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The Reality Check


Canada's weekly podcast that explores a wide range of controversies and curiosities using science and critical thinking.

Canada's weekly podcast that explores a wide range of controversies and curiosities using science and critical thinking.




Canada's weekly podcast that explores a wide range of controversies and curiosities using science and critical thinking.




Reality Check P.O. Box 781 Painesville, OH 44077


TRC #597: Cans and Coins During The Pandemic + Talking Craters With Dr. Stuart Robbins

Adam kicks off the show by looking into whether people’s changing habits during COVID-19 is causing shortages of aluminum cans and coins. We round out the show with our good friend Dr. Stuart Robbins, who is a research scientist that studies planetary geophysics. He chats about the importance of studying impact craters.


TRC #596.5: Voluntourism

With the recent spotlight on the WE Charity, we revisit a segment Darren originally covered in 2015 which explores the very disturbing downside of well-intentioned Voluntourism.


TRC #596: Bricks For Protesters? + Pre COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories + Closest Galaxy

Darren looks into headlines suggesting that bricks were being left for protesters to incite violence. Cristina gives us a history lesson on conspiracy theories related to plagues and pandemics. Adam addresses some feedback he received on a recent segment and takes us on a tour to find the closest galaxy.


TRC #595: Can The Oura Ring Detect COVID-19? + LSA vs Steven Pinker

Cristina dunks into a segment about the NBA and how it’s hoping to protect its players with wearable technology as the league resumes the season in a Disneyworld-based bubble. Does the Oura smart ring really live up to the hype it can predict COVID-19 symptoms early? Darren provides important background and context after an open letter from the Linguistic Society of America calls for the removal of Dr. Steven Pinker.


TRC #594: Mashup Mania: Best Of ‘Name That, Spot The Fake Fact’

Producer Pat brings us a marathon of everyone’s favourite mostly guessing game: ‘Name That, Spot The Fake.’ Laughs abound when Darren, Adam, Cristina, and special guest Dr. Stuart Farrimond are presented with four interesting, yet outrageous-sounding facts and asked to spot the fake. Play along to see if you can do better than the Reality Check crew!


TRC #593: 36 Alien Civilizations In Our Galaxy? + Modern Slavery

Adam goes behind the viral headlines to find out if there really are 36 alien civilizations in our galaxy and gives us a refresher on the Drake Equation in the process. Then, Darren talks to us about what modern slavery is, how many are enslaved, where slavery occurs, and what you can do about it.


TRC #592: Trump COVID-19 Coins? + Flushable Wipes + SpongeBob Gay? + Life In North Korea

Pat asks whether the White House gift shop is really selling COVID-19 commemorative coins. Cristina investigates whether flushable wipes are truly flushable as claimed. Adam dives into Bikini Bottom to see if he can answer a lingering fan SpongeBob SquarePants gay? Darren rounds out the show with an overview of ‘North Korea Confidential’ and a look at life in North Korea.


TRC #591: COVID-19 Temperature Checks? + Evidence & Context + Mayans Doomsday Prediction 2020 Edition

As pandemic restrictions begin to ease around the world, Cristina investigates whether taking temperature checks at retail stores or workplaces gives us a false sense of security or if monitoring temperatures actually helps curb the spread of COVID-19. Darren builds on his segment from last week’s show on how to talk about talking about difficult topics, with a look at complications with concepts of evidence and context. Adam revisits Mayan doomsday prophecies after a few articles...


TRC #590: Talking About Race, Police, Anything? + Yellowstone Eruption Overdue? + Is Luke Skywalker Human?

Darren explores how we might communicate about different and difficult subjects including race and policing, and things to keep in mind when doing so. Pat looks into suggestions that the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park is overdue for an eruption any day. Adam asks whether Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are actually human.


TRC #589: Copper Face Masks Better? + Is Bill Gates Evil? + Do Anime Characters Look White?

Cristina looks into whether the new trend of copper face masks live up to their antiviral hype. Darren gives us a comprehensive breakdown of the many claims and conspiracy theories swirling around Bill Gates. Finally, Anime fan Adam finds a great way to sneak in his love of Sailor Moon when looking to answer a popular question he’s heard over the years, ‘why do anime characters look white?’


TRC #588: Evidence Of A Parallel Universe? + Cruise Industry Booming?

This week we bring you two great segments about recent news stories. First we are joined by our 5th Beatle, Dr. Stuart Robbins, who helps us to look into recent reports that NASA has discovered a parallel universe where time runs backwards. Next, Adam examines headlines suggesting that, despite coronavirus fears, cruise ship bookings are way up.


TRC #587: Is Beta Male Body Language A Thing? + The Perfect Weapon + McMindfulness

Adam looks into body language after a twitter user’s viral claim that The Mountain from Game of Thrones is revealing “Beta Male” behaviour in a photo. Darren dives into the world of Cyber War with a great overview of The Perfect Weapon by David Sanger, and how the rise of cyberweapons transformed geopolitics. He also looks at Ronald Purser’s McMindfulness, a razor-sharp critique of the mindfulness movement. Stay safe!


TRC #586: Effective Giving During COVID-19 + Does Your Stomach Shrink? + Cats And COVID-19

Darren takes on listeners’ requests to do a segment on giving during a pandemic like COVID-19. Cristina looks behind an age old notion to find out whether our stomachs really ‘shrink’ when we diet. Adam rounds out the show by dissecting reports of cats catching the Coronavirus.


TRC #585: Talking Food and Space with Drs. Robbins and Farrimond

What would happen if the moon was made of cheese? Could you pop popcorn in space? We mastered the time zones and finally got our favourite two Stus together for a fun and informative show! Dr. Stuart Robbins is a research scientist who studies planetary geophysics and Dr. Stuart Farrimond is a medical doctor turned science communicator and expert on food science. We talk about food, we talk about space, and we talk about food in space.


TRC #584: Why Didn’t We Quarantine Pre-COVID-19? + How Is Your Phone Tracked? + Overview Of The Precipice By Toby Ord

Cristina examines why we didn’t need to quarantine during previous outbreaks like SARS or the Swine Flu like we do with COVID-19. Adam answers a question on many people’s minds right is your phone being tracked? Does Sarah Connor’s idea of putting a phone in a bag of chips to protect her from being tracked in The Terminator work? Finally, Darren tells us why we should all read Toby Ord’s, “The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity” right now.


TRC #583: Planning A Mission To Pluto With Dr. Stuart Robbins

Let’s take a break from COVID-19 and talk about space! This week we bring you a great interview with friend-of-the-show and our 5th Beatle, Dr. Stuart Robbins. Stuart is a research scientist who studies planetary geophysics and is part of a team looking into the feasibility and cost of a future Pluto orbiter mission.


TRC #582: COVID-19 Risk Of Death + Tom Nook Greedy Capitalist?

Just can’t get enough coronavirus and Animal Crossing talk? We’ve got you covered! This week Darren checks in on you and asks: what are the actual chances of dying from COVID-19? As usual, it’s complicated. Next Adam looks into whether Tom Nook from the game Animal Crossing is a greedy capitalist villain, keeping players buried under ever-increasing debt.


TRC #581: Should You Try DIY Sanitizer? + Science x Sonic The Hedgehog + Naming COVID-19

Cristina looks into the proliferation of homemade hand sanitizer tutorials and whether it’s safe to even be promoting the practice. Adam brings us a segment he planned to do during TRC’s live show at Toronto Comicon this year...from a safe distance; how does the science in the latest Sonic The Hedgehog movie stack up? Finally, Darren answers a question from a cuboid who asks, ‘is there an influenza virus separate from the influenza disease? Is calling COVID-19 a virus not accurate?


TRC #580: COVID-19 Vs Flu + WHO COVID-19 Mythbusting + Toilet Paper Shortage?

How is everyone holding up out there? This week the whole crew is back...sort of. Darren tapes solo from his post-travel quarantine to bring us an in-depth look at COVID-19 versus the seasonal flu. Cristina shares some recent COVID-19 mythbusting from the WHO so we...ahem...won’t get fooled again. Adam rounds out the show by looking at the recent stockpiling of toilet paper and asking, ‘is there really a toilet paper shortage?’


TRC #579: Mad Mike’s Rocket Crash + Mercury Precession x General Relativity + Revealed Preferences

With half the crew in isolation, we take a reprieve from coronavirus news. First, Adam digs into headlines about daredevil "Mad Mike" Hughes who died in a homemade rocket accident intended to “prove” the Earth is flat. One of our two favourite Stuarts, Dr. Stu Robbins, brings us a relatively compelling look into the precession of Mercury. Finally, Darren brings us an interesting overview of revealed preferences, a major theory of consumption behaviour.