“Science Knows It Doesn’t Know Everything… Otherwise It Would Stop.”

I love this video.

Dara O’Brian, Irish comedian, says it the way it is, and as Phil Plait said, “I sometimes think that comedians wield more skeptical leverage than bloggers.” This is true, but it’s up to us bloggers to post cool snippets from skeptical comedian sets and have a good giggle. So here’s the hilarious O’Brian, slamming crackpots across the board (beware the NSFW language):

Source: Bad Astronomy

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The Real Insanity Behind 2012

penn_teller_201221

I finally managed to watch the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode I was involved with (called Apocalypse) and I must admit, I was very disappointed. The doomsayers who write those idiotic books and edit those insanely inaccurate YouTube ‘end is nigh’ videos really are as insane as they sound!

To steal a phrase from the awesome Penn Jillette, “Does anyone have a fork I can stick into my own eye?” And I agree, some of the nonsense those guys spewed during Apocalypse was totally, and utterly, crazytown; enough to consider personal bodily harm.

Subtle: Profiting from doomsday... Crazy Penn & Quetzalcoatl Teller style (© Showtime)

Subtle: Profiting from doomsday... Crazy Penn & Quetzalcoatl Teller style (© Showtime)

After 18 months of writing articles countering the crappy science behind 2012 doomsday theories, I really did think that although their research was pseudo-scientific, scaremongering bunkum full of misinformation and misunderstandings, the people behind the theories must have some semblance of normality. Right?

Wrong. These individuals have been out of circulation for quite some time.

Also, they have no idea how to communicate their beliefs without sounding, and looking, insane. In this superb episode, we have Jaysen Rand bumping tennis balls around on pieces of string, yabbering about his alien abduction experiences and then promoting his scary theory (that we’re all going to die in 2012 via Planet X, or Wormwood) to an 11-year old girl. Then there’s the Belgian guy who seems to be having a panic attack about “an enormous– a gargant– gargantuant solar flare” with some kind of fetish for describing geomagnetic shift with a grapefruit. Then as an entertaining sideline, we have two disco dancing ghost hunters running around the Mayan pyramids in Chichen Itza talking to dead Mayans who think “many will die” in 2012 (their divining rod skills sucked cheese in my opinion)…

Naturally, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! isn’t a scientific study, it is an entertaining show that just happens to be very good at the art of sniffing out, well, bullshit. They bring on professionals who really know what they are talking about and make fun of the individuals who for some reason think they are going to get a fair hearing.

The man with the grapefruit... and me (©Showtime)

It’s hard to know who to listen to; the English solar physics guy with a doctorate degree and a decade of study and research experience, or a Belgian guy who fucked up our grapefruit love!” –Penn Jillette (Apocalypse)

It is such a strange feeling to have my Universe Today articles hit the mainstream on an Emmy Award winning show with Penn & Teller.

A huge thank you goes to the production team at Penn & Teller: Bullshit!. I had a great time filming the interview last year and I feel honored to be in a show alongside two skeptical-comedy greats. If you get the chance to watch Apocalypse, please do, especially if you have any concern about 2012… this show will dispel any myths. But to be honest, the doomsayers shoot themselves in the feet, providing Penn with some great material to bring Armageddon to the scaremongering idiots.

The Striking Similarity Between Ghostbusters and 2012

It’s funny, because it’s true

world-of-psychic

It’s been one of those days, where I had a list of things to do and I didn’t tick off one item. That’s not to say I haven’t done anything. I wrote an article about the cosmos throwing a Molotov cocktail at us, wrote another article about something a lot more scary (creationism) and then watched some TV at lunch. To my delight, a childhood classic was on daytime TV while I was nursing a headache: Ghostbusters II, from 1989. Oh yes! I love this “work from home” thing.

Anyhow, I had all but forgotten about the film, so there were a lot of surprises and a lot of laughs. They sure made good comedies in the late 80′s (at a time when I was of single-digit age). As I’m sure you remember, we pick up five years after the Ghostbusters crossed-the-streams in the first film (back in the “old days” of 1984), destroying the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in a fireball of gloopy sugary joy, ridding New York of the Sumerian God: Gozer the Gozerian. Now, reality has set in and all the Ghostbuster crew have settled into regular jobs. However, I cracked up when watching Pete Venkman (played by the excellent Bill Murray) present his not-so-prime-time “World of the Psychic” TV show.

This served as a reminder that although we are facing the mother of all doomsday pseudo-science/profit-making/nonsensical prophecies (this time in the guise of the year 2012), we’ve heard it all before. And Ghostbusters 2 had this wonderful sketch I had to share…
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“They’re (Not) Dead Dave…” – Red Dwarf Returns! (Update)

Chris Barrie (front), Craig Charles, Robert Llewellyn and Danny John-Jules (back), plus computerized Hattie Hayridge (series 3-5)

Chris Barrie (front), Craig Charles, Robert Llewellyn and Danny John-Jules (back), plus computerized Hattie Hayridge (series 3-5)

I don’t usually post stuff about TV shows, but this is HUGE news.

Besides, Red Dwarf was the best sci-fi sitcom, and it still is the BEST SCI-FI SITCOM to grace the TV in the UK ever since the mining spaceship Red Dwarf‘s crew was wiped out by a radiation leak, 3 million years ago. Lister (played by Craig Charles), the last remaining crew member (who was held in suspended animation for the duration), is joined by Rimmer (a hologram of Lister’s despised crew mate, played by Chris Barrie) and a descendent from Lister’s pregnant cat, called… Cat (Danny John-Jules). As the second series progressed, the trio meet the mechanoid Kryten, played by Robert Llewellyn (who, incidentally, I leant this news from via @bobbyllew).

The first show was aired back in 1988 and it continued (for eight seasons) until 1999, and I was addicted to each and every episode. Red Dwarf taught me many things, including:

1) There is no Silicon Heaven.
2) Toasters should not be allowed to talk.
3) There’s no such thing as “brown alert”.
4) The BSc in “Arnold Rimmer BSc” stands for “Bronze Swimming Certificate”.
5) Kryten has some amazing uses for his groin attachment.

So it looks like there will be a returning Easter special of two episodes, plus another two improvised episodes that will be done in front of a live audience! Alas, I’ll be in the US when it airs on the UKTV Channel Dave in April, but I will be sure to get it recorded!

For more info, check out The Guardian coverage of this superb news. Also, check out the Red Dwarf website, it’s just brought back some superb memories.

UPDATE: The Dave Channel Overlord just left a message informing me that Dave will be “revealing an exclusive piece of news from the production set every Wednesday at noon at http://www.joindave.co.uk. Enjoy!” Hopefully this will also be accessible to the continentally-challenged individuals like myself who’ll be missing out on the live airing in the UK… is there any news the new episodes will be online?

Please Dave, polymorph Red Dwarf into joyful smegtastic streaming video… pleeeaase?