The Terry Project on CiTR #48: Professor Candyman and Dr. Ouija Board


On this special episode, we nerd out about Halloween. You’ll learn three things: the best and worst candies, according to science; whether you should be worried about razor blades in your apples; and what a Ouija board can tell you about your subconscious.

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Chapter 1: The Candy Hierarchy 

Dave Ng and Ben Cohen use science to bring you the best and worst of Halloween candy, year after year on Boing Boing. Here’s what they did:

“Ranking candy hierarchy is properly and obviously the subject of natural science research. It is based on experimental proof, rigorous data analysis, and the metric of repeatability. This is so obvious that we’re not sure why we’re even mentioning it. Even so, even so. We’re open-minded guys.

So this past year we added in some social science methodology. Gave us something to do on Tuesdays. We had research assistants, undergrads mostly, but also our cousin from Duluth and then his neighbor’s son, he’s a good kid, he just needs time to get back on his feet, these things happen. The economy. The Mideast. Maybe he shouldn’t have been with Kaitlyn from the start. Whatever.

The point is, our research cohort did some oral history work. We did more qualitative research too. We conducted semi-structured interviews, archival investigations, some survey instruments, participant observation, lots of Netflix. More importantly, we did this to vet a new approach this year, where we’ll probe the minds of the public and conduct top of the line “multivariate quantitative techniques.” That’s the type of research goodness that is not only powerful, but on the syllable count, it actually goes to eleven.”

Find out where your favourite candies rank!

Chapter 2: The Razor Blade in the Apple

Joel Best uses sociology to tell you whether or not to be afraid of razor blades in apples, and what it might mean for how we understand the way that we frame our social problems.

Chapter 3: The Ouija Board

We look at the history and science behind one of North America’s most enigmatic games. Find out how the Ouija Board really works and what it can tell us about the human subconscious.

Today’s show features a conversation with Robert Murch and Simon Garret from UBC’s Inner Intelligence project. This is a rebroadcasted segment. Last October Robert and the Inner Intelligence project were featured in a great piece of journalism by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie called “The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board.”



Find out more about the team that makes this program.

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Gordon Katic (@gordonkatic) has been student coordinator for the Terry Project for over two years, and in that time started BARtalk, and the Terry Project on CiTR 101.9FM. A former Ubyssey columnist, and now a student at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, Gordon is trying to use journalism to tell important stories about global issues.