SGU Episode 823
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|SGU Episode 823|
|April 17th 2021|
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|S: Steven Novella
|Quote of the Week|
Voiceover: You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.
S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Today is Wednesday, April 14th. 2021, and this is your host, Steven Novella. Joining me this week are Bob Novella...
B: Hey, everybody!
S: Cara Santa Maria...
S: Jay Novella...
J: Hey guys.
S: ...and Evan Bernstein.
E: Hello everyone.
S: This was one of those heavy news weeks, heavy weeks. Usually I suspect that two of the news items, we're going to talk about this week are going to be two of the biggest science news items of the year. If not one and two, I think they'll both be in the top we'll get to them in a minute.
COVID-19 Update ()
But first, there's another sort of big item. It's a follow-up to last week. Last week, I gave a follow-up to the AstraZeneca blood Issue. This is the European main European vaccine AstraZeneca for covid and there was been some reported blood clots. Most of them are probably not above background. However, there was one subset of clots in young people like less than 50 mostly. Women specifically in the brain, CBS T, to do venous sinus. Thrombosis associated with thrombocytopenia low blood platelets, which are the four elements. Unusual and Steve, isn't it? Isn't another factor that the, the symptoms arose within two to four weeks after the shot. I went in like 16 days an Audi. Yeah. So they were within the timeframe of that of the vaccine could give clotting and low platelet count so I'm sure that's in your description somewhere. Well, yeah, because they're dysfunctional. Platelets is the problem right there. There's low number but they're causing clotting. All right. Yeah. Then there's been a couple of different Publications including one recently in the New England Journal.
Listen looking at potential mechanisms, it's certainly plausible that it is a vaccine induced autoimmune disease causing this but the numbers are extremely low, absolute numbers and there's still some heated debate about the risk versus benefit. Like you're going to be saving thousands of lives with the vaccine and one or two.
CBS T, this rig will be this, Venous Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia in women between the ages of 18 and 48. So the same demographics. Same kind of clinical picture. The same blood clot. Same time frame when the two weeks after
Also Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the boy AstraZeneca vaccine are both Adeno virus vaccine. So there's, they're similar. They're not the same, the JJ is a human, adenovirus ashes. Anika is a chimpanzee adenovirus but they're both modified Adeno viruses. You know, they took that virus, they weaken. Did they made it produce the protein from the covid virus that Yes, I think it's old-school. It's sure to be absolutely clear like the moderna and Pfizer vaccines. There are no problems with them hundred million Doses and more in the US and There's really no issues and they've been out longer. And the to be clear with the J&J vaccine, we are seeing. It's a very, very, very, very, very, very, very rare. That's what the numbers. The numbers are similar to The AstraZeneca vaccine in sort of an order of magnitude. So there have been with almost 7 million doses. There have been six cases of cut, one death, so that's Million to one of the In the card ends in 70 million members of developing of dying from it. Although and all in youngish women all in women 1848, here's my concern and this comes up because earlier today on my 900th job because apparently I'm not doing, you know I also do a live daily hit for my local PBS station every day and our reporters today. Cover the fact that Governor Newsom has decided to suspend use here in. In California. And I think we're starting to see this across and so and it's like, okay well we've got enough other vaccines we're probably okay we know that only you know kids can only take the Pfizer, one 16 17 year olds can only take the Pfizer one, so we're covered there. But the concern is that we have such a large population of unhoused individuals and the one shot vaccine is so important for public health and to completely suspended
Even though the vast majority of individuals who would be receiving, it are older and Men it worries me that those people might not end up getting the coverage that they need, because they might be hard to track down for a second do. So why can't they just order a limitation on who can receive the Johnson? So I think that much more complicated to be clear, the CDC and the FDA presented a joint statement where they recommended pausing the vaccine the FDA did not pull. Its emergency use authorization. They didn't ban it, they didn't stop it. They basically left it up to the states with their recommendation of pausing, until they have a chance of investigating these reports. And so, the states can do, what they feel is necessary depending on how their vaccine rollout is going, so you're correct. The one sort of Niche for this vaccine. The J&J vaccine are the poor because they, as you say they can't, it's a One-Shot vaccine. It's easier for that to happen and to schedule Two Shots. It's also doesn't need the cold chain. You can refrigerate it to the world.
Is it better for really? What is more convenient? Yeah, way more convenient, absolutely. However, however, this is complicated, look at the big picture, it's less than 5% of the total doses given have been J&J. So it's a very tiny part of America's vaccine roll out. The other thing is, there was a huge problem. They tried to shift their manufacture to Baltimore to the United States. I think it was in the Dutch factories making it and there was a problem with contamination and millions of doses.
Had to be thrown away. So we're actually in the middle of a shortage of J&J vaccine, right? When this happened. So you're already people were not able to get the James a vaccine. So that's interesting. Just coincidence. Yeah, and if you crunch the numbers, I can do this, I know there might be subpopulations that were that this could affect. But if you look at the numbers between the moderna and the Pfizer vaccines, they are putting out enough, vaccines more than 3 million a day. To keep up with our ability to get shots in people's arms and to keep up with demand. And so this is probably not here in California, the demand is fine, the issue is, are there people who won't be able to reach and yeah, you know what, we have been able to if we had a single shot vaccine available to us. So you have to factor all this together. You gotta take a few run, the calculation, the those 7 million people, who got the je vaccine that saved, thousands of lives compared to the one person who died from
Side effects. Oh yeah, risk versus benefit versus benefit is on the favor of giving the vaccine, but and we do this all time, the FDA will approve a drug that, you know, has a one-in-a-million death toll. That's not, that's not a deal killer for a drug, you just got a black box warning and then you can save what they really they wanted Physicians to be fully aware of this side effect that you don't treat it. Like you, normally treat blood clots, they wanted patients to report symptoms. So this is partly for public awareness. It's partly for transparency. C and B, each state has to make a decision about whether or not but the risk versus benefit is I do. Unfortunately think that this is going to lead to increased vaccine hesitancy, but it was going to do that in writing how they handled. It. Just the mere fact of it was going to do that no matter how they handled it. Yeah. It's up here. It's a, it's very tough to do this right? PR wise. Yeah, so you have to kind of spinach be at this, you have to say well this is this is proof that the system is working. We had very careful monitoring system in place. It picked this up.
With very few numbers are being very cautious. This vaccine hasn't been out in Only as long as Pfizer of modernity and so that those two vaccines have had many more doses over a longer period of time with nothing showing. No, no, red flags cropping up. So this the system is working and your faith in the system, should be pretty high. And we could quibble about this decision because it's a hard but and you could add them there. And there are people who are praising the decision and people were criticizing it for the reasons that we just reviewed because it's a no-win scenario. So just going to pick The other lesser of two evils here. They did the best job. They could I think in terms of making decisions again, you could argue that but again, they they didn't pull it just to be clear, they just get a recommendation of pausing at the states, aren't for deciding whether or not to to pause it. And I think that in Most states are but like, in Connecticut, we don't need to change any back. So, we're doing fine with the other two, and it's not going to delay. Anyone getting a vaccine who wants it at all. So, if for States like that, fine, and definitely going down
Depositing it in rural States and poor states. And they may it may cause some prize isn't the downside that the people whose lives would have been saved. That's not going to happen. But what I'm saying is in a state where they can just substitute moderna and Pfizer with no delay in vaccination, then you avoid that in states where you can't do that, they have to think very carefully about, you know, how much of a delay it's going to cause, that's insane. You're right in States for that. At math but I get like there are definitely some states where they have plenty of Pfizer, a majority of vaccine and some of them are even saying if you were scheduled to get a change, a vaccine will give you a moderna vaccine, keep your show up and you'll get your vaccine. You know there's no delay in a lot of places. You can't even choose what? Yeah, but I'm saying if you were already scheduled for the change, right? Yeah. And, and we'll see, we'll see how it plays out in every state. So, it's unfortunate, you know? But it's not. Hey, we think of how many different vaccines we cranked out in a year. Oh, yeah, when you study it, in 10, 20, 30, 40 thousand people, and then you give it to millions. Of course, things are going to crop up when you give it to millions and it's what's going to crop up. Are these rare things that happen, one in a million, you're not going to see a one-in-a-million side effect. When you study thousand people. That's why we have the monitoring system that we do to pick this up when it happens. And so I also think like the FDA said they're acting out of an abundance of caution. So I wonder if like how much they adjusted their standard operating procedure to the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic. You know what I mean? Because if there was not a pandemic, this is a no-brainer. This is easy. You pause it. You collect the data, you study it.
But when you know pausing, it can cost thousands of lives and the calculation is different. And it's, you know, so they just had a very just just like with the European countries. They made a bunch of different decisions. I think the UK nailed it, where they didn't pause it. They waited for the data and then once it came in, they said, all right, we're not going to give this to young women or people who are low risk for covid-19. Just give it to older populations, they kind of stick right into. I think what the best risk management scenario that there is, yeah, you know. But anyway, we're totally Monday morning quarterbacking all this absolutely. But yeah, we have all this I mean we still don't actually have all the information and that's the interesting thing about this unrolling. You know where we are. Yeah. Steve I heard that they were going to have a big meeting today and really talk about. Yeah. Did anything come out of that specific night? I haven't see. I think we're going to start meeting say I don't know they were going to issue statements today probably later this week or early next week I would expect every they're definitely fast tracking it so more cases are going to come forward just because of Under reporting but also
There are people who are still in the window, like, they got their vaccine three days ago and they're still having that two week window. So more there definitely will be more cases the current count as an under report, but it's still going to be. I think similar to what we're seeing now, you know, a single digits per million people. That's but the other thing is, like that when I wrote about this in science-based medicine, this is sort of my conclusion. It's like, yeah, this is sort of this is unfortunate, but it's par for the course. This is what it I'd like to roll out new medications and we monitor them and respond appropriately. Everything is playing out exactly as it should. When you really think about it. The real vulnerability is the epidemic. The pandemic of misinformation, that's out there. The fact that this is happening on a background of a anti-vaccine misinformation campaign, playing out over social media. And so, they're really causing a lot of a lot of havoc and that is
Vulnerability for our society that we talked about this last week and I want to get into it again. We got a deal with that. We have to deal with it. Absolutely. Yeah. We're all ready for already struggling with distrust. Yeah, and then something that we totally expected could have potentially happened happens, but we communicate it. Or we telegraphic poorly than, in many ways, simply how we contextualize this. Can contribute to that distrust. We have to be very careful. Yeah, I mean the challenge is we Need seven and a half billion people to all make rational decisions. But do we have any sort of good evidence yet based on the growing numbers and these more controlled places like college campuses? Or, you know, closed places of where herd immunity looks like, it needs to net out, but I do know why you're actually read a study today but of course these that has always Months behind by the time that gets collected analyzed published, you know, is that so far so far that we could tell that social distancing and mask-wearing is having a greater impact than herd immunity? So the herd immunity piece hasn't kicked in yet but we're not quite there yet and yeah but the percentage. Yeah Yeah Yeah but the data is of course lagging behind the reality on the ground. I mean, will be probably won't know that we're there until six weeks after we are. Are you know what I mean? Well and even as of today, aren't we only like 25 percent or something fully vaccinated fully vaccinated? Yeah fully I didn't still pretty low like I wouldn't think herd immunity would be it. We'd be anywhere close to it but yeah I'm just wondering based on modeling where do we need to be? Is it 80 percent? Is it 60 percent 90 percent? You don't know that. Well know that number in red that's a good that's a good guess but we don't really know.
Fortunately, to look at the number of new cases per day. It started to turn back. Yeah, I've seen that especially in like specific pockets as well. Yeah, we're yeah, yeah. We're not out of the shit. You do. Not now that millions of people have it, we're seeing something. What happens when, you know, we get over a billion. People get to get the vaccine. And you think anybody could be like a superhero? What's the billion-to-one, react? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Super powers. Yeah, baby. We that's what we should tell people. Hey, one person had billions benefits. Don't miss out on your chance. He's probably the one can't win. If you don't get it. Then people get it multiple times. We have to tell them that that will undo it because that's right.
Possible New Force ()
We have some really exciting news about this week. You're going to start us off with the Over the of a new particle or Force. No way. Yeah, this is red. This is over. This is everywhere. I've seen this so many times, definitely had to talk about this. So potentially big or at least very interesting news from the world of particle physics. This past week particles called muons have been observed behaving in a way not predicted by the incredibly successful, standard model of physics to talk about a lot on the show. This is mean finally that there's a major update for physics. So major Cool, new discoveries or perhaps. It's just a minor tweak or is, is this probably nothing? So what's going on? So this comes from fermilab's long-awaited experiments and new ones. And recently, published in the journal physical review letters now at a high level. What what's happened is? Scientists have accelerated muons in a magnetic field and the high Precision measurements confirm and extend the and greatly refined previous measurements.
Don't agree with Theory. The Superficial excitement here, of course, is that this could portend a new physics, and I could finally give some insights into some of physics. Biggest Mysteries, Dark Energy, Dark Matter, combining general relativity and quantum mechanics. I mean, who knows? I mean, that's best case. Scenarios are very, very exciting. First of all, though, I would like to congratulate the hundreds of scientists all over the world, who collaborated on this extraordinary feat and like for decades have been working on this literally. Lee they've been working on this specific outcome for since of the 1990s, you know measuring muons in this way. And it really was a tour de force of Awesomeness. So regardless of what happens? Bravo bravo Otto, although the men and women who have worked on this. So what are the facts? More specifically. What the hell is a muon? And is it called a muon or is it a move on? I think it's pronounced. You want a lot of a lot of scientists. I listen to as few days as are saying you want. So I will say that. Is that because of the Greek letter?
You? Yeah, and so yes I'm calling to move on for God knows how long but oh well so everyone Yuan Yuan Yuan. So think you can think of a muon as a essentially a corpulent cousin of an electron same, same thing, but just more massive like over 200 times as massive, they are truly Elementary particles, meaning that there Is no internal structure. It's a point particle, unlike an atom, or even a proton. They all have internal structure. There's also a third cousin as well. And he, or she is called Tau and that's even more massive. He's the most corpulent Licious version of these of these bad boys and together they are leptons, they are part of the family of left Hong leptons. You may have heard of that leptons are fascinating. So there's three electron muon and Tau and these. Those are the
Cards laptops. There's three others and they are uncharged can you guess what they are? Yes, Bob you are right. They are the neutrinos neutrinos are leptons and very distant third or fourth cousins, two electrons and muons and tau's particles. And of course, to fill out the lepton, family. You got to throw in the antiparticles because they're in there, they're in there as well. So now, you're probably wondering, well, if these other electron cousins, could orbit atoms like the normal electrons? Can, you know, what is that real does that happen? Yes, they can. You can't have an atom with a tower or blue one.
Orbiting instead of a regular. Electron but, you know, these are exotic atoms. But they are very short-lived yuan-xin. Towels are unstable. They Decay into electrons, which fortunately are extremely stable. But yeah, any cool atoms like that if they are created. Don't last beyond microseconds. So that's that's unfortunate. Or maybe it's fortunate because who knows what kind of weird Universe we have been exotic atoms everywhere. So, okay kids, it's time to put on our imagination hats. You want, you want, if you want a mental image, think of him. You want as a tiny ball of charge, that's spinning and spinning charge like this behaves very much like a common bar magnet, you know, straight piece of metal with a red North and a white South End of wizard, white south on the bus, but that's probably the best. Our Baseline human Minds being here. So so okay. So this
Player 1 the muon is player number one in this experiment. You want have a magnetic field and an angular momentum. And our limited Minds can think of that as spin like a, it's often compared to a spinning top or a gyroscope. That's a good way to think about it. See then, after Player 1 now, we've got player number two, and this in this experiment, Claire number two is an intensity controlled external magnetic field that is exposed to and surrounds the muon. So these two guys are kind of like in the same space. The View on with it.
19:35 It's magnetic. Identic field. It causes the two magnetic fields to interact and that causes the muon spin to process. The spin axis processes and that's roughly processions. Roughly analogous again to the axis of a spinning top moving, you know, moves how it moves in circles, the ends of the axis move in circles. That's a good way to think about it. And it's this procession that is the focus of this experiment and it's this value. That is called the G factor and that this is what they're trying to calculate or trying to use this This procession to infer the very extremely precise value of the Magnetic Moment of this you on. So yes the speed of that procession tells us precisely how strong the muons magnetic field is we can then measure the strength and compare it to Theory to see if they match and if they matched and if there is correct and that's awesome. We have confirmation of this amazing Theory, yet again more confirmation, but if it doesn't match, we may have some new physics. So it's always an interesting possibility. Now there is a
Third player here, making this kind of like a Quantum threesome. And these are called virtual particles. We've mentioned this on the show and I love virtual particles. We know that a vacuum is anything but empty, right? You think the vacuum is the epitome of emptiness? No, not at all. All sorts of particles appear from apparently nothing. But really it's really, they're appearing from the energy and courage in space-time itself. They disappear and they appear and disappear too quickly for the universe to really care. But also did some of these particles. Some of these virtual particles we can't make in any collider that we have on any drawing board. They are just like two massive they exist for such a brief period of time. We really can't directly examine them which is unfortunate but we can investigate them in direct. How do they exist in nature right at the quantum level? They these virtual particles appear out of nowhere. They kind of you have a particle and antiparticle appear out of nowhere and then hit each other and annihilate and disappear. So I they pop in and out of existence. And
And they interact, they can interact with particles, and this is what that's what's so important in this context. So, these virtual particles around muons, if you can look at them, you on, you would just see them all over the place and they can interact with them. You want and have an impact on this G Factor so we have to take that into account okay so all right we have muons which are which are revealing to us the exact strength of its magnetic field because of the way and external magnetic field and virtual particles affect its procession. That's The big picture of this, this, you know, do you know what subatomic cows? A good one. Steve. Okay. Oh, we were off. So the standard model though, just lasted all this complexity, it takes into account all of this and predicts a very, very, very specific value for the G factor and it's called G, minus 2, which is actually the name of this entire experiment at the accuracy of the prediction in the standard standard model. 400 parts per billion. Very, very accurate at the fermilab. U1g to experiment is designed to be accurate to 400 only a hundred and fifty parts per billion. That's like measuring a football field. Accurate to a tenth. The width of the iconic human are, that's always use in these comparisons. So amazingly accurate, when this initial measurement from fermilab is compared to Theory, it does not match and this is exciting. Obviously because it means that there could be some unknown virtual particle that smacked of yuan in the face and changed its In in a way that an amazingly accurate Landmark Theory, knows nothing about it. So that's why this got that's why this has so much potential because this is something that the standard the standard model just has has not predicted. So this is why, you know, this could be something that could be something, you know, tiny and insignificant in some ways, but it also could be the other end of the spectrum. Something huge and amazing formula have physicist purse. Polly told the New York Times, this is our Mars Rover, Landing moment and Renee fatigue,
He's a physicist at the University of Kentucky and it's also a simulation manager for the muon. G- to experiment said recently, that this is strong evidence, that the muon is sensitive to something that is not in our best theory. That's a really good way to put it and I can't disagree with you that these scientists mainly because I'm stupid compared to them, but I can put this in a context that could be that you may find, interesting? So as usual, it's premature to celebrate, do not break out the bubbly for this. I mean, you could do it just for the raw accomplishment. Elf but don't you know don't start something you know don't pull out your new particle, / new Force bubbly. I went to wait on that and that's mainly because of our body called Sigma mentioned. That on the show, many times experiments, anything that has experiments typically, we use Sigma to measure standard deviation, right? And that's used to express, How likely is a result? Is it just random chance or what, you know, in the sigma can really help us wrap her head around that now, Brookhaven National Laboratory did the very first experiments with G minus 2 in 2001. We've got two decades ago and they found this g-factor anomaly. They I found this difference between observation and theory and they calculated Sigma at three point seven which is you know, it's okay not anywhere near the gold standard of five Sigma now the first result from fermilab. The thing that we're talking about right now, this is the first result. The initial result from fermilab that combines with the with the, with the Brookhaven, because they're using the same. The most of the same equipment that using, they actually transported the entire, you know, the entire ring to fermilab. So,
You combine the Fermi lab results with Brookhaven, it brings it up to 4.2 now that's 99.7%. Probably accurate. There's a 97.7 Champions, this is real, and not just, not just bad luck, you know, one in 40,000 that's good, right? That's good one in 40,000, but that's still nowhere near the gold standard which is five Sigma that's one in 3.5 million. So if you're not if you're not in five Sigma and you're making a huge claim. Oh well I'm sorry. You know wait Talk to me when you get to five Sigma because we cannot assume that this is this is right even though it's only a 1 in 40,000 chance at it, but it was a coincidence. But Bob, let me point out at this point though. There's just assumes that there's no experimental error for. This is, just if the data is correct, what's the probability that this data was occurred by chance alone, one in 40,000 103.5, right? But it did says nothing about there being some
Systematic error in the experimental setup, right way, they're measuring things. Like, for example, I believe, if you remember like the the faster than light neutrinos they were up to Six Sigma with that, right? But that doesn't matter because they had a bad cable, you know, the sigma is nothing he didn't doesn't account for things like you know. Yeah. They trying to park by the hell out of this Hardware. So it's not just that. When we had five Sigma it's proven, we also need to replicate this with different equipment, Equipment, it could happen, right? Absolutely. That's, you know, that there is a systemic problem, right? Right. And that's definitely part of the process. And that kind of relates to my next quote by Bruce Sean. He's a professor of physics and he's the author of a popular book on the standard model itself. He said there's a little bit of skepticism that's been cast on it when you make a measurement and you compare the expectation based on everything, we know the standard model. There's a little bit of concern that maybe the calculation wasn't done, quite right. And of and yes, the standard model has been amazingly, you know,
Almost unparalleled how successful it's been over decades. I mean, it is it basically lays out all of the forces and particles that we are aware of in physics and its predictions. I mean, we found the Higgs boson based on a purely on theory on the predictions of the standard model. We knew that it had to be around, you know, this energy regime and we found it at the LHC purely because of the standard model. So when you tell me, when you come to me and say, hey, it looks like the standard model, got this one bit wrong and we're at four, You know, 4.2 Sigma like well, okay, that's great. But, you know, chances are, it's probably been a mistake. That's what you got to assume at this point. And I sure look really hard and bring up Sigma as high as you can. But until that until Sigma gets really good, then you can't, you know, really to make too many assumptions because it's standard models is to to amazingly successful. The think that it's that's made some big mistakes here or, or at this such a, you know, an important chunk of events is, is not there regarding the these types of parties.
And don't forget though, Steve fermilab has gone over 6% of its experimental results. What we are talking about today because of its six percent of what it's going over. So we're going to have to wait a couple of years before it analyzes all the data and end up maybe they'll shoot what, you know, maybe they'll hit 5 Sigma, they will go, we to 6, who knows? But we're going to have to wait until until that happens. If they do get it, you know, they do get over well over five Sigma and they still and they could replicate it and all that good. And we say yep. This looks, you know, we have to think that this is real then that of course, That would be fantastic. And there's my smart friend. Leonard Trimble says, he's recently described he said when an experiment overturns Theory and that does happen. It has happened in the past, an experiment, actually overturns a theory that usually leads to a couple of possibilities. In this case, the overwhelming likelihood that the standard model would be tweaked, but essentially Remains the Same and that would be kind of like, you know, just one refined. But but you know, this is what I'm expecting to happen, that they're going to find that you're going to find this particle and force and that
And, You find a new particle in the first like this. Absolutely, start drinking that. That that's wonderful me. Kara, will be telling her kids when she's if, you know, in Haiti is like I remember when Bob first talked about this on the show. Absolutely. And and that would be great. But there's a much less likely, but a very real possibility that this opens up a whole new Concepts and models for physicists to use to, to potentially explain things at the standard model. Definitely cannot deal with like gravity, like dark matter. And how These meatballs could taste so damn good. The standard model was nowhere near as any of that stuff we spend. So there's definitely gaps in the standard model that we need theories for we that we don't have. So those are the kinds of theories. Those are the kinds of breakthroughs worth waiting for Social Security rely on this one. Yes, yeah, yeah. It's not me I wouldn't be surprised if you know, we learned that there was some kind of experimental error calculation error, like there's or the way that they're calculating or measuring. The result is is off because this is tricky because it's
And before and it's right. It's happened so many times before that that's, you know, good first assumption, and then if that's if this is real I think it's most likely that it will get a tweak to the standard. So absolutely is correct as far as it goes but it's missing a little piece and I think the major change in fundamental physics is the least like the outcome here but of course that would be able to excite right? And it's still possible and don't forget this is this isn't the first experiment. This is the this is a follow-up on the Brookhaven experiment from 2001. And this just for find it and made much more refined result. Much better results. Still pointing to this anomaly. So, that's so, that's kind of like a second confirmation here. Well, that's all exciting Bob. But I think I may be able to do you.
So, we've been talking about crispr time now. Could I spa spa? So Christopher was actually discovered, when what do you think? That 10 years ago? Two thousand five, two, five to ten,
3 1993 really that first paper came out in the early 90s on. Yeah. Wow, we're talking about the techniques 14 years before the iPhone. Yeah, but obviously, it wasn't being utilized the way we utilize. No birth of the world wide internet. So in 2013, that's when they figured out how to use the crispr cas9 system as for Gene editing, that's what you guys were thinking of. But really that was 20 years after the Discovery of Chris Berg which is you know, that's how things work in science, right? The basic science, usually some cool application comes decades later and you know crisper which stands for venting that before clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats repeats I picked up the arse, damn it. You know, I just, I just memorized that goddamn acronym, yesterday, I looked at it. I don't want to. I don't want to forget this. Next time, Steve a short palindromic repeats. All right. Oh my God, which is, which is, you know, we had to redo that recombinant DNA technology in the 70s 80s and then in the 80s, we discovered the zinc fingers. And that was it. That was the first programmable.
And then in 2013, which is much faster and cheaper. And that's really what revolutionized programmable Gene editing. Because you have the the crispr itself which is a way you can compare that, you can pair that with an RNA targeting sequence and it crisper can find and match that sequence of DNA. So you can say Want to go to the part of the DNA that has this sequence in it and the crisper will go there and it can also deliver a payload. The cast nine is the payload and what that does is it makes it double it, make it cuts both strands of the DNA. And so we can use that to knock in or knockout genes. You know, The Knockout means you make it so that the paint doesn't function knocking. Means you're adding a gene that you want to be punctual knocking out a lot easier, all you got to do is Make that double-stranded cut. And then the most I'm in natural repair mechanism called non-homologous, end, joining or nhej will put the two ends together. But usually, in such a way that the gene no longer function is, it makes some kind of a frame shift where the code gets trampled, you know, at the that area where it was cut, I never realized that Steve because crisper does the, the hard work of cutting and then it did it just like walks away and says, yeah, yeah, the NATO clean this up, you know, the shells on repair mechanisms, take over. If you want to knock energy, whoever you have to you, Use them much less common form of cellular repair. That's a lot slower. This is the homology directed repair HDR and that if you do it, correctly can maintain the structure of the gene so that it will still function. That's more complicated to provide but with Chris Berg you have targeted programmable, targeted way of either knocking at door knocking energy, wherever you.
In the DNA opposite of could be off, Target changes. We always talk about that. Perfect researchers have learned how to sort of dial up and dial down the speed and specificity of crisper, sort of really learnt. They were still on the Steep part of the curve. We're really learning how to control it a lot better. Well, alright, now comes to dwell a pretty significant advance in crispr. Technology Herring crisper with a new payload. This is a Eagle Dead cast, 9 fusion protein there. That means right? That's the payload now. And with this doesn't cut the DNA, it doesn't change the DNA at all. In fact what it does is methylate the días baby. Yeah, it adds a methyl groups to the base pairs and this is an a natural mechanism that is used like an epigenetic change that that can affect.
Description. So the methyl groups basically get in the way of the transcriptase enzyme so that it's not able physically to turn that DNA into into a protein, right? That is reversible right into an mRNA and then to a protein. But, yeah, but since it doesn't alter the sequence of the DNA, it's reversible because they because the structure of the gene is intact. So they got. So yeah. So so what does this mean? It means you can use crisper with the, with the single Dead cast 9 fusion protein, which they're calling crisper off. You can do that to turn off a gene and I want to turn this Gene off, methylate it and turn it off. Now, going into the research which established that the effectiveness that the crispr off works, the Assumption was that own? This would only work in about the Third.
Of the G because there's something called canonical cpg Islands, dead zones or yet. And yeah, you can only consider cgi's and the cgi's. Are, you know, where the methylation happens normally. So if they figured, okay. So it's only going to work on that, like the third or so of genes that have these cgi's. But when they did the study, they found that know it works on almost every chain. It's not limited, it's not limited to the, to the CG Guys, why do they got drunk that night? I don't understand Steve. Why do they think that would only work on a fraction because because previous evidence evidence suggested that this methylation process only works on genes that contain these cgi's. So this is just based on previous research. So this this basically contradicts that previous research which means that what we thought was true about cgi's isn't true. It's they're not necessary for methylation to work and therefore this methylation crisper
Off technique works on almost all the genes that they tested and iy. Wow, I almost over. Is there a little hold out of a few percent? Yeah it's not a hundred percent doesn't work. They didn't work every single time but basically I'm most G, we can turn off some really nasty stuff. Well, we'll get to the applications in a moment but potentially, yes, the other thing they found was they didn't know how long this is going to last. Maybe it would last just in the cell that they did into. Haha. Yeah but in the The Descendants cells. That's sell copies itself. The copies would revert back to the unmethylated active Gene State and what they found is snowed persist. Pretty much as long as they studied its permanent talk about a best-case scenario. Did they do this in somatic and germline cells? So that I don't know if they did enter pastels, okay? So when you say that Steven means that they make a change and the change stays forever. It's those long as they've said, there's long as they've looked at it. What? You know they yeah forever is
Because he is an epigenetic phenomenon, is very likely. That it would go away eventually. Yeah, exactly. But they're multiple rounds of division, it's sticking around. Yeah, that's cool. That's really cool. So that makes it really useful right? Because yeah, and the truth is, if it doesn't go away, you just do it again after. Yeah but it doesn't go away immediately. So this means that you can cause reversible turning off of a gene that it pretty much applies to and almost any Gene and persist for a long time. And they made Chris Moore to turn the gene back on. So, now we have an on-off switch. That's awesome. Incredible, or what? Now, oh my question is, how incredible this is? Why is it? Why are we getting so excited about this? So first of all for just genetically superheroes, hello well for genetic research itself. The ability to cheaply quickly semi-permanently and reversibly, turn off and on jeans is a hugely ground. Oh yeah, this is Dead of breeding an animal that you knockout animal, and then like having to rear the animal and then do experiments with it, you can just knock out the gene in in a fully functioning mean that's amazing. Then you can have these perfect control groups right next to them. I mean, everything about this changes the game. This is rocket fuel for genetics research, and this is why our knowledge of genetics has really been taking off in the last 20, 30, 40 years because our knowledge of genetics is improving
19:56 Being the technology. Back Loop in genetic research. That's why you know the sequencing a genome today is thousands of times cheaper and faster than it was 30 years ago, right? It's it's like computer project. Transistor, progress levels, geometric, it's not linear. So, it's absolutely amazing. All right, but what about clinical applications, you know, bring it, so let's hear it. Well, there's so this has exciting possibilities. But it but it this is tangential to, it doesn't solve the biggest limiting factor with with clinical applications of crisper. Which is how do we get the crisper into their cells? We want to get them into. We still need a vector, right? So it's, this is great. If you're doing in vitro fertilization and you want to alter the genome, the embryo that's great, or if you're doing it in the cell line in a Petri dish for research, fantastic. Then you can just inject
Yeah, exactly. And if you want to do it on something in the blood or the bone marrow or something, where we can get access to it very easily maybe in your eye. Or yeah, exactly. The truth Henry VI. Can inject in there. We can inject it into your spinal fluid. We can take your blood without do it to your blood. Put your blood back in, we could do the same thing for your bone marrow. So anything like that, but for your liver, like we can't take your liver out, crisper it up, and put it back in, right? Your brain, take it out, just for solid. Organs for solid organs. You know, we just don't have a really good way of getting crisper to the cells. We want to get them too. So that Vector problem is still a huge limiting factor on X all the exciting clinical applications for this, but but the other we're working on that. But, you know, remember in the 1990s we were we had a vector problem with with, with gene therapy. This is pre Chris pleasant death, retrovirus into that kid. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. We ran into problems there. And it said,
25 years to to sort of get to the same point where we were then you need to sort of to fit to fix these hurdles. So it's really hard to predict, you know, like how much of a hurdle this is going to be. We may solve it tomorrow or it may be 30 years and I'll be like oh we still waiting for that Christopher, you know, and the distinction needs to be made between treating a child or an adult who has a genetic disease and preventing genetic disease in an embryo. And that's where a lot of Ethical questions. Yeah, man. Yeah, because it's much easier to I mean not easier but the vector problem is less of a problem if we're talking about, putting it into an embryo towed or putting it into a single tissue at all that Chinese scientist doctor hh-hey, or he did it. So, that's not a problem. It's getting it into an adult, you have an adult Who has a pancreas from one, we want to fix your diabetes, in your pancreas. How are we going to get the crisper into your pancreatic islet cells? You know, that's what we need to figure out for example, and, and that's tricky. And so that's, we're still waiting on that one. That breakthrough happens and then the gloves are off. I'm Chris Berg Senate's. You know, so yeah, because then it reaches every aspect of medicine, totally literally. Every, I mean, it revolutionizes drugs. So it's like, Ample, for example, they're already talking about like it was one potential application. Alzheimer's disease, part of which is overproducing Tau protein. Well, we can turn the Tau protein off. Crisper off, no worries. We just need to get the crisp to your all your brain cells. You know, that's, you know, I wonder if like if we put a lot of it in the spinal fluid have enough of it will get to the surface of the brain so that it would be a fan of no. And or maybe it's worth it to open up the skull. You know, if you'd call you inject
Here we could do. We stick a needle for you, just put it in the fridge. So yeah we'll see. I mean I wouldn't get if you're somebody who's slowly degenerating from Alzheimer's disease that justifies aggressive research, you know? So I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing some research there but again we just don't know how well it's going to penetrate. You know how many of the cells it's going to get to and how clinically effective that's going to be. So there's Still years, probably Decades of research ahead of us with this. Really exciting Adventure. Yeah. Yeah. It's sort of like my concern, you know, not to put a web-like it on it because it's so excited. And and again it's almost like the way that gravitational waves are Revolution. It's a new type of astronomy. This is like a new type of intervention. It's like it's different than drugs and when you think about drugs as an entire class all drugs is a type of intervention. I mean think about how the multitude of drugs that exist and how many lives have changed powerful? It's here. Huge. But it's a parent thing that worries. Me, it's epigenetic therapy. That's how cool is. It's so cool. I think the thing that I'm most concerned about when I you know, to temper my excitement a little bit just so I don't get overly really excited. Is that much like cancer? There are certain situations in which, unless you get them all, they just keep coming back. Yeah, and my concern would be about treating some sort of genetic, you know, whether you're turning off an expression or you're turning on and
Russian. If you can't get to all the cells are you can't get to a certain number of the cells. Does it just we just chasing our tail over and over. So if that is clearly going to be an issue Disease by disease but alright well you Kara I think that, you know, just but my General Medical knowledge, you know, that so many things that the, the negative clinical effects come in when you start to affect 60, 70, 80 percent of the cells, so good to hear. Yeah, Immunity to 70% of your kidney function. And then you start to notice kidney disease, like, you could you write there's a lot of Reserve built into so many parts of your body like you could lose a lot of your liver be fine. So something like Alzheimer's where it's cumulative, right? It's up the protein to build up over time. Exactly. So slowing that down would slow down the progression of the disease and maybe so much that because it progresses over decades if you slow it down, so that you're probably going to die of something else.
Before it becomes significant, and we see that with targeted Cancer Treatments. Now, what we have a molecular marker on a tumor and we're able to treat with a targeted oral chemotherapy a pill as opposed to radiation or intense chemotherapy. That's sort of. Not as targeted, we see people who have metastatic cancer living for decades certain types because they're able to keep the tumors at Bay. It doesn't mean they go away all the way but if they can keep them under a certain threshold. Yeah, they're they're not cured but they're in remission to the point that that's Not what they're going to die from yeah, they're just carrying the disease, they're keeping the disease and check. So a lot of things like when I think of the diseases and what I know about them, most of them would respond very well to this kind of treatment, the even though it's partial it would has a significant effect. Even like Sickle Cell, you don't need to make every single blood cell normal, we just need enough for them to be normal that you don't go into a Sickle Cell crisis. Well, I don't imagine like the mental health applications to like expressing more or
So the neurotransmitter it's I mean there's so much cool stuff here. Imagine how about this? Imagine you get this deployed somehow to every cell in your body just waiting, just waiting, you know, for you to tweak it to methylate some Gene, you know, you have to do that. And then I get to tell it what to methylate. I know I'm assuming I'm assuming we've solved the problem of delivery, and then you have an app, you get a nap. And, and you say, I want this, I want to deactivate this Gene and soup up this Jeep. Eat that one last time. You got a smart phone when he goes to that moment to pause. Steve what are you doing? Be the early applications. Well in research, this is going to be used for research first. Absolutely clinical, I think will be again. Things where crisper can Target the tissue.
In the blood, it was not. So, probably, like severe life-threatening like cystic fibrosis like, you know, these very specific types of diseases. Right? That's where we're what if you search effort stations for cancer? What if we can get enough of it into the cancer, that it turns off the cancer, mutations in a cancer cell, you know, I know. Yeah, I mean, it would be insane. I mean, I just think of all the like, especially all the genetic diseases that we know are simple switch. It's like, you know, my body produces too much of this once. Single Gene. Yeah. Like those are in my God. Like phenylketonuria, I don't know if that's single Gene but it's like, it's such a specific thing. It's like just I, you know, I turned this one compound into another Compound on that builds up so if I can just stop doing that or I can't clear a compound or you know my liver produces too much or something like you. Look at all of those types of applications and it's just like, it's amazing. Yeah, it'll be easier for things we're we're, we're like for mutations where you don't produce something then that would, this would not be, it would not be as obvious, an application here. This is turning something off, right? Yeah, but they have the on switch now to that's only to turn back on something. They turned off. Maybe. But I bet you soon, we'll figure out how to turn things on that weren't there. Because I bet you it's, it's not not if you have a mutation in a gene and the gene is off, not because it's methylated, it's off because there's a, there's a frameshift mutation in our ranks. That's right. That's that's cast 9 that's some other application of Chris Berg just what exactly happened their land? Yes, that's what they're just different crisper applications that we would use in different things. Like I don't think they would be using this for GMOs because you want to make permanent genetic changes in a GMO stable GMO line, you don't want just make epigenetic changes. Although what I said when I was running a business is like yeah, I wouldn't surprise me if they figure out how to make an epigenetic change to make a crop better and of course it goes away after a while. So it's like
Built in. It's not really yeah but they already have that with hybrid seeds by the way before you get all these hybrid seeds, can't be. You can't breed them again because that's only for one generation to you that perfect mix of G. Yeah. So this would be the similar kind of thing. It's like, this gives you like a slightly longer lease.
US Power Half Way to Zero Carbon ()
All right, Jay, this is out. You know, I've been reading about this. I'm not really sure if this is good news or not but apparently, our carbon emissions are Down, tell us about that. He's going, hope it's good news or not. Well, good tell us, tell us what's going on and we'll dig into it. So as climate change becomes more and more looming mess around the world, the United States seems to be starting to actually try to get their carbon emissions under control. So so far 17 States Washington DC and Puerto Rico have enacted laws that will enable reaching the goal of getting to a
% carbon-free electricity production over the next two decades. Now, two decades puts us into 2040, and a lot of times you'll hear the date 2050 thrown around as the goal according to this study that's 10 years before you know, that that 2050 date that has just been thrown around for the last few years. So this is really good news and it's also supported by historical data that shows that it's definitely possible to have significant reductions in carbon emissions. You know, people just have to do things the Amount of energy, released new research, outlining how things have progressed in the last two decades. This is actually goes back to 2005. If no measures were put in place to reduce carbon emissions. There would have been an increase from twenty four hundred to three thousand million metric tons from 2005 to 2020, right? So that's 24 hundred to three thousand million metric. Tons of that was the expected, increase the actual emissions reduced, to Fort 1450, right?
They were saying that we were going to go from twenty four hundred to three thousand and those 15 years. And he actually went down to one thousand four hundred fifty million metric. Tons. That's a that's 52 percent below the projected level that we expected to get to. So this reduction in carbon emissions, it's left. A significant impact in different ways, right? This is all good. First, the number of jobs in electrical electrical power production, increased by 29%. Of course it did. Because look at the explosion of Solar panels and wind farms and everything over the last decade and a half. They also saw an 18 percent drop in consumer, electricity costs, which that's also significant, where, you know, how come people are using less electricity. We have more Electronics now than we ever did this. This resulted in an 86 billion dollar savings per year. So, these changes were due to upload things, better. Governmental policy and technological advances.
Like efficiency as a big factor led lights, right? Exactly. So that the total demand for electricity didn't change, much between 2005 2020 back in 2005, they predicted that there would have been a 24% increase in electrical Demand by the year 2020 whenever happened. So I'm part. Like I said this was because of more energy, efficient products advancements in technology and Improvement in government policy in 2020, wind and solar generated. In times more power than they predicted, we would be at in 2005. Now I can give the version of us in 2005 a great because we didn't realize just how fast the technology was actually going to take off which is you know, an incredibly huge factor in how much we've purchased into or put you know, bought into solar and wind technology but you know the technologies have just really exploded. That's why we're using them much more than we ever thought we were going to another. Significant factor in the report about lowering carbon emissions was moving from coal to natural gas. Now, you might ask what's the big difference? There's a huge difference to because their whole is so much more dirty than natural gas. I mean, it watches all the bad one, so natural gas is is just a cleaner fuel, that's it. So it's a better way to go because less oil products were being burned. There was a reduction in sulfur and nitrogen compounds this
This is been incredible because it led to a decrease in respiratory. Disease. And way more impressive. Is that there were, there was a decrease in premature deaths. It dropped from 38,000 to 3100 per year that that's fantastic pole. Yeah, so apparently if we stop burning poison it stop putting poison into our atmosphere. People live healthier lives, are you trying to say look I'm not trying to take a positive here, I'm just reporting but through this was a fantastic report. So when solar and Every technology are going to have are going to have a significant role in lowering carbon emissions moving forward, many projects are in the works to help get down to zero, carbon emitting power sector. But of course what? It's going to take real legitimate, vigilance to make sure that it actually happens. We've talked about this on the show many times, but the infrastructure requirements are going to Skyrocket in order for us to support you having Renewables. We supplying the vast majority of our power and, you know, you can't even having cars.
Our entire grid has changed the grid will have to be able to ensure electricity is delivered, right? Look at what just happened to Texas that you know, they didn't spend some money to winterize their windmills. And they got some snacks that have massive, think lots of people lost their lives. Houses were tons of damage to property and everything is they had a cold spell. We have to be willing to spend the money. You know, we also need to build a new transmission infrastructure. Right to grid itself has to be redone re-engineer and this is no small feat. The way that the grid operates will have to be, it's going to have to be incredibly more efficient. We're going to have to have a management system for the grid. Ian has to be operated in a different way than its operated. Now, you know, we have ways of passing electricity from place to place and things like that, but we're really going to have to have the grid. Be to tell you, it has to have a real intelligence behind it. We have to use more
Nuclear energy, solar thermal geothermal energy longer, duration, energy storage could possibly be achieved by using hydrogen. Bioenergy synthetic fuels and there's all these different things that we can do to not just collect the energy. It better ways with the store it and have it be on demand. And these have to be the engineers have to get to work. This is this is going to take a Herculean effort in order to change the grid as quickly and as seamlessly as possible, the past 15 years, Clearly shown us that we are terrible at predicting the future. I think I know a couple of people who are writing a book about how bad people are at the future. So what we do know is that technology and governmental policy are essential in order to make these changes happen. Now, the technology of course, it's happening, you know, the market is making it happen. Market-driven demand is always going to push technology forward. Look at cell phones in summary. You know the technology presented itself about 15 to
Many years ago, we took it and ran things have gone extraordinaire Ali. Well, particularly in the United States because this is the report that I just read. It's going well in a lot of places around the world, but we've got to, we've just started. This is not, we're nowhere near where we want to be. We want to get to a hundred percent carbon neutral, which, you know, is that even possible? I think, of course it is. But is it likely probably not in anybody's reasonable lifetime? But still the work has to be done for the Next Generation. All right. Now, it's my turn to be a wet blanket. Ready. Go ahead. Here you go. So we obviously cannot extrapolate into the future, and that's what they did in 2005 and they were wrong. And I don't think that these Trends are not going to be easy to sustain because I think that they represent picking a lot of technological low-hanging fruit. Like, for example, a big part of this is replacing coal with natural gas which was caused by.
Fracking making natural gas cheaper. That's pretty much it. Not really any plan or policy or anything. It's just well except for allowing cracking and but there's nothing to replace natural gas with that is the equivalent of replacing coal with natural gas. Once you've done that all we could do is just further get rid of cold, but one, but then once we have a lot of natural gas, which releases methane and also releases some carbon, it's not going to be as easy to transition away from that. After passes, it was to go from coal to natural gas has also The nuclear power, the big win in nuclear energy in the last 20 years. Was that they were able to extend existing nuclear power plants but that's limited. They're only going to be able to do that for so much longer in order to keep nuclear at 20% of our total generation they're going to need to build nuclear power plants and that's not happen. So we just delayed the inevitable with Israel unless we significantly invest in Next Generation with their technology and Renewables. Renewables are increasing wind And solar because they're super cheap, but they get more and more expensive as they get higher and higher percentage of our electricity production, because you need more and more over capacity, or you need massive Bridge storage. If you don't have, so, you don't have these trends that we've seen in the last 15 years are going to continue into the future. We need all new Solutions going forward and we don't have and that's why I think we cannot just extract. Like we are at, we're going to have to engineer.
Keep these Trends going. We're going to have to build nuclear to get here. In fact, expand our nuclear to get off of natural gas. That's what natural gas we're going to need to update the bread puddings with storage and build and build a lot of Renewables. And we're going to need to keep these pushing efficiency higher so that we keep them in under control. And then that's not, I don't think any of that's going to happen automatically. But as you say, it's hard to predict because other Technologies might come into play that we're not factoring in now. And that will
Oh, help. Count on that, you know what I mean? We need to engineer it. What does it say that? We've had many of the warmest years in on record? Over the course of this decrease in emissions? It's not. It will just we're still putting carbon into the atmosphere, which is also got more people than we than just putting less if there's just less more carbon in the atmosphere than we thought. We're going to have. And remember it. Accumulates of and it's not like it goes in and then it goes out like every time we add Carbon, it's accumulating because the oceans can't sink it. All the forest can't think at all.
Sea Meadows Carbon Sink ()
I suppose my point is that even despite these better habits that we seem to be getting into in some ways it's still not having the impact on the environment, Evan to put it into perspective. If we had zero carbon emissions, starting today, temperatures are still going to rise for decades from the carbon. We've already put into the atmosphere.
And so, we have to be coming up with efforts at actually actively reduce like when Jay said, like yeah, like Jays like I'm a bit cynical that we're going to get to carbon neutral. We need to actually be carbon-. Yeah, that's the only way. This is actually going to level out, but I'll take carbon neutral over putting me too. The carpet needs a place to go and you think about trees and whatnot but you know the oceans, a big carbon sink to yeah. So we know that the water itself is a carbon sink and we'll kind of get into that. But there's one aspect of the ocean that I don't think we often talk about and that is seagrasses seagrasses are everywhere. They're on, 6 of the other round, six of the seven continents and they make up these basically see Meadows or these see forests. And the interesting thing is that seagrasses are As carbon sinks they can store more than twice as much carbon per square. Mile as land forests, do and globally. Their roots are thought to trap over ten percent of the carbon that's buried in Ocean sediment every year seagrasses. Also buffer against ocean acidification, we know that this destroys the calcium carbonate shells of a lot of species including coral and that's a huge and devastating result of carbon being
Sunk into the ocean. Because obviously once it is added to water HTO H2O, it forms carbonic acid. So the oceans actually acidifies it becomes the pH gets lower, and so they buffer against that. There was a study in 2021. Just this year that showed that along, the California coast seagrasses could, potentially reduce local acidity by up to 30 percent across extended periods and they also help with other things, they can help clean water. They can help support Fisheries, you know produce nurseries predict protect Coast from erosion even trap microplastics and they're literally everywhere. The problem is, when it comes to seagrasses, we have really limited data. They're huge holes in the data. Like, when you look at Maps, they're just whole areas that have never been mapped. So we really don't know how much seagrass we have on the planet. Really old estimates that are also incomplete. Say that maybe three hundred thousand square kilometers so that translates to a hundred fifteen thousand square.
Miles of sea grasses, exist. Again, I mentioned six of the seven continents, you know, not including Antarctica, so it's about an area, the size of Italy, if you were to add that together, but there could be much more that we haven't discovered. But here's the sad part, human activity like pollution from mining damage from Fisheries dredging acidification. Like I mentioned before it destroys the equivalent of a soccer field of seagrasses every 30 minutes around the world. Yeah, according to the UN environmental program, And so, here's an example, if we look at the last century, so less hundred years in the UK, 92% of seagrasses disappeared and estimates show that if they were still here, 400 million, fish could be supported and 11.5 million. Tons of carbon would have been captured that's the same as three percent of their total emissions within the year. It's thought that seagrass Meadows are being lost at a rate of 7% per year globally. And again, this is based on incomplete data. It could potentially
You were. So this is an example of a mitigation effort. A you know neutralization maybe even a negative ization. Yes, I made up that word effort that we have right in our backyard but because of human activity, the same activity, that's causing the climate crisis to begin with. We're also losing the very organisms that could help us buffer against our activity. And so a, we need to recognize this be. We need to enact legislation and work very hard to protect the sea grasses that we have left. You know, we spend a lot of Of time thinking and talking about the Amazon rainforest, which is fundamentally important to biodiversity. And it's fundamentally important to carbon sequestration. And of course, we're destroying the gold mining among other things. Habitat loss, etc, etc. We can't also ignore these forests that exist within our oceans that are even potentially better at sequestering Carbon. We can't let them fall by the wayside because they are not Technologies, we have to develop they're already here and so we need to protect them.
Nothing to worry about, but also one more thing that if we do it the right way, could be a boon. You know, that's truly. Every, every problem is something that can be fixed, that could make it better. And the cool thing is, if we, yeah, if we fix this problem, not only is the problem of the sea grass is going away fixed, but it also contributes to correcting some of the wrongs of climate change. Yeah.
Pharoah's Curse ()
All right, Evan. He you brought this up to me this next news, item and easy. You said that, you don't think we've ever talked. About this on the show and I yeah, I don't remember that. We have we have we ever talked about the Pharaohs curse? Hmm. Good question. And I couldn't think of a time that we did Bob Jan. I'm already prepared you should be scared. Well, when the documentary titled Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy, hit the Silver Screen in 1955 and brought up more questions than answers questions. Like what exactly is the Pharaohs curse? And can the dead become a Made it and they really turn the tomb into a nightclub at the end of that movie. Well we're going to put, we're gonna so thank goodness. We are now discussing this. We're going to put this long dry spell to rest and we can give thanks to recent news developments earlier. This month in April, 22 mummies were transported from the Egyptian Museum in tahrir square to their new home. The national museum of Egyptian civilization and this was an A buret royal procession. I don't know if you guys saw any video of how about them moving these mummies but this thing was well they they dubbed it. The golden parade and it was elaborate to say the least spotlights everywhere honor guards on horse back, there was a Philharmonic Orchestra to greet the Royal remains as it arrived. The president of Egypt was performing the ceremonial duties and okay, it was it's designed to spark and rekindle interest in.
Rich collections of Antiquities and, you know, certainly their tourism has almost entirely stalled because of what's happened with the coronavirus pandemic. So time to get people, you know, interested again and what better way than make a big celebration out of it, but moving the mummies is not without Peril. Now, I'm not talking about the physical remains, or the sarcophagi, in which they were contained, which is actually an interesting process. They put them into oxygen free, nitrogen, filled capsules on truck. Us with special shock absorbers to limit any damaging effects of actually transport transporting them and risky and risk of humidity contamination or bacteria, insects, and other things. So they really did a good job. Keeping these things protective but ceremony has reignited talk of the Pharaohs curse. This purse is the legendary this is omnipresent very much alive even in the age of social media. For example, remember the ship clogged of the Suez Canal for a week How could we not social media says? Hey, this is part of the Pharaohs curse. You can see all kinds of tweets and other things about people speculating that. Yep, because they were getting ready to have this big ceremony and moving the mummies around. Pharaohs curse comes up again. Oh also there was a tragic, a train crash occurred in the country and killed. A lot of people. This is just a few weeks ago and where do they attribute that to? Yep. Pharaoh's curse and a recent building collapse in central KY. Arrow. There it is, the curse again, all in anticipation of these mummies being disturbed. So there was a lot of news surrounding it and about the Pharaohs curse as well. Now, NBC News and I looked at a whole bunch of other news organizations, they all reached out to this gentleman, he seems to be the prominent Egyptian archeologist, zahi hawass, former minister of State for Antiquities Affairs for Egypt. Dr. Hawass is an expert has declared. There is no
His curse. Okay, well, that's a relief, but What is the Pharaohs curse? And since we haven't talked about it, a bill into it a little bit now, it's sometimes called Kings King Tut's curse, which maybe we've heard in at some point. Maybe in a Bugs Bunny, cartoon long time ago, King Tutankhamun's, tomb was discovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings back in late 1920, to our coming up on a hundred years, time goes by, but that incredible and historic Discovery with it came, a dreaded curse, which befell all All those who dare disrupt the ancient Kings buried over 3,000 years prior. So sayeth the Legends and therefore it must be true now, is that, is there any evidence though to back up the claims of a dreaded curse that lay upon all those involved in the discovery? Well, there is first of all, they're all dead so explain you can't know. There are there actually stories that helped develop the curse from it is back in 1923 in the following few.
20:28 Familiar with the name. Howard. Carter. I would hope. Yeah. One most heavily credited with the discovery of mutants. Wow, cool. So there's there's him. But he'll he's not one of the eventually they attributed curse to his damaged, replace like 16 years but in any case Carter had Partners in a lot of people who obviously helped and among them was a Boy, George Edward, It's Stanhope Monty you Herbert the 5th Earl of carnarvon. Oh yeah. That's a mouthful. Now, this guy was a British Aristocrat, you know, as if I needed to explain that, but he had a more than passing interest in egyptology, he was actually quite essential in. Making sure that this happened probably would have been possible without his back. Now, the Earl died on March 25th, 1923 this is very shortly after the discovery was made public. So how do we
Explain that must've been the curse. Right? Well he actually died from a mosquito carry disease as did lots of people around the world at that time, it that time in history, but the Earl's half-brother Colonel. Aubrey Herbert who also entered the Tomb. At one point, he dialed died, a few months after the Earl and towards. So how do you explain that one? Well towards the end of her Birds life, he became totally blind. And he received some very bad medical advice, which persuaded him to have. All of his teeth extracted to help restore his sight. What? So, maybe he died as a result of infection from tooth removal. I just, I find it hard. That anyone would believe that, right? That was a really common treatment for mental illness to, I mean, not common in common, but yeah, it happened in asylums a lot. It's horrific also led to a lot of health problems and death. Obviously, for people, there are, I won't, I won't bore you, but there are
Plenty of others. And in within a few years, there were no fewer than nine people. Whom they Associated either directly or through affiliations with the discovery of the Tomb who what they say is either died under mysterious circumstances or LED to some sort of premature death. All right? You have to understand. You can't underestimate what people will believe in any given age or time. I mean a Pharaoh's curse. We think about it today. It has almost a cartoonish sort of feel to it who really even talks about About, you know, the Pharaohs curse anymore but you know, actually people do they, they are out there and they are passing along that information and then that level of belief. And it's not that strange because you still have people who believe in things like astrology and demonic possession goes Lucky, Charms, and superstitions, all sorts of things. So they're so there's that that background, maybe, though, more importantly. Number to give it in the proper context, the 1920s. This was a time where
A seance has an interest in the occult and paranormal for On The Rise. And a lot of Western societies and Britain in particular, which was just coming out of the horrors of World War 1, the journalism at the time was Sensational. Certainly, there were false reports that started to emerge from the tomb and course, that's old news papers. So they ran with it, there was reasons to believe that there were booby traps on the tombs themselves that they were that they were poisoned anyone who got near there was actually can Becoming poison or we cede some sort of microscopic infection, and this was all properly planned out by the by the Egyptians of the people from the tunes, from years ago, a trap waiting to go off but obviously none of that or any future turned out to be truthful. Now, Carter himself. Howard Carter himself, might bear some responsibility about the curse and its prevalence because he would remind people that curses work through both ceremonies and rituals.
And written warnings upon the tombs sarcophagi themselves at these cursors were in place but there was a practical reason for that, 3,000 years ago, as it was in Carter's time when they made the discovery. And that was to what prevent looting great grave-robbing. You had to concoct stories to get people to stop going in there to take the he's and these these artifacts and things. So they're sort of this practical reason as to why you would want. There to be a curse but obviously people. You know, we'll take that to, to various degrees of seriousness. And then finally, when they've looked into it, to declare that any significant number of people associated with this discovery died, prematurely or through mysterious means it's nonsense, the numbers do not bear it out, it has been studied. In fact, one particular study not in the 1930s I believe showed them they tracked 58 people who were present when the tomb the sarcophagus were open, they tracked him over the course of their lives. Lives and only eight had died within a dozen years. And statistically speaking, for the time that was right on par for the course. In fact, even a little bit better than average for what people were expected to live without, you know, the need for calling into effect. Accursed, umm, it's make that explanation. So curse of the Pharaoh or the Pharaohs curse alive and well ran and still comes up. Anytime you talk about mummies and these sort of artifact And mazing to think that a hundred years later, it's still problem. Well, it's one of those just iconic things. It's never going to go away, you know, never pharaohs curse. And of course, there's a lot of cognitive bias behind it, you know, the pattern recognition, you know. Look at bad things happened, you know. Yeah. Like that things don't happen. If we don't need a Pharaoh's curse to make that things happen. That's just life, right? But we also, you know, we approach this from like a purely kind of secular scientific perspective and of course they're probably A fair amount of people who for whom spirituality and religion is like fundamental to their worldview, so it probably doesn't seem quite as bananas to them. It's so imbued in culture and Society. They've been hearing it from the time they were born.
Who's That Noisy? ()
- Answer to last week’s Noisy: _brief_description_perhaps_with_link_
All right. Jay, it's who's that noisy time. All right, guys, last week I played this noisy They're only figment of my imagination to show that wherever there is Victory. It's been created by human hands. Pretty cool, huh? I love it guys. If at any idea. Oh gosh, I mean it's not I don't think it's Orson. Welles the dog making weird noises in the be crazy. It's like a parrot. It's a parrot. Reading a news. It's trauma time. The time that you get your rights like from what decades would you say this? Could possibly be 40s? It's worth it radio. Yeah, totally got that. Old school radio. I told ya. I will we have some guesses. We haven't heard from Visto 2T recently. And here's his guest says, this one is confusing had me analyzing for ages. The recording may be old but not as old as it seems. The Musical theme is late 1960s, but the audio is artificially made to sound like the 40s. The actor affects a slight British tone in places but inconsistently so not natural. So I roll the dice, he's saying that it was cold. Check the Night Stalker from 1974. I love that show. Wow. Yeah, pretty pretty cool. Guest not correct but I do like the effort that you put into it so you are still a warrior as far as I'm concerned Michael Blaney wrote in and said hi. Jay it really sounds like the Twilight Zone but with a skeptical twist which is neat, the kind of show where there's some
On the wing. This is what he wrote something member. I had to Hazard a guess I'd say it's Rod Serling recording that never made it to the air because sadly, no one wanted to see a skeptical version of The Twilight Zone. That is also incorrect. But very fun guests. I have another guest and this one happens to be the winner. Check this out. Michael Collier wrote in and said hi. Jay, this week's noisy is a lyrebird repeating an old recording from the Batman mystery Club. I just said, is it a bird? It has nothing to do with the bird. He was just joking when he said that because lie about anything. So that the answer is, this is a recording from a radio show that never made it to the are called the Batman mystery Club. So, I will now defer to the person who sent this in Octavio ordinance said back in the 1950s. There's there was an attempt to make a Batman radio show as a spin-off of The Adventures of Superman from the old radio show website article in
50, and audition program was recorded the Batman mystery Club of, oh, Batman and Robin were featured in the program and had little to do with the characters fans had come to know and was never broadcast, so that's really cool. Very interesting idea that they made a, a skeptical, Batman and Robin mystery Club radio, show back. Then, you know what? I heard that voice. I'm like, oh my God, this is really just, it's so perfectly. Old School radio and I just wanted everyone to hear it. So thank you Octavio, presenting that in. Thanks everyone for your guesses.
New Noisy ()
I do have a new noisy, its noisy was sent in by a listener named William. Rue Mullins and check this one out.
Long tail on there.
So please be specific when you send in answers for this because you know, if you say that, it's like a loud noise, that's not going to actually do anything for you. You can email me in at WTN at the Skeptics Guide dot-org. So I did see on Reddit that someone was asking like, where they should submit emails to me. Can you do an attachment? What's the ideal everything? So let me just give you the quick. Who's that noisy? Gg1, email, Me, @ WT, n at the Skeptics tag that org, if you send it anywhere else, you have a very small chance that Going to actually use it because I just go through my email at the appropriate time when I'm preparing the second. Number two, you can absolutely send an attachment when you send an email to me to that email address. Number three, if you want to be nice, you could convert, whatever it is into a WAV file for me, you don't have to do it. You know, I've never asked anyone to really even do that before, but if you want to, you can that, that is the ideal state, which I prepare these. But, you know, someone on Reddit was asking so they're all the answers.
Please do so. Tian at the Skeptics Guide dot-org.
All right? So guys we have Nexus coming up and to help us talk about Nexus is the MC George Hrab, George, how you doing, man? Hi, I'm the MC. I'm the MC. That's right. Oh, my goodness. So exciting, because everybody bad guys horses have a couple of things like, why do we even mentioning like a save the date for Nexus but we have some actual update but George is going to start. We're actually going to solicit some things from our audience. For the conference George. Tell him about it. Yeah, so we were like thinking of doing something. We always do something on the night before Nexus. We always do the Friday night. There's like a preview thing and even winning when we're in the virtual world, we still wanted to do a preview last year. We had a game show and some fun stuff, and this year, we're going to have a special keynote. But in addition to having a special keynote, we thought wouldn't it be interesting? Wouldn't it be cool to get all of you out there involved in? Not you five on the SG you, but you out there.
Listening you with the headphones on right now, maybe we can get you all involved and we had this thought of over the last year. We've all been locked away. We've been in our homes. We've been we've been quarantined. And we're are, we were sure that some of you have come up with some interesting things over this time, period. Some some interesting problem solvers, maybe they have an invention may be some kind of a art project, maybe some kind of a something that, you know, you finally had time to work on that thing. You always wanted to work on Khan and you did it. Maybe you solve some problem that was happening in your garden. Maybe you design some kind of rocket ship. That could take you. It's in safely to the grocery store, to get Jello, whatever you may have invented. We want to hear about it, and we're going to hear about it from you folks. And then, we're going to feature the ones that we think are the most interesting and maybe the most sort of special. So so basically, Friday night, we're going to have a feature of cool stuff that you all out there in the Wonder.
Is she audience have invented and the way you can get and be a part of this is sending us a video. Send us a two minute long video, showing your invention, your fix your your something that you cobbled together to make work better. Maybe that Symphony that you wrote, maybe that that mural that you worked on in your, in your, in your kitchen or whatever. Maybe send us a two minute video, you can upload it to Nexus. Dot o--, r-- g-- /, pandemic projects It's and we're going to pick a bunch of you and and the coolest ones will feature on the Friday night pre next to show and we'll have you on live as well and we'll chat with you. Won't that be fun guys, I am so excited for this. Yeah, could be a lot of fun. So like what cool thing to do during the pandemic that you otherwise would not have been able to do. Yeah. And it'll be anything. It could be anything George. I figured out how to gain a lot of weight. Yeah. It's a yeah. The how to efficiently make cookies is pretty much right?
I was done last year and consume them and consume them right without even chewing. It's like a duck. I just sort of yeah entire tubes of cookies. I've been doing a longitudinal study in binge-watching. It's coming very well. I have all my data gathered by okay. Okay wait are these things supposed to be solutions to probably could be Whimsical? They could think of it as your pandemic magnum opus. That's really good. And listen up. So we have speakers that I'm going to announce now. So we have Lena pathy, doctor robertlevi, george Church, Pete Echols. We're going to have someone from NASA. Come talk to us and we have quite a few others coming. And on top of that, we have Paul offit and Kevin falta are going to be joining us. We're really excited. And on top of that, we are upgrading the technology. That's all I'm going to say. It's going to be cooler than last year. How could it be cooler? That's how. Is that even possible? How's it going?
And I didn't stop trying to improve it after. After the Nexus 2020, we kept talking about it and we kept coming up that was our pandemic challenge. Yes, I hear you went out next that'll that'll be meta. Yeah, we are looking for one particular speaker that we want our listeners help with. If anyone out there in SG and kidnapped listening to this, but we will, we do need to either. Either, it could be you. Or you might know somebody who works for Boston. Dynamics, we need an inside contact because we want somebody from Boston Dynamics to give us a presentation at next. And, you know, it's kind of a hard nut to crack into without having knowing somebody or knowing somebody who knows somebody. So we're just, we've decided to reach out to, to our audience. This is really the last piece to the Nexus puzzle that we need to put in the place. Everything else really is shaping up. Great, and Steve, you know what we did? Ever announced we actually have a title for Nexus 2021, it's called The Future Has Landed. That is our theme, the Science and Technology of today, that's amazing. That's what the whole conference is going to be about. We know you're going to love it. I'm super excited. I don't think I've ever been more excited for our next conference than this one. So please join us. Go to Nexus. Dot-org, any CSS Dot o--, r-- g-- and register today. Yeah, and the conference is August 6th and 7th. It's Friday and Saturday, August 6th, and 7th. All right, well George. Thanks for.
On the show to it to help us talk about Nexus. Oh, you know me? I'll always pop onto whatever I can. Yeah, thanks guys. All right, take care, George. Thanks. See ya.
Name that Logical Fallacy
All right, we're going to do one name that logical fallacy. This one comes from Alec. You're right. I've listened to your podcast for a while now and love it. I got a question about a potential logical fallacy that I can't quite pinpoint. Living in Maryland to there are often Discussions around the murder rate in Baltimore because of this people will inevitably criticize, any non murder related legislative political actions for not addressing the murder problem. While this may be a valid way to criticize the city council's. Priorities. I don't believe it is a logical way to criticize the individual pieces of legislation is they were never designed to address the murder problem aside from this. The city council is, certainly capable of addressing multiple issues at once. A current example of this is supposed to add speed cameras on a major highway than entry.
Personally, I've seen people criticize The Proposal itself. It said, most people criticized it for not addressing the motor problem. This feels like a logical fallacy to me, but I'm not sure specifically. It makes me think of a false dichotomy but again, I'm not confident in this assessment that you provide some insight. So, what do you guys think about this kind of balance? It's a straw man. No, no. See I was reading it as it's not fair to criticize a piece of legislation that was never Were designed to solve that problem. Anyway that would be a straw man argument. Yeah but they're saying that's part of it. Again. These are informal logical fallacies they'll blend into each other but he's focusing on the fact that it's not just that you're criticizing it for not doing something, it wasn't designed in the first place. You're criticizing it, because it's not addressing this more important problem. Nothing is valuable. Unless it's fixing the murder problem in Baltimore but of course this could apply to a lot of things. It's like, why are we sending people to the Moon?
They're angry people is that moving the goalposts know which one is that one? Is that? Yeah, just blanket. So they know exactly what I wrote an article about this fallacy because it often gets applied to Skeptics and why are you debunking Bigfoot aren't there? More important things right out there. So this is called the fallacy of relative privation gasps that's an option and because there's always something more important that you could point to out there. And again where it gets Tricky is when your apartment be. When you're applying it to an individual person or group or specific, bill, or whatever. It's one thing to say that, as a society, we need to have our priorities and we need to decide where we're going to put our resources. But if you're saying like, why are you doing this or what, they're more important things to do, it's ridicu know, it is a fallacy to take a look. So everybody should be trying to cure Childhood Cancer, like and nobody should be doing anything until we decide what the one most important problem was wrong.
I'm fixing that before we move on to the next thing. There's a lot of reasons why you might choose to do other things like opportunities, Talent skill, desire, just desire. Yeah, it's all fine and because something is not as important to something else, doesn't mean it's not important, right? As Evan was getting close to it with the the false Choice thing. There's I guess we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can fix more than one thing or a dress more than one. An issue at the same time, but it's often just a Easy way of criticizing something that you made up like for other reasons to say, well, there are more important things that you should be spending your time on, or that we should be spending our resources on or whatever. And it's like, yeah, we could do multiple things and things. Just if it's valuable, it's valuable. It's a good idea. It's a good idea. It doesn't matter that there are there are relatively more important things out there and and important to it, often be subjective, not absolute. And again, there are other Other criteria that might determine you know, where it's best to fix station of this Mighty will appreciate this. Is that like oh why are you worried about this form of racism or sexism? We're not, you know, hanging people anymore. Yeah. You know, right? Yeah, it's there are systemic discrimination is gone now, so you're complaining about smaller and
But that doesn't mean these aren't real problems. Just because they were just because they were worse problems in the past. Well, or should even say just sometimes more obvious problem. Yeah, whatever. But he's like, yes. Yes. Yes. Slavery, was worse than whatever we have today. Yes. Absolutely. But just because we're not fighting slavery anymore, doesn't mean that there's nothing worth fighting today, right? Yeah. And it's the same with, I think a lot of social progress is that? Yeah. It will. We will focus on relevant. Actively smaller and smaller problems. That's a marker of progress. It doesn't mean they're not worth addressing just because they were even worse problem than the past. That's a relative privation of Allison's. Yeah. All right, let's move on with science or fiction.
Science or Fiction ()
Voiceover: It's time for Science or Fiction.
She tweaked iconography sides. These items are facts to real and one fake news items this week. The theme is everyone ready? Let's do it right. Here we go. Item number one, a review of data from 2025, that death by Suicide, fell by six percent. In the US with similar numbers in other developed Nations, I never to the Princeton plasma physics, lab has developed a room temperature. Plasma for consumers, that kill 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces. And our number three, a recent fmri study of the brains of violent criminal Psychopaths and healthy controls could find no significant difference in brain function. Evan go first 2020. Death by Suicide fell six percent in the US. Yes, hmm. Okay. I mean, we talking about the year of coronavirus, obviously, and health issues that came hand-in-hand with that. So, this was run perhaps counterintuitive to that, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that is what actually happened. Suicide may have fallen because other parts of society as coronavirus, shut it down meant that people weren't say being bullied as
Social interaction and other things that lead to Suicide. So perhaps that one's right then, this, the next one, Princeton plasma physics, lab room, temperature, plasma, killing 99.99% of bacteria, on surfaces room, temperature. Plasma Venture, Bob will have some interesting things to perhaps say about that and then the last one, the fmri study of the brains of violent criminal psychopath. Ouch And healthy controls could find no significant difference in brain function. No, significant difference is. I said, I suppose in any aspect of brain functions is how I'm interpreting this. I'll go with the fmri study. They must have just been able to text some, perhaps some significant difference in brain function. It just seems too broad how its worded here. So I feeling that somewhere in there, there's the true
Evans fiction. Okay. Kara I absolutely agree with Evan. Like from I've seen too many studies that show the difference. So yeah, maybe one study showed it. I mean, that's the hardest thing that you've ordered them this way. A recent fmri study of what like three people. Sure, any study is going to show, no, no difference or a significant difference, it's when you actually look at all of the literature together so it kind of has like that's a red flag to me, but absolutely Lee psychopathy is characteristic. Absolutely. I think plasma class was like a gas, right? Or not quite a gas but like a liquid, a gas, which I didn't think was supposed to be hot but maybe there's, you know, like a super concentrated gas or something is a plasma. Yeah, why not? I mean we can kill stuff a light or with certain TV UV measurements and yeah I have a feeling that we're going to see sadly. A really big spike in suicides in 2021 is
As things start to go back to quote, normal actually wouldn't be surprised if there were fewer suicides during a lockdown but that the rate would actually go up and maybe even go up past. What we're used to seeing this year and next year cost me I think that that's that's what the data probably will bear out. So yeah I'm going to go with Evan. I just just so much evidence to show that their brains are different okay and Bob death by Suicide fell by 6. I thought I thought I read somewhere that it went up in 2020 It just didn't make any sense or maybe it was. Maybe that was just murders. I don't know, something went up. Alright, let's look at the plasma and plasma is basically, you know, atoms that have been ripped apart, like charged particles. You have free, you know, free electrons and and other particles and, and protons. So yeah. II was common matter and all the universe stunts stars are made of plasma. What? Yeah, cool plasma I think yeah, I think that trying to Yes, it seems counterintuitive but how could something that can rip apart atoms. Be kind of room temperature, but I think that can be done. I'm trying to think it's bizarre. Do that. But I think that that is possible when to throw us off for ya, and I know if it were, I mean, I could at first blush, it seemed kind of like, Wicked course, way to observe the brain to, you know, doesn't necessarily can show Psychopathic brains but I think carrying everything sprayed me in this direction as well.
J. Yeah. So quickly going through these the death by Suicide fell by 6%. Curious to know if that's true. Like what would be the reason just thinking very even though the pandemic has been really stressful to people have a lot less stressed out about their work situation. So yeah, I don't know. That's interesting. I mean, I would think that the less time people are actually physically at work. The happier they are so probably true. The plasma one sounds really cool. I'd like to know, you know, exactly how it's used, like what do they do with it? If it's for consumers, like, what are you just leaving? I don't know. What do you do? Is you rub it on your hands and rub it around. Spray tan, stuff, straight plasma stuff. Okay? But just don't drink it. All right, that's interesting. I'd like to know what it is. That makes it antibacterial. And then this last one I mean I would tend to think that there would be a very significant difference between violent criminals and
Violent criminals. These something that was just violent psychopath, Psychopathic violent criminals, like you know, an fmri, you think ever an instrument that we would be able to measure that it would be that one. So out of the three, that's the one that definitely stands out to me. So I will say that is, if you guys are all in agreement. So let's start with number 2 here. The Princeton plasma physics lab has developed a room, plasma train, tumors that kill 99.9% of bacteria. Surfaces you all think this one is Science. And this one is science. Cool. So I thought it sounds awesome. Is it expensive? I don't say anything about. This is just sort of a proof of concept kind of study. They also say, if you combine it with hydrogen peroxide, it kills 99.9999% of bacteria, maybe you just wipe things down. Yeah, well, you've been talking to kill you. Just wipe things down with my choir, just going to move it around. You're not know, but like Why so much bleep? I saw will do it. I will do it. That's like you can already just spray a can of Lysol. I'm Stephen. Yeah. But plasma this is plasma Lysol. So why do you guys know why they invented it? Well, I think they're just trying to keep up with another consumer product. You know, that will that will do the same thing. This is a it's room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure. They saw good, they haven't tested it in for viruses yet but they They suspect. It will also be affected for virus. Obviously, that would be a nice thing to have during a pandemic of our open Democrat. But all right, let's go to number three, recent infirmary study of the brains of violent criminal Psychopaths and healthy controls. Could find no significant difference in brain function. You guys all think this one is the fiction. So clearly there are differences. I mean there's no one could reasonably argue that. There isn't a difference to personality disorder. The question is, is that the difference that could be image on fmri? Scan it has before And specifically with the Paradigm that they used in this study. Right. I mean looking that's the question and you know that's a shot in the dark. Maybe, maybe not. So this one is the fiction. This is okay. Nice. Yeah for the reason so what the study found was really big differences and so they looked at big but anatomically and with fmri scan it is regular I'm right-handed fmri. And they found that That they watched? Yes, watch. Videos of violent. Bad things happening. There are emotional. Centers did not get activated in the same way that healthy controls it and makes nfm rise to it. Yeah, it makes perfect sense. This study also found differences in. Well, functioning individuals who have personality traits associated with psychopathy. So yeah, even if you're not a violent criminal but you hit you like score high on the psychopath test, you still will have differences in your brain and so to clarify what they found, so it was the control of the emotional areas. That was Compromise. So their emotional reactions actually higher because they lacked the the brain regions, that would be moderate and control the emotion change. So they couldn't prove quite a bit, a reaction to violence. It can't be a, they couldn't inhibit it. That's why they're there. They tend to be impulsive and callous. They don't, they don't have the inhibitory control, right? Like when you shoot that person, they were in my way. Yeah. The right. Yeah. Why did some brains develop them?
It's a really interesting question. Yeah. Everything that can go wrong in the body goes wrong. Yeah. Just read some Oliver Sacks. By the way, have you guys seen the documentary on PBS? Yeah check it out. It's out. Now all this means that a review of data from 2025 is that death by Suicide fell by 6% us with similar members in other developed Nations is science. And yeah there's a lot of speculation about what the suicide rate was going to.
Do during Associated with it. But in fact, it went down and I stress, this was in, like, developed nations with the exception of Japan. Where there was, I think a slight increase, but there's also, a lot of weird exceptions with Japan and suicide cultural exceptions. Yeah, exactly. There an outlier that basically and the US had the biggest drop 6%, but again, other similar Nations. The idea is that it was probably when they're when any kind of catastrophe or Or or bad situation hits. There's an initial heroic stage where everyone's are banding together by things. You know this year. Next year is probably not going to look good. Yeah. So there's there's definitely worried about a rebound but also, you know, people may have been spending more time with family members being underwater or careful, observation, just because they're not going out. Yeah, there's a protective mechanism. I mean, there's no protective Factor being around friends and family. The problem is that the people
Who are really isolated and maybe are experiencing and Adonia and her experiencing like low energy, that kind of pandemic fatigue, that a lot of us are dealing with. I mean, you see similar things in the course of a bipolar disorder, if somebody sadly does die by Suicide, it's often not as they're going down. It says they're coming back out of it. And so I think. Yeah, that's something similar here. But they also, here's one thing that may be sustainable is that they say, It may also be the dramatic increase in the availability of Telehealth Services. Yay. So if that's the case, if that's the case, that's something that should persist the best single thing to come out of the pandemic was the explosion of Telehealth services in my completely biased opinion, but mine to my tip, but yeah, it's been great and so that would be if they can fo see if they could identify that as a significant factor here, that
So many more people, so many more people are able to research found that it's just as effective as in person, you know, that's
Skeptical Quote of the Week ()
all right, Evan. Give us a quote before I say the quote, I want to have each of you kind of give me your quick opinion on what you think about this book because I've had some thoughts about this very Point. ‘Common sense is a very tricky instrument; it is as deceptive as it is indispensable.’ that was written by Susanne Katherina Langer. She was an American philosopher, she was born in 1895, she died in 1985. She was a writer and educator well known for her theories. On the influences of art, remind one of the first women in American history to achieve an academic career in philosophy and the first woman to be popularly and professionally recognized as an American philosopher. She was elected as a fellow to AAA s in 1960. So perhaps you've forgotten superheroes, but at the same time, the quote itself. This is something I've thought about it as well. Sense for me is kind of a okay, a fair starting point but you can't rely on it to make any final conclusions. How do you feel do? I agree that? I think it's a very very wise quote because common sense. It's like what Kara, you know, like what we would call Face validity, right? Like it's a starting point. It's like you need that first. Yeah. Like if somebody doesn't have like, maybe even In basic sense, at a fundamental level, you should be very skeptical of it, but it could be very deceptive. This quote, unquote, Common Sense, could just be a manifestation of your cognitive biases. Could all be confirmation bias? Yeah, it's like I'm talking about common sense or critical comments, but you have to back it up with an analysis of critical analysis. Also, we remind me of humor
No one wants to think they don't have a sense of humor. And similarly, I don't think anyone wants to think will be that they don't have common sense. Yeah. I mean, I think it would take an enormous amount to convince someone that they don't have common sense. Yeah. Right. They have to have like they would have to have proven to themselves over and over again but typically people don't can't see that or if that, but if you have a complete absence of common sense, it makes you vulnerable to things like believe in the World is Flat. You know, device like things that you should be rejecting on their face, you will, you could say, hey, maybe this. This is true. No it's true. Yeah. Like so many types of like pseudo-scientific treatments or Isis. We're so often were like, well, how would that even work? Like, it's so easy to just like that doesn't sound right, but many people like. That doesn't make scientific sense. But many people who don't have that basic filter wouldn't know that.
All right, guys, so we will be doing a Friday live stream that going forward to do that. Thank you guys, for joining me this week. Your man, you got a brother named Steve
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 theskepticsguide.org. Send your questions to email@example.com. And, if you would like to support the show and all the work that we do, go to patreon.com/SkepticsGuide and consider becoming a patron and becoming part of the SGU community. Our listeners and supporters are what make SGU possible.
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- Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference
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- [url_for_TIL publication: title]