Tag Archives: UK

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. #232 – Assisted Death

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This week we welcome Annika back and first chat a bit about comets and astronomy and about some of the excellent online skeptical events there now is to follow, like the UK Skeptics in the Pub Online, the new Cologne events and Susan Gerbic’s About Time project.

In this week in history we hear about Carl Jung, who was born on 26 July in 1875. Just like Freud he got a lot of things terribly wrong, but his ideas still inspired a lot better psychology later on and they continue to be part of the present-day culture. Then we poke the pope and find that even though Francis appears to want to fight the sex abuse scandals, last week’s new guidelines confirm that the Church continues to get most of their priorities completely backwards.

Lots of corona in the news this week:
– The COVID19 infodemic re Western Europe
– Corona conspiracy myths in Germany
– Andrew Wakefield and other anti-vaxxers mobilising against a future corona vaccine and unfortunately it is working
– Hungarian guy gets convicted for coronavirus misinformation
– Austria’s relaxed rules on masks has bad effect on infection rates
– Google bans ads for conspiracy theories
– the PSA investigates the UK Society of Homeopaths for non-compliance
– Russia wages war on homeopathy
– Good Thinking Society helps the BBC in producing excellent documentary about fake cancers ‘cures’
– BMJ presents study on medical science communication in the age of disinformation
– Is the Russian Dyatlov mystery finally solved?

The prize for being Really Right (perhaps controversially) goes to a Swedish doctor who turned himself in for assisted death.

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

0:00:57 GREETINGS

0:13:42 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Carl Jung, born on 26 July 1875 continues to be an extremely influential figure in the history of psychology despite that he got most of it wrong.

0:20:08 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – New guidelines against sex abuse misses the point

0:28:58 NEWS

1:11:48 REALLY RIGHT
SWEDEN: Retired professor and MD turns himself in for assisted death

1:22:09 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“The impression that science is over has occurred many times in various branches of human knowledge, often because of an explosion of discoveries made by a genius or a small group of men in such a short time that average minds could hardly follow and had the unconscious desire to take breath, to get used to the unexpected things that came to be revealed. Dazzled by these new truths, they could not see beyond. Sometimes an entire century did not suffice to produce this accommodation.”
/ Charles Fabry, French physicist, 11 June 1867 – 11 December 1945. /

1:23:50 OUTRO

1:25:06 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. #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

TheESP – Ep. #226 – Credo, ergo sum


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A bit less COVID-19-heavy episode this week with the news that May 2020 saw the highest concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere ever recorded and it was also the hottest May ever.
6 years ago, creationism as science in schools was banned in the UK and hallelujah, the Vatican is launching their new channel ‘VatiVision’ and a documentary series ‘The Great Popes’.
In the news this week:
– Nicotine replacement therapy is the new craze among possible COVID-19 treatments lacking evidence of efficacy
– The bad science story of Hydroxychloroquine that shook the world
– Millions seem to believe the Treaty of Trianon expires after 100 years
– People fall for the story of dozens of give-away TVs by Curry’s
– The German Medical Student Association issues a declaration against homeopathy
– Let’s see behind the curtain regarding the ‘Swedish Model’ once again
– Massimo Polidoro launches his Patreon page – with a twist.
This week’s Really Right price goes to Dutch anaesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee for publishing a free book ‘Anesthesia and the Soul’ that helps us understand out-of-body-experiences (OBE).

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; COVID-19 Update; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:51 GREETINGS

Welcome to the start of a hot summer!

0:10:45 This Week in Skepticism

As of June 9, 2014 teaching creationism as science was banned in public schools in the UK

0:21:07 PONTUS POKES THE POPE

Francis is a bigot, plus “watch out Netflix – here comes VatiVision!”

0:30:10 NEWS

  1. EU/FRANCE: News about possible nicotine therapy lead to surge of tobacco products 
  2. INTERNATIONAL: Bad science on all sides of Hydroxychloroquine
  3. HUNGARY: Millions believe the Treaty of Trianon expires after 100 years
  4. UK: No, nobody is handing out free TVs
  5. GERMANY: Medical students issue declaration against homeopathy
  6. SWEDEN: The “Swedish model” may very well have problems – but the reporting of it is even worse
  7. ITALY: Massimo Polidoro starts his Patreon page – with a twist

1:05:55 REALLY RIGHT
Dutch anaesthesiologist Gerald Woerlee, author of the free book “Anesthesia and the Soul”

1:09:21 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“I’m comfortable with the unknown — that’s the point of science. There are places out there, billions of places out there, that we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about them excites me, and I want to go out and find out about them. And that’s what science is. So I think if you’re not comfortable with the unknown, then it’s difficult to be a scientist… I don’t need an answer. I don’t need answers to everything. I want to have answers to find.”
/Professor Brian Cox, British physicist, presenter, author and musician/

1:10:39 OUTRO

1:11:54 Out-takes

TheESP – Ep. #224 – An AntivaxxiNational crisis


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This week Pontus and Andras try their best to keep your spirit up while talking about the saddening advent of conspiracy theories and an ever growing antivaccination sentiment.
We talk about the great and controversial scientist, the father of glaciology, Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, try to make sense of the Pope’s latest actions as part of the Vatican’s financial reform, bring you a bit of the latest analyses of the COVID-19 situation and lots of news:
– A church congregation in Frankfurt becomes a virus hotspot
– Sweden’s approach looks very different when under the microscope
– Are we loosing against the antivaccination movement?
– Homeopathy International sneakily advises people to take homeopathic products
– Italian MP calls for the arrest of Bill Gates
– Nearlf half of tweets about COVID-19 likely come from bots
– “5GBioShield” hits the market
– WHO report says 80 million children not vaccinated because of COVID-19
– Hungarian snake oil salesman under scrutiny by Competition Authority

The Romanian Ministry of Health gets this week’s Really Wrong Price for failing to provide the necessary vaccination information and immunize the public against measles.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; COVID-19 Update; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro

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

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:50 GREETINGS

0:06:41 This Week in Skepticism
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (May 28, 1807) – Swiss-American biologist and geologist, founder of glaciology – and creatinist

0:15:05 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis is back on St Peter’s Square, plus he’s starting to consolidate the fortunes of the Church

0:20:06 COVID-19 Update

0:40:41 NEWS

  1. INTERNATIONAL/UK: Homeopathy International – giving advice on what product to take against Coronavirus
  2. ITALY: MP calling for the arrest of Bill Gates and spreading conspiracy theories
  3. INTERNATIONAL: Nearly half of accounts tweeting about Covid-19 are likely bots
  4. UK: 5G bioshield hitting the market
  5. INTERNATIONAL: WHO – at least 80 million children not vaccinated because of COVID-19
  6. HUNGARY: Competition authority scrutinising snake oil salesman

0:59:52 REALLY WRONG
Romanian Ministry of Health failing regarding vaccination information

1:02:39 The Skeptic Zone Ad

1:03:17 Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia Ad

1:04:58 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“The facts will eventually test all our theories, and they form, after all, the only impartial jury to which we can appeal.”
/Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz/

1:05:57 OUTRO