SGU Episode 944

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SGU Episode 944
August 12th 2023
944 Undersea.jpg

"A hydrothermal vent displaying many red tube worms and white microbial mats."
Photo: Schmidt Ocean Institute [1]

SGU 943                      SGU 945

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

It is hard to tell which is worse: the wide diffusion of things that are not true, or the suppression of things that are true.

Harriet Martineau, English social theorist

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion

Introduction, Masks and sickness, Cara's dissertation

Voice-over: You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

"5 to 10 Years" (12:36)

  • [url_from_show_notes _article_title_][2]

News Items






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

Depression Does Not Cause Cancer (24:59)

AI vs Robo Calls (35:27)

J: ... So, let me play for you--

(Cara and Evan chuckle)

C: I hate these.

E: (groans) This is for science, Cara. We have to suffer. (Cara groans)

J: All right. Here it is. [funny sound from "La La Dog" video plays] Oh, sorry. That's not it.

(Rogues laugh)

Cement Supercapacitor (51:27)

...We talked in the past[link needed]

Hidden Undersea World (1:01:58)

Who's That Noisy? (1:11:36)

Answer to previous Noisy:
Optophone scans letters and converts to audible tones[6]

[Intermittent, musical, mechanical beeps]

New Noisy (1:17:10)

[Background hissing, foreground crackling]

what that noisy is

Announcements (1:18:36)


Follow-up #1: More on EVs (1:22:29)

Follow-up #2: RFK Jr. on Tik Tok (1:27:28)

C: ... It's like the "Underwear Gnomes". It's like, "Then a miracle happens."


Science or Fiction (1:36:13)

Theme: Oldest living things

Item #1: The oldest extant branch of life is the ctenophores, which go back 700 million years.[7]
Item #2: Polypodiophyta, a type of fern, is the oldest extant plant genus at 380 million years.[8]
Item #3: The record for the slowest evolving vertebrate goes to the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii) which has changed little in 450 million years.[9]

Answer Item
Fiction Polypodiophyta fern
Science Elephant shark
Host Result
Steve win
Rogue Guess
Polypodiophyta fern
Elephant shark
Polypodiophyta fern
Elephant shark

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

Evan's Response

Bob's Response

Jay's Response

Cara's Response

Steve Explains Item #1

Steve Explains Item #2

Steve Explains Item #3

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:50:05)

It is hard to tell which is worse: the wide diffusion of things that are not true, or the suppression of things that are true.

 – Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), English social theorist, often seen as the first female sociologist. 


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

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


Today I Learned

  • Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference[10]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description


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