SGU Episode 426

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SGU Episode 426
September 14th 2013
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SGU 425 SGU 427
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
Guest
RS: Richard Saunders
Quote of the Week
When he found that his long cherished beliefs did not agree with the most precise observations, he accepted the uncomfortable facts. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest delusions, that is the heart of science.
Carl Sagan
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction[edit]

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

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

  • September 11, 2001: 9/11 terrorist attacks

News Items[edit]

Motivated Numeracy (8:13)[edit]

Arctic ice (20:15)[edit]

Robot Traders (26:57)[edit]

Teenage Exorcists (34:13)[edit]

Homeopathic Vaccines (40:00)[edit]

A Quickie With Bob: Mission to Mars (45:11)[edit]

Mars One Update: More Than 200,000 Individuals Applied To Be Among The First Settlers On Mars

E: Hey Bob?

B: Yes, Evan?

E: Bob, I'd really love to hear a quickie this week.

B: Don't you mean you want a quickie with Bob?

E: I think I chose my words rather artfully.

B: Sure.

E: Okay, great.

(laughter)

B: So disappointed, tease.

E: Okay, I want a quickie with Bob. How's that?

B: Oh boy, you're gonna love it. Okay, so this is your quickie with Bob. So, we've got an update on the Mars One mission, we talked about it a while ago. 200,000 people from 140 different countries have officially applied to be the first colonists on Mars. This is the Mars One mission, which is the plan to have a permanent settlement on Mars by 2023. And 200,000, wow, this was supposed to be a one-way trip, wasn't it?

S: Oh yeah.

B: And once you're there, that's it, so almost a quarter million people. The thing that's gonna happen: the Mars One selection committee will choose the candidates from this huge applicant pool, and I don't know how many they'll — how far they're gonna winnow that down, but I'm sure they're not gonna be having 100,000 or 50,000 people to deal with.

S: Hey, American Idol does it every season.

B: Well I'm talking about the people that they're gonna select in round one, I'm not sure what that number's gonna be but it'll be a manageable size. Step two will be to interview each and every person. The Mars One committee members will be doing the interview process. And then if you make it past that phase you'll go to phase three, and that's the competition between the candidates that's gonna be shown on TV and the Internet. And also what they're doing is that each region is going to be represented by twenty to forty of these applicants, and I guess if you live within that region you'll be able to vote. So you'll be able to help pick one of these applicants, and then the Mars One committee will pick the rest. So that's kind of interesting. And then the final — if you can make it past that round, then it'll be the final round and that'll be the international competition where, according to Mars One, the groups will be expected to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh living conditions and live together under difficult circumstances. They're actually gonna build like a fake Mars habitat and do all sorts of crazy stuff just to see how well —

S: They're gonna have them produce a podcast together?

B: (laughter) So if anybody — I'd betcha there's some people in our audience that have actually done this, and if you have then you'll know by the end of 2013 if you make it to the next round. So good luck everybody!

S: Yeah, so if anyone listening to the show is one of those 200,000 people, let us know so we can root for you.

B: Yeah. And this has been your quickie with Bob, I hope it was good for you, too.

S: We need to have a campaign to put the first skeptic on Mars. Alright well thank you, Bob.

Who's That Noisy (49:18)[edit]

  • Answer to last week: Ayn Rand

Questions and Emails (54:34)[edit]

Question #1: Bdellovibrio (54:37)[edit]

Hey Guys! I recently attended a lecture, given by a researcher from Newcastle University, upon the topic of the bdellovibrio bacteria. This is a bacterium which invades other bacterial cells including pathogens harmful to humans, e.g. E. coli. I found this extremely interesting; it seems it could be a major replacement to our, ever more ineffective, antibiotics I would like to hear the host Dr Steven Novella’s, and the rest of the panel’s, opinions on it. I apologise if this has already been covered by the podcast. Thank you very much for your time, I’m a big fan and love the work you do: keep it up.Yours faithfullySam Johnson

Science or Fiction (1:03:58)[edit]

  Emblem-pen.png This section (or 5x5 episode) is in the middle of being transcribed by jakebathman (talk) (as of September 16 2013). To help avoid duplication, please do not transcribe this section while this message is displayed.


S: Each week I come up with three science news items or facts, two genuine and one fictitious, and then I challenge my panel of skeptics to tell me which one is the fake. And yet again we have a theme this week.

J: Aww come on.

S: Although, this does involve actual news items this time, three news items, but there is a theme: these are all items from the Journal of Consumer Research, so these are all items involving consumer research, the psychology of buying stuff.

B: Good luck everyone! We can't let Steve win this week, guys.

S: Ok, here we go. Item number one: New research finds that hearing a salesperson flatter another customer causes a negative reaction to the salesperson but increases the desire to buy an expensive item. Item n umber two: A new study finds that subjects were more likely to purchase a lottery ticket if they had just spent money on an expensive, high-status item. And item number three: Researchers find that women are more likely to purchase expensive accessories when they feel threatened in their relationship, and that this strategy works because women are also less likely to pursue a man whose girlfriend has expensive accessories.

RS: Ooo

B: I didn't even get that. What? Who?

R: Yeah, I didn't get that either.

Item #1: New research finds that hearing a salesperson flatter another customer causes a negative reaction to the salesperson but increases the desire to buy an expensive item. Item #2: A new study finds that subjects were more likely to purchase a lottery ticket if they had just spent money on an expensive item. Item #3: Researchers find that women are more likely to purchase expensive accessories when they feel threatened in their relationship, and that this strategy works because women are also less likely to pursue a man whose girlfriend has expensive accessories.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:19:58)[edit]

“When he found that his long cherished beliefs did not agree with the most precise observations, he accepted the uncomfortable facts. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest delusions, that is the heart of science.” - Carl Sagan

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 theskepticsguide.org, 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 info@theskepticsguide.org. 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.

References[edit]


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