SGU Episode 132

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SGU Episode 132
January 30th 2008
SGU 131 SGU 133
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
'An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.'
Max Planck
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

News Items ()[edit]

UK Homeopathy in Crisis ()[edit]


YEC Research Journal ()[edit]


Facilitated Communication in the Courtroom ()[edit]


Vaccine and Autism ()[edit]

Arabian Brain Drain ()[edit]


Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Got Milk ()[edit]

Hey Steve & the gang,

I'm worried about a friend who's drank copious amounts of organic Kool-Aid, so to speak.

He gets raw (i.e. unpasteurized) milk from a local farm and claims it's actually healthier than pasteurized milk because it contains beneficial bacteria that get killed off in the pasteurization process. (Of course it also might contain some not-so-nice bacteria... like e. coli, for instance.)

This isn't my area of expertise, so I was wondering if you guys could give some more information on the health effects of drinking raw milk. What can I tell my friend that would get him to quit his habit?

Thanks for the always-excellent podcast.

Jordan H.

Hi all!

I've noticed something odd. A few years back I went through a phase were I almost exclusively bought 'Organic' foodstuffs.

Having gotten over that with a little help from my bank statements I have continued to buy Organic Milk, because it seems to me that it lasts longer before spoiling than regular milk. I mentioned this to my family and friends and after having tried it they generally agree with me. It seems that you can count on it lasting about a week longer.

Is there any truth to this? Or are we all suffering from an observational bias? And if it is true, why?

I'd hate to think that I spread BS even unknowingly.

Help me SKU, you're my only hope,

Micah Wheeler
Colorado, United States

Psychic Cheat ()[edit]

After Heath Ledger died, I thought I'd check to see if Nikki, Psychic to the Stars, had predicted his death. I checked her website ( and, amazingly, she had. Given that none of her earlier predictions ever mentioned Heath, and that there was nothing particularly adverse in his background that would suggest an early death, this seemed to me to be a major hit by a psychic.
However, I recently gave a talk at one of my neighborhood clubs about why people believe weird things. I thought it would be fun to end with a reading of some psychic predictions for 2008. So, in my research, I copied Nikki's predictions to a file. This was the day before he died. Guess what - no Heath Ledger. Looks like Nikki 'postdicted' his death. She also added Barrack Obama's name to the 'Death Watch/Health Watch' list.
So, is this a case where she just forgot to put Ledger's name down, and his death happened to remind her to updater her website?
I think not, be cause she also DELETED her prediction that Angelina Jolie would be nominated for an Oscar AFTER the Oscar nominations came out.
Details can be found at my blog.
Thanks for all your great work.
The skepTick
Jim Chatham

Name That Logical Fallacy ()[edit]

  • Logical Fallacies
From Calvyn on the boards:
Science and Pseudoscience

Why is it that when a bunch of guys go meandering through the wilderness looking for new species that we have no reason at all to believe exist it is considered a valid, worthwhile and commendable scientific pursuit, but when a bunch of guys go out into the wilderness looking for an animal whose physical characteristics are well known, which has hundreds of reported sightings, traces, possible hair samples, photographs, film, and allegedly some DNA collected, it is considered to be the worthless pseudoscientific waste of time that could only be taken serious by idiots and gullible kooks?

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: Update on Uri Geller

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: A new analysis of the homology of multiple endogenous retroviruses among primates suggests that humans may be more closely related to orangutans than chimpanzees. Question #2: Researchers have discovered how to use DNA to guide the creation of 3-D nanoparticles. Question #3: A new study shows that all humans with blue eyes share a single common ancestor.

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.'-Max Planck

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.


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