SGU Episode 431

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SGU Episode 431
October 19th 2013
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SGU 430 SGU 432
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


Quote of the Week
...academic credentials are neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for having your ideas taken seriously. If a famous professor repeatedly says stupid things, then tries to claim he never said them, there’s no rule against calling him a mendacious idiot — and no special qualifications required to make that pronouncement other than doing your own homework.Conversely, if someone without formal credentials consistently makes trenchant, insightful observations, he or she has earned the right to be taken seriously, regardless of background.
Paul Krugman
Links
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Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction[edit]

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

This Day in Skepticism (1:14)[edit]

  • October 19, 1936: Birthday of Johnnetta Betsch Cole

R: Hey! Happy birthday to Johnetta B. Cole. Do you guys know who Dr. Cole

J: He's awesome!

R: is?

E: Dr. Cole? Longtime listener?

R: She, actually

J: She's awesome!

(Laughter)

E: She rocks!

R: She is awesome! She was actually the first African-American woman President of Spellman College, which is the oldest private liberal arts college for black women in the United States, but it took them something like a hundred years to actually have a black woman as president of the college. And she was the first. And she was an anthropologist who traveled the world doing cultural anthropology with her husband and others. They did a lot of field work in Liberia and other west African areas. And she was a bad ass! She was born October 19th, 1936, and she is still alive.

S: Wow!

R: She's the great grand-daughter, maybe the great-great grand-daughter of a slave trader and slave owner who ended up marrying one of his slaves. And it's incredible to me that some one is still alive that had that history in a family so

J: Yeah

R: near to today. Yeah, and it's amazing that a black woman in the 1950's decided to pursue anthropology as a career when that certainly wasn't the sort of future that anybody expected of a black woman in the 1950's. So,

E: Yeah

R: Johnetta B. Cole is an awesome woman, and I think a good role model for other women, particularly black women.

J: I would love to hear what she has to say.

R: Yeah, well she's still alive. So maybe we could get her on the podcast at some point.

S: Yeah, that would be awesome.

R: She's currently director of the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of African Art.

News Items[edit]

Money Predicts Apocalypse (3:14)[edit]

Herbal Supplements ()[edit]

Politics and Dogma ()[edit]

Singularity vs Bridge ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

  • Answer to last week: Meteor entering atmosphere

Questions and Emails[edit]

Question #1: Cooling Drinks ()[edit]

Greetings and thank you for the best podcast ever created! In addition to a wonderful listening experience I also have learned a great deal about how to teach my 4 1/2 year old daughter about science (specific thanks to you Steve and of course Pamela Gay via her own podcast as my daughter at 3 1/2 knew her planets, aware of gravity, etc…)Background for question: I was really charged with cooling drinks for a party at our house and completely dropped the ball (we had all warm drinks in August in DC and folks started arriving–my wife was irked to say the least that I forgot about this). My buddy who had already arrived told me to put the drinks in the freezer and pack frozen veges around the various bottles and cans, which I dutifully did without thinking at first.Question: Did packing frozen veges and such around the drinks so that they made contact with the cans and bottles–as opposed to the drinks simply sitting in an empty rack– make any difference? If so how/why? Isn’t the air in the freezer and all contents more or less EXACTLY the same temperature? Thanks. My apologies in advance but I did not have time to research any answer via the internet. Many thanks in advance.MattWashington DC

Name That Logical Fallacy ()[edit]

I’ve been considering an argument that I know is a logical fallacy, but I cannot put my finger on exactly which logical fallacy it is. The argument is related to the recent flareup of the perennial Washington Redskins name controversy. The argument goes something like this:So-and-so is a member of an American Indian tribe and she is not offended by the use of the name Redskins, therefore the name Redskins is not offensive. I feel like there are a few possible logical fallacies that fit (cherry picking, non-sequiter), but I cannot quite nail down which fits. Any ideas?All the best,Patrick HelmesCincinnati, OH

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item #1: A single brown bat can consume 1,200 mosquito-size insects in one hour. Item #2: The sucker footed bat from Madagascar attaches to palm leaves by suction cups on its wings and ankles. Item #3: Bats are the most common source of human rabies in the Americas, but this is still rare, only causing 1-2 cases per year in the US. Item #4: Draculin is an anticoagulant (blood-thinner) purified from the saliva of vampire bats.

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

...academic credentials are neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for having your ideas taken seriously. If a famous professor repeatedly says stupid things, then tries to claim he never said them, there’s no rule against calling him a mendacious idiot — and no special qualifications required to make that pronouncement other than doing your own homework.Conversely, if someone without formal credentials consistently makes trenchant, insightful observations, he or she has earned the right to be taken seriously, regardless of background.

J: Paul Krugman!

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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