Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Conversation with Edward Snowden (Part 2) | StarTalk Radio

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s exclusive, one-on-one conversation with Edward Snowden - via robot - concludes with a deeper dive into metadata, personal privacy and covert communications, before exploring pulsars and cosmic background radiation.

Drought Is Driving Beekeepers And Their Hives From California | NPR

Dry conditions in California have limited the amount of pollen and nectar bees can collect.

The drought in California over the past four years has hit the agriculture industry hard, especially one of the smallest farm creatures: honeybees. A lack of crops for bees to pollinate has California's beekeeping industry on edge.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Richard Dawkins > Quotes: "We are going to die..." | Goodreads

Richard Dawkins

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”

― Richard DawkinsUnweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder


Friday, September 25, 2015

Islam and the Future of Tolerance | Sam Harris

This panel discussion was held at Harvard’s Kennedy Forum on September 14, 2015.

Sam Harris:
Neuroscientist; Co-founder and Chief Executive, Project Reason; Author, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, among others

Maajid Nawaz:
Author, Radical; Founding Chairman, Quilliam

The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You…) | Sam Harris - Waking Up Podcast

A Conversation with Max Tegmark

(Photo via Dave Morrow)

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark about the foundations of science, our current understanding of the universe, and the risks of future breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

Known as “Mad Max” for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, Max Tegmark’s scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality, all explored in his new popular book Our Mathematical Universe. Tegmark is a professor of physics who has published more than two hundred technical papers and been featured in dozens of science documentaries. His work with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.” For more information about his work, please visit his MIT website and the Future of Life Institute.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Public Defenders (HBO)

The Miranda warning includes the right to a public defender. It doesn’t include the fact that public defenders are highly overworked and grossly underpaid.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Punk Show at Back to the Grind, Saturday Oct. 3rd.

I am playing a solo set to open up this awesome show next Saturday, Oct. 3rd. I am also playing bass for my cousin's...
Posted by Jonny Miller on Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Native Groups Protest Pope Francis’ Canonization of Junípero Serra over Role in California Genocide | Democracy Now!

Pope Francis’ decision to canonize the 18th century Spanish missionary Junípero Serra has drawn a strong protest from many indigenous groups. Serra founded nine of the 21 missions in California that later were the basis of what is now the modern state. Hundreds of thousands of people died after the missionaries arrived. According to historian Alvin Josephy, what happened in California "was as close to genocide as any tribal people had faced, or would face, on the North American continent."


Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate | eSkeptic

Nurse Administers a Vaccine. This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Rhoda Baer (Photographer). See: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nurse_administers_a_vaccine.jpg
About this week’s eSkeptic
"In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall examines the statements about vaccinesmade by four candidates in the recent GOP debate. They all demonstrated a poor grasp of vaccine science, and advocated delays in the vaccine schedule that would represent a danger to the young, the immunocompromised, and to the herd immunity that is a mainstay of our public health."
Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel living in Puyallup, WA. She writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to bothSkeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of Sciencebasedmedicine.org, where she writes an article every Tuesday. She is author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon. Her website is www.skepdoc.info.

Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate

1.Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, said that there have been numerous studies and they have not demonstrated any correlation between vaccines and autism. TRUE.
He said certain vaccines are very important: those that would prevent death or crippling. He said others don’t fit in that category. FALSE. Although some vaccine-preventable diseases have the potential to do more harm than others, there is not a single vaccine that doesn’t prevent a disease that can cripple or kill a percentage of its victims.
He said there should be some discretion. NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. There is no reason to think “discretion” is warranted in following the recommended vaccine schedule, and there is clear evidence that not following the recommendations can lead to harm. If vaccines are delayed, the infant remains susceptible to a preventable disease until the vaccine is given. Decreasing the number of vaccinated children decreases the herd immunity of the entire population. It means that when a disease enters a community it is more likely to spread, and that harms 3 categories of people: infants too young to have been vaccinated for that disease; sick, elderly, and immunocompromised people who are more susceptible to infection and more likely to sustain serious harm if they catch the disease; and the small percentage of immunized people who may still be susceptible despite the vaccines, which are not 100% protective.
He said “but you know, a lot of this is pushed by big government.” NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. In fact, I don’t even know what he means. It is not “big government” that supports the current vaccine schedule, but the scientific and medical community.
2.Trump responded to Carson, saying autism has become an epidemic that has gotten totally out of control. FALSE. Most scientists interpret the evidence as showing the rate of autism has risen very little or not at all. The perception of an “epidemic” is due to wider awareness of the disorder, better identification of patients, and re-categorization of children who formerly would have had a different diagnosis. . .

Read more:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

StarTalk Radio: A Conversation with Edward Snowden (Part 1)

Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with whistleblower Edward Snowden via robotic telepresence from Moscow. In Part 1, they discuss Isaac Newton, knowledge and learning, the Periodic Table, encryption and privacy, and much more.

FRONTLINE: Bush's War (Part 1)

Bush's War Part 1

2009 Emmy Winner: FRONTLINE unfolds the saga of the invasion of Iraq in a two-part series.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Talk Nerdy Episode 80 - Steven Paul Leiva

Cara is joined by independent author Steven Paul Leiva ("Traveling In Space") to talk about the power of storytelling, the difference between genre fiction and literary fiction, and why it's okay to be a nerd, even if you aren't all that into sci-fi.

In Autumn: The Universe (EP) Online Release - #1 - Trans-Moun...

For several months now, In Autumn has been working hard on a new full-length album. We are so terribly excited that we cannot wait until the full-length is done to share it with you. Instead, we are pausing at this halfway point to release “The Universe”, a 4-track EP and precursor to our upcoming full-length. Over the next few weeks, stay tuned as we release one track at a time off The Universe EP. It all starts Wednesday, September 30th with our release of the studio recording of the first track, “Trans-Mountaineer”. 

Back in June, we had an online release of the music video for Trans-Mountaineer, recorded live in Corona, CA. If you missed it, you can watch the video here:

Keep ‘Em Separated: Rev. Barry Lynn on God and Government | Point of Inquiry

September 21, 2015

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

One of the United States’ most prominent and respected advocates for secularism is a reverend, and that of course is our guest this week, Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Few have more experience untangling religion from government as Rev. Lynn, who has spent a career making the case that a truly free country requires a secular government, and true religious freedom requires church-state separation.
He and host Lindsay Beyerstein discuss the numerous ways the mixing of church and state have resulted in corruption and injustice. While Lynn believes that religion can play an important role in our communities and in many people’s lives, government should never be in a position to rely upon whatever charitable services a religious group might provide. Recounting some of fascinating experiences from his career, many from his new bookGod and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom Of Conscience, Lynn believes that the long battle for the wall of separation is one that secularists will eventually win.

Listen Here:http://www.pointofinquiry.org/keep_em_separated_rev._barry_lynn_on_god_and_government/

Friday, September 18, 2015

Common Sense 285 – Torturing our Values



Common Sense 285 – Torturing our Values

Sat, 13 Dec 2014 – 1:13:16 minutes – 53.6mb Was torture an effective tool in the War on Terror? As legislators in Washington debate the point, Dan stands up for timeless American values. Also: New deadly police encounters spawn more Ferguson-style protests.


Sources Detail Skewed Reports On How The U.S. Is Doing Against ISIS | NPR

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., (left) and Jack Reed, D-R.I., hear testimony on operations against ISIS from Gen. Lloyd Austin.

NPR has new details on what investigators are discovering about Pentagon analysis of the battle against ISIS in Iraq.

The Pentagon is looking at whether senior military officials at U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, pressured intelligence analysts into painting a rosy picture of the fight against ISIS. The Defense Department's inspector general is talking to a group of intelligence analysts who are providing evidence and details on how bias crept into their assessments.

One military source who witnessed the skewing of reports and told NPR he was "a victim of them" said that analysts at CENTCOM got the message as they began writing their assessments of events on the ground. If analysts wanted to include a piece of good news regarding the campaign against ISIS or the progress of Iraqi forces, they needed almost no sourcing. But if they wanted to include bad news — such as Iraqi forces retreating — analysts were required to cite three or four sources.

Two military sources familiar with the investigation say that, while they haven't discovered a direct order to cherry-pick intelligence, it was something that evolved because of the way data were handled and produced.

"The bad news didn't just need to be footnoted," one military source, who did not want to be further identified because he is involved with the inquiry, told NPR. "The intelligence data itself had to be attached to the report. It became pretty clear if they wrote something bad, it was likely to be changed. Knowing that bad news on ISIS wasn't welcome meant that, over time, the picture of the fight began being rosier."

It's Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste, Feds Say | NPR

The government's first ever national target to reduce food waste will encourage farmers to donate more of their imperfect produce to the hungry.
Word that Americans throw away about one-third of our available food has been getting around. Now there's an official goal aimed at reducing that waste. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency — along with many private-sector and food-bank partners — announced the first ever national target for food waste.

"[We're] basically challenging the country to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells The Salt.

Currently, Vilsack says, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year. And if that's hard to fathom, picture this: "It's enough to fill the Sears Tower [technically now called the Willis Tower] 44 times," Vilsack says.

As for who's responsible? Well, pretty much everyone who eats.

We consumers let a lot of food wilt or go sour in our refrigerators. And we may toss out items when they pass their sell-by dates — even though the food is still safe to consume. More...


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

StarTalk Live! Parasites and Poisons at The Bell House | StarTalk Radio

A strange brew of poisons, parasites and infectious diseases is on tap at The Bell House when Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman welcome guests Mark Siddall, the Leech Guy, and comedians H. Jon Benjamin and Jessica Williams.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders - Liberty University Convocation

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke at Liberty University’s Convocation — the world’s largest regular gathering of Christian young people — to fight for a moral and just society, where all are treated with equal dignity.

TTA Podcast 239: The Story of God - A Biblical Comedy About Love (and Hate)

Chris Matheson was co-screenwriter on the 1989 comedy film, "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." Chris' most recent adventure is an exploration of the Christian holy book, rewriting the "sacred" texts and releasing his synopsis of scripture as the new book, "The Story of God: a Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate).
In this broadcast, Seth speaks with Chris about his sarcastic (yet accurate) take on the Bible, and he finishes the show by reading an excerpt from the book. Enjoy.

Stories September 15, 2015 | Democracy Now!


September 15, 2015

The Economics Of Happiness And A Country's Income Inequality | NPR

For many years people have puzzled over why countries that get richer don't seem to get happier. Now, researchers have an answer.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Invisible Catastrophes: Erik Loomis on the Consequences of Outsourcing | Point of Inquiry

September 8, 2015

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

Corporate outsourcing is so common in the U.S. that it’s become exceedingly difficult to avoid consuming products made by unregulated and unethical means. But this has not always been the norm, as several decades ago America’s working class economy was booming, and with the advent of unions, labor laws, and environmental protections, the American dream seemed alive and well.
Here to talk about the history of corporate outsourcing in America, and the effects it has had on the economy, the environment, and the lives and well being of countless overseas workers, is author and labor expert, Dr. Erik Loomis. Dr. Loomis is a history professor, blogger, activist and author of the new book Out of Sight: The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe. Dr. Loomis explains how various legislative incentives have made it nearly impossible for corporations to invest in cutting back on their carbon output, and why irresponsible corporate behavior has led to numerous disasters that take innocent lives and further harm the planet.

How Sound Shaped The Evolution Of Your Brain | NPR

Sound jungle GIF

Acoustic biologists who have learned to tune their ears to the sounds of life know there's a lot more to animal communication than just, "Hey, here I am!" or "I need a mate." From insects to elephants to people, we animals all use sound to function and converse in social groups — especially when the environment is dark, or underwater or heavily forested.

"We think that we really know what's going on out there," says Dartmouth College biologist Laurel Symes, who studies crickets. But there's a cacophony all around us, she says, that's full of information still to be deciphered. "We're getting this tiny slice of all of the sound in the world."

Recently scientists have pushed the field of bioacoustics even further, to record whole environments, not just the animals that live there. Some call this "acoustic ecology" — listening to the rain, streams, wind through the trees. A deciduous forest sounds different from a pine forest, for example, and that soundscape changes seasonally.

Neuroscientist Seth Horowitz, author of the book The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, is especially interested in the ways all these sounds, which are essentially vibrations, have shaped the evolution of the human brain.

"Vibration sensitivity is found in even the most primitive life forms," Horowitz says — even bacteria. "It's so critical to your environment, knowing that something else is moving near you, whether it's a predator or it's food. Everywhere you go, there is vibration and it tells you something."


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

AURN Exclusive With Sen. Bernie Sanders | American Urban Radio

White House correspondent April Ryan has an exclusive interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been making waves in the polls as a Democratic contender for the 2016 Presidential election.

StarTalk Radio Extended Classic: “Are You Out of Your Mind?” with Oliver Sacks

Join us for Neil deGrasse Tyson’s original interview with his recently departed friend Oliver Sacks, now extended with exclusive, never-before-heard content. Also featuring guest Cara Santa Maria and co-host Chuck Nice.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders Interview With Iowa Press

Bernie Sanders Interview With Iowa Press - Full Interview

0:36 - Bernie on His Campaign
1:47 - Bernie on What He Would Do As President
3:59 - Bernie on Bad Trade Deals
4:52 - Bernie on Becoming A Democrat
6:40 - Bernie on Running As A Third-Party Candidate
7:15 - Bernie on The Iran Nuclear Deal
9:15 - Bernie on His Criteria For Going To War
10:49 - Bernie on The U.S. Military 
12:30 - Bernie on The Use Of Drones
13:00 - Bernie on The Minimum Wage and Negotiating With Republicans
14:58 - Bernie on Class Warfare
16:57 - Bernie on Joe Biden Potentially Entering The Race
17:56 - Bernie on His Age
19:43 - Bernie on Gun Control
21:54 - Bernie on Uniting The Country
23:55 - Bernie on The Iowa Caucus 
24:53 - Bernie on Donald Trump

Bernie Sanders at DNC Summer Meeting (Full Speech)

Bernie Sanders at DNC Summer Meeting (Full Speech) - Minneapolis, Minnesota - August 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders: Iraq war, Gay marriage, Universal health care, Climate change: Keystone Pipeline, Money in politics: Citizens United

Mass Deportation May Sound Unlikely, But It's Happened Before | NPR

Mexican and Mexican-American families wait to board Mexico-bound trains in Los Angeles on March 8, 1932. County officials arranged these mass departures as part of "repatriation campaigns," fueled by fears that Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were taking scarce jobs and government assistance during the Great Depression.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to deport all 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, along with their U.S.-born children, sounds far-fetched. But something similar happened before.

During the 1930s and into the 1940s, up to 2 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were deported or expelled from cities and towns across the U.S. and shipped to Mexico. According to some estimates, more than half of these people were U.S. citizens, born in the United States.

It's a largely forgotten chapter in history that Francisco Balderrama, a California State University historian, documented in Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. He co-wrote that book with the late historian Raymond Rodriguez.

"There was a perception in the United States that Mexicans are Mexicans," Balderrama said. "Whether they were American citizens, or whether they were Mexican nationals, in the American mind — that is, in the mind of government officials, in the mind of industry leaders — they're all Mexicans. So ship them home."

It was the Great Depression, when up to a quarter of Americans were unemployed and many believed that Mexicans were taking scarce jobs. In response, federal, state and local officials launched so-called "repatriation" campaigns. They held raids in workplaces and in public places, rounded up Mexicans and Mexican-Americans alike, and deported them. The most famous of these was in downtown Los Angeles' Placita Olvera in 1931.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Our Climate, Our Future": As Obama Visits Arctic, Alaskans Urge Him to Reverse Shell Oil Deal | Democracy Now!

    Weeks after approving Shell’s plans to drill in Alaska, President Obama is heading to the state to warn about the dangers of climate change. "Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster, too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas," Obama said in his weekly address. A protest is scheduled today in Anchorage to urge Obama to reverse his decision on Shell and stop all exploratory drilling in the Arctic.

Preserving Borders vs. Preserving People: Death Toll Rises as Refugees Head to Europe Seeking Safety | Democracy Now!


    The European Union has called for emergency talks to address the rapidly growing number of people fleeing to Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 2,500 people are believed to have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe so far this year. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: LGBT Discrimination (HBO)

This year’s gay marriage ruling was a milestone, but LGBT discrimination is still surprisingly legal. John Oliver explains why we need a federal anti-discrimination law.

A Conversation with God | StarTalk Radio

"Neil Tyson has a one-on-one conversation with… God. Join us for divine revelations about everything from the Big Bang, to evolution and creationism, to aliens. Now including “God’s Favorites,” plus “How Tweet It Is” with Neil and Bill Nye."


Talk Nerdy Episode 76 - Jessica Taaffe

Global health scientist and science communicator Dr. Jessica Taaffe joins Cara to discuss the importance of health initiatives aimed at the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases worldwide, including HIV.

The City is Still Drowning: Gary Rivlin on New Orleans Ten Years After Katrina | Point of Inquiry

"Ten years ago on August 29, 2005, nearly 80 percent of New Orleans found itself underwater. Over the following months, the New York Times sent its correspondent Gary Rivlin to live in New Orleans and report on the city's effort to rebuild. To this day, much of New Orleans are still in shambles and few outside of the city understand the nature of the chaos that ensued during and after the storm.
In his new book Katrina: After The Flood, Rivlin reveals how the story of Katrina, and why its impact was so devastating, was much more complicated than the simple narrative much of the media was providing. A decade after the disaster, he joins Josh Zepps on Point of Inquirythis week to discuss how Katrina created a huge racial and class division in New Orleans, and how we might learn from the mistakes that were made in managing the aftermath of the storm."

Click here to listen...