SGU Episode 186

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SGU Episode 186
February 9th 2009
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 185                      SGU 187

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

R: Rebecca Watson

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein


Download Podcast
Show Notes
SGU Forum


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

News Items ()[edit]

Wakefield Fraud ()[edit]

Wearable Computer ()[edit]

Amish Fireplace ()[edit]

LHC Delay ()[edit]

Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Question #1 – Blood Typing ()[edit]

Question #1 – Blood Typing love the show and keep up the good work. as for me, i've just listened to the latest show and, since i live in japan, felt compelled to write this email. i have actually wanted to write this email since you did the episode with china. blood typing. where do i begin? unfortunately, the news article is pretty close to the truth. i read the same article myself. people actually believe in this woo. i can't count the times that i've been out in a bar, club or just about anywhere and someone has asked me what my blood type is. i usually say 'i don't know'. that really throws them. most of the blood typing is harmless. the matchmaking, 'what's your sign' kind of crap. however, i have heard that in some cases it has been used to discriminate against people. the japanese are a 'hyper-homogenized' race and there is a lot of racism in this country. not so much against westerners, but more so against asians that are not japanese. i know of people that put blood type on their resumes. i can easily see someone not getting hired due to their blood type. japan really works like that. on several occasions i have tried to disabuse people of this notion. it's all on deaf ears, so i have given up that pursuit. now it is just a line i use to chat up a girl. it works very nicely too. but it is something that is symptomatic of japanese society. christianity/western religion never really took hold here in japan. you do get the few pieces of religious woo. there is supposedly a place in northern japan where the actual jesus christ is buried. yeah, figure that one out. however, the religious woo is not the problem. if you've ever spent time watching japanese television, like i have, you will notice that it's not all anime and bad variety shows. most of the commercials here are for two things. those two things are herbal supplements and exercise machines. that is hallmark japanese woo. any kind of supplement is believed in. the best selling supplements are those for the older citizens. you know, repair your joints and move like an athlete 40 years you junior woo. as for the exercise machines, it's mostly ab machines. needless to say, they don't really work. don't get me wrong, there are skeptics in japan. unfortunately, they are drowned out by all those that believe in the woo. there seems to be no oversite by the japanese government. it is my personal belief that this is due probably to someone somewhere in the government making money from the supplements. that's how the japanese government works. it's one of the most corrupt in the world. anyway, keep up the good work! Jason Haldeman

Question #2– China Spacewalk Hoax ()[edit]

Love the show and just wanted to say that i'm converting all my friends! Please keep up the good work, i'm sure it really takes up a lot of your spare so thanks for the effort you are putting in. Okay, onto the question. I stumbled across this on Reddit (a user submitted stories website like Digg) and while I dont believe America faked moon landing etc... i'm pretty convinced the chinese faked this walk. Can you please take a look and let me know if you can provide reasons for the following; - 'Bubbles' in front of the astronaut - The flag moving in an incosistent way for zero-gravity - The clouds moving fast (it does look a bit too fast to me!) Being skeptical though, I did another search for chinese spacewalk footage on youtube, and was astonished to spot a bubble 1minutes 15 seconds in! (very right hand side) So, is any of this easily explained? Thanks a lot! Iain Black Falkirk, Scotland

Interview with Jon Ronson ()[edit]

  • Jon Ronson is a humorist and journalist, author of The Men Who Stare at Goats – about to made into a major motion picture.

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item # 1: Darwin dropped out of medical school after two years because he found it boring. Item # 2: Darwin suffered from a chronic illness, thought perhaps to be psychosomatic, and frequently sought treatment from a bogus water-cure. Item # 3: On The Origin of Species, was initially a financial failure, selling few copies in its first run. Item # 4: Darwin published four large volumes dedicated solely to barnacles.

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

    Quote of the Week ()[edit]

    “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” - Incorrectly attributed to Charles Darwin (supposedly fromOrigin of Species) “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” - Incorrectly attributed to Charles Darwin (supposedly fromDescent of Man)

    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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