SGU Episode 594

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SGU Episode 594
November 26th 2016
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 593                      SGU 595

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune,— often the surfeit of our own behavior,— we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!

William Shakespeare - King Lear, act 1, scene 2, Edmund

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


  • Thanksgiving plans

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

What's the Word (4:42)[edit]

  • Autopoiesis, Autological

S: Cara, you're gonna get us started with What's the Word?

C: Yeah, and you know what? I got an email from Kevin Folta, and he recommended that we try something new, and I want to see how well it goes.

E: Okay.

C: Now, Steve, you know the word, because we always discuss it before the show, but I would love to make somebody at random, like ... Evan!

E: I'm random.

C: You're random. How would you like to use the word autopoeisis in a sentence?

E: Please pass the autopoiesis, I haven't had enough.

C: (Laughs) Yeah, not anywhere close. Um, autopoeisis – A-U-T-O-P-O-E-I-S-I-S, was recommended as the word this week by Goran Callech (I hope I'm pronouncing your name correctly) in Canada. Autopoeisis, I actually want to start with the roots, with the etymology, 'cause I think it makes more sense. And then work backward, to the definition.

It's made up of the Greek roots auto, meaning self, and poeisis, meaning creation or production. Poeisis can be further reduced to the verb that means to make. It's the root of the word poetry, which is the result of making, creating, and composing. But this is a modern term. It was first coined by Umberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, two scientists from Chile, who used the word to describe the way that cells self-regulate their biochemistry.

It's an interesting word, because if you look it up in a traditional dictionary, like Merriam-Webster, its definitions are horse's mouth definitions. So, it gives two of them. Quote,

“The property of a living system, such as a bacterial cell, or multicellular organism, that allows it to maintain and renew itself by regulating its composition, and conserving its boundaries. The notion of autopoeisis is at the core of a shift in perspective about biological phenomena. It expresses that the mechanisms of self-production are the key to understand both the diversity and the uniqueness of living.”

And this is a direct quote from Francisco Varela in Self-Organizing Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach, published in 1981. There's another quote from Lynn Margoulis and Dorian Sagan from What is Life in 2000, that says,

”All living things, from bacterial speck to congressional midi member evolved from the ancient common ancestor, which evolved autopoeisis, and thus became the first living cell.”

So really, it's this idea that the cell as a unit is self-regulating and self-sufficient. Goran, in his email to us, actually wrote – this is super-interesting. I love this, because it expands well beyond biology.

”While reading a paper about machine autonomy, I came across a word that I thought might be interesting for you to explore on the show – autopoeisis. My understanding is that autopoeisis can be used to describe any process generated by the system itself. The word is not limited to biology. The seemingly broad application of the word makes it particularly interesting. For instance, in philosophy, a person is morally autonomous only if his or her moral principles are his or her own. As such, one could say some religious followers are not morally autopoetic.”

First of all, it's a complicated word, for sure, because I think there are other terms that describe components of it. Like, it's not quite the same thing as homeostasis, and it's not quite the same thing as feedback mechanisms, but they sort of feed into it. But it is a very specific, and I think a very poetic word, that can be used to describe this self-sustaining, or self-regulating way that cells keep up with their own biochemistry.

S: It's kind of a higher level concept

C: Yes

S: than homeostasis. It's

C: Absolutely. It includes homeostasis

S: Yes

C: among other sort of functions.

S: Right

C: But it reminds me of another word, which was recommended by another listener, Alba. Alba wrote to us - do you guys remember when I did the word relict?

E: Yes

B: Yep

E: With a T

C: And kind of talked about the difference between the two, yeah. And so, Alba wrote,

”Your observation that the word relict is itself a relict made me think of a word I'd like to suggest – autological.

S: I love this word.

C: The property -” it's so good!

”It's the property of a word that describes itself.”

So I found a great article by Mental Floss that lists a bunch of autological words. Word is autological, because the word word is a word. English is autological because it's written in English.

E: Hey!

C: Noun is autological because it is a noun. Verb is not, because the word verb is a noun. You like that?

E: I do.

C: Here's a good one: Polysyllabic, lots of syllables there. Sesquipedalian, that word means long word. (Laughs)

S: Yeah

C: It's a pretty long word. Unhyphenated is not hyphenated. So that's good.

E: I never thought of that!

C: Isn't that funny? And here's a good one, but let me see if I can pronounce it correctly. Properoxytone. And that word, the definition of the word properoxytone means that you stress it on the anti-pnultimate syllable, that's the third to last syllable. And it's proper-ox-ytone, so it is autological. So many fun ones here.

S: Can you guys think of one? Just think of one off the top your head? How about the word sound, since it makes a sound.

C: Yeah, that's a good one. The opposite of autological is heterological. Oh, this is great. In the Mental Floss article:

“The opposite of autological is heterological. A heterological word, like yellow, or square, does not describe itself. So does heterological describe itself? If yes, then by definition, it's autological. So then it doesn't describe itself. But if no, then heterological is heterological, therefore it actually does describe itself, which means it's autological. Am I blowing your mind?”


C: It's pretty good. All right.

S: So heterological

C: It's so fun

S: cannot be either heterological or autological.

C: No, yeah. A heterological word, by definition, does not describe itself, or is one that does not apply to itself, like long is not long. Verb is not a verb. Yeah, all these meta words are really awesome.

News Items[edit]

Improving Photosynthesis (10:44)[edit]

Turkey Domestication (23:20)[edit]

EM Drive (29:49)[edit]

(Membership drive 39:19 – Harry Potter themed)

Tweaking Mitochondria (41:59)[edit]

Orcas Evolving (53:08)[edit]

Who's That Noisy (1:04:53)[edit]

  • Answer to last week: Binary stars

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Theme: Native Americans

Item #1: There are more Native Americans living today than there were in 1492, according to the average estimates of population at that time.[1]
Item #2: Native American words that found their way into English include all of the following: chipmunk, pecan, racoon, skunk, avocado, chocolate, shack, barbecue, tomato, and cannibal.[2]
Item #3: The term "Sioux" is not the real name of the Sioux tribe, but derives from an insulting name told to the French by their Algonquian neighbors.[3]

Answer Item
Host Result
Rogue Guess

Voice-over: It's time for "Science or Fiction."

S: Each week, I come up with three science news items or facts, two real, and one fictitious. I challenge my expert skeptics to tell me which one they think is the fakeroni. We have a theme this week, as you guys might have anticipated, in honor of Thanksgiving. The theme


S: is ...

B: You said you weren't gonna do that.

C: Yeah!

S: The theme is ...

E: Surprise!

S: native Americans.

C: (Groaning) Oh god. (Laughs) Okay.

S: Native Americans. Okay, here we go: Item #1: There are more Native Americans living today than there were in 1492, according to the average estimates of population at that time. Item #2: Native American words that found their way into English include all of the following: chipmunk, pecan, racoon, skunk, avocado, chocolate, shack, barbecue, tomato, and cannibal.

(Cara laughs)

S: That's not an exhausive list. It may include more than those words, but it does include all of the ones that I mentioned. And, item #3: The term "Sioux" (Proncounced soo) is not the real name of the Sioux tribe, but derives from an insulting name told to the French by their Algonquian neighbors. Bob, go first.

B: More native Americans living today than in 1492. Maybe yes, no, I mean, either way, I could buy it. And there's nothing here that I could say that would make me lean one way more than the other. I mean, I'm sure ... I don't know.

Okay, let's go to two: All those words. I mean, I guess I could buy most of them. The one that stands out though is chocolate. Chocolate? I'm not buyin' that one. I could be wrong. And the Sioux one, sure, I could see that that was derogatory. I mean, why not? So, what the hell? I'm gonna go with the chocolate one, say that is fiction, maybe?

S: Okay. Evan?

E: More native Americans living today than in 1492? There were probably – I'll take this wild stab at it – two million, maybe three million in the Americas at the time. And there would think that there's probably more than that today. So I think that one's right. Yeah, the one I'm having trouble with here is the word. And I think the word I'm having the most problem with is tomato. All the other ones, I notice a pattern in the other words, which I won't reveal for the sake of the people who haven't guessed yet. But I will say that tomato stands out to me as the one word there.

And then the last one, the term Sioux not the real name of the Sioux tribe, derives from insulting name. (Winces) Well, (sighs) see, the problem I have with this one is that I think it's gonna turn out to be that Sioux's not the real name, but it didn't derive from an insulting name. It's by the French, uh, told to the French by their Algonquin neighbours. Maybe that is the story about the Sioux.

All right, what the heck, I'll join Bob to the bus and say that the native American words one is gonna be the fiction.

S: Okay. Cara?

C: I'm gonna go backward. I think that the Sioux, sounds like a French word. So I'm sure that they heard Sioux from, well, I'm not sure, but it sounds quite likely that they heard Sioux from Algonquins, they heard it pronounced, and they wrote it like that, because S-I-U-X definitely looks French to me.

S: S-I-O-U-X.

C: Sorry, S-I-O-U-X. Geez, just skipping letters. Words that found their way into English from Native American tribes. Chipmunk, sure; pecan (peh-khan) – I like that you guys say pee-can. Peh-hkan, raccoon, skunk, avocado, chocolate, shack, barbecue makes me laugh, but that's because in my mind, I keep thinking like a bottle of barbecue sauce. But I'm sure that you're actually talking about cooking something over fire. Tomato and cannibal, okay.

I'm having a real issue with the idea that there are more native Americans living today than there were in 1492. We decimated the native American population, decimated. I mean, the trail of tears, like smallpox, so many native Americans were slaughtered.

E: You say ninety percent of them when you say decimated.

C: So many. And so I really

B: Hah

(Evan chuckles)

C: think that

S: Ten percent.

E: Right, ten percent left.

C: Yeah, so I

S: No, decimate means to remove one tenth.

B: Oh!

C: Oh.

E: Oh, I thought you leave one tenth remaining.

C: We decimated times nine-plus.


S: That's just the etymology. Now means to wipe out, you know.

C: Yeah. I mean, between intentional murder, and displacement, and also rampant disease, I really would be surprised if somehow, the numbers had bounced back. Like, that's just crazy. I know there were less people in 1492, but we're talking less people in cities, we're talking less people culturally. I don't know. I think there were probably a lot of native Americans living in the Americas before the white settlers came over. So I'm gonna go with that as the fiction.

S: Okay. And Jay.

J: Uh, so, okay, so there's more native Americans living today than there were in 1942.

S: 1492.

(Cara laughs)

J: 1492.

(Evan chuckles)

J: Exactly. All right.

S: There's definitely more living today than there were in 1942.

(Cara is still laughing)

E: Hope so.

J: Has it really ... awesome idea here, right?

S: Yeah, isn't that interesting?

J: How many were there back then?

S: 'Cause there's different factors that you can take in consideration.

J: That is so long ago, that's such a long time ago, it's interesting. All right, so I'm not sure about that. I gotta put it on the back burner, and see what we got next. So, this one here about English words deriving from native American – yes, I've totally, absolutely, absolutely think that we pulled a lot of language from them. So the last one here, Sioux...

B: Even chocolate?

(Cara chuckles)

J: Yeah, I mean, the thing is, Bob, I can't imagine Steve said, “Yes, they did chipmunk, but no, not chocolate.” That's the thing. I think it's just the idea that, did we get words from them or not? And I would say absolutely. There's too much interaction with them, and too much talking in order for us not to borrow some words from their language.

B: That's not the point though.

J: Okay, so this last one about the Sioux name deriving from the French by ... that's interesting. Is not the real name, but is derivative of some insult. Okay, I don't think that one is true. But I'm not sure about the first one either, about how many live today, versus 1492. Huh. I just don't think that the Sioux nation, their name is actual, derogatory term, at all. I don't believe – that one's gotta be the fake.

S: Okay, wow!

C: Ooh!

S: So you guys are all spread out.

E: All over the place.

S: Very interesting.

B: Which means you can't win.

S: Which means I can take (Cara laughs) that, for me that is a win. I like when they're all spread out. Which means I can take these in any order. Let's do these in reverse order. We'll start with number three.

The term Sioux is not the real name of the Sioux tribe, but derives from an insulting name told to the French by their Algonquian neighbors. Jay, you think this one is the fiction. Everyone else thinks this one is science. And this one is ...

B: Say it.

S: science.

B: Yeah, baby.

C: Yeah!

S: Very interesting story here. And I read multiple sources. Everyone tells it in a slightly different way, but there is definitely some overlap here. So, yes, so the basic story goes that the French asked the Algonquians, what are their names? The names of those guys over there. And the Algonquian, who didn't like them,

B: Oh, they're assholes! (Laughs)

S: said basically, the word translates to snakes,

C: Wow!

S: but in the diminutive, derogatory. So, probably the best translation into current culture would be, “Oh, those guys? They're effin' little snakes.”

C: (Laughs) That's the best.

B: Whoa!

C: I like.

S: Yeah

C: Not snakes in the grass.

S: Yeah, they're effin' little snakes. They're diminutive pejorative, right? So, you know, effin' little snakes. And that word is (I'm probably gonna butcher all of the actual words), it was notowisay, or notowiso. Notoway is the singular, and the notowasoo is the plural. And then the French just cut it down to Sioux, and spelling it French, as you said, Cara, the French spelling of it. So they made it plural, so it's effin' little snakes, instead of little snake. Notowasoo was

B: They must hate that!

S: Yeah, they do! They do. So one of the references I read was the Lakota Times newsletter, because their real name is the Lakota. There's actually three tribes

B: Oh, I've heard that!

E: Yes

S: There's the Dakota, the Lakota, and the Nokota. Yeah, so that, they make the, what would now refer to as the Sioux nation, but they're really the Dakota, the Lakota, and the Nokota, so that the Lakota newsletter, the guy was giving the whole history of the etymology of the word. So that was one of the sources that I used. Very, very interesting.

So, yeah, they don't like to be referred to as the Sioux. They are the Lakota. You know, they want to be referred to by their tribe name.

E: As they should.

S: Yeah, as they should. Yeah. I mean, that was kind of shitty, that that's, imagine that that was a really negative word that their enemies use,

E: Right

S: essentially, that got stuck as the word, even though it was the end of the word, Frenchified. It was still the insult that ended up getting used as the term for. And they also just grouped a bunch of tribes together. So, “You guys are all the Sioux,” you know?

C: Yeah

S: Yeah

B: Wow!

S: It was really, very, very insulting.

C: And they're like, “I don't even know that guy! What are you talkin' about?”

S: I know.

B: And it's not an obscure tribe name. I mean, Sioux, you could argue, is one of the ...

S: It's one of the biggest.

B: Top three or four.

C: It's like Cherokee or something, yeah.

B: You'd know. People have

S: Yeah

B: heard that, and know it.

S: Yeah, collectively one of the most populous tribes. Okay, let's go back to number two: Native American words that found their way into English include all of the following: Chipmunk, pecan (pih-khan)

B: Hah!

S: pic-can.

(Cara laughs)

S: Raccoons,

E: Yeah

S: skunk, avocado, chocolate, shack, barbecue, tomato, and cannibal.

B: But you didn't mean to say chocolate shack, right? It's chocolate comma shack, right?

S: Yes, that's correct.

(Cara and Bob laugh)

S: So, Bob and Evan

E: Yeah

S: think that this one is the fiction.

C: Ugh

B: I don't know what a chocolate shack would be, but I wanna go there.

S: Yeah, I want to go to the chocolate shack. They think this one is fiction, Jay and Cara think this one is science. And this one is ... science!

(Evan growls with exaggerated frustration. Bob growls like he's in real pain)

C: Yes!!

S: Those are all native American words.

B: Chocolate! That's really chocolate!

C: (Extremely happy / excited) Yes!!

S: Chocolate! There are more! There are lots more. I was surprised.

B: I believe it, but they don't sound like

J: I knew it, Bob!

B: what I would expect, especially chocolate. What do you mean, you knew it? You knew chocolate came from native Americans?

S: (Laughs) Chocolate was definitely the ringer. I put that one in there. I mean, there are a lot that are obvious, like pupoose, you know.

B: Yeah, of course!


S: Wigwam.

E: Wigwam!

S: Totem

C: Wigwam!

S: Totem, right? Like, you had to put totem on the list?

C: Tomato would have gotten me too, 'cause I would have not thought that that was a native American

S: Tomato, and

C: plant.

S: and potato, and woodchuck.

C: Yeah, potato.

S: Woodchuck though, sounds like woodchuck. But whatever.

(Cara laughs)

B: I'm still hung up on chocolate! I mean, how did they influence the naming of that delicious (inaudible) What in the hell?

C: (French accent) Chocolat!

B: Right!

S: Possum. Avocado.

E: Nice, chocolate.

S: What percentage of the American states are named after Indian names?

B: Ooh! Good question!

C: Probably twenty-five percent.

E: Indiana.

B: 25.1 percent.

C: Dakotas?

S: Fifty, fifty percent.

J: Seven.

C: Fifty percent?

B: WHA-A-A-A!?

C: What!

S: Half.

B: Good for them, good for them. At the very least, Jesus.

(Cara laughs)

S: A lot of animals, a lot of food, and a lot of states, basically got named after

C: Very cool.

S: They absorbed the Indian name. Here's another one on the list. Pow-wow. Yeah, we know about that, pow-wow.

C: Yeah

S: Wigwam. Did I mention that?

C: I like wigwam. That's such a

B: Yes you did.

S: Squaw?

C: I love how ... yeah.

E: Squaw.

S: Squaw.

C: Teepee.

S: Those are the – yeah, those are the obvious ones. A lot of words, we use. Poncho, manatee.

C: Manatee? Aw.

S: (Inaudible) Kayote, mosquite, guacamole, coyote.

B: Guacamole!

S: Chili – oh, I meant to put chili on there, chili. That was very good.

C: That's true, 'cause when we think of them as being Spanish, but obviously that was native American first.

S: Yeah. All right.

B: (Grumpy sigh) Chocolate.

S: (chuckling) Okay.

E: Tomato.

S: This means that there are more native Americans living today than there were in 1492, according to the average estimates of population at that time. That is the fiction.

C: Woo-hoo!

S: This was a tough one. I almost had to make this the fiction, because we don't know how many native Americans there were living at the time. There's a number of different sources on this. That's why I had to take the average. The range of estimates ranges from two million

E: Yep

S: to eighteen million, living at the time. The average though, and this is, I think, the – and multiple sources say that the consensus of scholarly opinion is that it's about ten million.

C: Yeah

S: But others say that we really don't know. It could be a huge range, but two to eighteen is like, the range, with ten being the average of those estimates. So let's say ten. So, how many do you think are alive today?

C: Uh, one percent?

E: Are we calling native Americans hundren percent? Or fifty percent? What are we ...

B: Yeah, good question.

S: That's a good question, that's a good question.

C: Yeah

S: So, we don't know, is really the answer. But what we do have in the United States is census data. And what we can say is, this is the number of people who listed only native American or Alaskan native as their ethnicity. And then there's another percentage of people who listed it as their ethnicity, but along with other ethnicities. So, we have those numbers.

About 2.5 million people listed native American or Alaskan native as their only ethnicity, and then another three million, for a total of about five million, listed it along with other races. But that's the self-report on census data. But that's probably not too far off. So, there is a little bit of overlap. The two million pure blood

E: That's right!

S: if you will,

E: Yeah

S: native Americans is right at the lower end of the estimates. That's why I had to say “the average estimate,” because two million is, like 2.1 or whatever million is the lowest estimate for the population in 1492. And obviously, for those who don't know, I chose that date, because that's the date that Columbus landed in the New World. That was ...

B: Wait, what kind of average? Mean, median, or mode?

S: Doesn't matter, they're all greater than the two whatever million.

C: So there's still a good chance that it was, you know, hacked by a fifth, or by four ...

S: Well, hang on, that's the population today. Obviously, it's rebounded tremendously

C: That's true.

S: in the last century. So how low did it go? How low did the

B: Yeah, that's the question.

S: Native A-

E: Hundreds of thousands, probably.

C: Yeah, tens of thousands.

S: It got down to about two hundred thousand,

C: Yeah

S: at the lowest point.

J: I wouldn't say tens of thousands, definitely.

S: Around nineteen hundred or so.

C: That's not many people.

S: Yeah, eighteen

B: From what though? What were they at their height, or was that 1492? Oh, you already said that.

E: Upwards of eighteen!

C: Let's say ten million.

B: Okay.

S: Yeah, ten million, that's an average estimate. Ten million

B: Wow!

S: before 1492, down to two hundred thousand.

B: We effed them up!

E: That's bad. That's really bad.

B: That's god-damn genocide! What the hell!

S: It was, it was genocide.

C: Of course that's genocide. Well accepted that it was genocide.

B: Sure

S: Some of it was deliberate,

E: Ugh

S: as Cara said, a lot of it was smallpox, measles, diseases. It was just, they had no resistance to our European diseases. Wiped them out.

E: Yeah

S: I mean, that really destroyed them. And then we just took their land. You know, that ...

C: Yeah, we just made them walk for like miles and miles.

E: The age of conquering, yeah.

B: I got a question. Why didn't they wipe out ...

S: 'Cause we lived in cities, and we bred all these diseases.

B: Oh, I ...

S: And the more tightly packed your population is, the more diseases you develop. And so we, city dwellers, with all of our fancy diseases, going to, again, more rural kind of lower population density, didn't have a lot of the similar diseases.

B: Okay, makes sense.

S: It was very asymmetrical in that way.

C: And let's be clear: Smallpox did kill a lot of white people too.

S: Yeah

E: Oh, sure did.

C: It just like, we had known about it for a long time. We had been around it. People were starting to like, immunize against it, right?

S: Yeah, survivors.

(Unintelligible cross talk)

C: Where they would like, cut their skin, and put a little bit of pox in it.

B: Yeah!

E: That's right

C: And hope they didn't (laughs) catch it.

E: First innoculation, at the time.

C: Super gross.

S: That was a lot later though. That was in the 1800's, but, yeah.

E: Eighteen, late seventeen.

C: Yeah, that's true, you're right.

S: But it was just, yeah, the people, there was some natural immunity to it. It wasn't as devastating to European populations, but the completely virgin native Americans were just, they had no, the entire, entire tribes would get wiped out by disease, you know, when we started showing up. It was bad. It was really bad.

Here's another interesting thing that I – and I knew this, but this is one of the things that I was reading about recently: So you know that horses evolved in the Americas.

E: Yes

B: Yep

S: And then they migrated across the Bering Strait into Asia and then Europe. And they did that multiple times. In fact, originally, paleontologists thought that horses evolved in Europe, because if you look at the fossil record, there are these sequential changes in the horse species over time.

B: But they've been there for so long.

S: They were successive migrations

B: Oh!

S: from the Americas,

C: Cool

S: where the,

B: Whoa!

S: and it wasn't until they really found the fossil evidence of horses in the Americas that they realized, “Oh, crap! They evolved here! And they were just migrating, the different species were migrating over to Asia and Europe.”

But, the horses died out in the Americas. Again, it's controversial whether or not they were wiped out by over-hunting by the indigenous populations, or something else, but they were gone. Then Europeans brought horses back to the Americas

B: Wow

S: and reintroduced them into

B: Circle of life.

S: yeah, native American culture, totally transforming native American culture, 'cause they, obviously, horses are incredibly useful, you know. Domesticated animals in general are, I mean, think about it.

J: Yeah, I mean, could you imagine, where would transportation come from if horses weren't there? And what effect did they have on the progress of humanity?

C: Just travel, just being able to move at all, like ...

S: And just carry heavy loads. (Inaudible due to crosstalk) fields.

C: You and all your stuff.

S: Yeah. And they plow your fields.

B: Are buffalo domesticatable?

S: Buffalo were never domesticated.

C: Camels kind of serve a horse-like function in the Middle East. They're domesticated.

S: But there's no equivalent in Africa. Africa had no beast of burden to domesticate. Zebras are not domesticatable.

C: Yeah

S: Imagine if it were.

E: You sure about that?

S: Yeah, I'm sure about that.

C: It's interesting too, 'cause they have so much hoof stock, and none of that works.

S: Yeah

B: (Chuckles) Hoof stock

C: They're all kind of

B: Cool!

C: Yeah, they have a lot of hoof stock. They have a lot of – what are they called? Ungulates?

S: Yeah, they don't follow a herd leader, you know. The programming wasn't there to be domesticated. But the horse

B: Which animals?

C: Like a wildebeast

S: In Africa.

C: If they could have domesticated that.

S: There wasn't one. It just so happens that a pack of horses has a stallion leader, you know. So,

C: Yeah

S: they're already programmed to follow someone else. Just like dogs. Dogs have a pack leader.

E: Pack, yeah.

S: They're already programmed. So humans could step in. They go, “Nope, we're the leader now. Now you follow us. We're

C: Yeah, that's true.

S: the pack leader.” But zebras,

B: Yes master.

S: some herd animals, there's just no one leader. They're just, whatever. Yeah, the whole idea of domestication is fascinating. Good job, Cara. Sole loser last week, right? And

C: Yeah

S: sole winner ...

E: Oh, wow!

C: I've come back!

S: Reversal of fortune, yep.

C: Woo!

(A few seconds of silence)

E: Oh, yeah, it was a good stretch.

S: We broke that.

E: (Inaudible) see here I think.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:29:03)[edit]

"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune,— often the surfeit of our own behavior,— we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!" William Shakespeare - King Lear, act 1, scene 2, Edmund

Announcement (1:30:53)[edit]

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