In the first half of the program, author Mary Roach joined Ian to discuss why science matters and her research into space travel. On why America seems to be falling behind other nations when it comes to science education, she joked that it was because "textbooks are so boring!" To that end, she observed that, in her days as a student, the more fun the teacher made a subject, the easier she absorbed the information. Making the case for why learning science is important, regardless of one's eventual vocation, Roach noted that "science is you. It's your body. It's your dog. It's the weather. It's technology. So, it's good to know how things work."
In discussing her research into the space program, Roach reflected on how astronaut selection has changed since the days of the Moon Race. She noted that, during the Apollo missions, NASA sought out "brave, bold, aggressive, macho, test pilot, big ego dudes," since they were considered most apt for the pioneering adventure of space travel. Conversely, with today's longer missions and larger crews, ideal astronauts are expected to be flexible, possessing a sense of humor, and an ability to create stable relationships. She speculated that, should the long-awaited Mars mission happen, the preferred astronauts would need a combination of those 'classic' characteristics as well as the modern ones. Additionally, Roach shared details on how the space program accounts for everyday tasks like astronauts going to the bathroom as well as using cadavers to test flight equipment.
In the latter half of the show, hypnotherapist Rick Collingwood talked about using hypnosis for New Year's Resolutions as well as the science of hypnotherapy. He contended that, with a good hypnotherapist, bad habits can be eradicated 80% of the time, "with a one year follow-up." That said, he stressed that motivation is a critical factor in breaking bad habits, regardless of whether or not hypnosis is used. Addressing specific New Year's Resolutions, Collingwood said that overeating is "very easy" to stop via hypnosis by way of a post-hypnotic suggestion that makes the eater feel full after a smaller portion. Conversely, when it comes to smoking, it is more difficult to use such physically symptomatic post-hypnotic suggestions to aid cessation.
Collingwood also detailed some of the more unique aspects of and uses for hypnosis, such as hypnotizing a large group. He said that the largest group he'd ever hypnotized was 1,200 people at once. The awestruck Collingwood recalled that it was like watching a veritable wave spread across the crowd as he put them into trance. "You could actually see this effect go across the top of people. It was like a shimmer on a hot road with the sun out," he marveled. Collingwood also talked about hypnosis being used in leui of anaesthesia during childbirth, helping non-verbal autistic children, and a recent spate of bank robberies in England that saw criminals hypnotize bank tellers to facilitate their crime.
Sitting at the heart of a massive blizzard pounding the Midwest, Ian Punnett sent us some images of the snowfall, as seen from his house. This first picture is of his front door, kept from opening by an accumulating snowdrift.
Bumper music from Saturday December 11, 2010