Exposing PseudoAstronomy

August 22, 2011

New Comments Policy

Filed under: introduction,Miscellaneous — Stuart Robbins @ 4:20 pm

This is a short announcement: Recent events have caused me to decide I need a formal comments policy. It can be found here.

August 1, 2011

My First Podcast Episode Is Out: The Dark Side of the Moon

Filed under: introduction,misconceptions,moon,podcast — Stuart Robbins @ 12:24 pm
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I have recorded and published my first podcast: The “Dark Side” of the Moon. I wrote about this topic back in December 2008 and thought it would be a fairly straight-forward and innocuous first episode for my podcast. Truth be told, I actually wrote and recorded this episode in February, 2009. I re-wrote and re-recorded it over the past few days.

The website for the podcast can be found here.

A direct link to the MP3 file of the episode is here.

And a link to the RSS feed that you can drag into iTunes or your podcasting software of choice is here.

The episode is a relatively short ~12.5 minutes, and the podcast episodes in general are going to be around this 10-12 minute length. The plan is for bimonthly episodes, so one released around the first of the month and one around the 15th. And of course, since I write the RSS feed by hand, it will state that those are the exact dates of release, even if I’m a day early or late (much as AstronomyCast has been back-dating their episodes now by several months).

The episode I’ve posted goes over the introduction to the podcast, a bit about the host, author, editor, webmaster, grip, sound mixer, talent scout, etc. (me), and then it delves into the misconception that is the “Dark Side” of the Moon (cue Pink Floyd). I then end the episode with a puzzler related to the topic discussed.

Let me know what you think. I realize it’s my first episode and so I expect some critique, but remember to be constructive. If you say, “it sucks,” that doesn’t help me. If you say, “You need a better quality microphone, I suggest [this brand and model],” that helps. If you say, “I recommend using a [such-and-such filter] on the audio post-recording to remove some of the static and ‘s’ hisses,” that helps.

Also, you’ll probably notice the website for the podcast is a bit bare-bones. At the very least, I would like to somehow add a way for people to dynamically leave comments on the site, but I’m a bit behind on the whole Web 2.0 tech stuff. If someone can point me to some scripts I can cannibalize that allows me to do it on my server and store things locally (I found two but they require storing stuff on third-party servers), please let me know.


September 3, 2008


Filed under: introduction — Stuart Robbins @ 7:25 pm

Welcome to my blog.  This first post is to explain the purpose of this blog.  Over the past several months, I have grown more interested in the “skeptical” movement and I have started to pay more attention to the very pseudo-scientific claims that are made by many people regarding astronomy-related stuff.  A lot of people don’t really pay much attention to it because many claims really are fairly silly – such as the flat-Earth society claims, those of the hollow Earth group, or advanced cities on the moon or Mars.

But some claims are more insidious and – in my opinion – deserve to be addressed and refuted.  For example, there are many Creationist claims that deal with astronomy that are just outright lies or deceit – such as the claim by the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) that the solar neutrino problem is still a problem, or that new information about secondary craters completely destroys everything we know about a lunar timeline.

And then there are some of the more interesting things like hoaxes.  Is NASA hiding evidence of life on Mars?  Or did we really go to the moon with Apollo astronauts?  (By the way, the answers are “no” and “yes” to those.)

I really haven’t found an outlet that addresses all of these things in one place other than – to some extent – Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy website and blog.  However, he discusses many many more things on his blog than just pseudo-science, and I want this to be fairly focused.

Throughout the coming posts, I plan on addressing everything I mentioned above with real science.  In other words, what evidenced-based research has discovered as opposed to fantastical claims, speculation, or faith.  My intent is to not resort to ad hominem attacks by bashing anyone’s character because, while they may be fun, they really don’t accomplish anything.  I also don’t plan on bashing religious beliefs of any kind – those are called “faith” for a reason.  However, when people make scientific claims based upon religion, then I will address them because it is something that is testable, falsifiable, and within the realm of science.

If any readers of this blog (hi Mom, hi Dad) come across any claims that they want me to address, go ahead and e-mail me!

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