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Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking
 Interview(s): Randy Olson, Brian Palermo, and Dori Barton
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Many of us who are science-minded, or are champions of rational thought, may lament the fact that our messages often fall upon the deaf ears of a populace seemingly without the patience, nor care, for science literacy. Past Skepticality guest, Randy Olson, has spent his time working on ways to help people to understand and communicate information to a broad audience. Teaming with actors Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo, he has formed a well-proven storytelling methodology, which anyone can learn to use, to engage an audience and help people better understand complex information. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Randy, Brian and Dorie to discuss their work, its origins, and how anyone can learn to become a better storyteller.
Show Notes

– Date – November 5th, 2013
– Send your cool ‘SCIENCE!’ shout-outs to
– Theme song by Steve Seamans of the Daisy Dillman Band. Get the song HERE.
– Thank you to everyone who has been purchasing books, Skepticality stuff, or using our Amazon link to help us!

– Our previous guest, Jon Hotchkiss, is offering a 50% discount to our listeners. Just go to: and click "see the series" and enter the promo code 'skepticality' when prompted.

Skepticism, Past and Future [1:30]
– Doubtful News has had several recent spontaneous human combustion stories.
– Joe Nickell masterfully debunks most of the famous SHC cases in this Skeptical Inquirer article from 1996.
PunditTracker has now been joined by PunditFact, launched this week by the same organization that created Politifact.
Web of Trust passed 100 Million downloads this week.
Secular Directory just launched in October by United Coalition of Reason.
– Skeptic History facts are posted daily on social media find out where on this page at Tim’s blog.
– Follow Tim on Twitter at @krelnik.

Wikipedia [6:15]
CFI Summit in Review
Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia Blog.
– You can find Susan Gerbic at her website.

Unnatural Virtue [12:10]
Recency Bias
– Predicting the future long term is no more accurate than flipping a coin. (W.A. Sherden, The Fortune Sellers)
– Successful prognosticators like Nate Silver are predicted by the laws of chance to occur, but they will eventually fail. (N. Silver, The Signal and the Noise)
– Good at retrospective application of their “formulae,” but use tricks and not mentioning wrong predictions. (Burton Malkiel, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, 2007, W.W. Norton.)
– This week’s episode was excerpted from my new book The Critical Thinker’s Dictionary: Biases, Illusions, and Fallacies and What to Do About Them, which should be out next month.
– Paperbacks of Unnatural Acts and Mysteries and Science are available from
The Skeptics Dictionary and Skeptic's Dictionary for Kids.

The Odds Must Be Crazy [20:30]
The Odds Must Be Crazy.
– This week's featured story "Kidney Compatibility".
– Story was submitted by friend of the blog David Read.
– Please visit the story link for a more detailed analysis and to add your comments.
– Additional thoughts and considerations provided by Barbara Drescher.
– Our theme music comes to us courtesy of Brian Keith Dalton, AKA Mr. Deity.
– Please visit The Independent Investigations Group Los Angeles.
– The Odds Must Be Crazy can be found on:
– Twitter @OddsMustBeCrazy
– Facebook at their page.
– Or over at their Google+ page.
– Wendy Hughes is on Twitter: @Wendy91602.
– John Rael is on Twitter: @skepticallyPwnd.
– Jarrett Kaufman is on Twitter: @TurboFool.
– Barbara Drescher is on Twitter: @badrescher.
– Brian Keith Dalton is on Twitter: @MrDeity.
– Thanks to our friends Emery Emery and Heather Henderson for hospitality and support for the production of the segment. Visit them at Skeptically Yours.

Interview: Randy Olsen [27:00]
– New Book: Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking
– Get 'Connection Storytelling' app for iOS or Android!
– Contact Randy directly if you have ANY questions about the application at:
his last book in 2010.
– He decided to become a filmmaker, movies such as 'Flock of Dodos'.
– He had some inspiration from South Park creators/writer Tray Parker and the movie '6 Days To Air'.
The World Is Flat now which requires new ways of getting noticed.
Gasland, the anti-fracking documentary is a poor example of journalism and storytelling.
– Andrew Revkin, the NYT columnist, contacted Randy to discuss the issues with Gasland based on the blog post.
Some say it takes around 10,000 hours of doing something to actually become an expert at it.
Alan Alda from M*A*S*H contributed a great quote for the book.

Interview: Brian Palermo [48:40]
– Brian is an actor, and comedic actor in the Groundlings
– He was also an actor in the movie 'The Social Network' and others.
– Genetics could have been decades further along if Mendel had been a better communicator.
Darwin is an example of what happens when science can communicate its ideas in a more relatable way.
– Many times folks get a very bad idea about science due to lack of understanding.
See Brian's IMDB to see all the cool TV and Movie roles he has played.

Interview: Dorie Barton [1:02:27]
– Has been in a few well known movies, 'Meet the Fockers', and the little known 'God Bless America'.
Bobcat Golthwait hired her based on an audition filmed in her parents basement.
– A Log Line, or 'Elevator Pitch' is the simplest description of a story.
– Based on the 'Heroes Journey' as made popular by Campbell, and now is a Hollywood 'standard'.
– Well done storytelling in 'The Dark Knight' had many thinking there was blood or tons of violence, when there wasn't.
– Check out more about Dori at or IMDB.

Outro Music [1:37:00]
– Outro music donated by Trent Brusky of Dropfox.

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