Deliberation. Debate. Conversation. Though it can feel like that’s what we are doing online as we trade arguments back and forth, most of the places where we currently gather make it much easier to produce arguments in isolation rather than evaluate them together in groups. The latest research suggests we will need much more of the latter if we hope to create a new, modern, functioning marketplace of ideas. In this episode, psychologist Tom Stafford takes us through his research into how to do just that.

At the peak of COVID-19, Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling set out to write a book about the widespread pushback against masks and vaccines as away to discuss the rise of the medical freedom movement in America. But after meeting a series of people within that movement his efforts took a sharp turn into the motivations, tribulations, and personal lives of the people who sell miracle cures and dietary supplements, skirting the law when they can, and heading to jail when they can’t. The book is titled, If It Sounds Like a Quack, and it is a deep dive into the marketplace of snake oils and magical procedures sold by people who each claim to have found the one true cure for any and everything that could ever ail you. 

Marina Nitze is a professional fixer of broken systems – a hacker, not of computers and technology, but of the social phenomena that tend to emerge when people get together and form organizations, institutions, services, businesses, and governments. In short, she hacks bureaucracies and wants to teach you how to do the same. In this episode she sits down to share a variety of the insights from her book Hack Your Bureaucracy.

Feeling stuck? Can’t build momentum to escape all the loops keeping you from moving forward? Our guest in this episode is professor, author, therapist, and speaker Britt Frank, a trauma specialist who treats people with unique and powerful techniques and approaches which help clients to get out of the feeling of being stuck.

How to manage procrastination according to Margaret Atwood, how to work around your first-instinct fallacy, the upsides of imposter syndrome, the best way to avoid falling prey to the Dunning-Kruger effect, how to avoid thinking like a preacher, prosecutor, or politician so you can think like a scientist instead – and that’s just the beginning of the conversation in this episode with psychologist, podcast host, and author Adam Grant.

In this episode, astronomer and world-famous science communicator Phil Plait joins us to discuss his new book, Under Alien Skies, in which he describes what it would be like (through human eyes and real physical experiences) to actually travel to Saturn, Mars, asteroids, and distant stars. Also, we discuss the recent surge in UFO sighting as well as his famous talk at The Amazing Meeting more than a decade ago in which he asked all science communicators and critical thinkers to approach those who believe in pseudoscience with empathy and respect instead of scorn and vitriol. And, we run through the history of James Randi’s popularization of the big-S Skeptic movement.