Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Posts Tagged ‘extinction’

RFT Ep 254 – No Bananas Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on May 27, 2014

Download the episode here! 


Too big to jail

GM Fine

In the wake of revelations the GM executive knowing allowed a car to go into production with a defect that would kill people…and no one charged? Well, there seems to be two legal system, one for you and me and one for corporations (and the rich). We get put into jail, they get a fine and have go back to doing what they do.


<note: at the end of this segment I confused two issues, one the call to arms is a thing in the USA…check it out here.

And my Canadian call to arms was actually meant for the “media consolodation” segments, you can be active here.>

Further Reading:



Thoughts about being neighborly in a global community from a Prairie Correspondent.


UnFair Election Law

Fair Elections Dragon

Just days away for become the law of the land, we look and what was change and what we lost.

Further Reading:

Media consolidation


Canada has the highest levels of media concentration in the world, we also have the most vertically integrated media in the world. We look at how this harms society and what we can do the fix it!

Note that Corus is controlled by Shaw, so Shaw really has a 32.3% share.  Giving the Big 3, a 75% share. Source CRTC

Note that Corus is controlled by Shaw, so Shaw really has a 32.3% share.
Giving the Big 3, a 89% share.
Source CRTC

Further Reading:

And what one media source was reporting on this? You guessed it the CBC

Justin and the Pope

Justin Trudeau exercises dictatorial powers to deny an anti-abortion candidate from running as a liberal, he then get threatened with excommunication for his “pro-choice” views…so, we are left wondering is religious people should be banned from public office?
Friday, May 23, 2014
Further Reading:

“Yes, We have no more bananas”

It is likely that with a decade our beloved proof of god, the Cavendish banana will be on the verge of extinction…how did it happen and what can be done about it? Plus, why doesn’t banana pudding taste like bananas?
Further Reading:

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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.

Find out more:

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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Radio Freethinker Episode 160 – Somebodies Watching Me Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 3, 2012

This week Internet Surveillance, anthropomorphic extinction down-under, Lucky’s neighbors Uranium gets better and Picking your skeptic battles.

Download the episode here!


Pirate Satellite!

In its never-ending quest to avoid prosecution or have disruption in its religious services (check out Kopimism and her is Canada). Pirate Bay is exploring launching its own low earth satellites.

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Online they are always watching you

We talk about a series of stories about online surveillance and the effects technology has on our sense privacy and security. The take-way is many conspiracy “nuts” point to a series of acts/events/laws and string together some major plot; we tend to say the conspiracy is crazy while often ignoring the specific events/laws/acts, although independent, may warrant our attention for non-conspiratory reasons…such as freedom or security.

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Anthropomorphic Extinction

We talk about how resent research reveals that it seems more likely that the arrival of humans to Australia resulted in a continental climate change that lead to a major shift in the flora on the mega-island which, with the help of human predation, lead to the extinction of the megafauna down-under.

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Lucy’s Neighbors.

We talk about how resent research has uncovered yet more evidence the early human ancestors were varied and co-existed. New the site of the Lucy discovery, bones from another species of hominid have been uncovered that showed a more inter-terrainial lifestyle. Although able to walk-upright its feet were more adapted for grasping…likely for arboreal locomotion. 

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Uranium just got better!

New research has help refine the ratio of U358 to U355. Why should we care? Its one of the best way we have of determine the age of REALLLLLY old things. Science making science better..

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Picking your skeptical battles.

We begin by exposing and debunking a ‘new’ website intent of propagating the ‘illusion’ Wi-Fi is dangerous to children in schools (we can assume else were, but their rage is focused on schools).
We then explore that a large (most?) important part of skepticism is not to call these people out or to make ourselves feel superior but to focus societies attentions of ‘real’ or more pressing issues.
To exemplify this, we compare the resent row over Pink Slime and the new Harper Budget. We explore the minor health risks Pink Slime MIGHT have and how people are putting there efforts to ‘get this removed from the food chain’ while the current budget removes government regulation over ingredient labeling.  So, even if you hate Pink Slime, there will be no government agency to insure its NOT in your food…that will be your responsibility, and then you get to bring it to the attention of the corporations (who i suspect already knew but hopped you would not).
We conclude by expressing that people need to put their energies (at least the majority of their energies) into the important battles and that skepticism is another tool to help us and society pick those battles.

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Skeptical Highlights:

Video Highlight…

Every wonder why spiders don’t get stuck on their own webs?
Well check out Science Fridays Video of the week, where all is explained. Seems to be a combination of hairy feet, oil and stepping lightly.

‘All About Vaccines’ Charity Event to Take Place in Okanagan, British Columbia

The event takes place on April 22nd, all the information you need is right here, and you should buy your tickets in advance (it’s free but the donations go to the IAVI).

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