Token Skeptic Podcast

Why do we believe weird things? What does feminine intuition really mean? How do you become an effective activist for science and reason? Are you ready for a monthly show that poses these questions and more? Tune into the Token Skeptic for a slightly more skeptical look at stories in the news, urban legends, good science, pseudoscience, and what makes popular culture pop. Hosted and produced by philosophy teacher and radio broadcaster Kylie Sturgess.

The Podcasts

The idea that animals have the potential to talk is an alluring one; from the mathematical stunts of Clever Hans, to research on parrots, dolphins and chimps - just look at viral BBC footage of a gopher yelling "Alan". It's interesting, exciting and even cute - but is it really true that animals have language?

After the recent passing of Koko the Gorilla, I spoke to Daniel Midgley about the hopes we have about being the next Dr Dolittle, and just how realistic those hopes are. Daniel is a lecturer in applied linguistics at Edith Cowan University, and at the University of Western Australia, as well as a presenter on the popular language podcast Talk the Talk.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters – they are: Stephen, Steven, Andrew, Troy, Jacqueline, Brooke, Gerry, Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_234_-_On_Animals_Language_Koko_and_Wish_Fulfilment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46pm HKT

Hundreds of bizarre health claims such as "tonifies kidney essence" and "opens body orifices" could appear on complementary medicine labels under new laws being pushed by the Australian federal government.

Consumer advocacy group Choice is urging the Australian public to tell Senators to knock back these laws so that Australians looking for vitamins and supplements can separate fact from fiction.

Their campaign points out that "Proposed laws could see dangerous and potentially misleading claims on therapeutic goods, especially complementary and alternative medicines like herbal and homeopathic treatments. It means that products can claim to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep or help maintain healthy heart function without having scientific evidence to back their claims."

I spoke to Katinka Day, the Campaigns Policy Team Leader at Choice Australia.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters – they are: Stephen, Steven, Andrew, Troy, Jacqueline, Brooke, Gerry, Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

 
Direct download: Token_Skeptic_233_-_On_Complementary_Medicine_And_Choice_Campaign.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am HKT

Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder is a science book with a difference, written by Alom Shaha, illustrated by Emily Robertson and published by Scribble Kids Books. Alom was born in Bangladesh but grew up in London; as a parent, teacher, science writer, and filmmaker, he has spent most of his professional life trying to share his passion for science and education with the public. 

Alom has produced, directed, and appeared in a number of television programmes for broadcasters such as the BBC, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts (NESTA) and the Nuffield Foundation. 

His new book Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder gives clear, step-by-step instructions for over fifteen experiments. Whether you’re a science star or just starting out, it will help you inspire young people to learn.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters – they are: Stephen, Steven, Andrew, Troy, Jacqueline, Brooke, Gerry, Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_232_-_On_Mr_Shahas_Recipes_for_Wonder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:16pm HKT

Belle Gibson convinced the world she had healed herself from terminal brain cancer with a healthy diet. She built a global business based upon her claims. There was just one problem: she'd never had cancer.

In 2015, journalists uncovered the truth: this hero of the wellness world, with over 200,000 followers, international book deals, and a best-selling smartphone app, was a fraud

Written by the same multi-award-winning journalists who uncovered the details of Gibson’s lies, The Woman Who Fooled the World tracks the 23-year-old's rise to fame and fall from grace. Told through interviews with the people who know her best, it unravels the mystery and motivation behind this deception and follows the public reaction to a scandal that made headlines around the world.

I spoke to one of the co-authors of the book, Nick Toscano.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters – they are: Stephen, Steven, Andrew, Troy, Jacqueline, Brooke, Gerry, Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_231_On_The_Woman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51pm HKT

How To Be Reasonable (By Someone Who Tried Everything Else) is a primer on critical thinking and an introduction to scientific skepticism that will empower you to see the world a little bit more clearly.

The world is a strange, scary and beautiful place. and author and artist Rebecca Fox suggests that being reasonable helps you to wonder at the strange, avoid the scary and celebrate the beauty.

I interviewed Rebecca about How To Be Reasonable – you can find the book on Amazon and check out her website at http://rebeccaonpaper.com/how-to-be-reasonable/

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters – they are: Stephen, Steven, Andrew, Troy, Jacqueline, Brooke, Gerry, Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_230_-_How_To_Be_Reasonable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57pm HKT

Free WIFI - two words that many people love to hear. But how many people read the terms and conditions before they connect to it?

Accessing wireless points that you don’t know where it originates from can be risky and harmful to your confidential information.

Edith Cowan University researchers did some testing by setting up some rather interesting WIFI networks around Perth… and Dr Krishnun Sansurooah joined me to tell us how it went.

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About a month ago, the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre closed down. More than a thousand displaced refugees are now left in a vulnerable state after being moved to an alternative location.

As the tensions surround the island's Regional Processing Centre grow, many of Australia's senior doctors, psychiatrists and surgeons have written an open letter to the Federal Government, offering to treat the remaining asylum seekers and refugees for free. To tell us more about what's happening is the Communications Director of the Refugee Council of Australia's Tim O'Connor. 

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James Cridland is a radio futurologist - investigating trends in radio, which is a broad landscape these days!

Recently he's Tweeted about radio intimacy, links to resilience of radio despite the trends, and getting lost in Brisbane on the way to the studio.

I subscribe to his PodNews emails and it's always interesting to see what's happening - I talked to him about what caught his ear recently.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters - they are: Stephen, Steven, Andrew, Troy, Jacqueline, Daniel, Gerry, Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_229_-_Internet_Tests_Manus_Island_And_Podcast_Trends.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53pm HKT

The recent news that Australia is getting its own Space Agency is one sure to affect the entire nation - but should we be so eager so fast?

The Federal Government has announced its plans to  cash in on a $420 billion aeronautical industry and create thousands of new jobs, which coincided with the 69th International Astronautical Congress which is being held in Adelaide this week.

Science Communicator Dr. Paul Willis of Media Engagement Service spoke to me about the developments on The Mag for RTRFM.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters - they are: Stephen, Andrew, Jaqueline, Daniel, Kathy, Gerry, Dr T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


Cold-pressed juices, quitting sugar, Paleo, hot yoga, mindfulness … if you embrace these things you will be happy, you will be well – just ask Instagram. Wellness has become a global mega-industry. But does any of this stuff actually work?

Feeling exhausted, anxious and out of shape, journalist Brigid Delaney decides to find out – using herself as the guinea pig. Starting with a brutal 101-day fast, Brigid tests things that are meant to make us clean, lean and serene. Travelling the world, she tries colonics, meditation, silent retreats, group psychotherapy and oodles of yoga, working out what is helpful and what is just expensive hype. And she's documented it all in her new book, Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness.

Brigid Delaney is a senior writer for Guardian Australia. She has previously worked as a lawyer and journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald, the Telegraph (London), ninemsn and CNN. She is the author of two books: This Restless Life and Wild Things.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters - they are: Stephen, Andrew, Jaqueline, Daniel, Kathy, Gerry, Dr T, Josh, Linley, Gold and Iggy. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


It started around a kitchen table, three friends reading out the erotic work of a retired dad  – and now it’s a podcasting sensation.

Jamie Morton of "My Dad Wrote A Porno" podcast never expected that “Belinda Blinked” (written by his dad, known only as "Rocky Flintstone") - would eventually lead to a live touring show, that is touring Australia (and heads to Perth’s Astor Theatre on the 24th August).

With over 50 million downloads, there’s bound to be a few fans of the pots and pans industry in the audience.

RTRFM reporter Kylie Sturgess asked Jamie about what was it like when the show first started getting downloads...

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

Tremendous thanks to my Patreon supporters - they are: Steven, Andrew, Jacqueline, Daniel, Kathy, Gerry , Dr*T, Josh, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Andrew and Stephen. Make sure you check out the bonus content on Patreon and as always, you can join them by heading to patreon.com/kyliesturgess (and check out the Talk the Talk podcast too!).

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_226_-_On_My_Dad_Wrote_A_Porno.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08am HKT

The March For Science is an international phenomenon - a stand for solidarity, for education, for inclusivity and for diversity in the field and for the importance of science to be understood and promoted by not just scientists, but policy makers and the public.

Here are some vox pops and speeches from the rally that was held at the Perth March for Science on the 22nd April, 2017, at Forrest Chase, Perth, Western Australia. Many thanks to all the organisers and the participants.

  • MC for the day - Callum Ormonde - UWA Chemistry and Biochemistry - winner of Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry for partially unboiling an egg
  • March for Science organiser Kristin Barry
  • Trent Burton of Cosmic Shambles
  • Professor Lindy Fitzgerald - neurotrauma specialist
  • Professor Phil Bland - planetary scientist
  • Toby Brown - Astrophysicist
  • Suzy Urbaniak - educator and 2016 Prime Minister’s Prize winner for Excellence in Science
  • Peter Derbyshire - zoology
  • Professor Lyn Beazley AO

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_225_-_March_For_Science_Perth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50pm HKT

The Perth Writers Festival comes to town and it was a great chance to interview a range of talented authors taking part in the festivities.

My interviews are with:

  • Ben Rawlence - his book City of Thorns is about Northern Kenya - the home of the world’s largest refugee camp, with half a million people. Opening Night speaker at the Perth International Arts Festival.
  • Candice Fox - her first novel, Hades, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers Association; she has since gone onto numerous books on crime and punishment.
  • Hannah Kent - is the best-selling author of Burial Rites and the newly released The Good People - stories of culture, crime and history.
  • Garth Nix -  is an award-winning sci-fi fantasy author with several series of fantasy and fiction; I asked him about his new book "Frogkisser" ahead of his appearances at the festival.
  • Amy Stewart - an author of nonfiction books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including New York Times bestsellers with The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs and Wicked Plants. However, her range has extended to the tales of a trio of turn-of-the-century sisters turned detectives, with the latest being Lady Cop Makes Trouble - the second book in an ongoing series.
  • Chinelo Okparanta - this Nigerian-American author  writes stories of women and children, family life, migration, war and love; she first started with short stories, with the collection Happiness, Like Water and then her most recent novel Under the Udula Trees.
  • Inua Ellams - London-based playwright and poet Inua Ellams' work explores the themes of identity, displacement and destiny – areas of life he’s intimately familiar with.
  • Dan Box - the National Crime Reporter for The Australian and creator of crime podcast Bowraville.
  • Marwa Al-Sabouni - Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni is battling to heal her home city of Homs, having remained there as bombs destroyed much of what she knew and loved. Her ideas to mend the city are now laid out in a visionary memoir, The Battle For Home. She is presenting the closing night address.
  • Clementine Ford - Australian feminist columnist and author of the best selling book Fight Like A Girl.
  • Lindy West - is a Seattle-based writer, editor and performer who’s work has appeared in a number of well-known publications - and the author of Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman.
  • Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa - a Perth performance poet, she’s a workshop facilitator, actor, artist and humanitarian. Her questions about notions of Australian national identity, got her to the finals of the national Australia poetry slam.
  • Nathan Hill - short story author and author of The Nix; a tale of estrangement and displacement in both families and national politics.
  • Adrian Todd Zuniga - creator of Literary Death Match -  touted as Def Poetry Jam meets American Idol, this competition sees four authors perform a short excerpt of their most electric work before a panel of judges.
  • Omar Musa -  a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam and has released three hip-hop albums, two poetry books, and received a standing ovation at TEDx.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_Special_Episode_-_Perth_Writers_Festival_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40am HKT

How safe are herbal medicines?

In 2011, just over a billion dollars was spent on alternative medicines in Australia, many of which come with unproven efficacy claims. 

After reports on mainstream media in Australia about the efficacy of alternative medicine, cancer 'cures' and the like, there's a call for increased scrutiny about what's being offered to the public in the name of 'health supplements'.

Murdoch University Biochemistry Lecturer Dr Garth Maker is seeking to shed some light on the subject of herbal medicines.

If you're in Perth, you can attend his lecture this coming Monday, at Murdoch University in building 460.3.032 (ECL2).  To download the campus map click here, or to us the interactive map please click here.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_224_-_On_How_Safe_are_Herbal_Medicines.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:04pm HKT

Can you really rewire an adult brain?

In theory the answer is 'yes', but there's a problem: no one seems to know exactly how to do it!

In her new book "Override: My Quest to go Beyond Brain Training and Take Control of my Mind", science journalist Caroline Williams went off on a world-wide mission to find the answer.

Visiting top neuroscientists in their labs, she volunteers herself as a guinea pig in studies, challenging researchers to make real changes to her — functioning, but imperfect — brain.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


Merry Christmas! One of the great things about the holiday break is the opportunity to get some reading done – and Edzard Ernst has a new book out this year.

This book traces the genesis, principles and practice of homeopathy, and discusses the reasons for its enduring popularity. Ironically, while modern medicine has changed beyond recognition, homeopathy, with its roots in alchemy and metaphysics, continues to be practiced precisely as it was in Hahnemann’s day.

Homeopathy – The Undiluted Facts : Including a Comprehensive A-Z Lexicon is the story of homeopathy and its almost magical attraction, with a rational and scientific discussion of the biological, chemical and psychological questions that this treatment raises.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_222_On_Homeopathy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49pm HKT

This is going to be one interesting tour...

Essentially, the fact that every show is different (apart from host and the following guests you can see pictured above) means that you're not entirely sure what you're going to get. 

Maybe Sydney will have flying. Melbourne could involve cake-throwing. I'm seriously planning for Perth to involve a fiesta on the high street. They had The Cure turn up at one of their London gigs, so you never know what local talent they may be able to find.

At any rate, I got the chance to speak to most of the performers in the show for this little special episode and if you'd like to get in touch for more details (especially if you're a Patreon!), the link is http://cosmicshambleslive.com.

Here's  the interview with Robin Ince, Trent Burton, Josie Long and Matt Parker about the forthcoming Cosmic Shambles Tour of Australia and NZ .

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The Atheist Foundation of Australia and Cerebral Events Ltd (NZ), in association with Trunkman Productions (UK), proudly presents Cosmic Shambles LIVE, in Australia and New Zealand.

Cosmic Shambles LIVE is a variety show that celebrates curiosity and reason, an explosion of science, comedy, music and general wonder, with a great sense of fun. Hosted by comedian and writer Robin Ince, best known for co-hosting The Infinite Monkey Cage, and joined by a cast of world leading scientists, comedians and performers - this is a show that will make you laugh and make you think.

As the show travels across Australia and New Zealand, many local acts and scientists will be incorporated into the show, making for a unique and different experience with every performance. Each show will be packed with surprises and secret guests.

Make sure you're are on board for what is bound to be a series of nights like no other. Funky sounds! Nerdy wonders! Dazzling spreadsheets! Confused earthworms! And everything else besides.

Part proceeds from the show will be going to great charities like Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Special_Episode_-_Token_Skeptic_Cosmic_Shambles_Live_Tour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43am HKT

Every year, thousands of Australians are suffering and dying prematurely because of alternative cancer treatments, according to a special investigation by Dr Paul Willis, director of The Royal Institution of Australia.

The video (part of a series) is called No Alternative To Cancer, on the Australia Science TV site. The report details the distressingly high number of cancer sufferers who choose to forego conventional treatment altogether in search of an alternative cure. Kylie Sturgess spoke to Dr Paul Willis of RiAus.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. 

Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com. This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


As astonishing as it is compelling - Steve Cannane's extraordinary insight into Scientology in Australia is investigative journalism at its very best.

From Rugby League players trying to improve their game, to Hollywood superstars and the depressed sons of media moguls, Scientology has recruited its share of famous Australians. Less known is that Australia was the first place to ban Scientology, or that Scientology spies helped expose the Chelmsford Deep Sleep Scandal.

Numerous Australians have held senior posts in the organisation only to fall foul of the top brass and lose their families as a result. Based on years of interviews and research, Walkley Award-winning journalist Steve Cannane tells for the first time the fascinating story of Australia's vital involvement with this powerful, secretive and punitive cult.                             

This interview with journalist Steve Cannane was conducted on RTRFM's The Mag and aired on the 22nd August 2016. The book is available through Harper Collins in Australia and is available electronically and worldwide (check twitter.com/SteveCannane for updates). 

*****

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


Trunkman Productions and The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome in association with the Science Museum are proud to announce a brand new six-part episode mini series, The Quest For Wonder, starring Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince and their puppet counterparts.

The show will be a fun-filled caper through the world of science that is sure to delight both children and adults alike. Check out the preview for yourself here!

The series made its World Premiere at a very special event on March 30th at the IMAX Cinema at the Science Museum in London and will be free online in April on YouTube, with special exclusive elements available to Cosmic Genome subscribers.

I spoke to both the directors of Quest For Wonder, Trent and Melinda Burton about the creation of the series. This aired on RTRFM on March 29th on The Mag program.

*****

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_218_-_On_The_Quest_For_Wonder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm HKT

Welcome to Episode #217 of the Token Skeptic podcast!

Dr Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist working as a tutor and lecturer based at Cardiff University's Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences. His Guardian Science blog, 'Brain Flapping', has been viewed over 13 million times in the last three years - and now he has a new book out, called The Idiot Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head is Really Up To.

Unpredictable and entertaining, Burnett's account gives us up-to-date research and the principles of neuroscience along the way. Looking at memory, intelligence, observation, social interaction and personality, Burnett explains why: memory is like a doting mother; tall people are more intelligent; criticism is more powerful than praise and much more.

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This has been a great month for science communication in Australia.

Touring now with Think Inc, Dr Brian Greene is professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University. He's written one of the great popular science books of the 20th century – The Elegant Universe, which is about String Theory. He followed it up with a look at the nature of reality – from Newton to Einstein and beyond in The Fabric of the Cosmos.

As if all that wasn’t enough, he and co-founder Tracy Day established the World Science Festival (the first Brisbane offshoot of the festival just concluded this month). It’s an event that celebrates science on a world stage, with over a million visitors since 2008. I began my interview with him, just before the Perth show of his tour, by asking how he got started in space.

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A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. Thanks to RTRFM for their support, especially producer Peter Barr.

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com.

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_217_-_On_The_Idiot_Brain_And_The_Elegant_Universe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38pm HKT

Welcome to episode #216 of the Token Skeptic podcast!

New data from national organ donation registries has revealed at least 6 people needed organ transplants after becoming sick from health supplements.

Questions about the regulation of such supplements have led Health Minister Sussan Ley to promise she’ll act on concerns about the number of people needing medical aid after taking herbal supplements.

Just how skeptical – and how careful – should we be about dietary supplements and health pills?

I spoke to research fellow at Clinical Trials Development and Assessment at Sydney University, Dr Nick Fuller.

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It’s good news to hear that amount of financial loss from online fraud suffered by people in Western Australia has almost halved over one year - dropping from $16.8 million in 2014, to $9.8 million in 2015. 

Yet while those numbers and the news that losses from relationship and dating fraud are decreasing is great to hear – is it just the beginning of fraudsters trying a few new tactics to get at our money and possibly even risk our lives in the process?

I spoke to Senior Lecturer with the School of Justice at Queensland’s University of Technology, Cassandra Cross - to fill us in on the realities about online scams.

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WA is not giving up on bandicoots – after an initial effort to boost numbers hit a snag in 2012, there’s now a second attempt to reintroduce golden bandicoots to WA bushland.

The Martu Operation Rangelands Restoration project, jointly managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Martu people, aims to reverse the trend of native animal decline. The little creatures are just one of 11 native mammal species being reintroduced to a property about a thousand kilometers northeast of Perth, after numbers declined due to feral cats, foxes and bushfires.

Department of Parks and Wildlife’s fauna translocations scientist Colleen Sims joined me to discuss how bandicoots are staying gold.

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_216_-_On_Health_Supplements_Online_Fraud_And_Bandicoots.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41am HKT

It's all happening in town at the moment - the 2016 Perth Writers Festival! It's a yearly celebration of writing, literature, non-fiction and the authors and ideas behind the covers of a massive range of genres.

Here's a round-up of some of the interviews that I've conducted; they've been aired on local community radio station RTRFM as a part of ArtBeat and The Mag.

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Sadly, more than a few of us have probably felt like we’ve lost a loved one before they’ve actually passed away and it’s a difficult thing to talk about. Not many people want to talk about topics like Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease, as they can be very scary topics.
But that’s where good books can help. Dr Lisa Genova has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and has a series of books on what life is like for people and families facing challenges such as autism or the possibility of Huntingtons – you might have seen the film based on one of her books, Still Alice.

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Jasper Fforde is a prolific author, most known for a series starring detective Thursday Next, whose adventures in “BookWorld” reflect Fforde’s interest in literary allusion and the intricate craft of fiction.
He’s the first Perth Writer’s Festival author in the studio this morning, here to tell us about his new book, panels at the Perth Writers Festival and how he’s managed to create much loved works - and how he's even got his very own Fforde Ffestival!

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Evidence is a strange substance in modern Australian society and it's a challenge to get difficult scientific concepts across to a diverse audience.
In 1996 Professor Peter Doherty's pioneering research into how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells earned him the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine. He became the fourth Australian to win the honour and has since written a number of books  the importance of living in an evidence-based reality - his newest one is The Knowledge Wars. He's presenting at the Perth Writers Festival on science, climate change and more.

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Cassandra Atherton has published eight books, including Trace and Exhumed, and judged numerous poetry awards.
She’s also held lectureships at The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Sydney and Deakin University, and interviewed a number of American intellectuals including Harold Bloom, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Greenblatt, and Howard Zinn. She's presenting poetry at the Perth Writer's Festival as a part of the celebrations of language and literature.

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Paolo Bacigalupi is a popular science fiction author who addresses pressing issues of today by showing readers what not dealing with them might mean for tomorrow.
Dystopias where climate change, economic inequality and genetic engineering run rampant are the hallmarks of his work such as The Windup Girl - and The Water Knife - his latest - continues in the same vein.

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Pip Lincolne is one of Australia's best known bloggers, launching her writing at "meet me at mikes" and wrote the bestselling book of the same name. She teaches craft and blogging and is the craft contributor for Frankie magazine. Craft for the Soul – How to Make the Most of Your Creative Life is her latest book.
She's doing a number of panels at this year's Perth Writers Festival, on the art of crafting - and there's even some tips on making your own "recipe for happiness"

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For local author, Nicki Logan, romantic stories are a best-seller - she's written 23 contemporary romance novels, specialising in nature-based romantic suspense.
She was the President of the Romance Writers of Australia and has presented to groups across Australia and in the UK - and now will be appearing at the Perth Writers Festival.

*****

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_Special_Episode_PWF16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm HKT

Episode #215 of the Token Skeptic goes out to sea - and back again!

It’s an experience that may not appeal to everyone – a seven-day cruise at sea, aiming to “take back power from corrupt and greedy institutions, attain true self-authority, and realise our genuine Self behind the masks… discovering the truth, taking command of our lives, and attaining genuine inner realisation” – with every odd belief you can think of listed as entertainment:

GMOs, Monsanto, bee colony collapse, ecology, global warming, climate change, fracking, HIV, autism, big pharma, medical suppression, vaccinations, flouridation,… electoral fraud, identity chips, 2nd amendment, and so much more.

But Colin McRoberts didn’t let that deter him – in fact, he started a fundraiser to attend and was soon on The ConspiraSea Cruise, blogging his experiences and delving into lectures and talks to find out for himself: why do people believe weird things?

His blogposts series feature at Violent Metaphors blog and he spoke to me for the Token Skeptic podcast, not long after the event concluded.

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


Welcome to episode #214 of the Token Skeptic podcast!

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Leading scientists protested during a national conference this week to appeal against job cuts at the government’s agency for scientific research in Australia, the CSIRO.

The cuts, that will remove about 110 positions from the CSIRO's 140-odd strong Ocean and Atmosphere staff and a similar number from its Land and Water division, were announced in an email from chief executive Larry Marshall on Thursday.

I spoke to Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick from the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW about her response to the cuts.

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The Perth chapter of Christian group 40 Days for Life plans daily “prayer vigils” outside a Midland clinic during Lent as part of a global anti-abortion campaign.

However, these kinds of peaceful protest aren’t without opposition – with Australian Medical Association WA president Michael Gannon saying a woman should not be “further punished” for exercising her right to an abortion.

I spoke to the president for the national group Reproductive Choice Australia, Jenny Ejlak.

Closer to home, Sarah Nielsen-Harvey has begun a counter protest online with a number of other concerned locals, called "40 Days of Love" - I spoke to her about what is involved.

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Sylvia Mariani is Zatanna, Queen of Illusion - and she's performing two shows at the 2016 FringeWorld. She's a transgender woman who has performed nationally and internationally as a renown illusionist and mentalist - and has won WA Magician of the Year a number of times.

Sylvia's shows "Zatanna, Magic from Z… to… A’ and ‘Zatanna’s Theatre of the Mind’ are playing in Perth as a part of the FringeWorld celebrations - I spoke to her to learn a little more about the mystery behind the magic.

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Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where interviews aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr.

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess – and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs “Cosgrove” by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters – they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


Token Skeptic podcast's episode #213! Check out the Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess and from only $1, get behind the scenes news and more. 

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Inside a cryonics facility, seven people are woken from their icy slumber to find themselves alone in a locked room, unsure of what day, month or year it is. These strangers from different places and times must work out when they are - and where everyone else has gone!

Thaw: A Science Fiction Play is showing at the Nexus Theatre at Murdoch University until Saturday,as a part of FringeWorld. I spoke to writer / director Stephen B. Platt about the production - and the rarely-seen world of science fiction on the stage.

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Recreational arts – it’s something that sounds good for us – but just how good?

Whether it’s great for your mental health, general well-being or good for society in general – these are questions that a group of UWA researchers have taken on board with a new study.

I interviewed an author of the study, from the school of population and health at UWA, Dr Christina Davies.

*****

Tremendous thanks to the radio station RTRFM, where the first interview aired previously, especially producer Peter Barr.

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs "Cosgrove" by Pogo, from http://pogomix.net and "Leap Second" by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Additional ambient music from Jukedeck – create your own at jukedeck.com

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Andrew, Dr T, Paul, Gerry, Josh, Kathy, Linley, Gold, Iggy, Lukas, Finch and Andrew.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com. 


Welcome to episode #201 of Token Skeptic - and as always, if you'd like to support the show and future episodes, check out the Patreon page at patreon.com/kyliesturgess - there's lots of additional features and bonus content for those who help the podcast continue!

Science Vs is one hot podcast!

In Science Vs, science journalist Wendy Zukerman dissects the latest fad framing itself as scientific fact, wading through the mass of information so you don't have to. Do women and men have different brains? Is porn changing the way we have sex? Does race exist? Is sugar really that bad for you? Short, sharp-minded and enjoyable, the show has been storming up the iTunes list and even eclipsing the famous Dr Karl.

Everyone has an opinion but then, there's SCIENCE - and I'm of the opinion that more science podcasts are great for all of us! I spoke to Wendy Zukerman about how the new ABC First Run show has been going.

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NASA has confirmed its unmanned New Horizons spacecraft made its close fly-by encounter with Pluto after a nine-year journey of more than 5 billion kilometres, with a lot over very eager people world-wide waiting for the photos.

The New Horizons spacecraft had an up close look at the Pluto system, with the probe flying by the dwarf planet on the 14th July. Images of Pluto and its moon Charon have been beamed back - and I spoke to International Centre for Radio Astronomy Outreach Coordinator Pete Wheeler, in an interview that aired live on radio station RTRFM's The Mag program.

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There's only about a week to go to help save science - a campaign to raise $30,000 in 30 days for Bendigo's troubled science education facility, the Discovery Centre. The science center that has providing hands on science education for kids and community members  was facing closure in the rural town, and in response to the potential closing, a number of donors have stepped up to help keep it open.

For this interview, I spoke to Kate Barnard, Discovery's Manager. You can help Save Discovery by donating on their Chuffed fundraiser page.

A quick note about supporting the podcasts! Check out https://www.patreon.com/kyliesturgess - and consider becoming a Patreon for these shows. 

Theme songs are P & P by Derek K. Miller of www.penmachine.com and Leap Second by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com

This episode is brought to you with thanks to Patreon supporters - they include: Steven, Stephen, Josh, Linley, Gold, Brian, Paul, Dr T, Iggy, Lukas and Andrew. Thanks to everyone who contributes and please consider joining to help continue these shows at patreon.com/kyliesturgess.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.


The Checkout is a satirical consumer affairs series on Australia’s ABC TV, presented by Julian Morrow and Craig Reucassel from The Chaser team, Kirsten Drysdale, Kate Browne, Scott Abbot, Zoe Norton Lodge and Ben Jenkins.

From cradles to graves, everyone’s a customer – and we have the right not to remain silent. Each week, The Checkout takes a no-holds-barred, irreverent and entertaining approach to explaining and exposing the ways that all of us are being ripped off.

For this interview, I speak to Julian Morrow – who first became interested in consumer issues in 1974 when he was born due to contraceptives that failed to work as described. He spent the 1980s and 90s on hold waiting to speak to customer service representatives. He has been tagged as a problem customer on the internal records of several Australian companies. The Department of Fair Trade has recognised him as an official exception to the maxim “the customer is always right”.

Theme songs are P&P by Derek K. Miller of www.penmachine.com and Leap Second by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_181_-_On_The_Checkout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36pm HKT

Special IFLSLive In Oz Episode – Interview With Elise Andrew

Elise Andrew will be appearing at IFLS Live!

ScienceAlert & Powerhouse Museum present IFLS Live! An evening celebrating science - Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St, Ultimo, Sydney - 6pm, 12 August 2013.

For this episode, Kylie Sturgess chats to Elise about how IFLS began, some of the challenges of having such a popular page, what does it mean for science communication (and just how effective is outreach-by-Facebook?) and how very excited we are for IFLS Live in Australia. NB: This episode comes with a language warning!

Do you f*cking love science? Then this event is for you. Come and meet your people! Join Elise Andrew (founder of hugely popular Facebook page I F*cking Love Science) and Dr Derek Muller (ABC’s Catalyst and the Veritasium YouTube channel) and spend an evening celebrating science.

They’ll be joined by Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, the Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, Triple J’s science guru Dr Karl, comedian and academic Dr Justine Rogers and an all­star line­up of YouTube science celebrities, including Henry Reich of MinutePhysics and MinuteEarth, Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapScience, Dr Carin Bondar of Wild Sex and Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day.

Meet your favourite online science superstars, learn about their approaches to science communication, and find out about their hidden talents. Grab a drink, mingle with real scientists, and hear the best part about winning a Nobel Prize.

The event will be streamed live on the Powerhouse Museum website and people around the world can also get involved on the Facebook event page (IFLS Live! Sydney 2013) and on Twitter using the hashtag #iflslive.

Support for this awesome event is provided by: the University of New South Wales, James Cook University, ANSTO and the Shell Questacon Science Circus. The event is 18+. There will be food and drinks available.

Theme songs are “P&P” by Derek K. Miller of www.penmachine.comPlease leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting  Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: IFLSLive_In_Oz_-_interview_With_Elise_Andrew.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02pm HKT

Token Skeptic #148 - On Apocalypse (Now?) 2012 - Interview with Dr Joseph Gelfer

Did you catch the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, doing an advertisment for a JJJ radio show, where she jokingly talked about the impending end of the world?

This episode of the Token Skeptic takes a closer look at whether Australians are more skeptical or just as drawn into the claims as any other country when it comes to 2012 apocalypse prophecies - and investigates what makes a sensible approach to take, particularly with believers of younger years.

Dr Joseph Gelfer works as an Adjunct Research Associate at the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University and holds a doctorate in religious studies from the Victoria University of Wellington.

A number of people believe that the end of the world is due in December 2012 - or, at the very least, the end of the world as we know it. Dr Gelfer recently produced a range of scholarly analyses in his book 2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse, which includes perspectives from various disciplines such as  religious studies, anthropology, Mayan studies, cultural studies and the social sciences.

Theme songs are “P&P” by Derek K. Miller of www.penmachine.com and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of  www.miltonmermikides.com

Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting  Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_148_-_On_Apocalypse_Now_2012_-_Dr_Joseph_Gelfer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm HKT

Token Skeptic #145 - On Wild Sex With Dr Carin Bondar

Let's talk about sex. And not just any old sex. The animal kingdom is a wild place -- and it's got mating habits to match. We're getting it on with kinky rituals, titillating pheromones, post-coital cannibalism, golden showers, orgy marathons and penises that put King Kong to shame. Biologist-with-a-twist Dr Carin Bondar is stripping down to the bare truth of nature's X-rated side - with the new web-series Wild Sex!

Wild Sex has already featured on the Huffington Post, I09, Jezebel and a great interview featured on Scientific America's Science Sushi Blog

For this Token Skeptic interview, we discuss Dr Carin Bondar's start in science, her work as a PhD in freshwater ecology and in science communication (particularly film-making and blogging); whether sex, sexy and science should ever mix and what's in store for viewers of the brand-new online series Wild Sex.

Dr Carin's site can be found at http://www.carinbondar.com - she is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/drbondar - and here is the YouTube site for Wild Sex, brought to you by Earth-Touch.com.

Theme songs are “P&P” by Derek K. Miller of www.penmachine.com and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of  www.miltonmermikides.com. Please leave positive comments and reviews on iTunes and consider supporting the show via visiting  Tokenskeptic.org - and I’d love to get your feedback via tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_145_-_On_Wild_Sex_-_Interview_With_Dr_Carin_Bondar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38am HKT

Token Skeptic #140 - On Great Skepticism – With Pat Linse And Donald Prothero

This is an investigative episode about some of the key figures in skepticism that you may not know much about… and should know more about!

Pat Linse is an award winning illustrator who specialized in film industry art before becoming one of the founders of the Skeptics Society, Skeptic magazine, and the creator of Junior Skepticmagazine. As Skeptic magazine’s Art Director, she has created many illustrations for both Skeptic and Junior Skeptic. She is co-editor of the The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience.

Donald R. Prothero is a Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He earned M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University in 1982, and a B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 28 books and over 250 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and four trade books as well as edited symposium volumes and other technical works. He is on the editorial board of Skepticmagazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for GeologyPaleobiologyand Journal of Paleontology.

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.comSong used in this episode: “Laundry“ by makardos.

Theme songs are “P&P” by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.


Token Skeptic #123 - On Not So A.C.E - Investigating Accelerated Christian Education With Jonny Scaramanga

Jonny Scaramanga is an independent musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and teacher in Bath. He once attended an ACE school and questions whether the system has done the right thing by him and thousands of students world-wide, at "Leaving Fundamentalism".

His article "Fundamental Errors With Evangelist Schooling" features at the Times Educational Supplement site:

Visitors to Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) schools see how quiet classrooms are and how polite pupils are. You would be polite too if you attended a school where anything less than vigorous, smiling agreement with the teachers was seen as an act of rebellion. Rules were enforced with, if not a rod of iron, then a hefty paddle...

...Like all pupils, I taught myself from ACE textbooks containing information on core subjects interspersed with comic strips in which pupils with side-partings reminded me how good Christians behave. I sat in my "office", a small desk with high partitions separating me from my neighbours. Talking wasn't allowed, but staff were not taking chances. I went to the school as someone who loved learning, and left it seeing education as a necessary evil.

Jonny continues to raise awareness about the Accelerated Christian Education's influence world-wide, not only via writing articles and a book about his experiences at Leaving Fundamentalism, but through an engaging series of audio essays featured on the Pod Delusion podcastACE creationism and Word of Faith (episodes 135 and 136).

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Theme songs are “P&P” by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Please considering supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org.


Token Skeptic #72 - On Unbelievable - Interview With Lawrence Leung

Tremendous thanks to both Simon Taylor for helping me secure this interview and Belinda Nicholson (who appeared in the 365 Days of Astronomy episode 'The Stars Are Her Laboratory’ for lending me the astrophysics tea-room at the University of Melbourne to record it! Please note - Simon has a GREAT new project, a skeptically-funny comic series called 'Flim Flam' - send in your support by sending in your pledge to get it happening.

Lawrence Leung is an Australian comedian, writer and director from Melbourne, Victoria. He is best known for his television series Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own AdventureIf the truth is out there... then let's look at the evidence! This is Lawrence Leung's 'Unbelievable'.

He has performed in shows in London's West End, at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, and around Australia extensively. This interview investigates the origins of the show, his history as a questioning comedian regarding interesting paranormal claims and what exactly was he up to when he was at Melbourne University (that you won't find on Wikipedia)?? 

Special guest stars during this interview - occasional astrophysics students looking for a cup of tea.

Check out 'Unbelievable' on ABC1 from 9.30pm, Wednesday June 15th! Lawrence's official website can be found at www.lawrenceleung.com.

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com. Theme songs are 'P&P' by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and '365' by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Please considering supporting the show - head to the Merchandise link on the Token Skeptic site and keep an eye out for the forthcoming Token Skeptic book, available through Lulu.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_72_-_On_Unbelivable_-_Interview_With_Lawrence_Leung.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13pm HKT

Token Skeptic #61 - On Paranormality - Interview With Dr Richard Wiseman

Richard Wiseman is the UK’s most popular psychologist, with books topping the bestseller charts, over 10 million views on his YouTube channel and more than 60,000 followers on Twitter. A former professional magician, he has spent the past 20 years investigating the psychology of the paranormal.

His new book, Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There, tackles the psychology of seemingly supernatural phenomena. Dr Wiseman is also the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

The official site for the book is at http://www.paranormalitybook.com and you can subscribe to his popular blog at http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com and his Twitter account at http://twitter.com/RichardWiseman.

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com. Theme songs are ‘P&P’ by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and ‘365′ by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_61_-_On_Paranormality_-_Interview_With_Richard_Wiseman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24pm HKT

In 2011 I was the organiser of the 10:23 Campign in Australia, with groups represented in Sydney, Brisbane, Victoria, Canberra and Perth. An interview with some of the participants features on the Token Skeptic podcast: http://tokenskeptic.org/2011/01/21/1023-campaign-in-australia-token-skeptic-special-episode.

In January, I noticed that on Twitter Dr Paul Willis was heading on his way to Antarctica - so I quickly wrote to him and to the organisers of the 10:23 campaign in the UK to sign him up as a participant! This is the eventual result. Probably the most interesting experience yet as a coordinator!

Thanks to Paul, all the organisers Australia-wide and to Marsh and all the UK organisers.

Direct download: 10-23_Campaign_With_Dr_Paul_Willis_In_Antarctica_-Token_Skeptic_Podcast.m4v
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48am HKT

Token Skeptic #29 - On The Invisible Gorilla – An Interview With Daniel Simons And Christopher Chabris

For many listening to this podcast - the phrase 'Did you see the gorilla?' might remind you of a group of people throwing a basketball to each other. For those who have no idea - before you go any further, check out the award-winning video that will feature in the show notes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY

Finished watching it? What you have just seen is part of a 2004 Ig Nobel award-winning study - which makes the following interview really quite special.

Christopher Chabris and Prof Daniel Simons have released a book about their ten years of research - on why people succumb to everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Called The Invisible Gorilla, it details the experiment and how it might explain such things as why companies spend billions on product they knows will fail and why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes. They combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble.

The Invisible Gorilla And Other Ways our Intuition Deceives Us is available from bookstores world-wide and I do suggest you check out my favourite bookstore online, Embiggen Books, for a copy. You can head to the official site to learn more, at http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com.

By the way - my science blog Podblack is up for an Australian science blogging award! Head to http://thebigblogtheory.com.au and support bloggers for Science Week!

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Speaking of  iTunes, you can find and rate all of the shows there, or you can visit www.tokenskeptic.org –  I’d love to hear your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Theme songs are ‘P&P’ by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and ‘365’ by Milton Mermikides, at www.miltonmermikides.com.


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