January 19, 1974 |
Albemarle, North Carolina USA
|Occupation||Computer Programmer, Graphic Designer, Audio/Video Producer|
|Known for||Skepticality, Dragon*Con Skeptrack, podcasting|
|Spouse(s)||Susan Seech Colanduno|
Derek Colanduno was born January 19, 1974 in Albemarle, North Carolina and  is an American skeptic and podcaster. Derek has a degree in Computer Science from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is the creator and co-host, with Robynn "Swoopy" McCarthy, of the talk show Skepticality, the official biweekly podcast of The Skeptics Society's Skeptic magazine. Derek is currently employed as a software engineer for a wastewater engineering firm in Atlanta, GA, where he currently resides.
In the early 1980s when Colanduno was in elementary school, he developed an interest in computer science with encouragement from his father, a computer programmer at Burroughs Corporation. This led to an eventual career in computer programming. After high school, his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where Colanduno attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas, majoring in Computer Science. He worked as an engineer for a national Sports Radio network and a privately owned Alternative Rock Station (KEDG) during late night, where he would occasionally fill in as an on-air broadcaster. It was here, in the 1990s, that he met Robbyn McCarthy, nicknamed "Swoopy." Colanduno and McCarthy would later collaborate on Skepticality in 2005.
Colanduno began "podcasting" or creating audio on Real Audio for public consumption in the 1990s, long before the term was coined by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian in 2004 and before MP3 encoding. He has contributed to several other podcasts including The Pickle Round-Up for Podcast Pickle and AMP'd, the weekly music review show for the Association of Independent Music Podcasters, a group of music podcasters from around the world who promote and support independent musicians through the web. He is the also the Director for Skeptrack at Dragon*Con.
Colanduno became interested in Skepticism after picking up a copy of Skeptic Magazine with a photo of Carl Sagan on the cover in the 1990s. Mainly due to his notoriety of Skepticality, he has been interviewed numerous times on the subject of Skepticism. He has appeared on the XM-Sirius show & podcast Slice of SciFi, the podcast Disability 411 The Skeptic Zone podcast and for the website Cuddly Atheism, among others.
Colanduno is the co-creator and co-host, with Robynn "Swoopy" McCarthy, of the talk show Skepticality, the official biweekly podcast of The Skeptics Society's Skeptic magazine. Skepticality is dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and science. Each episode is an audio magazine featuring regular segments by contributors who are specialized in specific areas of critical thought followed by featured content which is, usually, in the form of an interview with a researcher, author, or individual who is helping promote skeptical thought and/or science in an effective way.
In 2008, Derek and Robynn McCarthy launched a new sub-conference at Dragon*Con called the Skeptrack. Daniel Loxton, a panelist at the 2009 Skeptrack Conference describes it as follows: "Skeptrack is a remarkable achievement whose potential cannot be overstated. In its second year, Skeptrack is already a full-blown skeptics conference, offering more programming to a larger audience than did TAM2 (referring to the James Randi Educational Foundation’s “Amazing Meeting” (TAM) conference). And, because Skeptrack is embedded within Dragon*Con, it offers unique assets — and unique promise for growth and outreach."
On September 8, 2005, during a dinner celebrating Skepticality being mentioned during a Steve Jobs speech, Colanduno suffered a massive stroke. He was in a coma for six weeks followed by six months of rehabilitation.
Most of these events were chronicled in detail in an online journal by Colanduno's Skepticality co-host, Robynn McCarthy. In it, McCarthy gives a day-by-day written account of her experiences surrounding Derek's hospitalization and his subsequent rehabilitation. On September 9, 2005, the day after the stroke, McCarthy addresses the event on their podcast, Skepticality in an episode entitled "The Message." 
In an interview in 2012, Colanduno stated that his stroke greatly affected the part of his brain that is responsible for a psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia. This is a normal brain's way of interpreting vague or random stimulus as being significant, such as seeing an animal or a face in a cloud or seeing the "Man in the Moon." He also suffered significant Aphasia which affected his ability to speak. Colanduno chose to use Music Therapy to improve (or re-learn) his speech pattern, word formation and word-finding abilities. Speaking a nursery rhyme, for example, to the beat of the music using a metronome helped his condition significantly. Colanduno was also told he would never walk again, however he very adamantly persevered until he was able to walk again. The drug L-DOPA or Levodopa also expedited his recovery.
Ironically, at present, Colanduno cannot tolerate any sounds or music above a low-level, and he also still experiences lingering effects to his vision and timing, and is still unable to drive as of 2014.
Colanduno is the namesake for the asteroid 106545 Colanduno. It was named for him by Jeff Medkeff because he felt Derek had "pioneered the new media of podcasting and put it to service for skeptical thinking."
- Dcolanduno: Yep, it is my Birthday today. :), Twitter, January 19, 2009, retrieved 2009-01-19
- Ho, Rodney (July 19, 2005), "With 'podcasting,' anyone's a deejay", The Providence Journal (Providence, Rhode Island), retrieved July 27, 2009
- Skeptic Society: Podcast, retrieved July 27, 2009 (Masthead says: "The official podcast of SKEPTIC magazine")
- Roach, Pat (April 22, 2009), Better Know a Notable Skeptic: 10 Questions for Derek Colanduno, Ottawa Skeptics, retrieved July 27, 2009
- Slater, Stan (March 13, 2009). "Q&A with Derek Colanduno of skepticality.com". http://skepticalliteracy.blogspot.com. Skeptical Literacy. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
- Roy, Travis. "Interview with Derek Colanduno". http://hwcdn.libsyn.com. NECSS - Northeast Conference for Science and Skepticism. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Hammersley, Ben (February 11, 2004). "Audible Revolution". http://www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
- Skeptrack web page on Dragon*Con, Dragon*Con, retrieved October 25, 2014
- "#159: Interview with Derek Colanduno & Swoopy". Slice of SciFi. Farpoint Media Network. May 3, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
- Case, Beth (July 7, 2007). "Show 44 - Derek Colanduno Part I". Disability411. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
- Case, Beth (July 26, 2007). "Show 45 - Derek Colanduno Part II". Disability411. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
- Saunders, Richard (December 26, 2008), "#10 Derek and Swoopy - Murder for Entertainment and Profit", The Skeptic Zone (Australian Skeptics), retrieved August 8, 2009 (Interview from 02:42 to 28:15)
- Holden, Kate (March 6, 2009). "A Skeptical Interview with Derek Colanduno". Cuddly Atheism. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
- Loxton, Daniel. "A Tale of Two Sci-Fi Conventions". http://www.skeptic.com. Skeptic.com. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "My Stroke". Life of Colanduno. September 9 – October 22, 2005. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- McCarthy, Robynn "Swoopy". "The Message". http://www.skepticality.com. Skepticality Podcast. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Schickele, Matt. "SMC 81: Derek’s Music Therapy Experience". http://scopesmonkeychoir.com. Scopes Monkey Chronicles. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "106545 Colanduno (2000 WL68)", JPL Small-Body Database Browser (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), retrieved 2009-01-19
- Medkeff, Jeff (March 25, 2008). "Asteroids Named For PZ Myers, Phil Plait, Rebecca Watson, Michael Stackpole". Blue Collar Scientist. Retrieved August 6, 2009.