SGU Episode 407

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SGU Episode 407
4th May 2013
SGU 406 SGU 408
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
SS: Seth Shostak
Quote of the Week
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats
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Show Notes
Forum Topic


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 Tuesday, April 30th 2013 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: Are we still an effective team?


S: We are still an effective team.

B: Not in the slightest.

This Day in Skepticism (00:33)[edit]

  • May 4th, 2005: SGU records its first episode

R: Happy anniversary everybody.

S: That's right.

B: Oh my god.

S: The show goes out on May 4th which is exactly our 8 year anniversary.

R: May the fourth be with you.

B: Eight years!

R: It seems like every week we have some arbitrary anniversary to celebrate.

S: Milestone yea.

E: This one's a little less than arbitrary.

S: Eight freakin years that's a long time.

E: That's a long slice of life, yeah.

J: So how many episodes?

S: This is 407

B: Wow.

J: Hey you know how we read a lot of news items on the show and we're like and they said five years are going to get this, we could have actually followed up on some of those 5 year things.

R: that's right

E: Do you guys remember this is right before recorded episode 1 it didn't make it onto the show but there was talk about the alpha constant which might not be constant Bob do you remember that specificat reacts to 6921 Dr Michael Murphy if karen was speaking at the physics 2005 just said that the fine structure constant 26 might not be constant after all he was comparing gas cloud fingerprints with those teams on Earth and space in the day has changed by about 1 part 2013 the last 10 billion years show doesn't sound like a lot it's hard to put that in some sort of perspective saying is we may not it may not be constantly need more research to find out if in fact it is said its a tumor research there has been a research done and done more research other signs so done work 8 years later they're still in the same place where they started it is not widely accepted that there's any variation on in the in the constant news items as well does a few that I remember tonight. Time that I wanted to follow up on you guys remember the T Rex proteins oh yeah it was Haiti's scientist found some t-rex proteins and it was 68 million euro proteins me direction was cool and then they were burned protein so it to get dinosaurs related to personal sounded good well after that I started reading and Stephen Salter contact Mexican of the first person to say hey to rest of the community is not accepting this so there is a lot of push back a lot of push back against the original sin to see me just clean it with those said its a contaminant others who were saying it stay didn't do good statistical analysis is just a fluke and the data really didn't prove it real um send a clear Vista released original date of the years the resurgence reviews for a while then they related to now at eight years later where is oldest and it seems like actually did the original sin cos to do claim to find the protein of doing a lot of follow-up research have answered a lot of the critics and they are putting together a much more compelling story Really that they have actually 65 plus you equals year old dinosaur pregnancy did I had wrists or different special man show date the used stereo equipment in really try to control the contamination she stated to statistical analysis 200 saw the ghost criticisms but it seems like the rest of the community is still isn't accepting it they're saying essentially that and the state is coming out of 1 research team really needs to be independently replicated and they still haven't addressed the contamination issue maybe the contamination is coming very quickly 50's does laid on the ground for a long time and we can't be sure the proteins that there are you sleeping or actually soft tissue from the creatures that left those bones behind as opposed to to some other stores in nice story about Giants process assigned to one of those stories where they made a claim he got picked apart route to sleep by the rest of the scientific community in the Navy how to do more and more rigorous message to address all the criticism is it really is a nice story I just assumed they would just like crying wind by being oppressed and supposed to do those lighted sign to clean this conspiracy against and try to get it on schools anyway Tracy ca. to the concert dinosaur protein controversy other mothers news items from 2005 10 planets or eight in radio controversy over whether or not the new copper Belt objects should be named the 10th planet or should Pluto get demoted and not be considered a gun happy how about this one the first human to have to control a robotic arm with a computer chip when was that 2005 that is awesome article today Teresa some person today that um they were controlling it a robotic arm and it moves like a human arm and it had the same type of a text not your fingers but definitely the other joint add one more at the time the smallest rocky EXO planet was 7.5 times the size of my god can you remember that shoot the days back in the day where are we now with the closest to Earth side of multiple world that are the same size of the earth yeah we're stronger even a little smaller than a telescoping people waiting to us fish Alex I like this because this is where are they now at the said since 2021 Saved by the Bell alright TV show is the article from July 2005 single atom pick materials almost ready for primetime Find the talking about graphing a banana to Raffi's the researchers noted the sum of the application probably decades away but they expected to see ultra-fast transistors micromechanical devices innocence is based on one atom to crystals ready in a few years time fast forward a few years time and just a month ago here's the here's a headline for a month ago flash memory chip building built out of single atom pick components hang out app they put them together with traditional components and made a flash memory drive it still a few layers tickets not single layer but and Body Works absolutely works Dave put stuff on there a race did many times to see how it'll how it holds up everything and so there it is you know of Science in action and it's actually coming to fruition pretty much exactly they said it would be cool n***** happy Anniversary here's to another eight years very rare very scary at least 18 years I'm good good for a while and I got s*** to do yeah career does my cycle Oregon my hair did the Frank my hard drive on your Steve we're going to change a few things

News Items[edit]

Funding Science (08:24)[edit]

Okay. Well let's go on to a few news items. Rebecca, you're going to tell us about politics and funding scientific research yes background church because now there's a stranger in the US who are in the US add a me not the stuff so NFS is the National Science Foundation and they are responsible for something along the lines of 20 percent of all federally funded science is is funded by then they have a budget of around seven and a half billion show how to decide which research gets funded the Trinity that's true AP review process and what does winter looking for is research that is in the public interest and also important to scientists hole so it could be very basic science could be applicable science and the thief and a broad range of things to do with the missus looking for is how this research contributes to the scientific understanding as a whole well there's the bill right now on the trash in trash sponsored by Lamar Smith to is out kind of well-known recently as the sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act super which was shut down last year um which wood is had some say catastrophic a fax on how easy Internet Lamar Smith is now the head of the house Science Committee and she's still would replace the pier in process that add to Germans when an assassin's Andrews place that process with a political Sheeran basically um to politicians with the people who would determine where all this money is going and in particular with they would be looking for I'll be to you from the actual del look for research proposal start in the interest of the United States to advance to national health prosperity or welfare and secure the National Defence to science the finest quality is groundbreaking and answers questions or solve problems after this Friday at large and not too productive other research project being funded by the foundation or other federal signs agencies show there a lot of problems that any difference question may seem like a lizard good positive things to work towards but a person for most probably say you have college tuitions who are determining what the most important scientific research is that needs to be funded add to that is of itself your mediately okay up the science spending two to politics so for instance if the Mar had a problem with shaved global warming research she could possibly turkey to the funding for it open the door for any politician to to destroy any research that the politically don't care don't pay per exactly lol free because of the CVS okasan things like national defense fake ad there's a ton of good science it's being done this at a very foundation a level it in other words it's not the result of the science are not sure the groundbreaking they're not going to create jobs immediately or create weapons as dirt but they're very important to understanding to the body of knowledge and distilled would automatically preclude research like that from being funded show you know it anything if this doesn't work for you then just picture Sarah Palin on the campaign trail complaining about wasted research money on fruit flies I need anything about science news health research fruit flies can beach um and how common it is send message in a politician likes your parents or like this guys like on the marsh miss you have no scientific background no signs of training send leaving the people who decide where this seven and a half billion dollars is going its frankly it's terrifying and irritated yesterday yeah it doesn't get it today created for the trip you any basic science research Plaza there that says that you're not going to do any research that duplicates of the research but that's replication baby what's wrong with the kids to know replication this is a maximally naive interference and 80 a process of deciding which valuable to research this happens actually quite frequently at lyrics funders say that will be one or money to go towards sushi what they say is translational research research that will have a specific usual outcome show in medicine for example you have grassroots organizations that raise money to cure disease a call we want the research to a go to do studies which can potentially cure this disease or improve the item for patience and they're putting a message from on the scale that has a very detrimental effect they mean well I understand weather hurt is but the problem is that you can't know how to balance basic science translational and clinical or Apple store application research unless you're in the field that balance is off is it takes a lot of judgement only the experts in the field to really know where we are and when you shift that balance because you want to research it going to have some specific application you can actually slow down the progress in the field at your funding by taking away funds and researches resources in universities space it cetera away from the more basic research. Really need to be focusing records so this to be a complete disaster is it really nice to be nice maybe has been I don't know a lack of communication or something into director or any pants have to do with them have not explained things clearly enough to a Smith and his colleagues can you can I have a shot in in fact addiszefen more communication is ever existed in the what 16 year history of the NSF because for the first time ever represented Smith station Dennis after the speech at the letter and demanded to see the anonymous what what what supposed to be in on this review of a number of studies funded by an assessed at perhaps she did not feel should have been funded this request at know if there's ever made 5410 see I started with a strongly worded letter does claritin you can't even read all of it on em over add to a science is website Alright thanks, Rebecca.

Curse Scam (16:15)[edit]

Evan, You're going to tell us about the latest paranormal scam yeah this ones a hot is a celebrity sophisticated is other scams out there but it seems to be effective not coming to is courtesy of CBS New York I seem to con artist for targeting Chinese immigrants specifically in Brooklyn New York hey on your scam they will walk up to the target sometimes right now Street demand cash from now onwards jewels are something else of value and if they don't hand it over they will straighten them with an evil curse they will say things like oh you evil now before you or your family members will suffer and this is been dubbed the cash or curse scam so again you've got the Zelda Chinese people right there a very superstitious demographic and you know this it's basically a form of f****** that is being performed on and they have been known to give over their valuables their possessions the skin is not limited to Newark either days been reported across the country and in other countries around the world so this is taking route because of the fact is people are taking advantage of yeah it is easy to take advantage of the demographic and has a high rate of superstition does is this is a fuse con artists in general target the elderly because maybe they're not quite as savvy with the latest technology so you know computer scams against older people are very common or maybe they have a mild cognitive impairment to the accident taking advantage of a population has medical problems you know fieldstone are the population back potentially can have a lot of funny because they have to be completed over their license and it's not uncommon for for older addicting games 22 B swindled I did as you say another life savings is terrible yes and it seems to stem from something in the Paschal the Chinese blessings scam so I've read some articles about this from years past so it supposed to start carrying the street what the Connersville do with it will go into the shops in markets of these places on by bike Chinese people show the last for money shakedown if they refuse will say in okay well now your family is going to become ill what to do list is that in some cases the scammers will direct the victim to a relative or a doctor Cooper Fort Lee has the power to avert a certain desastre that's good because that's going to come to say something like alright if you want to get out of this bring a bag of valuables with you go see this person alright and I'll get it taken care of what to do the polls which route to take like jewels and stuff out of the bag and replace it with other things like that cause of rice water bottles in other things in the truck and don't open this until you get home wait for a week or two 7 to 10 days and then after that you'll find that no cursing before you and good spirits and Beyond will be with you by the time and I'll pay attention to the to these instructions to realize two weeks later been rocked the Chinese Blessing Scam is what that's called, so this is like a Very Asian of at two different than psychics who should I tell people that they are cursed they have some kind of evil threatening them and that they need to have the blessing done by the psychic who is president Falls thank you have some Christmas money bring me to stack of cash Laughlin to process ABC Street Dalton the money vanishing think about it obvious condo lease or where of it being poured all over the country hopefully awareness will bring about the best

ITER - Fusion Reactor (20:26)[edit]

in India but they won't find out about the International clear experimental reactor really caught me by surprise I had never heard of this project for school TCH her project ITER I'm pretty sure to turn on Cedar and it's the international thermonuclear experimental reactor and or dinner in Latin mean the way and this Is a fusion research in ensuring project goes to demonstrate that it is possible to produce more energy from the fusion process that is used to initiate it courses I finish eating fruit in previous attempts if the project works what will end up with his and model of what the next generation would look like so this is actually going to be a reactor that supposed to be used to power homes Morgan just an experiment to proof of concept the project funded run by the European Union India Japan China Russia South Korea and United States with the European Union investing about 45 percent the money to do it under the current design with fully functional is supposed to produce 500 megabytes per 50 mega watch spent in order of magnitude of energy creation example 500 megabytes keep our about 300,000 average home David Guetta construction in 2007 and main question is why is this a big deal so I thought for such quickly define fusion fusion is when two hydrogen atoms are forming helium in neutron particles loss of Anarchy with the Adams armor Jincy in the form of heat fusion takes place in a measly high temperatures need to overcome the repulsive forces they keep Adams apart from each other neutron shoot off during diffusion process in their energies where he comes from sons core is about 15 million degrees Celsius in Ashford fusion is taking place fusion of course it's been a dream of Science in the beginning of the atomic age which is in 1945 and some people say the beginning of the atomic gauges set of the first bomb on Bruce sooner after the public became or more where it over the next two years about a million individual components of this highly complex usually actor will start to arrive in France in the south of France were three actors housed on these are being built around the world and this project in my opinion is epic for a lot of different reasons I'm first it's proving a huge triumph in countries working together in diplomacy and Science in Engineering it really is heading out a lot of friends here and I think it's awesome Carlson a hydrate who is the project deputy director responsible for safety said it is the largest scientific collaboration the world in fact a project so complex we even had to invent your own currency known as the inter unit of account to decide how much each country pays for Jerry got another one of those big clean off the right on I thought that the International Space Station was the biggest um global project but it did this in that I guess the two top when does the bigger I return yeah okay the great thing is diffusion reactors don't produce any co2 there is any please come out like burning fossil fuels really that would be fantastic to get away from my way to the way to have a meltdown the concern at all yeah you're right by Dr Ellis Hyundai said a female like accident is impossible at either because the fusion reaction is fundamentally safe any disturbance my deal conditions in the reaction will stop a runaway nuclear reaction in a quart meltdown are simply not possible I love reading that I'm thrilled that we are working on this project in that actually sounds phenomenal ISE for the opportunity street thanks for trying to find out where we are right now its not like we know it's going to work this is still experimental technology in there a problems that need to be some absolutely CVS like I said this is a proof-of-concept are going to be building this usually expensive to siilitie testing out the latest and greatest series that they have a meeting have a design building to expect they know what they're trying to achieve in the know exactly what the building or not anything at this point but we won't actually know until about the year 21 or 22 it in that's when the first upside my is scheduled on that's when the ice gases will be injected into into the mechanism and by 28 year 2728 it's going to go nuclear with injections of 50 to Trillium Trillium Grand and then bud 2030 the first demonstration of the fusion reactor to produce electricity and had that electricity be inserted into the grid will happen now keep this in mind they don't really think that's a first commercial nuclear fusion power plant in using new killer II don't know it does matter nuclear nuclear nuclear new year new clear clear clear new clear liquid in 2050 about their saying that if everything goes well that's when we would be able to start the first commercial nuclear fusion power but this has the potential of creating as you have energy without creating greenhouse gases Send to your meeting or chrome we need to release a part of it if it all works out right man 20470 Chinese yeah that would be nice to finish this may not be the technology I get to see if you should ever other designs out there people taking the one I am supposed to have a Mr fusion in two years has happened you like a fat

Einstein Still Correct (26:46)[edit]

S: Bob, quickly tell us how Einstein is right yet again.

B: Einstein's general relativity has been shown to be accurate for the bagillionth time. Scientists have verified that general relativity's predictions are accurate even when dealing with the most astronomical extreme cases namely the orbital characteristics of the biggest pulsars that they have ever found which is also being orbited by a white dwarf - so its a binary system. Now when I first read this I was almost like, big deal, except for quantum mechanics Albert Einstein pretty much was right on the ball about everything, right. His special and general theories of relativity have survived pretty much every assault thats been made on the them. Not pretty much - every last one and they have always emerged unscathed - so what is different about this?

And this is interesting because this is a little bit different. First of all this was incredibly, the most extreme test of its kind for general relativity, its never been through the ringer like this one. The binary system that they studied was really incredible. This pulsar was, is amazing, its twice the mass of the Sun and yet its only 12 miles, 20 kilometres across. Imagine that taking the sun doubling its mass and then squeezing it down to 12 miles amazing. There is only one other pulsar that has ever been found that is even in this is this one's class in terms of size and density so its pretty special and then talking about gravitational pull this one surprised me: 300 billion times greater than the force that earth is pulling on your feet or your butt 300 we're feeling right now 300 billion times greater gravitational pull. So that means that each cubic centimetre sized mass on it weighs more than a billion tonnes that's a little bit bigger than a regular, normal six sided die. Its an amazing density. So you add to that the fact that this behemoth rotates on its axis 25 times a second and the white dwarf orbits around that every 2, 2 and a half hours or so. So when scientists discovered this thing they quickly released this binary system would be an amazing location to put Einstein under its toughest test yet and this test was all about gravitational waves which was pretty key. So you guys have heard about gravitational waves right?

All: Yeah

B: To get a handle on them you kinda need to know that general relativity explains gravity as mass warping the space-time fabric of the universe right everyone’s heard that almost a billion times. Once Einstein realizes that, it was really a small step for him to come to kinda realize that an object moving in this warped space-time would create ripples in this 4 dimensional fabric that would propagate outwards and that means that the energy contained in this binary system is being lost because of these gravitational waves that are radiating it away and this energy loss manifests itself as a decrease in their mutual orbits so they are slowly getting closer and closer together.

J: So is this happening to the earth in orbit around the sun.

B: Good question Jay. It absolutely is. The earth is actually losing 200 Joules a second through gravitational radiation. So this means we are getting closer to the Sun every day and tomorrow will be one protons width closer to the sun. Now, okay, thats not dramatic and it's because we are so far away and and we'd never detect that kind of change observationally especially from 7000 light years away. But this binary system is so massive and close together that we can detect the effects of gravitational waves and that's just exactly what they did. The prediction made by general relativity compared to what the scientists observed matched perfectly. Namely the orbital decay was about 8 millionths of a second per year.

S: Einstein wins yeah

B: Yeah, yeah it's beens confirmed again. But why was this test performed if general relativity has been validated so many times and this is kinda the interesting angle to this that I found. Because general relativity almost definitely will be wrong at some point. Now it’s not that the theory is wrong - obviously its been shown to be right too often - there is definitely something to it it but it can't be the final explanation. So today's not the day but I never thought I would say this but hopefully we will test Einstein and we will have a news item that says ‘Einstein was wrong’’, Einstein shown to be wrong’. Not that his theories are wrong but just that they found the edge (S: incomplete) we found where his theories don’t hold sway any more and then we can get into the next layer of this amazing onion we call physics.

S: All right

B: I just made that up - right on the spot


Beautiful imagery Bob

Special Report: Oblivion Review (31:44)[edit]

  • Oblivion Review: The Rogues take a skeptical look at Oblivion the movie.

What is the noisy we're going to have a special segment of the show where we do another movie review yes a meeting with you is so popular we all didn't we see the movie ok Livius sure I do and its good night for you guys I was at the end of the movie theater and I was going to go online and check it and I saw through when suddenly there's traffic Park 3d 130 Scientologists in Jurassic Park 3 day in a crazy it was a douchebag daddy's not seen any of it so uh maybe I went to see Jurassic Park instead of Hyde Park but we can talk about Jessica Alba naked I read the Wikipedia page for a new title of this place so we are going to be talking about the movie oblivion and we will be giving message boilers hope you don't happen to the movie yet fast forward to see you can come back and listen to this after you have watched a movie so you did see the movie what you guys gonna pressure is a better than promoted actually a raise he a future movie aliens attack to destroy the earth with war in the cruise is one of the last humans apparently I'm here ready idea was that she's one of the people that are left behind to clean up and to finish gathering iris water so they can the humanity can move to trade Titan Titan rather site right people to see the aliens but they had to destroy the earth in the kind of sucks I like it I mean II do have despise again screwed hard to what enjoy him anymore but I think you did a decent job I enjoy the movie and drank a little bit in the second act but I really enjoyed it did that there is a lot of on me to teach you want to terms of agreed Juice science a screw ups nothing for me to do things were there and she doing this weekend start start with you seen yo did the aliens states in a taxi or the first thing you did was blow up the moon which which Rudy recorder Craigs and tsunami you Nami and not yet I really want out of work I'm in the mood to smithereens a didn't couldn't recall election together and yeah that was that would be a problem but I was kind of cool it was really nice image with huge chunks of gravitation the band together with me reminder to breed going on in opposite direction really looks really cool I might have a little bit to find Briody outskirts of man Dan and in the night sky that was cool but you would not have a debit devastation Aisha gravitational force the moon was still there was still pretty much close enough together that does the tide really would have been impacted the movie come back together you wouldn't have big chunks the moon hanging right next to each other mutual gravity running right back together does it have been a good show kind of a ring of debris and you could have a ring of debris p.o.d smaller pieces are far enough away from the moon that there in world around the earth Ryan wouldn't want to collect back to the name of these two chunks right next to each other yeah but not clapping back into is here do you think it would take for two to recall ask not 60 and Shay I have devastated it was so intense I think that day it was kind of like a mini Destruction released a part of our part I do know though that scientists think that when the moon form you have a smart style optics impact earth Alta Vista pre went to orbit around the Earth it was pastor rose limit switch it rain down on Earth to the Moon River surprised it took me about a century for that she would ring around the earth to to form one possibly two moons for free. Right before they were together century so I think it would it would be quickly as long as it was in the proper order to not to and not to love and look like it it is collapse back together in within seconds to me to mediately they wouldn't be right there hanging a part of having some probs with the corner plot of the movie scores to contrive alien attack nearest movie have to allow for certain contrivances it to make the movie possible but we talked about this before why did Indians father coming to the earth just a second ride that's what you're doing Yeah right you didn't I know how you do water uh f*** the hydrogen atom I know it's ridiculous give me energy bad choice expended just getting your energy in the ocean today we can recover point oooo oooo oooo 1 percent of the year sorry I got 20 stupid water gas giants somewhere this did not happen if my people who are going to try to kill you defender planning your saying that the riders could have come up with a better reason why they needed Earth may be there yeah it's cliche lazy and doesn't really work because the map doesn't even work but that's alright you got a given that to happen does the machines work very cool in the ride where is it cool images Delia ship is a huge T four picture message on my iPhone with the movie quiz much more in the writing and directing because I was able to predict almost everything that was going on yahoo instant you see Tom Cruise claim you know as soon as PDF page as soon as I read it as memory race time like I said borrowed really have a lady from every other b**** yeah that sounds like noon did China King retreat memory wipe that's just something to my ass what you doing for the superficial reasons given that it was for security you need that right now obviously they don't expect you to believe it that's alright Meijer to the movie that again is contries in lazy is really so the the super advanced aliens get here with your message ship and then to take over the Earth send down loans for me to do the nearest little virus nice dinner gas tiny running errands right like why didn't they send does too many of them new pic on it what the hell is job was to watch repair them in and find the ridiculous like ghetto first of all the why are the drones getting damage so much not that many humans like I guess it was enough to wear casually take out the trash on your neck is there a text plan seems silly 1350 if we were just infestation in their way of sucking up all of our water I mean tell you to get here they would If the wife is at without having to send out an army Ridge Road east to be so many ways to do that would never have a chance against a speaker specially since this whole thing started in 2017 yeah what the hell why did you make that movie stars four years from now for your semen Eastland made 50 or 60 or 70 years and it's actually possible that he would have detected they were saying we're going to happen for you to check with the alien text about this to Nash if they sent to the gate have to be on in five years ago to have that shipping 2017 anything actually no reason for them not to just have it all happen in 2050 yes fly nothing around like a shower after next generation know where did that text I was out of whack and sleeping unit I have a problem with them they had to clock in like techno devices that basically the picture to sleep sleep sleep somebody cares receipt for 60 years no adult asleep of course cut to me Conyers image of don't what is your deepest sleep delta waves of the solution hyshiba to bring ways and so it makes you think by their naming convention at in the receipt in some way to work cited they look to sleep Rosen they weren't 200 any other way so we going with that team is it ridiculous you you're not going to sleep for 60 years I mean you couldn't even have Elizabeth you're going to be aging pop out of the car return to start raining around so I didn't like that idea of using the worst thing that I mean to the idea was that some of the crew was put in a few deep sleeper suspended animation works couple years while they got to the destination in Manassas are you even that far can definitely do 20 2015 Raider next couple years 2050 nudist 8040 going to go to Jupiter at 10 20:17 and how much time to get there no no it was a great fight fighters I was thinking the same thing because why did you take 60 years for the escape pod to get back to your ears Stevens I was thinking the same thing one camera angles what is your the text and then the difference right there with Natasha it was close is this as a question about the Indian or did Aaron or 56 years why did the aliens just kill them yeah they were drifting back to read okay to continue like what made them come to Earth after 60 years old is she bringing down ass b**** but today is so they said they were supposed to be asleep that's what the technology way to take it just sleep for 60 years and you're saying it does is sleep chambers ever designed for a couple years with work for 60 years and if you after 60 years of being in some sort of sleep slash suspended state she says she sees the actress who survives the cake is a ride to be Tom Cruise's wife. She said so keep you to feel well the next she has a bowl of soup and she's good to go How much is with you gone so maybe she would require you to do that you could survive for 60 years is ridiculous even if she did she would be months of rehab to get back to some kind of functioning yes to do because it's sci-fi a line to explain it away because of the blah blah blah you know you I 50 or 60 years in the future rider could have said oh you're don't worry your name high school I will take care of the whatever you know but something some futuristic text to 2017 yeah I know Steve 5 years what happened to my guys I didn't like the fact so many iconic structures were still standing I get to say had to portray that things like okay this is Washington DC in Washington Monument nothing else around it is come Washington mine barely holding up on its own why would that be anything else 500 mile radius that seems really nice things happen like delete a destroyed the Taj Mahal is Big Ben in the Eiffel Tower and what was the ground level say hi and that I didn't get any of that dirt basically vision York City was curious to see how to make believe show it was crazy some of the street to collapse to the trenches from Star Wars is the street with East now these trenches deep down into the into the earth my speculation is the tsunami sushi Washington 1323 dust fallout from the nuclear wars what is the best gas for the building still standing but let's see I was with me that was Washington to your to Berryman hey guys what's in that scene over the mountain ranges Mountain sprout 60 years in that time it was it I don't know what they were thinking without it was very light discontinuity there I've got one thing that you said I see in a much better so glad I see there's all these other you got these um she's not forget again a minir Fighters interpreter whatever they are and there's no way are you human being is going to be the dog fight with you too G Force yeah you know if you're a machine 1051 a problem where is Tom Cruise to be tricky stuff in the back of the back of his c*** b**** because you could not handle this is no way that he should be able to do birds season is dance a lease road please come up with the reason why nobody can hear anything when you're firing your weapon anybody find anything to watch the a-team too much I guess everything and wanted to hit you know the computer charger developed like all the Prometheus scale for describing how to clean accurate 125 125 is not that's not a good to hang out 51 previous is minor but unnecessary scientific inaccuracies. Two for me to use is multiple inaccuracies implausible series or is one major scientific gas 3 is multiple gas or is implausible premise of the whole movie where is the main part of the movie is based on the size of a massive scientific understanding 95 is the entire movie is one of the scientific abomination how many Prometheus with you give this movie is 2&a half 2.7 2.75 yeah give it to you too I gave you reading system 11 for me t.i toads gorgeous gorgeous movie I do I love his son scrap was fantastic Atlanta Galleria Birmingham recommended on YouTube and look up the making of that movie they show the the main set is there house which is a perch way up in the sky its very futuristic looking house just said that they build for that is incredible the sky that you see from that s*** is actually project on two screens physically in the room with the set is he did that because I didn't want the green screen color to brown talking to recycle services in on the set itself so go take a look at it that blew my mind

Who's That Noisy? (50:06)[edit]

okay Evan quickly who said we see here we go last week who's that noisy Quality advice is black or blue plate and don't put too much food on your place you lose weight doing nothing too much weight on your plate for food Marie diamond is the gala speaking there and I'll read her by a few lines for bio leaving now and trance liters featured in the world life and I'm in on the secret she uses her extraordinary knowledge of Bob wants sex the law of attraction and sayings way energy to help people transformer environments and their lives to quack really millions of people buy her books to sear commentary in this week's winner of the contest is miranda Richardson well done Rand a good guess what are you up to this week for this weekend another noisy to play for you so I'm going to go ahead and turn it up a couple times I think to take a guess but to give it a shot here we go yeah okay so uh you're paying attention in last week or two you may have a new bed WTN at Oregon email address for that mean you guess is and the message boards beer good luck Everyone.

Questions and Emails[edit]

Question 1: Is SETI Science?(51:55)[edit]

Thanks Evan. We're going to do an email this week this question comes from Jim Phynn from Horsham, PA (Pennsylvania) and Jim writes:

Hi, guys! Got a question for you: do you consider the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence to be science or pseudoscience? I recently got into an online debate and found myself in the minority because I maintained that the central thesis -- that if intelligent life exists somewhere out there in the greater universe, we would be able to recognize it based upon patterns in radio waves -- is not falsifiable. It seems to me that there could be three reasons why, if we turn our telescopes in any specific direction, we would not find patterns in the radio waves: 1 -- there's nothing there, 2 -- there's something there but they haven't yet developed the technology to create those patterns, or 3 -- we're looking for the wrong things. It would seem to me that the only way to truly falsify SETI, we'd need to map quite literally every body in the universe and rule them out one by one and say that they don't have anything there in terms of extraterrestrial intelligence. Unlike other complex hypotheses that are limited by available technologies, I'm not convinced that the task of mapping the universe is even possible, even with a sufficiently advanced technology. What do you think? Am I missing something? I'm not trying to argue that the endeavor of SETI is a waste of time or energy, but I'm just not sold on it qualifying as genuine science. Thanks! Jim Phynn Horsham, PA

What do you guys think about that there's decades of research that has been that has been done and the consensus seems to be that it is actual science what about what is primary point there that the the main thesis of city is not full supply I mean so what I need to touch base is such a big place its so huge and be so hard to believe map in pounds that against the idea that we know that is pretty much know that is intelligent life out there and they could be communicating with the benefit of of finding it would just far outweighs any argument think you could you can muster about 945 wait wait hold it I hope you don't mind Bob might might might jumping in here is a Sun sets show stack from set it is it is this F City NC coming well I can I use to fire escape in the back door so you didn't notice it was really doing the podcast that's right it was just being played into my green bob says that we know that they're out there and I'd like to think he's right we don't know that they're out there that's really the point here the guy who sent you that email in a sense she's right its not a falsifiable hypothesis you can't see that the aliens are not out there you can't do that no wake me right you can't exam in every square centimeter of real estate in the cosmos not there but on the other hand you can prove they are there if you find a signal so you know this is expiration and Jackson valuable part of Science not all times has to be falsifiable think about this coming up black holes and nobody spected quasars hypothesized hypothesis there and it wasn't just found its expiration yeah I totally agree 1710 Automation exclamation is part of Science I think this comes from a Charlie nearing the definition of signs only one thing that countersigned fact many endeavors count as part of the scientific process an observation to Panji just wrong just looking to see what's there absolutely count also I would argue that the the Falls five billion the hypothesis entirely depends on how you phrase it as you said your hypothesis is there is no radio transmitting technological civilizations out there that's falsifiable with one counterexample there you go you have a false if I will have Papa so you could answer by doing radio astronomy in the city program contrived just do either way he's putting together the purpose of City to prove that there isn't a single in radio transmitting civilization out there its just to serve a crazy that we can serve eight and makes a testicle comments about the density of radio transmitting civilizations right absolutely right I'm doing with you know Captain Cook did the 250 years ago and it was sent out to the South Pacific by the British add meeting yeah idea was to go see what's out there in 10 mapid: reportin whatever exploration and says its a particularly in astronomy because in astronomy the track record of predicting what might be out there hasn't been so terrific its almost all been discovery by just people pointing telescopes at the sky. So if you want to say that a strong is not science uh you know you look send many of my friends but but I think that you could make the argument that yes it's on hey I was originally on your site their satisfaction the scene she realize that you are just a Serta charismatic leader that you would find heading up a religion like to search for sale I'm on the side of the mailer critical leader furniture to Hawaii call Michael Crichton 17 a.m. to talk to get down at Caltech that said he was a religion can say to that is if it were village and begin with I have a lot more money to be dressed better to that would probably be official garbage have to wear but you know that distinguishes religion from time is it in you don't require data to prove a hypothesis in here if you claim that you know well now we know they're out there Narayan around the starry hundred light years away in this direction to you need today to prevent any religion doesn't require data you taking something so I think it is different religion you're all you really need to do there is to tell me that I was on the same side dishes Michael Crichton and on your side again you had me convinced it's a trust unclean so it can extreme skepticism get in the way of progress I don't think so look at a sign of course I'm very very skeptical mean somebody publishes a result in your field take me to Meijer new discovery your reaction to that it's not raining me to meet his keys wrong and I'm going to write sentences skepticism because nobody wants the next guy to win the Nobel Prize so you know what are skeptical that's a fundamental of Science in the first thing that happens when you come up with something new is it three people write papers showing when you're wrong thats good its good to go to force you to backup your claims sure give me some things down sometimes going to be stupid remove the could you look even otherwise raining blood about this recently on there was some interesting comments wonderfully coming to suggest that we shouldn't be searching for radio waves hope that we should be hunting for scaler waves give me to talking about well did not not really I mean it looked at you look for electromagnetic radiation for radio we look for light you can include information in radio or lighter in December very clever very sophisticated invent things that we don't look for to be quite honest we have an exoskeleton possibly sex with skater boys are you talking about here I don't really know but I get emails everyday from people suggest other approaches like you know what you can gravity waves maybe you need to communicate to us with gravity ways and ready in 10 minutes attractive idea but you know its is it doesn't make a lot of sense because raboti way too fast in radio lights to make you need to shake a star or something like that. You know, That's a real to challenge a teacher to build a transmitter that would fit on my desk year and dad that would be powerful enough to to reach your mother started the people suggest neutrinos and then there are those who suggest hyperdimensional physics whatever the heck that is already collected to your things I can't I got one for 2010 golden thats it thats a favorite because people have decided that would let you know you can be to speed of light uh you can send information instantaneously it's true the quantum entanglement does involve teenies changes in the state of particles a great distance but it's also true that I'm Stein seems to be right it doesn't allow you to transmit information faster than the speed of light lymphangitis too bad I just was one question came up about what the range of radio waves for radio signal should be what I found was that narrow band signals could have a range of thousands of light years depends on the power to transmitter in the size you received this note range limits mean I've seen in the literature many times people who take some unknown source think I know what you're saying but after about a light year to any reasonable transmitter that the signal would disappear into the background noise of the universe will have some background you can always tease out that signal if you want to go to picking up into a meeting right hehehe you light up my eyes my eyes have a nice to have an aperture quarter financial whatever it is but that's good enough to pick up light coming to me for me to wake from Star right and butter pretty feet start I can see that are either people to faint just trying to have to do so I can see that you can always always be to rap by building a bigger instrument thank you for emerging from the podcast EE 37th Street on Saidi appreciate you always being on hand my pleasure anytime next time religion comes up in the context to Saidi let me know I'll do take care Seth.

Science or Fiction (1:02:18)[edit]

Item #1: Although not the longest river in the world, the Amazon is the biggest, containing more water than the next 10 largest rivers combined. Item #2: Although not the threat often portrayed in film, schools of red-bellied piranha will occasionally feed on large animals and are responsible for about 20 human deaths per year. Item #3: The Amazon contains more fish species than the Atlantic Ocean.

can you tell me which one is it take we have a steam this week the team is the Amazon River 23 pakadi Amazon River you guys ready yet we go I remember one thing longest river in the world the Amazon is the biggest containing more water in the next 10 largest rivers combined hangover 2 although im not a threat open for trade in film schools of red belly piranha will occasionally feet on large animals are responsible for about 22 min deaths per year and I am Number 3 the Amazon contains more fish species in the Atlantic Ocean Evan go first alright the first one in regards to it not being the longest river in the world the next 10 largest rivers combined that's the Nile nylon not sure about that one what about the red belly piranhas case we feeding on large animals to humans 20 min just for u I don't see a problem with that show my ways does bachata Portrane reality you in lots of ways from ac maybe one maybe not I'm feeling that this one is correct and then there's the last one more fish species in the Amazon in the entire Atlantic Ocean have to think on that that's the case ocean has one life in it but I'll lie that life is not fish species things going there I'm going to say it being the biggest river containing more water in the next 10 largest rivers that's the fiction ok a Bobb about dumb just fishin Atlantic Ocean the Amazon goes two ways a rainforest and I know the rainforest has a credible biological diversity and perhaps I could kind of can you still over as well ah but still it that sounds pretty bold more fish species Cindy Lane Goshen Corona yeah I feel a cation and large animals for 20 years never heard that hard I would I would think number one of the other biggest word in the 10 largest confined to see that fish did I'm going to go with the other garage okay okay what about the Amazon being the biggest I don't know much about how wide it is insured berries in parts in any BS that of course have to to take into account how deep it is a surprise in there it is possible for 20 Yuma desi year I have no reason to believe that if anyone has seen the movie pron paranahs Shack in front of their dead leader angry and they know what they're doing something that scares Ellie Drive movie in 3d yes they do you receive a good look at their facebook but I don't know man is trying to not good enough I was the last one about the Amazon contain more fish species in the Atlantic Ocean doubt that I could see more variation for some reason being in the Amazon okay that's gonna leave me to be to saying that the first one about the largest river in the world Amazon and Rebecca I'm torn between the first if I could totally play the damn son has fish finders fee Amazon for so many other two equally ugly people think I could believe that the Amazon is the biggest I feel like it's it up there in terms of being a long as it gets like second shirt Niles Indiana to get more water the next 10 Rana's there's no way they could be responsible for 20 deaths a year right like the have a reputation but as cheaply did out everyday Shinkansen films and did some certain ok sweet Lea AGS actuated there's no way to take Elijah to conception is the train is too I'm going to go to Corona one I don't think they kill 20 people a year okay so we got Bob Rebecca trying to Jane Evans with the biggest river into all agree that the Amazon contains more fish species in the Atlantic Ocean you all think that want to sign that one is science that's awesome but just barely I read that fact and then I tried to verify it and it seems to be true although I did find one source that says that they're the same b****** 3050 sees ok to be pretty consistent in the references I found that the Amazon River Basin River has about three thousand different species I could find reliable numbers for the Atlantic Ocean Sam said less than the Amazon some said the same but it's probably a moving target anyway cause they're in the middle of a big survey and they're finding more fish species ok that been five years that may not be true anymore but if anything works pieces in the Sun to pick up but for right now that what is sin number one of those not the longest river in the world Amazon is the biggest containing more water than the next 10 largest rivers combined Jane ever you think this one is the fiction and this one is science oh yeah baby yeah very surprised you knew it was big but it really is really big fish the Amazon releases more than 200,000 cubic meters of water per second into the Atlantic Ocean show on a train 630 South America pretty much it does it is about 4,000 miles or 6400 climate urs long 321 Nile is a little bit longer so that is also controversial and you know depends on how you measure it and said they may swap places wanted to know what were the years has different measurements how to right now the official measurement of the Nile to the little bit longer but the Amazon is bigger it has its wider usually between 1 to 5 miles wide on average it's much bigger when it floods when you're doing when he wanted to go over closing it 20 miles wide faces well yeah that's what I was saying I didn't know how wide are deep is the most variable figure that I have read every source I break a bit different number for the number of tributaries at the Amazon has a sound and it seems to be about the average 1000 1100 1700 505 yeah but I think it probably somewhere around $1000 so true because I guess it depends on how big you count of how big a tributary do you count and maybe in dry shoes in the dryer does the rainforest even have a dry season ah it's wet and weather radar actual dry season I mean variance down to the very thing that is don't know that we call it a dry season um 50 Amazon River so big that it is can support freshwater dolphins sisters difference between a dolphin send a nerd the largest species of river dolphins the motto is there and also the Anaconda course which is the largest snake and many species of Corona so the number to another threat fish species including dolphins for you you know that was number 3 was about fish species of the river not rated film streams red belly piranha location large animals are responsible for about 20 human deaths per year that is fiction show now the red belly piranha are the most aggressive species of Corona and they do sometimes I feed in large schools and they can't get into what is called a feeding frenzy which is what you see you know in the movies went all the waters it was disrupted is the Fisher eating in a frenzy fashion show prana mostly each other fish staples we plan to leave Chris stations and they will scavenge anything baby meat falls into River il happily skeletonize it shut the notion that one source that said that it was Teddy Roosevelt who made the observation that he saw school Corona skeletonized a cow 102 minutes or something that's not probably not really sure I would take a lot longer you need a massive amount 601 expert estimated like 300 fish in order to pull that off and that she get on this date don't usually go after healthy living large animals so if you're swimming in the Amazon they probably will stay away from you did bad worst you make it a bite if they're just sending their nest but they won't try to eat you the crocodile swell crocodiles well I could not find a single documented Schuman death from chronic haha really yeah I know I've sources Ferry on this I couldn't find any reliable source that says yes to the documented Tempe I got the Union the river by Prince there are naked Villagers claims that they put their happened to see if you have an open wound blood lab solutely attract when a product like going after the wounded in the den the dead and injured in the dining room don't like going after healthy animal so you may not want to wait into the Nile with the Lakeland so um get into the notion that you know if you go swimming in the in the Amazon did you run across school prom in adults we do should have bones his son is a myth that is a cinema its all G bones Jones hey does a good job I been Rebecca thank you enjoy for week yet I will

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:13:48)[edit]

so Jay, you got a quote for us this week? Huh and I wasn't invited Mr names Chris would disclose written invited man a poet named William Butler Yeats is Irish poet 20 century hey buddy yeah ah okay okay recognize named affect you more than you did

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

B: yeah my iphone is like that

J: William Butler Yeats!

alright thanks Jay thank you for joining me this week everyone to use thank you Dr a lot of fun is always busy show me in till next week this is your skeptics' guide to the universe

S: 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, where you will find the show notes as well as links to our blogs, videos, online forum, and other content. You can send us feedback or questions to Also, please consider supporting the SGU by visiting the store page on our website, where you will find merchandise, premium content, and subscription information. Our listeners are what make SGU possible.


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