The Skeptics Guide #802 - Nov 21 2020
COVID-19 Vaccine Update; News Items: Resisting Facial Recognition, Farming Mars, Sound Beaming, Hydrogen from Ammonia; Who's That Noisy; Your Questions and E-mails: Rankine Scale; Name That Logical Fallacy; Science or Fiction
Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill
Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill
The Intercept
BONUS: Universal Enemy — Scholar Daryl Li on the Relationship Between Transnational Jihadists and U.S. Empire
In this special bonus episode of Intercepted, we take an in-depth look at one of the most consequential eras of modern history, the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, as the Soviet Union crumbled. The Russian occupation of Afghanistan came to an end, thanks in no small part to the covert and overt involvement of the United States. Bill Clinton brought an end to 12 years of Republican rule, defeating the former CIA director George HW Bush. And with Clinton’s two terms in office came a new spin on US militarism across the world, the notion of liberal so-called humanitarian intervention. The propaganda pitch was that the United States would use its military force as a sort of global police officer whose violent actions were wrapped in the justification that US missiles and bombs and troop deployments were serving a greater good. Nowhere was this more boldly asserted than in the wars in Yugoslavia, which stretched from the early 1990s all the way through 2008 when the US officially recognized the independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo. The years that ushered in the declaration of the end of the Cold War would have a significant impact on global relations and warmaking to this day. University of Chicago scholar Daryl Li has written a meticulously documented book that seeks to understand the trends that emerged from this era, with a focus on putting into context the movement of foreign fighters from country to country. The book is called “The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity.” Li highlights the parallels between transnational jihadists, UN peacekeeping missions and socialist non-alignment and he examines the relationship between jihad and US empire.   See for privacy and opt-out information.
43 min
Science Friday
Science Friday
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
COVID Fact Check, Aging Cells, News Roundup. Jan 8, 2021, Part 1
Fact Check My Feed: What’s Up With These COVID-19 Mutations? It’s a new year, and that means there’s a whole slew of new COVID-19 news to dive into, including an overwhelming amount of new information about vaccines and mutations. The U.S. has now administered roughly five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, far behind the nation’s goal of vaccinating 20 million by the end of 2020. The two approved COVID-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, are intended to be given over the course of two doses. But there’s a discussion within the medical community about whether or not both doses are necessary for every patient. Mutations are also an increasing concern. Variants from the U.K. and South Africa are concerning epidemiologists, and appear to be spreading. Though there’s no proof that either are more deadly, they may be more infectious. Joining Ira to explain is Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, based in Seattle, Washington. Can Cells Rewind The Wrinkles Of Time? As a cell ages, its DNA goes through a process called “methylation”—gaining extra methyl chemical groups. These groups can affect how the genes’ encoded information is expressed, without actually changing the sequence of genes. In work published in Nature, researchers explore whether reversing that methylation can reprogram the cells back to a more youthful state. They used modified adenoviruses to introduce three specific transcription factors into mouse retinal ganglion cells, a type of neuron found in the eye. These transcription factors helped revert the cell to a more immature state—and also seemed to let the cell behave in a more ‘youthful’ way. David Sinclair, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the study, joins Ira to discuss what the work means, and what it could tell scientists about the aging process. Trump’s New EPA ‘Transparency’ Rule Could Hamper Science This week, the Environmental Protection Agency passed the “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that “the American public has the right to know what scientific studies underline the Agency’s regulatory decisions.” But critics say that this outgoing policy by the Trump administration can be used to hamper new environmental regulations. Amy Nordrum lines out the policy and other science headlines from the week.
47 min
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