SGU Episode 112

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SGU Episode 112
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 112                      SGU 111

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
Quote of the Week

'I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.'

Carl Sagan
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

News Items ()

New Study Challenges WTC Conspiracy Theory ()


Follow up On Burning Water ()


Extant Dodo's Threatened ()


Questions and E-mails ()

Affiliations ()

Are you guys or the hosts of the pod casts affiliated with the 'Science Coalition.' What are (if any) the corporate sponsors that you currently have?

Thanks -
Allen Prattis
Austria, Europe

Peanuts are Legumes ()

I'm sure you'd be pleased that I often question what I hear, even on SGU but I'm half way through Episode 111 and I had to respond to your (Steve's) aside about 'peanut and other nut allergies'. Peanuts are not nuts! (Are peanuts nuts?

Although many people consider peanuts a nut, they are really a legume of the plant Arachis hypogaea. Other legumes include foods such as beans, peas and soybeans. Source=
Peanut allergic people can eat real nuts with impunity. As a haematologist I'm about as qualified as a neurologist to talk about this except that one of my haematological colleagues tried to die of an anaphylactic reaction during a meeting we were at as one of the sandwiches from which he took a bight had a trace of satay sauce. After resuscitation, he was OK and has demonstrated that he can eat cashews and walnuts without a problem. He now has an epipen for unexpected encounters with peanuts (not nuts).

Jeff Szer

King Tut Controversy ()

Hello Steve,

Just listened to the September 5, 2007 pod cast. Who is the 'African American Community' concerning the King Tut 'controversy? Again is this Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton? By African American Community was this from a poll with a reasonable sample and error margin of Blacks? You mentioned that 'there are those who think....' Again - Who are these people? You seem to state that some loony white people believe some idiotic belief and limit it to this. You should also point the source out concerning what is the African American Community and what this represents.

Much to often I have seen racist posting items as if they were from the African American Community which in my opinion (as a black man, I have been to Africa and I am not African anything) to cause confusion and doubt. In addition the media seems to have anointed people like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton as Black leaders and again I do not recall the election when I voted these people as my leaders.

So - Please state the source your stories. African American Community is a little vague - right?

Sorry for the rant but I am not from the inner city and I am Black. Period. And I think science is the way.

Thanks - Allen

Billy Meyer ()

To Dr. Novella and organization,

I suggest that I appear on your radio show to both answer the false charges below and have you defend them. I have a rather vast readership ( and I will be glad to announce the details of the interview to them.

Failure to provide me with such an opportunity, or to respond to this request, will be construed as a withdrawal by you of - and an apology for - these widely circulated false claims and will be publicized as such.

The following disinformation, defamatory and libelous claims are attributed to you:

'From The Encyclopedia of Skepticism and the Paranormal

Billy Meier's story has prompted a great deal of research into his claims, both by skeptics and those within the UFO community who expected to confirm his reports. What was discovered is that the Billy Meier story actually represents the biggest UFO hoax in history. Upon close examination it was discovered that not one of his alleged photographs were original prints, but all had been airbrushed or otherwise altered.

Models of some of the spacecraft seen in his photo's were found in his house. In one video of an alleged flying saucer, the spacecraft can clearly be seen to be swinging pendulum style as if it were suspended by a wire. The photograph of an alleged Pleiadian alien was discovered to be a photocopy of a model taken from a Sears Catalog. Under close scrutiny, all of Billy Meier's alleged evidence has been shown to be false.

Yet, Billy Meier's claims survived for many years within the UFO community, being touted as the best evidence for the reality of alien visitation. There are still those who will not admit the entire case is a complete fraud. Meanwhile, Meier has made a great deal of money from the sale of his book and other material in which he discusses his hoaxed contact with aliens.'


Michael Horn
Authorized American Media Representative
The Billy Meier Contacts

Interview with David Colquhoun ()


    Professor of Pharmacology at University College London
    Writes the Improbable Science blog

Randi Speaks ()

  • The Uncompromising Observations of a Veteran Skeptic

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

    This week's topic: Mentalism

Science or Fiction ()

Question #1: Chimpanzees in the wild have been observed hording and trading scarce succulent leaves as currency, exchanging them for food, preferred sleeping locations, and even sex. Question #2: Cancer researchers find in animal studies that Vitamin C does have cancer fighting activity. Question #3: Consumer researchers found that sales can be increased by first confusing consumers about their prospective purchase.

Skeptical Puzzle ()

This Week's Puzzle:

This is a logic puzzle.

Each of these sets of numbers represents an object:

4, 4, 6
8, 6, 12
6, 8, 12
20, 12, 30
12, 20, 30

Identify each object by name.

Last Week's puzzle:

Once upon a time, there was a king, and he enjoyed reading books. His sole urge was to better express his personality through his readings. The impersonal life he led would cause him to travel far and wide. It was once said that he would always travel with his 3 favorite books. The first book was a bible, and the second book was a guide book.

Can you tell me the title of the 3rd book?

Winner: Peacock

Quote of the Week ()

'I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.'- Carl Sagan

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 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'. 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto and is used with permission.


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