SGU Episode 667

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SGU Episode 667
April 21st 2018
667 Yttrium.jpg

"A "semi-infinite" supply of rare earth metals used in batteries, electric vehicles, and other green energy technologies has been found in deep-sea mud about 1850 kilometers southeast of Tokyo." [1]

SGU 666                      SGU 668

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

If a kid ever asks you why the sky is blue, you look them right in the eye and say,

"It's because of quantum effects involving Rayleigh scattering combined with a lack of violet photon receptors in our retinae." [2]

Phil Plait, "the Bad Astronomer"

Download Podcast
Show Notes
SGU Forum

Introduction, tech issues, Art Bell dead[edit]

Voice-over: You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

Alex Jones sued (4:15)[edit]

News Items[edit]






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

Communicating Without Speaking (10:06)[edit]

Nutrition Pseudoscience (19:55)[edit]

Rare Earths (26:11)[edit]

Eating Plastic (33:26)[edit]

Who's That Noisy? (47:33)[edit]

Answer to previous Noisy:

Noisy from 665 (53:00)[edit]

New Noisy (56:38)[edit]

[Background scraping/crackling with foreground intermittent mechanical buzzing]

J: ... So, if you heard any cool Noisies this week, if you want to say hi, or if you want to guess at what the answer is, email me at

Announcements (57:24)[edit]

Questions/Emails/Corrections/Follow-ups (57:51)[edit]

Question #1: Acidic Food[edit]

with_reduced_spacing_for_long_chunks –


Science or Fiction (1:03:10)[edit]

Item #1: Researchers have discovered how to make diamonds flexible and stretchy.[6]
Item #2: Engineers have developed a new technique for streaming video 10,000 times faster than the current best algorithms.[7]
Item #3: A new analysis finds that humans are responsible for a mass extinction of large mammals over the last 120 thousand years.[8]

The shownotes page reuses the links referenced by episode 665's SOF items; these links had to be found/matched independently.

Answer Item
Fiction Streaming 10,000x faster
Science Flexible, stretchy diamonds
Cause of mass extinction
Host Result
Steve win
Rogue Guess
Streaming 10,000x faster
Streaming 10,000x faster
Cause of mass extinction
Streaming 10,000x faster

Voice-over: It's time for Science or Fiction.

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 (1:25:09)[edit]

If a little kid ever asks you just why the sky is blue, you look him or her right in the eye and say, "It's because of quantum effects involving Rayleigh scattering combined with a lack of violet photon receptors in our retinae."

 – Phil Plait (1964-present), "the Bad Astronomer"

Phil discusses this quote in the article Meme, Myself, and Eyes: How to explain why the sky is blue[2]

(Transcriptionist's note: Steve's comments line up well with scaffolding and Lev Vygotsky's zone of proximal development.)

Signoff/Announcements (1:28:17)[edit]

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

S: Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU Productions, dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. For more information, visit us at Send your questions to And, if you would like to support the show and all the work that we do, go to and consider becoming a patron and becoming part of the SGU community. Our listeners and supporters are what make SGU possible.


Today I Learned[edit]

  • Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference[9]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description


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