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Squaring the Strange

Pascual Romero

13
Followers
211
Plays
Squaring the Strange

Squaring the Strange

Pascual Romero

13
Followers
211
Plays
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About Us

Not just another “skeptical” podcast, it’s a show about critical thinking and evidence-based analysis, using science and critical thinking to examine the world around us, from the mysterious and paranormal to the mundane.

Latest Episodes

Episode 124 - Antifa as an Emergent Panic

After some discussion on a few current events that resulted in quick debunkings, Ben, Pascual, and Celestia take a close look at what could be real-time formation of a social panic. Antifa has all the hallmarks of a propped-up paper tiger used by some as a political tool, and by others as a social boogeyman. We look at the coverage, the rumors, the Trump tweets, the implications, and the real statistics. How has the reputation of this nebulous non-organization caused harm?

80 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 124 - Antifa as an Emergent Panic

Episode 123 - Snuff Films with Erik Kristopher Myers

We are joined by filmmaker and encyclopedia of weird film knowledge Erik Kristopher Myers to discuss "snuff films," a convergence of conspiracy thinking, moral panic, urban legend, and actual film trivia. We examine pretenders to the genre, from the Manson family to Faces of Death to Cannibal Holocaust. Have any real snuff films ever been uncovered or investigated? What factors play into our belief in, and fear of, these monstrous commodifications mortality? And how have moviemakers capitalized on them?

113 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Episode 123 - Snuff Films with Erik Kristopher Myers

Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!)

We chat a bit about various news, including the passing of physicist Peter Brancazio, who explored popular sports illusions, and Ben's recent outreach project attempting to get answers from the "Plandemic" filmmaker. Then our main segment covers a veritable salad of plant-based folklore. From very old tales to modern misconceptions, we touch on the ancient Greek dryads and related myths, how to safely dig up a mandrake root, and whether or not houseplants purify the air.

84 MINMAY 29
Comments
Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!)

Episode 121 - Noah Nez, Native Skeptic

First we touch on "Plandemic," then we talk "murder hornets" with Heidi McMaster, an invasive species coordinator. Noah Nez, who blogs as the Native Skeptic, opens up on a variety of topics: the noble savage trope, crown dancers, clowns/tricksters, and the co-opting of native traditions in cryptid pseudohistories. The varied nature of native legends makes for an easily misinterpreted, commodified, and exploited landscape. From herbal remedies to horror films to Skinwalker Ranch, we see what we can learn.

100 MINMAY 15
Comments
Episode 121 - Noah Nez, Native Skeptic

Episode 120 - Emery Emery on Science Friction

First, Ben, Celestia, and Pascual discuss a few pandemic-related things that set off some skeptical alarms over social media this past week. Then we are joined by comedian and film editor Emery Emery to talk about his project with Brian Dunning. With the help of many science communicators and experts (Ben himself among them), Emery and Dunning have crafted a documentary called Science Friction, revealing the myriad ways experts have been misrepresented by producers of questionable documentaries.

76 MINMAY 1
Comments
Episode 120 - Emery Emery on Science Friction

Episode 119 - Poll Lotta BS

Ben came up with this title and we are just so darned proud of him for coming over to the pun side of life. We chat about various Covid-related topics and then dive into examples of bad or misleading polls. First we cover a few harmless topics, like beard sexiness or beer preference. Then Ben dissects some bad reporting on polls that relate to much more important topics like discrimination or the Holocaust, and we see that learning how polls can be misrepresented is a vital part of one's skeptical toolbox.

106 MINAPR 17
Comments
Episode 119 - Poll Lotta BS

Episode 118 - Our Third Anniversary! (While Sheltered in Place)

For anyone who has been craving an episode with far less research, facts, or formality, this is the episode for you! Ben, Pascual, and Celestia, reflect on their various circumstances during the coronavirus national emergency, and then we talk about this, our third year in podcasting. We dish on past guests and future guests we have in the works, answer a couple of listener questions, and Ben quizzes Pascual about the finer points of air guitar. Enjoy the podcast--it's almost as fun as other people!

80 MINAPR 3
Comments
Episode 118 - Our Third Anniversary! (While Sheltered in Place)

Episode 117 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 2

Part 2 finishes our discussion on three missing persons cases that Ben, Celestia, and Kenny followed in real time and tracked with psychic detective predictions. This episode features Ben's examination of the Harley Dilly case, and the same content warning applies: we discuss some details of the case that may be disturbing to some listeners. It's clear that well-meaning (and sometimes not-so-well-meaning) psychics waste police time and cause distress to families at their most vulnerable times.

67 MINMAR 27
Comments
Episode 117 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 2

Episode 116 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 1

After some discussion on the pandemic and social distancing most of us now face, special guest Kenny Biddle joins us (remotely!) to look at some missing person cases as they unfold in real time and how psychics have helped (or interfered). This first part has cases Celestia and Kenny looked into, and we talk about why debunking this type of psychic activity falls to grassroots skeptics. Content warning: missing child cases and psychic pronouncements on what happened to these victims are discussed.

104 MINMAR 20
Comments
Episode 116 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 1

Episode 115 - A Few Angles on the Bermuda Triangle

Ben still gets calls regularly from students eager to ask him questions about the Bermuda Triangle, a perennial favorite for seekers of the strange. We look into its history and a few factors that influenced its popularity. What does the Bermuda Triangle have to do with a college French class? What does a bit of 2020 shipwreck sleuthing have to do with the legend? The one thing the Bermuda Triangle does seem to attract is a kitchen sink of weird, from Atlantis to UFOs to magnetic time-space anomalies.

75 MINMAR 6
Comments
Episode 115 - A Few Angles on the Bermuda Triangle

Latest Episodes

Episode 124 - Antifa as an Emergent Panic

After some discussion on a few current events that resulted in quick debunkings, Ben, Pascual, and Celestia take a close look at what could be real-time formation of a social panic. Antifa has all the hallmarks of a propped-up paper tiger used by some as a political tool, and by others as a social boogeyman. We look at the coverage, the rumors, the Trump tweets, the implications, and the real statistics. How has the reputation of this nebulous non-organization caused harm?

80 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 124 - Antifa as an Emergent Panic

Episode 123 - Snuff Films with Erik Kristopher Myers

We are joined by filmmaker and encyclopedia of weird film knowledge Erik Kristopher Myers to discuss "snuff films," a convergence of conspiracy thinking, moral panic, urban legend, and actual film trivia. We examine pretenders to the genre, from the Manson family to Faces of Death to Cannibal Holocaust. Have any real snuff films ever been uncovered or investigated? What factors play into our belief in, and fear of, these monstrous commodifications mortality? And how have moviemakers capitalized on them?

113 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Episode 123 - Snuff Films with Erik Kristopher Myers

Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!)

We chat a bit about various news, including the passing of physicist Peter Brancazio, who explored popular sports illusions, and Ben's recent outreach project attempting to get answers from the "Plandemic" filmmaker. Then our main segment covers a veritable salad of plant-based folklore. From very old tales to modern misconceptions, we touch on the ancient Greek dryads and related myths, how to safely dig up a mandrake root, and whether or not houseplants purify the air.

84 MINMAY 29
Comments
Episode 122 - Plant Folklore (Bring Us a Shrubbery!)

Episode 121 - Noah Nez, Native Skeptic

First we touch on "Plandemic," then we talk "murder hornets" with Heidi McMaster, an invasive species coordinator. Noah Nez, who blogs as the Native Skeptic, opens up on a variety of topics: the noble savage trope, crown dancers, clowns/tricksters, and the co-opting of native traditions in cryptid pseudohistories. The varied nature of native legends makes for an easily misinterpreted, commodified, and exploited landscape. From herbal remedies to horror films to Skinwalker Ranch, we see what we can learn.

100 MINMAY 15
Comments
Episode 121 - Noah Nez, Native Skeptic

Episode 120 - Emery Emery on Science Friction

First, Ben, Celestia, and Pascual discuss a few pandemic-related things that set off some skeptical alarms over social media this past week. Then we are joined by comedian and film editor Emery Emery to talk about his project with Brian Dunning. With the help of many science communicators and experts (Ben himself among them), Emery and Dunning have crafted a documentary called Science Friction, revealing the myriad ways experts have been misrepresented by producers of questionable documentaries.

76 MINMAY 1
Comments
Episode 120 - Emery Emery on Science Friction

Episode 119 - Poll Lotta BS

Ben came up with this title and we are just so darned proud of him for coming over to the pun side of life. We chat about various Covid-related topics and then dive into examples of bad or misleading polls. First we cover a few harmless topics, like beard sexiness or beer preference. Then Ben dissects some bad reporting on polls that relate to much more important topics like discrimination or the Holocaust, and we see that learning how polls can be misrepresented is a vital part of one's skeptical toolbox.

106 MINAPR 17
Comments
Episode 119 - Poll Lotta BS

Episode 118 - Our Third Anniversary! (While Sheltered in Place)

For anyone who has been craving an episode with far less research, facts, or formality, this is the episode for you! Ben, Pascual, and Celestia, reflect on their various circumstances during the coronavirus national emergency, and then we talk about this, our third year in podcasting. We dish on past guests and future guests we have in the works, answer a couple of listener questions, and Ben quizzes Pascual about the finer points of air guitar. Enjoy the podcast--it's almost as fun as other people!

80 MINAPR 3
Comments
Episode 118 - Our Third Anniversary! (While Sheltered in Place)

Episode 117 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 2

Part 2 finishes our discussion on three missing persons cases that Ben, Celestia, and Kenny followed in real time and tracked with psychic detective predictions. This episode features Ben's examination of the Harley Dilly case, and the same content warning applies: we discuss some details of the case that may be disturbing to some listeners. It's clear that well-meaning (and sometimes not-so-well-meaning) psychics waste police time and cause distress to families at their most vulnerable times.

67 MINMAR 27
Comments
Episode 117 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 2

Episode 116 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 1

After some discussion on the pandemic and social distancing most of us now face, special guest Kenny Biddle joins us (remotely!) to look at some missing person cases as they unfold in real time and how psychics have helped (or interfered). This first part has cases Celestia and Kenny looked into, and we talk about why debunking this type of psychic activity falls to grassroots skeptics. Content warning: missing child cases and psychic pronouncements on what happened to these victims are discussed.

104 MINMAR 20
Comments
Episode 116 - Testing Psychic Detectives in Real Time, part 1

Episode 115 - A Few Angles on the Bermuda Triangle

Ben still gets calls regularly from students eager to ask him questions about the Bermuda Triangle, a perennial favorite for seekers of the strange. We look into its history and a few factors that influenced its popularity. What does the Bermuda Triangle have to do with a college French class? What does a bit of 2020 shipwreck sleuthing have to do with the legend? The one thing the Bermuda Triangle does seem to attract is a kitchen sink of weird, from Atlantis to UFOs to magnetic time-space anomalies.

75 MINMAR 6
Comments
Episode 115 - A Few Angles on the Bermuda Triangle

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