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Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

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Radio Freethinker Episode 189 – The End of Coffee Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on November 13, 2012

This week:
– Coffee plant soon to be extinct,
– Talking Elephants, 

– Tyson find Superman’s home planet,
– Autism ‘links’ to the flu
– Mandatory Flu Vaccination – why doctors resist

Download the episode here!

Coffee plant soon to be extinct

According to scientist, coffee in the ‘wild’ will be extinct before the century is out. Its human destruction of habitat and climate change to blame. What impact will this have on our cup-of-Joe at the bux? Hint: did you know the commercial banana went extinct 100 years ago but we had the wild variety to ‘re-create’ a new commercial crop.

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Talking Elephants

We respond to reports about a Korean Elephant that has learnt to ‘talk’ to its trainers. We compare this to other reports of talking animals and the idea that ‘this class’ of animal can ‘communicate’ as we do at all. What does ‘communicate’ even mean to an ‘alien’ species…like an elephant or whale?

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Tyson find Superman’s home planet

When DC comics ask Neil De Grass Tyson to do a cameo in an upcoming edition of Superman, little did they realize they would be getting a big side order of science to go in as well. Listen to find out where Kryton really could have been.

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Autism ‘links’ to the flu

In the past, we have talked about how major news agencies often misrepresent science. We have talked about how Autism discussion in the media often parrot the ‘anti-vax’ position as ‘fair and balanced’. This week we talk about a report in NBC that got most of it right. Science was hyped but in the end it trashed the Anti-vax position about vaccination and urged pregnant women to get the flu shot.

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Mandatory Flu Vaccination – why doctors resist

It is flu season again and the usual push to get every one, especially vulnerable groups, vaccinated. Doesn’t vaccination give permanent immunity? Then why an annual shot? How do the great the vaccine and is it effective? We answer these question and more with the help of special guest Dr. Rob Tarzwell.

We also talk to Rob about the apparent paradox as to why the most medically informed population (health care providers) seem to be so reluctant to get the annual flu shot. We confront the recent announcement that flu vaccination will become mandatory for healthcare providers and how the medical community is responding to this announcement.

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Skeptical Highlights:

Philosophers’ Café

Fear as a tool for governance? For repression? For entertainment?

On an individual level we tend to seek out fear. One just needs to look at the success of writers such as Stephen King and the plethora of “scary movies”. On a societal or collective level, fear may have remained a constant tool in the hands of the powerful. Has fear become a crucial element in our Faustian quest for security?

Date: Monday, Nov 19, 2012, 7:30 pm

Location: Caffe Amici, Commercial Drive at Kitchener, Vancouver

Admission: Free

Moderator: Zahid Makhdoom speaks and writes extensively on the issues of justice, peace and human rights, and is currently engaged as a humble public servant.

If plants are sentient beings, should we eat them?

Recent discoveries indicate that plants may be as sentient as other natural beings. If a plant can feel and has some form of consciousness, should we still eat them? How should vegetarians respond to this notion?

Date: Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012, 7 pm

Location: Nature’s Garden Organic Deli, University High Street, Burnaby

Admission: Free

Moderator: Jason Carreiro,  a PhD candidate and instructor in philosophical and social issues in education at Simon Fraser University.

It’s the end of the Universe and I feel fine

Staff Astronomer, Raminder Samra will guide the audience on an tour of how astronomers believe that one day the Earth will meet its end — starting from the Big Bang, then progressing to the formation of our Solar System, and finally, to how our Earth will end and what is to be expected to happen to our Universe in the far future.

Date: Saturday, Nov 17, 2012, 8 pm

Location: H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Admission: by donation

Moderator: Raminder Samra — UBC graduate student of astronomy and astrophysics.

Café Inquiry: How to do Cold Readings

Saturday, November 17, 2012
SFU Harbour Centre Room 2290 (West Fraser Timber Conference Room)

Café Inquiry is a monthly casual discussion group run by CFI Vancouver. Come along and enjoy afternoon tea and stimulating discussion with fellow freethinkers on a variety of topics.

Our presenter, Michael Glenister, is a both a professional magician and a high school science and mathematics teacher.This months Café is on how to do cold readings. Cold reading is a series of techniques used by magicians, illusionists and so called psychics or fortune-tellers to determine or express details about another person, often in order to convince them that the reader knows much more about a subject than they actually do. It is a common practice by “psychics” to convince people of their supernatural powers.

Check out the FaceBook Event

Science of Harm Reduction Drug Policy by Dr. Thomas Kerr

Friday, November 30, 2012
Room A102 of Buchanan Building, Block A, 1866 Main Mall, Vancouver

Dr. Thomas Kerr is Co-Director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of AIDS at the University of British Columbia.

Harm reduction drug policy has become a politically polarizing issue, which often leaves the science behind the rhetoric. With recent court challenges over Vancouver’s safe injection site, Insite; society must become scientifically informed on what strategies are effective in treating addiction and improving public health.

This talk will take place in room A102 of Buchanan building block A at UBC. There is a suggested donation of $5 to $10.

Check out the FaceBook Event


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