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Serious Inquiries Only


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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.
675 Episodes
This admittedly will sound like a very dark topic, but I promise the conversation was actually quite pleasant and VERY useful. Dr. Alan Smerbeck joins us to give actual, real, evidence based information on what to look out for to prevent child sexual abuse. But also, we talk quite a lot about kid body curiosity stuff and how to tell what's totally normal and what might be concerning. As a parent, I found this conversation incredibly useful and I think you will too!
Super hottie Lydia Smith is on today so that we can evaluate whether or not our marriage is really helping the public good, according to this Catholic propaganda bull shit. You may remember that this was referenced by Dr. Alan Smerbeck (Stormy Decisis) in our recent episode. It sounded like a fun thing to... do a little review of. We had a great time, hope you enjoy! Listen to the full thing at!
Today I'm joined by Dr. Bader Chaarani, Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont Ph.D. in Biomedical engineering. Dr. Chaarani is here to break down the study he led that has us all yelling at our parents in 1994 saying why didn't you just let me play as much SNES as I wanted! You guys are the WORST! This sucks! Anyway, also surprise-ish announcement to go along with this episode, my amazing wife Lydia and I are going to stream Tears of the Kingdom on twitch tomorrow! That's, Thursday May 18th 2pm pacific! Come hang with us!
This movie was just so needlessly cruel. It was also, and this is true, f$%&ing terrible. It was so bad. Seriously, if you haven't seen it you might not even believe it when we tell you about it. Charone Frankel joins me to discuss the shocking fatphobia of this film, and how its writer and director were seemingly completely oblivious to it.
Today's expert is longtime friend of the show Cecil, from Cognitive Dissonance and Citation Needed! You might not know, but Cecil is also a trained chef with a delightful YouTube channel called Season Liberally. It is absolutely as delicious as it sounds and you should definitely check it out! Cecil and I chat about when and how he became a professionally trained chef, and he gives us some great tips on how to be (in my case) slightly less shitty at cooking! This one is so much fun, I hope you'll give it a listen!
Dr. Bryan Gillis is back! This time he's here to teach us about gravitational lensing. And along the way, we learn about dark matter and dark energy! What the hell are they? What the hell aren't they? Could you have a black hole made out of dark matter? So much fascinating stuff! Links: ESA Euclid Page, Euclid Wikipedia page, Vimeo Channel for the Royal Observatory.
It's a science thingy breakdown! This one can barely be called a science thingy. It's not great. Dr. Alan Smerbeck is here to debunk one of the go-to citations for conservatives' homophobia. Does it hold up? No. Look I'm not going to pretend like it's a close call. Listen to find out why this is a shit study. Regnerus, M. (2012). How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? findings from the new family structures study. Social Science Research, 41(4), 752-770 Cheng, S., & Powell, B. (2015). Measurement, methods, and divergent patterns: Reassessing the effects of same-sex parents. Social Science Research, 52, 615-626 Rosenfeld, M. (2015). Revisiting the data from the new family structure study: Taking family instability into account. Sociological Science, 2(23), 478-501 And the Witherspoon Institute's weird marriage spiel
My podcast colleague and hopefully one day boyfriend if I can ever get him to commit, Heath Enwright, of Puzzle in a Thunderstorm podverse joins me to roast some Republican Ads! This is a Patron bonus but I wanted to give you folks a preview. But also it's a full self-contained segment so even if you can't become a patron, it's still super fun listening! I hope you enjoy, and please consider pledging to hear the rest of the ads, they are INCREDIBLE. Hear the full 64 minutes, covering 6 ads! Here's the ad:
Racist nazi prick Tucker Carlson was fired by Fox News. But how should we feel about that? Can we have nice things? Or like sort of ok things? And how the hell did this happen? And what happens next? Will he run for president? I share my thoughts, and play a few of his shittiest hits to send him off properly.
Are all our password not belong to us? Part 2 of quantum computers! Our expert Anne tells us about the current landscape of actual quantum computers in the real world. It may not be what you think! 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!
What is this wizardry? I'm joined by a semi-anonymous expert who explains all about quantum computers. How they work, how they don't work, what's a qubit, all that kind of stuff. She also explains the limitations. After that, I explain why the delay in episodes and go on an unhinged rant about my new obsession... quantum computers... They're impossible and it's amazing! Look for part 2 soon, in which Anne tells us how far away we actually are from real, working quantum computers. Are they about to crack all our passwords?
Two stories today! First a more upbeat delightful one. The musician Afroman had his home raided by police for reasons no one seems to know for sure. He and his wife took footage, and he used that footage in music videos and on merch. The police want... a cut? Or something. And Matt also gives us a breakdown of the Clarence Thomas situation. Look we all already know there's not a damn thing we can immediately do about it, but that doesn't mean we should give up and not be angry. It truly is an astonishing breach of ethics. Follow Matt Cameron on twitter! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content!
When I saw the headlines that Adnan Syed's murder conviction had been reinstated, I asked our friendly SIO legal expert Matt Cameron to take a look. We both assumed it was likely just some procedural thingy that would be quickly resolved. Well, turns out there's a lot more to it than that. Find out what happened and why Matt thinks there's a chance the conviction might not be going away after all. Follow Matt Cameron on twitter! Please please pretty please support the show on patreon! You get ad free episodes, early episodes, and other bonus content! Matt's footnotes: 85-page Court of Appeals decision in Lee v. State reinstating Adnan Syed’s conviction (3/28/23) Mosby’s Sep 14, 2022 motion to vacate Adnan Syed’s conviction Judge Phinn’s September 19, 2022 order on motion to vacate Attorney General Brian Frosh’s statement re: SA Mosby’s motion to vacate Attorney General’s fiery response to Adnan Syed’s motion to disqualify AG’s office from representing the state of Maryland in this appeal More on the feud between the Attorney General and Baltimore City State’s Attorney over the Adnan Syed conviction: “Maryland AG questions integrity of process used to exonerate Adnan Syed,” Maryland Daily Record (10/25/22)  Full transcription of prosecutor’s handwritten note which Mosby alleged constituted Brady evidence and more information in this Baltimore Banner story: “Was Adnan Syed Note Misinterpreted?” Baltimore Banner, (11/1/2022) Appellant Young Lee’s brief in Lee v. State Defendant Adnan Syed’s brief in Lee v. State 2019 Court of Appeals case finding ineffective assistance of prior counsel in Adnan Syed’s case, but not enough prejudice to justify a new trial: State v. Syed :: 2019 :: Maryland Court of Appeals Decisions  Jay Wilds Plea Agreement (
Or wait... is it a special episode on General Relativity? Find out! Dr. Bryan Gillis takes us through some fascinating history on the discoveries and experiments that ultimately led to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. How did they measure the speed of light in like 18 dickety 2 or whatever? Impossible. Also why is faster than light travel equivalent to time travel? So much fun. 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!
HOLY SHIT WE GOT ONE JUSTICE UNIT POSSIBLY! THAT'S SO MANY MORE JUSTICE UNITS THAN WE'VE EVER RECEIVED WITH REGARD TO TRUMP! Matt was kind enough to join me for a late night emergency recording on the Trump indictments. 34 counts!!!! And Lydia makes a quick guest appearance for an indictment toast! This is going to have to take the place of the patron bonus I had planned. I'll save that for April. Only so many hours in the day!
It's another delightful and educational journey through sci-fi! In a Star Trek Next Gen episode, we learn about the famous Picard Maneuver - where Picard made his ship appear in two places at once. As much as this may sound like unrealistic sci-fi flair, could it actually work? Dr. Bryan Gillis says yes! Kind of. Come learn cool things about astrophysics and relativity and whatnot! Make sure to pledge to get Part 2 early! 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!
Matt's back! Ok so Trump was not arrested or indicted last week. What happened? No idea. But, Matt's here with some more in depth coverage of the cases we discussed last week. There's some fascinating stuff here and still reason for optimism. Does a letter by Michael Cohen ruin the whole Stormy case, as some pundits think? No. But is there a different, less... completely stupid reason the case might be problematic. Also, more from Georgia, and some SPEED law happened. Follow Matt Cameron on twitter!
Today's expert is none other than Stormy Decisis himself, Dr. Alan Smerbeck! Alan heard a recent episode of Dear Old Dads in which I talked about my efforts to get an ADHD diagnosis and it raised all kinds of interesting questions. Here's the volunteer link Alan told us about!  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 breaks down some bad astrophysics in The Last Jedi, and we have some fun trying to reconstruct it to make sense! Are you an expert in something and want to be on the show? Apply here!  Please consider supporting SIO on Patreon! You get an ad free show, and goodies! Right now patrons are 1 episode ahead!
Ok I know how this sounds but like, it might actually happen. And it all links back to, no shit, Stormy Daniels. Having been a little preoccupied lately, I'm very lucky to have expert Matt Cameron on to catch me up and explain which of the eleventy billion crimes Trump has committed might actually come with consequences. Matt is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, serves on the board of the Student Immigrant Movement (“SIM”), and is an adjunct lecturer at Northeastern University. Hey go to for the Star Wars episode and more to come asap!
Comments (13)


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

Feb 26th

Jamal Jackson


Feb 15th

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

Yara Kadulina

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

Nov 16th

Yara Kadulina

Great episode, as usual.

Nov 16th

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)
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