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Serious Inquiries Only

Author: seriouspod.com

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Join Thomas for some critical thinking on questions of science, philosophy, skepticism and politics. These serious topics are discussed with some serious guests, but in an entertaining and engaging way! This is not your typical interview podcast; it’s a friendly dialogue, conducted thoughtfully and with plenty of humor. It's Serious Inquiries Only; but like, not boring or anything.
765 Episodes
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I was speaking with an OA listener the other day, and she mentioned a few things that made me reallllly want to interview her on this show. First off, she said she is a progressive working in a prosecutor's office in an extremely conservative area. That's already interesting enough, but then she said thing 2 which is: she voted for Trump in 2016! So, I just had to get her on to find out how she made that journey, and how she makes a difference in people's lives as a progressive prosecutor.  Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content!
And also... maybe the Southern Lights went North? Earlier this month, an incredible thing happened. The Aurora Borealis was visible to folks much further south than usual. Dr. Bryan Gillis is with us to talk about what exactly the Aurora is, what makes it happen, and how in the world it was recently seen down in my neck of the woods.  Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Dr. Eric Jaffe joins the show and walks us through the dream so many of us have had - building a dinosaur! With his expertise in molecular biology, we learn if this is even possible, and how exactly it would work. Would we use mosquitoes for this project like Jurassic Park tells us is totally possible and sound? Actually, what even is a dinosaur anyway? Lots of fascinating dino-talk in this one from a great science communicator! Building a Dinosaur Is a project spearheaded by the Paleontologist Jack Horner. He has worked with the labs of numerous scientists including but not limited to: Hans Larsson, Dana Rashid and Mary Schweitzer. Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Today's guest, or should I say last year's guest, is Steve Vladeck! He holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law, and is a nationally recognized expert on the federal courts, constitutional law, national security law, and military justice. Last year, he released the New York Times bestselling book, "The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic." We spoke about the book and about the state of our horrible Supreme Court. Steve will be appearing on Opening Arguments soon for a sequel to this conversation! Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Author and journalist Kyle Spencer knows - she wrote the book on it. It's called Raising Them Right, soon to be out in paperback. She spent extensive time with Charlie Kirk, among others, and saw how he built an effective right wing youth movement. How did he do it? Who is funding it? Do these people really believe what they say? She answers those questions and more. We're also big fans of Kyle's Reporting Right newsletter. Check it out! Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
We welcome back cosmologist and science communicator Dr. Paul Sutter! Previously, he had come on to talk about his book, Rescuing Science. This time, he's here to take us through some of the science of the super cool new Netflix show 3 Body Problem. What does it get right and what does it get wrong? Or does that even matter? Paul takes us through it! Make sure to check out his podcast Ask A Spaceman! Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Everyone's favorite marine biologist, Dr. Heidi Pearson is back! This time, we're talking about a new, large scale study just out about the massive loss of marine life caused by "the blob." It's another tale of man-made climate change wreaking havoc on the world. But, we've also got some more fun stories to talk about! Gay whales caught in the act, a solo orca that didn't wait for its pod to hunt and kill a Great White Shark, and menopause in whales. You can upload photos and follow your favorite whales here: https://happywhale.com/home Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Dr. Jo Boaler is a leading math education expert and one of the writers of the California Mathematics Framework, a set of guidelines focused on improving equity in California's math classrooms. We first talk about her upcoming book, Math-ish, and the beauty of pursuing more "ish" in our lives. Then, we discuss a recent anonymous complaint that was filed with Stanford University, accusing Dr. Boaler of misrepresenting research to serve her own agenda. Update: Shortly after recording with us, Stanford University announced they would not be pursuing a formal investigation of Dr. Boaler, and that "...the allegations reflect scholarly disagreement and interpretation.” Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
In honor of World Quantum Day (April 14th), Quantum Anne is here to discuss when quantum is better, when it's worse, and when it could honestly go either way. Quantum Sensing Quantum Computing Overview 100 Years of Quantum! For ideas on how to celebrate World Quantum Day, check out: https://www.quantum.gov/world-quantum-day/! Anne made cake (photo attached), that represents a Hadamard gate.  It turns a |0> or a |1> into a (|0> +|1>)÷2 - a qubit into a superposition of two states. Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Here's Part 2 of our deep dive into neural implants with Dr. Jenessa Seymour! The brain is still completely amazing, and so are the folks who are creating innovative technology to help people do things that have been otherwise out of reach. And then there's Elon. Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
We've got an expert to take us through it! Dr. Jenessa Seymour is a former neuroscientist currently working in disability rights and she has looked through the history of neural implant efforts to investigate Elon's Neuralink claims. Just how full of it is he? And how in the world does any of this even work? What is clear is that the brain is insanely amazing. There's so much to talk about that this ended up being a two-parter! Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Author and journalist Katherine Stewart joins us today to discuss her reporting on religious nationalism, as well as the organization and structure behind these efforts, and what we can do in the face of it all. Be sure to check out the recent film God and Country which is based on her 2020 book, The Power Worshippers! Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
I'm joined by Trace and Julian from the podcast, That's Absurd Please Elaborate! It's an incredibly fun and cool science show where they take questions that might seem weird or crazy but answer them using science! They're here to talk science communication, and what some of their favorite questions they've answered have been. Could vampires evolve through natural processes? Could x-rays cook soup? Could we teach aliens left and right? Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Elon Musk accidentally buying Twitter and then ruining it is a story so absurd and wild that someone should write a book about it. Lucky for us, Zoë Schiffer has! It's called Extremely Hardcore, and it's extremely good! She joins us to discuss the book. Be sure to buy Zoë's book, Extremely Hardcore: Inside Elon Musk's Twitter! You can also follow Zoë's reporting on Platformer. Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Radley Balko is the guest today as we discuss the Right's efforts to retcon George Floyd's murder and Derek Chauvin's responsibility in a "documentary" from Alpha News, The Fall of Minneapolis. We walk through some of the debunks together, and chat about the broader systemic circumstances that lead for calls of police reform. Radley has done an absolutely incredible series covering this in meticulous detail on his Substack (linked below as well). Be sure to check it out and subscribe; supporting independent journalism is critical! The retconning of George Floyd Part 1 - Part 2 - Interim Update/Response to Coleman Hughes - Part 3 Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced Senate Bill 3947 to change the standard 40-hour workweek to 32 hours with no loss in pay and held a hearing on March 14th. Naturally the right doesn't love this. But what do the studies say? And where did the 40-hour week even come from? SeriousPod colleague Lydia Smith explains how this particular issue highlights ways in which we can combat rhetoric from the right and move towards something that is, on every metric, better than what we have now. Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content
It feels like this comes up precisely every 4 years, but once again I find myself having to point out that the way to make things better isn't to make them worse. That math just doesn't work. But what should we do? A campaign to vote "Uncommitted" for the Democratic Primary Election went viral. Lydia Smith from Where There's Woke joins as we discuss what this movement is, what kind of impact it could have, and whether or not a vote can be a "message".   Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content!
We're focusing in on some sci-fi with Dr. Bryan Gillis, astrophysicist to the stars! We take you through one of Ted Chiang's incredible short stories, Exhalation, and Dr. Gillis teaches us about entropy and the Laws of Thermodynamics. What is the heat death of the universe? Can we avoid it by turning up the AC a bit or are we just plain effed? Find out!   Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content!
CW: Discussion of suicide; please skip this episode if it's better for your mental health After a long hiatus, Dr. Alan Smerbeck AKA Stormy Decisis is back to cover a topic we've been talking about discussing for a while. What does the research tell us is the responsible way to cover death by suicide? What kind of impact can the media have on the greater population if they get it wrong? And how many different ways did 13 Reasons Why completely screw up? Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content!
Dr. Bryan Gillis is back to walk us through a space travel concept that would have upended Physics as we know it if it had worked. But, wait a second - turns out there were quite a number of studies that actually successfully demonstrated its effect so why aren't we using it to zip through the universe these days? We also learn a bit of statistics in this discussion to help us uncover what happened here and what this means for the broader understanding of statistical significance when evaluating scientific findings.   Bryan's Notes Check out Up and Atom on YouTube!   Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content!
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Comments (14)

ID29144049

Wow. Amazing episode. Amazing people.

Sep 12th
Reply

Geoff

Good to hear 'back to normal' cheerfulness. Good ideas and topics worth looking to here as well. Great.

Feb 26th
Reply

Jamal Jackson

nah

Feb 15th
Reply

Chak Olate

I made a comment a while ago, negatively reviewing Allison's contribution. I'd like to take it back. She's really quite good, and I should have given her time to settle in.

Feb 25th
Reply

Yara Kadulina

Bechdel test is great. So simple and yet so illuminating.

Nov 16th
Reply

Yara Kadulina

Great episode, as usual.

Nov 16th
Reply

Chak Olate

I like listening to Thomas because he's open-minded and basically says, "This is my thought". His new partner basically says, " This is the Truth". And in case you think I'm being sexist, I don't think I am. (female). What do others think?

Nov 7th
Reply (5)

Bahram Farzady

No traits are at all gender specific. Women do not cry slightly more than men? What an absurd position.

Feb 5th
Reply (1)