Episode #6: Justice & snacking, fine wines, and the Big Bang

The sixth episode of Consilience is out! You can download the mp3 here (36.9mb) and the file’s page on Archive.org is here. This week we have a guest co-host: Cathy Wagner.

Teaching Angela to Appreciate History
April 16th is the anniversary of Rosalind Franklin‘s death. Franklin was a British biophysicist who made a major contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Feedback and Follow-Up
We got some feedback that Michael’s tone in discussing the Actuarial Society of South Africa was terribly mean in Episode 4. To be clear, we think the society does great work. Think puppies and flowers.

We discussed Michael van Eck’s murder in Episode 5. There was a suggestion that Satanism was to blame, which we were rather dubious about. Apparently, the couple accused of van Eck’s murder were Christians, importantly, with a history of serious mental health problems. They had no connection with organized Satanism.

News
According to a study conducted by Richard Wiseman, people are not able to distinguish between cheap and expensive wines by taste alone.

The course of justice can be influenced by… snacking. This according to a new paper (pdf) in PNAS. The best write-up of this study is by Ed Yong. (Cathy mentions someone called Glenn – he is her husband). You can find David Eagleman’s steamship analogy here.

Fossilized footprints of early modern humans have been found in Tanzania.

‘Schizophrenic’ brain cells have been created in the lab.

Cathy Wagner. Can she tell expensive from cheap wines?

Feature: Consumer Protection Act
We asked Cathy to join us this week to discuss South Africa’s newly in-force Consumer Protection Act (pdf).  Cathy is the Financial Manager of a vehicle logistics company, and she really knows her stuff. (Are anecdotes evidence? Michael has a long post here).

101
This week we begin a series of 101 segments linked to the concept of Big History (see this video). We start – where else? – with the Big Bang.

Announcements
Only one announcement this week: a visit to the Hartebeeshoek Radio Telescope is planned (Facebook / Plancast). There is a discussion about the event on Google Moderator.

http://www.archive.org/download/ConsilienceEpisode6/Consilience06.mp3

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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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