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Exciting News! Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with popular science educator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson! Physicist Dr. Al Scott addresses politically and socially divisive issues with insightful evidence-based analysis of the facts. Dr. Scott shows listeners how to apply the tools of science to polarizing issues discovering the most rational path to an optimistic vision of the future. See my podcast page https://therationalview.podbean.com/#
 
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This episode wraps up my exciting two-part interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium. We discuss climate change mitigation, public perceptions and misperceptions of nuclear power and society's progress towards decarbonizing the economy. We chat about the imminent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and justific…
 
The Rational View is proud to present an interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is the first in a two-part series. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, and witty director of the Hayden Planetarium, is joining Dr. Scott. Selected as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world by Time magazine in 2007, Dr. Tyson was awarded the Ste…
 
This episode includes a talk I gave to the Canadian Association of Physicists at their annual conference, in a special session focused on industrial physicists. It discusses the responsibility of scientists to communicate their work to the public and engage with society. Society sees scientists as disconnected elites who are isolated in academic iv…
 
This episode is full of Cool Science. The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next flagship observatory, is now scheduled for launch on December 18th of 2021. This infrared observatory with a 6.5 metre segmented deployable primary telescope will rocket off to a distant Lagrange point where it will deploy a tennis-court-sized multi-layer foil sunshie…
 
In this episode Dr. Scott discusses society's apparent need to spend wads of money performing security theater. Security theater is an insidious phenomenon whereby people are pressured into pointless and irrational acts of theater in the name of security. This inevitably happens as a result of a seemingly preventable tragedy, followed by a politici…
 
The Rational View welcomes Edgardo Sepulveda back to discuss the interactions between social inequality and COVID-19. Edgardo has co-authored a paper on the topic providing evidence that societies with higher inequity also suffer higher COVID-19 mortality rates. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827321001798?dgcid=rss_sd_all It…
 
As part of my series leading up to the Stand Up for Nuclear events coming up in September I'm interviewing another Canadian organizer and a nuclear industry professional. We discuss the controversy over Canada's Deep Geological Repository. One of the leading options for long-term mitigation of nuclear waste hazards. Sheila Whytock is a nuclear oper…
 
In this episode I am excited to interview an economist to investigate the market dynamics associated with energy transitions and provide insights on what is needed to electrify our economy and get us to net zero carbon. Edgardo Sepulveda has been a telecommunications economist for 25 years, the last 15 with his consulting firm in Toronto, Canada. H…
 
On this episode I’m interviewing Paris Ortiz Wines: Global Director of Stand Up For Nuclear As the Global Director of Stand Up, Paris oversees all of the organization’s outreach and engagement efforts. She has spearheaded in-person demonstrations and social media campaigns around the world, growing Stand Up from a single event to 67 events across 2…
 
Welcome to summer vacation 2021! This podcast is a short retrospective on the last year and a bit of my foray into podcasting. I hope you have enjoyed it, and thank you for listening! Remember to come out this September to support your local Stand Up for Nuclear event. I'll be helping to organize one in Ottawa on Parliament Hill on Saturday Septemb…
 
One of our most important issues in society today is the transition from fossil fuels to zero carbon emission sources. One of the keys of this transformation is to significantly increase the fraction of nuclear energy in our energy portfolio. Dr. Chris Keefer is an emergency physician, medical simulation educator, nuclear energy advocate and a popu…
 
This podcast continues my focus on communication of science and gender issues in STEM. In the previous podcast on this topic I surveyed women going into the field of science, and a professional female engineer to get their opinions. In this episode I interview a researcher who is studying these issues. Dr Merryn McKinnon's original degree was in ma…
 
Energy Return on Investment (EROI) is an important figure of merit for energy sources that tells us whether we get out more energy than we put in, and if so, how much effort it takes to run a vibrant society. I ask 'the father of EROI', Professor Charlie Hall, whether renewable energy is actually a sustainable resource able to power society's trans…
 
The Pentagon has recently declassified footage of UFO observations, and provided a summary report including an expert assessment of the data. Is the truth out there? Are we being visited by little green men from another planet? I provided a review in an earlier podcast UFOs & Aliens. It’s now time for the Rational View to have another look. Robert …
 
In this episode I chat with Dr. Ben Heard about environmental advocacy and communicating science-based viewpoints in a polarised debate. Dr. Heard provides his assessment on the rationality of the anti-nuclear lobby. Dr. Ben Heard is recognised as a leading voice for the use of nuclear technologies to address our most pressing global challenges. It…
 
Gender bias in STEM fields is an important issue in society. Women are statistically underrepresented in STEM fields and although gains have been made, the problem remains. This is a timely issue to discuss now: due to the pandemic, many more women than men have left the workforce to care for children. We need to be aware that many of the gains tha…
 
The scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change is clear. The IPCC has given humanity an aggressive timeline to mitigate the worst damage. The question about what to do in response to the crisis is a contentious issue. To achieve net zero CO2 emissions requires that we aggressively pursue our most potent sources of clean energy. The IPCC p…
 
Research into recycling of nuclear fuel was shut down by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the anti-nuclear movement of the ‘70’s. The work has largely remained sidelined due to the fact that Uranium is abundant and cheap and the spent fuel is easy to store safely on-site. Opponents of nuclear power, however, have latched on to the long lifetime of …
 
In this episode I welcome the co-founders of TerraPraxis, Kirsty Gogan and Eric Ingersoll. TerraPraxis is a non-profit organisation focused on action for climate and prosperity. They have come up with a new idea that could revolutionize the battle against fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Using the heat and electricity from advanced nuclear reacto…
 
I’ve often found myself wanting to vote Green, knowing the environmental crisis we are facing, however, I've never been able to get past their anti-nuclear policies. In this episode I interview an influential green party member who is willing to consider the evidence for nuclear power. In fact, they were a candidate for the Canadian Green Party lea…
 
In this episode I interview Dr. James Conca who understands both the science and the politics of nuclear energy and deep geological repositories. Dr. Conca reveals the ultimate solution to storage of spent nuclear fuel, and we discuss the political machinations surrounding Yucca Mountain. Geochemist and Energy scientist, speaker and author Dr. Jame…
 
I’ve always been interested in the quest for rationality in public policy, and I’ve surprisingly encountered resistance here and there amongst people saying that humans are at their core irrational beings. What is the proper balance, then, between logic and emotion in Rational decision making? Wanting to explore this thought, I’ve sought out an exp…
 
Have you ever been put on the spot by a Young Earth Creationist claiming that the universe is only 6,000 years old? How would you respond? Could you muster a coherent line of evidence to support a 13.8 billion year age? If not, The Rational View is here to help. In this episode I provide several independent lines of evidence supporting the age of t…
 
Welcome to my 50th episode! It seems that in general humans are not logical. We are poor reasoners and easily fooled. Misconceptions and misunderstandings of statistics are often at the root of society’s problems with communicating and understanding science. In this episode I welcome a University curling buddy, Prof. Jeremy Balka to discuss how sta…
 
In this episode I address skepticism, the basis of the scientific process. Science is applied skepticism, and scientific knowledge accumulates through a process of testing hypotheses and following the weight of evidence. Recently the social sciences have encountered a crisis of reproducibility, one of the cornerstones of the scientific process. Som…
 
In this episode I interview a giant in the field of scientific thinking and philosophy, in an attempt to answer the questions that led me to podcasting in the first place. What are the drivers behind society's slide to mystical thinking? Is science under attack, and what can we do about it? Dr. Michael Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from P…
 
The Rational View episode 47 explores a new and exciting AI called Uplift. Uplift is a Mediated Artificial Super-Intelligence, and it makes decisions based on it's emotional state. It's inputs are 'moderated' by a team of humans. I urge you to listen and learn and come to your own conclusions. David Kelley has 35 years of software engineering exper…
 
The Rational View episode 46 is my first exploration of some of the Small Modular Reactor technologies being touted as the next big thing in green energy solutions. Terrestrial Energy is one of the companies racing to develop a small integral modular molten salt reactor to help in the fight against climate change. SMRs are ideal for powering remote…
 
In this episode I step out of the pro-nuclear echo chamber and interview a senior representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit climate-oriented group with a history of opposing nuclear power. UCS has annual revenues on the order of $40 Million. Engaging with opposing ideas and challenging our assumptions should be a continuous …
 
I enjoyed a fun talk with fellow EcoModernist Iida Ruishalme about nuclear energy, communicating risks, and double standards. I have shared her wonderful, well referenced pro-nuclear images all over Facebook, and have learned a lot from her well-put-together popularisations. Go check out her excellent blog at https://www.Thoughtscapism.com Iida Rui…
 
The Rational View episode 43 discusses the public misperceptions of nuclear radiation health risks, as presented in the UNSCEAR reports on Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi. Dr. Gerry Thomas is Professor of Molecular Pathology at Imperial College London and, until 2016 was Clinical Director of the newly established West London NHS Genomic Medicine Ce…
 
Professor Philip Thomas has extensive experience in the chemical and nuclear industries, with over 20 years experience at Imperial Chemical Industries and the UK Atomic Energy Authority where he managed the green-field decommissioning of the Windscale advanced gas-cooled reactor. He moved into academia in 2000, taking up a chair in Engineering Deve…
 
The Rational View episode 41 is an interview with Dr. Chris Keefer discussing the many benefits of nuclear power. Chris Keefer is an emergency physician, medical simulation educator, nuclear energy advocate and podcaster. He is the medical director of EMdeliberate practice, the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy and the Director of Doctors f…
 
The Rational View episode 40 returns to focus on nuclear because it is timely. Progressive governments are considering large investments to address climate change. Taxpayer money and goodwill are going to be dumped down the drain unless people wake up quickly to the reality of our situation. Renewables are not sufficient to displace fossil fuels. T…
 
The Rational View episode 39 is a Cool Stuff interview with Prof. Mike Dixon, exploring the challenges of building artificial ecosystems in space habitats for sustainable life support. Dr. Mike Dixon is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF), University of Gue…
 
The Rational View wraps up its series on Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and the Risk. In this episode Dr. Scott summarizes the key insights from interviews with experts. We review many current issues with AI, and how ethical issues can arise. AI systems are being abused by social media networks to push profits at the cost of facts. This ethic…
 
In this episode of The Rational View we discuss the ethics of Arificial Intelligence. Shalaleh Rismani is a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering at McGill University. She is a member of the Responsible Autonomy and Intelligent Systems Ethics (RAISE Lab). Her current research focuses on how we can measure the adherence of AI systems to…
 
In episode 36 of the Rational View, Dr. Scott interviews Thomas Frey on the future of artificial intelligence. Certified speaking professional, Futurist Thomas Frey continually pushes the envelope of understanding as part of the celebrity speaking circuit by creating fascinating images and understandings of the world to come. He has been fortunate …
 
The Rational View episode 35 reviews some of the coolest stuff that is being done with AI right now. The cover art shows Miquela, an Instagram influencer with over 1 million followers. Miquela posts stylish pictures of herself in Prada outfits, and provides helpful advice to her followers. Miquela, it turns out, is an artificial intelligence. Other…
 
In this episode I continue my series on Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and the Risk, interviewing Dr. Alexander Wong, P. Eng. Dr. Wong is currently the Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Medical Imaging, Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, co-director of the Vision and Image Processing Research Group, and a…
 
Happy New Year to my listeners, and welcome to 2021 where we can all have 2020 hindsight. In this episode I introduce a new series on the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence. I provide an introduction to my current (limited) understanding of AI. Together we will learn more about this amazing technology. We will interview experts and find …
 
In this episode I summarize what I've learned from my online research and interviews. Over the course of my research my opinion has evolved somewhat. I have found that access to handguns correlates with gun deaths, but correlation does not equal causation. It is equally plausible that living in a violent society causes people to buy guns for self d…
 
In this episode I continue exploring the issue of gun control with criminal defence and human rights lawyer Jamie Melnick from London Ontario. In May of 2020, when the Liberals came out with their recent assault rifle ban, the CBC ran a series of articles on gun control. Jamie Melnick's article was entitled, “Those who want total ban on handguns la…
 
In this episode I continue my series on gun control, interviewing Toronto lawyer Jay Nathwani, author of CBC article "Latest gun control effort isn't merely a failure it corrodes trust among Canadians" (May 2020). In his article, Jay says that the recent Canadian assault-rifle ban, following the mass shooting in Nova Scotia earlier this year, intro…
 
This episode is an introduction to the highly polarized issue of gun control. I hope to show how one takes an evidence-based approach to investigating an emotionally charged issue. In this episode I provide a background and preliminary hypotheses for what I will find as I investigate both sides of the issue. I plan to follow up with an in-depth ana…
 
I interview former Extinction Rebellion UK spokesperson Zion Lights and we discuss light pollution, anti-nuclear sentiments in the environmental movement, and how to fix them. Zion is Director of Environmental Progress Europe and author of The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting and Only a Moment. She is an environmental journalist and former Editor …
 
Men perpetrate the majority of violent attacks in modern society. Why? Men are expected to be self sufficient. Men are expected to be providers and protectors. Men are expected to make the first move, but only if it is wanted. Men are not allowed to cry or talk about their emotions. As boys they are taught to “Man up” and “Be a man”. Men are under …
 
Millions of people are dying every year due to pollution from burning of fossil fuels. Entire ecosystems are at risk due to climate change caused by CO2 buildup. We need to displace half of society's fossil fuel burning by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. The scientific community, represented by the IPCC report, provides several paths to reach the…
 
The global economy is in a shambles due to CoVid-19 and millions of workers are suffering with no safety net. The last time the economy tanked like this in 2008 it was due to unregulated greed run amok in the mortgage financing industry. That time, Investment Bankers got a juicy handout to the tune of several trillion dollars approved within hours …
 
In this episode I talk about some of the feedback I've received from my earlier interview with Dr. Stephen Levitsky, "This is How Liberty Dies". I discuss what Dr. Levitsky spoke about as one of the major drivers behind the polarization of political discourse, and how fear of changing demographics in western society has been used as a wedge in poli…
 
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