Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

RFT Ep 249 – Killing the CBC Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 18, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Whine of the Week  : Killing the CBC

corrigan april 12 2014

As ye sow, so shall ye reap…can also be stated, as ye fast, so shall ye whither, and whither the CBC has. Facing an $100 million budget short fall…thanks to Harper, losing hockey and other factors…the CBC is cutting staff by over 650.

Polling shows the CBC is the most trusted media source in the country, more three-quarters think the government should fund the CBC at a sufficient level…most of those think funding needs to increased.

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The Harper government has regularly and consistently slashed the CBC grant budget after budget while spending  the entire CBC budget on a single F-35 jet…or overpriced frigates. What money they are giving, they think would be better spent by just giving it to private media companies…here’s how that would turn out…

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why are we not moving to a BBC style of funding…create a strong, stable and independent broadcaster, whose sole interest to provide the best of Canada.

ImageProxy

Seriously the Unfair Elections Act is Important

Moudakis April 10 2014

How did Poilievre become Minister for Democratic Reform, how was the act craft and again…how it can destroy democracy in Canada – The Harper fix is in!

MAY3385

Find out more:

 

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report

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Climate Change…even more certainty and dire warnings, again – The IPCC released it latest report on the state of the worlds climate and we’re serious screwed!

Conclusions of the WG1 report (The Physical Science Basis) are summarized below:

  • “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia”.
  • “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years”.
  • Human influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.
  • “Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further [global] warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions”.
  • “Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped”

Conclusions of the WG3 report (Mitigation of Climate Change) are summarized below:

  • The global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 °C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 °C for many scenarios. With the possibility of an increase as much as 4.5°C
  • The global water cycle will change, with increases in disparity between wet and dry regions, as well as wet and dry seasons, with some regional exceptions.
  • The oceans will continue to warm, with heat extending to the deep ocean, affecting circulation patterns.
  • Decreases are very likely in Arctic sea ice cover, Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover, and global glacier volume
  • Global mean sea level will continue to rise at a rate very likely to exceed the rate of the past four decades
  • Changes in climate will cause an increase in the rate of CO2 production.
  • Increased uptake by the oceans will increase the acidification of the oceans.
  • Future surface temperatures will be largely determined by cumulative CO2, which means climate change will continue even if CO2 emissions are stopped.

Find out more:

Society Is Doomed

chickencollapse

NASA funded study shows the not only do civilizations collapse, it happens regularly and is inevitable…but there is an upside.

Find out more:

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RFT Special – The Shock Doctrine

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 9, 2014

Download the episode here! 

shock

 

Wisdom from the Web  :

Free Speech

As part of our Wisdom from the Web series, this week we present an interview Naomi Klein gave at the launch of her book Shock Doctrine. In this interview she discusses the books theme that the free market policies of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman have risen to prominence in some countries because of a deliberate strategy of certain leaders to exploit crises by pushing through controversial, exploitative policies while citizens were too busy emotionally and physically reeling from disasters or upheavals to create an effective resistance. It is implied that some man-made crises, such as the Iraq war, may have been created with the intention of pushing through these unpopular reforms in their wake.

The Documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWI4p8KuJfs

 

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RFT Ep 248 – Canada Post Bank Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 1, 2014

Download the episode here! 

 

Fair Elections Dragon

Whine of the Week  :

 

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The Harper government has yet again put forward a omnibus budget bill…topping out at over 300 pages affecting over 20 other pieces of legislation. Why so much in one bill? So as to push it past not only the oppositions throats but also the Conservative party backbenches.

The talk is not about any specifics of the bill but how it is used a political weapon..

The-Omnibus-Bill

 

Canada Post Bank

 

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With much discussion about the woes of Canada Post’s immanent demise and the need to cut service, we take a look at the validity of this prophecy of doom and how resurrecting the Canada Post Bank would shore up the crown corp and provide a valued social service.

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Find out more:

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International Condemnation of the Fair Elections act

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It seems it’s just not me that is unset and honestly afraid of what is in store for the state of Canadian democracy if the Fair Elections act is passed. 180 Canadian academics have sent the government an open letter decrying the pure partisanship of the law. Now that cry has been joined but another open letter but this time by the worlds leading experts on democracy…that this will not only harm Canada’s democracy the the plight of democracy in the world.

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It turns out that Elections Canada is something we should all be very proud of. It is “the pre-eminent example of an elections administration body.” that is use to help emerging democracies set up their electoral institutions. To quote one of the signatories:

“”When a democratic, established democracy in the west like Canada seems to be curtailing its own ability to do that, it sends a very poor message to new countries in the Arab world, in Africa, in Asia, who are attempting to move from authoritarianism to democracy,”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EaYPXUxDsE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaKq-9kpQqY

Take Action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqpW2Wnjcpg

Find out more:

UPDATE:

Pierre Poilievre open to changing controversial election measure

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RFT Ep 247 – Crimean War 2014 Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on March 25, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Don’s Harangue :

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Don’s harangue  restated the argument against the anti-vax rhetoric and makes a case for the criminalization of such speech.

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Crimean War 2014

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We take another look the growing tension in the Ukraine as well as point out the similarities between the revolution in Kiev to that in Crimea. As well as making parallels to Putin’s claims to the Crimea and Hitler’s to the Sudetenland.

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Web Wisdom

A Series of vids from CGP Grey explaining our electoral system and its limitations.

First, the ills of first past the post voting system we currently enjoy…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo

Pros and cons of First Past The Post

The case for The arguments against
It’s simple to understand and thus doesn’t cost much to administer and doesn’t alienate people who can’t count. Representatives can get elected on tiny amounts of public support as it does not matter by how much they win, only that they get more votes than other candidates.
It doesn’t take very long to count all the votes and work out who’s won, meaning results can be declared a handful of hours after polls close. It encourages tactical voting, as voters vote not for the candidate they most prefer, but against the candidate they most dislike.
The voter can clearly express a view on which party they think should form the next government. FPTP in effect wastes huge numbers of votes, as votes cast in a constituency for losing candidates, or for the winning candidate above the level they need to win that seat, count for nothing.
It tends to produce a two-party system which in turn tends to produce single-party governments, which don’t have to rely on support from other parties to pass legislation. FPTP severely restricts voter choice. Parties are coalitions of many different viewpoints. If the preferred-party candidate in your constituency has views with which you don’t agree, you don’t have a means of saying so at the ballot box.
It encourages ‘broad-church’ centrist policies. Rather than allocating seats in line with actual support, FPTP rewards parties with ‘lumpy’ support, i.e. with just enough votes to win in each particular area. Thus, losing 4,000 votes in one area can be a good idea if it means you pick up 400 votes in another. With smaller parties, this works in favour of those with centralised support.
. With relatively small constituency sizes, the way boundaries are drawn can have important effects on the election result, which encourages attempts at gerrymandering.
  Small constituencies also lead to a proliferation of safe seats, where the same party is all but guaranteed re-election at each election. This not only in effect disenfranchises a region’s voters, but it leads to these areas being ignored when it comes to framing policy.
  If large areas of the country are electoral deserts for a particular party, not only is the area ignored by that party, but also ambitious politicians from the area have to move away from their homeland if they want to have influence within their party.
  Because FPTP restricts a constituency’s choice of candidates, representation of minorities and women suffers from ‘most broadly acceptable candidate syndrome’, where the ‘safest’ looking candidate is the most likely to be offered a chance to stand for election
  Encouraging two-party politics can be an advantage, but in a multi-party culture, third parties with significant support can be greatly disadvantaged.

Gerrymandering explained, or why we really really cannot rely on FPTP voting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mky11UJb9AY

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR2DfpjIuXo

Definition: the dividing of a state, county, etc., into electiondistricts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the otherparty into as few districts as possible.

Origin: 1812,  Americanism; after E. Gerry (governor of Massachusetts,whose party redistricted the
state in 1812) + 
(sala)mander,  from the fancied resemblance of the map of Essex County, Mass., to this
animal, after the redistricting.

And that leads nicely into The Alternative Vote…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y3jE3B8HsE

Pros and cons of the Alternative Vote

The case for AV The arguments against
All MPs would have the support of a majority of their voters. Following the 2010 General Election, two thirds of the MPs elected lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history. AV is not proportional representation and in certain electoral conditions, such as landslides, can produce a more disproportional result than First Past the Post (FPTP)
It retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link. In close three-way races the “compromise” candidate could be defeated in the first round even though they may be more broadly acceptable to the electorate than the top two candidates.
It penalises extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes. Lower preferences can potentially throw up a “lowest common denominator” winner without much positive support of their own.
It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning (one doesn’t want to alienate the supporters of another candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-church policies. A voting system that allows voters to rank candidates is prone to so-called ‘Donkey voting’, where voters vote for candidates in the order they appear on the ballot
It reduces the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.
It reduces the number of “safe seats” where the election result is a forgone conclusion

And of course perhaps the best alternative…Mixed-Member Proportional Representation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0I-sdoSXU

Find out more:

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RFT Ep 245 – Fantasy Fundrive Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on March 13, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Don’s Harangue :

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We take a look at the Crisis in Crimea, when and how did the latest crisis start, why did Russia invade, What’s the history of the region, is Putin recreating the old Soviet Union, or is just a deluded neo-tsarist?

Find out more:

Skepticism and Fiction

 

Host emeritus Ethan Clow returns for a whimsical examination as to why skeptical people also tent to love fiction. What are the difference between Fantasy Fiction and Science Fiction?

Nye-Ham Debate

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And we critique Bill Nye”s creation debate and will this finally but an end to skeptics debating fringe ideas?
Find out more:

 

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RFT Ep 246 – Bit Coin Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on March 13, 2014

Download the episode here! 

BitcoinMinerCartoon-300x200

Don’s Harangue :

2008-06-05-PR-companies-feeding-news-programs-media-550

Don’s harangue about journalist’s and speaking fees. Journalist the fourth estate are a fundamental pillar of a democracy. Journalist are afforded special privileges and protections. That is all compromised when they become journo-celebrities.

Find out more:

Bitcoin – future or fantasy?

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An in-depth look at Bitcoin…what is it, how do you mine them, how are they used and how can they be stolen. With emphasis on the MtGox event where almost a billion dollars was stolen…making it the 2nd biggest bank job in history.

Find out more:
 

 

Web Wisdom

RSA animation, “Crisis with Capitalism”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0

In this RSA Animate, celebrated academic David Harvey looks beyond capitalism towards a new social order. Can we find a more responsible, just, and humane economic system?

Find out more:

Web Wisdom

Aaron Dewald - What is critical thinking?

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRmhB3MW6GE

Find out more:

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RFT Ep 244 – Free Trade Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on February 25, 2014

Download the episode here! 

tpp-talks-cartoon

Don’s Harangue :

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In the lead up to the Sochi games, a lot of press has been focused on the almost certainty of a terrorist attack, if not at the games themselves then else were in Russia. Well, the games have come and gone and no booms. What have we learned? Perhaps the difference between the mythical beast called Terrorism (capital ‘T’) and the tactic used by disparate (and desperate) peoples .

Find out more:

Free Trade – now and then

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On the 25th Anniversary of CAFTA and 20th for NAFTA, we take a look at free trade and what to be looking at with the pending Trans Pacific Partnership. Have we reaped the promises of free trade or just suffered its ills?

And what is the TPP? Should be worried or does it promise prosperity in our future? (Hint: its been negotiated in secret for a reason…not a good one).
Find out more:

 

 

Guest Clip

QualiaSoup – Open minded

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI

As skeptics, we are often accused of being closed minded by peddlers of pseudoscience, alt-med, and believers in supernatural. To help explain why this an inverted position, we have a guest clip from QualiSoup, who does a good takedown on why proponents of Woo are really the closed minded.
Find out more:

Guest Clip

SciShow – Taboo Science

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_dEsw1Ff1U

We close the show with another guest clip from SciShow which talks about the topic of taboo science…are there areas or topics that should be out-of-bounds for science?
Find out more:

free-trade

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RFT Ep 243 – Canadian Citizenship Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on February 18, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Don’s Rant:

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As the Conservative party announces it latest budget, this weeks rant is about how the budget is not really a budget…where you would expect details on where and how the government is spending our tax dollars and not justification for what the government plans to do.

Find out more:

America’s first First Nations

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A long running debate has been over who were the real first people of the Americas. The strongest argument holds to a migration from Asia via a ‘thawed valley’ at the end of the last ice age. However, the Clovis Culture…defined by their distinct arrow heads, points to a french origin.

Recent sequencing of DNA from a child who died around 12,400 yrs ago and thought to be a member of the Clovis people, shows a shared ancestry with the vast majority of Native Americans, thus supporting the Asian migration theory. However, DNA artifacts complicate a simple answer by showing some, as yet unknown, genetic mixing with Europeans.

Find out more:

A Head of the Curve

Neurotoxisity fear-mongering

Print

In a paper published in The Lancet, “Neuro-behavioural effects of developmental toxicity”, we take a quick look at what the article reports, what’s wrong with the study and put out the warning that this will likely be water-cooler talk soon – better knowledge-up.

Find out more:

The birth of Canadian Citizenship

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In the wake of the debate of the soon to be release reform of the Canadian Citizenship act, we take  nostalgic look back and how and when a Canadian actually became a Canadian Citizen…you would be surprised.

Find out more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDCrGjH9JTs

Classic RFT

Lance Armstrong and professional doping

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Ethan give a summary of the “Lance Armstrong Scandal” and the state of doping in sports. Then we have a spirited debate about the ethics of doping and the implications it has to both amateur sport and to “sport-u-tainment”

Find out more:

a classic final treat!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-ZvAVcBIrQ

and of course, how to get free beer….

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RFT Ep 242 – What’s Your Sign Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on February 11, 2014

Download the episode here! 

nyer-image2

Don’s Rant:

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Don’s Rant’s is an extended look at Bill C-23 the Fair Elections Act and how it can destroy fair elections in the future. More to come in a future blog…

Find out more:

What’s Your Sign – The evolution of astrology

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In the wake of the controversy, in the skeptic community, about MacMillan Space Center event regarding Astrology, we take a quick look at astrology and how it evolved into the real science astronomy.

Find out more:

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RFT Ep 241 – Debating God Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on February 4, 2014

Download the episode here! 

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Don’s Rant:

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Don’s Rant’s turned into a primer and tutorial about how to debate a charismatic christian apologist.

Having listened to a debate between an Atheist and an Apologist on the topic “Is it rational to believe in god”. However quickly the Apologist changed the question to “What is a rational belief” and then it became “Can a rational person believe in god?”

So, this weeks show is what are the arguments for and against god, but more importantly how do you debate rhetoric instead of facts.

Find out more:

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