Token Skeptic Podcast

Token Skeptic Podcast

Canada

Why do we believe weird things? What does feminine intuition really mean? How do you become an effective activist for science and reason? Are you ready for a fortnightly show that poses these questions and more? Tune into the Token Skeptic for a slightly more skeptical look at stories in the news, urban legends, good science, pseudoscience, and what makes popular culture pop. Hosted and produced by Kylie Sturgess.

Episodes

Token Skeptic 218 - On The Quest For Wonder  

Trunkman Productions and The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome in association with the Science Museum are proud to announce a brand new six-part episode mini series, The Quest For Wonder, starring Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince and their puppet counterparts. The show will be a fun-filled caper through the world of science that is sure to delight both children and adults alike. Check out the preview for yourself here! The series made its World Premiere at a very special event on March 30th at the IMAX Cinema at the Science Museum in London and will be free online in April on YouTube, with special exclusive elements available to Cosmic Genome subscribers. I spoke to both the directors of Quest For Wonder, Trent and Melinda Burton about the creation of the series. This aired on RTRFM on March 29th on The Mag program. ***** A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr. Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com. This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.   

Token Skeptic 217 - On The Idiot Brain And The Elegant Universe  

Welcome to Episode #217 of the Token Skeptic podcast! Dr Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist working as a tutor and lecturer based at Cardiff University's Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences. His Guardian Science blog, 'Brain Flapping', has been viewed over 13 million times in the last three years - and now he has a new book out, called The Idiot Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head is Really Up To. Unpredictable and entertaining, Burnett's account gives us up-to-date research and the principles of neuroscience along the way. Looking at memory, intelligence, observation, social interaction and personality, Burnett explains why: memory is like a doting mother; tall people are more intelligent; criticism is more powerful than praise and much more. ******* This has been a great month for science communication in Australia. Touring now with Think Inc, Dr Brian Greene is professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University. He's written one of the great popular science books of the 20th century – The Elegant Universe, which is about String Theory. He followed it up with a look at the nature of reality – from Newton to Einstein and beyond in The Fabric of the Cosmos. As if all that wasn’t enough, he and co-founder Tracy Day established the World Science Festival (the first Brisbane offshoot of the festival just concluded this month). It’s an event that celebrates science on a world stage, with over a million visitors since 2008. I began my interview with him, just before the Perth show of his tour, by asking how he got started in space. ******* A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr. Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com. This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic 216 - On Health Supplements, Online Fraud And Bandicoots!  

Welcome to episode #216 of the Token Skeptic podcast! New data from national organ donation registries has revealed at least 6 people needed organ transplants after becoming sick from health supplements. Questions about the regulation of such supplements have led Health Minister Sussan Ley to promise she’ll act on concerns about the number of people needing medical aid after taking herbal supplements. Just how skeptical – and how careful – should we be about dietary supplements and health pills? I spoke to research fellow at Clinical Trials Development and Assessment at Sydney University, Dr Nick Fuller. ***** It’s good news to hear that amount of financial loss from online fraud suffered by people in Western Australia has almost halved over one year - dropping from $16.8 million in 2014, to $9.8 million in 2015.  Yet while those numbers and the news that losses from relationship and dating fraud are decreasing is great to hear – is it just the beginning of fraudsters trying a few new tactics to get at our money and possibly even risk our lives in the process? I spoke to Senior Lecturer with the School of Justice at Queensland’s University of Technology, Cassandra Cross - to fill us in on the realities about online scams. ***** WA is not giving up on bandicoots – after an initial effort to boost numbers hit a snag in 2012, there’s now a second attempt to reintroduce golden bandicoots to WA bushland. The Martu Operation Rangelands Restoration project, jointly managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Martu people, aims to reverse the trend of native animal decline. The little creatures are just one of 11 native mammal species being reintroduced to a property about a thousand kilometers northeast of Perth, after numbers declined due to feral cats, foxes and bushfires. Department of Parks and Wildlife’s fauna translocations scientist Colleen Sims joined me to discuss how bandicoots are staying gold. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic Special Episode - 2016 Perth Writers Festival  

It's all happening in town at the moment - the 2016 Perth Writers Festival! It's a yearly celebration of writing, literature, non-fiction and the authors and ideas behind the covers of a massive range of genres. Here's a round-up of some of the interviews that I've conducted; they've been aired on local community radio station RTRFM as a part of ArtBeat and The Mag. Dr Lisa Genova Jasper Fforde Professor Peter Doherty Cassandra Atherton Paolo Bacigalupi Nicki Logan Pip Lincolne ***** Sadly, more than a few of us have probably felt like we’ve lost a loved one before they’ve actually passed away and it’s a difficult thing to talk about. Not many people want to talk about topics like Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease, as they can be very scary topics.But that’s where good books can help. Dr Lisa Genova has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and has a series of books on what life is like for people and families facing challenges such as autism or the possibility of Huntingtons – you might have seen the film based on one of her books, Still Alice. ***** Jasper Fforde is a prolific author, most known for a series starring detective Thursday Next, whose adventures in “BookWorld” reflect Fforde’s interest in literary allusion and the intricate craft of fiction.He’s the first Perth Writer’s Festival author in the studio this morning, here to tell us about his new book, panels at the Perth Writers Festival and how he’s managed to create much loved works - and how he's even got his very own Fforde Ffestival! ***** Evidence is a strange substance in modern Australian society and it's a challenge to get difficult scientific concepts across to a diverse audience.In 1996 Professor Peter Doherty's pioneering research into how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells earned him the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine. He became the fourth Australian to win the honour and has since written a number of books  the importance of living in an evidence-based reality - his newest one is The Knowledge Wars. He's presenting at the Perth Writers Festival on science, climate change and more. ***** Cassandra Atherton has published eight books, including Trace and Exhumed, and judged numerous poetry awards.She’s also held lectureships at The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Sydney and Deakin University, and interviewed a number of American intellectuals including Harold Bloom, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Greenblatt, and Howard Zinn. She's presenting poetry at the Perth Writer's Festival as a part of the celebrations of language and literature. ***** Paolo Bacigalupi is a popular science fiction author who addresses pressing issues of today by showing readers what not dealing with them might mean for tomorrow.Dystopias where climate change, economic inequality and genetic engineering run rampant are the hallmarks of his work such as The Windup Girl - and The Water Knife - his latest - continues in the same vein. ***** Pip Lincolne is one of Australia's best known bloggers, launching her writing at "meet me at mikes" and wrote the bestselling book of the same name. She teaches craft and blogging and is the craft contributor for Frankie magazine. Craft for the Soul – How to Make the Most of Your Creative Life is her latest book.She's doing a number of panels at this year's Perth Writers Festival, on the art of crafting - and there's even some tips on making your own "recipe for happiness" ***** For local author, Nicki Logan, romantic stories are a best-seller - she's written 23 contemporary romance novels, specialising in nature-based romantic suspense.She was the President of the Romance Writers of Australia and has presented to groups across Australia and in the UK - and now will be appearing at the Perth Writers Festival. ***** A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic #215 - On The ConspiraSea Cruise - Interview With Colin McRoberts  

Episode #215 of the Token Skeptic goes out to sea - and back again! It’s an experience that may not appeal to everyone – a seven-day cruise at sea, aiming to “take back power from corrupt and greedy institutions, attain true self-authority, and realise our genuine Self behind the masks… discovering the truth, taking command of our lives, and attaining genuine inner realisation” – with every odd belief you can think of listed as entertainment: GMOs, Monsanto, bee colony collapse, ecology, global warming, climate change, fracking, HIV, autism, big pharma, medical suppression, vaccinations, flouridation,… electoral fraud, identity chips, 2nd amendment, and so much more. But Colin McRoberts didn’t let that deter him – in fact, he started a fundraiser to attend and was soon on The ConspiraSea Cruise, blogging his experiences and delving into lectures and talks to find out for himself: why do people believe weird things? His blogposts series feature at Violent Metaphors blog and he spoke to me for the Token Skeptic podcast, not long after the event concluded. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic 214 - On CSIRO Cuts, 40 Days Of Love, And Magic At Perth's FringeWorld  

Welcome to episode #214 of the Token Skeptic podcast! ***** Leading scientists protested during a national conference this week to appeal against job cuts at the government’s agency for scientific research in Australia, the CSIRO. The cuts, that will remove about 110 positions from the CSIRO's 140-odd strong Ocean and Atmosphere staff and a similar number from its Land and Water division, were announced in an email from chief executive Larry Marshall on Thursday. I spoke to Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick from the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW about her response to the cuts. ***** The Perth chapter of Christian group 40 Days for Life plans daily “prayer vigils” outside a Midland clinic during Lent as part of a global anti-abortion campaign. However, these kinds of peaceful protest aren’t without opposition – with Australian Medical Association WA president Michael Gannon saying a woman should not be “further punished” for exercising her right to an abortion. I spoke to the president for the national group Reproductive Choice Australia, Jenny Ejlak. Closer to home, Sarah Nielsen-Harvey has begun a counter protest online with a number of other concerned locals, called "40 Days of Love" - I spoke to her about what is involved. ***** Sylvia Mariani is Zatanna, Queen of Illusion - and she's performing two shows at the 2016 FringeWorld. She's a transgender woman who has performed nationally and internationally as a renown illusionist and mentalist - and has won WA Magician of the Year a number of times. Sylvia's shows "Zatanna, Magic from Z… to… A’ and ‘Zatanna’s Theatre of the Mind’ are playing in Perth as a part of the FringeWorld celebrations - I spoke to her to learn a little more about the mystery behind the magic. ****** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where interviews aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic 213 - On Science And Sci-Fi Drama and Arts Good For Health  

Token Skeptic podcast's episode #213! Check out the Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess and from only $1, get behind the scenes news and more.  ***** Inside a cryonics facility, seven people are woken from their icy slumber to find themselves alone in a locked room, unsure of what day, month or year it is. These strangers from different places and times must work out when they are - and where everyone else has gone! Thaw: A Science Fiction Play is showing at the Nexus Theatre at Murdoch University until Saturday,as a part of FringeWorld. I spoke to writer / director Stephen B. Platt about the production - and the rarely-seen world of science fiction on the stage. ***** Recreational arts – it’s something that sounds good for us – but just how good? Whether it’s great for your mental health, general well-being or good for society in general – these are questions that a group of UWA researchers have taken on board with a new study. I interviewed an author of the study, from the school of population and health at UWA, Dr Christina Davies. ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic Perth Fest And Fringe Special – Episode Three  

Welcome to the third Fest and Fringe Special Episode! This year, I'm doing a number of Perth International Arts Festival and FringeWorld Interviews and I thought I'd put them together in a few podcasts. Here's what I've been up to so far - feel free to suggest shows and events to tokenskeptic@gmail.com. **** Life is an unexpected variety show. It's full of mindblowing highs and soul crushing lows... so begins this one woman award-winning performance by Jenny Wynter called The Unexpected Variety Show - all about the unexpected twists in life, from unplanned pregnancy... to having your wedding disrupted by an elderly man wearing Speedoes. The Unexpected Variety Show is happening TONIGHT AND TOMORROW - so catch it quick at the Stables as a part of FringeWorld! ***** A is for Adult. But when do you become one? Joe Mooney's The ABCs of Growing Up is about the occasionally unsettling alphabetical journey about reaching adulthood. Told over the course of 26 letters, you'll learn things that you never knew you wanted to know. Throw out the school books, these are the lessons you should have learned a long time ago. I spoke to Joe on RTRFM, about the show that starts tomorrow night at the Four5Nine Bar, as a part of Fringeworld. ***** Scarlett Belle's Scarlet Letters is a brand new show written and performed by a international diva and Scottish sensation. It's an intimate and dramatic tale of love, lust and adultery, where she shares her true story of a promiscuous girl’s search for love. Although her underlying themes are serious and make you question our society today you can expect some great songs, laughs, enticing storytelling, erotica and some scantily-clad Scarlett scandal! She is self-producing this show in its Australian Premiere at the FringeWorld festival, appearing at the Noodle Palace and Midlandia from Thursday night.   Tremendous thanks to the FringeWorld Festival people and radio station RTRFM, where the second interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Kathy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic Perth Fest And Fringe Special – Episode Two  

Welcome to the second Fest and Fringe Special Episode! This year, I’m doing a number of Perth International Arts Festival and FringeWorld Interviews and I thought I’d put them together in a few podcasts. Here’s what I’ve been up to so far – feel free to suggest shows and events to tokenskeptic@gmail.com. ***** The Perth Writers Festival is back for another year, bringing with it inspiring writers and thinkers from around the world. The festival will be running from February 19 – 21, where you can catch workshops and panels featuring a strong food focus. I spoke to Katherine Dorrington, the festival’s program manager, to discuss this year’s exciting ‘paddock to print‘ line-up and much more. ***** Western Australia’s hottest young playwrights, Gita Bezard and Will O’Mahony are offering insights into the lengths some go to for friendship and the chance at a new life. As is often the case in art, these plays are also asking the question - what would you do? The two productions are under the Loaded label, currently showing at the studio underground at the State Theatre. I had the chance to catch both plays, called “Girl Shut Your Mouth” and “Tonsils and Tweezers”. I spoke to Stephanie Panozzo from “Girl Shut Your Mouth” and Hoa Xuande from "Tonsils and Tweezers".  ***** Tremendous thanks to the FringeWorld Festival people, the Perth International Arts Festival and radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own atjukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Kathy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic Perth Fest And Fringe Special – Episode One  

Welcome to the first Fest and Fringe Special Episode! This year, I’m doing a number of Perth International Arts Festival and FringeWorld Interviews and I thought I’d put them together in a few podcasts. Here’s what I’ve been up to so far – feel free to suggest shows and events to tokenskeptic@gmail.com. ***** Interview with director Jaco Van Dormael – director of” The Brand New Testament” – currently screening as a part of the Lotterywest Festival Films Season 2. God lives in human form as a cynical writer with his young opinionated daughter in present-day Brussels, Belgium. She concludes that her dad is doing a terrible job and decides to rewrite the world, which leaves God angry, powerless and adamant to get his power back. ***** Are you ready to get lost in FringeWorld? This year a 300 square meter maze has popped up in the Pleasure Gardens. The Get Lost Maze is produced by local creative agency JumpClimb in conjunction with the UK-Based Dot Comedy – and is an interactive attraction set to be enjoyed by all ages. I proceeded to get lost at the Fringeworld opening – and spoke to a Dot Comedy Get Lost performer known only as “The Father” – and to Festival Director Amber Hassler at the opening of the FringeWorld for 2016. ***** Playing at FringeWorld, presented by Company O, Oleanna is the story of a university student’s grievance with her professor that very quickly gets out of hand. The drama is high stakes, age-old conflict, two immutable opposing forces unleashed on each other while contained within the glass cage of a tertiary institution. I spoke to the actress who plays Carol, Rosalba Verrucci about the production. The production is currently playing at the Skye Bar, at the Hidden Bar in Northbridge. ***** Tremendous thanks to the FringeWorld Festival people, the Perth International Arts Festival and radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Kathy, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Token Skeptic 212 - On PhD's In Anti-Science And The Fading Symphony  

Token Skeptic podcast's episode #212! Check out the Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess and from only $1, get behind the scenes news and more. Also, it's the last week to help with the show at the Token Skeptic survey, that you can find at www.tokenskeptic.org. ***** The University of Wollongong has accepted a PhD thesis that claims that vaccinations are not for the benefit of public health and are instead part of a world-wide conspiracy. The doctorate by Judy Wilyman, has resulted in criticism of her research and also of the academics who allowed it to be awarded a degree in the university’s School of Humanities. I spoke to the Founder of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales and co-founder of Friends of Science and Medicine, Professor John Dwyer. ***** You may have been one of the millions – either donating or taking part – in the ice-bucket challenge to help research into what is either known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Motor Neurone Disease (MND). It's a condition that continues to need support for research and more - now and into the future. At the end of last year, Tim Minchin and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra came together to perform Neil Finn’s ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over' to help raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease Australia. But there is more to the performance than you might expect. I spoke to Dr Kirsten Harley about The Fading Symphony. Find out more and donate to hear the music and help the cause at https://thefadingsymphony.com ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Finch, Gerry, Josh, Linley, Gold, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 211 - On Welcome To Night Vale And Chinese Medicine Under The Microscope  

Propelled by a massive fandom community online, Welcome to Night Vale podcast exploded into popularity almost overnight, launching to the top of the iTunes charts in 2013. It’s about a community radio station for a friendly desert town, where conspiracy theories and the paranormal are real – including ghosts, aliens and angels… and the woman with no face who lives in your house. Creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have kept Night Vale independent, expanding to a touring live show and spinoff novel. The live show is touring Australia in February – and I spoke to Joseph Fink about the origins of the show and more. ***** A collaborative study led by Curtin University has found high rates of adulteration, substitution and mislabelling of traditional Chinese medicines (TCM), with the undeclared ingredients rendering many of the tested samples either illegal or potentially hazardous to consumers. 92% of the TCM had some form of adulteration or substitution – including in 26 products tested, element such as arsenic, cadmium and lead; medications such as paracetamol, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, and stimulants such as pseudo ephedrine. Of particular concern were heavily regulated drugs such as warfarin and sildenafil (Viagra). Researchers from Curtin, Murdoch University and the University of Adelaide employed a three-pronged method involving highly sensitive DNA sequencing, toxicology and heavy metal testing which, when combined, allowed them to assess the true composition of the TCMs. The findings have just been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. I spoke to Dr Murdoch University biochemist Dr Garth Maker – about what really may be hiding in your alt med. ****** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.  

Token Skeptic 210 - On No Jab No Pay and The European Skeptics Podcast  

The Australian federal government’s no-jab-no-pay laws will remove childcare benefits, rebates and the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year supplement from parents who don’t immunise their children. After legislation was passed by the Senate, the changes will start on from the 1st January next year, with exemptions for medical reasons. After she wrote a detailed blog post in response to the news – I asked an Immunisation expert from the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Julie Leask, on what is new and what remains the same with these laws. This interview aired in a shorter version (just the first nine minutes or so) on radio station RTRFM on Tuesday, 24th November. ***** Are you a skeptic want to know what’s going on in Europe with all those other skeptics out there? Or are you just an interested person who wants to know about science and reason, no matter where in the world you may be? The European Skeptics Podcast has started – and you should check it out. Find them on iTunes here and on Facebook here and their official site here! I spoke to one of the co-hosts András Gábor Pintér, about how it got started – and their first interview is out already – listen to the Pilot episode that came out on 18th November, featuring an interview with Gábor Hraskó, chairman of ECSO/European Skeptics. ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, ofwww.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 209 - On TEDxPerth 2015, Godzilla And The Story Of God  

Most of us have come across a TED talk before on the net, but this weekend the popular event is coming to Perth. TEDxPerth will bring together experts from all different fields to share ideas and talk innovation. From musicians to scientists, the event aims to cover as much ground as possible. TEDxPerth Creative Director Joel Miller joined me on RTRFM's The Mag to talk about what we can expect from the event today. You too can join in on the event, by checking out the livestream at http://www.tedxperth.org/livestream ***** This month was the anniversary of the longest running film franchise - Gojira, released on November 3rd, 1954. Godzilla is famously known for smashing down buildings and turning cities to rubble. He’s faced off against three - headed monsters, King Kong and even an evil space-version of himself. I spoke to the host of Kaijucast.com - a podcast dedicated to Godzilla and all of his rubber-suited foes, Kyle Yount. ***** The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate) is a comedy about God from the biblical texts themselves - and when you enter the mind of the creator of the universe,  from Genesis to Revelation, you soon learn that being God isn’t easy. Chris Matheson is a screenwriter whose credits include the movies Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey - and I got the chance to speak to him about this new novel, The Story of God. ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 208 - On The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, The Shonkey Awards And They Might Be Giants  

Scientology can’t seem to keep out of the news – for several years, some very high-profile celebrities have been quietly (or, in the case of Leah Remini – quite loudly) moving toward the exit and leaving the strange science-fiction cult behind. The documentary about the religion, “Going Clear”, has won a Golden Globe and is pipped for best documentary at the next Oscars. For 20 years, New York journalist Tony Ortega has been revealing abuses inside Scientology, with accounts from ordinary people as well as the rich and famous. His new book “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely” tells the tale of one woman whose investigations of the church led to years of scrutiny. He’s travelling across Australia, finishing in Perth today with a free talk at the Collins Street Centre – to reveal more aboutScientology‘s Dirty Tricks. I spoke to Tony Ortega about “The Unbreakable Miss Lovely“. ***** Ikea’s “leather” sofas, Kleenex’s “flushable” wipes and Arnott’s “canteen-approved” Tiny Teddies have each won the dubious honour of  a Shonky Award – for delivering the opposite of what was sold to customers. The 10th annual Shonky Awards – run by Australia’s consumer watchdog Choice – alert consumers yearly about some of the dodgiest and occasionally dangerous items out in Australian stores and online. I spoke to Choice’s Head of Media Tom Godfrey about what products deserved ‘the 2015 Shonks”. ***** They Might Be Giants  are an original band from Brooklyn, New York, who work continuously — writing, recording, and touring. They Might Be Giants are proud to have won two Grammys, sold a crazy number of albums, and worked with many great record companies, and even some real stinkers. I had the great opportunity to ask John Flansburgh whatever I wanted on RTRFM, so naturally I asked about the science albums the band did for kids. And some other things. They Might Be Giants will be touring Australia in November 2015. You should go. HUGE thanks to Adam and Caitlin from RTRFM, for helping make this interview happen! ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, ofwww.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.  

#PodcastDay Token Skeptic Special Episode  

Today is a day to celebrate the podcast – for it is International Podcast Day! As a keen podcaster myself, I decided to investigate just what podcasting means to people involved in the practice. Featured Interviews: Steve Lee – Steve is the founder of Modern Life Podcast Network, Two Thumbs Up Media and the creator of International Podcast Day. Daniel Midgley and Ben Ainslie – hosts of the Talk The Talk Podcast, that also features every Tuesday from 11-noon on RTRFM 92.1, Perth, Australia. Rodney Gordon – SuperLicense F1 – a podcast hosted by Rodney Gordon and Zachary Priest, in Melbourne, Australia. Wendy Zukerman – host of the ABC First run series Science Vs – a podcast that features on ABC Australia. Robyn Williams AO – host of The Science Show and Ockham’s Razor – podcasts that feature on ABC Australia. ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 207 - On Water Found On Mars, Adventures In The Anthropocene and The Science Show  

This is episode two hundred and seven of the Token Skeptic podcast! As always, you can support the show on Patreon.com/kyliesturgess, where I post updates, bonus content and even reward you for supporting my podcasts. The chances of anything coming from Mars may still be a billion to one - but the news of salty water being discovered there did get a lot of attention this week. Images of Mars taken from orbit indicates liquid water on canyons and crater walls, and could help NASA and other space agencies towards finding possible sites for life on the planet and landing areas for future missions. Tweeting up a live-storm about the news as it happened was Perth Observatory's Matt Woods, who talked to me about the discovery for RTRFM's The Mag. *****The most prestigious science book prize in Britain has been awarded to a woman for the first time. Science journalist and broadcaster Gaia Vince is the first woman to receive the 2015 Royal Society Winton prize for Science Books for Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made. It takes a look at humanity's pillaging of Earth's resources with research coming from two years of travelling the world. I spoke to Gaia Vince about her book and the impact of her well-deserved win. You can follow Gaia Vince on Twitter at WanderingGaia ****** Robyn Williams AM, is celebrating 40 years as the creator and host of ABC Radio’s Science Show. A leading science communicator, he has kept Australian audiences informed and engaged with scientific discovery, research challenges and the wonder of the new. The Science Show has always delivered the element of surprise and amusement that has been driven by William’s curiosity and sense of fun. I spoke to Robyn before his talk at ECU's Inspirational Leader's Presentation. ******Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 206 - On Science, Politics, Alma Sana And An Atmosphere Of Hope  

This is episode two hundred and six of the Token Skeptic podcast! As always, you can support the show on Patreon.com/kyliesturgess, where I post updates, bonus content and even reward you for supporting my podcasts. ***** Alma Sana’s dream is that children’s lives can be saved – through timely vaccination with the use of a simple reminder bracelet. It’s a human-centered, award-winning design, and the brainchild of Lauren Braun, who in 2009 was a volunteer at the Santa Rosa public health clinic – helping nurses look for indigenous mothers to remind them of the dates of their children’s upcoming immunizations. Lauren designed a simple immunization-reminder bracelet for children to wear so that mothers would be more likely to remember their children’s appointments and better understand their children’s vaccine records. Thanks to a $100,000 grant awarded to Alma Sana in November 2012 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alma Sana grew to an organization of twenty people as Lauren and her team prepared to implement a 6-month pilot study of the bracelet’s use in Cusco, Peru and Tena, Ecuador. They are currently pursuing additional funding opportunities to scale up their work in three countries – you can help by checking out their website at AlmaSanaProject.org. Follow Alma Sana on Twitter at https://twitter.com/almasanaproject ***** It’s been 10 years since Professor Tim Flannery released his internationally best-selling book The Weather Makers and now he’s back on the shelves with the optimistically titled Atmosphere of Hope. In the new book the author, documentary maker and climate change activist explains exactly how much trouble we’re in while outlining some newtechnologies that give cause for hope in the battle against climate change. The Climate Council had their second birthday this week – so it’s a timely release for this new book. Professor Tim Flannery joined me on RTRFM’s The Mag program to tell me more. Follow The Climate Council on Twitter at https://twitter.com/climatecouncil ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Finch, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 205 - On National Science Week (Part Two)  

Part two of what I got up to during National Science Week! Again, huge thanks to the organisers of National Science Week - and also to RTRFM and the radio show Talk The Talk - check them out for the full episode with the interviews we did live on the station, and consider supporting RTRFM's RadioThon. As always, you can support these shows and get behind-the-scenes content at www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - for as little as $1! ***** Neil Harbisson is the co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation, an organisation that promotes the use of cybernetics as body parts to extend human senses and perception. What does this mean? Well, Harbisson has an antenna implanted in his skull that allows him to perceive the spectrum beyond human vision. I attended a session at Curtin University during a quick side trip he made to Perth in early August to meet Neil - and to find out more about the life on the cyborg-side.   ***** Dr Siouxsie Wiles describes herself as a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast. Head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland, Siouxsie combines her twin passions to understand infectious diseases.  In a nutshell, Siouxsie and her team make nasty bacteria glow in the dark. Check out her fantastic videos on YouTube! Siouxsie is also interested in demystifying science for the general public, and raising awareness of the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.  She is a blogger and podcaster, and joins us here to help celebrate both ScienceWeek and RadioThon on the Talk The Talk show. This is a segment from the full show from Tuesday's RadioThon The Mag - many thanks to the Talk The Talk team, where you can find the entire audio (and do check out their show!) ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr and the Talk The Talk podcasters, Daniel Midgeley and Ben Ainslie. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Stephen, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Token Skeptic 204 - On National Science Week At #PerthScienceFestival  

Welcome to episode #204 of the Token Skeptic podcast! Huge thanks to the organisers of National Science Week, Murdoch University and the SciTech folks for helping me get these interviews during the Perth Science Festival - microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles will be appearing live on the RTRFM Tuesday Mag show this week! As always, you can support these shows and get behind-the-scenes content at www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - for as little as $1! ***** The Naked Scientists are a team of scientists, doctors and communicators whose passion is to help the general public to understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine. It's also an immensely popular radio show and podcast, which began even before the idea of 'podcast' was fully formed. I spoke to Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Georgia Mills - about their show, science communication and the joys of science festivals. ***** Ben Britton is the face of Nat Geo Wild in Australia and New Zealand. He's passionate about wildlife, and believes strongly in conservation through education. He has appeared in a number of documentaries and on various television programs throughout his 20 years of professional experience in animal husbandry and wildlife conservation that have taken him across the world. ***** Finally, here's some live audio from the ArtBeat show, from RTRFM! Hosted by Rhian Todhunter, guest hosted by me, and featuring Costa Georgiadis from SBS's Costa's Garden Odyssey and SciTech's Director of Science Partnerships Dr Simon Carroll. Because this is RTRFM's ArtBeat show - we talk a lot about how well art and science compliment each other. Photo featured is from Costa's Twitter account. ***** Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where these interviews have aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr and Rhian Todhunter. A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows.  Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.  This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Stephen, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

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