Welcome to this weekly or fortnightly column, where I provide links and other items on skeptical topics, as well as items from other domains of interest. This weekend, Ricky the Maine Coon offers the following tidbits of coolness. Enjoy!
I’ve been going through the feeds for the Skepticality podcast, currently 30-ish episodes away from finishing a favorite show which seems to have podfaded since January of 2018. So here is, in its entirety, the music which for a good part of twelve years defined one of the first skeptical podcasts to grace the Internet…
Vanakkam. This is a new column on the Call, and it not only features the handsome face of Ricky the Maine Coon, but will link in further installments to a variety of pro-science sources on various topics, including but not limited to scientific claims, paranormal and pseudoscientific claims, medical controversies, in any event the full range of topics addressed in skeptical and science communication circles.
I will not address purely political or religious claims, only when politics or religion intersect with science, skepticism, or critical thinking. It is not my aim to ruffle feathers, stir the pot, or mix any masala.
Here, I will generally refrain from linking to scientifically and medically questionable sources, only doing so when that’s done in an ethical and effective manner in a way that does not benefit those sources from being linked to from this blog.
This is a roundup of some 5-10 links, presented in a way that allows a snapshot of a given claim in each entry with the best public sources online at the time of publishing. Further entries in this column on the topic will contain corrections and updates as more detailed knowledge on the topic advances and errors in the research are uncovered through peer-review, better science journalism, and replication attempts.
Do not expect any one entry to have final say on any matter, as that’s not how science and skepticism work. All conclusions are provisional, pending newer and better evidence.
This post is featured weekly or biweekly on any one of Tuesday, Thursday or Caturday from here on.
Namaskar. Slamalaikum. Vanakkam. Namaste. Ikktighar furiit. Greetings. This week, a little heads up on things going on from yours truly! Study has gone well despite the almost painful slowness of progress in Bengali, at least on understanding and reading. My penmanship still annoys me, and I’m still hesitant to speak the language with any real confidence, but I’m on the 18th unit of the text (Teach Yourself Complete Bengali) out of 35, and well underway to completing Part 2 of the text within the next four months, up to Unit 26. Then begins a more intense regimen of practicing what I’ve learned to date. After that, I’ll be studying Tamil for the following six months before focusing on Hindi for the first six months of 2019, then Bengali again. I’m also listening to Bangla podcasts, Bangla online radio broadcasts (There’s a station out of Dhaka I listen to a lot.), so I’m getting some practice even now. I’m more than halfway through Algebra II, reviewing practice exercises from Algebra I, and will start Precalculus and Geometry beginning in July. That language study has been slow no longer bothers me. Bangla is NOT an easy language, and learning it with two other languages, all with significant differences to each other, merely compounds the effort. But I’m learning at my own pace and minding my mental health in the process, so there’s really no problem. I must persist. The cats are doing well, with Eccles and Ricky behaving themselves fairly well after the last time they caused mischief during an attack of the zoomies on morning last month. Gorgeous, well she’s being Gorgeous, and still patient to young Eccles despite her age. Family life is kinda so-so, nothing particularly noteworthy to mention. Over all, things are going well, though how long that lasts remains to be seen.
Stay warm, or cool, according to your preference in your latitude and hemisphere of residence, and thank you for clicking on this blog!
Hey, guys! I’m busy this weekend composing musical tracks by using GarageBand, mostly for podcasts and YouTube videos among other purposes. I’ve already created one track this evening, lasting a minute and a half, and I’m really having fun with this. I’ll be creating a bunch more tomorrow, some of which I’ll release online, others to distribute to friends and family, still more to experiment with. One objective is to create a musical track lasting anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes that sounds good when played on continuous loop, for my reading and writing periods. I hate reading or writing in silence, and creating music to help me do that will be hugely fun.
This evening at 10:00 p.m. EDT airs the annual Doctor Madblood’s Halloween Scream at whro.org/madblood. This year’s movie will be the director’s cut of the original Night of the Living Dead.
Zombies! The Shambling Dead! How cool is that??
To me, the skits involving the Madblood gang are the best part, but the movie is okay as well if you like the quintessential film by George Romero! The skits take place at Madblood Manor, the home of retired mad scientist Doctor Maximillian Madblood and his monsters.
Pungo Virginia’s resident vampire, Count Lacudra (Dracula spelled sideways 🙂 ) makes an appearance, as Madblood characters lighten the movie segments with humor.
A certain Ninth Doctor impersonator does not appear in the skits, only during the costume party scenes, which are very brief. There are Daleks though, thankfully not encountered by said Ninth Doctor impersonator, as being exterminated by an angry Dalek with only the Sonic as a defense would have been unpleasant. They were made of wood, and the Sonic doesn’t work on wood!
The other cosplayers, though, were brilliant, funny, and very nice people who made the early evening of September 25 enormously fun and memorable.
G’day! I had the cosplay session at the studio on the 25th of last month, but I neglected to take pics! Here is one that the parental unit took before filming began (I look old, just short of 900 years, I think!):
But the filming went well, and the episode should air on the 29th of this month, the Saturday before Halloween. I’ll post links to it on social media, including the next Astrophenia for this blog before regular posting ends. Stay cool, or warm, depending on your hemisphere of residence, and as always…
Welp, I’m a week off for this, as life issues and events prevented posting over the weekend, and the diabolical Mister Eccles is not happy with me! I had a game last Caturday, while this last Sunday, the cosplay event happened. There, I discovered that I’m not camera-shy even with nigh-crippling stage-fright. There’s something about not seeing the audience directly that allays the terror. I had an awesome time, and both the set crew and other cosplayers were “…fantasic, absolutely fantastic…”* Recording lasted only about 90 minutes, and the Ninth Doctor’s duster I wore was just right for the room temperature, adjusted downward to protect the equipment from overheating. The camera crew was stellar, and all on set got exactly the right instructions to minimize the number of retakes. I’ll post links to the show on this blog and other social media when it airs later this month. So now, I’m back to study, and there is much catching up to do. Please have a glorious October. I have something special planned for the 31st of this month, with posts in between, and I’ll see you between now and then.
Tf. Tk. Tts.
*a partial quote from Chris Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor near the end of the 2005 season finale episode, “The Parting of the Ways,” as Nine says his goodbyes to Billie Piper’s character Rose Tyler just before regenerating into Dave Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. Time Lords do that.