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