Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 7 – Gun Control

Originally aired live January 18, 2014… this episode was a long time coming! Today we discuss the pros and cons of gun ownership and gun control, and a bit of history on how gun laws have changed. Sorry, everyone not from America, we focused on the US for this one. Continue reading

Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 6 – Ancient Aliens

Drake equation

  • A thought experiment on the variables of the chance of intelligent life in the universe

  • Variables are:

    • the average rate of star formation in our galaxy

    • the fraction of those stars that have planets

    • the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets

    • the fraction of planets that could support life that actually develop life at some point

    • the fraction of planets with life that actually go on to develop intelligent life (civilizations)

    • the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space

    • the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space

  • Why it doesn’t prove visitation:

    • All the values are not known, so with current data it can’t be solved

    • Even if we had the values for the variables we still wouldn’t know if they were capable of interstellar travel

Evolution and Ancient Astronauts

  • Some proponents claim that the life that exists now is so highly unlikely, that there must have been an intervention from the aliens.

  • The counter argument is that there was no goal. This is not the only outcome that could’ve come, so the probability of random events leading to this current state is very low.

  • Matt Dillahunty of AExp put it this way

    • Deal 5 cards out of a deck

    • Those cards are random and it is highly unlikely that you’d deal the same way again

    • But still it happened once, you can’t say that the first deal was impossible

  • Graham Hancock takes a different view. While his pet theory is that an advanced human civilisation existed before 10,000 – 12,500 BE  (12,500 – 14,500 BCE) at times he alludes to ancient aliens for some technology.

  • Archaeology professor and author of Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries, Ken Feder’s found three themes in von Daniken’s books: “The first one I called ‘the horny astronaut hypothesis’ because essentially what von Daniken was saying was extraterrestrials, millions of years ago … landed on Earth, they got out of their space ships and figured, you know, even at the speed of light, if they could travel that fast, it’s a big universe, they’ve been cooped up there a long time; they exit the space ship and what’s the first thing they do? They start cruising for chicks. In von Daniken’s hypothesis, they actually find females – the spacemen are always spacemen – they find female primates, they mate with them, and the mating results in the next step of evolution. … When von Daniken says that they mated with these critters, and that they kept coming back, and that every stage of human evolution that paleoanthropologists find – that that next stage was wrought by subsequent matings of ETs with these hominids, Earth got the reputation of kind of being a party planet, and they would arrive and start boinking the hominids.”

    • Sagan said about this: “as a human ancestor, you’d probably be more successful mating with a petunia than with an ET, because at least you and the petunia evolved on the same planet.” The idea that they have matching DNA and matching physical parts to the point that they could have fertile offspring is laughable.

 

Building With Stone

  • Machu Picchu

    • Tsoukalos says that the ancient stone shaping techniques are the “most tangible” piece of evidence we have.

    • Says that we would be unable to duplicate them today, but when they interviewed a modern stone cutter he completely contradicted that, and they just edited the clip to make it look like he was agreeing.

    • Actual quote from their stonecutter Roger Hopkins: “The precision on some of the work I’ve seen is just incredible.  It’s possible to do by hand, but it’d take an incredible amount of time, plus you’d have to have years of experience to be able to pull it off.”

    • The Ancient Aliens show featured the theory of mining engineer Michael Dunn, who believes that the granite at Machu Picchu was melted by alien technology and poured into molds. This theory was supported by Tsoukalos, who believes that a native legend tells of just such a technology.

    • The thing is that a little research shows that this is physically impossible. If you melt granite down to magma, it will melt all the mineral crystals inside. These crystals are what make granite granite. The only way for them to form again would be to cool the magma very slowly, over a period of thousands to millions of years. Otherwise the magma will cool and form a rock known as rhyolite, not granite.

  • Pyramids

    • Ancient Alien theorists like to say that since there are 2.3 million blocks in the Great Pyramid and it was constructed over a period of 20 years, that must mean that a single block had to be carved, moved to the pyramid, and put in place every 13 seconds. An impossible task.

    • – This is just an average though, and misses the fact that there were thousands of people working on the pyramid at the same time. Hundreds of blocks would have been completed, moved, and placed simultaneously. They didn’t do this one block at a time requiring a 13 second rush to complete each one.

    • Some people say that the pyramids appeared out of nowhere without any kind of precursors. This was just pulled out of somebody’s ass. Egyptians did build precursors to the pyramids. Single layer tombs known as mastabas. Then they started putting on an extra layer to the mastaba, the second layer smaller than the first. Then they made step pyramids. Then they started trying for true pyramids, even making mistakes along the way such as the famous Bent Pyramid.

      • Also, people were building ziggurats before the Egyptians built the pyramids.

    • Some people say that the ancient Egyptians were just incapable of moving multi ton objects using the technology of the time. That’s just not true. We know how they moved them, the ancient Egyptians left records. They used sleds on a lubricated track. We have the remains of the sleds they used, and there’s a 3,900 year old record of how they moved a 57 ton statue in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian named Djehutihotep. There’s nothing impossible or even implausible about the methods used, it’s just manpower.

    • There’s some derision about the standard theories for how they built the pyramids. It’s true that these theories have some difficulties, but expecting modern scholars to explain in complete detail how each step of building the pyramids was done, otherwise we must conclude that it was made by aliens, is a ridiculous stance.

    • There’s a new Internal Ramp theory about how the pyramids were built that’s getting a lot of attention and may explain a lot of the features of the pyramids and solve a lot of the difficulties with the other theories.

    • Monster Talk #38 – Ancient Alien Astronauts: Interview with Ken Feder – fantastically entertaining guy. Great primer on the actual non-pseudo-archaeology about pyramids.

      • von Daniken et al claim that the pyramids apparently appeared overnight from a culture that was barely eking out a living, tilling the land. Claim that we still can’t build a pyramid with our modern technology. Even when von Daniken wrote his books, we had a hell of a better idea about pyramid building than he suggests. Feder talks about we’re very capable of detecting if a technology was developed in situ or brought in from outside. We see, in the archaeological record, the signs of an incremental, error-filled evolution of the ability to build pyramids (and agriculture, and metallurgy): piles of stones without angled sides, a series of collapsed pyramids with much steeper angles, pyramids built on sand that shifted and collapsed, etc. – signs that pyramids are a developed human invention rather than a final product that was introduced to us by some other culture. Same signs found around the world wherever we see pyramids.

      • Feder discusses how he told his hairstylist that he was a college student studying archaeology and she mentioned the idea of ancient spacemen building the pyramids. He’d never heard of it before, and thought she was crazy. But then he heard a review of Chariots of the Gods (von Daniken’s book) and realized it was actually a thing. “It was like archaeological pornography – turn to any page and it’s amazing” – except that you turn to any page and it’s pure idiocy. “This is stuff that people have known was wrong for decades or even centuries.” von Daniken’s stuff was almost entirely cribbed from a book called Morning of the Magicians by Louis Pauwels. Nowhere in Chariots of the Gods did von Daniken credit Pauwels for being the source of his ideas, although they’re almost directly ripped from Pauwels’ book.

      • Feder summarized von Daniken’s ideas as “the archaeological record could only be understood as the result of direct, very personal influence by extraterrestrial aliens.” In the 1970s he taught a special class on archaeology where the students picked the topic and they all wanted to do ancient astronauts. So he thought, “All right. What is it about these books? What are the major primary themes? I was able to extract three fundamental themes … in von Daniken’s books.”

        • First hypothesis is above.

        • Second hypothesis: the ‘inkblot hypothesis’ – there’s nothing really there. It’s all in your mind. Whatever von Daniken saw on a cave wall – geometric patterns, strange ghostly images – all of those were the result of our ancestors hiding behind a rock, watching a rocket land, watching ETs come out and walk around and fly away, and our ancestors immediately painted what they saw. Archaeologists will say “this looks like a guy wearing a costume to make him look like a deer” or “this looks like a person who maybe is floating in the air because he’s a spirit” – in every case von Daniken interprets these as evidence of contact between our ancestors and ETs. Feder had his students look through von Daniken’s books, hide the captions, look at the photos, and tell him what they saw. “That looks like a robot” – okay, we’ve got ETs! “That looks like a ghost” – no, because maybe it’s an alien. “That one looks like an animal” – no no no, it’s an alien!

        • Third hypothesis: ‘Our Ancestors the Dummies’ – ancient humans were too dumb to achieve the technology they had. The ETs were like the Peace Corps, bringing advanced technology and training (agriculture, math, pyramids, etc.) to idiots. All the ancient human achievements were stuff we couldn’t do by ourselves; the aliens did it.

      • Feder got an e-mail from one of the Ancient Aliens producers inviting him to participate in the show. They knew he was a name associated with the topic but not where he came down on it. He wrote back “I’d be happy to be on your show, but you should know that I think that the ancient astronaut hypothesis is execrable bullshit.” He hasn’t heard back from them.

  • The Moai of Easter Island

    • In 1722, explorer Jacob Roggeveen marvelled at how the people of Easter Island could have fashioned and moved the Moai with no timber or strong ropes.

    • von Daniken believes that the only explanation is that some aliens got stranded and just decided to create them… you know, just for shits and giggles.

    • Fact is that they didn’t need timber, and their ropes didn’t have to be very strong. Evidence suggests that the natives moved the Moai by actually making them “walk”

    • The Moai are bottom heavy. They have a low center of gravity like a bowling pin. Ropes attached to their head could move them from side to side with very little effort, so they could be “walked” in the same way you’d “walk” your refrigerator in order to move it.

    • Turns out that the natives of Easter Island actually have a word which means “to walk by moving rigidly from side to side” in exactly this way.

    • The bases of abandoned statues show conchoidal fractures underneath, which is exactly the type of fractures you would expect to form from this kind of movement.

    • More than 20 miles of ancient roads emanate like spokes from the statue quarry of Rano Raraku. It’s likely that their only purpose was as paths to “walk” these statues along.

    • NOVA Online | Secrets of Easter Island – PBS

  • Göbelki Tepe

    • An archaeological site in the mountains of the Southeaster Anatolia Region of Turkey

  • Gunung Padang Megalithic Site

    • A megalithic site located in Karyamukti village, Cianjur regency, West Java Province of Indonesia

 

Pop culture

  • Stargate (movie and the TV series)

  • Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

  • Prometheus

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  • X-Files (not sure of episodes)

  • Futurama!! A Pharaoh to Remember

WUT

Murderous Gay Pastor…

Maryland Mom Kills 2 of Her Children in Attempted Exorcism

Indian Village Tribunal Orders Gang Rape of Woman
A Finnish Blood Service Claims It Can Measure Sin from Blood (in Finnish)
– Head of research for the blood service Droppi (droplet) Mikko Vapa claims that they can scan a dried up droplet of blood to test the health of a patient and the amount of sin.

Quote: “The idea is that sin shows as measurable inflammation. This idea is based on the Bible (surprise surprise), which claims that sinner’s blood will dry up white. The claim is that sin has a biological counterpart”

Quote: “The whiter the blood, the more tainted it is. Red blood is clean, but as the cleanliness goes down different symptoms appear.”

Associate professor of religious studies, Ilkka Pyysiäinen, writes the claim off as humbug in “Church and the City” Magazine, but Vapa claims the company is in it completely seriously.

Senior Physician from Oulu University Hospital’s laboratory Nordlab says that dry blood analysis is not a method they use.

Quote: “It sounds strange that this method would reveal anything from the blood, from which you could make conclusions about the person’s health. I would compare this to reading the future from new year’s tin.”

Droppi ltd has also got public funding for 22,500€ to improve the process automation of dry blood analysis.

Links and Attributions

Drake Equation

Graham Hancock

Bone calendar referenced by Dumbass

Ancient Astronauts in Pop Culture

Mentioned:
Documentary: The World Before Her – about two women in India (one is a model and the other is from local Al Qaeda-like organization.)

Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 5 – Pajama Party

Sleep

What is sleep? – From healthysleep.med.harvard.edu:

“We all have at least a vague notion of what sleep is, but that doesn’t mean that defining this mysterious part of our lives is simple. After all, detailed analysis of our own sleep isn’t really an option, given that we rarely know that we’re sleeping when we’re asleep. And even if we observe the sleep of others, so much of what they experience—changes in the functions of their brains and bodies—is not easily seen from the outside.”

Sleep is characterized by changes in brain wave activity, breathing, heart rate, body and temperature. Other characterizations of sleep include:

  • reduced physical activity

  • typically associated with lying down and closed eyes

  • sleep results in a decrease to external stimuli

  • sleep is a state that is – generally – relatively easy to reverse. This distinguishes sleep from other states of reduced consciousness such as hibernation and coma.

 

Myths / Facts about sleep:

  1. Snoring is a common problem, especially among men, but isn’t harmful.

  • Although harmless for most people, snoring can be a symptom of a life threatening sleep   disorder called sleep apnea, especially if accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. Snoring on a frequent or regular basis has been directly associated with hypertension. Obesity and a large neck can contribute to sleep apnea.

  1. You can “cheat” on the amount of sleep you get.

  • Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimum performance, health and safety. Lack of adequate sleep can accumulate a sleep deficit that can be difficult to “pay back” and can contribute to health problems, mood / behavioral problems, decreased productivity, and less enjoyable sexy time. :-[

  1. Turning up the radio, opening a window, or turning on the a/c are effective ways to combat sleepiness while driving.

  • These are ineffective methods and the best thing you can do is pull over to a safe rest area and take a nap. Caffeinated beverages will give a temporary boost to alertness, but there is about a 30 minute gap from time of ingestion to effect.

  1. Daytime sleepiness means a person isn’t getting enough sleep.

  • While it “can” result from lack of good sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition such as Sleep Apnea or Narcolepsy.

  1. The older you get, the fewer hours of sleep you need.

  • Sleep experts recommend a range of 7-9 hours of sleep for the average adult. As we age we tend to wake more frequently during the night which is likely a cause for more frequent naps in older adults.

  1. During sleep the brain rests.

  • Your body rests during sleep, but your brain remains quite active, gets “recharged”, and still controls many body functions including breathing.

  1. If you wake up in the middle of the night, it is best to lie in bed, count sheep, or toss and turn until you eventually fall back asleep.

  • Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is potentially a symptom of insomnia. Relaxing imagery or thoughts may be more effective than counting, which some researchers suggest could be more distracting than relaxing. Most experts agree that if you can’t return to sleep after 15-20 minutes, you should get out of bed, go to another room and engage in a relaxing activity until drowsy again.

 

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a variety of practices and habits that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.

Twelve Tips for better sleep hygiene.

  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep.

  2. Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment.

  3. Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine.

  4. Go to sleep when you’re truly tired.

  5. Don’t be a nighttime clock-watcher

  6. Use light to your advantage.

  7. Keep your internal clock set with a consistent sleep schedule.

  8. Nap early – or not at all.

  9. Lighten up on evening meals.

  10. Balance fluid intake.

  11. Exercise early.

  12. Follow through.

 

Take a moment to talk about personal experience with sleep hygiene.

 

Parasomnias

  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement Parasomnias

    • Confusional arousals – a condition when an individual awakens from sleep and remains in a confused state. It is characterized by the individual’s partial awakening and sitting up to look around. They usually remain in bed and then return to sleep. The episodes last anywhere from seconds to minutes and may not be reactive to stimuli.

    • Exploding Head Syndrome – a form of hypnagogic auditory hallucination that is rare and relatively undocumented. The individual experiences a loud crash or bang in their head similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off, a crash of cymbals, or any other form of loud and indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside the head.

    • Teeth Grinding – also known as Bruxism. A common sleep disorder where an individual grinds their teeth during sleep. This can cause sleep disruption for the individual and/or the individual’s partner. Also it causes long-term serious tooth damage. A mouth guard is often used to combat Bruxism.

    • Sleep Terrors – the most disruptive arousal disorder since it may involve loud screams and panic.

    • Sleepwalking – aka Somnambulism has a prevalence of 1-17% in childhood, with the most frequent occurrences around the age of 11-12. About 4% of adults experience somnambulism. Anxiety, fatigue, alcohol, sedatives (helloooo Ambien), medications, medical and mental disorders are commonly associated with sleepwalking.

    • Sleep Sex!!! – known as Sexsomnia, is a condition in which a person will engage in sexual acts while still asleep. … I would imagine this would be rather bizarre for someone with a balloon and cake fetish. (is this a real thing or another legally invented disorder like ‘affluenza’?)

    • Sleep-Related Eating Disorder – a condition in which individuals eat during sleep. They will generally enter the kitchen and indulge in uncooked foods, snacks and sometimes even toxic substances. Like maybe that fruitcake your Aunt Gladis sent you two years ago that you can’t seem to ever throw away and it never seems to spoil.

  • Rapid Eye Movement Parasomnias

    • REM sleep behavior disorder is the most common REM sleep parasomnia in which atonia – or lack of muscle strength – is absent. This allows the individual to act out their dreams and may result in repeated injury – bruises, lacerations, and fractures – to themselves or others. (maybe read typical clinical features of REM sleep behavior disorder)

    • Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis – an inability to perform movements at sleep onset, or upon waking from sleep.

    • Catathrenia – a rapid-eye-movement sleep parasomnia consisting of breath holding and expiratory groaning during sleep. It is distinct from both somniloquy () and obstructive sleep apnea. The sound is produced during exhalation as opposed to snoring which occurs during inhalation. Bed partners generally report hearing the person take a deep breath, hold it, then slowly exhale; often with a high-pitched squeak or groaning sound.

 

Sleep Disorders

  • Insomnia

    • from sleepfoundation.org “Insomnia, which is Latin for “no sleep,” is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed.”

    • Symptoms include:

      • difficulty falling asleep

      • waking up frequently during the night

      • difficulty returning to sleep

      • waking up too early in the morning

      • unrefreshing sleep

      • daytime sleepiness

      • difficulty concentrating

      • irritability

    • Common medications that can lead to insomnia include:

      • cold & allergy

      • high blood pressure

      • heart disease

      • thyroid disease

      • birth control

      • asthma

      • pain medications

      • antidepressants (especially SSRI antidepressants)

  • Narcolepsy

    • From the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (take a deep breath) “Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience periods of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time.  These “sleep attacks” usually last a few seconds to several minutes.”

    • Narcolepsy affects males and females equally.

    • It’s a life-long condition.

    • It’s not rare, but it’s often unrecognized and undiagnosed.

    • Symptoms include:

      • Excessive daytime sleepiness

      • Cataplexy

      • Sleep paralysis

      • Hallucinations

      • Disrupted nocturnal sleep

      • Obesity

    • Narcolepsy is still currently incurable, but some of the symptoms can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes.

“WUT” Segment

 

  • Homicidal Sleepwalking –Wikipedia – Homocidal Sleepwalking (I would argue that homicidal sleepwalking is more disruptive than screaming)

  • Jenny Mccarthy “Son never had autism?

  • Got Brains??!! WUT! EBAY

  • PIV always rape!

    • jesus fucking christ. commit her plz. – MM

    • “WOMEN CAN’T REALLY ENJOY SEX WITH MEN. THE FEMALE ORGASM IS PATRIARCHY. PATRIARCHY IS IN YOUR BIOLOGY. RAAAR.”

  • Swanson: Wombs of Women on Birth Control ‘Embedded’ with ‘Dead Babies’

    • Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson: “I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

Upcoming podcast episodes:

 

Links and Attributions

 

Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 4 – A Skeptics Guide to Conspiracy Live Show

An Irreverent Skeptics first.

A crossover show with “A Skeptics Guide to Conspiracy” talking about the 9/11 conspiracies.

Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 3 – First World Problems

First World Problems

  • KnowYourMeme.com has the perfect description of FWP: “First World Problems, also known as “White Whine”, are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.”

  • Notable: White Girl Problems. Which are problems generally only experienced by privileged white adolescent girls.

  • I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE HERE #FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS – McElroy

 

Common First World Problems

  1. Earbuds tangled in your pocket

  2. In the summer when it’s sweltering hot outside, but the movie theater/store/restaurant/house is so cold you have to wear extra clothes.

  3. Gaming and your wireless controller’s batteries die, then you have to get up to retrieve replacement batteries.

  4. My air conditioned/heated kind of luxurious car doesn’t have an audio port or usb connector for the stereo.

  5. The ATM only gave me 20s and I wanted smaller bills.

  6. The sun glares on the screen of your phone, tablet, or laptop outside when you’re trying to browse reddit.

  7. The stores in your city stopped carrying your favorite flavor of Coke Zero (or other drink)

  8. The aforementioned missing coke zero flavor is available/still sold at other stores, in other states.

  9. Starbucks doesn’t have a shortened name for your favorite 9-word long coffee concoction. (This contributes to inconsistent product and wasted $, as baristas don’t have a uniform /established method for mixing the aforementioned beverage)

  10. You start watching back episodes of a new series and now you have to wait until next week for the new episode!

  11. Having more clothes than you have hangers or room for in your closet.

  12. Having so much food in your refrigerator/freezer/pantry that it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for.

  13. Hulu plus/Netflix has an ever shifting catalog, a title will be available one week, then gone the next.

  14. The cable company cock blocks the amount of streaming you can do w Netflix and Hulu. Also the features are basically unavailable during streaming such that if you need to fast forward or pause a show, you may be unable to get it restarted.

  15. The cable and internet shit the bed, and when you call to get info about affected areas and projected repair time frames, the bit recommends you visit comcast.com!

Irreverent Skeptics: Gun Control

The Second Amendment

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

 

To date, The Supreme Court has never fully defined the implications of the Second Amendment. However, it has upheld the government’s authority to impose restrictions on guns.

Some examples:

  • Firearm Owners Protection Act (1986):

    • addressed ATF prosecutions that were considered “constitutionally improper” by the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary. And added restrictions to the ATF’s inspections/enforcements.

    • Added restrictions on the sale/ownership of fully automatic firearms.

    • “Safe Passage” provision – a person cannot be incarcerated for a firearms offense in a state with strict gun control laws if the traveler is just passing through, provided that the firearms and ammunition are not immediately accessible, are unloaded, etc.

    • Forbade the U.S. Gov’t from keeping a registry directly linking non-Nat’l Firearms Act firearms to their owners.

  • Undetectable Firearms Act (1988): made manufacturing, importation, sale, delivery, possession, transferring, or receiving of a firearm that is not detectable by a walk-through metal detector illegal. Or firearms with components that do not generate an accurate image before standard airport imaging technology.

  • Gun-Free School Zones Act (1990): Originally passed as a section of the Crime Control Act of 1990. The Supreme Court subsequently held that the Act was an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional authority in 1995. This was the first time in more than 50 years that the Supreme Court limited Congressional authority to legislate under the Commerce Clause.

  • Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (1993): Instituted federal background checks on firearm purchaser in the U.S.

  • Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994-2004): Banned the manufacture and transfer of certain newly manufactured semi-automatic firearms and ammunition feeding devices (magazines). There have been multiple unsuccessful attempts to renew the ban.

Talking points:

  • The Second Amendment was based partially on the right to keep and bear arms in English common-law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Sir William Blackstone described this right as an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state. (wikipedia)

  • President Obama’s recent Gun Control Proposal (January, 2014)

    • Strengthens restrictions on mentally disturbed individuals purchasing firearms.

    • Another part of the plan centers on the Department of Health and Human Services, which would remove barriers that might keep states from sharing data with the federal background check system. Those problems had been linked to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Reuters article on the same proposals

  • President Obama’s Proposed Gun Control (January, 2013) – since defeated…

    • Requires background checks for all gun sales and strengthens the background check system.  This would include removing barriers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act so that states may more freely share information about mental health issues involving potential gun purchasers.

    • Provides states with monetary incentives—$20 million in fiscal year FY 2013 and a proposed $50 million in FY 2014—to share information so that records on criminal history and people prohibited from gun ownership due to mental health reasons are more available.

    • Bans military-style assault weapons and limits magazines to a capacity of 10 rounds.

    • Provides additional tools to law enforcement. The plan proposes a crackdown on gun trafficking by asking Congress to pass legislation that closes “loopholes” in gun trafficking laws and establishes strict penalties for “straw purchasers” who pass a background check and then pass guns on to prohibited people.

    • Urges Congress to pass the administration’s $4 billion proposal to keep 15,000 state and local police officers on the street to help deter gun crime.

    • Maximizes efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.  The president calls upon the attorney general to work with U.S. attorneys across the country to determine gaps occurring in this area and where supplemental resources are appropriate.

    • Provides training for “active shooter” situations to 14,000 law enforcement, first responders and school officials.

    • Directs the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a statement to health care providers that they are not prohibited by federal law from reporting threats of violence to the proper authorities.

    • Launches a national gun safety campaign to encourage responsible gun ownership and authorizes the Consumer Product Safety Commission to examine issues relating to gun safety locks.

    • Helps schools invest in safety. The president’s plan calls for more school resource officers and counselors in all schools through the Community Oriented Policing Services  hiring program. The plan also calls for the federal government to assist schools in developing emergency management plans.

    • Improves mental health awareness through enhanced teacher training and referrals for treatment. The plan calls for the training of 5,000 additional mental health professionals nationwide. The plan also calls for coverage of mental health treatment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

  • Five critical rules of gun safety from the NRA and other sources:

    • 1) Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction

    • 2) Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot

    • 3) Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to shoot.

    • 4) Be aware of what is behind your target.

    • 5) When handling firearms, never use alcohol or any drug  (justfacts.com)

  • As of 2009 there were an estimated 310 million guns in the U.S., including 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles and 86 million shotguns. In a January 2012 Gallup poll, 43 percent of surveyed Americans said they had a gun in their homes. That’s consistent with the General Social Survey, which has found that over the past several decades, only 44.3 percent of Americans have kept firearms where they live.

  • It seems that gun ownership is on the decline. There was an 8% decline in gun ownership between the mid-1990s and the 2012 surveys.

  • In 2001, the U.S. had 11,101 homicides committed with firearms, which amounted to about 70% of all homicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which strikes me as an odd agency to be doing that study). That’s a rate of about 3.6 gun killings per 100,000 people. Whether or not that’s a “high” rate is kind of a matter of opinion/context.

  • There aren’t any countries with as many guns, but less crime. But that’s because there are no countries with as many guns per capita as the U.S.(which is a rate of about 97 guns per 100 people, note: not evenly distributed) Finland, which has 69/100 people and Switzerland which has 61/100. Finland had 14 gun homicides in 2010, a rate of 0.26/100,000. Switzerland had 40 gun killings in 2010, which is 0.52/100,000. Those countries do have stricter gun control laws than the U.S. Note link

  • It bears noting that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban didn’t have a noticeable effect on gun crime rates.

  • Gun deaths seem to be lower in states that stricter gun control laws. However, I didn’t find a breakdown of homicides/suicides and I noticed that the wording was such that it wasn’t addressed.

  • Gallup polls have shown a decline of Americans in favor of gun control over the last 20+ years. Personal speculation: I imagine that even now it’s a vocal minority who have taken up the banner of gun control. A lot of that in reaction to gun-related tragedies with massive media coverage.

Feedback from Dixon and Levi

— Not sure if we’ll have time for these, but I’ll reference them if it seems appropriate. —

News Stories

 

“WUT!!??”

 

Upcoming podcast episodes:

 

Links and Attributions

 

Links to research articles and other stories:

http://www.nra.org

6 Things Gun Lovers and Haters Can Agree On

10 Arguments for Gun Control

10 Big Questions in the U.S. Gun Control Debate

Bill of Rights

Gun Laws in the U.S. by State

Gun facts/stats

Slate article re:surprising stats

Wikipedia article re: history of 2nd amendment

Irreverent Skeptics: First World Problems

  • KnowYourMeme.com has the perfect description of FWP: “First World Problems, also known as “White Whine”, are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.”

  • Notable: White Girl Problems. Which are problems generally only experienced by privileged white adolescent girls.

  • I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE HERE #FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMS – McElroy

 

Common First World Problems

  1. Earbuds tangled in your pocket

  2. In the summer when it’s sweltering hot outside, but the movie theater/store/restaurant/house is so cold you have to wear extra clothes.

  3. Gaming and your wireless controller’s batteries die, then you have to get up to retrieve replacement batteries.

  4. My air conditioned/heated kind of luxurious car doesn’t have an audio port or usb connector for the stereo.

  5. The ATM only gave me 20s and I wanted smaller bills.

  6. The sun glares on the screen of your phone, tablet, or laptop outside when you’re trying to browse reddit.

  7. The stores in your city stopped carrying your favorite flavor of Coke Zero (or other drink)

  8. The aforementioned missing coke zero flavor is available/still sold at other stores, in other states.

  9. Starbucks doesn’t have a shortened name for your favorite 9-word long coffee concoction. (This contributes to inconsistent product and wasted $, as baristas don’t have a uniform /established method for mixing the aforementioned beverage)

  10. You start watching back episodes of a new series and now you have to wait until next week for the new episode!

  11. Having more clothes than you have hangers or room for in your closet.

  12. Having so much food in your refrigerator/freezer/pantry that it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for.

  13. Hulu plus/Netflix has an ever shifting catalog, a title will be available one week, then gone the next.

  14. The cable company cock blocks the amount of streaming you can do w Netflix and Hulu. Also the features are basically unavailable during streaming such that if you need to fast forward or pause a show, you may be unable to get it restarted.

  15. The cable and internet shit the bed, and when you call to get info about affected areas and projected repair time frames, the bit recommends you visit comcast.com!

  16. Even though I have a Droid and many google apps/ features, HANGOUTS won’t work on my phone. This is the case even when it’s fully charged, has full bars, and is sitting motionless near the wifi station.

  17. The gps app I used to have would lose its signal, but didn’t make a noise, or otherwise indicate loss of connection. I drove many miles out of the way due to this design flaw.

  18. My Galaxy s 3 won’t view my apple email account! That’s bullshit. I’ve made workarounds,but shouldn’t have to.

 

Lightning News Round (News stories read by Mike B?)

Man first to kill a Bigfoot. – previous carcass admitted hoax and now he’s trying to redeem himself.

Scientists hatch 700 year-old eggs.

Cops spring for a cab for a man who walked 30 miles to court.

Proposed law in OK to prevent students being punished for gun-shaped pastry

Jon’s FWP Rant: Why the Technology I Love, FUCKING SUCKS!!

  • Xbox

  • Smartphone

  • Internet

  • Computer

  • Software

  • GPS

 

WUT??!!

Links and Attributions

Thanks to MC Frontalot for use of the song First World Problem. Find all of his works here.

Many thanks to Tom and Cecil from Cognitive Dissonance for the audio clips as well as inspiration for the G+ community and now, the podcast.

Send feedback to: feedback@irreverentskeptics.com

Irreverent Skeptics: Pajama Party

Irreverent Skeptics Hangout: Pajama Party

Sleep

What is sleep? – From healthysleep.med.harvard.edu:

“We all have at least a vague notion of what sleep is, but that doesn’t mean that defining this mysterious part of our lives is simple. After all, detailed analysis of our own sleep isn’t really an option, given that we rarely know that we’re sleeping when we’re asleep. And even if we observe the sleep of others, so much of what they experience—changes in the functions of their brains and bodies—is not easily seen from the outside.”

Sleep is characterized by changes in brain wave activity, breathing, heart rate, body and temperature. Other characterizations of sleep include:

  • reduced physical activity

  • typically associated with lying down and closed eyes

  • sleep results in a decrease to external stimuli

  • sleep is a state that is – generally – relatively easy to reverse. This distinguishes sleep from other states of reduced consciousness such as hibernation and coma.

 

Myths / Facts about sleep:

  1. Snoring is a common problem, especially among men, but isn’t harmful.

  • Although harmless for most people, snoring can be a symptom of a life threatening sleep   disorder called sleep apnea, especially if accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness. Snoring on a frequent or regular basis has been directly associated with hypertension. Obesity and a large neck can contribute to sleep apnea.

  1. You can “cheat” on the amount of sleep you get.

  • Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimum performance, health and safety. Lack of adequate sleep can accumulate a sleep deficit that can be difficult to “pay back” and can contribute to health problems, mood / behavioral problems, decreased productivity, and less enjoyable sexy time. :-[

  1. Turning up the radio, opening a window, or turning on the a/c are effective ways to combat sleepiness while driving.

  • These are ineffective methods and the best thing you can do is pull over to a safe rest area and take a nap. Caffeinated beverages will give a temporary boost to alertness, but there is about a 30 minute gap from time of ingestion to effect.

  1. Daytime sleepiness means a person isn’t getting enough sleep.

  • While it “can” result from lack of good sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition such as Sleep Apnea or Narcolepsy.

  1. The older you get, the fewer hours of sleep you need.

  • Sleep experts recommend a range of 7-9 hours of sleep for the average adult. As we age we tend to wake more frequently during the night which is likely a cause for more frequent naps in older adults.

  1. During sleep the brain rests.

  • Your body rests during sleep, but your brain remains quite active, gets “recharged”, and still controls many body functions including breathing.

  1. If you wake up in the middle of the night, it is best to lie in bed, count sheep, or toss and turn until you eventually fall back asleep.

  • Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is potentially a symptom of insomnia. Relaxing imagery or thoughts may be more effective than counting, which some researchers suggest could be more distracting than relaxing. Most experts agree that if you can’t return to sleep after 15-20 minutes, you should get out of bed, go to another room and engage in a relaxing activity until drowsy again.

 

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a variety of practices and habits that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.

Twelve Tips for better sleep hygiene.

  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep.

  2. Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment.

  3. Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine.

  4. Go to sleep when you’re truly tired.

  5. Don’t be a nighttime clock-watcher

  6. Use light to your advantage.

  7. Keep your internal clock set with a consistent sleep schedule.

  8. Nap early – or not at all.

  9. Lighten up on evening meals.

  10. Balance fluid intake.

  11. Exercise early.

  12. Follow through.

 

Take a moment to talk about personal experience with sleep hygiene.

 

Parasomnias

  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement Parasomnias

    • Confusional arousals – a condition when an individual awakens from sleep and remains in a confused state. It is characterized by the individual’s partial awakening and sitting up to look around. They usually remain in bed and then return to sleep. The episodes last anywhere from seconds to minutes and may not be reactive to stimuli.

    • Exploding Head Syndrome – a form of hypnagogic auditory hallucination that is rare and relatively undocumented. The individual experiences a loud crash or bang in their head similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off, a crash of cymbals, or any other form of loud and indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside the head.

    • Teeth Grinding – also known as Bruxism. A common sleep disorder where an individual grinds their teeth during sleep. This can cause sleep disruption for the individual and/or the individual’s partner. Also it causes long-term serious tooth damage. A mouth guard is often used to combat Bruxism.

    • Sleep Terrors – the most disruptive arousal disorder since it may involve loud screams and panic.

    • Sleepwalking – aka Somnambulism has a prevalence of 1-17% in childhood, with the most frequent occurrences around the age of 11-12. About 4% of adults experience somnambulism. Anxiety, fatigue, alcohol, sedatives (helloooo Ambien), medications, medical and mental disorders are commonly associated with sleepwalking.

    • Sleep Sex!!! – known as Sexsomnia, is a condition in which a person will engage in sexual acts while still asleep. … I would imagine this would be rather bizarre for someone with a balloon and cake fetish. (is this a real thing or another legally invented disorder like ‘affluenza’?)

    • Sleep-Related Eating Disorder – a condition in which individuals eat during sleep. They will generally enter the kitchen and indulge in uncooked foods, snacks and sometimes even toxic substances. Like maybe that fruitcake your Aunt Gladis sent you two years ago that you can’t seem to ever throw away and it never seems to spoil.

  • Rapid Eye Movement Parasomnias

    • REM sleep behavior disorder is the most common REM sleep parasomnia in which atonia – or lack of muscle strength – is absent. This allows the individual to act out their dreams and may result in repeated injury – bruises, lacerations, and fractures – to themselves or others. (maybe read typical clinical features of REM sleep behavior disorder)

    • Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis – an inability to perform movements at sleep onset, or upon waking from sleep.

    • Catathrenia – a rapid-eye-movement sleep parasomnia consisting of breath holding and expiratory groaning during sleep. It is distinct from both somniloquy () and obstructive sleep apnea. The sound is produced during exhalation as opposed to snoring which occurs during inhalation. Bed partners generally report hearing the person take a deep breath, hold it, then slowly exhale; often with a high-pitched squeak or groaning sound.

 

Sleep Disorders

  • Insomnia

    • from sleepfoundation.org “Insomnia, which is Latin for “no sleep,” is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed.”

    • Symptoms include:

      • difficulty falling asleep

      • waking up frequently during the night

      • difficulty returning to sleep

      • waking up too early in the morning

      • unrefreshing sleep

      • daytime sleepiness

      • difficulty concentrating

      • irritability

    • Common medications that can lead to insomnia include:

      • cold & allergy

      • high blood pressure

      • heart disease

      • thyroid disease

      • birth control

      • asthma

      • pain medications

      • antidepressants (especially SSRI antidepressants)

  • Narcolepsy

    • From the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (take a deep breath) “Narcolepsy is a chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy experience periods of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time.  These “sleep attacks” usually last a few seconds to several minutes.”

    • Narcolepsy affects males and females equally.

    • It’s a life-long condition.

    • It’s not rare, but it’s often unrecognized and undiagnosed.

    • Symptoms include:

      • Excessive daytime sleepiness

      • Cataplexy

      • Sleep paralysis

      • Hallucinations

      • Disrupted nocturnal sleep

      • Obesity

    • Narcolepsy is still currently incurable, but some of the symptoms can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes.

“WUT” Segment

 

  • Homicidal Sleepwalking –Wikipedia – Homocidal Sleepwalking (I would argue that homicidal sleepwalking is more disruptive than screaming)

  • Jenny Mccarthy “Son never had autism?

  • Got Brains??!! WUT! EBAY

  • PIV always rape!

    • jesus fucking christ. commit her plz. – MM

    • “WOMEN CAN’T REALLY ENJOY SEX WITH MEN. THE FEMALE ORGASM IS PATRIARCHY. PATRIARCHY IS IN YOUR BIOLOGY. RAAAR.”

  • Swanson: Wombs of Women on Birth Control ‘Embedded’ with ‘Dead Babies’

    • Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson: “I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

Links to notes: