SGU Episode 791

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SGU Episode 791
September 5th 2020
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 790                      SGU 792

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

TD: Tim Dodd

Quote of the Week

Certain people – men, of course – discouraged me, saying [science] was not a good career for women. That pushed me even more to persevere.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, French virologist

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

COVID-19 Update ()[edit]

News Items[edit]






(laughs) (laughter) (applause) [inaudible]

Nuclear Diamond Batteries ()[edit]

Instant COVID Testing ()[edit]

'Blanets' ()[edit]

Detecting Alien Biochemistry ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy? ()[edit]

  • Answer to last week’s Noisy: _brief_description_perhaps_with_link_

New Noisy ()[edit]


Questions/Emails/Corrections/Follow-ups ()[edit]

Question #1: Star-gazing Permit ()[edit]

I was listening to your show mentioning how enjoyable it was to go stargazing and watch the Perseids meteor shower and am aware that some of the hosts live in or near the New York area. New York has a requirement to get a permit for stargazing (maybe only in a few parks and beaches; I'm unsure), and I was wondering what your thoughts are on this. Doesn't this inherently limit stargazers? Is there a benefit to the permit fee, or is it just revenue for the state? Do you know of other states that do this? Is this an 'anti-science' permit for charging people to enjoy the night sky? Thanks for your time!
– Derek Swinamer, British Columbia, Canada

Interview with Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut ()[edit]

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Answer Item
Fiction Slower traffic
Science Rust on moon
Political ads
Host Result
Steve win
Rogue Guess
Political ads
Slower traffic
Slower traffic
Political ads

Voiceover: It's time for Science or Fiction.

Item #1: An extensive study finds that political ads have an insignificant effect on voter choice, regardless of any variable considered, such as political affiliation, location, and positive vs. negative ads.[5]
Item #2: A traffic simulation finds that small numbers of autonomous vehicles (<20%) could significantly slow overall traffic.[6]
Item #3: A new study suggests that oxygen from Earth has been reacting with iron on the surface of the Moon.[7]

Cara's Response[edit]

Evan's Response[edit]

Bob's Response[edit]

Jay's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

Certain people – men, of course – discouraged me, saying [science] was not a good career for women. That pushed me even more to persevere.
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, French virologist

Signoff/Announcements ()[edit]

S: —and until next week, this is your Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.

S: Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU Productions, dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. For more information, visit us at Send your questions to And, if you would like to support the show and all the work that we do, go to and consider becoming a patron and becoming part of the SGU community. Our listeners and supporters are what make SGU possible.

Today I Learned[edit]

  • Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference[8]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description



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