SGU Episode 777

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SGU Episode 777
May 30th 2020
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SGU 776                      SGU 778

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

Quote of the Week

I’m 13, so I don’t want to rush everything ... I’m still trying to figure it out, but I just want to focus on learning right now. That’s what I love to do.

Jack Rico, youngest graduate in Fullerton College history[1]

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

COVID-19 Update ()[edit]

News Items[edit]






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

Loners and Swarms ()[edit]

Dinosaur Asteroid Impact ()[edit]

Backward Time Universe ()[edit]

Why Beards? ()[edit]

Solving Space Junk ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy? ()[edit]

New Noisy ()[edit]

[brief, vague description of Noisy]

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

Email #1: Electrical Treatment for RP ()[edit]

First time long time listener (2010, I think). I'm a better thinker as a result of the show, so can't thank you enough. The book was great too. To my question: I have Retinitis pigmentosa (genetic degenerative vision condition). Diagnosed at 14 and now 36, so it's well on its way. Recently my partner found a German clinic advertising the Federov Treatment, link at the end. It claims not to cure but stabilize and, in some cases, improve night vision/peripheral vision. The treatment is electrical stimulation to retinal cells/optic nerve or parts of the brain dependent on the condition. It claims to natural - I don't see electricity to the dome in nature, myself - and the website is full of testimonials. I can't find anywhere else that delivers the treatment, although it's delivered by neurologists (good?) and has been going since '93. I've read a pinned review of the available studies, link at the end. Small studies in animals and humans...the improvements as far as I can see are all assumed markers: thicker this, increased blood flow to that, and the killer quote for me: "Despite several studies showing promising results in both animal experiments and clinical studies, there are presently few reports on the mechanisms of action for ES, making this field still poorly understood." I'd love to be wrong and not wait for CRISPR or the phase 2 stem cell trials, but I'm not optimistic. Thanks for all that you do; you're all wonderful. I don't know who picks these up, but I have to say that although she's part of the furniture now, I'm really happy with the addition of Cara. As much as I like the speculative and exciting potential sciences, I think she applies them to the world as it is: environmentally, socially, etc. I did have a COVID question, but this trumps it for me. Stay safe in these peculiar times and thanks again. - Stephen, Manchester, UK

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Answer Item
Fiction Online shopping
Science Ozone collapse
Missing baryons
Host Result
Rogue Guess

Voiceover: It's time for Science or Fiction.

Item #1: Scientists find evidence that the mass extinction 359 million years ago was caused by a UV damage resulting from a collapse of the ozone layer.[7]
Item #2: A new study of online clothes shopping using augmented reality showed higher purchase satisfaction than in person shopping.[8]
Item #3: Astronomers have used a new technique to finally identify all the missing baryonic matter in the universe.[9]

_Rogue_ Response[edit]

_Rogue_ Response[edit]

_Rogue_ Response[edit]

_Rogue_ Response[edit]

_Host_ Explains Item #_n_[edit]

_Host_ Explains Item #_n_[edit]

_Host_ Explains Item #_n_[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

I’m 13, so I don’t want to rush everything ... I’m still trying to figure it out, but I just want to focus on learning right now. That’s what I love to do.
– Jack Rico, youngest graduate in Fullerton College history, who earned 4 associates degrees simultaneously over the course of 2 years[1]

Signoff/Announcements ()[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[10]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description



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