Skeptics with a K: Episode #093


T-shirts, asteroids, Russians and worrying. Plus phone boxes, Amazon, the lizard overlords and your rubbish sex life. Recovering from a fever, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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  1. #1 by Que on March 7, 2013 - 17:54

    Great episode.

    On the T-shirt issue, the question that if a company should still be responsible guilty for their automated algorithmic production, is pretty interguing.
    If the answer is indeed no, (which it might be) than this become the best business plan ever. It completely distances a conpany from any chance of guilt, or civil suits for the poor quality of their product.
    I wonder if this model/excuse could be applied something beyond just speech, perhaps something physical. its an interesting legal brain teaser.

    For me, it becomes really what about the actual production line; if a shirt was sold, printed, and shipped, was that part of the production completely human free, or just filled with simple production workers who couldn’t care to report a possible misprint problem.

    Also great Skynet/Terminator idea. T-shirt printing program becomes sentient and starts printing pro-robot t-shirts.

  2. #2 by Benni on March 7, 2013 - 18:21

    My god, Mike, huge respect for the amount of research/effort you put into your section on the rape t-shirts. Ever considered a career in the private detective sector? 😉

  3. #3 by Dave "SWAK fan" Towner on March 7, 2013 - 21:23

    Ma-hoosive fan of SWAK, so grateful that you three chuck out an awesome podcast for free, wanted to leave a review for you guys, but iTunes is a no no for this android user.. Anywhere else you guys want a review posting?? Keep up the good work, it does get through. I didn’t know I was a skeptic until I stumbled across the SGU, then I found you guys too and quickly became my favourite podcast…. Hilarious and informative with just the right mix of expletives 🙂

  4. #4 by Tom Williamson on March 8, 2013 - 09:32

    Totally brilliant piece of skepticism on the T shirt issue!

    I’ve still got so many questions over the t shirts. Why did anyone think that putting random combinations on the end of “Keep calm and…” was a good business idea in the first place?

    As for the idea of a script that takes random words/phrases from arrays and sticks them together, I have some experience myself with wisdomofchopra.com. Am I responsible for its output? I would say yes, because I was responsible for its input. However, I agree that not checking a 750 item word list is incompetent, not hateful.

  5. #5 by Bill on March 8, 2013 - 09:46

    Fantastic piece about the T shirts. Demonstrated wonderfully a completely different way at looking at the arguments – inspiring!

  6. #6 by Stephen on March 10, 2013 - 22:58

    Tom Williamson :
    Totally brilliant piece of skepticism on the T shirt issue!
    I’ve still got so many questions over the t shirts. Why did anyone think that putting random combinations on the end of “Keep calm and…” was a good business idea in the first place?

    That’s the amazing thing about it, really. They’ve made it so there’s low effort and no business risk. You put barely any time or money into it, it can sit on Google forever and you get some money if someone eventually buys one. I’m frankly tempted to do it myself.

    The utterly inexcusable laziness that meant they took someone else’s word list and didn’t even check what was on it is the whole appeal of the model. I think they should just admit that checking the list would have involved doing some work and that’s why they didn’t do it. None of this mealy mouthed “sorry you’re offended” stuff.

  7. #7 by David S on March 11, 2013 - 02:41

    A minor footnote, “Keep Calm and Apply Off” is actually not so totally nonsensical if you’re in a North American context, as Off! is one of the best-known brands of insect repellent here. Maybe because I was walking in the woods while listening to this podcast, I immediately interpreted the slogan as an instruction to defend myself against mosquitoes and ticks. Although I’ll grant that on a T-shirt, especially without the exclamation mark, it would look pretty stupid.

  8. #8 by John D on March 11, 2013 - 16:38

    After the piece about the asteroid / meteor(-ite) / space rock being taken for a sign of alien visitation, and how “UFO” enthusiasts never really mean what they say (as regards “Unidentified”), can I suggest a new nomenclature for the supposed craft – Mislabelled Optimistically Fuzzy Observations, or “MOFOs”?

  9. #9 by Tom Williamson on March 12, 2013 - 09:57

    David S :
    A minor footnote, “Keep Calm and Apply Off” is actually not so totally nonsensical if you’re in a North American context, as Off! is one of the best-known brands of insect repellent here. Maybe because I was walking in the woods while listening to this podcast, I immediately interpreted the slogan as an instruction to defend myself against mosquitoes and ticks. Although I’ll grant that on a T-shirt, especially without the exclamation mark, it would look pretty stupid.

    Yes David, a “Keep calm and apply off” t-shirt would look pretty stupid, wouldn’t it? XD

    http://www.skepticcanary.com/2013/03/10/a-superb-investigation-of-the-rape-t-shirts-controversy-on-skeptics-with-a-k/

  10. #10 by Murff on March 13, 2013 - 00:54

    The “Keep Calm and ” meme might be old, but I still like my coffee mug that says “Keep Calm I’m The Doctor” with the the top picture being the TARDIS.

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