Meet The Skeptics!
MTS: Meet Mark Edward

Mark Edward is a unique interviewee. While his Skeptical credentials aren't at all in question, he actually works and has worked as a "Psychic Entertainer." To be sure, Mark is a highly skilled mentalist, but in our talk he made some very clear distinctions between the skills of a good Mentalist versus the skills of a "Psychic." Mark pulls back the mask to show how psychics operate and explains clearly just why people walk away with the impression that "he knew stuff that he never could have known."

Check out Mark's website at www.TheMarkEdward.com and look for his new book "Psychic Blues - Confessions From a Happy Medium."


Direct download: Meet_Mark_Edward.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

MTS: Meet Andrew Mayne

Magician, Skeptic, Author, Inventor, and lover of all things weird, Andrew Mayne is an interesting guy to chat with to say the least. He has published a large number of magic books, but more recently has delved into the world of fiction with The Grendel's Shadow and Public Enemy Zero.

Andrew worked at the JREF for several years, specifically involved with The Million Dollar Challenge. Now he splits his time between writing, recording the "Weird Things" podcast, inventing new magic tricks, and taking on the occasional stint performing live magic shows. Make sure to check him out at:

www.AndrewMayne.com

or follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewMayne

Direct download: Meet_Andrew_Mayne.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

MTS: Meet John Rennie

When you meet John Rennie in person, you quickly realize that he's pretty much the same guy that his writing would indicate. He has a unique ability that was no doubt honed to a razor sharp edge during his 2 decades at Scientific American Magazine, 15 as Editor in Chief. John has a special way of explaining science in an easy to understand fashion while avoiding any appearances of condescension.

We talked about his years at Scientific American, his newer role as blogger, ways in which science education can be improved, what books he's reading, his stint as a Guest Rogue on SGU and so much more.

You can follow John on Twitter at @tvjrennie.

John's Website: http://johnrennie.net/

The Gleaming Retort Blog

Recommended Reading:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Direct download: Meet_John_Rennie.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Milton Mermikides started his life with a love for science as only a young child, being distinctly lucky to be born to a Particle Physicist father. While he was keenly interested in science himself, he was gradually diverted by his love for music which he embraced fully. He even composed the intro music for this podcast.

A few years back Milton came down with Leukemia and wrote about his ordeal. The essay won him a scholarship to TAM London and put him on the map within Skeptical circles. That essay can be found at the link below.

A Life Examined

Visit Milton online at www.MiltonMermikides.com

Direct download: Meet_Milton_Mermikides.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Penn & Teller describe Jamy Ian Swiss as James Bond with a deck of cards for a gun. If you ever have the chance to see Jamy perform card magic, you'll be hard pressed to disagree. Not limited to simply cards though, Jamy Ian Swiss performs just about every type of magic there is, with the exception of kids birthday parties.

Jamy has been on the forefront of the Skeptics movement for many years, even holding the distinct honor of being the very first person to speak on stage at the very first TAM. He has appeared on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Today Show, and several television specials.

Jamy has worked as a consultant for Penn & Teller and for the recent book Sleights of Mind. He also proudly bears the moniker "The Honest Liar."

During our interview we talked about magic, con games, active skepticism and traditional Italian cooking.

www.JamyIanSwiss.com

Shattering Illusions: Essays on the Ethics, History, and Presentation of Magic

Direct download: Meet_Jamy_Ian_Swiss_2.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons is the host of Dimland Radio, a show on the internet radio station Z-Talk Radio. Z-Talk Radio is a bit unique as the programming is largely paranormal. Jim is sort of their token Skeptic, which means that his show is often the sole voice of reason.

Unlike many of us, Jim is regularly surrounded by those who believe in the paranormal, so he has gotten used to hearing their claims and challenging without offending (usually). He is also an artist and a father, both of which we had a chance to talk about. You can check out his show and his work at:

The Dimland Blog

Z Talk Radio

Download episodes of Dimland Radio here at the Dimland Show Archives


Direct download: Meet_Jim_Fitzsimons_2.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

I’ve always taken a bit of pride in my Canadian roots having been born in the same city as James Randi himself (Toronto). Of course, I have actually lived in the USA for almost my entire life and I am thoroughly Americanized, but I shall always have a special fondness for the Great White North.

Needless to say, I was incredibly excited when I stumbled across the SkepticNorth website and saw that there seems to be a growing movement toward Science and Skepticism in the land of my birth. Some further reading brought me to a few columns by Steve Thoms, which further brought me to his personal website “Some Canadian Skeptic.”

Steve’s writing is to the point, well thought out, and definitely thought provoking. I knew I had to get him on here, so I touched base and luckily landed the interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Follow Steve on Twitter at @SomeCndnSkeptic or follow me at @MeetTheSkeptics


Direct download: Meet_Steve_Thoms.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

You can ask 100 self identified Skeptics what motivates them and you'll likely get 100 different answers. Some people are looking to stop con artists. Some just love science. Some people are fascinated with psychology while others just want to make the world a more rational place.

If you grew up watching Scooby Doo like I did, you'll probably be incredibly jealous of Ben Radford. Except for the talking Great Dane, Ben essentially tracks down ghosts & goblins for a living. Not surprisingly, it usually turns out to be the guy who runs the roller coaster at the amusement park, or something along those lines.

Ben works with the Center For Inquiry (Formerly PSICOP) and is the Managing Editor of Skeptical Inquirer Magazine. He has also written several books, most recently "Tracking The Chupacabra."

Some Books by Ben Radford:

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore

Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries

Media Mythmakers

Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures

Ben's Website:

http://www.radfordbooks.com/

We talked about his books, his history of investigations, what it's like hanging out in jungles, and his scientific approach to investigations.

Direct download: Meet_Ben_Radford.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Michael Blanford has spent the last 15 years promoting science literacy, science appreciation, and critical thinking. Michael has developed science curricula, programs, and informal content for a number of institutions, including schools, community centers, museums, and Camps. Before coming to the JREF, he was coordinator for the Saint Louis Science Center’s Life Science Lab. Michael is also founder and president of the Skeptical Society of Saint Louis.

In our conversation we talked about Michael's goals for the JREF's Educational wing and methods that we can all use for spreading critical thinking skills and scientific literacy.

www.Randi.org

Twitter: @MichaelBlanford

Follow Me: @MeetTheSkeptics


Direct download: Meet_Michael_Blanford.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

MTS: Meet Brian Brushwood

Brian Brushwood is a Magician, sort of. He breathes fire, pounds freakishly long nails into his nose and teaches people how to scam free drinks at the bar from soon-to-be-ex friends. 

His Internet show Scam School is watched over a million times a month. He headlines college campuses with his show "Bizarre Magic." His radio show "NSFW" is a huge hit and an incredibly popular podcast, and to top it all off, he co-hosts the "Weird Things" podcast which he describes as his favorite project. He has been called "Brilliantly Original" by Penn & Teller and "Amazing" by Jay Leno.

We talked about the development of his act, walking the line between entertainment and dishonesty, and the biggest problem with eating glass light bulbs.

Scam School: http://revision3.com/scamschool

Bizarre Magic: http://shwood.squarespace.com/live-shows/

Weird Things Podcast: http://weirdthings.com/

Brian on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/shwood

ME on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/MeetTheSkeptics


Direct download: Meet_Brian_Brushwood.m4a
Category:Science and Skepticism -- posted at: 12:00am EDT