SGU Episode 648

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SGU Episode 648
December 9th 2017
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(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 647                      SGU 649

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

The mind tells me one thing, and the heart tells me something else. But the facts are there.

Robert Oswald, brother of Lee Harvey Oswald

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

What's the Word? (m:ss)[edit]

News Items[edit]






(laughs) (laughter) (applause) [inaudible]

Nearly Complete Hominid Skeleton ()[edit]

Before the Big Bang ()[edit]

The Causes of Science Denial ()[edit]

This is Your Head in a Particle Accelerator ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy? ()[edit]

New Noisy ()[edit]

[Airy/head tone female vocalizations with cow bells in the background]

Questions/Emails/Corrections/Follow-ups ()[edit]

Email #1: Chunking ()[edit]

Hello Rogues! I love your show and I really enjoyed your November 18 episode. I've never heard you discuss "ghost" stories before. I like hearing stories about how your astutely skeptical minds can fall victim to things like pareidolia. It was also nice to hear how you handled superstitious beliefs while having compassion towards your friends and family.

On to the real topic: Until the end of last month, I was a 4-year Starbucks partner. Thanks to Starbucks, I was able to get my college education–a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology–and am currently working in the field I want to pursue. Anyway, the Starbucks baristas are supposed to say the drinks in a very specific order. It helps with chunking complex items so we can remember 3 or 4 Cara-type drinks while we use our procedural memories to do simple tasks like making drinks and handing out change. The next time Cara is at Starbucks, she should order an "Iced, half-caf, grande, with whip, skinny cinnamon dolce latte." When Cara orders it this way, the barista can process the information more easily without having to reorganize it in their head. If you're REALLY curious, the break-down is: Hot/Iced, Decaf/Shots, Size, Syrup, Milk, Other, Drink. Automatic items–like 2% milk–are not stated unless changed (e.g., almond milk for 2% milk.) Now you can be really "extra" with your orders and not worry about it

–😉 Rachel Obermiller, Chattanooga, TN

Follow-up #1: Net neutrality ()[edit]

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Answer Item
Fiction 3D printing organs
Science Viruses share genes
Video games boost memory
Host Result
Steve win
Rogue Guess
Video games boost memory
3D printing organs
Video games boost memory
3D printing organs

Voiceover: It's time for Science or Fiction.

Item #1: Researchers find that viruses share some of their genes across all kingdoms of life, not just the ones they infect.[7]
Item #2: A new study finds that playing 3D video games increased gray matter in the memory forming parts of the brain. [8]
Item #3: Researchers have demonstrated a new technique for 3D printing entire organs made out of a host’s own stem cells.[9]

Cara's Response[edit]

Bob's Response[edit]

Evan's Response[edit]

Jay's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

The mind tells me one thing, and the heart tells me something else. But the facts are there.
– Robert Oswald (1934-2017), brother of Lee Harvey Oswald

Signoff/Announcements ()[edit]

S: —and until next week, this is your Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.

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.


Today I Learned[edit]

  • Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference[10]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description



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