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12 September 2016

LUEE Episode 112: Did Aliens Build the Pyramids?

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, we discuss ancient astronauts and the space-alien pseudohistories of Erich von Däniken, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Raëlians.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Correction: The Garden of Eden wasn’t near Jacksonville, MO, as Gem asserted. It was actually (according to Brigham Young) in Jackson County, MO. We apologise for this error.

Links: Episode 105: Mental Health & Stigma (LUEE) | Episode 110: Science & Race (LUEE) | Episode 106: Parapsychology (LUEE) | Ancient astronauts (Wikipedia) | Chariots of the Gods? (Wikipedia) | Iron pillar of Delhi (Wikipedia) | On the corrosion resistance of the Delhi iron pillar (R. Balasubramaniam) | Comparison of Babylonian and Noahic Flood Stories (ReligiousTolerance.org) | Interpretations of Genesis 1:1 (ReligiousTolerance.org) | PZ Myers Helps Us Plunder the Riches of L. Ron Hubbard's Book of Scientology Evolution (Underground Bunker) | Hubbard and the Occult (Jon Atack) | Lawrence Wollersheim (Wikipedia) | Up the Bridge: Our step-by-step series on Scientology's 'Bridge to Total Freedom' (Underground Bunker) | Let's Sell These People A Piece of Blue Sky: Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology, by Jon Atack | Bare-faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard, by Russell Miller | Going Clear (Wikipedia) | Nation of Islam (Wikipedia) | Heaven's Gate (Wikipedia) | Raëlism (Wikipedia)

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15 August 2016

LUEE Episode 111: Insect Repellents

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Laura, and Gem discuss insect repellents, natural and artificial, historical and modern, and ask the question: "Do any of these natural bug sprays actually work?" The answer might surprise you! (Yes. The answer is "yes".)

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Links: Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing (NIH) | The Efficacy of Some Commercially Available Insect Repellents for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Journal of Insect Science) | The Mosquito Patch | Thiamin Health Professional Fact Sheet (NIH) | Repellent efficacy of DEET, MyggA, neem oil and chinaberry oil against Anopheles arabiensis (Malaria Journal) | Neem oil (Wikipedia) | Neem Oil Fact Sheet (National Pesticide Information Center) | Vitamin B1 as a Mosquito Repellent (Livestrong) | The Effect of Exercise and Heat on Vitamin Requirements (NCBI Bookshelf) | The Excretion of Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Pantothenic Acid in Sweat (Journal of Biological Chemistry) | Citronella oil (Wikipedia) | Toxicological evaluation of neem oil: acute and subacute toxicity (PubMed) | Stink Bugs and Cedar Spray (Orkin) | Homemade Bug Repellent with Essential Oils | Mozi-Q Fools the Dragons (Science-Based Pharmacy) | Homeopathic Insect Repellent: Is there anything the Natural Health Products Directorate won't approve? (Skeptic North) | Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil as Bug Spray Review (Consumer Reports) | Apple Cider Vinegar: 13+ Health Benefits (Reader's Digest) | How to Make a Natural Flea and Tick Remedy with Apple Cider Vinegar (WikiHow) | Mosquito repellent effectiveness: A placebo controlled trial comparing 95% DEET, Avon Skin So Soft, and a "special mixture" (BC Medical Journal) | Lethal dose (Wikipedia) | Nicotine (PIM) | Is glyphosate, used with some GM crops, dangerously toxic to humans? (Genetic Literacy Project) | The Four Best Bug Repellents: DEET, IR3535, Picaridin, Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus Most Effective, Says EWG (MedicalDaily) | DEET (Wikipedia) | Deet (Extension Toxicology Network) | IR3535 (Wikipedia) | Ethyl Bytulacetylaminopropionate IR3535 (WHO) | Icaridin (Wikipedia) | Icaridin (WHO) | 2-Undecanone (Wikipedia) | Mosquitoes Repelled by Tomato-Based Substance; Safer, More Effective Than DEET (ScienceDaily) | 2-Undecanone Safety Data Sheet (Fisher Science) | Mosquito coil (Wikipedia) | Pyrethrins (Extension Toxicology Network) | Mosquito Coil Emissions and Health Implications (NIH) | DIY Mosquito Trap: How Mosquito Magnets Work (HowStuffWorks) | Mosquito Magnet Test Studies

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18 July 2016

LUEE Episode 110: Science & Race

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Lauren, Ashlyn, and Laura discuss science's rocky history with issues of race and talk about some racist pseudosciences that continue to masquerade as science today.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Note: If you notice an improvement in our audio quality, that's thanks to Pat Roach from The Reality Check who introduced us to a great auto-levelling tool. Thanks, Pat!

Links: Scientific racism (Wikipedia) | New Analysis Challenges Study Suggesting Racial Bias at NIH (Science) | The Amazing Atheist’s Racism (Martin Hughes) | If you speak out against hate, the atheist community has your back (Martin Hughes) | Race (Wikipedia) | Shovel-shaped incisors (Wikipedia) | Forensics 101: Race Determination Based on the Skull (Skeleton Keys) | The Social Construction of Race (Jacobin) | Phrenology (Wikipedia) | History of Phrenology on the Web | History of eugenics (Wikipedia) | Immigration Act of 1924 (Wikipedia) | Introduction to Eugenics (Genetics Generation) | Human Testing, the Eugenics Movement, and IRBs (Learn Science at Scitable) | Feeble-minded (Wikipedia) | The Kallikak Family (Wikipedia) | Alberta Eugenics Board (Wikipedia) | Eugenics (Wikipedia) | Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta (Wikipedia) | Canada's Human Rights History: Eugenics | The Scared White People Who Love Donald Trump (VICE Canada) | The anthropologists really are buzzing (Pharyngula) | ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ and ‘Inheritance’ (The New York Times) | Letters: "A Troublesome Inheritance" (Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary, and Human Genomics) | The hbd delusion (Pharyngula) | Race and intelligence (Wikipedia) | Satoshi Kanazawa (Wikipedia) | Academic racism has a K=N problem (Noahpinion) | The Creepy Internet Movement You'd Better Take Seriously (Vocativ) | Curtis Yarvin (Wikipedia)

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13 June 2016

LUEE Episode 109: The Quiz Show Show!

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Laura, Gem, and Lauren each prepare a quiz to test their fellow panelists' knowledge in a variety of scientific and pseudoscientific domains.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Pregnancy Quiz (Laura): 6 Bizarre Childbirth Myths From Ancient History | 15 Ancient Childbirth Myths | In Search of Human Placentophagy: A Cross-Cultural Survey of Human Placenta Consumption, Disposal Practices, and Cultural Beliefs | Against all odds | Miracle child | Vanishing Twin Syndrome | The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery

Cat Genetics Quiz (Ashlyn): Genetic Anomalies of Cats | Sphynx Cat | Tortoiseshell cat | Manx cat | Basic Feline Genetics | Basic Genetics as Revealed by Cats | Cat coat genetics | Cat body-type mutation | Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets | Inherited deafness in white cats

You Have a Degree in Baloney! (Gem): Institute for Integrative Nutrition: Curriculum Guide | Canadian School for Natural Nutrition: Natural Nutrition Courses | Canadian School for Natural Nutrition: Advanced Holistic Nutritionist Workshops | Toronto School of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Courses | Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine Post-Graduate Program Outline | Pacific Rim College Community Herbalist Certificate

Peril! (Lauren): Can We Trust Crime Forensics? | Pseudoscience in the Witness Box | The Criminal Profiling Deception | CSI effect | How to Interrogate Suspects | Turkic mythology | List of flood myths | List of Māori deities | Leviathan | Viracocha | Curiosity Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Itself On Mars: Video | Planets & Their Moons | Jupiter's Great Red Spot is Shrinking | Islets of Langerhands | J! Archive

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30 May 2016

tread

I made a thing. It's called tread, and it's a simple terminal RSS feed reader that I wrote in Python.


tread has most of the basic features you would expect from a feed reader, including read/unread tracking and starred items. It even supports displaying images via imgii. And if you don't mind fiddling with a YAML file, it's also fairly configurable.

Since it's available on PyPI, installing tread is actually pretty easy:

pip3 install tread

The source code, along with the readme and basic usage instructions, is available here. (But fair warning: the code is awful, and you don't want to look at it too closely.) I do not guarantee it to be bug-free (in fact, I guarantee the opposite!), but if for some reason you want a Google Reader replacement that runs in a terminal window, I've got you covered.

Because of some esoteric requirements of curses (the most aptly named library, as bcj is fond of pointing out), tread requires Python 3.5 and does not run natively on Windows.