SGU Episode 793

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SGU Episode 793
September 19th 2020
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 792                      SGU 794

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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]

Forgotten Superheroes of Science ()[edit]

News Items[edit]






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

Life on Venus ()[edit]

QAnon ()[edit]

Taxonomy of Lying and Cheating ()[edit]

AI Peer Review ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy? ()[edit]

New Noisy ()[edit]


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

Follow-up #1: Black Bears and Wolves ()[edit]

Email #1: Forest Fires ()[edit]

Hello Skeptics,

First off thanks for responding to my last email. Love the show! The air quality in Vancouver was the worst in the world according to IQ Air on Sunday, September 13. It was reported that much of this is due to smoke from wildfires in the US blowing up towards our country and spreading over our province. This prompted me to search for more information on the fires. The President of the US and the Governor of California met and discussed the wildfires, and the exchange was a bit odd to say the least. It seemed both agreed there was bad forest management at play - and that policy could change this for the future - but the Governor implied climate change was a major factor. Is this true? I've read conflicting information. How much of this is caused by bad forestry management, and is there anything that can be done, policy wise, that can make California and the PNW safer and better equipped to manage fires?

–Derek S., British Columbia, Canada

Science or Fiction (1:26:35)[edit]

Answer Item
Fiction Hot springs boiling
Science New mass extinction
Oldest known sperm
Host Result
Steve sweep
Rogue Guess
New mass extinction
Oldest known sperm
New mass extinction
New mass extinction

Voiceover: It's time for Science or Fiction.

Theme: Paleontology
Item #1: Archeologists have found direct evidence that our human ancestors were boiling food in hot springs almost 2 million year ago, one million year before the first evidence of cooking with fire.[6]
Item #2: Scientists have discovered a new mass extinction, occurring 233 million years ago and paving the way for the rise of the dinosaurs.[7]
Item #3: Paleontologists have discovered the oldest known sperm, of a 100 million year old crustacean preserved in amber.[8]

Cara's Response[edit]

Jay's Response[edit]

Bob's Response[edit]

Evan's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
Douglas Adams (1952-2001), English author, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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[9]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description



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