EventsSkepticism

Video: SGU at Google!

You may recall that last month I had the awesome opportunity to cruise around San Francisco doing a few events. One of those events was a talk at Google with the rest of my podcast crew, Steve, Bob, Jay, and Evan of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe and Richard Saunders of the Australian Skeptics. Charlie Ross, the Googler who organized the event, put the entire thing online so you can now see it!

This was way different than what SGU normally does at events. Usually, we do a live show that’s set up just like our podcast. This time, though, we each gave a brief talk about a health topic. Despite it not being our usual kind of set-up, I think things went quite well! The only problem is that we ran much longer than planned, so Q&A had to be cut short. Anyway, here’s the entire thing:

As a reminder, I’ll be in Seattle on Friday evening giving a talk at Piecora’s Pizza. Pizza and science! What more could you possibly want?? And then I’ll be at GeekGirlCon the rest of the weekend. Be there!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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17 Comments

  1. Has the SGU ever talked about the topic of “search neutrality?” In that should it be Google’s job to provide you with the results YOU want or with the actual best results. So when searching for the origins of man should it give you the correct answer: Evolution, the most popular answer: Possibly Creationism, or the answer tailored to your personal interests: Confirmation bias either way.

    1. Hi Brice,

      When you say “search neutrality”. Are you talking the opposite of “filter bubbles”?

      http://www.thefilterbubble.com/

      I was against filter bubbles until I realized that this is just about freedom again: The freedom to search the web the way I want.

      So my questions to everyone reading this:

      What if search bubbles were optional?

      What if the default was for the Google search
      to go back to its roots and get as near to
      objective reality as possible?

      What if could to bubble my own searches, just
      like I can filter them? Surely, spending time
      in someone else’s search bubble would help me
      see their point of view?

      Or to paraphrase Adam Savage:

      “I reject your filter bubble and substitute my own.”

  2. Yay, all of my favorite things together in one place: The SGU at Google in San Francisco. Could there be a better video for me to watch today?

    I don’t think there could. :)

    (Rebecca: If you’ve read the dumb emails I’ve been sending you lately, I hope I didn’t upset you in any way. I’ve gone back to thinking of you as a celebrity I once met at a conference, and myself as your fan. This
    is so much closer to the truth than considering you my
    friend. I hope we can still be friends one day, but until then, I will remain an pseudo-anonymous voice here
    on in the Skepchick comment field.)

  3. Goddamn this place needs an edit button. Also, a “post preview” would be cool, especially considering all the mistakes people make when using html.

    I must say that i expected this video to be boring, i find most videos made by the sceptic community boring. Usually talking about only things that i allready know about, and talking about the same things over and over and over and over again until the end of time.

    Anyway, this discussion was kinda cool. At least i learned something from it, for example: I didn’t know that there’s no evidence that getting more antioxidants in your diet helps.

    1. “Goddamn this place needs an edit button.”

      Agreed! Just look at how I derailed the whole thread before I’d even had a chance to view the video. I wish I could just delete my posts to clear the thread, but I can’t.

      1. Sorry. On second read, that came off as angry, while I meant to be constructive.

        There is general agreement here that the comment system needs to be fixed, but with all that’s going on at the moment it’s not a the top of the list of priorities.

        The blog is running WordPress, though, so I think it wouldn’t be too hard to add some kind of edit button if somehow had the time and an inclination to do so.

          1. I do tend to overthink things, don’t I? :)

            You are not the only one telling me this. Everyone around me are reminding me to take care of myself. I’m supposed to go on vacation, so it’s time to let the question “why” take a vacation. We’ve spent far too much time together lately of our own good.

            The fortunate thing about a rigid comment system is that you can always go back and fix your mistakes, not by editing them, but my apologizing to the one’s you’ve hurt.

            I am new to anonymous communication on the internet, having only followed it from a distance since around 1993. I’ve been to shy to participate.

  4. My deepest apologies to everyone for taking over this thread as well with my personal thoughts and philosophical ramblings. Please feel free to use your best judgement to delete this comment or not, if not from the thread, then from your mind.

  5. I really liked the way you had science or fiction bits interspersed throughout the talk – good way to hold the audiences attention.

    And FYI, although I am not 100% sure about this, I believe the reason you don’t see Splenda etc in a lot of pre-packaged foods is that whenever you are baking things, the sugar plays an actual chemical role in the baking process, not just being sweet. The carmelization is what gives baked goods their ‘done’ appearance, so if you take it out you get crappy muffins or cookies that just look uncooked.

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