" argument. "They couldn't ALL be hallucinating," the person will point out.

Of course they could. Plenty of well-documented cases throughout history show how easy it is for people to get so caught up in the idea of something that they begin to physically manifest it (Dancing Plague of 1518, June Bug epidemic of 1962) or they conform mentally to a specific version of events (Fatima Sun Miracle of 1917, Asch conformity experiments in the 1950s).

But few people seem to realize that such phenomena are possible, even common. A discussion of some of these events and a bit about the underlying mechanisms (social/psychological) would go a long way toward not only dispelling the misconception that masses are somehow impervious, but also help many listeners to understand some of the reasons why crappy ideas catch on in general.

SGU does a lot of individual debunking, which definitely needs to continue. But a little more discussion of the factors at work "behind the curtain" of the mind and society would help skeptics understand how the other side in any argument can be so convinced of its own position. That understanding is essential for wooing new converts.

Anyhow, that's my two cents.

Offline Si26

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #51 on: August 10, 2009, 09:36:15 AM »
How about a topic on cracking animal communication?

Offline liam

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #52 on: August 10, 2009, 10:14:45 AM »
Two things:

First, there's Guaifenesin as a "cure" for Fybromyagia (this article pretty much says it all: http://www.fmnetnews.com/resources-alert-product6.php).

Second, the proposed FDA ban on vicodin and percocet, which is commonly used as a painkiller for Fybromyalgia patients. This is intended to reduce the problems (like death) that addicts have using these drugs, but it completely throws anyone who uses the drugs responsibly under the bus. I personally feel this is similar to saying "People die from car crashes, so we should ban cars ... and we won't provide any details about alternative transportation and let you figure out what will work best."

Offline Batmaz

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2009, 10:07:57 AM »
I would really like to hear an episode on mental illness denial. It's been mentioned very briefly in passing in past episodes but it's never been discovered in very much depth, and I don't know whether it's because of how taboo mental illness is, or it's not as prevalent as other more popular conspiracy beliefs, or maybe nobody has ever thought to bring the topic up. Mental illness is an issue that affects me very deeply and I've always known how delicate and complicated an issue it is, but the first time I found out that there were people actually denying its existence it appalled me. My father has bipolar disorder, my ex boyfriend had borderline personality disorder, my sister and I both suffer from depression and my current boyfriend has suffered from depression for years and attempted suicide twice in the past, and that's just my immediate friends and family. I don't know what I'd do if I came face to face with somebody who denied the existance of any of these things and I would really appreciate the panel exploring this issue further. I certainly know that it exists, but there's only so far I can go with my research (so I only know what wikipedia can tell me) and it would mean a great deal to me if I could hear the lies some people are propagating and how to rebuff these attacks.
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Offline kawarthajon

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2009, 04:01:04 PM »
I would really like to hear an episode on mental illness denial. It's been mentioned very briefly in passing in past episodes but it's never been discovered in very much depth, and I don't know whether it's because of how taboo mental illness is, or it's not as prevalent as other more popular conspiracy beliefs, or maybe nobody has ever thought to bring the topic up. Mental illness is an issue that affects me very deeply and I've always known how delicate and complicated an issue it is, but the first time I found out that there were people actually denying its existence it appalled me. My father has bipolar disorder, my ex boyfriend had borderline personality disorder, my sister and I both suffer from depression and my current boyfriend has suffered from depression for years and attempted suicide twice in the past, and that's just my immediate friends and family. I don't know what I'd do if I came face to face with somebody who denied the existance of any of these things and I would really appreciate the panel exploring this issue further. I certainly know that it exists, but there's only so far I can go with my research (so I only know what wikipedia can tell me) and it would mean a great deal to me if I could hear the lies some people are propagating and how to rebuff these attacks.

I agree with Batmaz.  Mental illness denial is a really important topic.  I think it is a really good example of how the pseudoscience can straddle the issue - there is both a lot of pseudoscience in the mental illness denial camp, but also among mental health professionals and counsellors.  I myself work as a social worker in the mental health field and find the whole issue very confusing.  There is a huge gap between the researchers in the mental health field and the practitioners and this gap is growing at an alarming rate.  I have to say that there are some major problems with the history of psychiatry and problems with the current practice of psychiatry (at least in Canada) which need to be addressed and probably lend credibility to the mental illness deniers. 

The issue of denial also straddles the boundary between mainstream culture and ideas, and the more extreme, fringe, cultish side of the spectrum.  We hear a lot about the crazy scientologists denying that mental illnesses exist, but I have also come across respected academics (at the University of Toronto) who have built their entire lengthy career on mental illness denial.  I have also been to presentations at therapy conferences where the presenters where speaking about the fact that mental illness does not exist. 

Offline Mark7300

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2009, 04:04:28 PM »
Energy. We are walking right into a huge energy crunch. Oil is getting increasingly hard to find and produce, as is gas.

Our lifestyles are going to change over the next few decades. Science holds the ability to make sure we improve our standard of life. Until the problem is talked about nothingmuch will change.
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Offline lovehealthsuccess

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #56 on: August 15, 2009, 05:36:30 PM »
I'd like to suggest a topic for "5x5" episode:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Seems like a good fit for the panel....as there are elements of medicine, alternative treatments, controversy over even its existence, disagreement about causes, etc.

Whadda' ya' think?


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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2009, 08:36:40 PM »
I'd like to suggest a topic for "5x5" episode:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Seems like a good fit for the panel....as there are elements of medicine, alternative treatments, controversy over even its existence, disagreement about causes, etc.

Whadda' ya' think?


CHEERS!

D

That sounds like a good idea. I think they briefly discussed it in a really old SGU episode, but a new overview of what it is (and isn't), as well as the different treatments, would be nice.

Offline Epicurious

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #58 on: August 18, 2009, 06:09:41 AM »
I know that this has probably been done to death, but not for a while when I go through the SKUG archives, but one on astrology would be good. My reasoning:

My girlfriend is a huge skeptic and was the one who got me listening 'religiously' to your podcasts. We both love your show and we both feel that we learn so much: not just the information that you provide but the lasting effect it has on us.  We - and especially me - both seek to research things a little closer before believing them on face value.

In the past, she has, on numerous occasions, challenged me on things that I have previously read or heard and usually I come off worse when I realise that my sources have been poor or unsubstantiated. However, the one topic that she allows herself to be influenced by is astrology. I must make clear that she realises that it is rubbish, but she can't help but buy into several aspects of it. For one, she likes to guess people's star signs. For the most part she would not care, but she says she is almost always correct when it comes to identifying pisceans and aquarians - including myself. Interestingly, although this has possibly only happened about three times in my life, everybody who cares to guess, has also identified me as an aquarian.

So knowing that star signs are a load of cr*p, is there any way that seasonal influences could effect a child in utero e.g. seasonal foods, the weather, light levels... that could account for this? Or has she, just been lucky?
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Offline JoelWhy

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Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
« Reply #59 on: August 18, 2009, 12:29:04 PM »
but she says she is almost always correct when it comes to identifying pisceans and aquarians - including myself. Interestingly, although this has possibly only happened about three times in my life, everybody who cares to guess, has also identified me as an aquarian.

So knowing that star signs are a load of cr*p, is there any way that seasonal influences could effect a child in utero e.g. seasonal foods, the weather, light levels... that could account for this? Or has she, just been lucky?

She's most certainly been lucky.  Or, more likely, she's suffering from confirmation bias (i.e. she remembers the times she guessed right, but forgets the wrong guesses.)  And, maybe you have the classic features associated with an a picese or wahtever, but that's again just a coincidence.

If you really want to press this issue with her, you could easily set up a simple test.  Next time you're at a bar, go around (without her being with you) and tell people you're running an experiment and that you need their astrological sign.  Get 10 people and have her ID the Picese.  Not exactly a particularly scientific test, and she'd have a 10% chance of guessing it correctly, but that means you have a 90% chance of hearing her excuses for why she got it wrong.

Or, you could just leave it be and not push her into dumping you for her Capricorn soul mate or something ;).
"I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony