SGU Episode 250

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SGU Episode 250
April 28th 2010
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 249                      SGU 251

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

R: Rebecca Watson

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

You don't use science to show you're right, you use science to become right.'

Randall Monroe (Author XKCD)

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

News Items ()[edit]

20 Years of Hubble ()[edit]

Nanodots on a Chip ()[edit]

Boobquake ()[edit]

Stephen Hawking on Aliens ()[edit]

Noah's Ark ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

  • Answer to last week: solar wind

Your Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Question #1 - Intelligence and Science ()[edit]

My name is Anton Lantz, i'm 22 years old and hard at work on my mastersdegree in Media Technology here in Sweden. I've been a skeptic before I was even aware of the term. I have a measured IQ of ~140, and have a question regarding intelligence later in the post. I've been listening through the archives in the last few days while studying, and during a similar question posed to Bob, I started thinking about the speed of light and the smashing of particles/objects close to the speed of light. The theory of general relativity states that the closer to the speed of light an object accelerates (ofcourse relative to an observer) the particle/object itself does not actually reach any of those speeds, what happends instead is that time itself slowes down to 'compensate' for the increase in distance/second that the particle/object speeds by. What don't really add up in my head is what really happens to momentum and the conservation of energy when particles/objects near the speed of light smash into one another. Does the particles act as if it had the momentum relative to the speed it 'had' (even though the speed, relative to the particle/object itself, isn't really travelling at that speed), or is there something with the deacceleration of that particle/object that makes up for (relative to an observer) what would certainly have been a loss of energy from that collision. Since the paticle/objects did not actually travel at the speeds seen and measured by the observer. Hope that makes any sort of sense :). My second question relates to intelligens and the 'scientific method'. What I really want your opinion on is the apparent lack of understanding for and no actual comprehension of the importance of the scientific method. How does proponents of the 'un-scientific method' expect society to look like when logical thinking and good science takes a backseat to flimflam and guess-science? And do you think that logical thinking, or lack there of, is solely a question of upbringing and teachings at a young age? Has intelligance anything to do with it at all? Keep doing what you do so that people like me can stay sane and have a positive outlook on life. Best Regards / Anton Lantz Sweden

[34:30] S: ... appreciation for music.

B: It's raw knowledge.

Interview with Dr. Dean Edell ()[edit]

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item #1: Japanese scientists have genetically engineered a hairless rat with genes from an octopus, allowing the rat to rapidly change its skin color with changes in mood and environment. Item #2: Australian researchers report that they have developed a new vaccine delivery system - a nanopatch - that in animal studies uses 100 times less vaccine than current methods with the same immune response. Item #3: Belgium scientists report that they have documented herding behavior in earth worms.

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

You don't use science to show you're right, you use science to become right.' - Randall Munroe (Author XKCD)

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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