Episode #5: Danie Krugel, banning reflexology and Carl Zimmer

The fifth episode of Consilience is out! You can download the mp3 here (36.1mb) and the file’s page on Archive.org is here.

Teaching Angela to Appreciate History
On April 12th, 1955 Jonas Salk announced the results of the Francis Field Trial, demonstrating the polio vaccine he developed was safe and effective. Unfortunately, polio was almost, but not quite, eliminated. An anti-vaccination conspiracy became popular in West Africa just after the turn of the century, allowing the disease to spread again. (Note: Michael said humans have driven smallpox to extinction. That’s not quite right – a small number still exist in medical labs).

Follow-up to Episode 4: the High Court in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, has ordered the exhumation of a mass grave stopped.

Danie Krugel has resurfaced. (This article is in Afrikaans, but the Google machine translation is fairly good). See Stop Danie Krugel for a lot more information. Details about the Randi Million Dollar Prize can be found here.

Reflexology has been banned in Uganda. (We got this story via the South African Skeptics forum).

The Lifelens project has developed a smartphone app that can diagnose malaria accurately, and that can be operated by pretty much any literate person. An excellent development, since global warming is making malaria more geographically widespread.


Carl Zimmer, looking clever

This week we interviewed science writer Carl Zimmer. We discussed, among many other things, what can be done about bad science journalism (again), cancer and the existence of whales, and Carl’s two upcoming books, Science Ink and A Planet of Viruses.

Note: Michael and Angela could not participate in the interview due to technical issues. Luckily, Owen stepped heroically into the breach.

There are three upcoming Skeptics in the Pub events:

  1. Skeptics in the Pub – Durban is on Thursday 14th April, at Pizzetta, 139 Davenport Rd.
  2. Skeptics in the Pub – Cape Town is on Friday 15th April, at A Touch Of Madness, 12 Nuttall Rd, Obs.
  3. Skeptics in the Pub – Pretoria is on Saturday 16th April, Toni’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co, Deerness.

There is also a visit to the Hartbeeshoek Radio Observatory planned for June 4th.

If you would like to receive invitations to events like these as they’re created, please join the South African Skeptics Facebook group. (Or, if you’re in Cape Town, their separate group).



About Michael Meadon

Michael Meadon is a graduate student in cognitive science at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. When he's not procrastinating online or propitiating his wife, he investigates the effects of rapid & unreflective facial judgments on political elections. He expects to graduate any decade now. When he was an innocent undergrad Michael studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at the University of Cape Town. Unfortunately, he had to find out for himself that "social" and "science" often don't go so well together.
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4 Responses to Episode #5: Danie Krugel, banning reflexology and Carl Zimmer

  1. Pingback: “Blogger” is not synonymous with “angry child”–An interview on the Consilience podcast | The Loom | Discover Magazine

  2. Tom Maydon says:

    Hey guys

    Just going through all the previous episodes and enjoying it tremendously. Just one small point. One of you (can’t remember who) mentioned that reflexology is “just a foot massage”. Although it may have been a throw-away comment, I just thought you might like to know that although foot-massages are often advertised as “reflexology” it is not always “true reflexology” that is being practiced. Also there are many types of reflexology and some of it involves massaging of the feet, but these days inventions such as Vac-U-Flex (it’s actually homegrown and a great topic for a sceptical investigation) has meant that fewer reflexologists engage in foot-rubbing.

    Look at: http://dougans-international.com/about-vacuflex-concepts/ for more info.

    keep up the good work, though!

    • Angela says:

      Hey Tom, Thank you for the kind feedback. We will check out the link you provided and hopefully we can address the issue in our next episode.

  3. murraybiscuit says:

    on the topic of the beatles being satanist, i seem to remember there being some concern with aleister crowley being on the cover of sgt peppers. from wiki:

    Crowley has been an influence for a string of popular musicians throughout the 20th century. The hugely popular band The Beatles included him as one of the many figures on the cover sleeve of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, where he is situated between Sri Yukteswar Giri and Mae West.

    at worst this could mean that the beatles were horny thelemite buddhists… 🙂

    there’s also some concern in satanicophobic circles around the eagles’ hotel california, but snopes took care of that: http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/hotel.asp

    keep up the skeptical sleuthery.

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