SGU 10-Hour Show Part 7

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SGU 10-Hour Show
2nd May 2015
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SGU 511 SGU 512
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


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Hour seven: https://youtu.be/gL_N-fjEjB8

Interview with Dean Cameron continued: (0:00)[edit]

Note: This page is not transcribed, but it has been summarized, and statements of the rogues has been paraphrased in order to provide limited searchability. Text is in gray to distinguish it from normal transcription.

D: There's a lot of processing power there, but because of the political process, people turn to crime and to scams. It doesn't excuse them, but it seems to be one of the reasons. Then people who fall for these scams, we can't blame the victim. They have trust and empathy.

J: Sometimes the scammer is lying about you making a lot of money.

S: Some cons are based on altruism, some are based on greed.

D: But there are people trying to help their church.

J: Did you ever send them any of your movies?

D: No, but I did send them reviews and press clippings. I wrote him as Perry, and that's how I got the money. I told him that Dean had married Brittney Spears, and he needed to hurry up with the money.

S: Have you tried anything else? A different skeptical theater?

D: We toyed with the idea of doing something else. People have approached me about turning it into a feature film, but it's very difficult.

S: So you're getting back into film / TV full time.

D: What's nice is people who grew up watching me are now running show businesses. So I've  got allies now. I was missing not doing what I loved.

S: You took a ten year break and came back. Was there a culture shift?

D: It's the same. The make-up trailer is still filled with magic potions.

S: Could you not survive in that culture as a skeptic?

D: The people who do the show seem to be very critical thinkers. There are more shows that deal with that skeptically.

S: You think the writers are more free to pursue atheist / skeptical themes, but the talent is still...

D: If you succeed in show biz, you have beaten the odds because it's impossible to do, so reality doesn't apply to you. You have to be creative and open, and that leads to stuff in your head.

S: If some one wins the lottery, try convincing them that their magic didn't work.

D: I don't mind it if it's not aggressive toward me.

S: I'll quietly judge you.

J: I think we all get to that point. Just ignore it and let it move on.

D: Also, I'm not the best representative of skepticism, because I get confrontational and angry. I wasn't doing any one any favors. I just shut up. There's so much woo in parenting. The worst is anti-vaxx stuff.

J: The weird thing is when they leave the placenta attached to the baby for a week or two. A woman had a pro-leave-the-placenta-attached blog saying to ignore the smell.

S: There's also people who eat the placenta.

D: The parenting stuff is pretty weird. I've become more tolerant, but completely judgmental. If people approach me, because some people know my beliefs, then I'll talk about. But I've stopped offering it up.

J: My wife and I have a two year old baby, and we've learned a ton about skeptical parenting. 

D: Hey! There's Bob!

J: Did you eat a placenta for lunch.  ... You know what websites to go to, we found a great doctor. I've limited how much of this crap gets in my face. At first, I couldn't believe how bad it was.

S: Dean, Twitter question. Where can I find out more about this guy.

D: DeanCameron.com

S: All things DeanCameron will be there.

D: An interesting thing with us raising the boy, is he has expressed a rejection of God. I'm uncomfortable with that. I think he's too young to make that decision. He's five. He's heard about Jesus at school, and concluded that it's a myth.

B: It's funny you had that reaction. My daughter had that reaction when she was eight. What about God's parents? I loved it, because I never pushed atheism on her. My wife wouldn't let me push it on her. To this day, she's an atheist now.

S: My older daughter was five, and she made the connection between God and Bigfoot. Yeah, pretty much.

D: It was Santa Clause that really tipped it. I'm happy, uncomfortable, because if he said he believed in Jesus, I would be uncomfortable about that.

S: If he's questioning, then that's a good thing. If he's questioning, just encourage that.

D: Yeah, but we're atheists, and what a coincidence that our son is an atheist. We've never pushed it, but still.

S: The kids absolutely pick up the skeptical attitude, like your reflecting back. What was impactful to my daughter was that it was okay to challenge authority. She likes being empowered to question authority. Once you reject authority, it's a short distance to conclude that that dogma is bullshit. The groundwork was inherent in being part of our family.

D: At school though, there's this thing that he's ... there was Earth day, and there was this stuff about environmentalism, and he was saying that humans are killing the planet. He's getting a “people are bad” message. He starts Kindergarten in the fall. He's in pre-school right now.

S: They get indoctrinated into certain things at school. I've noticed that my daughters are almost cynical. They know when they're getting indoctrinated. “They were so clueless, and they think we're dumb because they're telling us this stupid shit.” I think it's all good.

J: So Dean, the people on YouTube are asking about Alf. What's up?

D: I have no idea. I did three episodes of Alf, and it was crazy and weird. I was going through heartbreak and no sleep, so I don't remember Alf. There's a story I can't tell you until everyone involved is dead.

J: Dean, you're going to TAM. Are you gonna be there for the whole weekend? Let's get together.

S: Anything else you want to plug?

D: I do an art project called Security Edition. After 9/11, I thought about making the Bill of Rights out of metal. So when you go through the metal detector, you can say, “Here, take my rights.” Then I realized I should make that. So it's called “Security Edition,” the security edition of the bill of rights at securityedition.com. If you have extra time to spend at the airport.

J: Have you done it though?

D: Yeah, it's great, because sometimes they get it.

J: That was worth it, right? I have an airport experience. I was visiting a friend, and Bob has a skull collection. My friend had a human skull from the desert. So I took it, and I was trying to take it home. So I put it in a box. I get out of the car, and I ask the baggage guy, “Do you think I can take this on the airplane?” “As long as you don't talk to it, no problem.” At security, I usually get wanded. I'm accutely aware that the head is going through the X-ray machine. I see this:

''(Jay stares slowly)''

''(Laughter)''

It was the best moment I ever had at the airport. I got on the airplane, I put it in the overhead, and I wondered about the weird shit other people have on there.

D: I have a crucifix dildo that I put on the top of my baggage for the TSA to look at.

J: I don't know what to say, other than send me a picture.

B: How does that work?

D: It's a floppy, rubbery thing.

J: See, Dean just travels with that.

E: It's a conversation starter.

D: How I got to prison for doing nothing.

J: We'll see you in Vegas.

S: Take care.

D: Drive fast, take chances.

''(Interview ends. 22:53)''

S: We haven't done any of our science or fictions. We are burning through our ten hour show. We have barely scratched the surface of the stuff we had prepped.

Environmentalism: (23:48)[edit]

S: As skeptics, we often find ourselves on a certain side of environmentalism, one or the other. Do you feel like you are pigeon-holed as anti-environmentalist because you're a skeptic. We think nuclear is fine, GMO's are fine. For example, I consider myself an environmentalist. If the term wasn't completely destroyed, I would call myself a skeptical environmentalist. I think we should try to minimize our foot print on this planet as much as possible. I love nature.

B: Biodiversity!

S: There's gorgeous animals in this world. The idea that we are destroying it upsets me. On many levels, I consider myself an environmentalist, but I don't feel a kinship with the environmental movement because it has so much pseudoscience. The food industry needs a watch dog, but not the Food Babe.

J: People would have that view of skeptics just because we are nay sayers. But the bottom line is that skeptics and critical thinkers need to fill these gaps. We spend a lot of time fighting back the nonsense, and not fill the space.

S: People just say we're shills for big pharma. No, we just want to get the science right. Greenpeace drives me nuts! Their anti-GMO propaganda is so intellectually dishonest that they discredit themselves. They do good things, but they get taken over by ideologies, and then science becomes secondary to the ideologies, and then they become ineffective. They are engaged in the rankest anti-science propaganda on certain issues. Where's the hardcore science-based environmental group.

Part of it is just having the intellectual honesty to call things the way they are, even when that is not the best thing for your ideological mission. It's an opportunity to say that you will agree with science. We will not just take the simplistic pro-environment pseudoscience.

B: Absolutely

J: Pseudoscience has completely filled these areas.

S: There are science-based animal rights activists that have made advances. We have achieved a reasonable balance in animal research. But then there's the activists that go beyond that to make claims like we don't benefit from animal research.

J: What we would like as skeptical activists is we want our way of thinking to sink into every corner of humanity.

S: I will broaden the point to say if you have a social agenda, that's good. If you want to advocate for a value system, that's fine. But be science-based, and don't engage in motivated reasoning. I am proud of the skeptical community because in the aggregate we tend to come down on the right side of individual issues. Global warming and GMO's are good ones where conservatives believe global warming, and liberals believe GMO's. 

J: I can't associate myself with a political party.

B: Right. If you don't get science right, then I don't care about anything else you have to say.

Arresting an astronaut: (33:15)[edit]

S: This is an older story, but it's interesting

J: It was a result of NASA releasing info about what happens if an astronaut has a toothache, or a bad laceration. But they also have protocols for what happens if someone goes nuts.

B: In a space station? What's the context?

J: It depends on the mission. On a space shuttle, they have the option to land the shuttle. NASA probably has emergency landing places for the shuttle. But what I found interesting was what about the International Space Station? They have emergency pods, but they have a protocol if somebody has a bad panic attack or got violent. What if they try to open an airlock?

B: Putting lives ... exactly.

J: They duct tape the guy, they bungee cord the person down. They have another astronaut sit with them, talk with them, and administer medication. If they don't accept it, it can be injected against their will. They have to call some one on the ground and talk with them. The commander on the craft and the ground crew mutually decide what to do. It's not just Mission Control saying “do this.”

Mission Control isn't always driving. Sometimes the Captain on the ship has to make the call.

Depending on how long the mission is, you can't take daily pills. They have them on the Space Station, but not the shuttle when it was in flight. They have different kinds of tranquilizers, which helps them to treat space motion sickness, health problems, ect. Counter-anxiety drugs, pain medication, ect.

They have oral Halgol – an anti-psychotic. They have one for mania. What do they do with some one if they're on a long term mission, mission to Mars? There's a limited amount of everything on that.

A month into their trip, some one goes space crazy. I was talking to Steve about this. But do you think, what are the laws that space travelers have to adhere to when they leave Earth for good?

S: No one can enforce it.

J: There's no weapons. No guns or batons ... Will they change their stance on one of these permanent missions.

S: Why would they need weapons?

J: They're starting a new society. Will they agree that some one can be executed? I thought that was interesting. What do you think?

S: Obviously, they will form their own society in every way. The hope is that you so carefully vet the people you send out there, and you weed them out.

J: I think bad things are gonna happen. Something socially bad is gonna happen, and we will need to have a protocol in place. They need to know the right way to administer justice when there's twenty people. There's gonna be fist fights in the habitat. That can't happen!

B: There's no reason to send projectile weapons.

S: The best thing to have would be something non-lethal that won't rip a hole in your window.

Jay's Science or Fiction (42:58)[edit]

J: I can't do Science or Fiction as good as Steve, so I came up with Science Fiction or Fiction. So this is my twist. I'm going to give you six pieces of information about Star Wars. One of them is false. There's only one of them that's fiction.

S: So five of these are true.

Item #1	 The sound of a TIE figher engine is actually an elephant call mixed with other sounds.	

Item #2	 Most actors cast as Storm Troopers needed to be left handed due to the design of their E-11 blaster rifle.	

Item #3	 Luke Skywalker and his relatives were originally imagined as dwarves in early drafts.	 

Item #4	 George Lucas originally planned for Yoda to be played an adorable monkey wearing a mask and carrying a cane.

Item #5	 R2D2 is named after a piece of film editor's jargon. It means Reel 2 Dialog 2.	

Item #6	 During filming of Empire, the actors had a fake script that read, 'Luke, you are your own father.'

Evan, go first.

E: Luke Skywalker and his relatives imagined as dwarves. How could that possibly be? Lucas knew what the big picture was. Annakin and Padme gave birth to a dwarf? That's fiction.

B: Some of these sound like a no-brainer, but we're talking about Lucas here! So all bets are off! That's why it's perfect. I've heard of some of his early ideas, which were so wacky. So, the left-handed blaster rifle, I can see that. The dwarf one is killing me, and the monkey! Unless Yoda had such a minimal part, but I'm not buying that. I guess the dwarf one. How could you have a hero that way?

S: The tie-fighter one, they used all kinds of crazy sounds. The left-handed one sounds the silliest to me. I believe dwarves, the monkey with the mask. Luke, you are your own father sounds cheezy, but I'll buy it. The left-handed storm troopers is the fiction.

J: So we'll go through these in order. The sound of a tie-fighter is an elephant mixed with a car driving on wet pavement. They used many organic sounds as a start. The blaster sound was done with a cable. Chewbacca was several animal sounds, and sick animals when Chewbacca was sad. The giant walkers was a big machine press. 50% of R2D2's voice was electronic. The rest was whistles and birds. That one is true.

#2, look at how they're carrying those weapons. Steve is right.

B: That's the fiction?!

J: The fact is they did design all of the blasters, when they held them right-handed, it was jutting into their gut. So they were instructed to hold them the other way, but they didn't hire left-handed actors. Sometimes they fumbled with the guns in the movies because they couldn't handle it. Steve, I'm proud of you. That's awesome!

So, real quick, the E-11 rifle, the short one, was a blaster rifle used during the Galactic Republic.

Luke and his relatives were imagined as dwarves.

So the fourth one. It's true! They intended to have Yoda played by a monkey. They trained the monkey to carry the stick and wear the mask. There weren't automatronics at the time. The monkey seemed promising.

B: But not interacting!

J: They'd have to do a dub. But a large chunk of the crew thought that the monkey would keep ripping the mask off, then Lucas contacted the muppets creator Jim Henson.
George Lucas heard the name R2D2 while filming an earlier movie. Some one asked him to get R2D2, and he loved that name. He made a mental note of it. I wonder, did he already have Star Wars in his head?

E: I think he started imagining it in the sixties.

J: Last: Luke, I am your father. Lucas was the only person who knew that Darth Vader was Luke's father. The guy that was playing Darth Vader was wearing a mask! The second person to find out was James Earl Jones. Lucas had this ridiculous story of time travel, and Luke goes back in time and was his own father, and the crew was pissed! They didn't know it until they were in the movie theater.

When Luke says, “No-o-o-o!” he was reacting to the bullshit line. That means that the director who must have known. Do you think Lucas shared the truth with the director?

I did find out one other thing. In Revenge of the Sith, how many actors played a cloned trooper?

B: Twenty?

J: Zero. They were all CG, other than the main actor. Did you guys like that?

S: We have an interview with Cara Santa Maria coming up in ten minutes. I'm going to take a bio break.

J: One of the people on our YouTube asked why would the laser gun need a clip? The weaponry in Star Wars was built off real guns, and they were firing real blanks. In stills from the movie, you can see shells coming from the guns.

Lasers and space junk: (57:26)[edit]

B: Laser and space junk. Researchers have proposed a cool method for dealing with debris orbiting our planet, a space-based laser to de-orbit the junk. We're being orbited by a junk yard. There's hundreds of thousands to millions of small things. They've had paint chips crack the window of the shuttle.

Then the worst case scenario is a chain reaction where one satellite blows up other satellites until all of low Earth orbit is filled with junk, and you could not fly through it. You would have to wait a century for it to de-orbit.

I think China exploded a satellite, now you've got all sorts of debris. Think about the movie Gravity. Now, they've come up with ideas in the past. Balloons, ballistic gas clouds. I'm not sure how that one works.

Part 8