SGU Episode 843

From SGUTranscripts
Jump to navigation Jump to search
  Emblem-pen-green.png This transcript is not finished. Please help us finish it!
Add a Transcribing template to the top of this transcript before you start so that we don't duplicate your efforts.
  Emblem-pen-orange.png This episode needs: transcription, time stamps, formatting, links, 'Today I Learned' list, categories, segment redirects.
Please help out by contributing!
How to Contribute

You can use this outline to help structure the transcription. Click "Edit" above to begin.

SGU Episode 843
September 4th 2021
843 neutron stars.jpg
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 842                      SGU 844

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

Humanity has the start in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.

Isaac Asimov, American writer and professor of biochemistry

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Today is Saturday, August 7, 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: Hello, NECSS audience!

S: Yes, we are live form NECSS 2021. This is the second, full digital NECSS that we are doing, and George Hrab, as you can hear, see, is our host. And everything's going pretty well, don't you think, Jay?

J: Yeah. I mean, there’s—The Internet is an unpredictable beast. We had a speaker from Africa speaking to someone in Florida. Kevin was in his backyard garden and we had a little bit of a delay—whatever. These things happen.

S: The fact that it worked at all, though, is amazing. But yeah, there were some timing delay issues. So, Cara, you are on the west coast, LA, at the moment.

C: Yeah. So there may be a (small voice) teeny, tiny delay between what you say and what I say and then what you say again because, yeah, we’re conferenced in. But it looks like I’m right next to you guys because we’re all in this weird wooden room!

(Rogues Laugh)

J: It’s not weird!

E: Look at that paneling!

J: You’re in the board room, the imagineering room. (Bob Laughs)

C: The board room. Haha. I get it! That was an Evan joke right there. (Bob Laughs)

J: Oh my God, Evan, sorry.

E: It’s okay, Jay.

B: It’s a Skeptineering room.

S: But in podcasting world, there are no delays, because I edit out all of the delays, so you won’t be hearing them. So every year, since we’ve been doing NECSS, we do a live SGU show at NECSS. And this is, officially, the Perry DeAngelis Memorial Episode where we remember our long lost Rogue, Perry DeAngelis. He was with us for—the longer the podcast goes on—it’s amazing because was with us for the first two years, like just over a hundred episodes. And now we’re into years—we’ve completed 16 years. We’re in, now, our 17th year. (Evan sighs) It still seems amazing that he was only part of the show for, now, such a shrinking fraction of it, and yet he’s still such a huge presence, I think, for the SGU, for the skeptical community, for us, personally.

E: Mmhmm.

S: We also take this opportunity to remember some of our other friends of the SGU that we lost along the way: Mike Lacelle, Mike Orticelli, David Young. These are people that were friends of the SGU. Mike [Lacelle] actually worked for the SGU for many years. And all [were] lost prematurely—far, far, far too young.

J: Yeah.

S: Now, obviously, there’s a lot of skeptics who have died over the last 16 years who we’ve lost, but these are the ones that were directly involved with the SGU to some extent and, again, were just way, way too young when we lost them.

All right. Bob, you’re going to start us off with a "Your Number’s Up."

Your Number's Up (3:03)[edit]

B: Yes. So welcome to "Bob: Your Number’s Up." Haven’t done this in a little while. Today I’m going to talk about googol, that’s G-O-O-G-O-L. Googol is a number. It’s 1 to the hundredth power. Right? That’s 1, 0, 0, 0—

S: —With a hundred—

B: —0, 0—all right! To a hundred. (Evan Laughs) You get the drift there. (Cara laughs)

It was coined in 1920 by a nine-year-old. Nine-year-old! His name was Milton Sirotta. His uncle was a mathematician, and he wrote a book about mathematics and the imagination, and he put googol in there. And that kind of first brought it to the public’s attention. Then, of course, Google, G-O-O-G-L-E—the Google company—kind of appropriated the word. Some people say that they misspelled it—

S: —Bob, is that mathematical appropriation?

B: Yes, it is. (Jay laughs) It is. (Rogues laugh)

J: Of all—now we have something else to worry about!

B: And they spelled it wrong, which is like another slap to the face of the big number. But did they spell it wrong? I don’t know. Some people say—

J: —No.

B: —that it was actually a misspelling—

E: —Probably not.

B: —and they chose it because they wanted to say that "We handle so much information." But, of course, googol is far greater than any type of information they could ever possibly handle. Googol—the [10]100—there’s other names for it, more legitimate, although they may be a little bit boring. There’s 10 duotrigintillion is also

News Items[edit]






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

Poison Frogs ()[edit]

  • [link_URL title][1]

Let Kids Roam ()[edit]

Going Electric ()[edit]

Artificial Neurons ()[edit]

Largest Structures Likely Don't Exist ()[edit]

Neutron Star Mountains ()[edit]

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Answer Item
Fiction Better than CRISPR
Science Less bad superflares
Capacity loss prevention
Host Result
Steve clever
Rogue Guess
Capacity loss prevention
Less bad superflares
Better than CRISPR
Capacity loss prevention

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

Item #1: Astronomers report in a new study that superflares from young red dwarf stars are much less dangerous to their planets than previously thought.[7]
Item #2: The first time a lithium-ion battery is charged it permanently loses 10-18% of its capacity, but scientists present a new simple technique that prevents 93% of this loss.[8]
Item #3: A new study involving bacteriophages details a potential new gene editing system more efficient and precise than CRISPR.[9]

Evan's Response[edit]

Jay's Response[edit]

Bob's Response[edit]

Cara's Response[edit]

Audience's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

Humanity has the start in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), American writer and professor of biochemistry

Signoff/Announcements ()[edit]

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

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


Today I Learned[edit]

  • Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference[10]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description




Navi-previous.png Back to top of page Navi-next.png