SGU Episode 107

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SGU Episode 107
August 8th 2007
Newplanet2.jpg
SGU 106 SGU 108
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


Quote of the Week
To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.
Stanislaus I (1677-1766) a Polish king 'of some note.
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction

You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

News Items

Largest Planet Discovered (1:15)

  • www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/08/07/883737-scientists-discover-largest-known-planet

New Da Vinci Code Conspiracy (6:35)

  • www.skepchick.org/blog/?p=639
    www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/30/wvinci130.xml

Man Wakes from Coma (13:36)

Korean Stem Cell Follow up (22:41)

  • www.iht.com/articles/2007/08/02/news/stem.php

UFO Followup Mystery Solved (25:30)

  • www.watfordobserver.co.uk/mostpopular.var.1582237.mostviewed.ufo_mystery_solved.php

Questions and E-mails

Using Unproven Therapies (28:57)

Skeptical rogues and roguette-

My question is this: might it not be reasonable for a skeptical, rational-thinking individual to turn to an herbal remedy or other medication which has not made it through this rigorous vetting process, and which has only anecdotal or preliminary evidence supporting its use, if they are desperate for some treatment (any treatment), and if evidence-based medicine has nothing to offer them?

David
USA

Dr. Novellas Blog entry on this topic: www.theness.com/neurologicablog/default.asp?Display=150

CO2 from walking vs driving (37:43)

I ran across this interesting article from the UK, where it's suggested that walking to the store is worse for the environment than driving;

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece

Jaan

Rebecca's Blog on the topic
skepchick.org/skepticsguide/viewtopic.php?t=4238

AI Sense of Humor (44:29)

As always thanks for providing an excellent podcast to start my week off just right. However last week I did find one thing to gripe about a bit. One of my favorite segments is the science or fiction portion and while I am definately not always right I generally understand the correct answer. However last week even after learning the true stories I did not feel that the AI with a sense of humor should be classified as science. To me 'sense of humor' describes something more than just the way something is delivered. If I am understanding correctly this program detects variations in the voice that are commonly associated with telling a joke, much the same way a lie-detector tries to determine truth through bio patterns. Perhaps a 'joke-detecting' AI was made, but just as sweaty palms don't constitute a lie, the right inflections in the voice don't always make humor.

Unfortunately I think we still only have 'Data'; able to understand that a joke has been told, yet unable to find the humor in it. Hence, in my view, Data had no sense of humor.
Maybe I'm way off base here, but I'm sure you'll let me know if I am!

Anyways keep the great work coming!

Kyle Cook
Bowling Green

Name That Logical Fallacy (49:01)

  • Logical Fallacies

'Say I am arguing against someone about fossil fuel usage. I state that the average American should drive a fuel efficient vehicle to lower the amount of fuel that is used. The person that I am arguing against then tells me that since I drive a car that is not fuel efficient I cannot expect and tell others to drive different vehicles.'

skepchick.org/skepticsguide/viewtopic.php?t=4255

Randi Speaks (52:37)

  • The Uncompromising Observations of a Veteran Skeptic

    James Randi returns to give his skeptical commentary in his own unique style.

    This week's topic: Acupuncture

Science or Fiction (57:31)

Question #1: New study shows that drinking milk after weight lifting led to more fat loss and greater muscle gain that drinking soy or a carbohydrate drink. Question #2: New study suggests that the elderly should be eating more vegetables and less meat in order to maintain their muscle mass. Question #3: A new animal study suggests that low calorie or diet foods and drinks may lead to obesity.

Skeptical Puzzle (1:11:00)

This Week's Puzzle:

I sure hate this delusional person
Though hate may be a word too strong
As I learn more, my opinion does worsen
Perhaps I won't re-write this song

Micro set scams were just some of his wares
He claims he is spiritual at heart
A dozen or so of these blessings are shared
Jesus could only hope to Master their art

From his website I read, as they humbly plead
That they can lay hands and cure you of ills
Just join them and pray, for you will see one day
You've found their holy mountains and hills

For it was their king, that taught them these things
They are simply swine to this pearl thrower
A doctor, a reverend, and a knight, so he sings
But it was yoga that made him a knower

Name the person.


Last Week's puzzle:


What do you call a snake handler who appears between a stinger and a shooter?

Answer: Ophiucus
Winner: Cap Sponge

Quote of the Week (1:15:00)

'To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.'- Stanislaus I (1677-1766) a Polish king 'of some note.'

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at www.theskepticsguide.org. Please send us your questions, suggestions, and other feedback; you can use the "Contact Us" page on our website, or you can send us an email to info@theskepticsguide.org'. 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto and is used with permission.

References


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