Fri, 21 September 2012
Appropriate to Episode #13, given the superstitious associations of that particular number, our guest today, Guy P. Harrison, is a debunker of superstitions and paranormal beliefs of all stripes. He joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss his newest book 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True. After an introduction to skepticism, why it's vitally important and how it differs from simply cynicism or denial, the two focus down on a variety of exciting specific beliefs: ancient aliens, modern UFOs, abductions, astrology, and the moon landing hoax. Harrison explains what convinced him to give up his belief that ancient aliens visited the Earth. He explains what we can learn about psychology and culture by looking seriously at alien abduction experiences. He confronts the most effective arguments of the moon landing hoax community and finally explains why we shouldn't take our newspaper horoscopes too seriously.
In Current in Space we comment on discussions from the 100 Year Starship initiative which seeks to prepare for interstellar travel within a century. At a recent symposium everything from new possibilities for warp drives to a debate about whether religion should accompany humanity was on the table. Finally, we provide an update on the status of the B612 Foundation's Sentinel mission, a sun-orbiting telescope that will increase our ability to track dangerous asteroids on potential collision courses with Earth.
About Guy P. Harrison
Guy P. Harrison graduated with a history and anthropology degree from the university of southern florida. He is an award winning writer, journalist and photographer. Harrison is the author of a number of books, including Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, and his newest book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True, described as a skeptical grand tour of extraordinary claims such as ESP, ghosts, psyhics, hoemopathic medicine, bigfoot and more. His primary interest is to promote science and skeptical inquiry.
Fri, 7 September 2012
Our guest today is Patrick Hall who joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss one of the most energetic, myserious and ancient of phenomana in our universe: quasars. Hall shares his insights into the role quasars played in the evolution of the cosmos and galaxy formation, the mechanisms and physics of their behaviour, and the rare occurence of double quasars. He also describes the eventual fate of our Milky Way Galaxy to merge with Andromeda and produce quasars of our own. Finally, they focus on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and explore the tremendous opportunities afforded researchers by the growing scale and scope of large sky surveys.
In Current in Space we introduce a cryptic new start-up company Uwingu seeking to fundraising and raise public engagement in space exploration, comment on the enduring fascination with the concept of a space elevator, and pay tribute to one of the greatest explorers of our time - Neil Armstrong.
About Patrick Hall
Patrick Hall received his PhD in astronomy from the University of Arizona, worked at Princeton University as its Observatory Research Associate and is currently associate professor at York University. He is an expert in quasars and active galactic nuclei. He’s received a number of National Science and Engineering Research Council grants as well as the ontario early research award for studies on disks of matter orbiting supermassive black holes. Hall participates in analyzing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a project that, among many many other things, resulted in the discovery of an asteroid that now bears his name Pathall.