The Pod Delusion show

The Pod Delusion

Summary: The Pod Delusion is a weekly news magazine podcast about interesting things. From politics, to science to culture and philosophy, it's commentary from a secular, rationalist, skeptical, somewhat lefty-liberal, sort of perspective.

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Podcasts:

 Undercover Inside The Far-Right | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 45:21

We speak to a Hope Not Hate activist who infiltrated a far-right group... and then in a slightly more uplifting segment, we speak to a software engineer who has developed an incredible algorithm that can colourise old black & white photos, with incredible results!***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.***Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook.Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too.Ben van der Merwe is the journalist who went undercover. You can read a full account of his surveilling the far-right here.Jason Antic is the genius behind DeOldify. Take a look at the hashtag, and check out the New York streetscape we discuss on the show here. Best of all, you can upload your own old black & white images here.Here is my piece for Politico. Look at the widget at the bottom of the piece where you can type in the name of any Twitter account and see how many MPs follow it.

 The Oldest Material On Earth | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:07

This week we talk to the scientist who discovered the oldest known material on Earth which, at between 5 and 7 BILLION years old, is even older than the Earth itself. Plus! CLASSIC VLAD: We dig into what Putin's latest no-doubt nefarious scheme, and discover how the European Court of Justice might get one last laugh before Brexit, by giving us a telling off over bulk internet surveillance. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Dr Samuel Greene was our Russia expert. His book is Putin vs The People. Prof Philipp Heck is the cosmochemist who found the oldest material on Earth. Here's the paper on it. Jim Killock is the executive director of the Open Rights Group. You should support it and join as it is doing excellent work. Here is a picture of a guinea pig using a tiny laptop.

 The Second Worst Foreign Policy Disaster Since WW2 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:58

This week we calibrate our worries about the potential for World War 3 by talking to former Middle East minister and Chair of the Intelligence Committee Kim Howells - who tells us about his personal experience negotiating with Iran. We also dig into Dominic Cummings' plan to reform the civil service, and celebrate the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement by learning about what has now been bumped down to number two on the list of Britain's biggest foreign policy disasters: The Suez Crisis. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. You can find out all about our civil service expert, Martin Stanley, and learn tonnes about how the civil service actually works on his Understand Government website. Dr Robert McNamara is at Ulster University - go check out his work!

 Happy Xmas (Labour Is Over) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:02:29

Ho, ho, ho! A festive Winterval special where we, umm, go in deep on the election result and - horrifyingly - learn why it could be even worse next time. We speak to pollster Matt Singh and political historian Prof Steven Fielding about why the polls were right - and what Labour can learn from 1983 about how best to get over 2019. Plus! All aboard the HS2 bandwagon as we explain why it's actually good for the environment, and we use Liz Kendall's swearing back into Parliament as an excuse to dig into the story of how Charles Bradlaugh made it possible for atheists to become MPs. Plus we do actually have some Christmas content, as we explore why libertarians think that Ebenezer Scrooge was a job creator and Jacob Marley was a cuck. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Matt Singh was our pollster. He is the founder of Number Crunch Analytics. Prof Steven Fielding was our Labour Party expert. He's at Nottingham University and previously made a whole Radio 4 series about political party splits. Gareth Dennis was our rail engineer. Here's his website. RethinkHS2 was the misguided environmental campaign we spoke about that's backed by the otherwise excellent Chris Packham. Here's Dr Liz's thesis. It's super interesting. Here's something on the bust of Charles Bradlaugh that was recently unveiled in Parliament written by the National Secular Society, which he founded. You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, and send him your own libertarian Dickens takes.

 What Britain Can Learn About Referendums From Papua New Guinea | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 43:28

This week we steer clear of the general election - so this podcast won't go out of date! Instead, we talk about a referendum that took place on the other side of the world, on the island of Bougainville, which has just voted to leave Papua New Guinea. There are some striking parallels with our own, umm, recent experience! We also dig into Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's recent announcement that he wants to make Twitter an open protocol - and speak to open standards expert Terence Eden about whether this could mean good things, or whether it's just a cynical excuse to shift the blame for having loads of Nazis. Plus! We get in the festive spirit by asking two behavioural scientists why we can't just give cash instead. And! One final check-in with Blakeley who has been spending the election campaign away from social media. We discover how he has become well adjusted while the rest of us have just become even more broken. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Shane MacLeod from the Lowy Institute was our guest to talk about Bougainville. If you want some further reading, he recommends this paper and this paper, and this magazine piece explaining the peace process and referendum. Terence Eden was our open standards expert. Go check out his always interesting blog. Ella Jenkins and Mike Hughes are from Ogilvy's Behavioural Science Unit. You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, he might even do some tweets now.

 Is A Narwhal Tusk An Effective Weapon? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:39

This week we tackle the most important question raised by the London Bridge attack: We ask two of the world's most eminent narwhal scientists if their tusks make good weapons. Plus! We dig into a new report on freedom of expression and, horrifyingly, find out that things are actually getting worse. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Terrie M Williams and Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen were our narwhal scientists. Quinn McKew is the deputy executive director of Article 19, and you can read the full report on freedom of expression here. Go subscribe to Primarily: 2020 for all of your Democratic Primary needs! You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, not that he'll be tweeting much between now and the election.

 How To Survive An Interview With Andrew Neil | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 55:39

This week we speak to Tom Hamilton, a former advisor to Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn on how a politician can go into an interview with the likes of Andrew Neil or Emily Maitlis and come out alive. We also dig into some big, meaty issues and get the low-down on how trade deals actually work with trade expert Dmitry Grozoubinski, and what strategic challenges are facing NATO with the former Vice President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, David Landon Cole. Plus! We catch up with Blakeley Nixon to see how his election season is going without social media. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Tom Hamilton is the co-author of Punch and Judy Politics: An Insiders' Guide To Prime Minister's Questions. Dmitry Grozoubinski is our trade mastermind, and runs workshops and courses at Explain Trade. David Landon Cole was our NATO expert. You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, not that he'll be tweeting much between now and the election.

 How To Abolish The Monarchy | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 39:20

This week we fast-forward to the results of the 2022 Monarchy referendum, in which Britain votes to dump King Charles and turn Britain into a Republic. But how easy is it going to be? What are the complexities that make it an impossible task? We speak to Dr Andrew Blick, a constitutional politics and history expert to find out. Plus! The story of how a group of volunteers are responsible for some stunningly important election infrastructure that the government really should be taking care of itself. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Democracy Club is totally awesome and you should go help them out with one of their quests. Dr Andrew Blick was the esteemed academic who indulged my ludicrous hypothetical about the monarchy. You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, not that he'll be tweeting much between now and the election.

 Dodgy LibDem Bar Charts And Some Surprisingly Good News About Climate Change | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:05:59

This week we finally go all Jeremy Paxman on the Liberal Democrats and their questionable use of bar charts by holding Mark Pack, who is running for the party's Presidency, to account. We also had a lovely chat with him about the challenges of digital campaigning. Plus! A new report reveals where are the best and worst places in the world to be non-religious, and we speak to Dr Rebecca Ford, who works on smart energy systems about how (amazingly) we're actually making pretty good progress at decarbonising the grid. PLUS! A major new twist in the insane BBC Breakfast Cenotaph conspiracy theory. We're so, so sorry. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Mark Pack is running for LibDem President. Bob Churchill from Humanists International was talking about The Freedom of Thought Report. Dr Rebecca Ford is part of EnergyREV. Here's one of the incredibly interesting papers she co-authored. You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, not that he'll be tweeting much between now and the election.

 Roll Up, Roll Up, Please Bring Some Insulin, It's The Festival Of Brexit! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 43:47

This week we explore the government's plan to host a big "Festival of Brexit", to celebrate the biggest foreign policy disaster since World War 2, and figure out how the terror threat level is actually calculated. Plus! We speak to cartoonist Darryl Cunningham about his new book that takes aim at billionaires - and kick off a horrifying election season experiment. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Prof Richard Aldrich was our terror expert. Here's his book on GCHQ, and his book on the relationship between the spooks and Number 10. Dr Harriet Akinson has written a whole book about the Festival of Britain and how it was used for post-war propaganda. This is Billionaires by Darryl Cunningham (note the lack of Amazon link - take that, Bezos). You can also follow Blakeley on Twitter, not that he'll be tweeting much between now and the election.

 Don't Retweet Bullshit Polls | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:24

What polling pitfalls can we avoid this election season? And what's it like being a candidate on the campaign trail? We speak to pollster Matt Singh and first time Labour candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale Lizzi Collinge about what being a candidate in a very close marginal actually feels like. Plus! We catch up with Dr Liz who speaks to us on location from a slightly unexpected country. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Matt Singh on Twitter and his firm, Number Cruncher Analytics. Lizzi Collinge on Twitter and her campaign website.

 Does Winter Weather Hurt Election Turnout? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:38

This week we figure out the process for joining the EU (hey, it might be important soon), and discover if the conventional wisdom that winter weather is bad for election turnout is actually nonsense. Plus we learn about a Prime Minister who went to Europe, got a deal, and was then turfed out of office in less than a year... it happened in the 18th century. Plus a look at a new podcast based on an amazing dataset: The log books of an LGBT helpline from the 1970s and 80s. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com with any comments or queries! You can follow Dr Liz too. Dr Anders Sundell and a blog post about his weather paper. Anna Nadibaidze's Twitter and some of her previous writing on EU enlargement. Caroline Gillan's PhD on the Earl of Bute. The Log Books podcast and Primarily: 2020 podcast - subscribe to both!

 Hello from Belgrade - Back Next Week! | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 01:28

The Pod Delusion is having a week off while James and Dr Liz are on holiday, but we’ll be back as normal next Friday!

 HONK! Life In Kurdistan, Untitled Geese, Nationalised Restaurants And Brexit Disco | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 49:39

This week we go from the serious to the absurd. We find out what the Kurdish region of Syria is actually like, we take Owen Jones’s suggestion of a National Restaurant chain seriously, get down to a Brexit Disco, and ask an actual goose behaviour scientist if geese really are dicks. ***Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad.*** Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com - prospective advertisers are especially welcome! You can follow Liz too. Norma Costello's Twitter and Journalist Page. Prof Peter Atkins' writing on nationalised British restaurants [PDF]. Dr Claudia Wascher (she's also on Twitter). The Hustle by Article 54 on Bandcamp and Spotify. Rhodri Marsden on Twitter. Our theme music is by the amazing Milton Mermikidies. HONK!

 Irish Unification, WannaCry, Fixing Left Behind Towns and why What3Words is A.Bad.Idea | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:01:39

This week we ask a question that could prove as tricky as Brexit: If Northern Ireland votes to join with the Republic of Ireland... has anyone actually thought through how that might work? We speak to Irish border expert Dr Katy Hayward about what the news channels could be asking her about in 2025. We also dig into another Brexit spin-off issue, the problem of the "left behind" areas of the country and what we can do to help them - we speak to an economist and policy expert who has one intriguing idea. And on the mercifully non-Brexit front, we scare ourselves silly by talking about the WannaCry attack that hit NHS computer systems, and spoke to the author of a new study on exactly what the impact was on the health service. And finally, we look at the publicity hungry location app What3Words, and why it might not be such a great idea after all. Join our Patreon and support a voice of sanity in a world that has gone mad. Follow The Pod Delusion on Twitter and Facebook. Follow your host, James O'Malley, on Twitter. You can email him on psythor(at)gmail.com - prospective advertisers are especially welcome! Dr Katy Hayward's university page and Twitter. Dr Saira Ghafur works for the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. The WannaCry study, published in Nature. Part 1 and Part 2 of Jamie Thunder's Left Behind policy proposal. Terence Eden's Twitter and his blog post about What3Words. Please help spread the word by posting a link to the show on social media or leaving us a nice review on iTunes.

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