Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Shit’s Gotten Real, Yo – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 1/17/17

While Norm’s on vacation, Adam and Will are joined by Janet Varney to discuss the ongoing San Francisco Sketchfest comedy festival, Adam’s trip to Obama’s farewell address, Sam Rockwell, and a whole lot more.

Comments (40)

40 thoughts on “Shit’s Gotten Real, Yo – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 1/17/17

  1. Janet is the best. I met her when I started my science festival – her co founders including Cole Stratton and David Owen are just fantastic people with an amazing eye towards amazing comedy adjacent events. Every year I’m shocked, surprised, and astounded at my experiences at this festival. Put it on your short list in the future!

  2. Yeah, I quit drinking in the evening because of acid reflux. 🙂 We’re getting old! (Well, some of us.)

    Turned out I lost 8 pounds just from that dietary change (bonus!).

    I don’t have a problem with the political talk. While I like escape from politics for some parts of my day, it would be odd for you, who have a sort of causal and off-the-cuff relationship with your audience, to not mention politics occasionally. Especially in these times.

    You seem like good people (all of you) and we need each other more than ever.

    Will, I would suggest term limits are debatable. They sound like a good idea, but many states have done just that and if you thought it would stop the political gravy train, it appears not to do so. Term limits instead seem to shift power to the lobbyists. Nice. Maybe combine term limits with getting all money out of politics.

  3. Wisconsin Dells is a water park tourist trap. The only real reason to go there is for the Duck rides. They have WWII amphibious troop transports that they take through trails and into a river and through little canyons and what not. Also thanks for saying WiscAHHHnsin correctly.

  4. I didn’t realize who Janet was until she mentioned she was at a con in Wisconsin Dells; It’s called Daisho Con and I go every year. Listening to her describe the venue while I gradually put 2 and 2 together was slightly surreal experience.

  5. Of all your political conversations, this is one of the most considerate. I still disagree with you, but I commend you on a good job.

    Great to have Janet on. Norm seems to be rather disappointed to have missed her. Please bring her back, at least for his sake.

  6. So Janet is nice but maybe needs to get off coke or switch to decaf. I kid! Adam, I respect your own political beliefs but you are heading a completely divisive web site now. Please take into consideration of removing politics from your content, or at least labeling it as such. There ARE makers/sci-fi nerds/enthusiasts who may vote differently from you. Please consider an apolitical presence as an option. I can say it just SUCKS to agree with you guys about so much and then you have to politicize things. Is it possible for you to excise politics and emphasize the cool shit? I mean, you talk about EVERYONE making. I didn’t hear you say only Left-Coast Liberals. Swallow a tiny bit of political pride and open your world. Please.

  7. how about you’d learn to accept that there is more aspects to a personality? If you cannot accept Adam because he has different political view, then it is your problem. He stated numerous times that its perfectly fine to disagree. But if you want America to be recognized as a country of free speech, then stating your views and accepting that other people state theirs is part of the deal.

    And all of tested have tried to stay clear about politics, esp. before the election despite so many topics that made them wanna cry out loud. None of the cast preaches politics or indicates that everyone not sharing their own view would be stupid. Yet they rightfully demand their right to their own opinion.

    It’s an obvious topic after the election/right before the inauguration, so just deal with it, and once all that fuzz is over, it will be back to business as usual.


  8. Tested is one of my escape sites. Nearly all of the discussions on Tested center around robots, swords, incredible videos, builds, masks and hot glue. The write-up for the latest Untitled Adam Savage Project explained that the discussion would include Adam’s trip to Chicago to hear Obama’s last major speech. I interpreted this as, “Yes, we will talk about politics.”

    The beauty of video is that you can return to it when you are in the mood and have the time to watch it.

  9. and don’t even get me started on what is supposedly ‘divisive.’ divisive, as in: i get reminded of people other than me, of points of view other than mine, and i have to endure seeing the occasional person on tv that doesn’t look like me.

    jesus fucking christ.

  10. Yea, I would recommend some anger management classes and counseling for you. Hope you feel better. Missed my point entirely, however.

  11. Just to balance things out said above, i want to say i think Adam is doing just fine. Let me explain. I live in Oklahoma. I woke up in the middle of the night the other night because now I have nightmares about Earthquakes destroying my apartment. This is because before a few years ago I never felt an Earthquake. Because before a few years ago we basically never had them. Now we have them quite often, sometimes 5, 5.8, they shake my building back and forth, and none of our buildings are built to survive them. Its kind of scary.

    This is because some fine, fine folks in our state government do not believe in science and progress, but they do believe in wastewater injection for fracked gas wells, wells which make a lot of money for themselves and their friends. That includes our former A.G. who is now the head of your EPA. Because Trump hired him. He looked around the entire country and picked that guy to run EPA. Guess what that guy thinks of science and science education.

    I don’t care about politics that much. However I do care about my fucking house shaking apart and killing me because some asshole doesn’t think science is real and thinks the government should be abolished.

    I’m sure many other people have worse stories they could tell… stories about kids who got a disease because some asshole didn’t vaccinate their kids, whatever.

    Folks would be better off to realize that science educators are political because politicians are constantly attacking science and science education. And maybe you aren’t stupid if you vote for these politicians, but you are falling for a gigantic con if you think they act for sincere reasons.

  12. Can you please point to the science-political reference in this podcast, because I completely support your position. For instance, I have been a major fan of the space program since I was a child. And I learned through the years that it was largely political, so I would invite, for instance, a comparison between one President’s space program agenda over another. There. A worthy look at how politics affects science and completely relevant to my desire of how this site could work, without becoming about personal politics. One that invites everyone to participate in a positive way, rather than high-fives celebrating the loss of those with whom you disagree politically.

  13. I understand what you’re trying to say, but I do think you need to take a step back, relax, and reconsider. There are many legitimate reasons to not be looking forward to a Trump presidency. There are many legitimate reasons to be hopeful for a Trump presidency. Reductio ad Racisim doesn’t further any conversations, and it really needs to just go away. I mean, you’re commenting on a video featuring three lily white people on a website where the appearance of African Americans or Hispanics is virtually non-existent. Does this make Tested bad? Of course not. Do I need to get angry because they’re not featuring more people who don’t look like me (I’m Korean, btw)? Of course not.

    There’s actually a lot of anti-Trump commentators who have written fairly good articles explaining how the “racist” angle was a red-herring and thoroughly counter-productive in the campaign against Trump. I don’t necessarily agree with Johndiz, but he is doing exactly what you’re calling for – providing thoughts/opinions different from your own. So, to be fair, if Adam is free to comment on politics then Johndiz should be likewise free to comment on politics.

    Also, seriously, you don’t have to be a Christian to at least show a teensy little bit of respect. There are a myriad of other expletives to choose from.

  14. I’m very much against Fracking (sp?), but, from my understanding, the problem has been almost entirely at the State government level and not the Federal level. Even under Obama and his EPA there have been no restrictions regarding Fracking. In fact, Fracking has really blossomed over the last 8 years. So pre-emptively blaming Trump and his new EPA guy might be premature.

    My county is fighting against Fracking – we established very restrictive guidelines to prohibit it within our county, and I know myself and a lot of other folks have made our desires well known to our State legislature.

    Regarding politics and science – honestly, I think science almost always suffers from involvement with politics whether on the “right” or “left”. The best thing “science” and scientists can do at this point is to work hard to divorce themselves from any political entanglements and strive to return to an objective, disinterested position. Having someone like Al Gore serve as the spokesperson for Global Warming probably did more to harm the cause than anything else imaginable.

    Other things that are harming science: public expressions of anti-religious sentiment; too much involvement in “soft” and often political subjects like race/gender; and an overall sense of moral superiority over any who disagree. As I’ve said elsewhere, while I am very much pro-vaccine, some of the moral preening on the pro-vaccine side has really pissed me off. Listening to someone say that parents should lose their children and be thrown in jail because they don’t vaccinate their kids is almost enough to make a rational, pro-vaccine person like myself second guess my position.

  15. RE: vaccines and the pro-vaccine people who make statements such as “they should lose their kids” or “they should be criminally persecuted”… I agree that the statements themselves are unlikely to help, but at the same time, few wouldn’t make the same statements for parents who, for example, refuse to seek medical treatment due to being christian scientists. And more people die due to preventable illness every year than in the history of said religious movement.

    I know that it doesn’t help to say “you are a terrible human being” to someone who believes they are protecting their child by not getting a vaccine. But as long as they are keeping lethal diseases alive with their stupidity, it is hard not to speak out as strongly as one can. It takes such an enormous effort of wilful ignorance to become a dedicated anti-vaccine activist that rational argument is highly unlikely to be any more effective than emotional brutality.

  16. good science = apolitical. Good science can be replicated by researchers of any political bent. Methods are sound. Bad science is influenced by politics. I am a researcher working in a large research group. I would have a very hard time picking out my conservative and liberal colleagues.

    good science + policy/politics (applying research) = political.

    ignoring good science or placing equal weight on the findings of bad and good science (so to give the appearance of being nonpartial) = scary.

    As someone whose research includes analysis based on race and gender, I can tell you that there is nothing soft about the research itself but the topics are provocative and the media, the political system and the general public often reinterupted the results or emphasize a very minor point as a major one (this has happened to some of my work – it sucks when it happens).

  17. To some degree, for some people, your sentiment is no doubt true. However, there are always distinctions that bear considering. Also, if the going in position is that the opposition are unreasoning idiots, regardless of the message, the odds of you persuading them on anything are pretty low. I personally know a good number of folks who are anti-vaccine, but to varying degrees and for varying reasons. All of them are very rational folks (we’re dealing with humans, so rational is, naturally, on a relative scale). Some have certain moral objections about certain vaccines but not all. Some are suspicious of Big Pharma and, while doing what research they can manage have not yet been able to convince themselves of the safety of the vaccines or the number and combination of vaccines. Some vaccinate but on a different, slower-paced schedule. etc., etc., etc. I try, when I have the opportunity, to make the case for vaccines, but I’m certain trying the “you really belong in jail” tactic would be counter-productive.

    The funny thing is when you get politics involved with science it just gets ugly and stupid very quickly. Folks who call parents who don’t vaccinate their children the lowest form of scumbags since they’re putting the whole population at risk for disease turn suddenly mute when those same parents complain about the complete lack of any oversight regarding vaccines and undocumented migrants. You can love or not love undocumented migrants, but the simple fact that they are undocumented means there is no reliable system, paper trail, or record with regard to their vaccinations. And outbreaks of some preventable diseases have, in fact, occurred in places of high concentration of undocumented immigrants. If one were going to be consistent and show genuine concern for the overall welfare of society, shouldn’t one call for BOTH the jailing of anti-vax parents AS WELL AS all non-vaxed immigrants? I don’t think I’ve ever heard that argument from any of the pro-vaxers (although it’s not like I spend a lot of time in either pro or anti vax night clubs).

    And, the reality is disease is extremely resilient. The idea of actually eradicating all (or even most) lethal disease from the planet is more than optimistic. Mother Nature loudly scoffs at the idea. Blaming the very small handful of parents in 1st world countries for “keeping lethal disease alive” is tremendously unfair.

    Another point is that you don’t have to win EVERY argument, just the important ones. Many vaccines are for diseases that are either not life threatening or which are only life threatening in very rare circumstances (i.e. chickenpox, pertussis, . . .etc.) Some have VERY questionable efficacy (influenza is, at best, a guess every year, and the efficacy of the pertussis vaccine is under serious scrutiny). Is it really worth it to argue with someone about ALL vaccines instead of just addressing the really VITAL vaccines? Painting with too broad a brush usually creates conflict when there really, honestly doesn’t need to be conflict.

    Another problem is unwillingness of pro-vaccine folks to acknowledge vaccination isn’t perfect or magical or infallible. Things like infant vaccination for Hep-B don’t make any logical sense. The odds of a 1st World infant contracting Hep-B are absurdly low in the VAST majority of situations, and the actual vaccine loses efficacy by the time the child reaches an age where he might actually have a slightly more reasonable chance of getting the disease. So why vaccinate within 24 hours of birth? It literally makes no sense. The pro-vaccine lobby should be willing to concede certain points in the interest of addressing anti-vax concerns on corruption, lobbyist influence . . .etc.

    I don’t know – I think with politics, with science, with religion, with just about anything, we all need to struggle to stop presuming some sort of impregnable moral high ground and remember that not all the folks on the other side are evil, willfully malignant, or utter and inexcusable morons. If public discourse could start moving just a little bit away from flat out name-calling (you’re a Communist! you’re a bigot! you’re a racist! you’re a hipster! you’re anti-science! you’re a tree-hugger! you’re divisive! no, YOU’RE divisive!…etc.), I would be okay with that.

  18. Regarding induced earthquakes, its not fracking per se, as much as the waste water injection, which is also used for oil and gas development outside of fracking. Fracking is a bit of the scapegoat for a myriad of techniques that are causing the issue. Minor distinction, but important when you start to assess the policy causes. Bush and Obama both relaxed rules on US oil development leading to this issue. Unfortunately, there is a local environment in certain areas, especially Oklahoma, where the science findings were not welcomed – not surprising given the economic factors at play. And the potential costs to communities for building/infrastructure damages is significant – most of these areas do not have proper codes to address earthquakes (why would they). I would hope they would either restrict waste water injection or institute stronger building codes – but neither is happening – and I do think there are active efforts to suppress the scientific findings which may impact how people think about the issue. At the end of the day – this is up to the local residents to make their own decision.

    I personally really disagree with the dispassionate science argument – but lets try out a mental exercise vs. me just expressing my opinion.

    Here is an active scenario now. We know bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a real science issue – have for a few years. We just had our first human death from a bacterial infection resistant to every known antibiotic. The scientists working on the issue have already done the “normal” things – published in journals, presented at conferences, talked to media, elevated the topic to other leading policy figures. But they see the issue and discussion potential consequences not reaching a wide population. And the science indicates we should limit usage of certain antibacterial compounds and limit prescription of antibiotics by doctors unless expressly needed (or even limit use in farming areas). If you were a scientist working on this issue – one that has HUGE economic and health consequences – what would you do next? (Yes this scenario is a slight simplification, but I think the core point is clear). I would find it tough – as a human being doing science – to stand on the sidelines while the issue is not discussed. But I’m really interested to hear what all of you think.

  19. i might not have made it clear enough that my going off at the word ‘divisive’ wasn’t specifically against johndiz’s comment, but rather the general usage seen from the right wing these days. obama is supposedly a ‘divisive’ president, and one who brought race relations under record high tensions. turn it any way you want, that’s bullshit. obama as a person was free of any scandals, and never spoke a tactless word about anyone. the numbers after his 8 years are way better than before. doesn’t mean that everyone is living in overabundant wealth, obviously, but the administrative period at large was a massive net gain, nationally and internationally.

    what changed, race wise, in the recent years, is that certain issues get actual air time and figure in public discourse. a lot of them because stuff happened while someone filmed it on their phone. that makes it harder to discard with a ‘oh, he must have done *something* wrong, or he wouldn’t have gotten shot.’ apparently, that’s uncomfortable. so in the face of incontrovertible evidence that certain people get treated in a grossly unjust way, because of their race, it’s seen as ‘divisive’ to trot the matter out in public? what the hell? we’re talking people getting killed by cops, who then plant evidence, on tape, and still don’t get convicted. how is this not something the whole country gets behind, trying to fix it? but no. having to hear these things is ‘divisive’ and ‘increases racial tensions.’ it’s even ‘anti-cop.’ to see people have the face to say that their being somewhat inconvenienced by being told their society does grossly unjust shit is ‘divisive’ sickens me. such disturbers of the peace, how dare they say things that contradict my favourite fairytale? i don’t want to hear that i’m not living in the best of worlds! if only they knew their place!

    being divisive is when you make up reasons why we can’t get along. (IS and islamophobe groups in western societies are divisive: in the face of peaceful coexistence, they push narratives of its impossibility.) when it turns out that getting along doesn’t in fact happen because of injustice, and the matter ends up in public discourse, and you label *that* ‘being divisive’, where does that put you?

    it’s not like i don’t get this: when you live in an imbalanced system, and you’re not among those it disfavours, you easily label it a fair system. every step from your perceived/miscalibrated fair system towards being balanced feels like it gives too much exposure to ‘these’ people, and things that have been demonstrably good (for you) suddenly are bad. suddenly, it’s ‘wrongfully’ all about them. why do they need the extra coddling? i’m a nice person, i’m alright, i never did any harm to any of them after all! but when you take a step back, what is bad about putting the spotlight on people that were withheld from it forever? (n.b.: the actual people themselves, not our idea of them!) what is bad about hearing more stories of people not like me? what is bad about acknowledging an injustice (n.b.: not the only one! *an* injustice!) we found out is much more pervasive than we would have imagined, and we even were told for years and didn’t believe?

    (i’m a cat person who grew up on the internet. the internet was perfectly fine with regard to animal pictures. and all of a sudden we get enthusiasm for dog pictures. EVERYONE is posting these stupid dog pictures and dog memes and it’s friggin’ dog pictures everywhere! – i wish i was joking when i say that this is an actual emotional tendency i noticed in myself. the struggle is indeed real. it’s a silly example, but it illustrates how hard it is to escape this pattern of thought. it’s work.)

    what i’m getting at: fixing shit doesn’t feel good. it starts by feeling bad as hell. it means accepting that we let shit happen. it means we will have to let those we let shit happen to speak up, and listen to what they have to say. we ought not to make up fake reasons why *we* don’t need to change, and *we* are alright and *they* make everything worse.

    hence, me blowing up at ‘divisive.’ it’s the ultimate fake word to prevent having to face things that need to be faced, and put the blame on the wrong people.

  20. Regarding Fracking – are there any popular methods that don’t involve millions of gallons of wastewater injection? That’s definitely been our concern here in my county. The company that was “exploring the lease” to see if they might consider Fracking briefed that this was their method. The part that REALLY galled me (and most of the other folks involved) was that they REFUSE to reveal what, exactly, is in the solution of water they plan on injecting into the ground. It’s a company “trade secret” which they don’t have to disclose. What an absurd bunch of malarkey! All of the counties in our area have made a sort of pact, re-written zoning regulations to make them very stringent, and voiced direct displeasure with the State entities (legislature, environmental impact assessment board, the governor . . etc.). How effective that has been is hard to say since the low cost of fuel has made the push to Frack here less lucrative. Either way, I’m happy to keep Fracking out of the county.

    I see your point regarding dispassionate science. I’m also concerned about antibiotic abuse. My family and I try to not use them unless actually necessary, and we do our best to only buy antibiotic free foods (milk, chicken, eggs, beef . . . etc.). Honestly, most of the other families in our circle do the same, even (and perhaps especially) the folks I know who are anti-vax. Humanity exists in bizarre Venn Diagrams, I tell you what.

    I think one could make the case that antibiotic regulation has reached the level that truly belongs within some framework of regulation. However, the last thing I want to see is it turning into a moral brow-beating exercise with some celebrity/politician leading the charge in the public arena. Can you think of anything that will stifle and/or cripple the effort faster? Think of it this way – if folks didn’t realize it before the election they certainly should realize it now – we’re a fairly evenly divided country. What Donald Trump is to one half of the country, Al Gore or Hillary Clinton is to the other. If any of those folks stood up to champion a cause, you have, almost immediately, 50% of the population who will be immediately predisposed to disagree regardless of the argument, logic, evidence . . .etc. We’re just so danged factionalize in almost every way (from politics to music to entertainment to art to food . . etc.) I just don’t think it’s been an effective way to affect change.

    Would a better path be to offer incentives through the health system to minimize antibiotic use? It’s a “softer” form of government regulation, and less likely to draw attention/ire/scorn/debate. Propose, as a part of the Obamacare reworking, steps to incentivize doctors, hospitals, and insurers to do more to educate and limit issuing of antibiotics. Especially provide doctors top cover so they cannot easily be litigated against in any case where a patient requests unneeded antibiotics and is denied. One of the (sadly) biggest drivers in medical decisions is “will I be held liable for NOT doing this and open myself up to a malpractice suit?” Same goes for food manufacturing and agriculture – offer incentives for NOT using antibiotics on livestock.

    Anyway, those are my “off the top of my head” thoughts. They might not all hold up to severe scrutiny, but even in the face of what I acknowledge to be a very serious problem I think over politicization of the problem will wind up doing more harm than good.

  21. Okay, I’ll freely admit that I didn’t read all of that context into your previous comment. I respectfully disagree on most of the key points you’ve made, but I’m not sure this is right forum or moment for any fruitful discussion in that vein. If you are interested in some thoughts very contrary to yours, feel free to PM me and I’ll be happy to chat.

  22. I thought this was a well balanced discussion about the Trump Presidency. I hate the word Fascist being thrown about as it devalues any further sensible thought and debate on the subject so Adam was quite right to suggest a correction to Wills comment.

    Janet’s perspective on social media absolutely nailed the issue. Being British I found our Brexit vote to bring out the worse in people on both sides as it created sycophantic Social media bubbles which are never conducive to balanced debate. I personally deleted twitter and facebook from my phone.

    I honestly enjoy the personal approach to podcasting and for them not to mention the Trump presidency would be a bit strange.

    Good day to you all x

  23. I’m far more annoyed that the comments section has devolved into politics than them bringing up the topic for a few moments amidst everything else. just accept that this is a variety podcast and though they try to keep the political topic at a minimum it’s gonna eek in there a bit every now and then. fast forward through those bits if you’re so inclined. otherwise just deal with it instead of whinging about it.

  24. So, another person telling others to stifle opinions that annoy him? “only comment on what I say is appropriate”. Meh. How about this for advice: Don’t read the comments if you are offended.

  25. This coming from the person initially wanting the hosts not to talk any politics because it didn’t mesh with their own. funny, that.

  26. Thank you for the recommendation of Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death!” I’d neither heard of it, nor read it, but devoured it over the course of the weekend after getting it from the library on Friday. I found it to be incredibly insightful, and though it was written over thirty years ago now, eerily prophetic about much of what’s happening in American culture (and the culture of politics as entertainment) today. Thanks again, and wanted to say I love this podcast!

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