SGU Episode 419

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SGU Episode 419
27th July 2013
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 418                      SGU 420

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

R: Rebecca Watson

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

He is a barbarian, who thinks the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature.

Caesar, from Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II, by George Bernard Shaw

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

This Day in Skepticism (0:49)[edit]

  • July 27 1921: Frederick Banting proves insulin regulates blood sugar.

News Items[edit]

Giant Virus (3:44)[edit]

Gluten (12:15)[edit]

Death Wave (21:51)[edit]

The Pitch Drops (30:33)[edit]

Revenge of the Conspiracy Theorists (37:04)[edit]

Quickie with Bob: Cassini Picture of Earth (47:27)[edit]

Who's That Noisy? (49:10)[edit]

  • Puzzle for this week: You are a detective, with a specialty in deciphering coded messages. During an investigation, you stumble upon a piece of paper which reads: 0.7734, 57718 37818 51 3718. 173 Being the world-class detective you are, you have immediately decoded the message. So ... what is the message?

Name That Logical Fallacy (53:55)[edit]

I have been listening to the SGU for a few years and I am having a bit of a problem. In my work place there are a few employees that do substandard work. When I mention it to them they almost always brush it off as 'Well I'm not perfect like you' or 'No one can be as good as you are'. Recently I said to one of them 'Well, that is a Logical Fallacy, specifically an Ad Hominem'. One of the the persons I said this to responded 'No it isn't, because those always have to be negative'. Never mind that I don't think they said that I am 'Perfect' nor 'Good' seriously, it got me thinking, does an Ad Hominem have to be negative in nature? I view you to be kind of a de facto logical fallacy clearing house, and am interested in your knowledge / view on this topic. Also, and this will sound completely ridiculous, the last 2 times this conversation has come up in the work place was in regards to the other persons abilities to close and lock a door before leaving as the last person out of the building, Specifically in their lack of being able to such a cyclopean task. For further information, I work with people who have graduated from at least 4 years of college, and can apparently feed themselves. Thank you very much, and I apologize if I have taken up much of your time. Chris

Science or Fiction (1:02:58)[edit]

Item #1: A recent study finds that occasional marijuana use increases alertness, probably through improved sleep quality. Item #2: Scientists have discovered that the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) is packed under pressure 8 times higher than a car tire, and uses that pressure to blast its DNA into the nucleus of cells. Item #3: A new analysis finds that 2000 year old techniques for gold and silver plating produced results that cannot be achieved even with modern technology.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:15:27)[edit]

He is a barbarian, who thinks the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature.' - Caesar, from Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II, by George Bernard Shaw

Announcements (1:16:15)[edit]

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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