SGU Episode 887

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SGU Episode 887
July 9th 2022
887 LIDAR scanning.png
Using Polycam 3D scanning app for "Backup Ukraine"
SGU 886 SGU 888
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
G: George Hrab
DS: Dave Stanton
Quote of the Week
Don't keep your minds so open that your brains fall out!
Walter Kotschnig, U.S. political expert
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic

Introduction, updates on missing Rogues[edit]

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


G: Gentlemen! It's been far too long. It's been, what, four weeks? Three weeks? Eight weeks? What's it been? (Transcriptionist’s note: July 6 was 14 weeks after March 27!)

Recording Audiobooks (1:43)[edit]

Robot Narrators (5:52)[edit]

Special Segment: The Fate of Fireworks (15:03)[edit]


E: Steve, didn't we have a Science or Fiction about the earliest firearms recently?[link needed]

News Items[edit]






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

Universal Coronavirus Vaccine (23:19)[edit]

Preserving Ukraine's Landmarks (40:44)[edit]

Detecting Particles with Gravitational Waves (52:01)[edit]

Who Owns the Moon? (1:00:37)[edit]

S: ... We've talked about this before, [link needed] but this is now rearing up again.


Question #1: What is a Skeptic? (1:09:54)[edit]

A skeptic is defined as someone who questions "factual" evidence and maintains a "doubting" attitude. This is contrary to what I believe your show is about, in terms of convincing people that their belief in pseudo-science is invalid. My question is, what is the best way to overcome the conventional attitude associated with the word skeptic when trying to make a valid argument with someone who questions the foundation upon which the argument is built? Questioning the questioner?

– Nicholas O'Meara, Australia

Interview with Dave Stanton (1:14:32)[edit]

Dave Stanton, paleogeneticist and Research Associate at Queen Mary University of London

Science or Fiction (1:33:16)[edit]

Theme: Weird Science

Item #1: Shortly after Alfred Wegner proposed his theory of continental drift in 1912, English geologist, Henry Peckingham, proposed that the primary mechanism was the prevailing wind and ocean currents pushing the continents, a theory that enjoyed substantial, although minority, support into the 1930s.
Item #2: Dr. Henry Cotton became the famous superintendent of the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital from 1907 to 1933, during which time he and his assistants removed 11,000 teeth and performed 645 surgeries to remove organs in the belief this would cure mental illness.
Item #3: In 1894 Hanns Hörbiger developed his World Ice Doctrine, the notion that ice is the fundamental building block of the universe, a theory that remained popular until 1945, and was even officially adopted by Hitler and his government.

Answer Item
Fiction continents are pushed
Science removing teeth & organs
world ice doctrine
Host Result
Steve swept
Rogue Guess
continents are pushed
continents are pushed
continents are pushed

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

Bob's Response[edit]

George's Response[edit]

Evan's Response[edit]

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:54:32)[edit]

Don't keep your minds so open that your brains fall out!
Walter Kotschnig (1901-1985), American political expert, from a speech given on November 8, 1939

Signoff/Announcements ()[edit]

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

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


Today I Learned[edit]

  • Fact/Description, possibly with an article reference[7]
  • Fact/Description
  • Fact/Description




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