Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

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Radio Freethinker Episode 188 – The Not Talking Elephant Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on November 7, 2012

(copyright – The Economist)

This week:

– SkeptiCamp Fall 2012 review,
– Star Wars Episode 7 – Darth Mickey?,
– Talking Elephants, 

– The 100 year Starship Project,
– The Controversial Anthropocene
– The Rent-a-cop dilemma – What you should know about Security Guards

Download the episode here!

SkeptiCamp Fall 2012 review

Having enjoyed SkeptiCamp, Ethan and Don talk about what you missed if you couldn’t show up.

Find out more:

Star Wars Episode 7 – Darth Mickey?

Should we look forward to or be afraid of the final(?) trilogy of the Star Wars saga? Ethan proposed a scientific experiment. Listen to show and find out how you can get involved.

Find out more:

The 100 year Starship Project

The plan to select a committee to explore the requirements to develop a plan to start a project for the eventual design, construction and launch of a manned interstellar space craft that can be done in 100 years…or will take 100 years to get there…or both. Okay, its a little confusing but so is the future, the point is its an interstellar spacecraft that DARPA and NASA want to get  a start on; how can that be bad?

Find out more:

The Controversial Anthropocene

Humans are changing the planet. We are, directly or indirectly, responsible for one of largest extinction events in the planets history. Not since the stromatolites has a biological entity had such an effect on the atmosphere and climate. And yet, there is much debate as to whether human ‘geo-engineered’ earth deserves its own geological stage/epoch. Will we leave an impact that can be seem millions or years in the future?

Find out more:

The Rent-a-cop dilemma

There has been much talk in the new recently about the role and regulations regarding security guards and loss prevention officers. We take a look at their legal and professional distinction. We discuss that although they have a social standing, in law they have no more right to ‘arrest’ or ‘detain’ than any other citizen.

We also discuss the auxiliary issue about documenting via video and other recordings of both security personal as well as law enforcement officers while performing their public duties. Don notes a disturbing trend in the USA where it is increasing becoming illegal to document the activities of police while, for example, arresting individuals. A number of these types of recording has uncovered illegal activity of law enforcement activities.

Find out more:

Skeptical Highlights:

“Spot the Station”

Did you know you can see the International Space Station from your house? As the third brightest object in the sky, after the sun and moon, the space station is easy to see if you know where and when to look for it. NASA’s Spot the Station service sends you an email or text message a few hours before the space station passes over your house. The space station looks like a fast-moving plane in the sky, though one with people living and working aboard it more than 200 miles above the ground. It is best viewed on clear nights.

Spot the Station

CFI FreeThinker’s Book Club – The Canon

‘The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science’ by Natalie Angier From

In this exuberant book, the best-selling author Natalie Angier distills the scientific canon to the absolute essentials, delivering an entertaining and inspiring one-stop science education. Angier interviewed a host of scientists, posing the simple question “What do you wish everyone knew about your field?” The Canon provides their answers, taking readers on a joyride through the fascinating fundamentals of the incredible world around us and revealing how they are relevant to us every day. Angier proves a rabble-rousing, wisecracking, deeply committed tour guide in her irresistible exploration of the scientific process and the basic concepts of physics, chemistry, evolutionary biology, cellular and molecular biology, geology, and astronomy. Even science-phobes will find her passion infectious as she strives “to make the invisible visible, the distant neighborly, the ineffable affable.”

The book is available from the Vancouver Public Library (in book and audiobook formats!). The Canon is also available from online sellers such as and . Please make sure to read the book before the meeting!
Please bring your ideas for future books to the next meeting, or email them to us.
CFI Vancouver’s Book Club meets every second Saturday of the month at The Grind Coffee Shop on Main Street at King Edward.
Admission is free, however please consider becoming a member of CFI and/or making a donation to help keep this and other programs running.

2 Responses to “Radio Freethinker Episode 188 – The Not Talking Elephant Edition”

  1. Jake L said

    Um, the download link looks like its pointing to episode 187. Is that the right file with the wrong name, or the wrong link?

    • Opps, should be working now….Sorry about that.
      Remember you can also find the download link on the “Listen Now” page, just click on the episode title to listen or right-click and “Save link as” to download.

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