Skeptics with a K: Episode #058

Ronald Roland Emmerich, Dana Ullman, Psychic Sally and William Shakespeare. Plus Francis Bacon, Alan Smithee, John Benneth and Russell T Davies. With cries of ‘Penny Halloween!’, it’s Skeptics with a K.

  1. #1 by Tom Williamson on November 3, 2011 - 14:33

    You missed out at least one important criticism in the ‘Challenge Sally’ section: Who are you to say that Sally should have turned up? She was under no obligation to make an appearance, no matter how good it would of been if she had. She might have had to go to a funeral for all you know.

  2. #2 by Mike on November 3, 2011 - 15:51

    Well, exactly. Who am I to demand that the Nigerian Prince shows me his $100bn before I hand over my bank details? Who am I to demand that a doctor has gone to medical school before I let him slice into my guts?

    The presumption!

  3. #3 by Rebecca on November 3, 2011 - 16:00

    I’m with Mike on the turnip instead of the pumpkin, as the Irish Skeprechauns recently discussed, can result in more horrendous faces:

    And yes, penny Hallowe’en is a thing – again gonna claim Irish influence! 🙂

    Delighted not to be the first poster *phew*

  4. #4 by Tom Williamson on November 3, 2011 - 16:30

    No, that wasn’t my point. You invited Sally to take a challenge: fine. If she then declines the invite or simply doesn’t reply, it’s then arrogant to assume that she could have shown up, no matter how noble the cause is.

  5. #5 by Ben Emlyn-Jones on November 4, 2011 - 13:15

    Russell T David is the second-best screenwriter that I’ve ever seen. The best is Tony Grounds.

  6. #6 by Colin H on November 4, 2011 - 20:15

    What’s worse is that we asked Shakespeare to come prove he wasn’t an illiterate moron who couldn’t hold a quill, and he’s not turned up for 400 years! Bloody Elizabethan actors!

  7. #7 by Colin H on November 4, 2011 - 20:18

    It’s also Roland Emmerich, not Ronald, but I actually quite like the silliness of Ronald, it suits the films more!

  8. #8 by Mike on November 4, 2011 - 22:33

    That was an honest typo! Now fixed.

  9. #9 by Russell on November 5, 2011 - 14:25

  10. #10 by Jeff Keogh on November 7, 2011 - 06:14


    A small small small small point, but…

    Errata: a list of corrected errors appended to a book or issued in a subsequent issue of a journal.

    Now, I accept that addressing errors from previous podcasts at the start of a podcast could legitimately be called ‘errata’ – seems fair enough.

    However, just briefly mentioning various unrelated items is not errata. (i.e. dead car & correcting misapprehensions about the journal).
    Mentioning Marsh’s misidentification of Sudbury Star as US is an erratum, though.

    All in the interests of precision in language, fellas.

    LOVE THE SHOW. (Should go without saying, really.) You blokes are tops! (For a bunch o’ poms).


  11. #11 by Tom Morris on November 15, 2011 - 10:00

    Just one thing on the PLoS one thing: market forces aren’t as strong as you might think in “pay-to-read” journals. That’s because it isn’t the individual scientists themselves that make the decisions regarding journal subscriptions, but those decisions are usually made at an institutional level. And journal subscriptions are bundled together into databases and publisher deals. It might be that the same publisher sells libraries a package which includes both the British Journal of Blahology and the International Journal of Blahology, and the only way to send the negative ‘signal’ that one doesn’t want the former is to cancel the excellent other journal one gets from that publisher.

    This is a completely distorted and in many ways broken market. Which is why a lot of people are advocating a move away from the existing journal system and towards open access journals.

    Also, the other metric that isn’t taken into account is that academics care about citation rates and other bibliometric concerns. One of the things that has been holding back PLoS and similar schemes is that it is very hard to compete with the impact that publishing in a better-known journal has: other people cite the research more, it is better for career advancement and so on.

(will not be published)