Aug 07 2012
Last month while I was on the West coast at TAM 2012 the other SGU co-hosts and I were invited to visit Google and Pixar. At Google we were invited to give a talk, along with Richard Saunders from the Australian Skeptics, and you can see that talk now on YouTube. The topic is – Being s Savvy Health Consumer. Obviously, there is a great deal of material to potentially cover in such a talk, and we had two hours. That sounds like a lot of time, but it went very fast.
I started off with a basic discussion of critical thinking, mechanisms of deception, the nature of evidence in medicine, and similar topics. My colleagues then covered some specific areas of current popular interest, with a few demonstrations.
Google as a company has a very nurturing culture. They provide educational lectures free for their employees, among other perks. Many of those lectures are on health topics and, I am told, that while they are well-meaning some recent presentations have been less than science-based. Fortunately there is a group of skeptics at Google and they decided to bring us there to inject a dose of critical thinking into the health lectures at Google. Charlie Ross was our host (he is the one who introduces us at the beginning of the lecture), and was very gracious throughout our visit.
Occ The Skeptical Caveman
My production company, SGU Productions (which produces the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast), also has a video production unit and we have made a few videos over the years. (Here is our YouTube channel. ) The idea is to produce short funny skits that have a skeptical theme. They are primarily meant to be entertaining, but hopefully there is a lesson in critical thinking along the way. Our latest video is Occ the Skeptical Caveman – Occ is a bit ahead of his time and finds himself surrounded by superstition and ignorance of every type.
Our goal is to produce a web mini-series based upon this character. We already are in the process of writing the next four episodes. We have created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund these episodes. Video is a great way to reach out to new audiences, but they are expensive and time-consuming to produce. Therefore we’re asking for a little support. The way Kickstarter works is that you set a goal, which is the minimum amount you need to complete a project (including the fee Kickstarter takes off the top, plus the cost of the givebacks you provide to donors). If you do not make the minimum, however, then you don’t get any money. There is no upper limit, however, once you make your goal.
So – please help us reach our goal. We have lots of plans for skeptically-themes videos. Funding the Occ series will help us also to produce other educational videos. We have the content, the crew, the actors, and the motivation. Now we just need your support.
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