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Related Readings
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Rationally Speaking is the official podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely and unlikely, science and pseudoscience.

Rationally Speaking is produced by Benny Pollak and recorded in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village.

Don't forget to follow us on twitter and become fan of the RS Podcast on Facebook. You can also support Rationally Speaking by joining New York City Skeptics today.

Current Episodes

Friday
Dec282012

RS77 - Victoria Pitts-Taylor on Feminism and Science

Release date: December 30 2012


In this episode, Massimo and Julia discuss sociology and feminism, with special guest Victoria Pitts-Taylor, professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Victoria explains how feminists in sociology are dealing with results in neuroscience and evolutionary biology, especially regarding the question: How much inborn difference is there really between women and men? Massimo and Julia challenge Victoria on some academic feminist views, and investigate how the fields of sociology and academic feminism reach their conclusions -- what methods do they use, and how would we know if they were wrong?

Victoria's picks: "Feminist Perspectives on Disability"  and "Misfits: A Feminist Materialist Disability Concept"

Saturday
Dec152012

RS76 - Crowdsourcing and the Wisdom of Crowds

Release date: December 16, 2012

 

What do Linux, Netflix, and the Oxford English Dictionary have in common? They've all benefited from the power of crowdsourcing, in which a task is outsourced to a group of hundreds or thousands of disparate people. In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Julia and Massimo discuss the phenomena of crowdsourcing, and ask: What makes it work? Is it ever unethical? And what are the limits to the wisdom of crowds?

Julia's pick: "The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't"

Massimo's pick: The Phi2Phi App.

References:
"Longitude" 

Saturday
Dec012012

RS75 - When Scientists Kill

Release date: December 2, 2012

We look to scientists to keep us informed about risks, such as: is this medicine effective? Is that level of toxicity harmless? How severe should we expect this upcoming storm to be? But when lives are at stake, tricky questions arise about how much responsibility falls on scientists' shoulders to get those estimations *right* -- and whether scientists should be punished if they fail. In this episode of Rationally Speaking, Massimo and Julia discuss a recent court case that shocked the world: A group of Italian scientists were sentenced to 6 years in prison for failing to effectively warn the public of an earthquake that killed over 300 people in 2009. Was this decision fair? And how should we decide where the boundaries of scientific accountability lie?

Julia's pick: "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life"
Massimo's pick: "Ten of the greatest philosophical principles"

References:
Ian Pollock's "Risk and Blame" blog post