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Geek Counterpoint -- Your antidote to soundbite science!

Lorne Ipsum

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Geek Counterpoint -- Your antidote to soundbite science!
Geek Counterpoint -- Your antidote to soundbite science!

Geek Counterpoint -- Your antidote to soundbite science!

Lorne Ipsum

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Plays
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About Us

Your own personal geek-to-English translator, in handy Podcast form! Equal parts topical science background, correction / explanation of poorly reported science & tech issues, and just plain interesting points to ponder. A 20 minute helping of critical thinking every week, presented in conversational style and with a dash of dry humor.

Latest Episodes

GC061 So long, and thanks for all the fish...

Finis

1 MIN2007 SEP 12
Comments
GC061 So long, and thanks for all the fish...

GC060 Climate Change Impacts

Now that we've gone through the science behind climate change, and knocked down most of the kooks surrounding the issue, it's time to talk about what we're up against. In this episode, I spend a bit under 30 minutes laying out the most likely future impacts of climate change -- and while I wouldn't call it a catastrophe, things don't look too pretty. Since this is the eighth episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, 54, 56, 57, 58, and 59.

27 MIN2007 JUN 2
Comments
GC060 Climate Change Impacts

GC059 Climate Change Proponents

Since the opponents of the climate change consensus have had their turn, now it's time to give the supporters of the consensus a little working over. Since this is the seventh episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, 54, 56, 57, and 58.

28 MIN2007 MAY 14
Comments
GC059 Climate Change Proponents

GC058 Swindled!

A couple of Geek Counterpoint listeners (thanks, Travis and Bill!) pointed me to a show recently aired on BBC channel 4 called "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It purports to be a documentary, and is uniformly critical of the science behind climate change and the global warming concensus. It's generated a lot of heat both in British papers and online, and has been accused of playing fast and loose with the truth. Since video of the show is available online on both YouTube and Google video, and it rehashes arguments often made by climate change skeptics, I thought it would be a good topic for an episode. So this week's episode is my overview of the show, a discussion of how it's put together, and a little background on people appearing in (or quoted by) the show. See the blog post for this episode for a minute-by-minute commentary on the show.

23 MIN2007 MAR 25
Comments
GC058 Swindled!

GC057 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 3)

Now that we've simplified things by covering the more common arguments made by climate change skeptics, this episode is devoted to discussing some specific climate change skeptics and their arguments. Since this is the fifth episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, 54, and 56. In the next climate episode, it'll be time for some climate change proponents' turn in the barrel.

27 MIN2007 MAR 13
Comments
GC057 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 3)

GC056 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 2)

A continuation of episode 54's treatment of general points used by climate change skeptics. Since this is the fourth episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, and 54.

25 MIN2007 FEB 21
Comments
GC056 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 2)

GC055 Space Weapons

When the Chinese government demolished one of its aging weather satellites a few weeks ago, they did more than just test out a potentially useful technology. They also cluttered up low Earth orbit with a huge amount of debris, and stirred up a comparable amount of controversy in the press. While nobody is yet quite sure what the motivation behind the test was (to send a message to the White House? to start discussions on a new space treaty?), there's been no shortage of speculation on the subject. What hasn't received much attention is the history of this technology. So this episode is all about the history of efforts to militarize space.

34 MIN2007 FEB 10
Comments
GC055 Space Weapons

GC054 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 1)

It's taken some time to do a reasonable level of fact checking, but my climate cats have now been successfully herded, so it's (finally!) time for another climate change episode. Since (at least in the media) the discussion over climate change has been boiled down to two "sides," I'll start with the case made by various parties skeptical of the mainstream view. Mind you, as in any argument, a given position is held by a variety of parties -- some sincere and rational, some sincere and irrational, some merely misinformed, and some with nefarious motives. Since all of these approaches tend to get equal time in the mass media, I'll try to cover as many of them as possible in this episode and a few to follow. In this episode, I'll briefly discuss the history of climate change science, then start looking at some general arguments used by a variety of parties against the theory of global climate change. Subsequent episodes over the next few weeks will look at additional general arguments ...

37 MIN2007 JAN 23
Comments
GC054 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 1)

GC053 Sergey Korolyov

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of a giant of space exploration -- Sergey Korolyov (sometimes also transliterated as Sergei Korolev). For much of the 20th century, Korolyov was the prime driving factor behind the Soviet space program. He led the efforts to launch Sputnik, put Yuri Gagarin into orbit, and hold up the USSR's end of the race to the moon. Yet during Korolyov's life, even his existence was a Soviet state secret -- he was only ever publicly referred to as the "Chief Designer." After his death, he finally received some recognition for his accomplishments, yet many parts of Korolyov's life and work were more rumor than fact until after the collapse of the USSR. Tune in this week, and you'll learn more about the impressive contributions made by a man who, until recently, was almost unheard of.

16 MIN2007 JAN 12
Comments
GC053 Sergey Korolyov

GC052 Antikythera Mechanism

Sure, it's not much to look at -- but this humble lump of corroded bronze completely demolished our previous understanding of the history of mechanical inventions. The Antikythera Mechanism was built late in the 2nd century BC, and is the earliest example ever found of a geared mechanism, but represents a level of mechanical technology not seen again for nearly 2000 years!

23 MIN2007 JAN 4
Comments
GC052 Antikythera Mechanism

Latest Episodes

GC061 So long, and thanks for all the fish...

Finis

1 MIN2007 SEP 12
Comments
GC061 So long, and thanks for all the fish...

GC060 Climate Change Impacts

Now that we've gone through the science behind climate change, and knocked down most of the kooks surrounding the issue, it's time to talk about what we're up against. In this episode, I spend a bit under 30 minutes laying out the most likely future impacts of climate change -- and while I wouldn't call it a catastrophe, things don't look too pretty. Since this is the eighth episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, 54, 56, 57, 58, and 59.

27 MIN2007 JUN 2
Comments
GC060 Climate Change Impacts

GC059 Climate Change Proponents

Since the opponents of the climate change consensus have had their turn, now it's time to give the supporters of the consensus a little working over. Since this is the seventh episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, 54, 56, 57, and 58.

28 MIN2007 MAY 14
Comments
GC059 Climate Change Proponents

GC058 Swindled!

A couple of Geek Counterpoint listeners (thanks, Travis and Bill!) pointed me to a show recently aired on BBC channel 4 called "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It purports to be a documentary, and is uniformly critical of the science behind climate change and the global warming concensus. It's generated a lot of heat both in British papers and online, and has been accused of playing fast and loose with the truth. Since video of the show is available online on both YouTube and Google video, and it rehashes arguments often made by climate change skeptics, I thought it would be a good topic for an episode. So this week's episode is my overview of the show, a discussion of how it's put together, and a little background on people appearing in (or quoted by) the show. See the blog post for this episode for a minute-by-minute commentary on the show.

23 MIN2007 MAR 25
Comments
GC058 Swindled!

GC057 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 3)

Now that we've simplified things by covering the more common arguments made by climate change skeptics, this episode is devoted to discussing some specific climate change skeptics and their arguments. Since this is the fifth episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, 54, and 56. In the next climate episode, it'll be time for some climate change proponents' turn in the barrel.

27 MIN2007 MAR 13
Comments
GC057 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 3)

GC056 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 2)

A continuation of episode 54's treatment of general points used by climate change skeptics. Since this is the fourth episode in a series, I'd recommend that before listening to this episode, you first listen to episodes 45, 47, and 54.

25 MIN2007 FEB 21
Comments
GC056 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 2)

GC055 Space Weapons

When the Chinese government demolished one of its aging weather satellites a few weeks ago, they did more than just test out a potentially useful technology. They also cluttered up low Earth orbit with a huge amount of debris, and stirred up a comparable amount of controversy in the press. While nobody is yet quite sure what the motivation behind the test was (to send a message to the White House? to start discussions on a new space treaty?), there's been no shortage of speculation on the subject. What hasn't received much attention is the history of this technology. So this episode is all about the history of efforts to militarize space.

34 MIN2007 FEB 10
Comments
GC055 Space Weapons

GC054 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 1)

It's taken some time to do a reasonable level of fact checking, but my climate cats have now been successfully herded, so it's (finally!) time for another climate change episode. Since (at least in the media) the discussion over climate change has been boiled down to two "sides," I'll start with the case made by various parties skeptical of the mainstream view. Mind you, as in any argument, a given position is held by a variety of parties -- some sincere and rational, some sincere and irrational, some merely misinformed, and some with nefarious motives. Since all of these approaches tend to get equal time in the mass media, I'll try to cover as many of them as possible in this episode and a few to follow. In this episode, I'll briefly discuss the history of climate change science, then start looking at some general arguments used by a variety of parties against the theory of global climate change. Subsequent episodes over the next few weeks will look at additional general arguments ...

37 MIN2007 JAN 23
Comments
GC054 Climate Change: the Skeptics (part 1)

GC053 Sergey Korolyov

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of a giant of space exploration -- Sergey Korolyov (sometimes also transliterated as Sergei Korolev). For much of the 20th century, Korolyov was the prime driving factor behind the Soviet space program. He led the efforts to launch Sputnik, put Yuri Gagarin into orbit, and hold up the USSR's end of the race to the moon. Yet during Korolyov's life, even his existence was a Soviet state secret -- he was only ever publicly referred to as the "Chief Designer." After his death, he finally received some recognition for his accomplishments, yet many parts of Korolyov's life and work were more rumor than fact until after the collapse of the USSR. Tune in this week, and you'll learn more about the impressive contributions made by a man who, until recently, was almost unheard of.

16 MIN2007 JAN 12
Comments
GC053 Sergey Korolyov

GC052 Antikythera Mechanism

Sure, it's not much to look at -- but this humble lump of corroded bronze completely demolished our previous understanding of the history of mechanical inventions. The Antikythera Mechanism was built late in the 2nd century BC, and is the earliest example ever found of a geared mechanism, but represents a level of mechanical technology not seen again for nearly 2000 years!

23 MIN2007 JAN 4
Comments
GC052 Antikythera Mechanism