SGU Episode 888

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SGU Episode 888
July 16th 2022
888 JWST main image deep field smacs0723.jpg
JWST's First Deep Field Image
SGU 887 SGU 889
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
AJR: Andrea Jones-Rooy,
political, social, and data scientist and professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the NYU Center for Data Science
Quote of the Week
Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin.
John von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic

Introduction, Navigating Social Media, Misinformation, Pandemics[edit]

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


S: But we also like to just talk about cool science, and that's mostly what we're going to do in the News Item segment of the show this week, starting with Jay.

News Items[edit]






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

Green Steel (11:10)[edit]

S: You're going to tell us about the race to create "green steel."

T. rex Arms (24:54)[edit]


S: ...populations are interbreeding. We had this conversation last week with an expert on dog evolution.

Getting Out the Vote (44:58)[edit]

James Webb Images (59:36)[edit]

B: ...for this specific news item, and I came up with a couple: "Now witness the power of this fully operational Space Telescope; and this one's for Jay: "My god, ___!" Finish it, Jay.

J: "'s full of stars!"

Who's That Noisy? (1:16:03)[edit]

J: ...Tom Scott's video on gravity-fed, decorative water fountains

New Noisy (1:19:42)[edit]

[increasing number of small animals chirping/twittering/squeaking]

J: If you think you know what this week's Noisy is or you heard something really cool, please do--just send it to me. You never know, I might love it. Send it to

Patreon Reminder (1:20:31)[edit]


Quote Quiz/Quotation Rotation/Potent Quotables (1:21:22)[edit]

Science or Fiction (1:32:40)[edit]

Item #1: A new study finds that smart thermostats, designed to save energy through efficiency, can increase strain on the electricity grid and worsen peak demand.[5]
Item #2: A new analysis finds that the probability of one or more human casualties from rocket body reentry is about 10% over the next decade.[6]
Item #3: Researchers find that intranasal oxytocin is effective in improving emotional sensitivity and relationship satisfaction in couples undergoing therapy.[7]

Answer Item
Fiction intranasal oxytocin
Science smart thermostats can strain
more reentries, more death
Host Result
Steve clever
Rogue Guess
more reentries, more death
intranasal oxytocin
intranasal oxytocin
smart thermostats can strain

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

Jay's Response[edit]

Evan's Response[edit]

Bob's Response[edit]

Andrea's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:50:47)[edit]

Anyone who attempts to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin.
John von Neumann (1903-1957), Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath


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

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


Today I Learned[edit]

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




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