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14 November 2016

LUEE Episode 114: Ray Comfort's "Atheist Delusion"

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Gem, and Laura review Ray Comfort's new "documentary" with special guests Ash Burkowski and David Bonwick, and the panel bids farewell to evangelical cartoonist Jack Chick with a game of Jack or Fiction.

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

Links: Bad Science Watch | NHP Monograph Consultations (Bad Science Watch) | TRC #420: Origin of 420 + Gem Newman of Bad Science Watch + History Of Halloween (The Reality Check) | The Atheist Delusion (YouTube) | Checkmate, Atheists! (YouTube) | Jack Chick (RationalWiki) | Leonard Nimoy Gallery (NSFW)

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19 October 2016

LUEE Episode 113: "Unsealed: Conspiracy Files"

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, we're trying something completely different! Are rich people harvesting organs from clones? Did Hitler fake his own death (six times)? Are CIA remote viewers peering inside your mind? Join Ashlyn and Lauren as they watch "Unsealed: Conspiracy Files" to find out!

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

Correction: While it has been widely reported that the Mars Curiosity Rover sings itself “Happy Birthday” every year, and this did indeed occur in 2013, it seems to have been a one-time event (but this has been frustratingly difficult to verify).

Links: Unsealed: Conspiracy Files (IMDb)

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15 October 2016

Story Circle: Horror

This is the story of, among other things, the second most horrifying thing that has ever happened to me. It's a fun story, I promise.

But first, a preamble.

I have spent the last two days in Minneapolis for NerdCon: Stories, which was without a doubt the most wonderful failure I've ever been party to. From writing workshops to an intimate chat with Saladin Ahmed to watching Paul Sabourin lip sync a serenade to Patrick Rothfuss, I've had a truly lovely time.

As I mentioned on last month's episode of the podcast, I have obsessive compulsive disorder* (perhaps heavier on the obsessiveness than on the compulsiveness, but they go hand in glove). This makes it very difficult for me to, for example, put together a podcast segment without spending six or so hours scripting it. (And then several more hours editing it after the fact.)

Unless it is ephemeral, it must be perfect. And that's unhealthy.

I also have trouble changing plans or being spontaneous and I spend way too much time in my own head. Simply coming to a convention brings me outside of my comfort zone, but I wanted to take it one step further. To this end, I decided to take part in a storytelling event at NerdCon called Story Circle, in which attendees were invited to share a personal story on the theme of horror.

I spoke unscripted (although I couldn't stop myself from jotting down a few bullet points beforehand) and largely unrehearsed, which I found quite difficult. And rather than spending a few hours editing the audio I recorded, I present it entirely unedited (save for the addition of some lovely music by Ian James) below, which I find excruciating.

So.

This is a true story. Some things in it probably aren't exactly true, because that's not how memory works. As Dr. Steven Novella is fond of pointing out, our memories simply aren't very good. They change over time, and sometimes they are entirely fictitious.

So some of the details here are almost certainly wrong. But the broad strokes are there. (And they are, for what it's worth, corroborated by others who also possess very flawed memories. But what are you going to do?)

You can listen to my story here.


* On the subject of OCD, John Green's talk was very good. You can read it here, but I warn you that the subject matter is not light.

And here's where I must admit that in the past I have even taken episodes edited by Ian or Lauren and re-edited them before uploading because I noticed that I stammered a little too much in this sentence, or I repeated myself over there. I... I try not to do that anymore.

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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