SGU Episode 50

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SGU Episode 50
July 5th 2006
SGU 49 SGU 51
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

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Show Notes


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

News Items ()[edit]

Second hand smoke warning ()[edit]

Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Binaural beats ()[edit]

Dear Skeptics,

As I am working my way through your podcasts, if you have covered this I

Clearly, I have forgotten my critical thinking courses I took in college.

There is a subject called; Binaural beats. Though it sounds wonderful...
that is just it, it sounds wonderful.

Rather than try to describe and misrepresent it, I will defer to the
plethora of info out there.

if you google it... There are a couple of other names for it too.

here are a couple of links

Christopher Lund
United Social Agnostics

Aubrey de Grey ()[edit]

I have a suggestion for a topic. There is scientist by the name of Aubrey de Grey. His shtick is proclaiming that through the application of science we can extend human life by several thousand years. His ideas are an amalgam of nano-technology, molecular biology,
biomechanics, etc. He seems like such a nut that it amazes me that anyone takes him seriously. And yet he seems to be routinely written up in popular magazines such as Technology Review (MIT), and Fortune.

I do not know whether you would call what he preaches pseudo-science; he is different from your run of the mill crack-pot. But his ideas are so out there that he seems nuts. Any yet as I mentioned he gets a lot of popular press.

Anyway I enjoy your podcast and I think the ideas discussed are quite valuable.

Mike Fattori

Review articles:

Interview with Gerald Posner ()[edit]

  • Investigative journalist and author, Gerald Posner, has written some of the definitive histories of recent epic events in American history. Posner was educated at the University of California at Berkeley (1975) and Hastings Law School (1978).

    His books include:

    Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (1993)

    Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (1998)

    Why America Slept: the Failure to Prevent 9/11 (2003)

    Secrets of the Kingdom: The Inside Story of the Saudi-U.S. Connection (2005)

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: New study shows that wearing a hat or helmet lined with aluminum foil reduces the frequency of seizures in certain epileptics. Question #2: New study shows a link between gum disease and carotid atheromas (a significant risk for stroke). Question #3: Man recovers from 19 year coma with evidence of brain repair and regrowth.

Skeptical Puzzle ()[edit]

Last Week's puzzle:

In the old game show, Let's Make A Deal, contestants were asked to pick which of three doors they thought contained a valuable prize. Once the contestant picked a door, the host, Monty Hall, would often open one of the two doors not chosen and then ask the contestant if they would like to change their pick to the other door left unopened. The question is, should a contestant stick with their original choice, change to the other door, or there is no difference statistically?

Answer: The contestant should change her pick to the other door. If she sticks with her first pick her chances of winning is 1/3, if she changes her pick her chances of winning is 2/3.

New Puzzle:

Name the medical pseudoscience that, although now thoroughly disproved and rejected by mainstream science, at its inception was on the correct side of a major scientific debate of the time.

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society. For information on this and other podcasts, please visit our website at Please send us your questions, suggestions, and other feedback; you can use the 'contact us' page on our website, or you can send us an email to 'info @'. 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto and is used with permission.


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