A new experiment

Hey Cromrades,

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed a friendship I have struck up with a guy going by the handle “Rev_Xavier”. Xavier is relentlessly funny and uncompromisingly skeptical when it comes to religion, alt-med, gender, pseudoscience, you name it. After a number of really fun conversations online, Xavier and I hit upon the idea of starting a podcast.

Neither of us have hosted anything like this before, so we’re really winging it. I’m hoping that you good people will have some suggestions or feedback on whether you think this is a good idea, what kinds of things you’d like to see us take on, if there is a format you think is particularly effective, and any other random thoughts that might pop into your heads while watching this. The video, along with some relevant links, are below the fold.

Of Pandas and People

Republican congressman: evolution is “lies straight from the pit of hell”

Canada’s M312 bill vote record

Rona Ambrose’s non-response

Make sure you’re following Xavier on Twitter, because it’s the only way you’re going to understand the whole ‘Nutella vs. Candy Corn’ thing. Also please let me know what you thought of the video.

Like this article? Follow me on Twitter!


  1. BradC says

    Brilliant! Funny, entertaining, informative, now with more Nutella!

    Xavier’s video connection was a little stuttery, I assume that’s just a bandwidth issue. Audio was good, though.

  2. Chadreed says

    FYI-I tried to access this post on Facebook and it said this was hate speech or something like that and it wouldn’t let me access it.

  3. carlie says

    My personal preference is for audio over video. I hate being tied to my computer watching people say things I could just be listening to, and playing video on my mobile device sucks its battery life like crazy. But if you’re going video total, I hope you don’t mind my downloading the audio off of it to listen to.

  4. Brandon says

    If you make a podcast, I’ll definitely sub and listen with regularity (while doing science!). There’s plenty that you write that I’m not sure I agree with (I’m not sure I don’t either, there’s a lot of material that’s new for me), but almost all of it makes me think, and that’s a pretty damned valuable quality.

    As Carlie mentions, I’d really love an audio version. Most of my podcast listening is during my commute or doing rote tasks at work.

  5. Steve Schuler says

    I always enjoy good humour and this podcast was chock full of it. I will be looking forward to future episodes!

  6. fwtbc says

    I’d suggest ditching the video format and making it audio only, too. I’ve noticed that with Google hangouts, people don’t want to obstruct their heads/faces with a headset, and as such the audio quality is usually pretty shitty. Some people may prefer being able to see you as you talk, but it seems largely unnecessary a lot of the time, and the format is less inviting to downloading to portable players for on-the-go listening.

    I already listen to a fair number of podcasts, and if I can’t subscribe via RSS or the audio quality is low due to people using built-in laptop microphones, I’m not really going to stick around.

  7. briane says

    I’d love to be having a beer with you guys. But, I know that I’d spoil it by jumping in to often. This is better. I’m having a beer, and enjoying the conversation. 🙂

  8. BradC says

    Adding an audio-only option might make it more convenient for some, but I definitely appreciate the video, too.

  9. says

    I can certainly rip the audio from the Youtube video for those who would rather listen than watch. Anything more hi-tech then that would require us to make an investment in some equipment, perhaps some software. It’s not a “no”, but it’s definitely a “not yet”.

  10. I'll probably regret this says

    Seems like a serious bromance developing. It’s great to see people doing pod and videocasts who enjoy speaking with each other and can riff off one another. Both of you were well informed about the topics you discussed, key points and background, which makes listening a pleasure.

    Couple of suggestions: I think you glossed over a bit of the nuance around Canadian government. I know you don’t want to cover the entire parliamentary system, but making the checks and balances of the Senate, GG and Supreme Court clear so that Americans can understand the risk of M312 passing while understanding the protections we have as well.

    I also think there’s an alternate viewpoint on bills like M312. We are currently using a 400 year old definition of when personhood begins based on the philosophical, theological, scientific and medical understanding of that era. I think a committee of scientific and medical experts along with a good ethicist would be a great idea to inform the country of how our knowledge has advanced and how we might better define the onset of personhood. That said, I have no confidence that the current government would appoint the proper experts and give them the freedom to work. So I oppose M312 and anything like it until such a committee can be formed without political intervention.

    I look forward to future episodes.

  11. says

    Those are good notes. Thank you.

    From my perspective, I just don’t see what the value is to Canadians to have Parliament devote time and energy to answering this question. Is there an urgent need requiring legislation with respect to personhood? Not that I can see, unless you are trying to change the status quo of abortion, in which case yer nuts.

  12. says

    Yes please, if it’s not a drama – for some reason YouTube vids or Google hangouts seem to chew bandwidth like it’s going out of style.

  13. carlie says

    That would be great. I can do it myself for my own use, but it makes me feel vaguely criminal to do so. It would be nice to have an officially sanctioned version.

  14. John Horstman says

    I was laughing my ass off all the way through. Do more! 😀

    (I know, it’s not super constructive feedback.)

  15. xmaseveeve says

    But why was it blocked. I know it can’t have been hate speech from 2 such nice guys. I’m curious. I met Rev on Twitter!

  16. I'll probably regret this says

    Realizing that this isn’t the topic of the OP, I’d taken a couple of days to try and produce a concise response. Then last night, Paul Ryan summed it up for me:

    Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course, but it’s also because of reason and science. You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born for our seven-week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child, Liza, “Bean.” (Chuckles.)

    I don’t like that the pro-lifers who used to protest with scripture outside my local hospital now do so with talk of DNA and ultrasounds and people now stop and listen. I don’t like that where we would tell them to stop getting their morality from a 2000 year old book, they now ask us why we use a 400 year old definition if science is constantly learning new things. It’s like IDers have taken over the pro-life movement.

    If I thought we would get an unbiased selection of experts I would heartily support it, so we could show the scientific refutation of their claims and send them back to their ineffectual scripture quoting. But lacking any confidence in the will of the government to do the right, I don’t want it right now either.

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