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An Apple a Day

by Ryan Johnson, Jun 23 2009

When I hear of people that prescribe to the claimed powers of alternative medicines, I feel bad for them, but I usually don’t think twice about it. It’s their body, and if they want to be stupid about it, then that’s they’re own, misinformed business. If there’s a reasonable opportunity to subjectively offer some advice or point out an issue with an alternative medicine treatment, I’ll do so. It’s also important that I do not alienate my business clients, make enemies of my friends and receive tirades from complete strangers. One must pick his battles.

At what point does one need to intervene? When, in a business setting, does a persons decision to employ alternative treatments for possibly life-threatening illness become a liability for a company? What responsibility does a person have to insure that they are getting the best scientifically-based evaluations and treatment? (continue reading…)

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Critical Thinking and the Internet

by Ryan Johnson, Jun 02 2009

So tonight I was helping a friend of mine who wanted to advertise his business on the internet. He’s not computer savvy at all. And little did I know, he had no real idea how the internet really worked with regard to search engines, rankings, keywords, and the like. He is a really smart person, but not in this area.

He wanted to setup a web page to create a web presence there so he could get more customers. Simple enough.

That’s fine, he’s a friend and will be a good client. Little did I know that the internet and all it’s seedy folks had already got their greedy little hooks into him. (continue reading…)

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An Invitation

by Ryan Johnson, May 19 2009

As many of you read through the entries for the SkepticBlog from all of these talented minds, you probably see many references to The Skeptologists.

I’ll assume for a moment that many of you already know what The Skeptologists is all about. Since the start of the blog, many new readers are undoubtedly trying to figure it out. Today, rather than writing a long blog here, I’m going to invite you to take a look at the newly refreshed Skeptologists Website.

This past weekend, I spent a few hours giving our Official Show Site an overhaul, adding details about the theme of the show and giving some never released details about how the program will be presented.

You don’t get it for free however, It will cost you a minute or two. Once you’ve read through the website, please take a quick moment to make a comment on the “Your Turn” page so that those who come through afterwards (including TV execs and agents that we send there) will understand just how much support we have for a skeptically-minded TV program.

Visit the Official Show Website at www.Skeptologists.com

Visit the Official Show Website at www.Skeptologists.com

I hope you enjoy the site, and look forward to your comments.

If you see any typo’s or encounter technical problems, please feel free to email me directly.

Enjoy!

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Bold Claims in Press About Acupuncture

by Ryan Johnson, May 12 2009

Today, going through my Google news, I found an article that I thought made some interesting and bold claims:

Acupuncture, real or fake, helps aching back: study
Mon, 11 May 21:28 PM BST

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Acupuncture brought more relief to people with back pain than standard treatments, whether it was done with a toothpick or a real needle, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that raises new questions about how acupuncture works.

For many patients, that benefit lasted for a year, the team reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

“Our study shows that you don’t need to stick needles into people to get the same effect,” said Dr. Daniel Cherkin of Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, who led the study.

“Historically, some types of acupuncture have used non-penetrating needles. Such treatments may involve physiological effects that make a clinical difference,” Karen Sherman of Group Health, who worked on the study, said in a statement.
(continue reading…)

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Skeptologists Gallery 3

by Ryan Johnson, May 05 2009

Greetings Kids.

And now for a chance to let your critical engine coast, your brain relax and your skeptical system simmer. It’s time you look at the pretty pictures.  Nope I’m not solving any of the worlds health problems, or unleashing the science against the latest pseudo scientific claim (yet), I’m here to give you some eye candy and give you you a hard-earned break. With all the craziness going on right now, who doesn’t need a few minutes to look at some cool behind-the-scenes photos of the production of “The Skeptologists” while we all dream of the day the network calls and says:  ”Let’s talk about making this show happen!”

Until then take a look at the latest installment of The Skeptologists Production Stills gallery, brought to you by photographers, Brandon Pinard and Julian Brummitt. (continue reading…)

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A Night Among the Skeptics

by Ryan Johnson, Apr 21 2009
Brian Dunning discusses his Skeptoid Podcast

Brian Dunning discusses his Skeptoid Podcast

For those of you that missed it, the Skeptoid 150th podcast party was great! I was lucky enough to attend as an honored guest, and I wanted to share some of the event highlights with you.

First off a bit of background. If you don’t know what I’m talking about or you don’t know what Skeptoid is, then shame on you! Stop reading this trivial blog and go straight to skeptoid.com and subscribe and support this great project by fellow Skeptologist, Brian Dunning.

Brian celebrated the recording of his 150th podcast episode this weekend in grand style by throwing a gala affair at the posh University Club on the UC Irvine campus. Our group of somewhere around 80 (I’m guessing) of his friends, family, and fans were able to rub elbows with fellow skeptics, TV celebrities and of course Brian Dunning himself.

(continue reading…)

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Skeptologists Gallery 2

by Ryan Johnson, Apr 14 2009

Hey gang!

As the clock continues to click along slowly with the programming executives, and we all patiently wait for verdicts on inquiries made about our wonderful show, I will share with you all a few more snapshots from the production of the Pilot of The Skeptologists.

Last week I shared a few shots from the first day in production. We shot interviews at Skeptic Magazine HQ as well as some beauty shots for the intro title sequence. It was a pretty easy day, and allowed cast and crew to ramp up to the next few days which would be long and arduous shoots.

Day two, we were at Mt. Wilson observatory. For more information read the blog entry from January 27th.

Enjoy these pictures, taken by Brandon Pinard and Matthew Hoefler. Thanks guys!
(continue reading…)

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Skeptologists Gallery Part 1

by Ryan Johnson, Apr 07 2009

Coming to you, not really live and quite indirect from a Courtyard Marriott in lovely Fremont CA: Ryan Johnson and another late night blog entry. I’m on location for another TV project, but the Blog must go on.

This one entitled: Skeptologists: The Pilot, Behind the Scenes Gallery #1

In continuing with a bit of a break on my rambling about the production of The Skeptologists TV pilot, I’d like to share a few behind the scenes stills that were shot during the production. Some of you may have seen before, others, maybe not. In any case I’ve always loved looking at people working on projects like this, and I wanted to find out if you would as well.

So while the networks continue their internal discussions about the fate of The Skeptologists behind those big polished mahogany doors, We on the outside will continue to cherish the time that we had working with some of the most talented and entertaining minds of our times: The cast and crew of The Skeptologists.

Enjoy!
(continue reading…)

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Star Power!

by Ryan Johnson, Mar 24 2009

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the comments from my last post about the Quarter Incident at the Queen Mary. The discussion, the lines of thought and the way that people differ in their analysis of this event is one of the things that I most cherish about the power of my line of work. I love being able to be the catalyst for that.

You know, It continually amazes how much utter garbage is on TV. The work to getting something like The Skeptologists that is not only entertaining, but is thought provoking and dare I even say it aloud: “educational” on TV is stupendously difficult.

The problem that we (And I mean we as Skeptics) really have is that we’re not cool. Ah ah ah, don’t even start… Nope, we’re not. Granted, there’s a few that tip the scales towards coolness, and heck most of you all are some of my biggest heros! I am humbled by the intellect, provoking discourse and ability to wrangle science like a frontier cowboy. BUT! Compared to the stars of the entertainment world, sports, politics and just pure celebrity, we don’t got it. Well, not yet anyway.

I’m not worried though. That’s not what it’s all about. The issue however is convincing the TV execs that in this case, the star power is truth and science! They want celebrity-star-power and a sure fire hit. One reality that is very evident by the response that we get as we work through the process of selling the show, and other projects that I’m working on is that no exec will put his or her individual neck on the line and go to bat for a show anymore. They want consensus, unanimous opinion and a way to point both their fingers in opposite directions and say “it was their fault” when the ratings start to fall, as they eventually will, no matter how good a show you have. All the TV executives want a clear and unobstructed way out. If you watch a few hours of network prime-time, you’ll quickly understand why everything pretty much looks and feels the same within a few major genre’s… They all can point to another show and say “But American Idol was a hit! So America’s Got Talent has GOT to work!” Everyone around the big mahogany table nods appropriately, and bang-o you got a network deal.
(continue reading…)

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The Mysterious Green Room Incident

by Ryan Johnson, Mar 17 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As part of the continuing adventures of the Cast and Crew of The Skeptologists, I would like to share with you a bit of rough-edited never-before seen footage. This was shot during the Pilot of The Skeptologists and for reasons you will soon understand, it was never included in the final version of the pilot. I found the event interesting and it solidified my thoughts about how people interpret events based on their own predispositions.

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