SGU Episode 119

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SGU Episode 119
October 30th 2007
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 118                      SGU 120

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

R: Rebecca Watson

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

'Offense is what people take when they can't take argument.'

Richard Dawkins

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

News Items ()[edit]

Ghost Advice from CNN ()[edit]


    more ghosthunting news:

Report from the Homeopathy Conference ()[edit]


Rude 9/11 Truthers ()[edit]


The Dinosaur Extinction Debate Continues ()[edit]


Bigfoot with Mange ()[edit]


Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Supplements ()[edit]

Hi Rebecca,

Fantastic show! I loved it when you infiltrated the Christian Scientists with your medicated lip balm. I had a question on supplements. You said that your last strong hold of pseudoscience was in health supplements (I think, something like that). I believe that I am at the final stages of giving up vitamin, mineral and other proclaimed healthy supplements.. I have already given up the multivitamin and mineral tabs and a bunch of individual things I was taking. Right now I am taking spirulina and saw palmetto. I have changed my diet in the direction of vegetarianism but am a long way off from becoming one, despite believing that it is the right path to take for health. What are your thoughts on these two supplements, and are there some trusted web sites that you could recommend with info on supplements? On a side note, have you heard of Dr. Greger?

Kevin McMorrow
USA, Hawaii

NEJM study:

Tingling down your spine ()[edit]

Hi guys. Love the show. Been listening for about a year. Y'all's is the only podcast I listen to regularly. Keep up the awesome work!
So I've got two Halloween-ish questions:

1. Today while I was driving I got that familiar sensation of chills running up and down my spine, and I shuddered involuntarily. In my mind's eye, I imagine it was caused by a pulse of electricity traveling from the base of my spine up to my brain stem and back down again before it quickly disappeared. I'm sure almost everyone has felt this before. The explanation that I always heard was, A cat just walked over your grave! Since I'm pretty sure there's no grave with my name on it yet -not in this dimension anyway, what is the actual cause of this sensation?

2. This second question is sort of related to the first. OK, I have this weird sort of mysterious power: I can flex my brain. No really! Imagine if your brain was a muscle, and on command you could tighten up the back half of it. And when you tighten it you get the electric chills, just like the cat walking over your grave, except they're localized to your brain. The sensation isn't in my neck; it's totally in my brain. And it kind of makes me feel as if I'm going to pass out if I keep it flexed. If I didn't know any better, I might think I was inducing some sort of mystical trance state in myself. So what gives? Did all of that LSD I did as a teenager actually give me a special power, and I just haven't figured out how to use it to its full potential yet? I sure hope so!


Richmond, Virginia

Randi Speaks ()[edit]

  • The Uncompromising Observations of a Veteran Skeptic

    James Randi returns to give his skeptical commentary in his own unique style.

    This week's topic: Jaque Benveniste

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: New study shows that people will eat more calories in Halloween candy if it comes in small bite-sized pieces rather than jumbo-sized. Question #2: In a recent study those who identified themselves as 'moral' exhibited greater immoral behavior. Question #3: A recent analysis suggests that altruism and the tendency to make war coevolved - each dependent on the other for selective pressure.

Skeptical Puzzle ()[edit]

This Week's Puzzle:

Is it a carved up giant from the Atlantic?
Or is it a dead man in search of an eternal bed?
Is it the surgical removal of the ovaries?
Or a candle in the dark that fills one's empty head?

What is it?

Last Week's puzzle:

Perhaps its performed by folks in an arena
Or perhaps by a person saying hello
Perhaps its a style of filaments on Christina
Or practiced by those who disturb the status quo
It claims it will cure us of our Alopecia
Along with a hundred other things, but I doubt that its so

What is it?

Answer: human wave therapy
Winner: none

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'Offense is what people take when they can't take argument.'- Richard Dawkins

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation and For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at For questions, suggestions, and other feedback, please use the "Contact Us" form on the website, or send an email to If you enjoyed this episode, then please help us spread the word by voting for us on Digg, or leaving us a review on iTunes. You can find links to these sites and others through our homepage. 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto, and is used with permission.


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