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AI: Your Year is Listing

2010 is coming to a close, and soon we will be inundated with lists, online and in publications, of the top 10/100/etc. things for the year, in a host of different categories. Time online has already compiled many such lists here.

But since the Afternoon Inquisition is all about you and what you think, let’s use the comments to start our own lists. Feel free to post lists of 10, 3, 2, or even a list of one if that strikes your fancy. And please make your own category if you wish. I’ll offer some ideas just to get us going.

What were the top science stories of 2010? Who were the most notable critical thinkers of 2010? Who were the top nut jobs of 2010? What were the top skeptical events in 2010? Who rocked the hardest in 2010 (in skepticism or in general)? What are the top blogs/podcasts/publications of 2010? Who are the top people to watch for in 2011?

Also, if there are enough entries, I will try to compile these into full lists for a post after the new year.

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. Top scientist of the decade: Andre Geim for winning the Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for his clever use of magnetic fields, and the Nobel Prize in 2010 for his clever use of scotch tape.

  2. What are the top blogs/podcasts/publications of 2010?

    The most consistently entertaining podcast from Chris Hardwick

    _In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg_
    Not technically skeptical, but always literate and fact-based. (Chris Hardwick turned me on to this.)

    _Discovery_ (from the BBC)
    In the last month I’ve heard Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, Brian Cox, and Richard Feynman. Nerdgasm!

    _NPR Talk of the Nation Science Friday_
    An oldie, but a goodie.

  3. Put me down for most notable critical thinkers of 2010, who rocked the hardest in 2010 (in skepticism or in general) and also the top people to watch for in 2011.

  4. Who rocked the hardest in 2010 (in skepticism or in general)?

    Elyse needs a nomination for this one, in light of her frabjously well-worked campaign against the anti-vax ads in movie theaters, and also to stick one to AoA in light of its disgusting tirades and invasions of her privacy.

  5. ‘The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe’ (consistently great podcast)
    Steve Novella (when does that guy sleep anyway).

  6. @tmac57 from the Novellatron’s own lips at TAMOz “i spend about hour and a half every morning at the computer, thats usually enough time to write a post and look at any comments. It helps that i have most of the days post planned in my head when i go to bed the night before” in response to me asking that exact question.

    were the top skeptical events in 2010?
    The first TAMOz

    Most inspriational people of 2010?
    Pamela Gay on citizen science and Phil Plait “Dont be a dick”

  7. I think Brian Dunning has to get at least a nomination for nut job of the year. Sure, he’s no Oprah Winfrey but he does tout himself as a skeptic and thus is asking himself to be held to a higher standard. I admit that I had already stopped listening to his podcast several months ago because even when he was right about stuff, he seemed to eschew empiricism or the “it’s more complicated than that” approach of a Ben Goldacre for “just-so” stories that themselves often approach the level of urban legends. The DDT thing was the most egregious example of stuff he’s done to a lesser extent with several other topics (see also: the Jews building the pyramids myth).

    As far as rocking the hardest… this guy! (points to self)

  8. I am not currently in the skeptical mood so I give you some high/low lights from pop culture.

    Most singable tune that will get you fired: “Fuck You!” by Cee-Lo Green
    Song that inspires the most homicidal rage: “I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias (runner-up anything by Kei$ha)
    Biggest controversial non-controversy: Katy Perry’s breasts Elmogate
    The most ill I’ve felt from a non-illness: The Tea Party and craziness winning the day Nov. 2
    Person who most needs to STFU and GTFO: Sarah Palin (enough of this unelected airhead already)
    Best edge-of-your-seat movie viewing: Inception
    Best cry-your-eyeballs out movie: Toy Story 3
    The why does this guy still get funding award: M. Night Shyamalan

    and finally because I can’t help myself;
    Best news of the year: A winning season for skepticism. From Simon Singh’s win to the Evidence 2 report to Elyse’s Skepchick backed pwnage of SafeMind’s and AoA we, as a community, have had a pretty good year.

    But let’s not get too cocky, we have lots of challenges to come.

  9. The story that easily wins the prize for me is this:

    Let’s think about that for a moment: With well less than a year’s worth of data, the Kepler science team discovered more than 700 new possible planets. Of course, they hadn’t been pushed through all the false positive detection analyses yet. But still: With some sleight of hand and lots of good science, they can ALMOST TRIPLE THE NUMBER OF KNOWN EXOPLANETS. With 42 days’ worth of data.

    Tell that to a kid. Watch their face light up at the mere thought that something this absolutely mind-bogglingly astounding and amazing and brilliant can happen. That we have the privilege to know that. That we have the know-how to engineer something with milliarcsecond pointing accuracy (in engineering lingo: “really fucking tiny”), enough pixels to track 150,000 stars simultaneously, and that WE CAN PUT IT IN FUCKING SPACE.


    Or, try telling them that if they are gay or look at a woman with lust, they’re going to hell. Watch their face light u-… wait. No. That’ll make them scared shitless.

    This story made the headlines, yes. But it didn’t change paradigms like it’s supposed to. When the Kepler Mission is done, we’ll have a catalogue of Earth-like planets — in all categories like size, orbit, temperature, and composition. And that whole science group will be like, “Told ya so.” And that will be in less than half a decade.

    Keep your eyes peeled, folks.

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