SGU Episode 417

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SGU Episode 417
13th July 2013
SGU 416 SGU 418
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
PO: Paul Offit
Quote of the Week
I believe that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable.
Roger Ebert
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

This Day in Skepticism (1:02)[edit]

  • July 13: Happy birthday to Carl Zimmer and Erno Rubik.

News Items[edit]

Seeing Through Walls (3:28)[edit]

First in Flight (10:28)[edit]

Tylenol and Fear (21:57)[edit]

Spinning Pharoah (27:09)[edit]

Who's That Noisy? (29:45)[edit]

  • Answers given to last three weeks

Questions and Emails[edit]

Question #1: Head Transplant (33:38)[edit]

Hi Rogues, you already know everyone loves you, so I'll skip to the point. I recently listened to a podcast dedicated to an often forgotten Skeptic, H.P. Lovecraft. ( In listening to the episode devoted to "Herbert West: Re-animator", they mentioned historical experiments where animal heads were transplanted to other bodies, and survived. This set off a ping on my SkepDAR, and I researched it further. (Read: Wikipedia) I found reference to a journal article in Surgical Neurology International, in which the author claims to lay the ground-work for the first successful surgical transplant of a human head. As a lay-person, it seems like a plausible medical intervention. That being said, I'd love to hear the SGU tackle both the plausibility of the procedure and the ramifications such a procedure could have on our society. Could this be the key to Bob's immortality? Russ Bisschop Didsbury, AB, Canada

Interview with Paul Offit (42:05)[edit]

Science or Fiction (1:01:03)[edit]

Item #1: For the first time researchers have identified a single gene producing a single mRNA that encodes for two separate proteins. Item #2: A new analysis of worldwide copper resources indicates that we will pass peak copper production within 30 years. Item #3: New research finds that some species of hawkmoths produce ultrasound from their genitals probably to jam echolocation from predatory bats.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:12:15)[edit]

I believe that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable.

J: Roger Ebert!

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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