SGU Episode 669

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SGU Episode 669
May 5th 2018
669 brainslice.jpg

"[The] team grew the blobs, known as brain organoids, from human stem cells. Once surgically implanted into rodent brains, the organoids continued growing, and their neurons formed connections with those of the surrounding brains." [1]

SGU 668                      SGU 670

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein


EW: Ethan Winer, recording engineer

Quote of the Week

Reality is what it is,
not what you want it to be.

Frank Zappa, American musician

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion

Introduction, SGU Anniversary, announcements[edit]

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

What's the Word? (8:20)[edit]


News Items[edit]






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

Flipping Magnetic Fields (13:37)[edit]

Self-Assembling Space Telescope (21:56)[edit]

JFK Headshot (28:58)[edit]

Growing Brains (41:30)[edit]

Who's That Noisy? (52:20)[edit]

New Noisy (54:33)[edit]

[Horn-like squeaking, increasing in frequency]


Questions/Emails/Corrections/Follow-ups (54:57)[edit]

Correction #1: Annealing WTW[edit]


Interview with Ethan Winer (59:51)[edit]


Science or Fiction (1:21:41)[edit]

Theme: Mistletoe

Item #1: Mistletoe berries are toxic to most mammal and bird species.[5]
Item #2: European Mistletoe is the only multicellular organism known to lack Complex I proteins, essential for mitochondrial production of ATP.[6]
Item #3: The name "mistletoe" derives from the Anglo-Saxon words "mistel" and "tan", translating to "dung on a twig."[7]
Item #4: There are 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide.[8]

Answer Item
Fiction Toxic to birds & mammals
Science Lacks Complex I proteins
"Dung on a twig"
1,300 species worldwide
Host Result
Steve win
Rogue Guess
Toxic to birds & mammals
Toxic to birds & mammals
Lacks Complex I proteins
Toxic to birds & mammals

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

Evan's Response[edit]

Cara's Response[edit]

Bob's Response[edit]

Jay's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #4[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:40:41)[edit]

Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be.

 – Frank Zappa (1940-1993), American musician, composer, and bandleader

Signoff/Announcements (1:41:57)[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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