Saturday, August 25, 2007

Peace Out, Perry

As some of you know I'm a regular listener of a podcast called The Skeptics Guide To The Universe. The podcast, put on by the New England Skeptical Society, promotes science and critical thinking in everyday life. A while ago, I found myself growing more and more frustrated with mainstream media and searched for an outlet that was bullshit-free. The Skeptics Guide provides a fun alternative to "science news" that often, if you read it carefully, turns out to be misleading and at times, histrionic and frightening. But that is a different story for a different time.

The best part of Skeptics Guide, of course, are the presenters. Steven Novella, along with his brothers Jay and Bob, and Evan Bernstein are all smart funny and rational thinkers and they have a great way of presenting the material in a way that is fun and informative. Like rides at Epcot. But my two favorite contributers have been the darling Rebecca Watson, a vegetarian somewhat snarky hippie who profiles nude skeptics in a self made pinup calendar, and Perry DeAngelis, the resident comic relief. Perry endeared himself to me when he spoke out in support of sparing the life of Knut the German polar bear who was abandoned by his mother and was urged to be left alone to die by some German animal rights activists who argued that human intervention for the bear would be a fate worse than death, as well as proclaiming that Rosie O'Donnell was 'a ranting chimp." The Skeptics Guide helped John and I look at news articles critically and to question claims that seemed rigorous and absolute. Plus it was always fun to hear the rogues viewpoint on some of the articles that were blanketing mainstream society. Perry always had a delightful spin on things. Also most memorable was the ongoing debate between Perry and Steve over which was the more dominant species- monkeys or birds. I agree with Perry- monkeys win, hands down.

Perry had been noticibly absent from the more recent episodes of the Skeptics Guide. Steve informed us a few weeks ago that Perry had been hospitalized. Perry however, being the Skeptic trouper that he was, called into the show often. The last podcast he did, he called in, claimed he was fine, and shared an inspirational quote by a scientist of some note. Last Monday, I was saddened to read on Rebecca's web blog that Perry had passed away the night before. He had numerous chronic illnesses but his death appeared very unexpected. Last night John and I listened to a very sweetly irreverant podcast with some of Perry's best quotes. He will be missed greatly by many.

If you too are tired of the bull, and want some good stuff to make you think, check out The Skeptics Guide To The Universe. It's free on ITunes.

Peace out Perry. Monkeys Rule.

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