SGU Episode 131

From SGUTranscripts
Jump to: navigation, search
  Emblem-pen-orange.png This episode needs:  transcription,  time-stamps,  formatting,  links,  'Today I Learned' list,  categories,  segment redirects. How to Contribute

SGU Episode 131
January 23rd 2008
SGU 130 SGU 132
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
“Science is simply common sense at its best – that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
Thomas Henry Huxley
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

News Items ()[edit]

Special Guests, Fraser Cain and Pamela Gay ()[edit]


UFO's Over Texasfollow up ()[edit]


Bigfoot on Mars ()[edit]


More Astronomical Pareidolia ()[edit]


Asteroid 2007 TU24 ()[edit]


Bionic Eyes ()[edit]


Coast to Coast Radio Show Gets Punked ()[edit]


Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

RLS ()[edit]

Skepticism uber allas, but that would be an oxymoron. Anyway, I would like to ask you Dr. Novella as a neurologist your opinion of 'Restless Leg Syndrome.' My brother who is a physician (dermatologist) told me that his professional colleagues tell him that RLS is a made up myth. That two major pharmaceutical companies have turned their failed sleep meds into a new need and market. We have all seen the massive TV and print media advertising. I have heard you on a past podcast talk about the natural paralysis this is necessary for REM sleep to keep us acting out our dreams. Also, these RLS medications are vasodilators. The effect is relieving the tingling feeling in the legs which is I believe is a result from inactivity. A very American thing.

Anyway, can you set the story straight on RLS as science or fiction? Thank you for the weekly hour of fresh air on the treadmill for me.

Thank you,
Kent Keller
Omaha, NE

Time Travel ()[edit]

First, I would like to thank you for the work that you put into your podcast. I live in the bible belt of the North Georgia foothills. My whole life I've been made to feel guilty for almost any kind of skepticism, especially when it comes to religion. This place can be a living example of pseudo science. Your show is much like you describe it as my, 'escape to reality.' Sometimes I feel so covered up in garbage that I find it hard to think. Your show really does give me a feeling of relief, and I thank you again for your work.

To get to the point:

You spent some time discussing the concept of time travel a week or so ago. I didn't really understand most of what you were saying, but I am under the impression that you embrace it as a concept but it is and will continue to be physically impossible b/c of a limiting factor.

The concept itself has always seemed ludicrous to me, as I see time as more of a naming convention than a measurement of some concrete fabric. I don't understand how you can move through something that exists only as a description of a sequence.

I recently had this discussion with someone who talked about traveling greater than the speed of light. We see stars that no longer exist because of their distance from us and the restrictions of the speed of light, so I understand how traveling at greater speeds could alter a person's perspective. How are speed and time related? How could time be different in different places? I don't know anything about black holes or different states of matter. Can you try to explain this again, in the simplest possible terms? I still can't buy into this idea.
Jesse Yoder
United States

Name That Logical Fallacy ()[edit]

  • Logical Fallacies
From the Science Based Medicine blog:
Commenter 'pec' wrote:
Mainstream medicine should concentrate on what it does well - emergency surgery, anesthesia, antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostic technology.
It should hand over what it does poorly - treatment of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic degenerative diseases, auto-immune diseases, cancer, AIDS, for example - to CAM.
There does not have to be any conflict. We don't recommend yoga for someone who just feel off the roof. If CAM is funded and encouraged to advanced it can take over ONLY the areas where mainstream medicine has failed.
Mainstream medicine could stop pretending that a cure for cancer is just around the corner. It isn't, not within the current mainstream scientific framework. It could stop prescribing drugs for artery disease that may slow progression and stave off death for a while, but that erode quality of life and well-being.
Give CAM a chance and focus on doing what you can be successful at. Aren't you getting tired of failing?

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: Conservationists have recently shipped hundreds of specimens of endangered animals to an arctic preserve where they will be frozen as a hedge against future extinction. Question #2: Doctors report a case of a kidney transplant recipient who has been able to live completely off immunosuppressive drugs thanks to a new treatment. Question #3: French scientists have figured out a way to generate useful electricity from rainfall.

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

“Science is simply common sense at its best – that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.” - Thomas Henry Huxley

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 'info @'. If you enjoyed this episode, then please help us to 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.


Navi-previous.png Back to top of page Navi-next.png