SGU Episode 858

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SGU Episode 858
December 18th 2021
858-JWST artist rendering.jpg
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 857                      SGU 859

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week



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Show Notes
Forum Discussion


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

9.00 12.60 S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

12.60 17.04 S: Today is Tuesday, December 14th, 2021, and this is your host, Stephen Novella.

17.04 18.52 S: Joining me this week are Bob Novella.

18.52 19.52 B: Hey, everybody.

19.52 20.52 S: Cara Santa Maria.

20.52 21.52 C: Howdy.

21.52 22.52 S: Jay Novella.

22.52 23.52 J: Hey, guys.

23.52 24.52 S: And Evan Bernstein.

24.52 25.52 E: Good evening, everyone.

25.52 27.72 S: So there's a lot going on.

27.72 38.08 S: We're not sure what to chat about in the lead up to the news items, but one of the big things that's happened this week is a massive swarm of tornadoes in the south.

38.08 40.96 S: Unfortunately, many people have died as a result.

40.96 44.80 S: I think the worst being that candle factory in Kentucky.

44.80 48.42 S: When tornadoes get powerful enough, they just demolish buildings in their path.

48.42 55.52 J: So the first and most obvious question I think a lot of people ask themselves is like, is this because of global warming?

55.52 57.56 J: Is this what the new norm is for tornadoes?

57.56 59.16 S: Well, I'll tell you.

59.16 62.44 C: Yeah, I was going to say I found some really good articles about that.

62.44 72.88 S: So there's one thing that we could say for sure, and that is that the number of tornadoes recorded in the US between 1950 and 2021, so basically over the last 70 years, is increasing.

72.88 73.88 S: Right.

73.88 75.72 S: There's a pretty clear increase.

75.72 84.64 S: But what's not clear is if that's entirely due to better data collecting or the actual number of tornadoes is increasing.

84.64 89.84 S: But it does seem like there is probably some increase, actual increase taking place.

89.84 92.52 B: And no one would have noticed that tornado 20 years ago.

92.52 93.52 B: Yeah.

93.52 97.40 E: Well, I mean, but just well, if you don't write it down, the same.

97.40 101.80 S: The other question then, well, if they are increasing, is it due to climate change?

101.80 109.88 S: And the experts, what they're saying so far is, of course, they have to say, of course, we cannot connect any individual weather event to climate change.

109.88 115.68 S: But are you saying that is it statistically more likely to have more and more powerful tornadoes?

115.68 116.68 S: You know, kind of makes sense.

116.68 120.72 S: There's more energy in the system and anything like that can cause more extreme weather events.

120.72 123.12 S: But the answer is we don't know.

123.12 125.80 S: You know, I think that it's inconclusive at this point in time.

125.80 129.84 S: We may just have to track things for a little bit longer in order to find out.

129.84 135.36 S: So it's possible, but it's too early to conclude that they are.

135.36 151.58 C: And you know, whether it was an El Nino situation that contributed, whether, you know, there are multiple local fluctuations, there's a there's a really good Q&A with a meteorologist, a professor of meteorology named Dr. John Allen in the conversation that just came out a couple of days ago, you know, talking about this very thing.

151.58 153.24 C: And he makes a cool analogy.

153.24 158.84 C: He kind of he kind of describes climate modeling in terms of resolution.

158.84 163.60 C: So he's like, our models aren't don't have the resolution to see a tornado.

163.60 164.60 C: Yeah.

164.60 167.56 C: Like, you know, these are whole earth systems.

167.56 168.92 C: They're looking at the energy of the sun.

168.92 170.12 C: They're looking at soil.

170.12 171.94 C: They're looking at, you know, the oceans.

171.94 179.32 C: And then they're running these like millions of equations and trying to figure out, you know, what potentially they can predict.

179.32 182.32 C: Tornadoes are too small and they're too kind of specific.

182.32 190.00 C: Yeah, but what he is saying is that they can look at the sort of ingredients for tornado weather.

190.00 192.00 C: Yeah, the signs that would say favorable.

192.00 193.00 C: Yeah.

193.00 208.60 C: And what they're finding is that studies that have modeled the changes in sort of the ingredients necessary for tornadoes do show obviously a potential increase in the rate of severe storms, which we talk about all the time.

208.60 228.08 C: And he cites a recent study, which is interesting, where he found that for each one degree Celsius that the temperature rises specifically in the United States where tornadoes are a big problem, there is a 14 to 25 percent increase in favorable environments for severe storms, including tornadoes.

228.08 233.00 C: And that's likely in spring, fall and winter with the worst increase in winter.

233.00 238.60 C: So that's interesting that sometimes it's not just about are the ingredients there, but what's the change from normal?

238.60 241.24 C: What's the, you know, what's the stochasticity?

241.24 242.24 C: Stochasticity?

242.24 243.24 C: Stochasticity?

243.24 244.24 C: Stochasticity.

244.24 245.24 C: Stochasticity.

245.24 246.24 C: Oh, my God.

246.24 247.24 C: It's a hard word.

247.24 248.24 C: Is it stochasticity?

248.24 249.24 S: Stochasticity.

249.24 250.24 S: Stochasticity.

250.24 252.48 C: That sounds like a villain.

252.48 254.28 C: I think it's stochasticity.

254.28 255.28 C: I think you're right.

255.28 256.28 C: It's stochasticity.

256.28 259.48 C: It's the way of the system.

259.48 266.96 S: But also, Cara, the zone at risk, like out the so-called tornado alley, has been shifting more south.

266.96 267.96 B: Or the zonicity.

267.96 268.96 C: Right.

268.96 271.70 C: So what happens if that changes its locale?

271.70 278.52 C: What happens if it gets larger or it, you know, is more, you know, it includes more major cities, for example?

278.52 285.00 S: I know that several years ago we had an unprecedented, historically unprecedented set of tornadoes in Connecticut, right?

285.00 286.00 S: Weird.

286.00 287.00 S: They went right through, right?

287.00 288.00 S: Why?

288.00 289.00 S: Because they went right through your house.

289.00 290.00 S: Right through my house.

290.00 291.00 S: We were in the middle of a tornado.

291.00 292.00 S: That was unprecedented for sure.

292.00 293.00 S: No, but it was.

293.00 295.04 S: It hit all of us, actually, you know, just by coincidence.

295.04 300.32 S: But yeah, never before recorded intensity of tornadoes in Connecticut.

300.32 301.32 C: So it's anecdotal.

301.32 305.00 C: And how often, like as a kid, did you think about tornadoes growing up in Connecticut?

305.00 306.00 C: Never.

306.00 307.00 E: Like growing up in Texas, it's a thing.

307.00 308.00 E: It wasn't on the radar.

308.00 311.16 B: Yeah, tornadoes were like, you know, aliens in movies.

311.16 312.16 B: Oh, cool.

312.16 313.16 B: Look at that.

313.16 315.44 B: But never experienced it or even worried for a nanosecond.

315.44 316.92 C: They're scary, man.

316.92 317.92 C: They are powerful.

317.92 318.92 C: Oh yeah, man.

318.92 322.92 S: You could still see the path of destruction in our neighborhood.

322.92 324.88 S: Now, especially when the leaves fall.

324.88 328.28 S: So like now that it's winter and the woods are clear, you could see through them.

328.28 333.52 S: When you pass by, you drive by an area where that was a path of the tornado, you could still see it.

333.52 337.60 S: It's like, you know, this wreckage of trees through the woods.

337.60 338.60 S: It's incredible.

338.60 339.60 B: Yeah.

339.60 347.28 B: Steve, I remember driving a few streets away from you and I had seen near my house already, I had seen bad areas.

347.28 351.16 B: But when I went through that street, I remember thinking, this is the worst one.

351.16 352.64 B: It was like a war zone.

352.64 353.64 B: Yeah.

353.64 354.64 B: The number of trees down.

354.64 355.64 B: Trees falling on houses.

355.64 356.76 B: It was unprecedented.

356.76 357.76 B: It was devastating.

357.76 359.18 B: I mean, it was not.

359.18 362.12 B: But of course, this is Connecticut devastating, you know, not Kentucky.

362.12 364.62 B: It's not like whole neighborhoods were wiped out.

364.62 366.16 B: But for this area, it was bad.

366.16 368.94 S: Yeah, but it's like the tornado wasn't that strong.

368.94 371.44 S: But because we have lots of trees, it did a lot of damage.

371.44 372.44 S: Yeah.

372.44 377.20 S: And if you're, you know, on the plains, the tornadoes get much more powerful.

377.20 379.36 S: But there's not a lot of trees around.

379.36 385.24 S: But still, again, when they get powerful enough, they destroy entire buildings in their wake.

385.24 387.48 S: They rip people out of their homes, you know.

387.48 393.16 C: Oh, they're just, it's fascinating what happens inside, just the physics of what's happening inside of a tornado.

393.16 394.54 C: Oh, yeah.

394.54 396.36 J: If only we could harness that energy.

396.36 398.64 J: Quick, here comes one.

398.64 399.64 B: Let's plug it in.

399.64 405.28 S: Well, you know, we, I don't know that we're at the end of tornado season yet.

405.28 408.10 S: You know, the winter, as you say, can be bad.

408.10 410.92 S: So we'll have to keep track of how this is going.

410.92 413.88 S: But yeah, it's just, it was really tragic.

413.88 414.88 S: Yeah.

414.88 417.40 S: I've been following the news on like what happened in Kentucky.

417.40 419.60 S: There's still an investigation basically going on.

419.60 422.28 S: Like, why were there so many people in that factory at that time?

422.28 423.28 S: Why hadn't they evacuated?

423.28 426.36 S: And you know, we're in the rumor phase right now.

426.36 428.12 S: You're hearing lots of stuff that's probably not true.

428.12 431.20 S: But you've got to wait for like some kind of official investigation.

431.20 442.76 E: I know there are towns in the Midwest that have warning systems, alarms, sirens, klaxons, and all sorts of devices which are designed to help minimize the amount of life lost.

442.76 446.64 E: I wonder if that, those components were missing in this particular one.

446.64 447.64 C: Yeah.

447.64 456.68 C: Yeah, I think we're starting to see, yeah, some interesting kind of disaster protocol failures in Kentucky, which probably did contribute.

456.68 465.20 C: I mean, just like we saw in Texas with the power grid, just like we saw, you know, a certain percentage of it is random, terrible luck.

465.20 469.22 C: And a certain percentage of it is, you know, did the mitigation strategies work?

469.22 472.44 C: And you know, did the tornado, was it out in the middle of nowhere?

472.44 473.58 C: Did it hit a major city?

473.58 476.68 C: Did it hit, you know, in this case, it hit a factory full of workers.

476.68 477.68 S: Yeah, it was terrible.

477.68 478.68 S: Yes.

478.68 487.68 S: So, but you bring up a good point, Cara, is that a lot of these disasters are regional and regions are prepared for the disasters that they typically have.

487.68 490.82 S: So like in New England, you give us a snowstorm, we're good.

490.82 492.96 S: We are prepared for a snowstorm.

492.96 494.80 S: We got the equipment, we got the people.

494.80 500.52 S: I mean, yeah, it could still paralyze things, but we, you know, we don't panic when there's a snowstorm.

500.52 509.72 S: I was living in DC and they had what, by our standards, by Connecticut standards, was a nothing storm and the city was paralyzed.

509.72 515.78 S: They had no idea what to do about it because it just was not something that they had the infrastructure to deal with.

515.78 519.68 S: So the same thing could be true as weather patterns shift.

519.68 527.32 S: You know, we might see tornadoes in states that don't have a tornado warning system and and hurricanes in states that don't know how to deal with hurricanes, etc.

527.32 531.52 C: Oh, you should have seen the traffic on the roads today in LA because it kind of rained.

531.52 532.52 C: I know.

532.52 533.52 C: It kind of rains.

533.52 535.22 C: It never rains here.

535.22 537.76 C: And when it does, the city floods.

537.76 538.76 C: Everything shuts down.

538.76 540.44 C: We don't know what to do with it.

540.44 551.44 B: And Steve, Steve, that reminds me of I like putting it in context and like we get our storms and our blizzards and then you've got some, you know, some cities in Canada that like, oh, look at that blizzard in Connecticut.

551.44 552.44 B: That's adorable.

552.44 553.44 B: Yeah.

553.44 555.84 J: Let me get my skis.

555.84 556.84 J: Look at what happened in Texas.

556.84 562.80 J: I mean, they don't even build their houses in a way that can handle like a cold snap like that.

562.80 563.80 J: Yeah.

563.80 566.52 J: So we're going to see a lot of like really wacky.

566.52 567.52 J: Every 10 years.

567.52 569.60 S: Well, I mean, a part of it is systems care.

569.60 571.04 S: A part of it is not the knowledge.

571.04 572.04 S: It's the infrastructure.

572.04 575.92 S: Like how many snow trucks are you going to have on standby in the south?

575.92 580.60 S: You know, when it's the orbit, maybe now that we do so it's that's the thing.

580.60 582.28 S: It's it's not just that.

582.28 592.04 S: But also with unusual disasters, like when we had the tornado in Connecticut, you get a lot of neighboring states sort of led to their infrastructure.

592.04 600.56 S: Like we had electricity workers from neighboring states coming in to help with with the situation.

600.56 601.96 S: It's just so we need it's from Canada.

601.96 616.24 S: We may need to do a lot more of that of having like not just every state and entity unto itself in terms of dealing with these, but like really share resources a lot more and not just ad hoc, but like actually develop this system more to facilitate that.

616.24 617.24 E: Yeah.

617.24 620.96 E: I wonder how much FEMA has to do with helping coordinate those kinds of jobs.

620.96 621.96 C: Yeah.

621.96 622.96 C: Absolutely.

622.96 633.28 C: It also makes me think how important it is that, you know, what used to be unprecedented is becoming something that sticks out for me.

633.28 642.20 C: I don't know if you guys saw any of the documentaries that were made about the paradise, the campfire here in Northern California a few years ago and how just like it was horrid, right?

642.20 644.60 C: It's just people are trapped in this town.

644.60 656.36 C: And it was because they had a great strategy, but the strategy didn't foresee the type of fire that hit and it didn't foresee a fire that would strike the whole town at once, basically surrounding the town.

656.36 663.64 C: So even though they'd had a really great strategy to get out of town, it never calculated that many cars on the road at once.

663.64 664.64 E: Yeah.

664.64 667.52 E: It was like the worst possible scenario that they could have run into.

667.52 674.72 C: And so, you know, we're very often planning for not quite the worst possible scenario, but I think we need to start planning for the worst possible in some situations.

674.72 675.72 C: Yeah.

675.72 676.72 S: Yeah.

676.72 677.72 S: All right.

677.72 678.72 S: Let's move on.

What’s the Word? (11:18)[edit]


678.72 679.72 S: Cara, you're going to give us a what's the word.

679.72 684.80 C: So this week comes from John who recommended a cool word for a cool person, just saying.

684.80 688.00 C: Said he came across the word substrate and had to look it up.

688.00 696.68 C: And he was looking at the context he was reading about was the biological version of the word, but there are actually there's actually more than one biological version as well.

696.68 698.76 C: And notice that there were all sorts of different contexts.

698.76 700.36 C: So said this could be a good candidate.

700.36 701.64 C: And I agree.

701.64 720.80 C: So substrate, you know, when we think of the word substrate, maybe we'll start with the etymology because at least my mind, probably because of the context in which, you know, I read and I work, takes me to the sort of core of sub meaning the the prefix sub meaning below or under beneath.

720.80 732.78 C: And then stare, it actually comes from substratum, which comes from actually way back if you can kind of back look to the PIE root stare, which which really means to spread.

732.78 736.12 C: So it's sort of like to spread underneath.

736.12 741.66 C: And when we think about a substrate, oftentimes, that's what you think about as sort of the base layer, right?

741.66 743.56 C: That's where my mind first goes.

743.56 744.56 C: layer.

744.56 771.12 C: Yeah, layer, a base on which like an organism lives, you know, something might live on a substrate, it might attach to a substrate, you'll even sometimes hear about it in like electronics, like the substrate is where circuits might be put on to, you know, like you're working with substrates that circuits are laid on to extracellular matrix, you know, sometimes that'll be referred to as a substrate.

771.12 781.32 C: But also, there's substrate in the context of and of course, geologically, you know, we think of substrate all the time as being the stuff that another substance is stuck to.

781.32 786.00 C: So the substrate is the lower, or the ground or the foundational substance.

786.00 795.84 C: But also, there is a term substrate that we use very often in biochemistry, which is the part of the equation of an enzyme reaction.

795.84 804.28 C: So the substrate is the thing that the enzyme attaches to, then the enzyme transforms and becomes the product.

804.28 823.52 C: And so very often, you'll look at the sort of graphic representations of that, you know, lock and key mechanism or that binding of an enzyme to a substrate, and then something some conformational change happening, and then the new product being different from the original substrate due to the action of the enzyme, but the enzyme being unchanged.

823.52 830.36 C: So that is also but but, you know, it goes back to that core meaning of it sort of being the foundation, the beginning, the base layer.

830.36 833.74 C: And you can see sort of why that term was used.

833.74 837.48 C: It's the below, it's the under layer, it's the underneath.

837.48 839.28 C: Can you guys think of any other terms?

839.28 845.14 C: I couldn't come across any other uses of it except for like literary and poetic uses.

845.14 848.90 C: So like in philosophy, the underlying characteristic.

848.90 854.00 J: Like if you were to say, you know, what's the substrate of the motherboard in your computer?

854.00 859.68 J: You know, you're talking about what's the material that the motherboard is made out of and all the components are clicking into?

859.68 863.92 C: Right, the material that is sort of at the base that everything else is added to.

863.92 864.92 C: Right.

864.92 865.92 C: Yeah.

865.92 866.92 C: Yeah.

866.92 867.92 C: The underlying substance.

867.92 875.56 C: Oh, I love this in philosophy, the underlying characterless substance that supports attributes of material reality.

875.56 876.56 C: Yeah.

876.56 878.56 C: Chew on that for a while.

878.56 879.56 C: Okay.

879.56 880.56 C: Yeah.

880.56 881.56 C: It's like space time?

881.56 882.56 B: Yeah, kind of like space time, exactly.

882.56 883.56 B: Or material science.

883.56 884.56 C: It's a cool word.

884.56 895.08 S: It's basically any base material on which processing is conducted.

895.08 910.68 S: So like it could be, for example, the base to which adhesives or tape are bonded, for example, would be the substrate on which you have the bonding material or on which you have the paint, for example, or any underlying layer could be the substrate.

910.68 921.80 C: Yeah, so when you're working in machining or manufacturing and you want to be very clear in your terminology, yeah, the substrate is the thing to which the other stuff is applied or added.

921.80 922.80 C: Right.

922.80 923.80 C: Right.

923.80 924.80 S: Yeah.

924.80 927.48 S: Or you could pour a cement onto a substrate of gravel or something.

927.48 930.12 S: You know, like anything like that, you could use that term.

930.12 939.20 C: And they even use it in like if you go shopping, if you're like a fish person and you have a fish tank and you go shopping, they actually call the gravel that you put at the bottom of your fish tank substrate.

939.20 940.20 C: Okay.

940.20 941.20 C: It's a very versatile word.

941.20 942.20 C: It is.

942.20 943.20 C: Yeah.

943.20 944.20 C: It's the sub straight.

News Items[edit]

Storing Energy with Air and Water (15:44)[edit]

944.20 956.16 S: All right, Jay, you're going to start us off with the news items with talking about a way to I'm not going to say a new way because it's not new, but it's part of the new way to store energy just using air.

956.16 957.16 J: Yeah.

957.16 964.60 J: So, you know, as renewable energy collection continues, we need to find ways to store this collected energy more and more.

964.60 968.88 J: You know, batteries, of course, are the most obvious way that we that we've talked about.

968.88 973.60 J: You know, there's many different kinds of storage systems out there other than batteries, though.

973.60 975.44 J: Like, for example, we have pumped hydro.

975.44 981.04 J: We have these gravity based systems where like a train, you know, while there's positive energy, the train will chug up a hill.

981.04 990.72 J: And then when when there's no energy, the train will go back down the hill and they reclaim the energy kind of like, you know, with an electric car, you know, the regenerative braking systems, that type of stuff.

990.72 998.16 J: We have these flywheel systems where they spin up a flywheel in a in a very low friction environment and that has all that kinetic energy.

998.16 1004.56 J: And then when they want to pull some energy off of it, they use that to, you know, spin a generator that creates the energy.

1004.56 1012.64 J: One weird one I heard, I don't even know if this is being done or if it was just a concept, but they're saying like storing the energy, the heat energy into salt beds.

1012.64 1013.64 J: Have you guys heard about that?

1013.64 1014.64 J: Oh, yeah.

1014.64 1015.64 J: Yeah, that's being done.

1015.64 1016.64 J: Yeah, sure, man.

1016.64 1017.64 J: That's pretty cool.

1017.64 1024.84 J: So they put salt in salt and then they just use that to probably boil water and create steam and that, you know, that that will create the energy.

1024.84 1030.20 J: And then the other one is storing energy chemically, like in hydrogen, hydrogen, which is pretty cool.

1030.20 1036.18 J: I haven't seen that really, you know, done in a way that I think is has legs, but they're still working on it.

1036.18 1039.82 J: So storing energy always comes with some kind of cost.

1039.82 1042.32 J: Loss of energy is the top of the list.

1042.32 1046.78 S: In Jay, you know, we see loss of energy is actually a couple of ways that happens.

1046.78 1049.00 S: So there's one is round trip loss, right?

1049.00 1050.52 S: It's just the conversion loss.

1050.52 1060.24 S: Like when you convert the electricity or the energy into the storage medium and then back into electricity, you know, second law of thermodynamics, it's got to be less.

1060.24 1062.68 S: So we talk about the round trip efficiency.

1062.68 1067.10 S: Right now, batteries are pretty much the most like in the 80 to 90 percent range.

1067.10 1069.76 S: Pumped hydro is also in a similar range.

1069.76 1071.12 S: Everything else is less than that.

1071.12 1072.12 S: Yeah.

1072.12 1073.12 S: So they are the most.

1073.12 1076.52 S: But then there's also long term storage loss.

1076.52 1078.88 S: How leaky is the system?

1078.88 1081.12 S: You know, like if you have pumped hydro, that water can evaporate.

1081.12 1085.36 S: You know, if you have a battery, does that does that battery leak energy at all?

1085.36 1090.00 S: So that's two different kinds of of energy loss that we have to consider.

1090.00 1094.40 S: So basically, we need to know, is this good for short term storage or long term storage?

1094.40 1096.76 S: Flywheels will eventually slow down.

1096.76 1097.76 S: Right.

1097.76 1101.52 S: You could minimize it by having like a vacuum and frictionless to minimize that.

1101.52 1104.56 S: But you know, it's never going to be zero.

1104.56 1105.56 S: Yeah.

1105.56 1109.56 S: So of course, there's safety, there's land use, you know, total volume.

1109.56 1114.76 S: And then, of course, total cost, just the dollar cost for the amount of energy that you get out.

1114.76 1122.40 J: So an area known as Kibbutz Yahel in Israel, they are using an interesting method to store energy.

1122.40 1123.40 J: So Steve said it.

1123.40 1125.98 J: This this already exists, but I'll get into the details.

1125.98 1130.80 J: This is a new new way of looking at or a new reengineering of an existing technology.

1130.80 1141.16 J: So when the sun is shining during the day, you know, we're creating energy, we're collecting energy is a more accurate way to say it, you know, from solar panels, from wind, whatever the situation is.

1141.16 1153.52 J: And then what this new system does is what they'll do is they will take that power and during the day and they will pump water into tanks that are start off only being filled with air.

1153.52 1164.36 J: And as they pump the water into each one of these tanks, the air gets condensed because the water is taking up space and the air can actually compress where the water really can't compress.

1164.36 1179.76 J: Their system uses that water that's pumped into the underground tanks to not only compress the air, but then when the solar collection stops at night, they use the compressed air to push that same water through a hydroelectric generator that generates electricity.

1179.76 1181.36 J: Basically a giant squirt gun.

1181.36 1182.36 J: It is.

1182.36 1183.36 J: It is a giant squirt gun.

1183.36 1187.00 J: So the technology was engineered by a company called Aug Wind Energy.

1187.00 1189.48 J: The company focuses on energy storage solutions.

1189.48 1193.20 J: And this is, you know, the latest iteration of one of their solutions.

1193.20 1196.92 J: So other similar systems need a large amount of land to function.

1196.92 1199.28 J: So let's compare this to other things that we know about.

1199.28 1204.20 J: Aug Wind Energy has come up with a solution that has much smaller steel tanks.

1204.20 1212.68 J: They're crazy reinforced with a polymer lining that lets them be a lot smaller and they can compress, make the compression a lot more.

1212.68 1217.76 J: That means that these tanks can be placed very close to the power source, which is also part of what Steve says.

1217.76 1221.26 J: You don't have some type of loss somewhere in the chain.

1221.26 1225.52 J: If you have to transfer the energy across distances, you lose more energy.

1225.52 1232.56 J: So in this case, they're going to have these tanks virtually under the ground where the solar panels are, which is great, right?

1232.56 1236.64 J: Because you're using the soil for, you know, not just solar panels.

1236.64 1237.64 J: It's underground.

1237.64 1239.80 J: They have the tanks and it's more compact.

1239.80 1245.32 J: So the company says that their system is less expensive to run than other energy storage systems.

1245.32 1247.52 J: That has yet to be determined, but that's what the company is saying.

1247.52 1253.88 J: So all existing storage systems come with a shortcoming and I'll give you a little bit more details.

1253.88 1256.40 J: Like these are obvious batteries have a limited lifespan.

1256.40 1261.24 J: Of course, some of them have toxic chemicals that you have to get your hands on and create.

1261.24 1264.26 J: And then what do you do with all that stuff when the battery is all done?

1264.26 1276.00 J: Other storage systems are not efficient and others are very expensive to take and take a lot of equipment like hydroelectric, for example, you want to make a dam and you want to, you want to build, you know, create a hydroelectric system.

1276.00 1277.00 J: You know how much money that costs?

1277.00 1279.60 J: You know how much concrete it takes to build one of those?

1279.60 1280.60 J: About a hundred dollars.

1280.60 1282.36 J: Yeah, it's huge.

1282.36 1285.52 J: It's insane the amount of cost that, you know, they're very effective.

1285.52 1291.28 J: They work great, but man, you want, you're going to, you're going to throw down a ton of money to build one of those hydrogen storage.

1291.28 1293.48 J: Pretty cool idea, but it's dangerous.

1293.48 1297.80 J: It's dangerous and it's still too young of a technology.

1297.80 1298.80 J: It's really not progressing.

1298.80 1299.80 J: Isn't that amazing?

1299.80 1302.68 E: We were talking about this 20 years ago.

1302.68 1304.00 S: Hydrogen is up and coming.

1304.00 1306.24 S: They never cracked the storage problem.

1306.24 1307.24 J: Yeah.

1307.24 1312.36 J: So Ogwin Energy calls their system, and I like this, they call it an air battery.

1312.36 1313.60 J: It works.

1313.60 1315.80 J: It's approximately, now check this out, Steve.

1315.80 1319.10 J: You said that batteries were in the 80% range.

1319.10 1322.60 J: Their system is 81% efficient at storing energy.

1322.60 1326.56 J: Right out of the gate, this is not as efficient as new batteries.

1326.56 1328.16 J: New batteries can reach 90%.

1328.16 1329.90 J: Yeah, they're like 90%.

1329.90 1331.76 J: But then you know what happens to a battery.

1331.76 1335.80 J: It slowly degrades, slowly degrades, and then at one point it drops off a cliff.

1335.80 1337.04 B: I could tell you what happens.

1337.04 1340.88 B: If you look at my iPhone battery after a few years, it sucks.

1340.88 1349.40 C: It also very often uses rare earth materials and you can't do anything with it after except the hard to recycle.

1349.40 1352.80 J: So this is why I like the idea of this system.

1352.80 1356.44 J: I still like to see it scale way up and see it used more.

1356.44 1366.02 J: But this system, this air battery system, doesn't have the limitations and lifespan problems that batteries do, not even close.

1366.02 1370.86 J: So right now it's hard to say if this system will actually beat out other existing systems.

1370.86 1374.32 J: But what we do know is that the air battery doesn't degrade over time.

1374.32 1375.76 J: It doesn't lose efficiency over time.

1375.76 1377.76 J: They just have to maintain it, of course.

1377.76 1381.92 J: But it doesn't need toxic chemicals to operate, which is great.

1381.92 1386.26 J: But guys, it's using air and water and electricity.

1386.26 1387.26 J: That's it.

1387.26 1388.26 J: It doesn't use anything else.

1388.26 1389.68 J: It doesn't need anything else to store energy.

1389.68 1391.68 J: I just think that is- Well, the steel for the tanks.

1391.68 1393.04 J: Yeah, but you know what I mean.

1393.04 1394.04 J: There's no toxic chemicals.

1394.04 1396.12 J: There's no danger here.

1396.12 1398.10 J: I would imagine if one of the tanks blew up.

1398.10 1399.96 J: But they're encased in concrete, by the way.

1399.96 1406.46 J: They put them down, they put them in, and they encase them in concrete just to make them super stable so they don't move at all.

1406.46 1410.12 J: The air battery system is considered a closed circuit pump.

1410.12 1416.72 J: So in comparison, a hydroelectric system requires a huge reservoir of water and a giant upfront investment, like I said.

1416.72 1421.06 J: Hydroelectric systems also happen to take up a ton of real estate to function.

1421.06 1422.20 S: But here's the thing, though.

1422.20 1430.44 S: The real comparison is not with hydroelectric, although pumped hydro is one of the most efficient round trip storage systems.

1430.44 1433.00 S: It's very environmentally limited.

1433.00 1434.40 S: You can only put it where you can put it.

1434.40 1437.12 S: Like you need to have a reservoir at high elevation, et cetera.

1437.12 1438.82 S: You need to build a huge dam.

1438.82 1440.78 S: It's environmentally disruptive.

1440.78 1446.92 S: But I think the real comparison is to just other forms of compressed air energy storage.

1446.92 1449.40 S: This is using water to compress the air.

1449.40 1456.96 S: But you can also just use the electricity to run pumps, which directly compress the air into a chamber.

1456.96 1465.82 S: And those can either be in above ground tanks like this system or in underground caverns.

1465.82 1474.20 S: So the underground caverns is probably the best option in terms of its scalable, meaning that it could be huge.

1474.20 1478.14 S: It could be a massive energy storage system.

1478.14 1480.12 S: It could be a half a mile underground.

1480.12 1482.80 S: It's completely safe.

1482.80 1491.10 S: And they exist because every time we empty out a natural gas chamber, we're left with an empty chamber that was filled with gas.

1491.10 1496.60 S: And now we can use it as a compressed air energy storage location.

1496.60 1498.12 S: But it's still location dependent.

1498.12 1500.64 S: You can't just put it wherever you want.

1500.64 1504.18 S: You only could put it where you have a natural underground cavern.

1504.18 1510.44 S: Just like you could build above ground tanks for this system, you could do it for any compressed air system.

1510.44 1514.48 S: So the oldest one of those that I found was built in 1978.

1514.48 1517.32 S: It's been operating for 70 years.

1517.32 1518.32 S: They work.

1518.32 1521.40 S: The technology works.

1521.40 1525.10 S: The only reason why it hasn't proliferated is because it's expensive.

1525.10 1531.82 S: But now there is sort of renewed interest on trying to bring the cost of these systems down.

1531.82 1533.12 S: And the incentive is going up.

1533.12 1540.92 S: Again, if you start pricing carbon and et cetera, then any solution like this becomes instantly more cost effective.

1540.92 1545.76 S: I think we'll probably see more of these types of compressed air systems in the future.

1545.76 1553.70 J: So they're saying right now, Steve, that the cost per kilowatt hour equals that of batteries, about 250.

1553.70 1562.12 J: And then they said next year it's going to go down to about 200 because they're scaling it up and they're selling these things now.

1562.12 1563.44 J: So that's pretty cool.

1563.44 1568.84 J: Like it's actually it's actually very, very much have the potential to dip below batteries.

1568.84 1573.00 J: You know, I like it because it's not killing the environment.

1573.00 1575.32 J: You know, like it's not something where it's like a double edged sword.

1575.32 1579.40 J: Yeah, you're getting something great, but you got to do some nasty things to get there.

1579.40 1584.12 J: You ever read about like, what are we going to do with all the batteries that our cars are eventually going to need?

1584.12 1585.92 J: Like that's a pretty serious thing.

1585.92 1589.36 J: Yeah, we need to answer that question, guys.

1589.36 1591.68 J: Not us, but the world has to figure that one out.

1591.68 1606.92 S: Well, we talked about the fact that like when your battery is no longer efficient enough, efficient enough, where the storage capacity has diminished to the point where it's not great for a car, still use them, change together, put them in the grid, use them for grid storage.

1606.92 1609.88 S: Who cares if they only have 10 percent of their storage left?

1609.88 1610.88 S: It's just sitting there.

1610.88 1611.88 C: Just use it.

1611.88 1612.88 C: But then what happens when it's fully?

1612.88 1615.40 C: Yeah, that one goes down to less than one percent.

1615.40 1616.40 C: We got to do something.

1616.40 1617.40 S: When do you reach that point?

1617.40 1618.40 S: We'll have new technology by the time that happens.

1618.40 1621.16 S: But literally that could be 30, 40 years from now.

1621.16 1622.16 S: Right?

1622.16 1623.16 S: We'll worry about it then.

1623.16 1624.16 S: Oh, gosh.

1624.16 1625.16 S: We're so good at it.

1625.16 1626.16 S: Not to kick the can down the street.

1626.16 1637.84 S: Not for the purpose of kicking the can, but sometimes like if we know something's not going to be a problem for decades, you know, the technology will be different in decades.

1637.84 1639.44 S: Yeah, a solution may appear.

1639.44 1644.64 S: Yeah, don't try to solve a problem 40 years from now with today's technology.

1644.64 1645.64 J: Yeah.

1645.64 1652.56 J: But you could look at like, you know, Gen 3 nuke reactors couldn't, you know, what do you do with the waste that they create?

1652.56 1656.68 J: But the Gen 4 reactors actually burned the Gen 3 reactors waste.

1656.68 1657.68 J: So you're right, Steve.

1657.68 1662.04 J: I mean, not, you know, this isn't like a hundred percent solution, but I don't know.

1662.04 1663.04 J: It's scary.

1663.04 1665.16 J: I think we should be a little bit more forward thinking.

1665.16 1668.04 J: You know, I don't think humanity really is that forward thinking.

1668.04 1677.88 J: So my last comment here is that just for some perspective, this air compression technology is a sliver of the market, like of the storage market.

1677.88 1679.40 J: It's hardly being used.

1679.40 1680.80 J: You know, batteries are the big thing.

1680.80 1682.28 J: You know, that's what everybody wants.

1682.28 1683.28 S: But I think you're right.

1683.28 1688.84 S: We have to just try as many different technologies as we can and then let's figure out which ones work best, you know.

1688.84 1694.04 S: And I think, again, if it's location dependent, as long as there's different options for different locations, it's okay.

1694.04 1697.04 S: Now, there doesn't have to be one solution for everything.

1697.04 1702.84 S: We can cobble together, you know, a variety of different solutions that have different strengths and weaknesses in different situations.

1702.84 1703.84 C: Right.

1703.84 1708.32 C: So that's such a logical fallacy when you hear people arguing against green energy investigations.

1708.32 1711.08 C: They're like, well, the sun doesn't shine all day.

1711.08 1712.08 C: I'm just like, okay.

1712.08 1714.92 S: That's one thing won't solve the problem all by itself.

1714.92 1716.64 E: And therefore, abandon the ship.

1716.64 1717.64 E: Yeah.

1717.64 1718.64 S: Yeah, it's crazy.

1718.64 1722.32 S: That's funny, Cara, because that's actually a name that logical fallacy that I have later in the show.

1722.32 1723.32 S: So we'll get into that in a bit.

1723.32 1724.32 S: Oh, that's great.

Zoom Fatigue (28:44)[edit]

1724.32 1726.40 S: All right.

1726.40 1728.60 S: Do you guys have Zoom fatigue?

1728.60 1730.16 S: What do you think?

1730.16 1731.16 E: Yes.

1731.16 1732.16 B: No, I don't.

1732.16 1733.16 E: I don't because I haven't been doing it much.

1733.16 1734.16 J: I don't think I do.

1734.16 1737.16 J: I video chat all the time with people.

1737.16 1738.40 J: And you know what I'm tired of?

1738.40 1741.40 J: I'm tired of having to comb my hair.

1741.40 1744.20 C: No, I do.

1744.20 1747.80 C: So I use, you know, I engage in therapy online.

1747.80 1749.96 C: I do teletherapy.

1749.96 1753.88 C: And I love the things that it allows me to do.

1753.88 1759.68 C: I love that it gives me a conduit to the home of a patient who is too ill to travel.

1759.68 1765.04 C: It makes it so that we can be safe and not in the same room, but still in the same room.

1765.04 1767.52 C: And we don't have to wear masks and all these great things.

1767.52 1776.04 C: But I am constantly frustrated by the little hiccups and the little freezes and the little and granted, it's not on Zoom per se.

1776.04 1784.44 C: But yeah, video chatting is you have to really have a lot of patience and just breathe through the frustrations.

1784.44 1785.44 S: Yeah, I'm with you, Cara.

1785.44 1791.24 S: So 25 of my patients, 25% of my patients I see on Zoom right now, and it's literally Zoom.

1791.24 1793.20 S: That's the app that my hospital is using.

1793.20 1796.08 C: Right, because they pay for the HIPAA compliant version.

1796.08 1797.08 C: Yeah, exactly.

1797.08 1798.08 C: Interesting.

1798.08 1801.96 S: So 25% of my patient visits now are on Zoom.

1801.96 1803.92 S: And I love it.

1803.92 1806.52 S: But it has its own frustrations.

1806.52 1809.16 S: Obviously, everything has its own frustrations.

1809.16 1817.40 S: But a lot of it is that my patients are all over the map in terms of their savvy in using the technology.

1817.40 1818.40 S: Right.

1818.40 1819.40 S: The cupholder is broken, right?

1819.40 1820.40 S: Yeah.

1820.40 1830.56 S: Well, it's like, you know, it might take me a couple of minutes to get them to unmute themselves or, you know, I love the ones where the camera is viewing them from the bridge of the nose up.

1830.56 1831.56 S: Oh, gosh.

1831.56 1834.08 C: Yeah, where you can't see their face at all.

1834.08 1836.12 C: That's so funny.

1836.12 1837.84 C: Like I'm having a conversation with their shoulder.

1837.84 1838.84 E: Yeah.

1838.84 1839.84 E: How do I sound now?

1839.84 1841.08 S: How do I sound now?

1841.08 1842.08 S: Or like there's no light.

1842.08 1843.72 S: It's like cameras need light to work.

1843.72 1846.32 S: Like you can have light in the room.

1846.32 1847.32 B: Light, actually.

1847.32 1848.32 B: Help.

1848.32 1849.32 B: I have my cat filter on.

1849.32 1852.20 B: But I think you guys are talking about...

1852.20 1853.20 B: That made it all better.

1853.20 1857.76 S: I think you guys are talking about a different kind of Zoom fatigue than what I was talking about.

1857.76 1858.76 S: So there's actually, I guess, two different kinds.

1858.76 1862.86 S: One is just tired of having to use video conferencing.

1862.86 1867.12 S: The other one is being fatigued from using it at that time.

1867.12 1873.52 S: Like how quickly do you get tired when you're using, like you're in a video conference?

1873.52 1875.24 S: What's your endurance for video conferencing?

1875.24 1876.24 S: Oh, right.

1876.24 1877.24 C: Before you start...

1877.24 1878.24 C: Yeah, like school stuff.

1878.24 1882.72 C: Like when you have an eight-hour day online with very few breaks.

1882.72 1883.72 C: That's tough.

1883.72 1884.72 C: Oh, my gosh.

1884.72 1885.72 C: That's brutal.

1885.72 1889.56 C: It's so much tougher than having an eight-hour day in rooms, in offices.

1889.56 1890.96 S: But what is different about it, Cara?

1890.96 1892.60 S: So that's the question that I'm leading to.

1892.60 1894.40 S: I think it's that you're sitting in the same chair.

1894.40 1897.08 E: Yeah, sitting is not good for long periods of time anyways.

1897.08 1898.08 S: Yeah.

1898.08 1899.08 S: So that's one element.

1899.08 1901.72 S: That's actually one identified element of Zoom fatigue.

1901.72 1908.48 S: There was an actual published study not too long ago trying to identify specific sources of Zoom fatigue.

1908.48 1911.08 S: This was out of Stanford researchers.

1911.08 1912.80 S: And that was one of the lack of mobility.

1912.80 1917.00 S: Lack of mobility was one of the big factors.

1917.00 1919.56 S: But there's identified some other factors.

1919.56 1923.00 S: Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is emotionally intense.

1923.00 1927.04 S: We're not used to having a big face right up close to us.

1927.04 1932.74 S: It makes us think that we're intimate, like right in, like we're within our personal space with somebody.

1932.74 1935.04 C: I guess I'm used to that because I do therapy all day.

1935.04 1939.04 C: I can imagine that somebody who doesn't engage in that way, that could be really like...

1939.04 1942.00 S: Even when you're doing therapy, Cara, you're not three inches from somebody.

1942.00 1944.80 S: You're not as close to them as you are to your computer screen.

1944.80 1947.76 S: They're like sitting five feet away or six feet away.

1947.76 1949.36 E: There are ways to mitigate that.

1949.36 1950.36 E: It's not that difficult.

1950.36 1951.36 S: Yes, there are.

1951.36 1952.36 S: You are correct, Adam.

1952.36 1955.40 S: There are ways to mitigate all of these problems.

1955.40 1959.68 S: Another one is looking at yourself, right?

1959.68 1963.32 S: So like if you have a window in window where you're seeing your own camera feed.

1963.32 1964.32 S: Oh, I have to see what I...

1964.32 1965.32 S: Yeah, I have to.

1965.32 1968.60 S: Yeah, so you need to see what you look like to make sure your camera's framed properly.

1968.60 1969.76 S: You want to see what's behind you.

1969.76 1971.52 S: You want to make sure your hair is combed, whatever.

1971.52 1980.12 S: But if you want to be staring at yourself for an hour, so that can also be cognitively and emotionally fatiguing, unless you're Bob.

1980.12 1981.64 S: You just like...

1981.64 1982.64 S: Every moment.

1982.64 1988.00 S: Actually, I'm quite disgusted.

1988.00 1989.00 S: There is...

1989.00 1995.64 S: Psychologists will tell you that looking at yourself takes a certain emotional toll.

1995.64 2002.16 S: It's a high energy thing to be doing because you're constantly evaluating the way you look.

2002.16 2003.56 S: So that's pretty well established.

2003.56 2008.08 S: I think to me the solution to all of these is turn the video off.

2008.08 2013.40 S: If you're not speaking, if you're not speaking, no one else has to look at you.

2013.40 2014.88 S: It's just it's not efficient.

2014.88 2016.56 S: It's not energy efficient.

2016.56 2017.56 S: It actually...

2017.56 2021.36 S: I mean, I've been in Zoom meetings where there's 50 videos streaming.

2021.36 2024.28 S: What the hell are we doing this for?

2024.28 2025.28 S: Shut them down.

2025.28 2026.28 S: And then...

2026.28 2028.12 S: Turn it into a big conference call.

2028.12 2029.12 E: That's it.

2029.12 2030.12 S: Yeah, right.

2030.12 2031.12 S: We do this.

2031.12 2032.96 S: We've been doing this for 16 plus years, 17 years.

2032.96 2034.20 S: We don't use video at all.

2034.20 2035.84 S: You don't need video.

2035.84 2039.42 S: And if somebody needs to be showing something, they have the video.

2039.42 2044.20 S: They can share their desktop or they can be showing their slideshow or whatever.

2044.20 2052.04 S: And if you're doing Q&A, just the person who's asking the question could click on their video, ask their question and then turn it off.

2052.04 2053.90 S: That solves a lot of these problems.

2053.90 2056.84 S: You can get up and move around because you're not tied to the camera.

2056.84 2057.84 C: Of course.

2057.84 2059.24 C: Like that's the thing.

2059.24 2068.60 C: Like a lot of students, a lot of employees who are in the position of being disempowered, they're not the ones sort of orchestrating.

2068.60 2072.12 C: They feel pressure to keep their video on the whole time.

2072.12 2074.96 C: And it is, it's not psychologically healthy.

2074.96 2081.64 S: I have been pressured to turn my video on saying, everyone turn their video on so we could all see each other because this is going to be more...

2081.64 2083.00 S: This is going to make it better.

2083.00 2087.64 S: This is like, we all wish we could physically be together, but at least this way we could all see each other.

2087.64 2091.40 S: And I'm just like, nerds to that.

2091.40 2092.40 S: It's not good.

2092.40 2094.36 S: It's not, it does not a good experience.

2094.36 2095.36 S: Everyone hates it.

2095.36 2098.44 S: Let's, but I think this is part of the learning curve of a new technology.

2098.44 2100.86 S: Like we'll figure out, yeah, this, this is not the way to do it.

2100.86 2107.32 S: People need to be disconnected from the video, use it sparingly, use it only for like the people who need to be using it.

2107.32 2109.20 S: Give everybody a break, give everybody the freedom.

2109.20 2110.20 B: Yeah.

2110.20 2111.20 B: Like video phone calls.

2111.20 2112.76 B: Like let's, can't wait for that to happen.

2112.76 2113.76 B: Nah, nah, it kinda sucks.

2113.76 2114.76 B: Yeah, who wants to be on...

2114.76 2116.80 S: Nobody wants to be in front of the video all the time.

2116.80 2117.80 S: It's not good.

2117.80 2118.80 S: Yeah.

2118.80 2122.36 S: But there's another aspect to, this is not the actual news item we're getting to.

2122.36 2123.92 S: There's another aspect that we haven't talked about.

2123.92 2125.48 S: Oh wait, there's a news item here?

2125.48 2131.12 S: Yeah, so perhaps, perhaps quote unquote, zoom fatigue or video conferencing fatigue.

2131.12 2140.40 S: A part of that may be that the technology disrupts the natural rhythm of conversations and it does it in a very specific way.

2140.40 2143.00 S: Again, I think we've all experienced this.

2143.00 2150.40 S: Again, even as used to this as we are, when we all physically get together, like, oh, this is so much better.

2150.40 2153.36 S: And why is it so much better when we're all, when we can all see each other?

2153.36 2154.36 S: Visual cues.

2154.36 2155.36 S: It's a couple of things.

2155.36 2156.96 S: One is that there's nonverbal cues.

2156.96 2168.56 S: Now, so nonverbal cues are really important and we use them to decide whose turn it is to talk, for example, or to know when someone's about to end their talking.

2168.56 2189.16 S: But essentially what psychologists are finding is that we've evolved to become, people are really good, in general, not everybody is, but they're really good at managing our personal, in-person conversations, but we lose all of this subconscious automatic skill when we're not in person.

2189.16 2194.28 S: And so one, and one of the problems is the transmission delay.

2194.28 2200.80 S: And you might not think we, like, it's certainly, if you guys remember like 16 years ago, the transmission delay sucked.

2200.80 2203.48 S: And remember the 1990s, it was like, we couldn't even make it work.

2203.48 2204.48 E: It was terrible.

2204.48 2205.48 E: It was too early.

2205.48 2206.48 S: Yeah.

2206.48 2212.92 S: But even like, we can tell if someone's got a slow connection because we're constantly talking over them.

2212.92 2220.44 S: Like the delay in the pause for knowing when someone else is going to speak is the transmission delay.

2220.44 2225.16 S: And so you like start talking over each other again and again and again, then you have to finally say, oh, you go, you know?

2225.16 2226.52 S: Yeah, Steve, two things.

2226.52 2229.04 B: Now that you said that made me think of a couple of things.

2229.04 2235.76 B: First off, a lot of the news during the height of the pandemic, everyone was communicating from home.

2235.76 2241.24 B: They often had delays like that and they were often talking over each other and it was so awkward.

2241.24 2245.52 B: And now that, you know, pretty much they're back in the studios, that's not really happening.

2245.52 2247.96 B: But the other thing that reminds me of is where were we?

2247.96 2253.82 B: Were we in Australia years ago and there was some delay in the headphones?

2253.82 2259.56 B: So we were hearing ourselves talk, but it was a slight delay and it essentially short circuits your brain.

2259.56 2263.44 B: You cannot talk.

2263.44 2266.40 B: That's the worst case scenario.

2266.40 2277.72 S: That's a little bit of a longer delay, but when you get that perfect delay where you're hearing an echo or you're hearing yourself back or there's some kind of feedback, you're right, it can shut down your speech.

2277.72 2279.36 S: But I'm not even talking about that.

2279.36 2281.52 S: I'm talking about, but you're right.

2281.52 2284.48 C: I thought about that, are you talking about like below conscious perception?

2284.48 2286.56 C: Like you don't even notice or you do.

2286.56 2288.04 S: Let me tell you what we're talking about.

2288.04 2295.10 S: So the there for in-person conversations, there is a transition delay.

2295.10 2305.56 S: So what's the average amount of time between when somebody stops talking and then the next person starts talking when we transition to say it's shorter than that, it's 135 milliseconds.

2305.56 2306.56 S: Yeah.

2306.56 2309.64 S: Again, we're very good at doing this.

2309.64 2323.24 S: We when somebody else, when we have a two person conversation going on, the other person is talking, I can be processing what they're saying, thinking about my response and paying attention to the conversation cues so that I know when to start talking.

2323.24 2324.84 E: And there are nonverbal cues.

2324.84 2325.84 E: Don't forget nonverbal cues.

2325.84 2327.24 E: You know, they start to nod.

2327.24 2331.68 E: You can tell that they want to get an interjection and then you pause so that they can do it.

2331.68 2332.68 S: Yes.

2332.68 2339.16 S: Zoom transitions, however, took 487 milliseconds, more than three times as long.

2339.16 2342.48 S: To transition from one speaker to the next.

2342.48 2347.20 S: It's still brief, but it's more than triple and it throws off our rhythm.

2347.20 2352.36 C: Well, it also slows down the pace of conversation, which can be exhausting.

2352.36 2353.36 C: When's the last time?

2353.36 2359.84 C: And I know, again, we might not notice it, but when's the last time that you were sitting there with somebody who could not tell a story?

2359.84 2364.20 C: Yeah, like they just wouldn't spit it out.

2364.20 2365.20 C: And you know what I mean?

2365.20 2366.20 B: Like, oh, my God.

2366.20 2373.38 B: I hate, I hate the TMI that's like, wait, I don't need to know that it was a Wednesday and not a Thursday.

2373.38 2376.68 B: It's not relevant to the story that you're telling me at all.

2376.68 2380.56 B: Please don't spend 10 seconds trying to decide if it was Wednesday.

2380.56 2381.56 C: No embellishments are buying that.

2381.56 2384.30 C: But you think about it, and to some extent that translates, right?

2384.30 2385.30 C: You're on Zoom.

2385.30 2393.74 C: There's a bunch of different people engaged in a meeting and the little spaces in between all their conversations are just that much longer than they would have been in person.

2393.74 2394.74 C: Not only that.

2394.74 2395.74 S: It's tiring.

2395.74 2398.28 S: The number of transitions are less on Zoom.

2398.28 2404.66 S: So people hold the floor for longer because we're less facile and bouncing back and forth.

2404.66 2406.88 S: So the conversation is more one sided.

2406.88 2408.64 S: The delays are longer.

2408.64 2416.24 S: So this is based upon a couple of studies done by a researcher named Julie Boland, who's a professor of psychology and linguistics.

2416.24 2420.92 S: And she's trying to sort of deconstruct what is the, why is there Zoom fatigue?

2420.92 2423.84 S: Why is it so much harder to have a conversation on Zoom?

2423.84 2426.28 S: So this is some of the things that she found.

2426.28 2428.86 S: Slower transitions, fewer transitions.

2428.86 2432.08 S: So the question is, why is this such a problem?

2432.08 2436.16 S: And this is the, her research didn't extend to this, but she did speculate about it.

2436.16 2441.68 S: She wrote an article about it in Cara's favorite outlet, The Conversation.

2441.68 2451.48 S: Other researchers have found that when we are engaged in a conversation, we automatically fall into a natural rhythm.

2451.48 2453.60 S: And this again, this is completely subconscious.

2453.60 2459.88 S: But you guys are probably, if you think about it, there's a rhythm to speech that's probably partly cultural.

2459.88 2466.40 S: You know, the different kinds of speakers may have a different rhythm and that you respond emotionally to it.

2466.40 2474.90 S: That rhythm is, at least in Western cultures, on average, we spout out one syllable every hundred milliseconds.

2474.90 2485.00 S: And there's a, and our brains, here's the thing, our brains, when we're listening to this speech, our EEG rhythms fall into the same pattern.

2485.00 2486.64 S: That's not surprising.

2486.64 2490.20 S: We already know about the fact of sensory driving.

2490.20 2491.74 S: You can have like photo driving.

2491.74 2504.28 S: If I flash a light in your eyes at a certain frequency and measure your brainwaves, for a lot of the time and a lot of people, it will drive their brainwaves at the same frequency as the strobe light, right?

2504.28 2509.92 S: If I'm flashing it at 12 hertz, you'll have a 12 hertz rhythm that synchronizes with the photo stimulation.

2509.92 2511.88 S: We have the same thing with audio.

2511.88 2517.00 S: If you have a listening to a sound at a certain frequency, it can drive your brainwaves at that same frequency.

2517.00 2532.78 S: So when we're having a conversation, our brainwaves get into the same linguistic frequency that we, that kind of, that corresponds with this, the delay, you know, the frequency at which you, you know, we speak in syllables, in syllable.

2532.78 2539.52 S: And with about a tolerance for about 20% on either side, so like 80 to 120 milliseconds, which makes sense because we're not machines.

2539.52 2542.00 S: So we have to also be tolerant to a little bit of variability.

2542.00 2543.94 S: But here's something else cool.

2543.94 2552.72 S: When if two people are in a conversation, their brains synchronize with each other, which clearly means they're both synchronizing off of the same stimuli.

2552.72 2554.56 S: I don't think there's, there's no psychic connection.

2554.56 2563.52 S: It's just that if you're, when you're having a conversation, the two people in the conversation are falling into the same synchronization pattern with their speech, right?

2563.52 2564.52 S: Does that make sense?

2564.52 2565.52 S: Yeah.

2565.52 2566.52 S: Now throw that off.

2566.52 2576.88 S: Throw that out the window that the, uh, the, the transmission delay just, just now, now are we seeing, this is the question that hasn't been answered by the research, but this is now the question that's being raised.

2576.88 2582.84 S: Are we seeing the same kind of effect that Bob, that you were talking about with that speech delay?

2582.84 2583.84 S: Yeah.

2583.84 2584.84 S: It doesn't shut you down.

2584.84 2585.84 B: In a smaller scale.

2585.84 2591.16 S: It doesn't shut you down, but it does increase what we, what we call your cognitive load.

2591.16 2592.16 S: The cognitive load.

2592.16 2594.56 E: You have to devote more energy to concentrate.

2594.56 2595.56 S: Exactly.

2595.56 2598.44 S: How hard is your brain working to accomplish a task?

2598.44 2602.36 S: We already know about a phenomenon called interference, right?

2602.36 2611.74 S: Interference means that when you're engaged in one task, your efficiency in doing that task and your cognitive load and completing that task is degraded.

2611.74 2616.96 S: If there's anything else going on, if you're being distracted or if you're trying to multitask.

2616.96 2626.92 S: So is this causing a sort of desynchronization distraction that is degrading our efficiency in having a conversation?

2626.92 2631.68 S: We're falling out of rhythm with each other and that just takes a higher mental toll.

2631.68 2641.40 S: And is that contributing to the fact that we get fatigued more quickly when we're in a video conference and we're in an in-person conversation?

2641.40 2648.48 S: So this is a very plausible extrapolation from prior research, but it hasn't been specifically established that this is the case.

2648.48 2653.60 S: This is definitely an area of future research that could be very, very interesting.

2653.60 2660.24 S: And it's also, I always have to throw in the caveat, it's hard to extrapolate from the EEG rhythm thing.

2660.24 2663.68 S: I know that's what the news reports love to focus on.

2663.68 2665.24 S: Your brains are synchronizing.

2665.24 2667.88 S: But again, that could be a very passive thing.

2667.88 2670.76 S: Our brains always have a rhythm to them, right?

2670.76 2674.08 S: That's just the way the electrical activity in our brains work.

2674.08 2676.48 S: And they do tend to synchronize with stimuli.

2676.48 2678.36 S: But what does that really mean?

2678.36 2693.72 S: It's hard to know if that's just more of a passive marker of an epiphenomenon of brain function or is it really central to how we understand each other and how we maximize the efficiency of our conversations?

2693.72 2706.68 S: If it really is partly responsible for our ability to have an efficient conversation, then degrading it could go a long way to explain why video conferencing is so fatiguing, so mentally fatiguing.

2706.68 2713.12 B: Well, maybe Zoom should flash a light to make it easier to synchronize our brain waves.

2713.12 2718.48 S: I think what will happen is we will technology our way out of this.

2718.48 2722.04 S: First of all, transmission times are going down.

2722.04 2727.32 S: We've been doing this long enough that we know that the technology is so much smoother than it used to be.

2727.32 2729.68 S: And it definitely makes a huge difference.

2729.68 2735.56 S: So hopefully it'll get down to the point where the delay is insignificant.

2735.56 2742.16 S: Or there might be software fixes where they compensate for it in some way.

2742.16 2763.00 S: Or we develop new social etiquette so that we can talk to each other in video conferencing and we develop a new skill set that enables us to use nonverbal cues or software features that enable us to get back to an efficient communication style.

2763.00 2772.60 S: I think stepping back a little bit, I'm fascinated by this idea that whenever we adopt a new technology, a new way of doing things, we basically try to use it to replicate the old way of doing things.

2772.60 2773.60 S: Right.

2773.60 2774.60 B: Classic.

2774.60 2775.60 B: Oh, yeah, like the horse and bucket.

2775.60 2776.60 S: Yeah, right.

2776.60 2778.76 S: Like the first cars were literally horseless carriages.

2778.76 2783.20 S: And the first TV shows were broadcast radio shows.

2783.20 2785.96 S: And the first movies were filmed plays.

2785.96 2788.80 S: We always are just trying to replicate the old technology.

2788.80 2793.52 S: And then we figure out the way to leverage the new technology optimally.

2793.52 2798.72 S: And then films become films and TV shows become TV shows and cars become cars.

2798.72 2799.94 S: But that takes time.

2799.94 2806.54 S: So right now we're trying to have an in-person conversation over video rather than having a video conversation.

2806.54 2816.68 S: And we may need to figure out technology-wise and etiquette-wise how to, culturally, how to have a video conversation, a video conference.

2816.68 2817.68 S: We're not there yet.

2817.68 2819.44 S: I think we will get there.

2819.44 2822.56 S: One way is to turn off the damn camera when you don't need it.

2822.56 2825.28 S: That's the low-hanging fruit.

2825.28 2829.56 S: But there may be other ways, I think, to fix our way out of this.

2829.56 2832.44 S: The benefits are too great to ignore.

2832.44 2845.80 S: I don't think I'm going to get rid of that 25% of doing telehealth because it's so like, as you say, Cara, there are some people, it's a massive burden to get them into the clinic when they don't need to physically be there.

2845.80 2847.76 S: I just need to talk to them for five or ten minutes.

2847.76 2850.36 S: I don't need to examine them.

2850.36 2851.84 S: Nothing else needs to happen.

2851.84 2856.68 S: Some people have to like hire transportation and it's a massive burden.

2856.68 2861.60 S: They have to get childcare and take a day off from work.

2861.60 2865.84 S: You should make house calls, Steve.

2865.84 2866.84 S: I do make house calls.

2866.84 2867.84 S: Oh, you do?

2867.84 2869.84 S: Well, I mean, through Zoom, yes.

2869.84 2870.84 S: That's basically what it is.

2870.84 2874.24 S: Now the house calls became inefficient.

2874.24 2878.44 S: You know, you mentioned the massive inefficiency of the physician going around to different

2878.44 2879.44 J: locations.

2879.44 2881.44 S: Right. That's how it used to work.

2881.44 2882.44 S: It doesn't work anymore.

2882.44 2884.76 S: But now we get the best of both worlds, right, with the telehealth conference.

2884.76 2887.68 S: I can make a virtual house call and it's great.

2887.68 2896.64 C: Well, and you know, it's so funny, Steve, what you mentioned about like just turn off the damn video because we all figured out that everybody else needs to go on mute.

2896.64 2897.64 C: Yeah, right.

2897.64 2905.04 C: Like, that was a no-brainer because when one person or a handful of people are off mute, we hear all their environmental noise.

2905.04 2906.34 C: It's noisy.

2906.34 2912.04 C: Why can't we then understand that it's visually noisy when everybody's cameras are on?

2912.04 2913.04 B: Yeah.

2913.04 2921.78 B: Well, what about like the Jetsons having like a digital mask so you could be like, jump out of bed, no makeup, no hair, and still you look like you because it's all digital

2921.78 2923.78 S: overlay. But then what's the point?

2923.78 2925.00 S: If people know it's not you, it's just a...

2925.00 2927.00 B: It means I look pretty with no effort.

2927.00 2929.56 C: Well, I already feel that way about the virtual backgrounds.

2929.56 2930.56 C: They bother me.

2930.56 2931.56 C: Yeah.

2931.56 2941.44 C: I mean, people need to use them, but you can always tell it's the same damn fake office that they're sitting in and you see all the weird waviness around their head and you're like, what's the point?

2941.44 2942.76 B: Yeah, because the tech's not there for that.

2942.76 2945.72 B: I mean, go to a green screen if you really want to make it look really good.

2945.72 2956.06 C: Yeah, and you can, and it can look good, but it is funny that you're like, I get that you're not in a place where you want to be able to show your background, but at the same time, it's more distracting that I'm seeing that you're in a virtual background.

2956.06 2960.12 S: A lot of people like for the work conferences, they just blur their background.

2960.12 2961.12 S: Yeah, blurring.

2961.12 2962.12 S: Blurring it out.

2962.12 2965.94 S: If you're in a place where you don't want people to see your background for professional reasons, so you can just blur it out.

2965.94 2968.36 S: That's probably better than, oh look, I'm in Hawaii.

2968.36 2969.36 S: You know, it's...

2969.36 2970.36 J: I know, that part's so...

2970.36 2971.36 J: I don't even know why.

2971.36 2974.52 J: Steve, is there any fix for this?

2974.52 2977.64 J: Like are they proposing that they have any kind of solution?

2977.64 2988.56 S: Some of the Zoom fatigue factors that I mentioned, they all do have fixes, which I went over, but this new one about the timing of speech, they're not even sure that it is the problem.

2988.56 2991.52 S: It's just establishing the groundwork.

2991.52 2994.12 S: And then the next step will be to figure out how to fix it.

2994.12 3002.12 S: I think the most obvious fix is just the technology needs to improve so that those transmission times go down, so the delay goes down.

3002.12 3004.84 S: But again, I think we need to get creative.

3004.84 3006.88 S: There isn't otherwise like an obvious fix.

3006.88 3008.72 S: I think we do need to get a bit creative.

Challenging Einstein (50:08)[edit]

3008.72 3013.28 S: All right, Bob, tell us whether or not Einstein is still the man.

3013.28 3014.28 B: Yes, he is.

3014.28 3015.28 B: I'm done.

3015.28 3016.28 B: Cool.

3016.28 3025.24 B: Einstein has been raked over the coals for 16 years in a recent set of extreme observations and has emerged yet again unscathed.

3025.24 3028.08 B: And I'm of course not referring to Einstein himself since he's dead.

3028.08 3031.16 B: I'm talking about his theory, general relativity.

3031.16 3045.12 B: Now this latest research is led by Michael Kramer from the Max Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Germany, and also a team of researchers from 10 countries, including researchers at the University of East Anglia and the University of Manchester.

3045.12 3046.12 B: Okay.

3046.12 3050.72 B: And the study published today, I think, or was it yesterday in the journal Physical Review X.

3050.72 3055.08 B: So why do we keep hammering away a poor Einstein's theory, you might say.

3055.08 3058.48 B: It's not like we're ever going to say, whoops, he was totally wrong.

3058.48 3061.08 B: This is total baloney.

3061.08 3063.92 B: That would be like saying, oh, look, the Earth is a cube.

3063.92 3064.92 B: We were wrong.

3064.92 3066.08 B: It's just a refinement, right?

3066.08 3069.96 S: Yeah, because the exception will point a big finger at news physics.

3069.96 3070.96 B: Exactly.

3070.96 3083.48 B: So Dr. Yes, Dr. Robert Ferdman from the UEA School of Physics put it into perspective when he said, as spectacularly successful as Einstein theory of general relativity has proven to be, we know that it's not the final word in gravitational theory.

3083.48 3088.04 B: General relativity is not compatible with the other fundamental forces described by quantum mechanics.

3088.04 3096.38 B: It's therefore important to continue to place the most stringent tests upon general relativity as possible to discover how and when the theory breaks down.

3096.38 3097.88 B: So it's that breaking point.

3097.88 3098.88 B: That's what we're after.

3098.88 3102.32 B: We're not doing it because we still don't believe Einstein.

3102.32 3116.80 B: We want to find the breaking point because we know that breaking point is there and once we find it and after the Nobel prizes are awarded, we could, we'll probably have a new window, new theoretical foundation to the universe and help us, you know, unify the fundamental forces like never before.

3116.80 3117.92 B: And who knows what else?

3117.92 3121.32 B: So this is well worth it, even if it was more than 16 years.

3121.32 3122.32 B: All right.

3122.32 3123.98 B: So what was all this research about?

3123.98 3127.92 B: It started with a pulsar, actually a pair of pulsars.

3127.92 3135.56 B: They're 2,400 light years from earth and they looked at them over these years with seven radio telescopes across the globe.

3135.56 3139.64 B: So now one, one pulsar is spinning very fast, about 44 times a second.

3139.64 3143.12 B: The other has a rotation period of 2.8 seconds.

3143.12 3150.20 B: They orbit each other in just 147 minutes and they're traveling at about a million kilometers per hour.

3150.20 3151.84 B: So they are booking.

3151.84 3153.46 B: So, so that's the scenario.

3153.46 3163.76 B: So imagine you've got these super dense objects, more massive than the sun, but no bigger than say London spewing radiation orbiting each other really fast.

3163.76 3167.68 B: So this is the most precise gravity laboratory we've ever had.

3167.68 3174.48 B: And they, the researchers used it to stress test seven different predictions of general relativity like never before.

3174.48 3177.20 B: So here's a few of those predictions that they tested.

3177.20 3179.04 B: Test one gravitational waves, right?

3179.04 3181.18 B: We all know what they are, right?

3181.18 3189.60 B: If you're a moving mass, you're emitting gravitational waves, which is essentially ripples in the fabric of space time that propagates away the energy.

3189.60 3197.42 B: They were able to test the theory with a thousand times the sensitivity that we could with our current gravitational wave detectors like LIGO.

3197.42 3201.80 B: Three orders of magnitude, greater sensitivity than LIGO.

3201.80 3208.00 B: And that's saying a lot because if you remember LIGO had a sensitivity equal to like less than the width of a proton.

3208.00 3209.72 B: I mean, amazing.

3209.72 3217.52 B: So sensitive where the researchers observations that the researchers could detect the decay of the orbits of pulsars as gravitational wave energy leaked away.

3217.52 3226.32 B: All right, so test two, they, they looked at the light propagation, the radio waves that were emanating from the pulsars that all pulsars emit radio waves.

3226.32 3233.88 B: These photons were tracked as part of the research to see how they were affected by the super strong gravitational field of the companion pulsar.

3233.88 3246.12 B: So the researchers said regarding this, we see for the first time how light is not only delayed due to a strong curvature of space time around the companion, but also that the light is deflected by a small angle of 0.04 degrees that we can detect.

3246.12 3250.80 B: Never before has such an experiment been conducted at such a high space time curvature.

3250.80 3253.48 B: Test number three, they, they looked at time dilation.

3253.48 3255.92 B: We've talked about that on the show many times.

3255.92 3263.20 B: Time dilation basically makes clocks run slower, whether you're in a gravitational field or traveling at a very high relative velocity.

3263.20 3270.80 B: So sometimes when measurements are more precise than ever before, you need to take into account phenomena that you just ignored before, right?

3270.80 3272.20 B: I'll go back to LIGO again.

3272.20 3282.24 B: LIGO was no different when they were developing LIGO, they were making a new instrument that was so sensitive that they had to take into account all these crazy things.

3282.24 3290.52 B: For example, they had to cancel out the vibrations caused by animals walking in the backyard behind the facility.

3290.52 3297.48 B: Animals just walking back there, they had to, they had to, not only did they have to recognize it, they had to then subtract it.

3297.48 3300.62 B: So those vibrations weren't mistaken for the actual signal.

3300.62 3302.76 B: So this research then was no different.

3302.76 3309.14 B: The sensitivities were so great that they had to really look into these phenomena that they never had to look at before.

3309.14 3317.36 B: So for example, the radiation emitted by the pulsars was so great, they needed to take into account probably the most famous equation of all time, which, which is guys?

3317.36 3318.36 B: E equals MC squared.

3318.36 3319.36 B: E equals MC cubed.

3319.36 3320.36 B: Oh my God.

3320.36 3321.36 E: Oh, don't.

3321.36 3322.36 E: Yes.

3322.36 3323.36 B: All of those.

3323.36 3325.36 B: So they had to, they had to actually think about that.

3325.36 3334.16 B: And that's because the, the prodigious amounts of radiation released by these pulsars equal the mass loss of about 8 million tons per second.

3334.16 3335.16 B: That's a lot.

3335.16 3336.16 B: Think about that.

3336.16 3337.16 B: Cause, cause, cause right.

3337.16 3338.86 B: Cause matter and energy are the same basically.

3338.86 3340.48 B: That's what E equals MC squared is saying.

3340.48 3343.48 B: Well, some of what it's saying, 8 million tons per second.

3343.48 3344.84 B: So that seems like a lot, right?

3344.84 3347.24 B: You would think, oh boy, how long is that pulsar going to last?

3347.24 3358.60 B: So I calculated that at that rate, 8 million times per second for these pulsars, I calculated that it could run, it could survive for one third of a quintillion years.

3358.60 3363.84 B: So that's how massive, that's how massive these damn pulsars are.

3363.84 3366.08 B: That you can lose 8 million times per second.

3366.08 3369.52 E: Why didn't you just say 333,000 quadrillion years?

3369.52 3372.04 B: No, no, no, no.

3372.04 3377.60 B: A third of a, you always, you always round up for the cool big numbers.

3377.60 3379.60 B: So a third of a quintillion.

3379.60 3388.32 B: So another example of the things that needed to be taken into account because of the, because these research was so sensitive is frame dragging, right?

3388.32 3390.42 B: We've talked about this on the show before too.

3390.42 3396.68 B: That's literally the amount of space time that a rotating object drags around itself as it rotates, right?

3396.68 3398.20 B: I mean, it's a thing.

3398.20 3399.56 B: It's like, we know that exists.

3399.56 3404.20 B: And they actually had to take that into account with these rotating pulsars.

3404.20 3417.72 B: So now when it was all said and done, like I said in the opening line of this talk, Einstein's general relativity was again shown to make the correct predictions, even down to these never before reached decimal points.

3417.72 3423.00 B: It's still, it's like, yup, this is what I predict and yup, that's exactly what happened.

3423.00 3424.00 B: What does this mean?

3424.00 3425.00 B: So what's going to happen in the future?

3425.00 3429.64 B: So in the future I think we're just going to keep rolling down the decimal points, right?

3429.64 3440.14 B: As we get bigger telescopes, they're going to go farther and farther and make them even more and more precise and hopefully finally reach those points where there's a divergence between the theory and reality.

3440.14 3447.54 B: The researchers said our work has shown the way such experiments need to be conducted and which subtle effects now need to be taken into account.

3447.54 3451.50 B: And maybe we will find a deviation from general relativity one day.

3451.50 3453.08 B: So here's to that one day.

3453.08 3455.08 B: But Einstein's still cool though, right?

3455.08 3456.08 B: Oh yeah, he rocks.

3456.08 3457.08 B: All right.

3457.08 3459.32 B: Someday we'll find out where he screwed up.

3459.32 3460.32 S: Yeah.

3460.32 3461.32 S: All right.

3461.32 3462.32 S: Thanks, Bob.

Webb Launching (57:42)[edit]

3462.32 3467.12 S: Evan, are we finally at the point where the Webb Space Telescope is going to launch?

3467.12 3468.12 S: How close?

3468.12 3469.12 E: Yes.

3469.12 3470.12 E: Yeah, almost.

3470.12 3471.12 None Not quite there.

3471.12 3472.12 E: A couple of days.

3472.12 3473.12 E: Five to ten years.

3473.12 3474.12 E: Five to ten days?

3474.12 3481.76 E: December 22nd, 720 AM US Eastern time.

3481.76 3484.52 E: Right now is the launch time.

3484.52 3486.88 E: Oh my gosh.

3486.88 3487.96 E: Finally.

3487.96 3496.80 E: And I emphasize the word finally because we've been waiting for this space telescope to be conceived and launched since...

3496.80 3502.24 E: Here, I'm going to read this from the James Webb Space Telescope's Wiki page.

3502.24 3512.28 E: The concept that would become the James Webb Space Telescope originated in 1996 as a proposal named Next Generation Space Telescope.

3512.28 3515.24 E: So 1996, that was the conception.

3515.24 3517.76 E: And now here we are on the cusp of delivery.

3517.76 3521.08 E: That's a 25 year gestation period.

3521.08 3527.16 E: And the fans of science all over the world have been suffering with 25 years of labor pains getting to this point.

3527.16 3529.24 E: Look, I'm 52 years old.

3529.24 3530.24 E: 25 years.

3530.24 3533.92 E: That's roughly half my life in a way.

3533.92 3537.04 E: Cara, 1996, what were you doing in 1996?

3537.04 3538.20 C: Well, let me think.

3538.20 3540.84 C: So I was born in 83, so I was what, 13?

3540.84 3543.40 C: I probably wasn't aware of this.

3543.40 3544.40 C: That's the funny thing.

3544.40 3551.76 C: I feel like as long as I've been aware of observation, I've been aware of the James Webb Space Telescope.

3551.76 3559.06 E: And certainly the Hubble Telescope is something that you have had all your life practically or had consciousness of it.

3559.06 3560.96 E: And that launched in 1990.

3560.96 3562.52 E: So think about that.

3562.52 3566.04 E: 1996 compared to 1990 versus now 2021.

3566.04 3567.04 E: Here we are.

3567.04 3568.04 E: Oh my gosh.

3568.04 3569.28 E: That's rough to think about.

3569.28 3570.28 E: Rough to think about.

3570.28 3571.92 J: Hey look, I'll take it though.

3571.92 3573.16 E: Oh absolutely.

3573.16 3579.84 E: The James Webb Space Telescope is the largest and most powerful space science telescope ever built.

3579.84 3583.04 E: It surpasses its predecessors by orders of magnitude.

3583.04 3584.04 E: Oh yeah.

3584.04 3590.76 E: In space, size matters, at least when it comes to the size of your optical equipment, such as reflecting mirrors.

3590.76 3596.76 E: Webb's mirror array is six times that of Hubble's lone single reflector.

3596.76 3616.16 E: Webb's going to have the tremendous benefit as well of a sun shield, which is going to block much of that pesky light from the sun and the earth and the moon because light pollution in space is everywhere and you have to block it if you want to get that light away and also to control the temperature, which I'll talk about in a bit.

3616.16 3618.28 E: The sun shield itself is fascinating.

3618.28 3621.44 E: It's too big to fit in the capsule for the launch.

3621.44 3623.24 E: So it has to be folded.

3623.24 3625.64 E: In fact, the whole thing is getting folded.

3625.64 3628.08 E: And that's a big part of this process.

3628.08 3630.60 E: It's never been done before this way.

3630.60 3645.00 E: You've never had something like this have to be folded and then it will unfold in the process as it heads out to its orbit around the sun, which is going to be about a million miles beyond where the earth orbits the sun.

3645.00 3652.48 E: So when it unfolds, it'll be the size of a tennis court, a doubles tennis court in width and length.

3652.48 3654.56 E: So that's amazing.

3654.56 3657.40 E: Webb is so much better than the other telescopes.

3657.40 3660.00 E: I mean, it's optimized for seeing things in infrared.

3660.00 3665.48 E: So it's going to be looking at all the heat signatures, the faintest heat signatures possible.

3665.48 3671.60 E: Hubble by comparison, its collection methods primarily were in the optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

3671.60 3677.96 E: But the infrared telescope is going to peer through that interstellar gas and all the clouds and all the dust, all the stuff that gets in the way.

3677.96 3689.48 E: You can see lots of picture comparisons online of what, say, an optical or an ultraviolet photo from space looks like versus one in which you have the infrared information.

3689.48 3694.80 E: You can just pierce through so much and get so much more detail, see so many more things.

3694.80 3699.44 E: Now Webb had a predecessor, the Spitzer telescope launched in 2003.

3699.44 3700.92 E: So that's 18 years ago.

3700.92 3703.96 E: But Webb is a monster compared to Spitzer.

3703.96 3714.36 E: Webb's primary mirror is almost 60 times larger than Spitzer and according to NASA, Webb is about a thousand times more powerful than Spitzer.

3714.36 3721.88 E: And Spitzer has been very, very key, very essential in the discovery and analysis, say, of exoplanets, for example.

3721.88 3725.64 E: But now scientists will have Webb with a thousand times the power of Spitzer.

3725.64 3732.88 E: Oh my gosh, what kind of worlds and detail is Webb going to be discovering and analyzing?

3732.88 3736.48 E: Spitzer also observes brown dwarfs and remote galaxies, you name it.

3736.48 3751.42 E: If Spitzer found it, Webb is going to help redefine the data with unprecedented clarity and accuracy and not to mention all the new objects and formations that will no doubt come to light as a result of Webb's pure power.

3751.42 3757.38 E: But perhaps the most tantalizing part of the Webb mission will be the Big Bang itself.

3757.38 3761.06 E: It's going to force us to sort of reset our cosmic watches in a way.

3761.06 3766.88 E: It's going to peer back into the earlier moments of existence than have ever been observed before.

3766.88 3768.44 E: And they give this as an example.

3768.44 3777.48 E: Spitzer together with Hubble took an image of a galaxy called GN-Z11, which holds the record for the most distant galaxy measured to date.

3777.48 3781.60 E: It's a relic from when the universe was only 400 million years old.

3781.60 3791.20 E: They think that Webb will be able to see, assuming there are galaxies or proto galaxies to be seen at 100 million years after the Big Bang.

3791.20 3792.20 E: That's huge.

3792.20 3796.20 E: I mean, you're going to be cutting into that remaining slice of unobserved time and space.

3796.20 3797.20 E: That is fascinating.

3797.20 3802.68 J: Ev, have you seen what it looks like when it's all folded up inside the rocket?

3802.68 3803.68 E: Yes.

3803.68 3805.40 J: It's so cool.

3805.40 3806.40 J: It really does.

3806.40 3807.40 J: It's like an origami.

3807.40 3808.40 J: Origami.

3808.40 3810.04 E: That's a good way of describing it.

3810.04 3813.68 S: So hopefully we'll be able to report next week that everything went well.

3813.68 3816.76 B: Yeah, one big downside is that it's not unlike the Hubble.

3816.76 3821.12 B: If there's a problem, no astronaut is ever going to see it to fix it.

3821.12 3823.52 E: Yeah, once it goes.

3823.52 3825.56 E: Yeah, it is going to be what it is.

3825.56 3827.12 J: Because it's going to be in deeper space?

3827.12 3830.10 B: Yeah, it's not in like low Earth orbit or anything like that.

3830.10 3836.60 B: It's going to be like, yeah, it's going to be in orbit around the sun and not around the Earth, Evan?

3836.60 3837.60 E: In orbit around the sun.

3837.60 3838.60 E: That is correct.

3838.60 3839.72 E: It will not be orbiting the Earth.

3839.72 3844.20 E: But it will be in a fixed orbit around the sun along with the Earth.

3844.20 3848.60 E: So the Earth and Webb will always maintain the same distance apart from each other.

3848.60 3852.04 B: But no astronaut is going to be visiting that anytime soon.

3852.04 3853.04 B: No.

3853.04 3854.04 B: There's no fixes.

3854.04 3856.64 B: So I hope they checked for spherical aberrations.

3856.64 3861.80 E: Well this is part of the reason why it's taken, a big part of the reason why it's taken 25 years.

3861.80 3872.08 E: I mean this is the most, they're calling it the single most, not only expensive space science experiment ever conceived at $10 billion, but certainly the most complex one that they've done.

3872.08 3886.86 E: And they've had to do check after check after check between the engineers and the astronomers and everyone involved, hundreds of people over the course of the years, several countries and space organizations all offering their input and expertise on getting it right.

3886.86 3904.28 E: The new technology that has to be invented in order to have, I mean, for example, they're going to have articulators for each, there's going to be 18 of these hexagonal mirrors that have to be perfectly, and I mean perfectly aligned for this thing to work right.

3904.28 3916.24 E: And each one of those 18 mirrors have six actuators on it, Bob, for the most fine tuning of adjustments that can really be possibly made with the technology as we know it.

3916.24 3917.24 B: It's incredible.

3917.24 3918.24 B: Yeah.

3918.24 3919.24 B: It's the only way to get such a big mirror.

3919.24 3924.16 B: If that was one connected, one big mirror, it would be way too heavy.

3924.16 3925.94 B: And it would also sag under its own weight.

3925.94 3930.68 B: This is the only way to really get this kind of surface area.

3930.68 3933.40 B: But the alignments, I mean, they're good at it now.

3933.40 3938.24 B: They've been doing it for a long time, but still, oh my God, it's exquisitely aligned.

3938.24 3951.60 J: It's going to take 29 days for it to, it's going to launch and then every day, like they're doing very slowly, step by step, unfolding it and making it get into its functioning position.

3951.60 3953.12 J: And then it has to do another burn.

3953.12 3954.12 E: Yes, it does.

3954.12 3955.12 E: Yep.

3955.12 3960.92 E: It'll be, and six, really six months total from the time of launch to the point where it is in its fully operational mode.

3960.92 3964.56 E: That's a lot that can happen in that timeframe.

3964.56 3966.52 E: That's a hell of a boot up.

3966.52 3972.80 E: 344 single points of failure along that six month and million mile journey.

3972.80 3973.80 E: Yep.

3973.80 3974.80 B: 344 hurdles.

3974.80 3978.88 B: I'm just going to go to sleep for six months and then wake up.

3978.88 3987.72 E: And they're talking, yeah, they're talking about how the scientific community is having sort of this collective angst about this entire mission because of that.

3987.72 3990.38 E: And so many people have worked so hard for so long.

3990.38 3996.32 E: It's been their life's work to get this underway and you would just be so crestfallen.

3996.32 4005.04 B: Yeah, but not only that, not only have like, oh, I've spent, you know, my life's work, get designing, developing, building, testing and all that.

4005.04 4017.44 B: But then if there's a big screw up, then, oh crap, my whole, the whole rest of my career was going to be going over the new data and now that's not going to, so that's even worse.

4017.44 4022.00 E: But let's remain optimistic.

4022.00 4026.52 E: Let's hope that six months afterwards, everything's right where it should be.

4026.52 4035.28 E: I mean, all the Mars missions that have been successful and we knew that there were going to be lots of points of failure along those missions and those have turned out great in many cases.

4035.28 4037.68 B: Look at the Mars landers that they've done, never done before.

4037.68 4040.00 B: I mean, amazing technology.

4040.00 4041.84 E: Yeah, absolutely.

4041.84 4047.40 E: And the return on the investment, if this thing, if this finally comes to fruition, oh my gosh.

4047.40 4049.20 E: Can't put a price on that data.

4049.20 4050.20 E: They said it's good.

4050.20 4054.08 E: They said it will rewrite the entire field of astronomy in a way.

4054.08 4055.56 S: Let's hope everything goes well.

Who's That Noisy? (1:7:35)[edit]

4055.56 4057.68 S: Jay, it's who's that noisy time.

4057.68 4063.36 J: Okay guys, last week I played this noisy.

4063.36 4066.82 E: Five photographs taken with a very low speed camera.

4066.82 4074.44 J: So I'm just going to, right off the bat, a ton of people wrote in about Star Wars, you know, ATST, ATAT.

4074.44 4075.44 J: Lots of Star Wars references.

4075.44 4076.44 J: Don't confuse the two ever.

4076.44 4077.44 J: Yeah, there's a difference.

4077.44 4078.44 E: Oh, big time.

4078.44 4079.44 E: Yeah, like, like if I were to ask Cara, Cara, what does, uh.

4079.44 4080.44 J: I thought it was an at-at.

4080.44 4081.44 J: Right, the at-at.

4081.44 4082.44 J: What does that stand for?

4082.44 4089.40 C: I don't know.

4089.40 4093.28 J: Like what does a TIE fighter, what does the word TIE in TIE fighter mean?

4093.28 4094.28 C: Twin ion engines.

4094.28 4095.28 C: That sounds fair.

4095.28 4099.72 C: Hey, I'm just happy to know that that's a little, like a little single person, like fighter plane thing.

4099.72 4100.72 C: That's impressive.

4100.72 4101.72 S: Yeah, I know.

4101.72 4102.72 S: Rebellion or Empire?

4102.72 4103.72 None Wait, rebellion.

4103.72 4104.72 C: Nope, Empire.

4104.72 4105.72 C: Damn it.

4105.72 4106.72 C: Well, 50-50.

4106.72 4107.72 C: 50-50 chance of an answer.

4107.72 4108.72 S: Rebellion is the X-wing.

4108.72 4112.76 S: Among others.

4112.76 4115.80 C: Oh, the X-wing's pretty cool looking too.

4115.80 4116.80 E: Yeah.

4116.80 4117.80 J: Totally.

4117.80 4125.36 J: All right, so a listener named Ray Wisek wrote in and said, hey, my name is Ray Wisek and I think the noisy may be a commercial airless paint sprayer.

4125.36 4126.54 J: Love the show.

4126.54 4128.64 J: Commercial airless paint sprayer.

4128.64 4130.56 J: I don't, I've never heard of that before.

4130.56 4133.36 J: I don't understand how it would work airless.

4133.36 4134.84 J: So now I have to look it up.

4134.84 4136.24 J: But that is not correct.

4136.24 4140.24 J: James Grove wrote in, James gets right to the point, guys.

4140.24 4141.24 J: James wrote gun.

4141.24 4144.00 J: That's the whole email?

4144.00 4145.00 J: That was his email.

4145.00 4146.00 J: It could have been a typo.

4146.00 4147.92 E: It could have been gum.

4147.92 4152.52 J: I've never, I've never received a one word, who's that noisy email.

4152.52 4154.96 J: I'm like, I've got to, I've just got to use it.

4154.96 4156.28 J: You know, he said gun.

4156.28 4157.76 J: James, it's not a gun.

4157.76 4159.60 J: There's lots of different kinds of guns.

4159.60 4160.60 J: Any kind.

4160.60 4161.60 J: It's not any kind of gun.

4161.60 4172.48 J: Nick Hilton wrote in and said, hi Jay, I think this week's who's that noisy is the sound of a four wheeler or ATV being started or pressing the start button so briefly it produces that noise but doesn't start.

4172.48 4174.42 J: So Nick, that was not correct.

4174.42 4177.16 J: But that was a very specific guess and I give you points for that.

4177.16 4182.58 J: So now we have, we have what I consider to be, I consider this one a close guess.

4182.58 4194.00 J: This was from Marcel Jansons, Jansons, Jansons, Jansons, Jansons, Jansons, Jansons, Jansons.

4194.00 4196.04 J: Yeah the two S's in the middle threw me off.

4196.04 4202.40 J: All right, so anyway, he says, hi y'all, this week's noisy should have, should have been a blaster really, but that's too obvious.

4202.40 4203.48 J: Could be all sorts of things.

4203.48 4208.20 J: I'm thinking power tool, but I'll narrow it down to an automatic stapler.

4208.20 4212.12 J: The kind having a coil of wire as input, not those with staples in it.

4212.12 4214.20 J: That would be more of a hammer noise.

4214.20 4216.40 J: That is not, he got close.

4216.40 4217.40 J: That's a good guess.

4217.40 4218.40 J: A very, very good guess.

4218.40 4220.32 J: You get, you get multiple points for that guess.

4220.32 4225.28 J: That's not the best answer I got and you're not the winner, but still you did a good job on that.

4225.28 4229.52 J: So the best answer came in by Cameron Wood and he said, good day Jay.

4229.52 4231.52 J: Guess where he's from?

4231.52 4232.52 J: Canada.

4232.52 4233.52 J: New Zealand.

4233.52 4234.72 E: Same thing.

4234.72 4242.24 J: I only got into podcasts a couple of months ago and now I find myself a hundred odd episodes deep into the skeptics guide, keep up the good work.

4242.24 4250.96 J: As for the who's that noisy, I think it's an electric nail gun, which I have commandeered a few times off builders for my work as a Sparky.

4250.96 4256.22 J: So this was a, an electric nail gun firing in rapid succession.

4256.22 4257.22 J: So okay.

4257.22 4263.48 J: So Joseph Covel who originally sent this in said, hi Jay, I ran into this audio trying out rapid fire mode on a nail gun.

4263.48 4267.44 J: I've attached the wave and basically this is a rapid fire nail gun sound.

4267.44 4272.04 J: And then you could hear the operator very faintly in the background say, say, golly.

4272.04 4273.04 J: Ready?

4273.04 4277.76 J: Good golly.

4277.76 4278.76 J: Good golly.

4278.76 4279.76 J: Doesn't sound very rapid.

4279.76 4280.76 J: Yeah.

4280.76 4287.60 J: But when you hear that, listen back to that sound and think about what a Foley artist would do with that to use it for a million different things in a movie.

4287.60 4288.60 J: Right?

4288.60 4289.60 J: Like that's what they do.

4289.60 4296.00 J: They, they find real world sounds like that and they, they change them to fit whatever the movie needs them to be.

4296.00 4301.08 J: And like to me that that's a star war sound, you know, that's the origin of a star war sound for sure.

4301.08 4306.12 C: Well, yeah, the funny thing is if they needed to have a nail gun sound, they would never use that.

4306.12 4307.12 C: Exactly.

4307.12 4310.64 J: You know, they would use the sound of a hawk whenever they show an eagle.

4310.64 4313.96 J: Of course.

4313.96 4315.16 J: Good guesses on that one.

4315.16 4320.32 J: Thank you for everyone who sent in guesses on that and great job Cameron for nailing it.

4320.32 4321.32 J: Ha ha.

4321.32 4323.80 J: So anyway, that was, that was really bad.

4323.80 4324.80 J: That was like Evan bad.

4324.80 4325.80 C: Evan great.

4325.80 4326.80 C: Thank you.

4326.80 4328.80 E: Thank you for the correction.

New Noisy (1:12:08)[edit]



4328.80 4329.80 J: All right guys.

4329.80 4331.72 J: We have a new noisy this week.

4331.72 4332.72 J: Are you ready for it?

4332.72 4333.72 J: No.

4333.72 4334.72 J: Oh yes.

4334.72 4353.96 J: It was sent in by a listener named Michelle Hill.

4353.96 4358.76 J: This could be a hard one, I admit, but it's a cool sound and I want to do play it for you guys.

4358.76 4366.08 J: So if you think, you know what this week's noisy is or if you heard something cool, please do email me at WTN at the skeptics

4366.08 4367.08 J: All right.

4367.08 4368.08 S: Thanks Jay.

Name That Logical Fallacy (1:12:48)[edit]

4368.08 4371.12 S: We're going to do what a name that logical fallacy this week.

4371.12 4373.12 S: So this is based on an email.

4373.12 4376.40 S: Oh, let me just read you the key part here.

4376.40 4385.76 S: I was listening to a discussion about ethics of treating vaccinated versus unvaccinated people in this week's show and it brought to mind a logical fallacy whose name I haven't been able to find.

4385.76 4391.04 S: I won't go over my views on the actual debate because that would take too long, but the logical fallacy is this.

4391.04 4399.48 S: When faced with a decision that needs to be made, people often like to break up the question to many different components or many different individual arguments.

4399.48 4416.68 S: They then go over each little component one by one, determine whether that component in isolation is enough to justify making a choice, and then they often conclude that a particular choice is unjustified because none of the individual components in isolation is able to entirely justify making that choice.

4416.68 4426.00 S: I think it's objectively true that decisions should be made based on the net effect that all of the components together would have if a particular choice was made.

4426.00 4436.72 S: Each individual effect should not bear the burden of entirely supporting any particular decision and the only way to make any decision is to consider the cumulative effects of the different options.

4436.72 4441.12 S: However, I see people fail to do this all the time, so it would be nice to be able to refer to this fallacy.

4441.12 4443.12 S: Is there a name for it?

4443.12 4444.12 S: This is a challenging one.

4444.12 4446.72 S: This is not one I think we've mentioned on the show before.

4446.72 4449.08 S: Oh, oh boy.

4449.08 4450.08 S: But here's the thing.

4450.08 4452.90 S: Putting a name to it is nice.

4452.90 4473.42 S: It's not, I don't think it's necessary as long as you understand the nature of the fallacy and being able to describe like that's not a valid argument because you are requiring one component to be a solution in and of itself and you're failing to consider the cumulative effect of all the components.

4473.42 4474.42 S: That's fine.

4474.42 4481.68 S: Putting a name on it is nice, but I don't think you need to put a name on it to know that it's real, that it's a fallacy and that you shouldn't do it.

4481.68 4482.68 S: I think I found it.

4482.68 4484.56 E: It sounds like p-hacking to me.

4484.56 4486.52 E: That was the first thing that came to my mind.

4486.52 4487.52 C: No, not at all.

4487.52 4492.16 C: Sort of, but yeah, in p-hacking it's like you're changing your premise after the fact.

4492.16 4495.44 C: It's a little like the sharpshooter fallacy.

4495.44 4497.24 C: I think it's called the fallacy of composition.

4497.24 4498.24 C: You are correct.

4498.24 4499.24 S: Fallacy of composition.

4499.24 4500.24 S: Good job, Cara.

4500.24 4501.24 C: Wow.

4501.24 4502.24 C: I found it.

4502.24 4503.24 C: I don't know.

4503.24 4505.88 C: I started thinking about what are the key concepts and what, you know, that's the point.

4505.88 4507.52 C: What's the key concept of fallacy?

4507.52 4518.16 S: It's an informal logical fallacy in which one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.

4518.16 4521.00 S: So that is the, again, that's you taking a step back.

4521.00 4523.36 S: That's sort of the core logical fallacy there.

4523.36 4532.32 S: In this case, you're saying because, you know, each and because this individual piece will not solve the problem, the whole cannot solve the problem.

4532.32 4538.60 S: You're extrapolating from the piece to the whole or that it goes both ways.

4538.60 4544.64 S: You know, if you're going from the whole to each piece, obviously that does not necessarily follow.

4544.64 4548.80 S: So it's also a non sequitur, but all logical fallacies are non sequiturs.

4548.80 4559.60 S: So it's interesting that you brought up the green energy thing because yeah, we see this a lot and I am in debates with climate change deniers on my blog all the time.

4559.60 4563.24 S: And that's one of their key fallacies that they used.

4563.24 4573.60 S: Like they'll often zero in on one technology and say that like solar energy is not going to solve the global warming problem all by itself.

4573.60 4575.38 S: So, yeah, you're right.

4575.38 4576.38 S: That's not the plan.

4576.38 4577.38 S: Nobody said it would.

4577.38 4578.38 C: That's going to.

4578.38 4587.92 S: Or like one guy recently wrote, if we had to build enough batteries in order to like backup all of our energy for two days, it would take a thousand years.

4587.92 4590.52 S: It's like, all right, so let's break this down a little bit.

4590.52 4593.24 S: First of all, why are we going to why is that the only grid storage?

4593.24 4594.24 S: You know, why bad?

4594.24 4596.12 S: No one said batteries the only grid storage.

4596.12 4599.52 S: You're also assuming no change in our capacity to build batteries.

4599.52 4604.60 S: And you're also assuming that we need two days of continuous backup, which is not necessarily true.

4604.60 4609.36 S: But anyway, he was basically trying to say like this one factory would take a thousand years to make all these batteries.

4609.36 4614.60 S: And because if that's the only solution, if that doesn't work, then it's then the whole solution can't work.

4614.60 4616.68 S: Like, then you can't draw a man as well, then.

4616.68 4617.68 S: Yeah.

4617.68 4618.88 S: That's completely a straw man.

4618.88 4620.16 S: But that particular argument.

4620.16 4623.72 S: But the idea was like pick one piece.

4623.72 4639.08 S: Another another, I think, version of this that I encounter a lot is in creationists, because they will try to pick out one part of evolutionary theory or one evolutionary mechanism and say, well, this cannot explain all of evolution.

4639.08 4641.16 S: It's like no one said it could.

4641.16 4642.42 S: You know, it's like mutations.

4642.42 4645.16 S: You can't get evolution just from mutations alone.

4645.16 4646.16 S: You're right.

4646.16 4648.40 S: That's not the that's not evolutionary theory.

4648.40 4650.28 S: Didn't Michael Ignore usually do that?

4650.28 4651.28 S: Yeah, totally.

4651.28 4652.28 S: Yeah.

4652.28 4654.36 S: He completed he completely did that.

4654.36 4655.36 S: And I made the analogy.

4655.36 4659.16 S: It's like saying, well, you know, the steering wheel doesn't propel the car.

4659.16 4660.16 S: So cars don't work.

4660.16 4661.16 S: Right.

4661.16 4662.16 C: You're right.

4662.16 4663.16 C: It steers the car.

4663.16 4669.24 S: You know, you need the whole thing to work together.

4669.24 4673.08 S: It's like, yeah, it's like trying to take out one piece of the car can't get the whole thing to work.

4673.08 4674.08 S: You're right.

4674.08 4675.08 S: So, yeah.

4675.08 4684.28 S: That is just it's usually a denialist kind of strategy when, you know, you're you're trying to be negative about something.

4684.28 4687.24 S: And so you're putting a ridiculous burden on it.

4687.24 4703.32 S: Or it can also bleed into the nirvana fallacy in that which is like this is a perfect, therefore it's worthless, you know, kind of argument against the same kind of strategy just to just in a slightly different way.

4703.32 4707.68 S: Instead of saying, well, because this isn't the perfect solution, it's no solution at all.

4707.68 4711.88 S: This is saying because this one piece isn't a solution all by itself, it's not a part of a bigger solution.

4711.88 4713.56 S: It can't be the whole thing.

4713.56 4715.64 S: And then there is no solution.

4715.64 4719.44 S: Like even like each of these pieces individually are not the solution.

4719.44 4720.44 S: Yes.

4720.44 4723.16 S: But what have you have to consider them together?

4723.16 4729.64 S: In medicine, this might come up all the time where, yeah, no one thing that we do may have an adequate response.

4729.64 4738.36 S: But what if we do them all together that may have an adequate response, whether you're treating a symptom or preventing a disease or whatever?

4738.36 4739.36 S: You have to look at the.

4739.36 4744.74 S: Yeah, you see it's it doesn't argue against the cumulative effect of multiple things.

4744.74 4748.92 S: And then another aspect of this is an emergent property.

4748.92 4751.24 S: I know Bob loves emergent properties.

4751.24 4752.24 S: Yeah, I love those.

4752.24 4757.32 S: So that's like saying an atom is not alive.

4757.32 4759.92 S: Or nothing made of atoms can be alive.

4759.92 4760.92 S: Hey, yeah.

4760.92 4768.00 S: But it's like, no, that's you can have the whole can have emergent properties that are not present in each individual piece.

4768.00 4774.16 S: That's very relevant when you're talking about consciousness, trying to say like, what how is matter conscious?

4774.16 4776.60 S: There's no consciousness feature in matter.

4776.60 4784.88 S: So, yeah, it has to be in a system that has the the property emergent properties necessary to be conscious.

4784.88 4787.40 S: Meters are not conscious, but a brain can be conscious.

4787.40 4805.74 S: So it's it's all sort of different aspects of the same kind of fallacy, failing to consider the cumulative or the whole effect, breaking it down for the specific purpose of trying to deny that there are effects either adequate or whatever of the whole.

4805.74 4815.88 C: I wonder sometimes if the motivation behind it is, you know, obviously, like you were saying, sometimes it's a denialist tactic.

4815.88 4821.36 C: But I wonder also, sometimes if somebody is genuinely trying to argue, they're trying to understand a situation.

4821.36 4826.64 C: But the problem is that they only understand one component of how something works.

4826.64 4830.56 C: And since they see a failure in that one component, they can't see past that component.

4830.56 4832.96 S: Yeah, it may be sincere.

4832.96 4837.76 S: And just that they're just yeah, they're they're not stepping back and taking taking the broader view.

4837.76 4845.76 S: They're making a category mistake or just they're failing to consider, you know, the question in a different way.

4845.76 4846.76 C: Right.

4846.76 4849.48 C: And you see this a lot with like biological processes.

4849.48 4850.70 C: It's confusing, right?

4850.70 4852.66 C: Human biology is confusing.

4852.66 4857.40 C: And sometimes people don't have the training to really understand it, but they remember something about it.

4857.40 4863.42 C: And so when you're looking at, you know, a whole an entity doing something, they go, but that part doesn't do that.

4863.42 4864.68 C: So there's no way it could work.

4864.68 4869.64 C: It's like, yeah, but there are other parts that you're not really understanding how they work.

4869.64 4874.72 S: Cara, did you come across the the opposite of the fallacy of composition?

4874.72 4875.72 S: Composition?

4875.72 4876.72 S: Yeah.

4876.72 4877.72 C: What's the opposite?

4877.72 4878.72 S: The fallacy of division.

4878.72 4879.72 S: The fallacy of division.

4879.72 4880.72 S: Yeah.

4880.72 4886.72 S: So it's just basically going the other direction saying that what's true for the whole must be true of each individual part.

4886.72 4887.96 S: Oh, wow.

4887.96 4891.32 S: Which is not obviously not necessarily follow either.

4891.32 4892.76 B: Adams can think.

4892.76 4894.56 C: Yeah, Adams can think.

4894.56 4897.56 C: Well, and the thing is, there are whole philosophies based around that.

4897.56 4898.56 C: Exactly.

4898.56 4901.00 S: I was just going to say that's a very Eastern philosophy.

4901.00 4906.64 S: So pretty much all of these philosophies based on the fallacy of division.

4906.64 4910.76 S: Not entirely, but that's definitely woven through there a lot.

4910.76 4911.76 S: Good job, Cara.

4911.76 4916.84 S: I thought I would get you on that one because we haven't mentioned it on the show before.

4916.84 4921.44 S: But yeah, Google only works, though, if you understand the essence of the fallacy.

Science or Fiction (1:22:01)[edit]

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

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Item #2: _item_text_from_show_notes_[6]
Item #3: _item_text_from_show_notes_[7]

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_Host_ Explains Item #_n_[edit]

_Host_ Explains Item #_n_[edit]

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4921.44 4924.52 S: All right, guys, let's move on to science or fiction.

4924.52 4937.12 C: It's time for science or fiction.

4937.12 4945.96 S: Each week I come up with three science news items or facts, two real and one fake, and I challenge my panel of skeptics to tell me which one is the fake.

4945.96 4948.28 S: You have a theme this week.

4948.28 4952.36 S: It's a holiday themed theme.

4952.36 4954.92 S: And the theme is the North Pole.

4954.92 4955.92 S: The North Pole.

4955.92 4956.92 E: Of Earth?

4956.92 4957.92 E: Yes.

4957.92 4958.92 C: The real North Pole.

4958.92 4961.04 S: The North Pole of Earth.

4961.04 4963.08 S: There are many North Poles.

4963.08 4966.44 S: This is an early holiday gift from me because I suspect this is-

4966.44 4970.04 B: Magnetic North or- This is going to be-

S: Don't get ahead of yourself, Bob.

4970.04 4975.64 S: I tried to make this one easier than a typical science fiction, but we'll see how you do.

4975.64 4978.72 S: I know it's kind of mean of me to say that up front in case anybody doesn't get it.

4978.72 4979.72 S: Right, when we all tell you.

4979.72 4980.72 E: Oh, great.

4980.72 4983.04 S: Here's a softball.

4983.04 4984.64 S: Here we go.

4984.64 4991.48 S: Item number one, the geographic North Pole has the coldest average temperature of any place on Earth.

4991.48 4996.84 S: Item number two, the North Pole has no time zone.

4996.84 5006.16 S: And item number three, in 2007, Russia planted a flag on the sea floor beneath the North Pole as a symbolic claim to this territory.

5006.16 5010.92 S: Cara, you went last last week, so you get to go first this week.

5010.92 5012.24 C: Oh, gosh.

5012.24 5013.72 C: And you said it was a softball.

5013.72 5016.80 C: And I'm like, I have no idea.

5016.80 5022.78 C: Did Russia plant a flag on the sea floor beneath the North Pole?

5022.78 5024.48 C: Sounds like something they would do.

5024.48 5028.16 C: Like, I know it's not Antarctica, it's the other side.

5028.16 5029.96 C: So it's water with ice.

5029.96 5035.40 C: They would have had to get under some of that sea ice and plant a flag.

5035.40 5036.40 C: Okay.

5036.40 5039.76 C: There's no time zone.

5039.76 5042.72 C: Makes sense because time zones are split up longitudinally, right?

5042.72 5044.40 C: Oh, gosh, are they?

5044.40 5047.28 C: Yeah, Greenwich Mean Time, it goes vertically.

5047.28 5057.96 C: So it makes sense that if you were at the North Pole, you could like fly around in every single time zone or you could like run across every time zone really, really fast because all those lines have to converge somewhere.

5057.96 5060.64 C: Also, what reason is there for a time zone?

5060.64 5062.42 C: There's like no one up there.

5062.42 5068.08 C: And then the question is, the geographic North Pole has the coldest average temperature of any place on Earth.

5068.08 5078.14 C: That one sits out to me as an outlier simply because I think that there's more than just it's a pole that makes it cold.

5078.14 5085.24 C: I think there's probably, you know, different currents in the air that make certain areas trap cold more and things like that.

5085.24 5087.28 C: So that one is the one that sort of bothers me.

5087.28 5093.96 C: So I'm going to say the fiction is that the geographic North Pole is not as cold as some other places on Earth on average.

5093.96 5094.96 B: Okay, Bob.

5094.96 5099.36 B: Yeah, a lot of what Cara said was obviously seemed pretty spot on.

5099.36 5102.52 B: It seems like something Russia would absolutely do.

5102.52 5103.52 B: And no time zone.

5103.52 5114.80 B: Yeah, I mean, sure, the, you know, the time zones aren't sacrosanct, like the, you know, lines of longitude and latitude, because, you know, people are quirky and borders are quirky.

5114.80 5122.68 B: So you could do anything with the time zones, you can make a little area in the North Pole that's like whatever time you want, but no one's there who cares.

5122.68 5127.44 B: So I think it doesn't make any sense to say that there's a note that there's a time zone there.

5127.44 5128.44 B: So I agree with number two.

5128.44 5131.08 B: And for some reason, I'm thinking the South Pole is colder than the North.

5131.08 5132.44 B: So I'll say that's fiction.

5132.44 5133.44 S: Okay, Jay.

5133.44 5144.38 J: So Russia planted a flag on the seafloor beneath the North Pole, you know, basically to say this is their territory, but I'm sure I mean, that sounds like something that some country would do.

5144.38 5145.38 J: Why not Russia?

5145.38 5148.68 J: And I'm sure every other country was like, yeah, no.

5148.68 5152.10 J: The North Pole has no time zone.

5152.10 5161.50 J: You know, you would think if you follow the way time zones go that it would have all the time zones.

5161.50 5164.72 J: But then I would think they probably just pick a time zone for it.

5164.72 5167.24 J: It's got to have some time zone they can't have.

5167.24 5169.20 J: They can't be time zoneless.

5169.20 5172.84 J: I mean, you know, how could it not have a time zone?

5172.84 5176.82 J: Then what time is it when you're there?

5176.82 5178.88 B: Whatever time you want.

5178.88 5179.88 B: Whatever next step you take.

5179.88 5180.88 B: Pick your home time zone.

5180.88 5181.88 B: That's what time it is.

5181.88 5184.00 J: The coldest average temperature.

5184.00 5187.12 J: You know, I don't know between the South Pole and the North Pole, which one's colder.

5187.12 5190.92 J: But that thing is, if there's tricky language here, it's the average temperature.

5190.92 5200.20 J: I mean, look, as much as I don't know about where the coldest place on Earth is and the average temperature, I think the North Pole has to have a time zone.

5200.20 5201.92 J: It has to have some type of time zone.

5201.92 5203.56 J: So I think that was the fiction.

5203.56 5204.96 S: Okay, and Evan.

5204.96 5208.84 E: Okay, the Russians with the flag on the seafloor.

5208.84 5212.48 E: I think that one's correct.

5212.48 5215.48 E: As a symbolic claim to this territory, right?

5215.48 5216.48 E: Whatever.

5216.48 5219.04 E: Symbolic is all it is.

5219.04 5220.44 E: But what about the time zone?

5220.44 5223.08 E: I think this one's science.

5223.08 5228.76 E: I wonder, you know, how big is the pole in terms of the time zone, though?

5228.76 5232.64 E: Is it, I mean, is it, it can't be a single point.

5232.64 5236.28 E: I mean, it has to be like a 10 foot radius or something.

5236.28 5245.96 E: So that might be the reason why, although that's probably really not helpful in this conversation or trying to figure it out.

5245.96 5258.00 E: Whereas the coldest average temperature of any place on Earth, I have a feeling North Pole experiences some of the perhaps coldest days, but maybe not average temperature.

5258.00 5259.76 E: I think that one's the trick there.

5259.76 5263.72 E: So I'll agree with Cara and Bob that that one's the fiction.

5263.72 5266.40 S: Okay, so you all agree on the third one.

5266.40 5272.44 S: In 2007, Russia planted a flag on the seafloor beneath the North Pole as a symbolic claim to this territory.

5272.44 5277.36 S: You all think this one is science and this one is science.

5277.36 5278.36 S: That is science.

5278.36 5281.04 S: So why did they plant it on the ocean floor?

5281.04 5282.04 S: Why did they bother doing that?

5282.04 5283.04 S: Because it's not going to be there.

5283.04 5284.04 C: Yeah, there's no land.

5284.04 5285.04 C: The ice is moving.

5285.04 5288.08 S: So they had the North Pole.

5288.08 5289.56 S: You plant your flag on the ice.

5289.56 5290.56 S: It'll move.

5290.56 5291.56 S: It won't be on the North Pole anymore.

5291.56 5293.24 S: They took a sub down there.

5293.24 5299.48 S: They put an aluminum flag on the seafloor roughly under the North Pole.

5299.48 5304.60 S: And it was all cagey about what it really meant.

5304.60 5314.80 S: Of course, other countries like Canada and the US were like, as Jay said, yeah, no, that's not that doesn't mean anything.

5314.80 5315.80 S: Like nobody.

5315.80 5318.00 S: Unless the international community recognizes it.

5318.00 5319.68 S: Nobody recognizes it means nothing.

5319.68 5321.08 S: You could put your flag wherever the hell you want.

5321.08 5322.08 S: It means nothing.

5322.08 5324.80 S: It's like they said, like, what is this, the 18th century where you think you can put your

5324.80 5327.76 E: flags like claiming outer space? No, sorry.

5327.76 5329.72 C: I mean, we did do that.

5329.72 5334.12 S: Russia was saying, no, we didn't claim the moon.

5334.12 5335.84 C: We just said, hey, we were here.

5335.84 5336.84 S: Yeah, that's all.

5336.84 5338.40 B: But yeah, you want to claim it.

5338.40 5339.40 B: Build infrastructure.

5339.40 5340.40 E: Well, Russia did.

5340.40 5342.12 E: They started with an aluminum flag.

5342.12 5343.64 E: Russia will expand.

5343.64 5346.36 S: It was very cagey about what this meant.

5346.36 5349.80 S: At first they said it was like a scientific expedition.

5349.80 5360.52 S: But then they said this is a new stage of developing Russia's polar riches, which is again, what this is really all about is that there's lots of stuff up there.

5360.52 5363.00 S: Oil gas, minerals.

5363.00 5371.44 S: And then Russia said, no, we were just demonstrating that the Russian continent extends to the North Pole.

5371.44 5374.92 S: That was sort of there was like, like, as if this is a geology.

5374.92 5377.08 C: Well, and it's long been Russia.

5377.08 5380.84 C: I mean, they do military training exercises.

5380.84 5391.32 C: They yeah, they it's long been known that like they're like when this ice melts or when we have access to areas up here that we didn't have access to before.

5391.32 5393.92 C: And there's oil and there's you know, like it's ours.

5393.92 5395.56 C: Yeah, we're gonna fight for it.

5395.56 5401.84 S: There's no question that they're doing this to try to test the waters as it were.

5401.84 5406.88 S: And one of them said that I am proud our country remains the leader in conquering the Arctic.

5406.88 5415.08 S: You know, they're they didn't come right out and say we claim the North Pole for Russia, but they were tiptoed right up to that line.

5415.08 5416.88 S: When did they do this?

5416.88 5417.88 S: 2007.

5417.88 5421.12 S: It says right in the thing.

5421.12 5423.76 B: Wait, you just put that there.

5423.76 5426.68 E: Yes, it was a trick, Bobby.

5426.68 5430.12 S: All right, well, guess we'll go these we'll take these in reverse order.

5430.12 5433.08 S: Either number two, the North Pole has no time zone.

5433.08 5434.52 S: Jay thinks that's the fiction.

5434.52 5436.32 S: Everyone else thinks that one is science.

5436.32 5438.64 S: And that one is science.

5438.64 5439.96 S: Yeah, baby.

5439.96 5442.86 S: Steve, I looked it up and it's it's vague.

5442.86 5447.16 S: It's that well, there's no official time zone at the North Pole.

5447.16 5452.36 J: I'm reading that it has Zulu time zone and then I'm reading that it has all the time zones.

5452.36 5454.68 S: Yeah, which is the same as saying it has no time zone.

5454.68 5458.88 S: But any one of the time zones.

5458.88 5464.40 S: There's if if you're visiting the North Pole, you can choose whatever time zone you want.

5464.40 5465.40 B: You can.

5465.40 5471.54 S: And I said, yeah, most people will synchronize it to their home time zone.

5471.54 5472.54 S: Whatever is convenient.

5472.54 5476.08 S: But there is no one time zone for the North Pole.

5476.08 5478.40 S: It could because again, because there's no permanent population.

5478.40 5482.20 S: So there's no point in assigning it a permanent time zone.

5482.20 5486.72 S: And because it kind of encompasses all the time zones, you could just take your pick.

5486.72 5489.12 S: So it does not have any official time zone.

5489.12 5490.98 S: There is no North Pole time zone.

5490.98 5492.04 C: I love that.

5492.04 5493.32 C: That's cool and weird.

5493.32 5499.56 S: Now, as opposed to the the this, you know, the South Pole, because it is New Zealand time.

5499.56 5501.64 S: There's there are there's permanent bases there.

5501.64 5506.60 S: And so they need to have like a more of a long time zone, a reference point.

5506.60 5508.36 S: But they don't all use the same time zone.

5508.36 5513.20 S: A lot of them do still synchronize their time zones to their home country.

5513.20 5514.20 S: But they do.

5514.20 5515.20 S: Yeah, but they do.

5515.20 5519.24 S: And it's more ambiguous with the South Pole.

5519.24 5523.44 S: The North Pole, it's very clear there is no official time zone on the North Pole.

5523.44 5526.96 J: I'm reading here that they use GMT like most people use GMT.

5526.96 5529.12 S: Yeah, but they can choose to use that.

5529.12 5530.12 S: They choose to use GMT.

5530.12 5538.32 B: Yeah, Jay, it says here submarines, which are the main vessels that would be around the North Pole, typically keep UTC or GMT Zulu.

5538.32 5539.76 B: That's just by convention.

5539.76 5541.12 B: That's just that's their decision.

5541.12 5546.92 B: You could you could say, I mean, the first five websites I looked at, they all said it's meaningless.

5546.92 5548.80 B: There is no official time zone.

5548.80 5549.80 B: You lost.

5549.80 5550.80 B: Suck it up.

5550.80 5551.80 J: I don't agree.

5551.80 5558.12 J: I mean, it's it's clearly not 100 percent hard and fast either way.

5558.12 5560.88 S: By any definition, there is no North Pole time zone.

5560.88 5562.84 S: The North Pole has no time zone.

5562.84 5569.00 S: People may choose to use a time zone when they're there, but that does not mean that that's the North Pole's time zone.

5569.00 5571.16 S: And anyone can use whatever time zone they want.

5571.16 5573.64 S: I mean, I think it's totally invent your own.

5573.64 5574.64 C: Invent your own.

5574.64 5575.64 C: Yeah, it's a good idea.

5575.64 5576.64 C: Like those weird countries that are on the half hour.

5576.64 5579.44 E: Yeah, or on the 45 minute mark or something.

5579.44 5580.44 S: All right.

5580.44 5581.44 S: Let's go back to number one.

5581.44 5585.44 S: The geographic North Pole has the coldest average temperature of any place on Earth.

5585.44 5593.60 S: That, of course, is the fiction because the South Pole kicks the North Pole's ass when it comes to being cold.

5593.60 5594.80 S: And Cara, you're correct.

5594.80 5597.48 S: It's not just about being on the pole.

5597.48 5602.32 S: The Antarctica has two features which make it much colder than the North Pole.

5602.32 5604.20 B: Well, it's at the bottom of the Earth and the heat rises.

5604.20 5605.20 B: So, you know, it's cold.

5605.20 5606.20 C: Oh, that's right.

5606.20 5607.20 C: It's really far away from the sun.

5607.20 5608.20 C: Come on.

5608.20 5609.20 S: Yeah, that's...

5609.20 5618.20 S: So one is that it has a much higher elevation than the North Pole because there are actually mountains in the South Pole, whereas again, the North Pole...

5618.20 5619.20 S: Mountain North Pole is sea level.

5619.20 5620.20 S: It's just sea level.

5620.20 5622.32 S: It's just ice on top of the water.

5622.32 5629.84 S: And two, the Antarctica is more remote from the ocean currents, whereas the Arctic ocean currents warm the North Pole.

5629.84 5630.84 S: There you go.

5630.84 5632.08 S: That's probably most of it.

5632.08 5634.60 E: And that's why Santa chose North over South.

5634.60 5635.60 S: Let's face it.

5635.60 5636.60 S: That's more balmy.

5636.60 5637.60 S: That's definitely the reason.

5637.60 5638.84 S: More resolubility.

5638.84 5641.68 S: To give you an idea, the coldest place...

5641.68 5644.72 S: We've actually mentioned on the show what the coldest place on Earth is.

5644.72 5647.16 S: It's the Vostok Station in Antarctica.

5647.16 5648.68 E: Yes, Vostok.

5648.68 5649.68 S: The ice core.

5649.68 5650.68 E: You guys remember that?

5650.68 5651.68 E: Yeah, they drill holes in the ice.

5651.68 5652.68 E: Dig down.

5652.68 5653.68 S: Yeah.

5653.68 5659.20 S: The temperature gets down to negative 128 degrees, I think is the coldest temperature recorded.

5659.20 5660.20 S: That's Fahrenheit, of course.

5660.20 5661.20 S: Of course, it's Fahrenheit.

5661.20 5662.20 S: Minus 89.2 Celsius.

5662.20 5663.20 S: That debate is settled.

5663.20 5678.92 S: And the Arctic, the North Pole, in the summer, the average temperature is 32 degrees.

5678.92 5679.92 S: 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

5679.92 5681.92 S: Wait, it's just freezing?

5681.92 5686.96 S: Yeah, they're just barely freezing at the warmest point during the summer.

5686.96 5689.92 S: In the winter, it gets down to like minus 40 on average.

5689.92 5693.28 S: The South Pole is like minus 70 on average.

5693.28 5696.20 S: It's much colder average temperature.

5696.20 5699.64 S: And the coldest temperatures are much, much colder as well.

5699.64 5702.40 S: So yeah, elevation and distance from the ocean.

5702.40 5703.40 S: Currents.

5703.40 5709.40 S: There are many places on Earth that are much colder than the North Pole or any place in the Arctic.

5709.40 5711.32 S: So that one is definitely the fiction.

5711.32 5715.56 J: Steve, if you were to measure the temperature in the North Pole.

5715.56 5716.56 J: Yeah.

5716.56 5720.60 J: And then somebody says, okay, so what's the temperature in the North Pole?

5720.60 5724.92 J: And you say, you know, it's minus 20 degrees right now.

5724.92 5727.96 J: And then the guy goes, well, what time?

5727.96 5730.60 J: What do you mean right now?

5730.60 5737.72 J: Then because there's no answer to that, then you could not actually say what temperature it is there.

5737.72 5738.72 J: Yeah.

5738.72 5743.72 E: Which Jay has a point.

5743.72 5745.72 C: He's so mad.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:35:45)[edit]

– AUTHOR (YYYY-YYYY), _short_description_

5745.72 5748.64 S: Evan, give us a quote.

5748.64 5752.92 E: This week's quote, courtesy of listener Tim V from Ireland.

5752.92 5754.04 E: Thank you, Tim.

5754.04 5760.80 E: He writes, here's a quote suggestion from a recently posted video from Kurzgesagt.

5760.80 5771.68 E: So that's a YouTube animation website and series of videos in which they try to make things easy to understand, especially with science.

5771.68 5772.68 E: Here's the quote.

5772.68 5778.24 E: Science is a process to work towards gaining knowledge and not an absolute truth generator.

5778.24 5787.28 E: The answers it provides are multi-layered and nuanced, and that complexity can get lost when it's simplified, especially when it's done so for headlines.

5787.28 5790.24 E: An interesting cancer study turns into a potential cure.

5790.24 5793.80 E: A healthy food becomes the basis for a new diet.

5793.80 5800.28 E: Such simplifications give a misleading definitiveness to science, which goes against its process like nature.

5800.28 5802.60 S: Yeah, that's what we deal with every day.

5802.60 5803.60 S: Right.

5803.60 5805.32 S: As science communicators.

5805.32 5810.62 S: The trick is, and of course, I face this as a physician every day.

5810.62 5816.12 S: That's all true, but we also have to make decisions based upon the existing science.

5816.12 5822.96 S: So it's like making decisions in the absence of perfect information or perfect knowledge and acknowledging both.

5822.96 5827.60 S: Like, it is a process and the process never ends.

5827.60 5829.84 S: But that doesn't mean we could never do anything.

5829.84 5830.84 S: Right.

5830.84 5834.76 S: Because that leads to, we can't be 100 percent sure that global warming is true.

5834.76 5836.76 S: So let's do nothing.

5836.76 5841.60 S: You have to be able to make decisions with the information you have at the time without.

5841.60 5849.04 S: And it's OK to simplify things so that they're useful, but not oversimplify them so that they're misleading.

5849.04 5851.20 S: And that's that's the tricky part.

5851.20 5852.98 S: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

5852.98 5853.98 S: It's a balancing act.

5853.98 5854.98 S: Yeah, absolutely.

5854.98 5855.98 S: All right.

5855.98 5856.98 S: Thanks, Evan.

Signoff (1:37:36)[edit]

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

5856.98 5858.94 S: Thank you guys all for joining me this week.

5858.94 5865.84 S: This was our last regular show of the year of 2021.

5865.84 5869.84 S: Next week is a show we recorded when we were in Colorado.

5869.84 5875.08 S: And then the week after that would be our year to get the emails about that year and review show.

5875.08 5876.60 S: And then then it's a new year.

5876.60 5879.76 S: Twenty twenty two is almost upon us.

5879.76 5881.44 S: So we'll see you guys next week.

5881.44 5889.86 S: So if you're listening to the show, you have a few days to email us your your votes, your choices for your favorite bits from from twenty twenty one.

5889.86 5894.52 S: Just anything you liked about twenty to me in science news stories, guests, you know,

5894.52 5899.72 B: please give your feedback. We need it desperately.

5899.72 5907.28 S: And every year, one or more of our listeners has run the stats on science or fiction for us, which we greatly appreciate that.

5907.28 5911.70 S: So if anybody out there wants to do it this year, please feel free.

5911.70 5914.72 S: We use all that information in the year end show.

5914.72 5915.72 S: So we're looking forward to that.

5915.72 5918.00 S: We record that one next week.

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[8]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description



  1. Israeli firm uses air and water to store solar energy for nighttime
  2. Neurologica: Zoom Fatigue
  3. Challenging Einstein
  4. James Webb Space Telescope Nasa: Webb Launching
  5. [url_from_SoF_show_notes PUBLICATION: TITLE]
  6. [url_from_SoF_show_notes PUBLICATION: TITLE]
  7. [url_from_SoF_show_notes PUBLICATION: TITLE]
  8. [url_for_TIL publication: title]


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