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Holiday Hodge Podge

“Be skeptical, or don’t. I’ve got shit to do.” – Jennifer Bernstein

My wife and I have a good laugh when we remember the first time she said these words to me. We have shared many belly laughs in our time, and this was one of those moments when, during a moment filled with real-life pressures, those words needed to be uttered in order to properly convey the juggling of stuff that our household needed to get done at that given moment.

So in the context of this week when, regardless of your skepticism, you are being pulled in lots of different directions due to the inherent pressures of the holiday season, I will share with you a few quick tidbits from my little corner of the skeptical universe from the past few days. I know you and your families are all busy, so I will keep these brief, so you too can get on with your “shit to do.”

First, it was my great pleasure to have been an invited panel member on the Parenting Within Reason podcast. Thank you again to Colin, Julie, Elyse, and Laurie for having me – I had a blast! I do not yet have the scheduled release date yet for the episode, but it should be sometime just after Xmas. If you have not done so already, subscribe to their show! They are a good group of skeptics with lots of good advice on parenting.

Second, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe was honored this past Saturday night at having been voted the 2010 People’s Choice Science Podcast of the Year by PodcastAwards.com. This comes back-to-back with having won last year’s same award in their Education category. This is a very humbling honor. It is impossible to win these sorts of recognitions and honors without a very active and appreciative audience of listeners. Trust me when I tell you we are as appreciative for our listener’s support as they are for us producing the show. It is truly a symbiotic relationship. So one more time, thank you again for all your support.

Third, Sunday marked the 14th year since we lost Carl Sagan to cancer. I don’t think it is ironic or fate that the world’s brightest candle went dark on the eve of the shortest day of the year (the winter’s solstice) – at least for those of us up here in Carl’s neck of the woods. Not a day goes by that we forget the overwhelming contributions that Carl made in the modern world. Even in death, he remains skepticism’s all-time greatest champion.

Fourth, in relation to the third, today is the winter’s solstice – the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. And for the first time in 458 years, there is going to be a total lunar eclipse on this night, into tomorrow morning. I got a chuckle out of the report about this event filed by The Montreal Gazette. They spend the first third of the article talking about how this is significant to the “spiritualities that tap into the energy of the winter solstice”, such as the rituals that Wicca perform at this time of year. No, they couldn’t start with the science behind it and then allude to the mysticism of it. They have to jump right in, feet first with the claptrap and nonsense aspects of the story, and let that lead the way for the reader. Sad. Typically sad.

Ok, enough for now. On Thursday, I will be re-posting my version of Twas The Night Before Christmas” – skeptic’s style! It is becoming something of a holiday tradition (this will be three years running.) This year, I will be recording an audio version of the reading and posting it somewhere (maybe Youtube) so keep your eyes and ears open for that.

Now go, go .. you’ve got other shit to do.

1 comment to Holiday Hodge Podge

  • Chris

    Here is the direct download link to you on Parenting Within Reason! Your science bit on parents thinking their children are generally well behaved could be turn into a dynamic blog posting (um, yeah… I had a kid whose terrible twos lasted from eighteen months until he was seven years old… but was a wonderful teenager, but then his very angelic as a toddler older brother turned into Mister Sneaky Liar as a teenager — it changes as they age!).

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