SGU Episode 825

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SGU Episode 825
May 1st 2021
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 824                      SGU 826

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

Quote of the Week



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

    • (at least this is usually the first thing we hear)
    • Here is a typical intro by Steve, with (applause) descriptors for during live shows:

S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. (applause) Today is Wednesday April 28th. 2021, and this is your host, Steven Novella. Joining me this week are Bob Novella...

B: Hey, everybody!

S: Cara Santa Maria...

C: Howdy.

S: Jay Novella...

J: Hey guys.

S: ...and Evan Bernstein.

E: Good evening folks!

How's everyone doing pretty good? I mean, I'm Tell him fully vaccinated vaccinated with each call that vaccinated effects of isolated. Yeah.

Super psyched. Yeah thing that I'm not happy about is I've read a statistic that said that was like the high 30 percent of people in the United States or vaccinated, that's it. That's where we're at fully vaccinated. But yeah, there's a lot that goes over 200 million to have the shot. At least one shot, right? The number I heard in the States but a lot of people are not coming for their second shot. Just to show at that. Scary, what's that about? We knew this was going to be a potential issue though when he heard a shot. Yeah, but we didn't, I mean yes we've always known that it's hard to reach certain individuals with the second shot, but it's really bumming, me out that a lot of people who are in a perfect position to do it, choosing not to go back to this.

Lord Kelvin: why he was wrong about the age of the Earth[edit]

And in fact, we talked about this recently on the show Bob, but we talked about Lord Kelvin and why he was wrong about the age of the Earth. His story that we have been told is basically wrong in a very important way to go over that. What I'm going to going to, you're going to tell you the whole thing.

Fascinating and the fact that nobody called us on, he's at that. It is the wrong story that we told is pretty much accepted by most people and has widespread. Yeah. Alright, so this is what so I was I just needed to like confirm a couple little details. I looked it up and I came across a story that completely blows it apart. Okay. So here's the thing. So, you know, Lord Kelvin is a the most famous physicist, of the latter half of the, or one of the most famous citizen, whatever latter half of the 19th century and he was fighting with the geologists and biologists of the time, geologists were at that time. They were coming around to, like a uniformitarian, kind of approach where the Earth projects like as opposed to the earlier catastrophism where instead of like the geological structures are not all due to like these sudden catastrophic events. It's just a continuous slow processes that have been happening over a very long period of time. So they thought the Earth was The old billions of years old, and in some cases, they said maybe the Earth is just infinitely old. Maybe this is a graph. It's like it's a homeostasis is just a never-ending process, right? And so Calvin's like, well, that can't be true because at the Earth has Heat, and the Earth is cooling. If it were infinitely or even super, super old, it would have called by now. So he said about to calculate how much the Earth should have cool. It just to put numbers to his, you know, his push back against the challengers. So he, you know, what had he was, had worked out a lot of the thermodynamics So he made the following calculation based on a few assumptions. He said, okay, let's assume that the the Earth was a certain temperature when it formed and he's there and how we going to figure out what's that temperature is what we know what, temperature rocks, melt that. So let's just say the Earth was the temperature of melting Rockland form. That was like, that's actually roughly reasonable attack. It turns out historically to be correct. So that the heat should be escaping from the Earth. With over time. And so we need to know like how quickly does heat conduct threw, a rock through Earth, and we need to measure the temperature, gradient of the earth, near the surface. If I have those three measurements, I can plug them into my equations and calculate the age of the Earth, but let me go into his more detail about that. So essentially, if you and the paper that discusses those users that

The other next places as an example. Let's assume a spherical Turkey, right? It was recovered. You take it out of the oven at whatever 400°, you put it in your freezer and then the heat will escape the Turkish and he will conduct through the turkey and then the surface will cool very quickly but they keep the inside will cool very slowly because the heat needs time to conduct to the server. So then what you end up having is just this sort of skin of cold turkey on the outside the sort of Crush the cold for cannainsider and then hot turkey on the inside. So it's simply going to be true for the Earth is that you're going to have this crust at the surface of the Earth and the interior of the earth will be hot. And you can tell how old the Earth is by the temperature gradient at the surface because that crust that colt crust will get thicker over time as it cools. So you have to wait 15 years to get accurate measurements for the temperature gradient.

The Earth, but he had those measurements. He had measurements of the rate at which Earth conducts, heat, and he has measurements for reflect temperature of the earth. Probably was when I started with the multi raucous and in fact, those those numbers are all reasonably good. And if you plug in modern hyper accurate numbers, you get basically the same results that dica a hundred nice 30 years. Yeah, so they would just go Scout. Those numbers were good, his equations where for good base an All-State. So what are the assumptions that you have to make? So again, McKellar was trying to do was apply a simplified model, but in order to apply basic physical contact, constructs concept to the question of, you know, the age of the Earth. So, he knew what he was doing at, that was the whole point and he said so. So the assumptions we're going to make our one is that the Earth is solid to that the Earth is homogeneous, right? It's basically the going to conduct heat the same all the way, right?

Three that there's no unknown source of energy. So he did that. So with those three assumptions and those three numbers he put in his calculation and he calculated the age of your 300 to 200 million years old. He later revised that down and he kept revising the number down eventually by the end of his life, he was saying 20 million years but we'll say twenty to a hundred million years Was the trait of the error bars that he had, he then did the same thing for the sun. He said, let's figure out how old the sun is assuming as the sun sets source of energy is the same. Because remember this is a nuclear fusion at this point and he calculated the age of the son to be a hundred million years and that made him really confident that he was correct because the age of the sun and the age of the Earth were roughly an agreement both about

Million years so he's like take that geologist you're wrong. The Earth is not infinitely old or even billions of years old selling, tens of millions of years old. Okay hundred, maybe 200 certainly not worth that the geologist who like they say, we're gonna have a lot of independent lines of evidence from columns and geological structures that this these would have taken hundreds of millions of years to form. So you have to be wrong and something but they also Said that you can't apply these models. These physical models to geology. Geology is just too complicated and they're Kelton was, right? Yeah, by physical models to stuff like that. The problem was that his model is wrong, it's not that you can't apply physical models. So I'm going to skip ahead a little bit to explain why we all think what we do about this. So this was all 1890s right in 1904.

Your Curie discovered that radioactive decay. Dope and security and other businesses rely, gahahaha, third assumption. That there is no other source of heat is wrong. And because the radioactive decay will heat up the Earth, the substance of the earth. And that is why the Earth is older. Then he calculates. Now, they were correct for the Sun. That was the issue. That was the wrong assumption that made Melvin drug. Lord, Kelvin wrong about the sun because the sun is not just a hot rock. It is burning, hydrogen burning hydrogen to helium to its energy comes from fusion and in fact, you know, there were, there were people to tell everything, you know, there's a lot of unknowns here, we don't know how much energy is stored in atoms and molecules, and

Turns out, he was correct, energy stored in atoms, that we didn't know about. And what do you think of your processes? Yeah, that so that was very, very precious got so that became an iconic story about how the discovery radioactive decay, releasing heat the crust, disproved Lord Kelvin. But now, you're going to ruin that story. Yes, that's not true. If you do the calculations, the amount of heat being released by Radioactive decay in the crust and really only like the top hundred miles to be relevant to the calculation, why it has an insignificant effect on Calvin's have credentials because it's only that temperature gradient near the surface. That matters that's impacted by by, it is, but it's, but it's insignificant. The bottom line is about how much ether is sloshing around in the interior and such. How much heat is there, actually a gradient towards the country? So that's not the reason that Calvin was wrong.

The real reason he was wrong was because of one of his other assumption which ones you think. At this point I have no idea where the Earth is solid and the Earth is homogeneous module, no Bobby, it's not solid, its not solid. And at the time, the Assumption one, even if it was like at the very core, it was molten that the mantle and crust her solid and at She would pretty extreme depth. You know, like a hundred fifty miles away. Right? Good, good pretty good. Death death taking the conventional wisdom is that in that Calvin firmly believed was that the Earth was like steel. Like it just does not move or then we're going to use her come from huh? So here's the thing. This is why these wrong because he was calculating the movement of heat entirely through conduction. When in fact, Pete is moving to the surface too. You can.

Yesterday 22:18 Earth moving and physically carrying heat and if you think about it. So did you, if you is, he could move from the center of the earth to the surface of the Earth more quickly, that would keep the gradient in temperature gradient at the surface of the Earth, higher and given artificially young calculation for the age of the Earth. And so this was all figured out at the time by one of one of your televisions assistance A guy by the name of Perry Perry Hall figured it out, and he did the calculations. Like, you know, if the Earth was because War liquid underneath the crust than solid then and un conduction was carrying heat to the surface, and you do ghost plug those calculations in. Keep came up with an age of the urban with our two to three billion years. So he was essentially correct. Yeah. He'd be billions of years, right? So correct. Who didn't order of magnitude, right? So he

Correct, and he went to Kelvin and explained it all to him and Calvin refuse to listen to him. If you think this would be for radioactivity with this is like in those Arenas 1890, Kelvin to either didn't understand it or you just didn't want to believe him. And So eventually Perry had to polish it, you know, as we published it in nature and to him. Yeah, but still, it didn't have an impact. Here was the problem. The point of contention was whether or not the Earth could be liquid or not, could move and Calvin himself actually gave an example of this in another context. He said he said, all right, one of corks on the top of water, put wax on top of the court and then put bullets on top of the wax, right? To the bullets were going to want to sink, the quirks are going to want to flip. And then over the short term that hardened wax is

But come back to it in a month and you will see that the bullets and the quarks are embedded in the wax, come back to it in a year and the quarks will be on the bullet to be on the bottom of the courts will be on the top. So wax is a solid over short periods of time, and a liquid over long periods of time. And so Kerry said, the same thing is true with the Earth. It's a solid over short time span, but it's liquid, it can flow really slowly.

But it can flow given millions of years, right? So over geological timescales, the Earth closed, its liquid and that connection would keep the surface, which increase the temperature gradient. And if you have to account for that in your calculation, how will it was never arguments to this? Never convinced, but that turns out to be the correct reason. Why Lord, Kelvin was rocked? It was that first assumption about the Earth being solid not the third assumption about there, being no other source of energy. So the final piece to this is that the contrary is absolutely correct, never really had contemporary success and it's an agreement couldn't convince the scientific community that delayed the discovery of plate tectonics for 70 years because Dancing around the idea of plate tectonics. They knew that was something like that was happening, but everyone's like know that, but both the crust is solid. It doesn't move. It can't happen. So it, you had to really took a lot to prove to the scientific community that over long periods of time. The Earth can flow, but they could have figured that out in 1895 or 96 if they had just believed Perry. Who was correct? Can you imagine where the place would be today?

New 70 years old. What about this though? I mean, sure, alright convection is much more critical than we thought. But isn't it the radiation that the release of heat that allows the convection that continued for so long? All right, this gets a bit complicated, but here it comes. So you're right that the part of the earth heat is radioactive decay. Heat better than primordial Heat.

Core is probably primordial and it can't be cousins. Calculations were based on the total cooling of the earth. They were based upon the cooling of the surface of the Earth which is dominantly affected by convection, not by the radioactive decay Heat at the Circle. So now I think we would still have else, you know, a liquid mantle even if it weren't for radioactive decay, but the bottom line is also that We don't completely know. You know that radioactivity is responsible for half of the heat leaving the surface of the Earth. But not, it's hard to say how much of the total internal energy of the earth is primordial versus radioactive decay. But again, bottom line is, that's not the big key factor P factor is how quickly he's getting from the core to the surface. And what would you say? No radiation, no radioactivity. Yeah, I don't know. That's a good question. I did not encounter that further research and so I've been to Hell out of this. Just what I thought as well, first of all, every single resource I read repeats, the regular version of the story even authoritative sources. Everyone has this. ROM, there was you trust? There was one source that said it was both. And then there was a. So this is a, this is based upon a 2014 paper why was kelvins estimate of the age of the Earth stage Wrong by in? Love it and end the casino Sian. I love it. So 2014. So we're our view is seven years out of date and then it was repeated in the American scientist. Philip England, Peter Moeller and Frank Richter wrote an article about this but they relied heavily on the 2014 paper. So yeah, that's I think it's pretty clear that this is the correct version of events and but a lot of even authoritative sources or just telling the older simplified wrong version of the story, it's you know, two guys it's gets to the the fact that it's always more complicated you think which is why like it's one thing. Like what we're talking about this on the show, obviously view search things as much as you can for the show. But like what you're writing, Nothing and you need spikes to see detail like verify specific facts with resources and everything. You know you tend to dig a little bit deeper and that's what I was doing in this case and I dug deep enough to uncover this version of the story.

It's just like holy shit. I had this wrong forever like ever since I knew who don't yes but so many people are wrong about something like this. Like you have to think why is that the case in this case I think it was partly because it was just such a good story and started going back to the other scientist at the time. Just became a story that everybody told, you know, like a group to create an anecdote not to tell. And it just this is how it had a hundred and twenty years of cultural. Inertia just incredible. And seeing hear somebody saying that despite its geological significance to heat, energy coming from Earth's interior is actually a point, 0.03% of Earth, total energy project surface. Yeah, yes of the Interior has very little impact. Ultimately to the exteriors. That's that's really the Crux of this interesting.

News Items[edit]

Miracle Bleach Peddler Indicted ()[edit]

Okay, let's get to our news item, good news is good news, but it's a really bad story when you dig.

Yeah it's a bummer that is yeah okay that's a good way to put it so we remember well it comes it comes from by many names. A Miracle Mineral Solution MMS. Yeah we've talked about that quite a bit on the show but it's also known as I have a few different things here. Here's one of them according to the FDA, it has also been sold as master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral supplement, chlorine dioxide protocol water, purification solution, etc, etc. And this is one of these interesting things, such as keeps on coming back, but there is nothing etcetera. You are welcome sir. And I'll add an asterisk to that. No, thanks. Sure thing. So a Florida Grand Jury has just I did a man named Mark grenon was 62 years old along with three of his sons. Jonathan Jordan, and Joseph Brennan range between the age of 26 and 34 they're all from Bradenton might be Bradenton, I'm not sure. Florida, they have been charged with violating court orders and fraudulently producing and selling more than a million dollars worth of Miracle Mineral Solution. So, yeah, some really Interesting stuff in this indictment if you dig through it. So first things first, we not only have we known that Miracle Mineral Solution is bleach. Yeah it's chlorine dioxide. So basically the way it comes as there's like a packet and then there's some sort of activator they call it an activator which is usually citric acid and when combined it produces bleach like good industrial-strength Bleak, industrial-strength leaks like either the bleach that's used to clean stuff or to process Fabrics or

It's the bleach that's used to purify water on like massive Citywide scales not like in your own body, but care, I think. Like the really important question here is that does it taste good? Probably not. Right. Medicines not supposed to taste good. How how could it possibly people drinking bleach? It blows my mind because at that point, when you're putting bleach in your mouth, this is like a caustic chemical. Yeah, right. Yeah. But you've taken half You fit taken horrible medicine before. Right. I don't think that's the leap. What what what what I don't get though, is this you a million dollars worth of this soul and it's bleach. What? The article I read, at least did said that no deaths, you know, were reported, but why they don't know that, they don't know that yet? I would think it would be known though. It wouldn't be hard. The FDA has definitely received complaints of hospitalization, severe illness and death but they don't know if

These specific dudes were responsible for specific deaths because here's the weird thing about Miracle, Mineral Solution is this like a pyramid scheme or something because other people have been indicted on this before. So there's a there's a Department of Justice press release from October 28th 2015, where a man named Louis Daniel Smith, 45 year old was indicted by the Eastern District of Washington. Oh no, he was actually sentenced to serve. T1 months in prison after selling Miracle Mineral supplement, the individuals who have just been indicted in Florida. They own a church. Yeah, the fun part. Yeah. Yeah. Genesis 2 Church of health and healing and they have admitted that they only Built the church in order to be able to Pedal. Mms2 petal Ms. They have said as much that this is a non religious entity and it was a way to get around. Mound. Yep. A lot of regulations regulation. And so, and here's the really scary part about this indictment and this is kind of neither here nor there from a skeptic point of view. But I think it is important to mention and this is all printed by the southern district of Florida, you can like go to their website and read all about this indictment, these into two of the individuals, the father, and one of the sons have been in prison now for a year because they were originally indicted on separate charges and these new charges have been brought. And the reason that they've been held in Prison for a full year. Where the other two are, you know, have not been brought to prison. They've only been brought up on charges is because they violated a previous court order to stop production and stop selling. Not only did they violate it but when they raided the Grenadines home, they found multiple loaded weapons. They found a shotgun that was like hidden in a violin case. Like it was obviously meant to kind of be disguised and they actually threatened the Federal Judge, presiding over the case. That should the government attempt to enforce the court order. That tells them, they can't distribute anymore. They would quote, pick up guns and instigate a Waco. Nice. Oh my God. This is a really intense effort by this family, who this one family alone, a man and his three sons. When they raided, their home found dozens of chemical drums, you know, those big blue industrial, drums, containing nearly 10,000 pounds of sodium, chlorite powder,

Thousands of bottles of MMS ready to go and other things that were used in the distribution. And they have found that they've already distributed tens of thousands of bottles of MMS through their quote Church website in which they ask for a quote donation. That's a set price. It's basically, I'm selling you this stuff and they claim that this stuff can cure. Oh, gosh. Here's the really fun part. What is? Mm? Yeah, yeah, Alzheimer's autism. Brain can Multiple sclerosis HIV and AIDS. And of course, now covid-19 and that's where this newest indictment came from. And I have a quote, because I thought, why not play a little bit of Name That logical fallacy while we're at this Steve. So and another individual who was not charged in this indictment, but who is part of the Genesis to church? He considers himself a founder and Archbishop. So the one founder and Archbishop that we have been discussing right now is Mark grenon. He is now under No indictment and being held in prison. But there's another dude named Jim Humble former scientologists who claims that he is a billion year old God from the Andromeda galaxy. Yeah and he's I think he's like hole up in Mexico right now. ABC, the local ABC News in 2016 did like a year-long investigation and interviewed these folks and figured out, you know, trying to figure out what is going on and there was a conversation. They caught up with this guy in Guadalajara. This is back in 2015 and said the government says you're selling

He's in and that you're hurting people that you're hurting children. There may have been deaths, what do you say? And humble says, it ain't true. You say it cures, cancer, and diabetes, and autism. Yes, it cures. All of those things. Do you really believe that and to cure every right? Yeah. Do you really believe that? Where did you study medicine? I didn't study medicine. I'm not a doctor and I'm proud of it and then later I'm proud of it. Great. Steve is the term that twist that knife later, he put out a newsletter where he clarified his stance and I think this is such a Really nice example of what we do here in the skeptic World. Here we go. Quote there are certainly times. I've said some things that I probably should have said differently for lack of a better way to express things at the time or because others put words in my mouth in the past, I've stated that MMS cures most of all diseases today. I say that MMS cures, nothing MMS serves as a tool to kill pathogens and oxidized poisons in the body, which allows the body to heal the body. We live in a toxic world and we're fortunate to have MS, as well as various

Other important Health tools to combat the ill effects of poor foods and chemicals that make us sick. How where have we heard this before? So somebody clued him into the dietary supplement health and Education Act 1994 where you can't claim to cure disease, but you can make structure-function claims that are basically the same thing, but just with different language. So he just shifting over to the quack friendly length, which is shape exactly why the Shea is a terrible terrible, freaking love the nightmare that keeps on living. Exactly. And so the good news is that these dudes were brought up on charges anyway. They could be facing a lot, a lot, a lot of years for the harm and the, as we mentioned before the potential death, that they have brought to a lot of vulnerable and unsuspecting people who, of course, are going to have a difficult time separating, especially with that extra layer of healing. Not from non medical doctors, but from, you know, a faith perspective.

So, you've got this additional Layer of quackery and quackery added to, within this religious Sheen and individuals who are desperate, took them up on this, gave them a lots of money over million dollars. They shipped, tens of thousands of bottles of the stuff, they were ready to ship, tens of thousands of dollars more when they were rated. And now luckily they have been shut down. The question is, why does this bleach cure which doesn't seem to have any sort of centralized movement behind it? Keep, Popping up. Where is this whack-a-mole coming from? And why? I know, I know, I know we talked about this all the time that they're different kind of flavors of pseudoscience, that tend to just recapitulate. But it's such an odd, one drinking bleach. Yeah, why does it persist? That's the thing I don't understand. I mean, I mean, I feel like we saw our own previous president having like an epiphany on are like, in real time where he's like, well, couldn't we just like drink the bleach? So, obviously this is resonating with somebody or

A lot of people. Yeah, who are like trying to think about how the body works with minimal knowledge. WellCare, I think that the one exception I'd say to that is that the notion that this is an effective treatment for autism has gotten into the online, autism Community like the anti science. You know, autism community. So it is being promoted there and so that that is and how much even more nefarious because in those situations, think about the

How disgusting the the Ex of feeding bleach to your Shield. Yeah. Well that's why I think there's an element of that crew believer in this because to me, it's like, all right, I can kind of understand, you know, I want to sell some snake oil with all these claims of cures and make a lot of money. But but okay, I can kind of see that I'm greedy bastard and I want to make a lot of money and I'm going to rip off people, but to throw poisoning, their makes me think that, maybe they kind of believe this. Because why, you know, why would any semi-rational scammer? Say, well, I'm going to I'm going to scan people and poison them to death. I mean why put those two together don't have to so you what you're saying is like why kill the consumer right? Because then they're not going to keep coming back. We're and also you know the law tends to look very negatively on scammers that murder as opposed to apparently you can scan people with the right language for as much as you want and you're fine. But throw a little murder in there and things get dicey. Yeah, you're right. It is an interesting. Like, are they? I mean, again for all intents and purposes.

Is it kind of doesn't matter, but are they swallowing what they're selling? It would be really interesting to see if they've taken Miracle, like, if they're like, I take it and I swear by it, I would strongly suspect that they just don't care. Don't care was true. Another don't care for hurts. People are not, it does, it's working. She's got like a good Market. They're saying, yes, or that's it. I don't care the individual who was sentenced back in 2015 in Washington. So this is a different guy but who was The same stuff he was found to have all of this sodium chloride with in his possession and his MMS was a mixture of sodium chloride and water. He was found to have gotten his hands on all of it because he created a phony water purification and wastewater treatment business and was able to get all these industrial chemicals and then, of course, sell them illegally. So it's pretty scary to see how these people are getting the chemicals, how they're combining them. How

Marketing. How their packaging. I mean this is this is big stuff and this one is why we're seeing Federal cases brought against them. This is going across state lines. There's you know, fraud there's gosh just risk to health and human rights the only thing that explains it frankly. Yeah. What else could it be? Yeah, that's all. That's it straight. It wasn't that those are the charges are working the system and it shows you how vulnerable the system, right? He's pleased with these holes need to be plugged.

Michael Collins ()[edit]

All right Jay Yeah, we lost a space hero today. Tell us about it. Yeah, we lost Michael Collins today. So he was an American astronaut. He was 90. He did actually die today as we record this and this is the part that you'll recognize he flew in both the Gemini and Apollo programs. Yeah. So he was born in Rome and on October, 31st, 1930 in 1952, he joined the Air Force, and by 1960, he became a test pilot and you know of course, a lot of the astronauts.

Back in that day, started out as test pilots, he was accepted into the astronaut program in 1963 and three years later after he was accepted into the astronaut program. He piloted his first Gemini 10 Mission, how come whenever you watch old movies and you hear people talk about this, they call it Jiminy. Yeah. Seeking the same thing like NASA said, it that way. That's the setup. Jimmy, I refuse to say it that way. Okay, Jiminy, he was accepted into the astronaut program in 1963 three years. Three years later in 1966, he piloted the Gemini 10 Mission and during that three-day Mission, he and John Young obtained, the highest orbit of that time. He also made two spacewalks where he rendezvoused with to uncrewed, a Gina Target Vehicles. Those are the vehicles that astronauts use to practice orbital space, Rendezvous and docking techniques. So they descend these vehicles up and they said, yeah, try to connect to that. I try to dock with it, try to spend things around, you know, try to change your orientation and they just

Lot with those Vehicles, which I thought was really cool and he was one of the people who did a lot of work on that he worked with the engineers with NASA Engineers on developing, the pressure suits for spacewalks and at the time he was considered one of the leading authorities on the subject which I found to be amazing. You know, because when they were bringing astronauts into the astronaut program back, then they were to immediately assign them to do something. Like, you know, you have to liaise with these engineers and help them, blah, blah, blah. You know, do this that. And the other thing those astronauts were pretty I'm key in developing. A lot of the technology that happened, they weren't most of them. If not, all of them were not actually Engineers but they became key players in the development of all that stuff. So there were three astronauts going to the most famous mission of all the three astronauts on the Apollo Mission. This was Apollo 11. This was the first moon landing and Commander Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin. And Michael Collins were, were the three people on there? So, there you go. So Michael Collins was the third guy, he was the other guy. Now, what was his job? Job while Neil Armstrong and Buzz, Aldrin landed, and walked around on the moon. Michael Collins stayed in the Command Module, and he waited for them to return and, you know, becomes very unromantic once once the people that are going to the Moon, leave because you know, what's happening on the Command Module, you know, you know, just all the science and calms and important stuff. Yeah, I mean is important because first and foremost, there has to be someone for them to go back to and, you know, that that ship needed to be maintained and, you know,

They needed to keep in touch with NASA. But there's a few things about this that I think you'll find interesting. So while Neil and Buzz stayed on the moon, they were down there for eight days. Michael Collins was alone in orbit around the Moon, a quarter of a million miles from Earth alone. You know what I mean? And here's the thing, he wasn't actually in constant radio communication with with NASA because because of the position and the orbit and everything, he was only getting spotty connection because you know, it has to be line of sight, right? Soon, as you can't see the Earth, you basically can't broadcast at that time, you couldn't broadcast to get to them. So he was alone and that's scary and he did it for eight days and more. Interestingly he wrote in his book that he was terrified to have to return back to Earth by himself through some catastrophe on the moon like right. And and it wasn't unlikely,

It was not an unlikely occurrence. The hardest part for him was the three and a half hour trip, that the lunar lander had to take from the Moon, to get back to the Command Module. So, basically, by the, they took off from the Moon surface, 3, and a half hours later, they show up. And during those three and a half hours, that's when he should have brick because he just was like what's going to happen to them? Are they actually going to come back and he freaked out about that thought, you know, way ahead of the mission, you know, way before he

It's a space. He was like, oh my God, what if they don't come back, you know? So, of course, and it was and it's legitimately scary thing and I like, I like this humanizing version of the, of an astronaut, you know, he was a real guy. He was cool as a cucumber, you know? He he is legitimately one of the reasons why the word cool means what it does mean. You know, he was cool. He was calm collected, very intelligent. But you know, there was a human being sitting inside there and he did get scared because of the of what was happening. Happening. I just like that connection, you know, that wasn't like, you know, they're not Androids. They're they're actually having to deal with themselves as well. So all three of them were awarded the presidential medal of freedom. This is the highest honor, a civilian can receive in the United States and I do love that, you know, as much as a lot of the astronauts didn't look at themselves as Heroes, they were Heroes. So Michael Collins wrote a lot of books, several books after his career as an astronaut, the first he went on to become the founding director of the National Air and Space Museum. He always

Saw its actual opening among other duties that he held but he got into writing books and he wrote a book called carrying the fire. Another one called flying to the moon and other strange places another one called Mission to Mars. I strongly recommend reading the book carrying the fire because that book was described as being incredibly accurate to the experience of flying to the moon and of being an astronaut. And he does Express, you know, the pressure and the strain and the fort Attitude that they have to they have to use in order to do this. It's not an easy thing to do and I and his book is very much lauded as something that really gets into the emotional parts of it which I'm going to I'm definitely already order the book today because I just want to wanted to read more about that. He always and often strongly advocated for space exploration. He really believes that it's a key element to human nature and that we need to exercise that because it

It brings out the best in people and it pushes Humanity forward in a positive direction. So, you know, Michael Collins, the guy that was back on the Command Module. While something amazing was happening at the Moon surface below, you know, is I was a, I think maybe it was the hardest hardest of the three tasks, the three positions on there, and I give this man a lot of respect and I really appreciate what he did. And, you know, he spent his entire life continuing to be involved in space. In the exploration of space, which is one of my biggest, you know, passion

You know, Michael Collins. What a cool guy, you know, he was there from the beginning. He saw it all. He experienced that whole era, you know, he lived it and if there ever was a hero he's one of them. Yeah, a little bit. Couple of interesting little tidbits. For I was reading about him today. One was that if he was offered to command of Apollo 17, which means he could have gone to the surface of the Moon, but he decided to retire from NASA before that because he figured that he did it. It was done. It wasn't just that Steve, you want to know why? No, she did that. Yeah, I know the other thing is that he really didn't want the Limelight, you know, he liked the fact that he was the least famous of the three Apollo 11 astronauts. And in fact, you know, it kind of gave him the freedom to go on and have a very productive fulfilling life and whereas Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to deal with, you know, the fame of being the first two guys on the moon and they had a lot of problems, you know. So he did, I get that if he knew that going in that, that's how it would be. When

It was when it was decided, like, you're going to stay behind. I think. So, he did not want to be a celebrity. He did not want to be a celebrity. And he also said that he wanted the second mission was his last mission and largely because he wanted to have that time with his family. He said, you know, preparing for a mission like that and then doing the mission. Yeah. You know, you're you'd basically don't exist here family, you are, you are training all the time and then the physical aspect of it was grueling and he just wanted to be with his family. Emily and I appreciate and respect that, you know, I'm the same way. I would be the same way. Yeah, we have been a bit you would have been a big commitment to three years you know of not yet not just a mission but of training and figured he did it already. I didn't want to do it again, go back and look at some pictures and you'll get a sense of what it was. Like. I mean, if you maybe if you're young and you've never really looked into that era of US history and of NASA history, it is fascinating and horrifying, horrifying, it was the little tin box.

This is like know there's some crazy stories about just like puking all over the place about, just being like violently ill, just do it losing Consciousness. It was a weird time. That's why I like there's something romantic about the Apollo program because it was like going to the Moon with 1960s. Technology rough as it gets yeah. But they did it but they did it. I know now they knew there were there were being bathed with radiation. During this whole time but they considered it an acceptable. A tolerance is acceptable acceptable amounts and but they just have to hope that they didn't get hit with the CME or something during their mission. Yeah, that could have happened but for brief duration, you're okay, but we are more than a, you know, a few days or whatever it gets, it could get nasty. So brief, they were guinea pigs. I mean, they were willing to take on the risk. That's The Bravery that you're taking that. That's being a zero. He, he was 90

Buzz Aldrin is 90 install alive and, you know, the alarm store, and I just a couple years ago, they all lived into their old age. Steve is saying, there's a correlation with long life and that science should get radiation and drink some bleach, and you're good man. Well, everyone we're gonna take a quick break from our show to talk about our sponsor this week, the Great Courses plus with a library of over 13,000 audio and video lectures. There's really So many topics to explore on the Great Courses plus it's created and presented by incredible experts. One of them is like Steve Novella who we do this show with, he's my brother. If you did know and with the Great Courses Plus app, you can watch from your phone or tablet or even stream to your TV. The course, we're covering today is called great Heroes and discoveries of astronomy. This is an amazing amazing course, I'm really loving it. It says that it's, it does more to astronomy than Hubble, and they're very right, the amazing discoveries.


Astronomy Are Legion but almost as fascinating, are the people behind those discoveries. These are the bright minds and unsung heroes of astronomy. And some of these chapters, just a titles are getting me really excited to listen to the rest of us. They talk about Harvard heroines, show us to the stars and there's one called the heroic detection of gravitational waves, which I'm really looking forward to and this one, really, really got me going Carl, Sagan the Great Space. Communicate, I can't wait to finish this so far, it's fantastic. You should check it out to sign up for the Great Courses plus today. And start your 14 day, free trial. And for a limited time SGU, listeners can save, 20% off the annual membership, but this is only available through our special URL, the Great Courses, Skeptics, don't forget the Great Courses, Skeptics. All right guys, let's get back to the show, all right?

Life On Mars ()[edit]

Bob keeping with the Space theme. We're going to tell us about the new study looking at the possibility of Mike. Global Life on Mars Mars in the news. Again this week, a new research on meteorites from Mars, show that not only might life have existed eons ago on the red planet, but it still might be there right now. Right now, right now, like, they're now behind. This is study was published in the journal actual biology. And for me, I'm about you guys, this brings Mars kind of like kind of right back into the game of life in our solar system. It's for a while for a while. Of course it was the only game in town

Right. Except for Earth. Of course, duh, Mars was thought to have had life early in its career for many reasons, and, but especially since it clearly had water on it, write it clearly could. You could see it. Yes. It's that water was flowing water at some point. And then we had that false positive evidence for life microbial life years ago. Remember that and you're right. Yeah, and that was a big psyche, which was very disappointing. Cause for a little while there, I was convinced. Yes, we found microbial, you know, there was microbial. Life on Mars and then they have that pulled away really sucked. Plus there's a fact that we've actually been on the planet for years and there's like, no solid evidence and we've been there for years so it's kind of like yeah you know I didn't really do. It wasn't like for me it wasn't like oh does Life on Mars? Is we're going to find something on Mars, even if it's an ancient fossilized. Then of course we had Europa and Enceladus and other bodies that seem to like almost a no-brainer that they environments is so perfect for some type of microbial life.

It's probably pretty decent bet that it's that it's probably there, so that kind of, in terms of life in the solar system, that's what I was thinking, Europa, and Enceladus and some others. But then now, this latest evidence brings Mark Mars kind of like right back up with, you know, with your open Enceladus, in my book anyway because it's not just about the water. And, you know, that that was and is on Mars, that's always been encouraging, but these latest findings really bolster the case, not only for ancient life, but current Life on Mars. And that's an amazingly exciting, and it's all because of meteorites. Now, you might some people might think, well, what is meteorites have to do with Mars, you know, luckily, we don't need to go on a sampling mission of Mars to get Mars rocks back here on Earth, because there were an historically huge impacts on Mars eons ago in millions of years ago. And that did all the work for us by basically throwing chunks of rock, right at us. Here you go, here's some good samples of of Mars, right for you right, for your scientist. So the researchers examined, these

Accent detail and the bottom line. I'll just a little bottom line at you, is that these Martian rocks. If they were in contact with water for any period of time, they would chemically produce the energy that microbial like communities could use to thrive. The rock is actually would be Exquisite for that. So now this is because take another layer deeper into this onion here. And that's because of processes, like radiolysis, which is fascinating. I wasn't too familiar with it. That's a cool word. Yeah. D Alles is the breaking apart of molecules by ionizing radiation. It's kind of like, in a nutshell. So it's like what your cellphone doesn't do to you. Right? Exactly. So if water is inconsistent contact with rocks that contains elements like uranium or thorium or potassium, the following happens, one water separates into hydrogen and oxygen split them apart huge. Then to the now free hydrogen is essentially dissolved into water. That's their right.

The oxygen gets absorbed into other minerals like pyrite, which forms these sulfates these sulfate minerals now microbes. If they exist, you know, assuming that there already exists which is a big if

And I apologize for the twinkie comment because I had my first Twinkie in about a decade yesterday and it was on the Shelf, so I'm still thinking about it. They're still really good on guy. So I had one recently and I was like, oh, so it's just as I remember right? Delicious. Well, they went out of business for a bit and then came back had to came back another story. So, the microbes we eat the hydrogen twinkies and the and the oxygen in the sulfates are then used to burn the hydrogen twiki. A fuel, right? So that's it. So that's what that's what could happen now. Most of the Martian meteorites, that they looked at had plenty of the elements that they need to support microbial life. And if you took those, if you took those Martian, rocks that we have and buried them, a few kilometers under the ground here on Earth the microbes down there. Right now, with live on those Martian Twinkies without a second. Thought it would be just it would make wonderful fuel for them. And so you may be saying, wow, what microbes are you talking about kilometers?

22:28 Read about this in quite a while, but this actually exists, it's called The Deep. Biosphere is a little bit of an aside, Steve please don't delete me. So this is 70% of the world's bacteria and archaea probably exist several kilometers under the ground. Right? Right now under our feet, it's one of the biggest and least understood ecosystems on the planet calculations and models show that six times. Ten to the twenty-nine cells could be down there, huge gargantuan, and Mars could potentially have a similar ecosystem in. Inside, so that, you know, when you compare those two, it's pretty. It's pretty dramatic. No. Good. Of course, no guarantees. But it could, you know, it seems like everything that's needed. Could could be there just like in and sell it. As in Europa study lead, Jesse turn. This is a postdoc researcher at JPL NASA. JPL said, we don't know whether life ever got started beneath the surface of Mars, but if it did, we think there would be ample energy there to sustain it right up to today to today.

So, where do we go? Where do we go from here? The future in the future, obviously, we have to dig, right? We got to go down and but fortunately, we apparently, we don't need these big rigs, like they have the oil drills in Texas. We don't need the big boys to do that. It seems like they've made some advances in small drill probes. That could do the job of digging deep on Marb Mars to look for microbes. So that's awesome. And then I got a quote here from Jack mustard of the University of Toronto. He said, the subsurface is one of the front. Tears of Mars, exploration. We've investigated the atmosphere map, the surface with different wavelengths of light, and landed on the surface in a half, a dozen places, and that work continues to tell us so much about the planets past. But if we want to think about the possibility of present-day life, the subsurface is absolutely going to be where the action is. So that's really encouraging to think that not only that, oh yeah, maybe we'll find some fossilized life maybe or maybe, probably not even the life itself. But what like, what they left behind that.

But there are some serious scientists who think that they could these microbes or whatever could exist and that would be the discovery of the millenia I would say it that would put that up there with almost any scientific discovery. Yeah. Anything that makes it more likely for there to be life on Mars, but as soon as we discover Life on Mars, man, then we got a huge dilemma in our hands. Like do we do we have to like leave Mars alone now. Yeah, yeah. That's I mean, yeah, maybe I don't know what the result would be. But the thing is, how could that not intensify study? Instead of me causing us to slack off? Primed her, we need a prime directives on some level or maybe we could list of. Yeah, maybe we could limit research to certain areas or make extra extra, you know, precautions and not to contaminate it, you know, whatever we sent there. You know. We just make sure there's not one microbe. I don't know, I don't know. But well, we've already kind of violated. Oh yeah, absolutely. That's the problem solutely. But that would be a good problem to have.

Political Polarization ()[edit]

All right, guys, Continue a quick news item myself today, this is about political polarization and what's interesting about this is a recent study looking at this is I think it's always good to pay attention. When there's a disconnect between what people believe and reality and whenever you have come across, that there's a difference between what you think and what in reality, you should pay attention to that and try to make a correction, that's basically the whole concept of cognitive biases. So this is an interesting Resting kind of cognitive biases. Paper, looking at different political points of view and what people think about what the other side believes, right? And so what it showed is pretty much across the board. People overestimate, how radical extreme and unreasonable. The other side is, yeah, they want to make Boogeyman. Yeah, yeah. Like, there's a, there's a desire for Simplicity for moral clarity.

This is, you know, this is a line with prior research, which shows basically the same thing, but let me give you an example. So, for example, if you ask, like, if you, if you ask Democrats, how many Republicans think that gun? Safety is a good thing. There's a disconnect between what the Democrats believe about the Republicans and what the Republicans actually believe. And if you ask Republicans like about like, how many Democrats would endorse the statements like Forcing Free Speech, they gain grossly overestimate, how extreme the other side's position is and across the board. It's about by 25%, you know, across groups across questions on average if you think of like what percentage of Republicans would you say believe is what percentage of Democrats, would you say believe? Believe this, we tend to overestimate what the percentage of the other side that would that would take the more extreme position by About 25%. You think that's because we associate sort of the norm with the loud but vocal or start with the vocal but not typical minority. Yeah, I think it's, I think there's a definitely a reporting bias on this. And, of course, the media loves to emphasize issues about which people disagree and about, which there is conflict of polarization and not so much issues where there's common ground and where there's less disagreement. So, I think there's also a journalism

Here, right? And they don't tell the stories about the moderate view. They tell the stories about the most extreme version of that view. And also, and that, even given what I consider to be some of the better news outlets, they fall. So depressingly into this patterns, like we found somebody to express the extreme view. Let's talk. Yeah, there's a formula. Where you, where you basically showcased cherry-pick go out of your way to find the polarization, the form of sensationalism. Yeah. Solutely. But there's that there's a more interesting tidbits in here. So one is they looked at the effect of where do you get your news right? It turns out that this is not surprising. The the more partisan the your primary source of news. The greater the disconnect between what you think and reality about political Theory inferior. Yeah, your estimation of political polarization is greater. There were actually 3 News Network,

That decreased the degree, the magnitude of the disconnect. And that was NBC, CBS and ABC the traditional thing the traditional Network. Yeah. Yeah. Because they have a multi they've got an audience of people from all different sides of the aisle. Yeah but they better run around and yeah they've been around longer they but they also I think have kind of the journalistic ethic that you're right. That goes back a long time. Yeah, I don't know if it has to do with like the four verses. After the fairness Doctrine, not that, that was perfect. But you just that, prior to that news at TV news, outlets had to be balanced, you know, and after that. So here, let me, let me just ask you this. Oh, Cara, what? Percentage of Republicans and try to really answer the question too. Seriously, what percentage of Republicans would you say, would endorse the statement racism is still a problem in America? Oh, I think a large percentage of them would

Course, maybe like 75% 78% but but most Democrats estimated at the it, but the average estimate among Democrats is 50%. Yeah, I'm not surprised by the 20s even. I think about like my own father and he would endorse that he his views on racism. I highly disagree with, but he would still endorse that statement. All right, so Jay what percentage of Democrats would endorse the statement? Law-abiding citizens. Should have the right to bear arms. That's a good question. You probably 50% 70% 70%. Yeah, that's an average response. That was 46% at 24%, a trap disconnect with reality there. So that's about you about 25% of sort of the average there. So it's interesting, you know. So I like I like to broaden this to. We tend to do this generally, you know, to violate the principle of Charity, we weave. One of these narratives and then we sort of pigeonhole and make this cardboard image of the quote-unquote other side and we tend to overestimate our differences and underestimate our common ground. But also it shows that where you get your news content, if you get it from like Breitbart News that dramatically increases your disconnect from reality. Or but also, if you, if you share political news on social media, that was associated with an increased disconnect from Reality as well. So it's not just traditional media. Steve, it's Interesting, that you mentioned. Sorry to interject this. This idea of the principle of Charity that we talked about a lot on the show, you know, from from a kind of cognitive bias perspective. And from a, how do we find Common Ground perspective, especially when we're dealing with friends or relatives who believe in conspiracy theories, or yada yada. And it's so interesting because in my therapeutic approach recently, I've been utilizing the concept of the principle of Charity as like an empathy training. Or size and imploring sometimes, you know, patients or even I do this in my daily life with myself, with my friends, to almost come up with an absurdly charitable explanation for somebody's Behavior. Yeah, before acting like almost go to an extreme like that person didn't not take out the trash because they were trying to punish you by leaving it for you but maybe they didn't take out the trash because they just found out that their father was in the hospital and had to run out the door, you know, and I find that

And you do these mental exercises, you actually become more empathic. You actually over time. Stop. Stop being so irritated. We gotta go back towards you. That's a good thing. But the other thing is, even if you just take a moderately charitable, you your, that's a better first approximation of what's likely to be true. It's just oh, for sure we bias uncharitably.

So, I came up with a list of recommendations for how we can to compensate for this uncharitable by estate, you know that we have. So one of course is just suggested by the data in this study. Try to get your news from multiple sources and from the least bias sources you could find it's hard, you know? And it feels good to get news from a source that reinforces your biases but challenge yourself seek out different perspectives. Don't just You know this is we see this all the time don't just assume that the first thing you hear is correct or the thing that you want to be true is correct actually try to ask the question who disagrees with this position? Why did they disagree with this position? What other information is there out there? Absolutely apply the principle of Charity. It's a good starting assumption. It is more likely to be true as a starting assumption and an uncharitable starting point because I think the Jenna thing is we not only do we overestimate polarization. We underestimate common ground when people actually talk to each other.

You realize it go, we kind of all want the same thing, right? We all want to charge this security, Liberty fairness, but we just have different priorities. May be different experiences, different belief systems. But generally speaking were all people, we want the same thing and the thing is everyone thinks they're right. Everything? Pretty much. If there's a 1% of psychopaths out there, we got to put them aside for the non Psychopathic in individuals. Most people think that they're on the The even like we were watching that q and on documentary. The people who believe in the worst, most absurd q and on conspiracy theories. They think they're the good guys. Oh they perish in that. We believe it. Yeah yeah look at that. Oh I think that all the time they are as convinced as we are. And they are, they are working. They're working to dismantle a global cabal of pedophiles, like, they see this as like God's work. Exactly. So the other thing is especially like on social media and content

In section, very simple. Listen, don't just talk at somebody and use them as a representative of the other side. That's like the thing that irritates me, the most that when people do that to me, they start like criticizing a position. I never took and often is directly contraindicate contradicted by stuff. I just wrote, because they're clears of it to me there. Clearly arguing against a something that's in their head and start drama. Yeah, they have a strong man in their head. And once you're on the other side, they argue against that strumming but they think that's your position because they, because they're not listening to what you're saying, everything is going through this filter, but we all do this to some degree to just don't do that. Don't be that person. Listen to what the other person's actually saying, and if you'd be charitable and interpreting, what? They're

And if you don't understand ask for clarification saying so are you saying this? This is this a fair representation of your position, try to get to the fairest representation possible that they will endorse and then engage with that that's called engaging. So if you want to engage with me in any topic you know I'm happy to do that especially if you disagree with me. That's the most interesting thing. If you're going to, if you want to just talk at me and without listening to what I'm saying, I'm not interested in that that's not constructive. Not going to get us anywhere, don't assume bad faith. And that's, that's generally going to be incorrect. If you leap to a bad faith, is something that not to say that there aren't bad faith. Actors out there, there are. But if you leap to that assumption, first of all, it's usually self-serving you're just reinforcing your own position. It's usually a way of dismissing points on the other side and it's usually not true you know I could tell you a hundred percent of the bad faith accusations that are pointed at me are not true.

I'm not a shelf or a big Pharma, right, you know, right. Yeah, right. But the thing is, you know, but we do it as well. We think. Oh, this is this guy's a con artist or this person, whatever you would see, maybe they are. But don't assume it, don't assume it assume good faith until somebody proves they have bad thing. That's a, that's a much better approach. It also puts you on firmer ground because first of all, if you assume it and you're wrong then you're the asshole. Yeah. And if you serve it, if you assume it and even if you You're right. It's still an assumption. You still haven't just Fight it. It's like a scientist just say asserting the correct answer. That's not worth anything. You have to prove the correct answer. That's the that's the same thing assume that somebody's acting in faith until they prove that they're not. And then of course, we have to just always apply critical thinking, which is a huge topic but that it has to be in there as well. So, the good news is well, yes this is one more of many biases we have and this can be a particularly bad one. It's Totally fixable, with some very simple behaviors that are going to make you what you think and believe closer to reality. And that's a good thing. That's my that's my daily life, Steve. Yeah. Well you live on Facebook today?

Cicadas Return ()[edit]

All right, Evan. I understand the cicadas are coming back. Yes, they are as scheduled as planned. Well, let's see, the last time this particular brood was around. It was 2004.

Remember 2004 everyone absolutely so long ago couple like there was 17 years ago 15 years ago. That's correct you Facebook. As long as you were talking about that Facebook was hit the scene in 2004. See, Skype J. Skype hit the scene in numbers good. Remember, remember, when it was good when it would, it would actually worked, right way. We supposed when it looked like, it worked to about those one. Megapixel cameras on your cell phones. Not even smart phones. That were no smartphones 1 megapixel cell phone. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And brood X. Yep. Root X. 2004 X meaning, 10 brood 10, Roman numeral X. So, in the coming weeks from right now, billions, and I've seen numbers actually estimating into the trillions. Perhaps of, whoa, cicadas. Now I call them cicadas. I've heard them called cicadas.

It's okay. That's what I call them. Germany has, they will emerge spanning a dozen US states or so from New York all the way out west to Illinois as far south as Georgia, but the hot spots will be Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. So geographically brood X is the largest of all the 17-year, cicadas of all the periodical, cicadas. And there is a several of them. Groups, you can find me maps and things online, to show you exactly where they are, and which brood, and where they pop up about this, Forest at up to 1.5 million. Cicadas, from brood X will pop up per acre in certain regions of those States, one-acre, 1.5 million of them. Well, alright, scientific names. The katadyn, they are in vertebrates, and they are herbivores. Yep. Suck the sap out of the roots of the trees all while living one to two feet, under the ground. Now, what's what do you think their group name is, you know, like a murder of crows. What so what do you think? It's a cave. So it's probably something to do with the sound they make a plague is taking yes, Bob why? It's one of the plague of locusts and cicadas both plague and or you could say a cloud of cicadas

I like that one, too. I like Cloud more than play because it's really not a play. I wanted it to be like a rattle of cicadas. So loud, about the loud, right? Sound-producing. Yeah, yep. Have two pairs of membranous wings, prominent compound eyes and three simple eyes and Loud care. That is the point. The male cicadas produce a loud noises by vibrating those symbols membranes near the base of their abdomen. Now, how loud, how How do they get loud? Yeah, try a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, or your neighbors? Lawn mower revving up up. They've been measured a hundred. Decibels of noise when they get cranky. Wow, those are the males making those noises getting ready for the breeding? Yeah. The frenzy, I believe, they call it. Yeah. But if we how many of them, right? The more there are the one thing that will add. Well, I mean, right? And in some cases you've got 1.5 million in an acre.

Wear it because it is that density, though, that density, it gets it gets way, it's deafening. Oh yeah, yeah, it interferes with other things going on in the environment. As far. As far as noise considerations go, we did this really cool cicada thing at a museum in Staten Island and they taught me how to like do this thing with my hand to make it look like a female cicada and then you would hold the male cicada and it would just start doing that mating call, seriously? Lee and trying to like, make with your finger if you could get Choice. Yeah, I guess we were in a group and I wanted to learn but they're so cool. They're so big. I'm gosh. They're big and they're so loud. I still want to eat one. Yeah totally could. There's billions of probably be a little easier. Cookbooks about that came out in the last Brew decks. In 2004 they was called Sakai delicious. Yeah, my God cookbook focused on eating. How to prepare cicadas for consumption is nice when dipped in chocolate Bob and some people now stir fry Pizza. Banana bread bar Pride, but with chocolate. Oh boy, they I got a question now. How positive are they that this is going to happen because the last thing I remember about these, these guys is that there was supposed to be a big one, like, three or four,

Ago. And then I heard nothing about it didn't see. One Heard, lots of disappointment, disappointment. So how do we even know this is going to happen based on what the pattern of History? Well, I mean the prediction based in my estimation that prediction failed four or five years ago. Well, our is that a regional bias Bob. I mean because it didn't, it was supposed to have happened here in Connecticut, and it didn't happen to the extent that you that it was - yeah, it was, it was it a function of there weren't as many as people expected or did they come

Late. What is made? It wasn't the event. The great is not like the cicadas are coming, right? It's that's correct. Now. How much the, you know, changing environment and climate change is having an impact on these things. I think they're still looking into this to ya, right? A figure it out, you can't throw it. You know. You have to be able to consider that though, is part of it. What they can tell you is that when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, that's when they will start to emerge and around these regions of the Country that will happen in the next couple of weeks early to middle of May. Wow, I heard I heard some of them have been detected, having created there, like, exit tunnels getting, you know, getting ready like. They're really getting ready. Like they can anticipate it. Yep. This they can. Oh, one more point about eating them though because they do warrant and I saw this in a few different places. So a few warnings, if you are going to collect them in the wild, be careful of a couple things. Some of them have

It levels of mercury so you have to you know deal with that. If you're going to pick them up off your backyard, make sure you're not pouring a lot of pesticides and other weed control and other things into into that immediate area. So they recommend don't don't pull them from those areas that, you know, are have those kinds of chemicals in the soil. And if you have allergic reactions reactions, especially for people who have shellfish, allergies, probably not a good idea, you should avoid those things. So they Do right? So don't have sex with them. If your shellfish allergy won't hurt you. They don't sting. They're not venomous. They do get a bad rap because of the biblical plague of locusts, right? And they kind of look like locusts, but they're not locusts. So you don't have to fear them. And for the most part, you know, you'll leave them be let you know, let them be, unless you're going to collect some to eat them, you know, fine, be careful about that, but they're harmless to you. They won't wipe out your Gardens or your

Once again, they suck on the roots underground while they're alive and then they come out, they're going to have their frenzy for a few weeks. They women the the females of the species will lay their eggs. Some single female can lay up to 600 eggs, then they will die, but The Offspring will go back down to the ground and to wait for the next 17 years. Yeah. Let them have their spring break. You got now. Do you know what's? It's like, they live their whole lives for this, this sex frenzy, they do? Yep. And I'll wrap up with the cicadas. Have one defense against predators? Yes, I'd love. This is my favorite part. Yep. They overwhelm their predators by, they're like, copulating by making so many of them that they that the animals and other creatures that eat them become too full to continue to eat them. They call this technique Predator, satiation, I love it. That's such a critical that's their survival strategy. Make so many

All the bellies of all the Predators and then have a bunch of leftover that can't possibly be eaten and they have sex and have the good times. Yep, that's not overwhelm. This is literally I never heard that. I can't believe. I haven't heard that before and it blows my mind that that that's their survival strategy. It's so cool. They came out a little bit at a time and they wouldn't you only invited become out all at once. So even if every animal eats their full, there's still a lot of them were thinking. It's like their version of, you know, making the you know, like T turtle eggs, you know, you know, most of them is going to get eaten by those damn Birds on the beaches.

Who's That Noisy? ()[edit]

  • Answer to last week’s Noisy: _brief_description_perhaps_with_link_

All right, Jay, it's who's that noisy time. All right, guys, last week I played this noisy.

There is definitely a noise in this thing, that reminds me of a video game from the 80s.

Remember those, what is this? What it reminded me of. I know this isn't correct. When I was a boy. You would have these toy guns that would have a trigger and it would spin a wheel that would make a cranking kind of noise in the more, you cranked it. Like it revved up. And, yeah. I'm down. Made Sparks, right? Yeah, or it Sparks or something like that. Reminded me. A little of that even though I know that's not the answer. That's what it reminded me. Jay reminded me of that toy. Remember, the kids See if the kids. Had it, I forget where I saw but it's basically like this elevated track where this vehicle would slide down the track, and then when they hit the bottom, it would have been cranking mechanism, that would rise it up to give it, you know, to give it some potential energy again. So then yeah. Then ride the track down, that's not it and you're not even close, but let me go forward here. So Richard Smith wrote in and said, since Steve brought up subnautica, I'll say that this week's noisy is a school of cuttlefish. He said, Ed, why they're on a metal turning lathe, though? I couldn't say is going on in here that like that he says, Hey job. I think that's Jay and Bob combined I'm probably wrong because this seems too easy, but this sounds definitely. This sound. Definitely reminded me of the sound of a drill. The dentist uses on cavities. All right. Now I was going to play the sound of that and I decided not to. Yeah, you don't have to do a trigger warning. Yeah, because it was a trigger E, I listened to it. I was kind of like you know people so we triggered you. It sounded the same to hear the drill because it for me, I think the reason it's a trigger is because it's in your head. Yes yes, it's your veg vibrating and And a comedian, I no longer will acknowledge but he was once said, you see and smell smoke coming out of your mouth is on fire. All right, that not not a dentist drill but thank you for the email Joshua. Gillespie, he said, hi Madge, A McGee. I don't even know where this AIDS anymore. This is the thing. I don't know. Is it a dolphin? Keep up the good work. Joshua, love it. Just, is it a dolphin Soma Joshua?

I don't know. He just yeah I don't know if it's of a dolphin or not but we I'm pretty sure it isn't. How about that? That's the answer is actually it's not a dolphin. One would a dolphin make noises like that but I don't know maybe when we're having sex with a goddamn cicada I don't know. Stephen Hunter wrote in J my guest this week a recording of the internal robotics of an Android light form just as Captain Kirk infuses it with logic in order to make it explode. Yeah, that was what my little girls are made. Of, I think the episode from original series Star Trek, very funny, you actually use bad logic to make logical beings lose their mind and Spock help them. It was great. You got to watch. Wait, girls are made of. I think that was the episode. All right, moving on and I had to email him. This a dude, is it okay if I

Use your name and he's like, oh come on, my God. Yeah, of course. So he's dead. He sends me his name. He said hello Jay, if that's your real name. See now he is a name thing on this episode. I don't get what's happening. They're all talking behind my back. I know who this who this noisy that he actually wrote that. I know who this noisy. It's a laser etcher and it sounds like it's making something that includes a circular pattern. Oh my God. He nailed it. He nailed it. So okay, this is a laser etching device, you know, I I did this a few years ago and this one blows it away. This noise, the noise at this thing makes. So if you watch the video of this, I think it's printing police badges. And it is like doing a lot of things at the same time, but that noise that we're hearing, I'm pretty sure is the vaporization of the metal, it's the heating and vaporizing of the metal that's happening. Not the not, you're not hearing the production of the laser itself. I'm pretty sure. Very cool. Very, very wide array of noises happening. Let me, let me just play it back real quick.

Night burning. It's burning. The metal.

Just very cool. Very, very cool that we can do things like that, with light. So, good job. I've got a lot of guesses. A lot of people ended up guessing this correctly that can't you emails came in like you know, four or five days later. But still send those guesses because I learn a lot and I also get to read a lot of funny emails so I appreciate that.

New Noisy ()[edit]

I have a new sound for this week and here it is.

So if you think, you know what this noisy is, you can email me at WTN at the Skeptics Guide org, and don't forget if you heard something cool, send it to that address as well. You can, you can attach things to that email. You know, it's just a regular email address so you don't have to go through the website if you want to send me an attachment, you send it to WTN at the Skeptics Guide dot-org.

Emails ()[edit]

Email #1: Human Intelligence? ()[edit]

All right, thanks brother. One email, this comes from Matias who writes. I had a conversation with a friend recently, who claimed that humans aren't the most intelligent species on the planet, because we are destroying our own habitat and threatening the existence of her own species with for example, climate Change pollution, Wars and nuclear weapons. How can the species be seen as intelligent? If they are ruining things to themselves to such an extent? The second interesting point is that you argues that dolphins are also intelligent but don't have these destructive Tendencies. And therefore, could you seen as more intelligent than humans and replies at the dolphins? Having created the technology that we have. She then said that development of technology is only our way of defining intelligence since technology is valued by us humans. Of course,

Are going to equate technology with intelligence. If Dolphins came up with their definition, of intelligence humans would be the less intelligent ones, according to that definition. The farmer says that they speak. I found myself having a soup Rising Lee hard time arguing against her points but have a feeling that there are some faulty reasoning going on. I would love to hear your take on this. Thanks for the great show. That's interesting question. I do think that your friend is kind of

Committing the same, the same. He's accusing others of committing so we can't. Yes, there is no one completely objective. Operational definition of intelligence, we have a vague definition of intelligence or cognitive power to do something, you know, but there are different ways to measure it. There are different kinds of intelligence. Like you could, you might argue that the human species is certainly very clever and good at problem. A solving and good at engineering, but maybe not quite so wise, you know, that doesn't mean we're not intelligent. There's two different completely different things, I think. So the fallacy is trying to use intelligence as if it's one thing. Similarly, like to talk about, it's a construct. Yeah. Well developed the idea of intelligence like and then we operationally defined it and we use test to look for it but they all require a human level Mastery of language.

Yeah, right. So you can't even test. We can do things like the mirror test, but that shows cognitive capability, but I wouldn't call that in intelligence versus a dolphin intelligence. No dolphins are good at some things. They have a lot of brain processing power for echolocation and stuff like that but but not you know brain power for things that primates have for example you know that certain sort of like corvids, you know birds so I have really good problem solving but they don't have the language skills that is. So there's a lot of science fiction stories that I've read have addressed this issue.

This one story we're like on another planet. We find these Turtle light creatures and we just start using them for food until somebody realizes that the patterns that they were making it in the sand as they crawled through the sand, where these complex mathematical equations. So their own they maybe they're intelligent. We shouldn't be eating them. You know, that's only Shades of Grey away from what many people believe about the animals we eat today? Yeah. Well, that's like, where's our Line in the Sand? Yeah, I think I do think you can draw lines, but the, you can everybody draws a line. That's the important point, right? Is that like I may draw my line at cetaceans elephants and great apes. Other people might draw their line at the fruit fly. But everybody has a line, yeah? Right. We're cicadas, you know.

So, yeah, it's a Continuum intelligence is a Continuum and intelligent is multi fat intelligence is multifaceted, so you can't impose one definition on it, but it's good to recognize that and when we, when we, when we think about other species, they might not have human type intelligence, but they may be intelligent other ways. And, and it would be absolutely fascinating to encounter an alien alien species, which may have even different in type of Intelligence tells one of my favorite Earthbound. Examples are like octopus. You know, they are incredibly intelligent but just a very different kind of intelligence than than, you know, are obese continue. No, typically think of them as intelligence but they can do incredible, you know, problem solving, for example, words crows, how about them? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that I think the what I'm tapping into from the email or though is In arguing that dolphins are wise because they have not destroyed the planet, or the Dolphins are intelligent because they have not destroyed to plan. It is actually there's a difficulty in that argument because it implies that they would even have the capability to do. So, yeah, it's not a fair. It's not a fair test because they don't have the capability of doing it. Yeah. And I think the technology component of that is an important component. And you know how we Define technology tool, use whatever. But humans have managed to accelerate technology, to the point where we have destructive power that we didn't have in the past. Yeah. Show me his feces with the capability of self-destruction who chooses not to, and has the wisdom rather self-restraint and the social structure, whatever is necessary, do what they need to do to to not be destructive to their environment, to their your other species to each other. You know, you don't get credit for not doing something you can't do in the Personalized exactly that. Yeah, I think that's the Crux of this issue. For sure, but definitely keep. You know, fluid to open mind about what intelligence is. It is not one simplistic thing.

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

All right guys, let's go on with Science or Fiction. It's time for science or fiction.

Each week, I come up with you inside, use items for facts to real one. Grandchild by panel Skeptics and tell me which one is the fake. There was a theme this week, the theme is inspired by an interview that we're going to air on next week's show. We're going to be talking with Andy Weir, who came out with his third book project, Hail Mary, which is excellent and the in to use a lot of fun, he's super fun guy to talk to but the

Number this week is local Stars. Meaning Stellar system ordered. Good luck. Are here. They are. Item. Number one, the closest Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star. In the habitable zone is Ross. 128 be just 11 light years from Earth. I never to there is an estimated 14,600 Stars within 100 light years of Earth. But most are unknown. And either number three, the majority of stars within our section of the Milky, Way are single Stars, not part of a multi star system. There they are. Cara go first. Well, I have no idea. Let's see if I can really think your way through. It reason you rather. I'm gonna try. But sometimes reasoning requires that you have previous knowledge. So here we go. Alright, the closest Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star. There's a lot of caveats here. Okay, Earth-like planet. Does that mean Rocky and within the habitable zone is that what you mean by everything? Well, it says in the habitable zone is quantity is a separate criteria.

So that Earth-like was a Earth-like is a terrestrial rocky planet. That is not big enough to be a super Earth or a neptunian planet, you know? Okay. Alright, so the closest thing that's like Earth orbiting a star, that's like the sun within a habitable zone. So the closest kind of Earth candidate is Ross. 28 b11 late years, as Tau bootis P. That's closer. I know about Tao or booties, but I And that might be a gas, you know, about booties I do. It's that's booties. How booties be booties? I think is the Sun or something. Okay, are the star? There's an estimated 14,600 Stars within a hundred. Light-years of these are just numbers. Steve. These aren't your number. It could be. There's an estimated 14 Stars within 10,000? I have no idea. No it's probably aren't that. Okay? Fourteen thousand stars at then 100 light-years that are of Earth but most are unknown. Okay. I see. Thousand six hundred Stars within a hundred light-years. I don't know. I feel like there's more the majority of stars within our section of the Milky, Way are single Stars, not part of a multi star system. But the hell's a multi star system isn't being in the Milky Way mean it's part of it. No no no other words. He like like a binary star trinary strike in one system. I think that's actually not I mean I know binary stars are common but I definitely remember. When I took a stellar astronomy, it would be like a thing, like, see that star, it's actually two who we didn't do that with like every star in the sky.

When we did it with like a handful of them so I don't know. That seems reasonable. I'm going to say it's 200, light years of Earth, 14,600 Stars. I'm say it's more stars in that just like this is hella stars out there like, just way more than that, is my guess. Okay. Evan closest, Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star? I did. We talked about this on the show. I we've talked about clothes habitable zone earth-like planets. I just Remember if it was gosh, a sun-like star and was it only 11 light-years from Earth? If this one's the fiction, it's going to be one of those two things. That is not right. So, I, yeah, I don't know. All right, but then 14,600, Stars within a hundred light years of Earth, that sounds kind of close, but it's actually quite vast. Most are unknown, so they're assumed because of gravitational influences.

Hosanna, other things that we are observing. That sounds kind of right to me. I have a feeling that one's right. And then the last one, where the majority of stars within our section of the Milky, Way are single Stars, not part of a multi star system that one could be right because we're kind of out on the one of the Spiral arms. So maybe those arms do a patterns in which there are more mo more individual Stars single stars as opposed to as you get More towards the center of the Milky Way. So I guess it's Ross 128, be one of those components it makes it incorrect. I just don't know which one I'd say, that's the fiction. Okay, Jay, okay. So the closest Earth-like planet orbiting. The Sun had been habit, a habit of habitable. How does a good? Well Ross 128 beats 11, light-years from Earth. I am not sure. At all about any of that. Other than I do know that it's not that far away. So I think 11, let your sounds correct. And I think that one is true, that one's kind of smacks is true to me. The second one is estimated 14,600 Stars within a hundred light years of Earth. I'm going to go on to the third one real quick, majority of stars within our section of the Milky Way or single Stars. Well, I mean, I think I know that one to be true as well and if anything with number two, I would care. A said, you thought it would be more and I think

Be less than that. That's a lot of stars within a hundred light-years. I think we'd be fine finding a lot more planets exoplanets. If that were the case, I think that was a fiction. Okay, and I'm kind of disappointed in myself that this isn't more obvious but Rost 128, b11, light-years, from Earth, I guess. Yeah, I guess Proxima. Centauri doesn't really qualify. I agree with Jay. 14,600, stars, sounds like too much but a hundred light-years from

Fear, you know. Let your diameter. Let's kind of big, I guess. Maybe that makes more sense. Maybe that is possible. But what strikes me the most though is that the majority of stars within our section of the Milky Way, sections, kind of ambiguous, either way, it's guard. It's basically that we could see, you know what I mean, like, our local area so but regardless, regardless my understanding was that most stars were multi Stars so and using a majority are single singlets know. Say that's fiction. Okay. So you guys are all spread out. Spread out Stars loves that he loves I do I do that's means I bounced. Well I need to each other it so I guess we'll take these in order. The closest Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star in the habitable zone.

And the rest of you think this one is science and this one is the fictions of the eleven. Light-years, you know, first know it's the sun-like star. So I looked at all of the exoplanets like within 50 light years of Earth but there are listed there's none that meets these criteria. There's none so either it's like a super Earth or it's out. Outside the habitable zone or most of them are red dwarfs red dwarfs, which means that there are tidally locked. And yeah. So they're just yeah, I couldn't remember Ross, which we almost won. So the Ross 128 be does have an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone and it's 11 light years away, but it's a red dwarf but I could not find us in there may be why I'm sure there's one out there somewhere. There's some exoplanet that meets all these criteria but I could there's none close to her that I could find in a list. Number two, there is an estimated.

In two thousand six hundred Stars within 100 layers of Earth. But most are unknown. That is science. Why are most unknown? If they're so close? Do you think to Tim? You can't see them. Yeah. Why is that like because they're red dwarfs because they're mostly red dwarfs and, and yeah, they're hard to see. So, so this is how we estimated it evidence, not by gravity the main way to estimate is we look at the density of stars close up that we can see Because the farther you get from Earth, the less the density of stars that we can see is, but that's because we can see fewer Stars not because they're actually less dense. And so if you if you just extrapolate from the nearest section for to us to a hundred light year radius, that's how many stars you come up with, but they're mostly red dwarfs, which also explains number three, the majority of stars within our section of the Milky, Way are single Stars, not part of a multi star system.

Bob, you know, this is almost unfair. I got you exactly the way I expected to because the if you ask the question are the majority of stars that you see multi star systems the answers? Yes. But that's not most of the stars because most of the stars are red dwarfs and you can't see them and two-thirds of red dwarfs are single are. So let's see what he did to you about. That was very disrespectful. He Target. So most of the stars are single stars of the stars are red dwarfs and most red dwarfs are singles. Remember when I said at the conference, like, look out in the sky, you don't, you see? Well, you don't see red dwarf stars because it's right there on the right? Well, yeah, that was, that was meant to be a little tricky. Yeah. So Evan. Good job. Hey, I think it's all the way in.

Skeptical Quote[edit]

All right, Evan. You get to give us a quote.

‘I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have. This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two.” ― Michael Collins, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey

Yeah, that goes along with what we were saying. I read that quote to when I was reading about it, Today, the That he was perfectly comfortable. Being the guy who gets left in the Command Module and doesn't go down to the moon and he had a lot to do. Yeah, hundreds of pages of safety, protocols to read and to get ready for every contingency. See if I think he wrote the hundred and Seventeen page program. Yeah, maybe. Yeah. I think he did it seem like he was intimately involved at least. And again, you kind of happy. Not to be the celebrity that you guys were. So yeah. Cool guy. Yeah, very nice. I had a lot of very interested reading about him again, just to update myself. Good job. So we We're all very familiar with the Apollo missions that we said many times on the show we're fans but, you know, is a good time, to sort of review, his one, little piece of Apollo and, you know, it's always impressive. That's one of those things. Like it's any big, big historical event like going to the moon or World War II like there's so many stories in that bigger story. You know what I mean? Like, there's hundreds and hundreds of fascinating stories. Lifetime Works wrapped up into the bigger.

In the bigger drama, the bigger, historical drama, just amazing.

Signoff/Announcements ()[edit]

All right, guys, well, thank you all for joining me this week. Thank you. Don't forget to check out our Friday live stream. So every Friday, most Fridays from starting at 5 p.m. eastern time. We do a lot and SGU live stream for about an hour and a half. It's a lot of fun. We just chat about stuff. Yeah, it's a little bit more unscripted. Off the cuff and and unedited because it's live. So I can't, you know, as that's fantastic. So so join us for that. Then you can get to that. Just go to our either YouTube page or Facebook page, or our home page, and you can get the livestream. So we'll see you there.

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[6]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description




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