Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Posts Tagged ‘nuclear power’

RFT Ep 240 – Polar Vortex Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on January 14, 2014

Download the episode here! 


Don’s Rant:

Don’s Rant’s about the cold snap, what is a polar vortex and why this is NOT proof the climate change is bogus.

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Moral Dilemma’s –

Abortion vs. Euthanasia – a spouses dilemma

In a new segment Moral Dilemma’s, we discuss the sad case of a pregnant woman who suffered an aneurysm and is now brain-dead. Now there is a legal fight between the spouse who wants to honour his dead wife’s wish to not be kept alive via extraordinary means and the hospital that is legally bound to keep her on life support as long as she is pregnant.

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Fukushima, Chernobyl and Nuclear power or Fossil fuels – which is deadlier?


Which is deadlier nuclear power or fossil fuel? We first examine Fukushima 1000 days later. We compare Fukushima to Chernobyl…which was worse? and finally which is actually a greater danger to the global health – nuclear power or fossil fuel.

Here is a panel of Simon Fraser University professors assembled on Monday, April 11 at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue to discuss the ripple effects of Japan’s nuclear crisis.

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Skeptic Highlights –

Sexism, Capitalism & the Fight for Liberation

When: 11:30am until 12:30pm – Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Where:  Room A218, Langara College
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The Revolution Will Not Be Circumcised

When: 5:00pm – Friday, January 17, 2014
Where:  Buchanan A104, UBC
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January Skeptics in the Pub Downtown

When: 7:30pm until 10:30pm – Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Where:  Railway Club’s back bar
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January Café Sci: Fluviatili Pisces Diversi

When: 7:30pm – Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Where:  Railway Club’s back bar
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RFT Ep 216 – Goodbye Gandolfini Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on June 25, 2013


This week:
– Gandolfini’s death,
– Dolphin Woo
– Anti-science lefties
– Museum fail
, and
– Is McCartney dead?

Download the episode here!


Gandolfini’s death

sopranoWe take quick journey to discuss the life, work and global outpouring over the death of actor James Gandolfini. And how the Soprano’s lead the way for the Bad Guy to the hero in a TV drama.

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Dolphin Woo

dolphin_cartoonWe train our skeptical eye at Dolphin Assisted Treatment. DAT proponents that DAT is a new and exciting field of modern medicine that some people categorize as part of the Animal therapy. This field of medicine has shown extraordinary results of the therapy and breakthroughs in outcomes in relation to the conventional methods of treatments such as prescribed medication, human therapy and others.

It seems that the DAT claims are unfounded but there is real risks to both the patients as well as the Dolphins.

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Anti-science lefties

lftrLayoutTo keep left honest, Don take a look at some of the anti-science stories from the left.

We discuss anti-GMO bad science, the dogmatic anti-nuclear green award, the cost of holding to ideal green solutions, and more. It seems the rights premise for anti-science is the dogmatic support of big corporations while the left is their dogmatic disdain for these same corporation.

In the show Don mentioned that Coal (50% global production) kills 170,000 per trillawatts (a trillion watts). In context, in 2008 about 21,000 trillawatts were produced globally. This puts the death toll for coal alone at about 1.8 billion. Take that number as you will.

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Museum fail

images (4)In what we can only was a poor attempt by the Museum curator of the Manchester Museum to make headlines and promote both the museum and get people excited about Egyptology ..well said Campbell Price mused on his official museum blog that the ‘mysterious’ movements maybe 4,000 year old Egyptian spirits or gods.

We use this opportunity to give an example as to how to use Ocam’s razor to ‘possible’ explanations for ‘mysterious’ events.

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Is McCartney dead?

Life_magazine_nov_69Ethan takes a lighthearted look at the pre-internet ‘conspiracy theory’ that Paul McCartney actual died in a car accident in 1966 and was secretly replaced. We discover the interesting roots of a theory that started out as open satire is believed by 8% of Americans today.

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Skeptic Highlights

Anime Evolution

JUN 28-30, 2013

UBC Sub Ballroom

Tix $20-50

An event celebrating Japanese animation, manga, gaming, and every kind of related fandom. Activities include interactive panel discussions with industry guests, cultural demonstrations, 24-hour video rooms, cosplay contests, an AMV contest, charity auction, evening dances, and creative workshops.

Link: Anime Evolution

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Radio Freethinker Episode 183 – Islamic Bomb Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on September 25, 2012

This week:

– Prayed to death,
– Religious intolerance on the rise,
– Iran and the Bomb
, and
– The Black Death

Download the episode here!

Prayed to death

Not funny but true!

Yet another couple who killed their child with prayer gets a slap on the wrist. We discuss the Oregon parents who received 5 yrs probation for allowing their child to suffer an extremely painful death from appendicitis because they believed prayer was a better healer than REAL medicine.

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Religious intolerance on the rise

We have talked the new report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Affairs which shows greater intolerance as religion is used as a means of authoritarian control in nations across the world. The world is become a much more repressive place to live and religion is the shackles of its enforcement.

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Iran and the Bomb

There has been much talk about the looming threat of the Islamic Bomb. We cast our skeptical eye on the reality of Iran developing nuclear weapons. And for the record, we in NO way support nor endorse any nation attempting or achieving nuclear weapons status, just in case it seemed unclear in the show.

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The Black Death

Reports have flooded the internet about the ‘discovery’ of the body of Richard the III in a parking lot in England…well, under the parking lot…and the only evidence its Richard is curved spine body badly beaten to death. We talk about how they plan to ‘firm up’ the identification and the ulterior motives of some to promote this ‘discovery’.

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Skeptical Highlights:

Beneath the Sands of Egypt

Archaeologist and Egyptologist Donald P. Ryan will share some of the discoveries from the Pacific Lutheran University Valley of the Kings Project. The Project has excavated several of the small, little-known, undecorated tombs in the Valley, some of which have revealed fascinating surprises and controversial mummies (Hatshepsut? Relatives of Tut? A mass grave?).

When: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, Thursday, September 27, 2012
Where: Alliance for Arts & Culture – 938 Howe St, Vancouver
Cost: FREE

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Best of Radio Free Thinker – the 170s

Posted by Don McLenaghen on August 28, 2012

This week a recasting our some of our best bits from episodes past:

Nuclear Salmon invade the West Coast,
– 5 Awful Atheists,
– Quack Medicine and your pets

Download the episode here!


Nuclear Salmon invade the West Coast

The recent front page of the Georgia Straight warns Canadians about the imminent and probably deadly threat to our lives from the nuclear fallow from the Fukushima reactor accident arriving in the form of radioactive fish. Don takes a critical eye to this story and exposed its bias and unscientific slant.  

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Awful Atheists

A recent article at ‘exposing’ the worst ‘stars’ of atheist. We discuss the people and the positives/negatives of these individuals. We end on a rift about how important it is to be an atheist for the right reasons…that a dogmatic atheist is no better than a fundamentalist   

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Quack Medicine and your pets

We respond to listener emails about the use of Alt-Med on our loved pets. We discuss the practice, the risks and the ethical responsibly of pet owners to not endanger their pets.

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Canada’s Nuclear Highway

Posted by Don McLenaghen on December 30, 2011

Recently there has been much buzz in the media about the ‘revelation’ that Canada is sending its nuclear waste to the USA and NOT informing the public about the when-&-where of it all. Now, as most know by now I am no fan of the current  Harper government. One of my biggest issues with government (any government) is its secrecy and inability to enforce basic regulations on industry. You would think then I would have a problem with this news; well surprisingly I don’t really. Why? Let me explain.

Currently we do nothing (but store) the ‘waste’. Our storage, like most of the plants in the world is ‘temporary’; temporary storage…a cooling off period of about a decade (i.e. the point where when exposed to air it would not spontaneously combust), then placed in various forms of concrete like boxes where it awaits a final home. Currently there is no real long term storage plans for our waste. In fact one of the larger expenses of a power plant is to maintain these storage facilities indefinitely with their costs to protect the environment, maintaining infrastructure and providing anti-terrorist security.

We could develop reactors that use this material in breeder reactors which would effectively reduce the waste to nothing (yes, I mean nothing relatively still there will be waste). This is done in France, Japan, Russia and the US. It is also done in India and Pakistan but largely to produce nuclear weapons not to reduce nuclear waste; so this is not a perfect solution globally but would work here. However, thanks to Fukushima, it is unlikely a nuclear power plant, breeder or otherwise, will be built in Canada this century.

As implied above, our waste could be used to make nuclear weapons via reprocessing. Thus, some could argue we are helping the US make nuclear bombs…of course this is a straw man of sorts because the USA has more nuclear waste of its own creation that it needs not more from us. They want our waste for fears that “terrorist” will attack Chalk River and carry off a kilo or so for a dirty bomb or worse.

Now, it does make sense from a Canadian perspective to let the Americans worry about what to do with all that waste. They DID (although currently don’t) have a plan to store all their waste at Yucca Mountain. In a cynical sense, it is better they spend their money trying to store it than we spend ours.

Of course things are never simple. As I mentioned the US does not currently have a plan for long term storage…well at least a place. We in Canada do have a plan; the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has a plan called Adaptive Phased Management to deal with our waste long term. However (from my research) our plan lacks a home as well.

Lastly, the secrecy around the transportation of the waste does warrant some comment. We live in a democracy where citizens are expected to be informed…especially about hazards that can have a life-threating impact on their life – I think this qualifies. That said, this is no ordinary risk like hazardous chemicals. There is the added risk of an ‘on purpose’ accident.  I don’t think “terrorism” is a credible threat at storage facilities; they seem to have adequate security features (arguable I agree, but so far so good).  I don’t think we needed to move it for fears of “al Qaeda” attacks regardless of how much the Americans lie awake at night worrying about that.

However, an attack en-route (more likely from environmentalist than ‘terrorist’) is very likely. It has happened in France and Germany (nothing worse than delays but could have been worse). So keeping the shipments a secret does not seem unreasonable in spite of the fact it does seem ‘undemocratic’ and more of ‘government keeping secrets from the public’. I do think that the details should be kept under wraps. We already knew (and should have known) beforehand the shipments would be made because they were part of a publicly available ‘trade’ agreement between the US and Canada. Our government should also inform us afterword about the shipment with a complete report about potential risks and the actual ‘outcome’ (i.e. were there any radioactive leaks) of the transportation.


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