SGU Episode 368

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SGU Episode 368
4th August 2012
Curiosity4.jpg
SGU 367 SGU 369
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
Guest
BW: Brian Wecht
Quote of the Week
Yes, there is a conspiracy, indeed there are a great number of conspiracies, all tripping each other up… the main thing that I learned about conspiracy theories is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in the conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy, or the grey aliens, or the twelve-foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control, the truth is far more frightening; no-one is in control, the world is rudderless.
Alan Moore
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction[edit]

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

S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Today is August 1st 2012 and this is your host, Steven Novella. Joining me this week are Bob Novella

B: Hey everybody.

S: Rebecca Watson.

R: Hello everyone.

S: Jay Novella

J: Hey guys.

S: And Evan Bernstein.

E: Welcome to August everybody.

J: Welcome.

R: Thanks.

E: A good month.

B: Yay! Goodbye July.

S: It's my second favourite month.

R: Really? August? I don't know, it's just so hot and humid, not an August fan.

S: That's when my garden is at it's most productive.

E: Ooh, see that? See?

R: All right, fair enough.

This Day in Skepticism (0:42)[edit]

August 4 1921 - First fax sent

R: You know, today marks an interesting anniversary. August 4th, 1921. Can you guys guess what was sent for the first time on August 4th 1921?

E: Uh, television transmission?

R: No.

S: Not that was like in the 40s.

J: Ham radio.

R: Nope.

S: The trans-Atlantic line for the telegraph?

R: No.

B: The first spam email.

R: Oooh that's the closest of all of these actually Bob, because on August 4th 1921 the first fax was sent.

J: Aw I was going to say fax.

R: Can you believe that? Yeah.

E: What's a fax?

R: Yeah maybe a lot of people in our audience don't know what a fax is, but for a while that was the best way to receive spam was through the fax and yeah technically it was a, I think they called it a Berlinograph, or at least Berlinograph was the name of the invention which transmitted the facsimile, invented by Edward Berlin. So it was a written message sent from the managing editor of the New York Times which was scanned and sent by radio from Annapolis Maryland.

S: Scanned how?

R: Got me!

(laughter)

S: Try to imagine 1921 technology.

R: Yeah it's not like, they didn't have a scanner but I guess OK, they had, it was a light beam reflected onto a photo cell that converted the variations in the revived intensity to electrical signals which were then forwarded by radio or telephone wires.

J: Cool.

B: That sounds pretty modern, wow.

R: Using a rotating cylinder.

E: Oh well there you go, there's the antiquity for you.

S: Was there a squirrel rotating the cylinder?

E: Exactly.

(laughter)

R: And actually at the time that that was sent, I guess that was the first trans-Atlantic fax because the same method was already in use within Europe for sending photographs, apparently. Isn't that crazy?

S: That is crazy.

R: Faxes, in the 20s. Mmmhmm..

E: Facsimiles.

J: So why did it take so long, why did we not have faxing back then?

R: There was faxing, it just wasn't something that everyone had in their home, it became inexpensive in the 70s and 80s. I'm still alarmed when people ask me to fax something, it's bizarre.

S: We still use a fax quite extensively at work.

E: I use one.

R: Yeah, for like medical records and stuff?

S: Yeah, to send documents around, yeah.

E: Yeah accountants use fax machines all the time too.

News Items[edit]

Superstition Fund (3:17)[edit]

ABC news: 'Superstitious Fund' loses money in month two

Curiosity's Sky Crane (12:02)[edit]

Phys.org: Strange but true: Curiosity's sky crane

Anti-Fluoride News Fail (20:04)[edit]

Neurologica: Anti-fluoride propaganda as news

Bat-Winged Monkey Bird (28:46)[edit]

ShukerNature: Introducing Britain's bat-winged monkey

Who's That Noisy? (34:18)[edit]

Answer to last week: Sigmund Freud

Interview with Brian Wecht (35:44)[edit]

NECSS Speakers: Brian Wecht

Science or Fiction (59:59)[edit]

Item number one. Researchers claim evidence of an unknown species of hominid not from fossils but from the dna of hunter-gatherers from Cameroon and Tanzinia. Item number two. Study finds that brain imaging can predict how intellient you are. And item number three. Theory shows that Ultra-high energy cosmic rays are likely caused by the collision of 3 or more super-massive black holes.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:14:02)[edit]

Yes, there is a conspiracy, indeed there are a great number of conspiracies, all tripping each other up… the main thing that I learned about conspiracy theories is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in the conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy, or the grey aliens, or the twelve-foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control, the truth is far more frightening; no-one is in control, the world is rudderless.

J: Alan Moore!

Announcements[edit]

Tickets for private recording to see SGU at Dragon Con (1:15:15)[edit]

Occ the Skeptical Caveman (1:15:37)[edit]

Thanks from our trips (1:16:15)[edit]

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 www.theskepticsguide.org. 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 info@theskepticsguide.org. 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.


References[edit]


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