Tag Archives: Covid19

TheESP – Ep. #240 – SARS-CoV2 Virology w. Gábor Kemenesi

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This week we interview Hungarian researcher and virologist Gábor Kemenesi. He is a research fellow at the Virological Research Group within the Szentágothai Research Centre of the University of Pécs in Hungary, specializing in zoonoses, or viral diseases that spread from animals to humans. He’s also a member of Hungary’s COVID-19 Task Force for the research of the virus and in the last few months. He has become the number one go-to expert in the field for the country’s media, working hard to educate the public, debunking myths and fighting misunderstandings along the way.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview; Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:34 INTRO

0:00:59 GREETINGS

0:05:18 INTERVIEW WITH GÁBOR KEMENESI

0:52:46 FAREWELL

0:54:46 OUTRO

0:56:00 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #239 – “Gossip is Worse than Covid”

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This week we start off with having a quick chat with our old buddy Michael (“Marsh”) Marshall regarding the relaunch of the UK magazine called the Skeptic.
In this week’s history segment we talk about the LHC that powered up 12 years ago this week without the world vanishing into a black hole, and then Pope Francis gets poked for several things, including his claim that gossip is worse than covid.
Speaking of covid-19, the pandemic gets a separate segment about the latest developments, before we get into the news:

  • The 1st randomised clinical trial of a Chinese herbal medicine for COVID-19
  • Medical Chamber issues statement condemning COVID-19 denier members
  • University of Kiel distances itself from infamous COVID-19 denier professor Sucharit Bhakdi
  • 30% of people in Spain have doubts about covid-19 vaccine
  • So, are women leaders really doing better in tackling COVID-19?
  • Survey – Young adults tend to take food supplements as replacement for drugs
  • Danish advocacy group against heart disease ends program involving healer
  • Grapefruit seed product that has everything in it but grapefruit seed extract
  • Latest book of Edzard Ernst ‘Chiropractic: Not All That It’s Cracked Up to Be’ published
  • New study shows difference in nerve cells before birth for autistic people

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to the bigoted Bishops in Poland who wants to start Church sanctioned conversion therapy clinics, fully aware that they do not work.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Short Interview; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:34 INTRO

0:01:01 GREETINGS

0:09:19 INTERVIEW with MICHAEL MARSHALL
The Merseyside Skeptics has taken over management of the UK magazine, “The Skeptic”.

0:24:30 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
At CERN in Switzerland the Large Hadron Collider (LCH) was powered up on 10 September 2008.

0:29:54 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
“Gossip is worse than covid”!

0:37:24 COVID-19 Update

0:43:21 NEWS

1:11:48 REALLY WRONG
Bishops in Poland Calling for Conversion Therapy Clinics

1:15:32 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Even the fact that competent experts must serve under politicians of mediocre intelligence and little foresight is a problem that we are stuck with, because the experts themselves cannot agree on any major world issue. A logocracy of quarreling experts might be no better than the rule of the mediocrities to which we are subject. The declining intellectual quality of political leadership is the result of the growing complexity of the world. Since no one, be he endowed with the highest wisdom, can grasp it in its entirety, it is those who are least bothered by this who strive for power.”

/ Stanisław Lem, 12 or 13 September 1921 – 27 March 2006 was a Polish writer known for his satirical, philosophical and science-fiction works /

1:17:21 OUTRO

1:18:37 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #237 – Plandemic II – worst movie ever

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This week András returns to the mothership to hear us discuss the UFO sighting in Cussac in France. Francis gets a pass this week and then we dive into the news:

– Covid-19 update
– Children in Germany are falling behind their vaccination schedules
– Does flu claim more deaths the covid-19?
– People who react negatively to rules and recommendations use more SCAM (so-called alternative medicine)
– Does homeopathy “also” work for women (spoiler: it does not work, period)
– Why is there a priest in the Swedish Corona commission?
– Unprecedented levels of CO2 rise caused by humans
– European Commission’s educational page tackling conspiracy theories

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to the producers and distributers of the dangerous and misleading (and idiotically named!) film “Plandemic: inDOCTORnation”.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:55 GREETINGS

0:12:50 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
The famous UFO Sighting at Cussac in France took place on 29 August 1967.

0:18:08 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
We give Francis a rest this week…

0:18:44 NEWS

0:53:07 REALLY WRONG
Plandemic full feature film released

1:00:26 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.”

/ Jacques-Yves Cousteau, French naval officer, explorer of all things related to water, a pioneering conservationist, filmmaker, photographer, author and co-developer of the “Aqua-Lung” /

1:04:06 OUTRO

1:05:22 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #235 – Show Me a Real Acupuncturist


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This week Brian is back(!) as András has gone missing(?) We chat again about the wonderful online events out there: you should definitely check out the Edinburgh Skeptics on the Fringe productions. We then talk about the Wow! signal that was recorded this week in 1977 and also find that Francis seems to have done something good for once.

In this week’s news:
– Two outbreaks in Mamming, Bavaria
– Danish abattoir closed over COVID-19 cluster
– Disinformation not only consumed by young or uneducated
– Countries with mandatory BCG vaccination might actually be better off in the fight against COVID– 19
– 10 Coronavirus scams to be weary of
– WHO calls for caution about Russian vaccine roll-out
– No need to celebrate: 0.01 degrees less global warming by 2030 due to the pandemic
– NHS hiring a spiritual healer
– No positive outcomes at all from having free-schools in Sweden
– UK government may intervene to curb dangerous ‘cancer cure’ propaganda

The prize for being Really Wrong goes to NICE in the UK (the National Institute for Health Care Excellence) for recommending acupuncture, despite any evidence or science.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:06:33 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
the Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States.

0:12:40 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis surprises everyone by appointing women, and Benedict is feeling poorly (but “that’s to be expected”)

0:19:00 NEWS

1:07:12 REALLY WRONG
NICE recommendations on acupuncture

1:14:43 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“A scientific theory
Isn’t just a hunch or guess
It’s more like a question
That’s been put through a lot of tests
And when a theory emerges
Consistent with the facts
The proof is with science
The truth is with science”
/ They Might Be Giants, From the song “Science Is Real”. Opening track of their kids album ‘Here comes science”.

1:16:45 OUTRO

1:18:00 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #234 – Lysenkoism, science and BS

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This week we first chat about some of the great current skeptical online events, like NECSS and Skeptics in the Pub. We also enjoy the good news that the worlds largest fusion reactor is now being assembled in the South of France.

In this week in history we learn about “Lysenkoism” which Stalin decided should replace all other science. In current affairs Pope Francis has issues with Chinese infiltrators and French women who demands to be bishops.

In this week’s news:
– What’s the truth about face masks and covid-19?
– What lies behind conspiracy theories
– Misleading claims on pre-existing conditions and Covid-19 deaths go viral
– Hungarian company selling bogus ‘pro-insulin c-peptide’ product banned from advertising
– COVID conspiracy theories skyrocket in Romania and number of cases increase
– Use of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) by French cancer patients
– Update – Retraction Watch gets a response from editor-in-chief of journal that published worst paper of 2020
– Chronic back pain and spinal manipulation – is it a good treatment?
– Stonehenge’s long-lived mystery solved
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to all the German demonstrators that marched in Berlin last weekend, spreading crazy ideas and endangering the public and themselves.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

0:09:46 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Lysenkoism. On 7 August 1948, Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced that from that point on Lysenkoism would be taught as “the only correct theory”.

0:13:19 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Two scary adversaries for Frankie: Chinese government and women asking for influence

0:22:08 NEWS

1:10:28 REALLY WRONG
Anti-covid demonstrators in Berlin

1:16:34 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings. Many people have a just horror at the thought of putting poison into tea or coffee, but seem unable to realize that, when they teach false ideas and false doctrines, they are poisoning the time-binding capacity of their fellow men and women.”
/ Alfred Korzybski, July 3, 1879 – March 1, 1950 was a Polish engineer, mathematician, and philosopher, most famous for creating the theory of General Semantics /

1:18:04 OUTRO

1:19:19 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #233 – Homeomathematics

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This week starts with the wonderful news that Annika is now a full time ESP member and co-host. We couldn’t be happier!

We start with a minor correction to a story from last week and then chat a bit about the latest astronomy news before we celebrate this week in history: Happy birthday to the great skeptic and parapsychology researcher Susan Blackmore! (Also see our episode #088 when we had her as a guest)

Giving the Pope more or less a pass this week, we then dive into the news:
– Covid-19 update
– Austrian Science Busters
– (Not so) scientific paper on covid and 5G is withdrawn
– Another misleading “letter from a doctor” regarding covid-19 is making the rounds
– How to engage conspiracy theorists
– Climate change CO2 sensitivity
– Heatwave in Siberia melts ice in the Arctic Ocean
– German homeopathy study criticized
– Orbán keeps winning the fight against Hungarian free press
– UK to fight obesity by banning junk food ads
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to the scientific journal “Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice”. They totally failed the peer review process on a study that claims there is “mathematical proof” that homeopathy is effective against covid-19.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:56 GREETINGS

0:11:15 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Susan Blackmore, was born on 29 July 1951 and is a British writer, lecturer, skeptic, broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. Her fields of research include memetics, parapsychology, consciousness, and she is best known for her book The Meme Machine.

0:14:08 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Not much to add this week, except be kind to your grandpa and grandma…

0:15:14 NEWS

1:08:51 REALLY WRONG
“Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice” publishes study that promotes Homeopathy against covid-19

1:16:22 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.”
/ Karl Popper, Austrian-born British philosopher, academic and social commentator, 28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994 /

1:19:19 OUTRO

1:20:32 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #230 – Tinfoil hats against nonsense

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This week Europe has lost a star in the sky and we hear about how Louis Pasteur managed to create a rabies vaccine back in 1885 (NB: he wasn’t even a medical doctor). Pope Francis seizes even more control about the Vatican’s finances and appoints an “extraordinary commissioner” to raid the entity looking after St Peter’s Basilica. Apparently, someone has been cooking the books.
In the news this week:
– After a new outbreak the German authorities suggest people stay at home for vacation
– Was SARS-CoV-2 really present in Barcelona in March 2019?
– WHO stops Hydroxychloroquine tests
– WHO launches new podcast – Health in Europe
– High risk for polio outbreak in Ukraine
– Russian disinformation operations revealed
– Swedish actor from “Fargo” creates documentary TV-series promoting bogus runestone in Minnesota
– What’s happening with Facebook?
– 5G towers burning in Limassol
– Climate change denier loses bet – has to pay up
– Hungarian National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition bans most homeopathic products from claiming specific therapeutic effects
– Our friend Holm Hümmler airs a documentary about conspiracy theories

To end the episode secondary school students in Germany get today’s Really Right Award for not backing down from their “tinfoil hat” project

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:53 GREETINGS

0:05:26 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Louis Pasteur, successfully demonstrated a working Rabies vaccine on 6 July 1885.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Frankie steps up the fight against financial corruption

0:13:28 NEWS

0:56:54 REALLY RIGHT
GERMANY: Secondary School students in Germany don’t back down from their “tinfoil hat” project

1:00:48 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity.”
/ Louis Pasteur, French biologist, microbiologist and chemist. /

1:01:47 OUTRO

1:03:11 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #229 – Reality vs politics, lies and fairy tales

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This week we can’t help but mention the Polish presidential elections and Susan Gerbic’s latest interview with Pontus. We commemorate Ignaz Semmelweis on his birthday before moving on to deliberating over the future of the papacy.
In the news:
– Was the Tönnies incident with COVID19 due to a church service
– Didier Raoult doubles down on hydroxychloroquine
– Hungary’s new curriculum and history textbooks full of folk legends and misleading claims
– Measles update
– The latest and most sophisticated fake of the Loch Ness Monster
– Large wildfires in Siberia as reminder of climate change
– ARP-SAPC’s Sergio Lopez Borgonoz research grant now open for applications

This week’s Really Wrong Price goes to a Swedish elementary school for investing in bogus “protective equipment” against Wi-Fi.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

“About time Presents – in conversation with…” – Pontus Böckman edition:
https://youtu.be/UhoY7YcR_7E

Susan’s other recent interviews:

0:09:37 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
1st July 1818 – Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis, “Saviour of Mothers”

0:17:45 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
The Next Pope: Two new books explore life after Francis

0:30:38 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Was the Tönnies incident because of a church service?
  2. FRANCE: Didier Raoult’s Hydroxychloroquine claims get even more bizarre
  3. HUNGARY: New history textbook full of legends, errors and misleading information
  4. EUROPE: Measles update
  5. SCOTLAND: Latest evidence of the Loch Ness monster turns out to be fake too
  6. RUSSIA: Large wildfires after of 38° Celsius heatwave in Siberia
  7. SPAIN: ARP-SAPC’s Sergio Lopez Borgonoz paranormal investigation research grant open for applications

1:03:59 REALLY WRONG
Swedish elementary school invest in “protection” against wi-fi

1:07:38 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.”
/George Cuvier, French naturalist, widely considered the founder of comparative anatomy and paleontology, 1810/

1:08:50 OUTRO

1:10:04 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #228 – Let Science Take the Lead

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This week Pontus and András bring you the latest from all over Europe mixed with some history and a little bit of Poking the Pope(s).
This week marks the 646th anniversary of the onset of the Aachen Dancing Plague. After exploring that phenomenon, we move on to how Pope Francis regards women and weather Palpatine is up to no good on his visit to his homeland Germany.
Then, in the news:
– COVID-19 superspreading centre in Gütersloch, Germany now in lockdown
– Swedish coronavirus quack bites the dust
– The Guardian’s article on revised climate models deemed misleading by experts
– Spanish authorities finally publish COVID-19 statistics
– ARP-SAPC’s Skeptical Magnifier Award announced
– Novartis stops Hydroxychloroquine study for lack of participants
– New survey in University of Oxford’s Digital News Reports shows how much people care about climate change
– Political consensus in Norway to remove VAT exemption status for SCAM practitioners
– European Commission identifies Russia and China as origins of disinformation campaigns
– Almost half of Italians would not get a COVID-19 vaccine

The Swedish Food Safety Agency gets this week’s Really Right price for stepping up against illegal food supplement ads.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:25 INTRO

0:00:52 GREETINGS

0:03:11 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
24th June 1374 – “Medieval Dancing Plague” in Aachen, Germany

0:11:58 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis says “we” must respect women’s bodies – and then defines what “we” should use them for…

0:21:42 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Meat processing plant outbreak in North Rhine Westphalia
  2. SWEDEN: Another corona quack bites the dust
  3. INTERNATIONAL: The Guardian’s article on revised climate models potentially misleading
  4. SPAIN: Authorities finally publish COVID-19 death statistics
  5. SPAIN: ‘Skeptical Magnifier’ Award announced
  6. SWITZERLAND: Novartis halts study for lack of participants
  7. INTERNATIONAL: Just how much do people care about climate change?
  8. NORWAY: Consensus to remove VAT exemption status for SCAM
  9. INTERNATIONAL: European Commission identifies Russia and China as responsible for disinformation
  10. ITALY: Almost half of Italians would not take a COVID19 vaccine

1:03:51 REALLY RIGHT
Swedish Food Safety Agency invites the public to report illegal ads for supplements against COVID19

1:08:45 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
„Science is constantly proved all the time. You see, If we took something like any fiction, any holy book, and any other fiction and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time, that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back because all the same tests would be the same result.“
/Ricky Gervais, British comedian, actor and producer/

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:09:54 OUTRO

1:11:08 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #227 – Thank you, Jelena!

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This week we first learn about how the 1854 cholera outbreak led to advances in the knowledge about diseases and outbreaks thanks to the clever and rigorous work by the physician John Snow, now regarded as one of the founders of modern epidemiology. Pope Francis is getting closer to his vision of “a poor church for the poor”, perhaps just a little bit faster than he bargained for as the pandemic is hitting the Catholic finances. Then Andras delves into how we can begin to measure the success of covid-19 related restrictions.
In the news this week:
– Swedish Snake Oil advertisement is struck down
– Archaeologist sentenced for faking Basque finds
– Climate more sensitive to CO2 emissions than thought?
– Who killed the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme?
– Szekesfehervar budget cuts – nonessential vaccines are first to go
– The Aspen Institute’s ‘Good10 – The Pandemic Issue’ discussing many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic
– The return of the Mayan calendar – some myths refuse to die
– University of Vienna found a way to inoculate medical students about SCAM
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to doctors in Northern Ireland that continue to obstruct abortions even after the recent legalization!

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: https://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:26 INTRO

0:00:49 GREETINGS

0:06:36 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology, died on 16 June 1858. He is famous for tracking down the source of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – “The poor Church for the poor”

0:16:25 COVID-19 UPDATE

0:24:27 NEWS

1:00:58 REALLY WRONG
NORTHERN IRELAND: Doctors sabotaging legal abortions

1:04:28 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Critical thinking is the only weapon and the only defense that the human being has against the dangers of life. Because if I do not think critically, I will be subject to all influences, to all suggestions, to all errors and to all the lies that are spread, and with which I have been indoctrinated since childhood.”
/ Erich Seligmann Fromm, social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. /

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:10:05 OUTRO

1:11:21 OUT-TAKES