SGU Episode 304

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SGU Episode 304
May 9th 2011
SGU 303 SGU 305
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
'Homeopathy is the idea that we just cured the world of terrorism by dumping Osama's corpse in the ocean.', 'I believed in reincarnation in my last life but I'm not to sure about it in this one.'
Sean Mcfly, Stephanie Beach
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Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

This Day in Skepticism ()[edit]

  • May 14th, 1796: English physician Edward Jenner administered the first vaccination against smallpox to an eight-year-old boy.

News Items ()[edit]

Einstein Right Again ()[edit]

Mark Geier's License Suspended ()[edit]

Moon Microbe Mystery ()[edit]

Steytlerville Monster ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

  • Answer to last week: Quote from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Questions and Emails ()[edit]

Yap Money ()[edit]

During your segment on the Easter Island civilization, Rebecca mentioned an island that uses giant stone things as currency. What she was remembering is the Island of Yap, a Pacific island that uses giant limestone disks as money. Many of the stone disks are so big (up to 4 or 5 metric tons) that no one person could move them on their own, so they trade them as currency without moving them--just sort of pointing to the stone in your neighbor's yard and saying, yeah, that one's mine. What's even crazier is that the stones come from another island, Palau, which is several hundred miles away, and had to be brought over on rafts and canoes. All this information is from a show that NPR's Planet Money did on the subject. (This means that someone else has probably told you this already, but nonetheless I thought I'd chime in.) It's their podcast #235, and it's highly amusing. I hope it's also factual. It was great to meet you all at NECSS. Thanks as ever for the great show. Hai-Ting New York, NY

Interview with Jon Ronson ()[edit]

  • Author of The Men Who Stare at Goats, and now The Psychopath Test

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item #1: The first solid state amplifier (transistor) was made of germanium, which dominated the transistor industry from 1947 into the 1960s, until it was ultimately replaced by the silicon transistor. Item #2: Marie and Pierre Curie had a daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, who also won a Nobel prize jointly with her husband for work with radiation, and (like her mother) died prematurely of radiation-induced leukemia. Item #3: Mercury is the only element that is a liquid at room temperature. Item #4: For over 60 years in the 1800s aluminum was considered a precious metal, worth more than gold, despite being the most common metal in the Earth's crust.Note: All four items derive from the book, The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'Homeopathy is the idea that we just cured the world of terrorism by dumping Osama's corpse in the ocean.' - Sean Mcfly 'I believed in reincarnation in my last life but I'm not to sure about it in this one.' - Stephanie Beach

Voiceover: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU productions, dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at You can also check out our other podcast the SGU 5x5 as well as find links to our blogs and the SGU forums. 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 leaving us a review on iTunes, Zune or your portal of choice.


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