Skepticality is the official podcast of The Skeptics Society's Skeptic magazine. Beginning in May 2005, the podcast explores rational thought, skeptical ideas, famous myths from around the world and throughout history; each episode is an audio magazine featuring regular segments by contributors who are specialized in specific areas of critical thought followed by featured content, in the form of an interview with a researcher, author, or individual, helping promote skeptical thought and/or science in an effective way. It has featured interviews with James Randi, scientists, such as authors and astronomers Phil Plait and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Greg Graffin from Bad Religion, Adam Savage from the MythBusters, songwriter Jill Sobule, author Ann Druyan and science communicator Bill Nye. Skepticality is co-hosted by "Swoopy" Robynn McCarthy; the last released episode is from 18 January 2018. The concept and the name Skepticality were created in May 2005 by Robynn McCarthy and Derek Colanduno, after the two became friends in Las Vegas.
At the time, Colanduno was working at a national Sports Radio network and a owned Alternative Rock Station during the overnight shift. Skepticality gained notability on September 7, 2005 during a keynote address, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs mentioned it as one of the top nine podcasts at the iTunes Music Store. On August 14, 2006, Skepticality became Skeptic magazine's official podcast. Tim Farley of What's The Harm?, Skeptools.com and Virtual Skeptics.com contributes pieces of skeptic history with this segment titled Skepticism and Future. First called A Few Minutes of Skeptic History, it debuted on episode 123 on March 3, 2010. Bob Carroll from The Skeptics Dictionary debuted with a segment on logical fallacies called Unnatural Virtue, March 27, 2012. Jarrett Kaufman and Wendy Hughes from the Independent Investigations Group debuted April 25, 2012 with a segment centered on the coincidence website The Odds Must Be Crazy. Kaufman was replaced by John Rael on September 10, 2012. Rael is best known for his creation of skepticallypwnd, a group of comedic skeptics, or skeptical comedians, whose objective is to question pseudoscience in a humorous way.
Heather Henderson was a contributor from November 2012 and April 2013 with a segment entitled The News in Religion. In it, Heather presents current events and opinions around the topics of atheism and the effects of religion on the general population. Heather is the lead vocalist of Penn Jillette's NoGod Band in Las Vegas and along with Emery Emery publishes two podcasts; the segment presents examples of mainstream research & critical thinking as it pertains to the humanities such as art, history, rhetoric, literary criticism, pop culture studies and cultural studies. Susan Gerbic of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia has made regular appearances on Skepticality, providing updates about the GSoW project since January 2013; the show has a number of guests. Amongst them are James Randi, Phil Plait, Pamela Gay and skeptical musician George Hrab. In an interview with Derek during the June 1, 2006 episode of Slacker Astronomy, the naming of Asteroids 106545 Colanduno and 106537 McCarthy was announced to the world.
The asteroids were named in homage to the hosts of Skepticality by their discoverer the late Jeff Medkeff, who said, "My naming of these asteroids for you is a token of my esteem for you and your accomplishments." In 2007, Skepticality was recognized for excellence in podcasting with the Best Speculative Fiction News Podcast award at the Parsec Awards and Best Science Podcast award at the Podcast Peer Awards, selected by registered fellow podcasters. Both presentations were made at Dragon * Con 2007 in Georgia. On November 22, 2007, the Skepticality podcast was listed as "Site of the Week" on SciFi.com's Sci Fi Weekly. On August 9, 2008, Skepticality was named "Podcast of the Week" by The Times. In April 2014, Skepticality received the Ockham Award at QED for Best Podcast; the award was accepted on behalf of Swoopy by Susan Gerbic. Official website
RAF West Ruislip was a Ministry of Defence site, located in Ickenham within the London Borough of Hillingdon. The base was built as a depot for the Royal Air Force, split by what is now the Chiltern Main Line. North of the railway was RAF Blenheim Crescent, which housed the RAF Records Office and the depot's original personnel accommodation; the site was leased to the US Air Force in 1955, followed by the US Navy in 1975 housing the Navy Exchange of the U. S. Naval Activities, United Kingdom command, the Navy's Morale and Recreation Department. Following a review of properties, the US Navy vacated the site in 2006 and it became surplus to the Ministry of Defence's requirements under Project MoDEL; the following year, initial plans for around 415 homes and a retirement home were approved by the London Borough of Hillingdon in July 2007. All buildings were subsequently demolished to make way for the new development. Cala Homes bought the 21-acre site for £180m in November; the land upon which the site was developed was owned by Edward Hilliard.
It was chosen in March 1915 by Wing Commander T. O. Lyons of the Air Ministry to house the Ordnance Aircraft Stores Depot from Farnborough, although a decision was made instead to establish the depot in Didcot, beside the existing buildings there. In 1917, the Ruislip site was revisited, on 3 July was selected to house a depot for the Royal Flying Corps, under a military acquisition order; the close proximity to the Great Western and Metropolitan Railways made it ideal for the purpose. Additional construction costs meant the final total was £736,000, up from an original estimate of £235,000; the need for heating brought with it the requirement for boiler houses, plus additional foundations which were needed for the buildings to the north of the railway. Lieutenant J. G. N. Clifts of the Royal Engineers created the design for the site and buildings, the contractor involved was a U. S. Army civil engineering company, appearing on records as American Construction Company. A temporary railway siding was created to aid in the delivery of building supplies.
By 13 December 1918, several sheds had been completed, as were the Officers' Mess, sleeping quarters and the Navy and Army Canteen Board. Between May and July 1918, military stores from White City, Wormwood Scrubs and Baker Street were moved to the site, with items kept in the completed sheds. A shortage of bricks in October meant the widening of the bridge over the railway was delayed, as was the construction of the railway line into the site; the Air Ministry wrote to the land surveyors employed by Edward Hilliard on 3 September 1919 to announce they wished to buy the land to allow for its permanent use by the RAF. Hilliard did not accept the initial offer of £5,900, but agreed to sell by the eventual deadline of 17 January 1920, receiving the sum of £6,350. A resident of the land, Mrs Saitch of Home Farm, had her tenancy cancelled on 29 September and was paid compensation by the military until 25 March 1921, although the authorities did not believe her worthy. Fairlight House, built in 1914, was included within the site and became the residence of the Commander of US Naval Activities, United Kingdom.
RAF Records were based at the site along with the Maintenance Unit. The Great Western Railway, now the Chiltern Main Line, ran through the site, separating the regimental buildings to the north from the depot buildings to the south. A "Homice Scheme" was established at all RAF stations in 1921, to prepare for cases of civil disturbance. To prepare, the fences around the depot belonging to the nearby railway company were replaced by a non-climable variety. An RAF guard made up of a sergeant, acting corporal and twenty three airmen was formed to protect the site. During the rest of the decade, the Metropolitan Police provided a guard of eleven constables, eight of whom were housed in the sick bay; the remaining three were married, were given their own houses in Park Road in Uxbridge. The Air Ministry placed an order in 1922 for the closure of the public footpath that ran through the site, providing £750 for the maintenance of nearby Green Lane where the path originated; the eventual order, dated 15 October 1924, replaced two previous orders from 1922 and 1923 which had required a replacement route, though no such route was established.
In 1924, the Air Ministry separated the two sites administratively, so that the depot site and accommodation site were considered two separate RAF stations. Between 1920 and 1939, the original accommodation buildings in the north of the site were replaced by new married quarters; the RAF established the Apprentice Clerks Scheme at the Records Office in October 1925, after an earlier trial in 1921 had concluded successfully. Under the scheme, apprentices were trained in general administrative and accounting duties, practising shorthand typing in the depot while acting as messengers in the Records Office. A total of 2,080 apprentices passed through the scheme between 1925 and 1942; the station commander, Wing Commander Lyons died in his quarters on 1 February 1926 and was buried in the churchyard of St Giles' Church on 4 February. His funeral was attended by all personnel from the depot, the Records Office and the Central Band of the RAF, he was succeeded by Wing Commander F. H. Kirby. Under the newly formed RAF Maintenance Command, the depot became part of No. 40 Group RAF in 1939 as No. 4 Maintenance Unit RAF, under the overall command of Air Commodore R. W. Thomas.
The depot became responsible for the provision and maintenance of engines for the Advanced Air Striking Force. These were sent to Hartlebury and Quedgeley to be despatched to units. Ammunition was prepared and sent to squadrons in action. No. 71 Maintenance Unit