SGU Episode 947

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SGU Episode 947
September 2nd 2023
947 arizona saguaro.png

The saguaro is a tree-like cactus species that can grow to be over 12m (40ft) tall.

SGU 946                      SGU 948

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

Among all the geographic areas of the United States, the Southwest in general and Arizona, in particular, is blessed with a panoramic beauty that almost defies description. Only a limited number of poets, painters, and photographers have been able to do justice to her splendor.

Marshall Trimble, AZ official state historian

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Show Notes
SGU Forum

Introduction, Live from Tucson, UAPs[edit]

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

S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. (applause) Today is Saturday, December 17th, 2022, and this is your host, Steven Novella. (applause) Joining me this week are Bob Novella...

B: Hey, everybody! (applause)

S: Cara Santa Maria...

C: Howdy. (applause)

S: Jay Novella...

J: Hey guys. (applause)

S: Evan Bernstein...

E: Good evening undisclosed location! (applause)

S: And George Hrabb...

G: Oh, hi! (applause)

S: So we are recording, as the listeners can probably tell in front of a live audience, here in Tucson, Arizona. (applause) Now you might think it's warm in Arizona. (laughter) You'd be wrong. It's December, but yeah, we knew it was going to be hot. But it was pretty chilly today. I'm looking at a room of people wearing coats and scarves.

J: I've been to Phoenix many times, always in the summer. I actually expected it to be like 60s. High 60s maybe. But yeah, it's cold.

G: Steve, I got to say, like many people, I watched the Beatles get back special last year, and I was yelling this town's name at one point because they're writing the song, Get Back, and they're trying to think of what goes with Tucson, Arizona, something left, something Arizona, something. I'm yelling, Tucson, Tucson, Arizona, the lyric is, come on, Paul, come on, John. And then they do it and you go.

B: Nice, nice.

G: And here we are, Tucson, Arizona.

B: That was a great documentary.

G: Unbelievable.

B: I want to watch it again. It was so amazing.

G: I have a question. Since we are in a hotel here, how do these car keys work? Car keys, card keys work?

S: They're magnetic.

B: You press them against a plate.

G: You're magnetic. Where's the, like, and then what?

C: So a magnet is...

G: No, I know, I know, but like, isn't it an RFID chip or what is it? Is it a chip in here? It's super thin, right?

E: Yep. Flexible.

J: You just ruined that key.

G: But is it a chip or is it a magnet thing?

J: It's a chip. That chip has a, like an ID number that the reader has to be matched with.

G: How thin and tiny is this chip that's in here?

E: About that thin.

G: But I don't even, like, I was trying to peel it apart. I was trying to see if it was like...

E: Don't do that.

J: George, it's definitely inside the plastic and it's super small. It doesn't need to be big.

G: So not magnets?

J: No, it's not magnetic.

G: So they used to be magnets. Oh, you used to have a strip.

C: Well, I think they used to have a strip.

S: The reader was magnetic.

C: Right, you used to swipe them.

S: Is the reader magnetic? It's a lot, well, so this is what happened. Bob and I are staying in the same room. I get there first. My card key doesn't work. And they literally put me in the room that was as far away from the front desk as you can possibly get it.

C: Somehow they did that for all of our rooms.

G: Because they knew that was the party room.

S: So then I had to go all the way back, tell them my card key isn't working. They reprogram it. I go back and it still doesn't work.

B: Meanwhile, I went there and tried my key and that didn't work.

S: So then we had to go back again. But we figured out, Bob and I did a little experiment. We tried our key on another door and a red light beat came up. And then we tried it on our door and no lights. So the keys were the problem. The door was broken. And then they said the battery must be dead. Like what? They were like, so wait a minute. Every door in this hotel has a battery in the reader? And some jackass has to go around changing all of those batteries? How frequently do they go out? Bob was like, didn't they hardwire? Yeah, but where would the wire go? It's a door.

C: Yeah, you couldn't. Yeah, it's a battery. Yeah, my door at home has a keypad and it's battery also. They last pretty long. I mean, I think if you use lithium ions, they last longer.

B: I thought it'd be more than six months. I would figure out maybe it's like 12 or 16 months.

C: It probably depends on the model.

S: But what is there 1,000 rooms in this hotel that means it's got to be going dead every day?

J: That's why they have the maintenance guys.

E: They're supposed to keep track of that stuff, like the heat.

S: The best part of the transition from the incandescent to LED bulbs is I'm not changing bulbs every single day. I was changing them all the time, just in my house. You got to get up on a stool or whatever. Now it's like I haven't changed a bulb in years.

E: Oh, gosh.

S: It's wonderful.

E: 17 years.

S: So this morning, breaking news, this show's coming out in a while, but we have to talk about it. The Pentagon had an updated announcement about their UFO investigation program, their UAPs, right?

E: Oh, finally.

S: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.

E: Here it is.

S: A big announcement, huge announcement. They're going to be putting out NFTs of UFOs. (laughter)

E: Oh, wow.

B: Superhero UFOs.

C: Win a chance to win a trip to the Pentagon.

S: The UAP now stands for Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, as opposed to Aerial Phenomena.

B: It's the same initialism.

S: Same initialism. Very clever.

B: Which is a good one.

E: Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena. How nebulous can you get?

S: Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena. I know.

C: But that's the point.

S: That's the point.

C: We don't know what it is.

S: The reason for the change is that they also want to investigate anomalies in the water. So they're not aerial. And what they call transmedium phenomena, so that things that go from the water to the air or vice versa.

B: Or space in the air.

S: Even though they haven't found any yet, they wanted to have a name ready to go in case they do find it.

E: Very forward thinking.

S: Yeah. They also said, by the way, we have extreme methods of surveillance. Just so you know. We can't tell you what they are. And enough said. But you know.

B: That was it.

S: But you know.

E: George, that key you were holding up earlier? Just saying. I'm just saying.

G: Do you have extreme methods of surveillance?

S: But think about it.

G: But aliens are not real?

S: Think about Google Earth. Think about what the military must have. Right? And for decades they've had this crap.

B: And satellite coverage.

S: There are spaceships flying around and they don't know about it.

E: I'm curious, anyone in this audience ever work for government agency?

S: Or currently working for government agency.

E: Are there things that we at the public have absolutely no clue about? Thumbs up. Thank you very much. That's all we need to know.

B: Can we interrogate you? I mean, talk to you later?

S: Hey, we consulted for the CIA.

E: Yes, we did.

B: That was cool.

S: We legit did. Some people were not happy about that. But we're like, well, yeah, we can work for the government.

G: It was jst a mailman, isn't it?

C: A mailman for the US Air Force.

G: That's right.

S: There's a third thing that I pulled out of their announcement. And that was, they said, regarding whether or not we've identified any alien activity on Earth, no. (laughter) The bottom line is, no.

E: Which is better than them leaving the question unanswered. Because that's the space in which all the kooky people operate. That is their home base, right?

S: But now they move over to the government's lying. So it's not like it shuts them down. They just change their narrative slightly.

B: It never shut them down.

Special Report: P-22 puma put down (7:25)[edit]

C: So Steve, I have a, there's something else that was actually 30 minutes ago that was just announced. It's a very sad thing. So I want to get it over with at the top of the show. But I feel like if we don't talk about it, I'm not doing somebody who's been very close to me in my life, as an Angelino, justice. But for those of you who are actually from Arizona, then you may keep up with the news in California about our resident mountain lion, P-22.

E: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

C: He was just euthanized about 30 minutes ago.

S: Oh, P-22.

C: We kind of knew that something was coming. We darted and captured him a couple of days ago. He's been increasingly acting out, erratic. He's much older than anybody expected him to live. He's been alone in Griffith Park now for many, many years. He was discovered soon after I moved to LA. And an adult male mountain lion usually needs 200 square miles at least to roam. And he's been roaming in about, I think, eight square miles for years.

E: So it's practically captivity.

C: Yeah, but he chose it, right? So he escaped the Santa Monica Mountains, which most of them do. They cross several freeways to get to whatever place they want to roam. He chose to stick around in Griffith Park with no mates and no other members of his species at all. And he lived pretty, well, I wouldn't say successfully, but he was doing well for a while. But within the past few months he's been acting out, he approached a person and ate their chihuahua, which was problematic. He had previously eaten a koala at the zoo, which is hilarious. And nobody was really that upset about that because they left the koala out. But the fact that he was moving more into residential areas, the fact that he was unafraid to approach people was worrisome. They darted him, captured him. He was severely malnourished. He had a little bit of mange. It looks like he had been hit by a car and they don't think that he's going to, or they didn't think that there was a good way to recover him safely. So they opted, which was the right choice, but a very sad choice because it's the end of an era in Los Angeles. Oh yeah, P22 is a hometown hero. And he is the reason, actually I should give a big shout out to my friend Beth Pratt, who is the California lead of the National Wildlife Federation, who really single-handedly, her and her team are responsible for giving P22 an identity, like a Facebook page, and they really helped draw attention to the problem of non-connectivity of wildlife in LA. And so, but because of that, we have successfully, there's been enough money raised to build a wildlife crossing at the Santa Monica Mountains so that we can increase connectivity among these animals, which is a really big deal. It's not built yet. Obviously it's too late for P22, but.

G: Why was that his name?

C: Oh, so Puma 22. Yeah, so they're all collared in the order that they were captured and collared.

B: So why not a better name?

C: We did, we did. We did a drawing. Everybody voted in LA. And P22 won.

S: Oh yeah?

C: Yeah, like they put out, let's name him a beloved name, and people voted on names, and people wrote in P22 because they knew him as P22. That's his name.

S: It also makes him sound like a droid.

C: He's badass. Yeah, he was badass. And so, yeah, Puma is actually one of these cool species names where I think it's, in North America, in the English language, it's the animal that has the most different names for the same animal. It's like Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther, Cougar, Catamount, yeah, that's all the same species.

G: That's all the same animal?

C: Yeah.

G: Wow.

C: I know, it's cool.

G: Oh, that's cool.

C: Yeah, so P22, we will miss you, and we love you.

S: Yeah, we definitely have to learn to live more seamlessly with wildlife, and the corridors is critical. We've isolated them. They can't mate. They can't roam around.

E: The ones they have in Europe are amazing. These entire land bridges that go over there.

C: That's what we're building. In LA, yeah.

E: Oh, they're incredible. Look them up on YouTube, they're amazing.

C: That's incredible. Yeah, look up Liberty Canyon Crossing. That's the one that we're building.

News Items[edit]

Toughest Metal (11:26)[edit]

S: All right, we're gonna start with a couple of quick news items, and we have a couple of discussion topics for you to get to, some more news items. We're gonna mix it up a little bit. Bob, you're gonna start us off by telling us about the world's toughest metal.

B: Yeah, this is a fascinating story. The scientists discovered the toughest recorded metal ever.

E: Define tough.

S: Of ever?

B: I shall, I shall. Chromium, cobalt, and nickel.

G: No, it's Pantera. That's the hardest recorded metal, come on.

B: So this is researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Oakland, and so this is chromium cobalt nickel is a HEA high entropy alloy, which you may not have heard of. So most alloys that you're familiar with, it's got, there's a primary metal in there, and then there's like doped with smaller amounts of other ones to make it an alloy. These alloys, HEAs, have pretty much equal amounts. So it's pretty much an equal amount of chromium, cobalt, and nickel in this metal. They were discovered 20 years ago, and scientists wanted to, were experimenting with it, and they put it into liquid nitrogen, and its toughness was like off the hook. We've all seen the experiment, you put the rose in liquid nitrogen, and then it smashes, and that's what happens to pretty much almost everything you put in something that cold. It gets crazy brittle, and metals are no exception. But this was very tough, and it actually got even, seemed to get a little bit tougher as it got colder. So they wanted to figure out, all right, what are we gonna do with that? Now, let me describe and answer your question, Evan. What does that mean? I mean, there's adjectives for metal, ways to describe metal that are very specific and technical, not colloquial at all. Hardness is one, which is resistance to scratching. And so if you have a drill bit, you wanna make it not only strong, but you wanna make it hard so that it's not gonna scratch. There's also toughness, which means that it doesn't, it's hard to make a permanent deformation in the metal. There's ductility, ductile metal is easy to shape and form in some regards. And so this one, it looked like it was tough, which is high strength and ductility, which is really hard, because usually it's a compromise. You want it, it's strong and a very strong and a little ductile or the opposite, but having it bolt at the same time is almost unheard of. And it's very, very, very rare and very desirable, as you might imagine. So they wanted to test it in liquid hydrogen. They wanted to get it a lot colder, say 20 Kelvin minus what, four, it's at 424 Fahrenheit. I don't know what that is in Celsius. So they wanted to do that, but they can't just like throw it into liquid hydrogen and test it, it took 10 years. It took them a decade to get to the point where they could find a facility that could not only test it, but also put it through its paces and then analyse the results. So it actually took them 10 years to do that, which is surprising. But I mean, the technology evolved and it takes a while, it took them 10 years. So once they got into liquid hydrogen, they did a test of fracture toughness. How tough is this? How resistant is it to fracturing, which is a critical measure? And the units they use, I never heard these units before, megapascals square root meters. All right, that's the unit, that's the unit. This measured at 500, this gave it a 500. And now to put that in context, see a quote from one of the co-leader researchers, Robert Ritchie. He said, "The toughness of a piece of silicon is one. The aluminium airframe in a passenger airplane is about 35. And the toughness of some of the best steels is around 100." So 500 is a staggering number. This is crazy tough. And at that low temperature, it's just like mind boggling.

S: I wonder if that would make it a good metal to use, a good alloy to use for like the hydrogen tanks on a rocket.

B: This is like a no brainer for like space applications. Cause like the vacuum of space, I mean, we're talking crazy temperature ranges.

C: Is it heavy?

B: I don't know, I don't know.

S: Well, nickel cobalt and chromium, so yes.

E: How much would you need?

B: Compared to like aluminium, I don't know.

S: Oh, it's heavier than aluminium.

B: Is it a deal breaker? Is it a deal breaker?

S: It's heavier than titanium, but maybe not as steel, I don't know. But those are heavy.

B: So I'll throw out another quote here from co-lead Easo George. He said, "When you design structural materials, you want them to be strong, but also ductile and resistant to fracture. Typically it's a compromise between these properties, but this material is both. Instead of becoming a little brittle at low temperatures, it gets tougher." Okay, so why is it so tough? And this was hard to put into.

G: Ha.

B: Ha ha. This was hard. I did a lot of reading how to put this into terms that are kind of like reasonable and not too technical based on what they were saying. So what happens is that they looked at this, they took atomic maps. They wanted to see why is this so tough? Is this something that's part of these high entropy alloys or is it specific to this one? They wanted to know what the atomic level, and that's what they did. They looked at the atomic level, and they saw exactly why this was so tough. And so what happens is you've got metals, which is like crystals. You've got a lattice structure of atoms, and there's imperfections. It's not perfect. There's imperfections that create dislocations, and those dislocations can move. So when you bend a spoon, you've got these dislocations that are kind of moving around and causing it to bend. But for some metals, these atomic obstacles arise. As you put force into the metal, these obstacles arise that prevent these dislocations from moving, and so it makes it stronger. With this metal, you put in some energy, and a specific type of obstacle arises to prevent it from fracturing. Then you put even a little bit more energy into it, and another type of obstacle arises. And it's got names, nanotwinning, and all these different technical names for them. But then, and that creates an obstacle, and that makes it stronger as well. And then you put even more force, and a third obstacle rears its head.

E: And these obstacles, do they get?

B: They prevent these dislocations from propagating and fracturing and snapping the metal.

E: And one's more resilient than the next?

B: Not necessarily, but it makes it resilient in kind of like a different way. So you have three of these. You have like a synergistic relationship between these different types of atomic obstacles that arise. There are different types of changes to the lattice. Okay? And they've seen these before. Other metals show them. You know, you could have nanotwinning in this metal, and another type of obstacle in this metal, but we've never seen these three appearing bam, bam, bam, one after the other, the more energy you put into it. So that's what makes this metal extremely tough. You've got this synergy between these three types of obstacles that arise, making it stronger, making it very hard to fracture and pull apart. So it's really an amazing metal. So I'm sure they're gonna pour a lot of research into this to see what other HEAs can do this and what different ways they can apply this specific chromium cobalt nickel to other space hardware or whatever. Cool stuff.

S: Unfortunately, the thing that comes to mind is that cobalt and nickel are both used in the lithium ion batteries, and they're running short. And so it's not like we have a lot of these around. Unless we mine asteroids over.

B: And that's why they're looking into other types of metals that are HEAs that could potentially have similar toughness.

S: Right. All right.

B: Cool.

Eyewear from Coffee Grounds (18:42)[edit]

S: All right, George.

G: Yes, sir.

S: You can make glasses out of coffee grounds?

'G: Ah, yeah. This is a story which is very near and dear to my heart because a place in Ukraine, I'm a first generation Ukrainian, have had my heart broken my entire life repeatedly with stories from Ukraine, from the history of its horrible famines, it's dealing with the Soviet Union, of course, Chernobyl, when I was in grade school or middle school, corruption, invasion, wars, and now the latest Putin insanity, which is happening. Well, a little piece of good news popped out. The Ukrainian people, and I say this proudly, are just unbelievably resilient, and they're fighting their way through what they're dealing with in ways that it's very inspiring. And it's also just reminds me not to complain about things, which is also a really good deal. You know, when I don't get the great parking spot, I always think like, oh, yeah, I have electricity today. A lot of the, in Kiev specifically, which is the capital city, there's a lot of businesses, restaurants, and coffee shops that have two menus. They have a menu for when power is available and a menu for when power is not available. So it's like, which menu today? Oh, no power, okay, so we got the cold salad and the not, you've got sandwiches, and oh, no, we have power today, so we can there's no bombs today, so we can have power. Well, one of the companies there is taking advantage of the fact that Kiev specifically is a very coffee-centric city. They love coffee shops, and coffee shops have been an essential thing during the war for people to get together, for people to get information, to disseminate information, and also just to have moments of sanity where they can just get together and forget about the outside world for just a minute or two. And these coffee shops keep producing tons and tons of coffee grounds. This one gentleman, Maxim Gavrilenko, figured out a way to take coffee grounds and turn them into basically a resin, which then can be made into eyeglasses.

S: Or really anything, right?

G: Really anything, but he's-

S: It's like a type of plastic.

G: It's the frame, yeah. It's basically a plastic that is completely organic, so he's taking these coffee grounds. The coffee shops, they just throw out. So they don't want this stuff, so they're like, take this, we don't, go, you can enjoy it, whatever.

C: They're probably paying to have this.

G: I wonder, they might, I think he's just got this deal where they just take it and they compress it. They combine it with some natural resins. There's no plastics involved. It's natural resins and some oils. And you get this very strong plastic-like structure, and they use it to make frames. The actual lens itself is a traditional plastic, because you can't make it quite good for that, for the clarity of that. But the frame is a coffee-based plastic frame, and it actually smells like coffee. So if you're a fan of coffee, when you first get your glasses, they say, when you open up the box, you're hit with this nice little burst of caffeinated goodness. And over time, it fades.

B: Oh, it doesn't work with decaf?

G: Yeah, I wonder, flavored, whatever.

S: Yeah, 2.0, and I want decaf.

G: But they biodegrade 10 times faster than regular materials. They are totally sustainable. They're a business model in terms of what they're doing, the waste that they're producing. They are trying to be totally environmentally friendly. You can order stuff online from them. They're called Ochis, O-C-H-I-S, which in Ukrainian, an oka is an eye, and ochis is eyes. So they're called ochis, which is this interesting Englishification of the, because ochi is plural, but they're called ochis, which I thought was really interesting. It's like, you can Google ochi. They're like 200 to 300 bucks, and they're really hip frames. They've got some really lovely designs. I haven't gotten a pair yet, but I plan to get a pair at some point. And it just made, it just gave me a warm little caffeinated heartbeat, more so than usual for my heartbeat. That really just felt nice that you can just, there we go, yeah. They're hip, they're cool, and apparently only, I think, 20% of their business is Ukrainian. The rest is international, that they've kind of gotten out there, and people are, and it's a wonderful way to support a Ukrainian business that is doing its dirtiest, not to just maintain environmental footprint and doing the right thing, but also supporting the whole community of the coffee baristas that are in Kiev that are trying to desperately have some moments of sanity and normalcy within this unbelievable situation.

S: I love the whole idea of upcycling, of taking what is essentially a waste stream from another industry and diverting that to become a raw material stream for a different industry.

G: It's like the fryer oil that runs cars. It's fantastic. There should be so many more things like that.

S: And there is a lot of that just because it's efficient. Like coal ash can be used for cement or whatever. There's all kinds of things like that, but emphasizing that, I think, there's definitely a lot of attention being paid to that because we do need to get to more of a circular economy where we're recycling or upcycling as much as possible and rather than relying on an endless stream of input of new, completely new material.

G: I saw a story, a woman in Africa who started a company, she takes plastic, like soda bottles, and makes bricks out of them. Bricks are three times stronger than cement and five times lighter, so they can actually build a house out of this stuff. That's the kind of thing.

J: This is the type of thing, there's lots of things that come into news that are like this. You know what I mean? There was an innovation, like this guy made plastic bags out of seaweed or something and then you could literally put them in water and they'd dissolve. And my question is, why isn't there massive adoption? Like these coffee frames, it's such a smart thing to do. The world is full of coffee grains, right? I wish that, like the big eyeglass companies online, I forget the Zenny or whatever, the ones that you and I have talked about. Wouldn't it be awesome if they were like, yeah, we're only gonna use this now because it's good for the environment. This is what Cara's talking about. We need to, I don't know, as consumers make decisions because the companies are gonna do what's in their best interest, the government isn't gonna tell companies what to do that much. They're not gonna say stop using plastics, but they should.

S: A lot of it comes down to economics, and I suspect the reason they're making frames for glasses is because it's something you could sell for a couple hundred dollars, right? If you were making something that had a market value of $20, it might not be worth doing it. So you just gotta find that niche. You gotta find that thing that makes economic sense, not just technological sense.

G: People are used to spending X on this product. We're gonna substitute that with a very low, or a high profit margin, which also has the ecological benefits and stuff. So yeah, that's the sweet spot. Find those products, like the plastic bags. That's a great thing.

S: All right.

Asides: Bags, raccoons, and bears (25:48)[edit]

B: Jay, those bags that dissolve in water, so if it rains, you're...

S: While you're on the way from the store, yeah, it's raining.

J: But it's still the idea.

G: No, it takes a couple weeks or something, but it does eventually dissolve. You can get them wet, but it's not like made of sugar. (laughter) Cotton candy bag, this is great. This is terrible.

E: Why, what?

J: You ever see the video?

C: With the raccoon?

J: The raccoon, it puts the cotton candy in the water, and it just...

C: It's so sad.

J: You can just tell the raccoon was like, what the hell just happened?

C: So sad.

S: Raccoons are super smart.

C: I know, it's like he was trying to rinse it off or something, and then it just disappeared.

J: I have a raccoon that visits my house all the time. I know you do too, Steve, because you have bird feed on it.

S: They have a family of them.

J: Well, you have a bear that came on your porch and he... Parked its ass there.

S: Multiple times, multiple times.

J: Right on Steve's porch, and he was eating bird seed out of the bucket.

S: He was balancing on the rail at one point.

G: Did you film it? Do you have pictures?

E: Well, during our live stream, it happened.

S: We have, yeah.

E: Remember that?

S: There's a neighborhood black bear. Gorgeous animal. Gorgeous. Perfect coat of fur.

G: B-22? (laughter)

S: No, he gets spotted all the time.

C: Is he collared? Do they collar bears?

S: Not collared.

C: They might ear tag them. Yeah, they probably ear tag them.

S: Yeah, I think he might have a tag. I think he might have an ear tag, but he...

C: He probably does if he's in the neighborhood.

S: He comes up on our deck. And I can usually tell, because my dog goes crazy, and he has a different bark.

E: Yeah, the bear bark.

G: Really?

S: Yeah, when there's an animal on the deck, it's a different bark than any other bark. But he has the same bark for raccoons as he does for the bears, so you don't know what you're gonna get.

E: You have to fix that.

S: So you were saying?

B: My favourite raccoon video was a raccoon walking on two legs, two legs, and scoops some dog food and walks away with it. What's happening? Just don't expect that to happen.

G: That was the Avengers, Bob.

E: It had a big gun, and it pointed at the spaceship.

J: Raccoons don't really have front paws. They have hands.

C: They do.

J: They can articulate their hands. So this one raccoon, we know each other now. Like, this has happened a couple of times where sometimes I'll take a bag of garbage and I'll put it in the garage and not take it to the bin because it's too cold, and I'm just like, all right, fine. It's not gonna stink in there because it's cold, right? So I open the garage door. I'm doing the garbage one night. I go back inside, come back out, and the raccoon dragged one of the garbage bags out into the driveway. And I'm literally like, I see you. I know it's you, bastard.

B: The raccoon says, hi, Jay.

J: But he's not afraid of me. He's not afraid.

S: They got balls.

J: We have a 10-foot buffer that he will allow, he or she, whatever, will allow. So I had the bird feeder that you gave me, right? So the little son of a bitch is out there, and he knows, he hits the thing, and some bird seed falls out. And I think, it wasn't on this big pole. It was right near the ledge where he could do it. So he's doing that. So I come out, and he sees me. We have that moment. You know, I'm like, okay. Then I walk towards him, and he takes a step back. And it's literally like this. He knows, we don't get any further or closer to each other. But I'm so curious to know a tamed one, kinda tamed, what are they like? What kind of pets?

S: They're terrible pets.

J: They've gotta rip your house apart, right?

S: Yeah, because they pee everywhere. But also, the worst thing about raccoons is that their go-to move is to bite. And so that's what they do. If they get upset, they get scared, they go whatever, they bite. And so they're just terrible pets. Do not have a raccoon as a pet.

G: That's Jay's rule, though, too. (laughter)

C: Jay makes a bad pet.

Special Segment: Separating Art from Artists (29:30)[edit]

S: All right, so we're going to take a break from the news items to do a discussion topic.

B: Oh boy.

S: I think, George, you suggested this.

G: Oh, did I?

S: Well, it came out of a discussion, but I think you eventually put it forward.

G: If it was cool, then yes. It was me. If it goes well, it's fine.

S: Separating the art from the artist, which is not a new topic idea, but it comes up a lot, the idea of, and it just seems like we know personal information about people way more than we used to.

E: Yeah, so you wonder why.

S: With social media and everything. It's not even just like the tabloids or the paparazzi. So we have this weird window into the personal lives of celebrities, and it's not always a good thing. How much does it take away from our ability to enjoy their work? Can we listen to Michael Jackson music now? Has he been dead long enough? What are the rules in terms, and how should we feel about it?

J: Should we all say we all have to feel the same way about it?

S: No, but let's just explore a little bit. How do you feel about it? How do you think about, just in general, not that we need to impose one rule on everybody, but we also have, there are social norms.

J: The first comment is, it sounds like we're being set on a mission to have to investigate every artist that's out there. Is this guy an asshole above the asshole waterline?

S: Well, that's an interesting question. How much responsibility do we have to find out? And maybe the answer is none, but when the information comes to you, you have that information.

C: You just can unknow it.

E: You can't ignore it.

J: Just corporations in general. We consume a lot of stuff. Some of it is art and music, blah, blah, blah, that type of stuff, but are the executives in Apple, are they good people? Should we boycott Apple because there's a handful of asshole executives? I guarantee you they're good.

E: It's Crick and Watson. You can talk about them and anything that has to do with DNA. You can go to Werner von Braun and the whole space program, which he was a Nazi, this guy.

J: Lovecraft was, he was a massive racist.

S: Lindbergh was a racist.

C: Also, is there something to be said about when the art itself celebrates the scumbaggery that is the person? So when you look at a Woody Allen movie and all of his movies are about old dudes, f---ing young girls, and you're like, oh, who he is as a person is actually in all of his art. And now when I watch this art, it's not artistic to me. And I think sometimes you do see that with artists where if somebody was like me too, and then you see, oh, listen to the lyrics. They're singing about assaulting women. Why is this a song that people are celebrating?

S: Like, Slap My Bitch Up?

C: I mean, a lot of songs, a lot.

S: I'm maybe reading too much into it.

J: No, I've read about that. The guy who wrote the song, the guy who wrote Smack My Bitch Up, that's the nickname he gave his car. That's what he said. I don't know if it's true.

B: Oh my god.

S: That only moves it back one layer though. That doesn't eliminate the meaning of that.

C: It's like, do people still listen? I mean, it's like, yeah, you see this a lot with R. Kelly. I mean, there's so many examples.

E: Tons of rapid artists all over the place.

G: To me, going through school, through music school, we always would, Wagner is kind of the best example. Like, I love Wagner. I listen to the Ring of the Nibelung or I hear the Entry of the Gods of Valhalla. And it's amazing stuff. It's this huge symphonic orchestral stuff that it has its own massive beauty. And once you start dissecting the libretti and the symbolism of it, it's all master race. And it's terrible and it's antisemitism. And he personally was a horrible person who was a crazy public antisemite, who of course Hitler adored and latched onto and said, this is exactly the ultimate German. This is what we need to emulate.

J: George, just got out of curiosity. When you say that the music had these undertones, like, is there lyrics?

B: What does that mean?

G: Oh yeah, no, in the operas, yeah, absolutely. It's all metaphors, but they're talking about the idea.

C: It's not in English either, so you're not gonna hear it. You don't know it.

G: Well, that's the thing, yeah. It's all in German obviously.

S: Oh, so it's okay then? (laughter)

C: No, I'm just saying, if somebody who doesn't speak German doesn't understand that.

G: As a student, you would analyse the music or you're just hearing the music and you're analyzing it. And it's so, at the time, it's very innovative. His chromaticism, his romanticism, the stuff that he's doing is just big. He was Wagner was the first guy to say, the audience should be sitting in the dark. Turn the lights off so the audience is in the dark. Like, he was such a showman in terms of understanding what the audience experience should be.

J: That's pretty cool.

G: You know, he built Beroit, which is this huge opera theatre, where he said, like, the stage should be lit. It should be an otherworldly experience, like this idea of going, and we should be able to say how terrible Jews are while we're doing it. You know, it's like, ah!

J: But there's also, like, you gotta keep in mind too, like, the world has changed a lot. Like, even, like I keep referencing the 70s. I imprinted on reality in the 70s, right? The 70s had some really nasty stuff.

C: Yeah, there's nasty stuff today.

J: But it's historical, meaning.

C: And there were always people in the 70s who were against the nasty stuff, and I think we forget that.

S: Yeah, but as we've discussed.

J: Wait, wait, let me finish my point.

S: Go ahead.

J: The point is, culturally, things were literally okay.

C: They were not okay then, it's just more people accepted them. It doesn't mean they were okay.

S: Yeah, objectively you're correct. But I'm saying, with Jay, but by okay, Jay means more generally accepted.

G: Culturally accepted.

J: I'm meaning that some person that came out of, like, whatever, in the 1800s, a person that was born in these different, 100 years ago, whatever.

E: Segregated schools were widely accepted.

J: Reality was different, and they grew up in there. I was heavily affected by my 10 years that I had in the 70s, you know what I mean?

C: But what I'm saying is that it's the position from somebody who was always in the privileged class. If you were ever in the underclass, it was never acceptable to you. Exactly, and so, even though in the 70s, in the 50s, 100 years ago, 300 years ago, it was like okay to be violent towards women. Women were always like, this isn't fucking okay. And I think that's the thing that we have to remember when we talk about, oh, back in the day, socially it was acceptable. To the people in power, it was socially acceptable. And those were the people making the history.

J: My point is, though, that we are subject to the culture and the time that we exist in, right? So when we go back, to make this perfectly clear, at no point in history would I ever think it's okay to molest a child, right? Like, would Michael Jackson, if he did it, because I still don't, I'm not 100% convinced. I think it's likely that he did it. It was reprehensible, and I don't care. But you know, to go back and someone was a racist in a nation of racists, you gotta contextually go, well, that's the shit environment that that guy, unfortunately, was brought up in, and you kind of expect people.

S: Yeah, Lincoln was a racist by modern standards. Absolutely, not again, not excusing it, but it's just true. Having kids, and then experiencing the popular culture of your youth through their eyes is an eye-opener. We're watching movies that, and it's like, Young Frankenstein's a perfect example.

B: Oh my god.

S: Young Frankenstein's a funny movie, it's a great movie. I'm watching that movie with my daughter, it's hilarious. And then the scenes come up like, oh shit. This is what I now call the rape scene that didn't strike me as a rape scene when I was 15, but now it's like unavoidable. And of course, my daughter's seeing it, and they're like, what the hell is this? I'm like, I know, yeah, it's like a conversation ensues from that, but there's so much of that.

E: Oh, it's everywhere.

S: It's so much, and-

E: If you look hard enough, you'll find it everywhere.

J: But they did it in our own lifetimes.

S: In our own lifetimes, so-

C: But what I'm saying is that a woman at that age watching that, yes, she would have been socialized to know that this is normalized, but she would have been like, there's something uncomfortable about this.

S: Yeah, I agree with you, I agree with you.

C: And I think that that's the important point, is that when we look back, not everybody should get a pass just because their environment-

S: This is not about giving people a pass. This is about understanding a phenomenon. I agree with you.

C: So we have to always do that. And I have the same struggle that you have also with a Nazi in Heidegger, because I read a lot of existential philosophy, and it's a big part of my work. And Heidegger, and you see this a lot with, I mean, you brought it up with Watson, right?

E: Watson and Crick.

C: Watson and Crick. And you see this a lot with people who did great things, but were bad people. And so how do we celebrate the things that they accomplished without celebrating them? And I think that's important. I don't think ideas and people, we have this narrative in our culture of like the lone genius. And it's such a destructive narrative. Like, why can't we talk about how the idea was formed with inputs from all these different places and celebrate the ideas without being like, he was a great man.

E: Genius stand on the shoulders of everybody else that came before them.

C: It's dangerous.

G: There is a weird, for me, if you're not to enjoy music that's old, to enjoy movies that are old, I talked about on my show a while back, as long as I know I'm not adding money to that person currently. That is one point.

S: That's a layer.

G: That's a layer amongst many data points. I know me listening to a, again, a Picasso, or watching, buying a Picasso poster is not giving Picasso any money. And Picasso was a bastard. That's the other thing too. That's what I want to talk about. For the most part, unfortunately, people that succeed within the arts usually are surrounded by individuals that allow them to succeed and are driven, take advantage of others. You have to be a certain, on some level, you have to be a very kind of unpleasant person. There are exceptions, obviously, but a lot of famous artists that we know historically that break through are bastards. And that's why they broke through on some levels.

E: All the people they stepped on to get to where they are.

G: There's this weird-

S: They're self-promoting.

G: Self-promoting, taking advantage of others, stealing work, stealing credit. It happens again and again and again. You start learning about almost any individual, especially if it's within a pantheon, the greats stole and borrowed and took advantage of, or had someone that they were, that was an advocate for them, that was a horrible person, where they could just sit back and be like, oh, my agent does all that work for me. And the agent is a horrible person taking advantage of whatever. That is baked into the whole system of what is deemed successful, or what we think is being successful. That's another factor you have to add to this whole awful equation.

C: It's such a personal thing, right? And I think the question is, how do individuals unring bells in their own mind? I'm almost so amazed when you see a comedian. We saw this with Dave Chappelle, and it made me sad, where he was pissed, and like, oh, I can't say anything anymore. Somebody's gonna be offended, and you're gonna cancel me. It's like, that is just capitalism. Like, people don't wanna watch you anymore because it's not fun for them to watch you.

G: But he's also saying it to the Garden State Arts. He's saying it to a stadium of 40,000 people.

C: Exactly.

S: Like, no one listens to me anymore.

C: I mean, yes, that's a whole other point, but sort of the point of like, nobody, none of your listeners have the power to cancel you. They chose not to listen to you anymore because you said things that turned them off to your art.

J: Well, it's more complicated than that too, because I think what he might be saying is, people that go see him know what they're gonna get, right? But it's the outside voices. It's like, people are saying, oh, at this show, Dave Chappelle said this, and in general, some people would find it distasteful.

C: Fine, and those people no longer buy tickets. That's the free market.

S: No one's free from criticism.

C: Exactly, like, why is that problematic?

G: Bill Cosby, I mean, is a full 180, where he went from literally being America's dad, America's dad on Thursday nights, that was it, for our generation.

E: To a serial rapist.

G: To a monster.

C: But my question is, how can somebody sit down and go, I'm just gonna separate that in my mind, because I don't have that capability.

S: Well, we can't. I can't watch Bill Cosby anymore.

C: Some people think, some people say they can, and I'm like, how?

G: Some people listen to the early albums, his stand-up albums it's funny.

C: Oh, there's bad stuff. You saw the documentary.

G: Oh, no, yeah, there's stuff in the, yeah, he talks about the Spanish Fly. How do you get the Spanish Fly? There's an episode of The Cosby Show where he makes his special barbecue sauce that makes women want him.

C: Without knowing it. He drugs them.

G: It's an episode of the show.

E: I've never watched the show. I have no idea.

G: Yeah, there's a whole Spanish Fly routine where he gets the Spanish Fly. But then you listen to him doing his routines, My Brother Who I Slept With, which is a brilliant comedy storytelling album, and you're like, can you enjoy that? And I would say, he's still alive, and no, you can't, because he's horrible. Maybe in 100 years, they'll be able to say this was a seminal record that is interesting, and it turns out The Cosby.

C: But my question, we can't tell anybody what they can and can't enjoy. My question is, I'm curious about the personal psychology of somebody who says, I can still enjoy that. How are you able to separate?

E: People compartmentalize all the time, Cara.

J: My wife and my sister-in-law can't listen to Michael Jackson anymore. I can. I grew up with─

S: It's still great music. That doesn't change.

J: One of my favorite albums is his Off the Wall album. It's like, in my top five albums and I'm like, I'm conflicted because I actually feel a little guilt, because I'm like, I should really not, I don't know, I guess I shouldn't be enjoying this, but I mean, I've loved those songs my whole life, and now I'm like, do I have to quit this? Do I really have to not listen to his music anymore, because he's dead.

S: There's no right or wrong answer. I do think, there are some specific things, like I don't want to give money to an asshole.

C: And I don't want to watch something where they are glorifying [inaudible].

S: Yeah, I don't want to celebrate or glorify bad things.

E: Those are very reasonable. Exposing your children to it.

J: But there's another wacky layer to this, too. Like, I feel, and I'm not making an excuse at all, I'm just saying it for what it is. Michael Jackson was, if not physically, he was emotionally abused in his wacky ass upbringing where his father was a tyrant.

B: His father was a monster. His father was a monster.

C: Yeah, but I'm sorry, most abusers were abused. That's like, that's how it works. There's a certain point where you're responsible.

E: Not an excuse to continue.

G: This whole industry is just horrible.

C: It's an explanation. It's not an excuse.

G: Take advantage, I mean, to have him on stage at that age, wanting him to not go through puberty so his voice wouldn't change. I mean, that's just. And again, it doesn't excuse anything.

C: But then, once he was a consenting adult, everybody in his life basically protected him.

E: Well, he was in a bubble.

C: They made him be above the law.

G: Because he's a cash cow.

C: Exactly.

E: These people are detached from reality.

C: But this is, I mean, this is a fundamental question, which obviously we're not gonna spend too much time on, that I struggle with a lot when I used to work in foster care with children, like mostly girls or mostly sex trafficked. And there's this arbitrary age at 18 by which they go from victim to perpetrator immediately. Like all of a sudden.

S: But it is arbitrary.

C: And it's like, it's so arbitrary. And it's the story of almost everybody who perpetuates an abuse cycle. I mean, most people who commit violent crimes, most people who are, not all, but most, were raised in a terrible way where they didn't learn.

J: You're right. I mean, it's not an excuse. It's more of just a level of understanding.

G: Does each one of us have a guilty, not a guilty thing, but something that they're conflicted about? Like, so yes, so for Jay, it's like Off the Wall. For me, it's Wagner.

C: Heidegger.

G: Steve, do you have something?

C: I mean, every time I use calculus, I have to deal with Newton's personal life, which is very, very negative for me.

J: I didn't get that.

S: Newton was an asshole and he invented calculus.

G: He stole it from Leibniz.

B: He was. He was a bastard.

S: He was a bastard.

J: Yeah, there's a certain layer here.

S: Too soon? I don't know.

J: Like, humanity produced these people, right? They're all part of our collective. And the good stuff that they make, like, if they do good things, it's good. You know, like Michael Jackson's album brings a lot of pleasure into my life.

S: Washington and Jefferson owned slaves.

G: I was gonna say, the founding fathers.

E: All of them except Adams.

J: We don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Like, there's good stuff. Like, we should take the good stuff and we should reject them as individuals.

C: But also, we should take it, we should make sure that we're actively working to not allowing this to be the norm. Like, that's the problem. Like, the reason this has always been normalized is because we fucking are moderate and we sit back and shrug.

J: That's never gonna happen.

C: That's why we do activism. I mean, that's like the whole point.

J: No, but how do you break into it?

G: No, Jay, it will. It actually will.

C: It is happening.

E: It takes generations. It takes generations.

G: And I just talked about this with Rachel the other day about, and Ian, yeah.

E: Hi, Rachel.

C: Hey, Rachel.

G: At every junction point when a new style of music comes along, those initial artists get taken advantage of by the people that are empowered. So, like, when doo-wop in the 50s came along. You had all these doo-wop groups. They all got screwed. They signed contracts. They were kids. They were 17, 18 years old. They had no idea it was coming along. They signed contracts. Fine. Motown comes along. Similar deal. All these Motown groups, they signed. Barry Gordy took full advantage of them. Punk. Punk comes along. All these punk groups, they have no idea. Sure, I'll sign a contract. Great. Everybody, it happens again and again and again. This is like the first generation of these YouTube musicians who understand copyright law. They understand to own their own music is the way you want to do it. You don't want to be signed with anyone who's going to control your material.

C: Yeah, who do you think of, like, Macklemore? That album that Macklemore put out without any─

G:Any backing, and he sold millions of copies.

C: And made 100% of his profit.

J: George, I agree. That's almost like a general education type of thing. Like, the knowledge is out there. I'm talking about-

G: It took 70 years, though, of people getting screwed again and again and again. And finally, something like YouTube allowed them to communicate with each other and be like, no, no, no, this is how you do it. Don't sign away your rights. Don't do this, don't do that. You can distribute this yourself. And these kids now, whether they're making music or videos or whatever it is, are owning all of their copyright stuff. It's amazing.

J: My point that I was making, just to make it perfectly clear, is I don't think that we're ever going to be able to, like you were saying, like somebody said that Michael Jackson was in a bubble of people that were enabling him. Like, those types of people are always going to be able to find scummy people to be okay with whatever their scumbag thing is. And I don't think that's ever going to go away. They're enabled.

E: But when you're in the bubble, you don't know that it's coming out.

C: No, I think that industries are starting to recognize, I think that Harvey Weinstein made people aware. He didn't, I'm sorry. The amazing, strong women who finally felt safe enough to call him out. But I'm not saying it's never going to happen again, but it's going to be harder for there to be another Harvey Weinstein because of that. And so, yeah, I do think-

S: Yeah, and I think norms do shift over time, is what we were talking about before. It's okay to make fun of certain things until it isn't, and that's been shifting over time. It was okay to treat women like crap, and it was okay to make fun of homophobia. When we were young, making fun of homosexuals was completely fine. It was in the movies, it was taken for granted, and now it's not okay. And then it's then, same thing with trans. And you know what's happening now? So there's something I've noticed that it's okay to make fun of, even now, that shouldn't be okay to make fun of, that is people who stutter. And I'm sure there's a lot of things like that, but I happen to know about this because I have a daughter who stutters. And every time somebody makes fun of stuttering on TV, she's like, come on, really? Like, yeah, she gets upset.

G: Where do you see people, like, TV shows and stuff?

C: Yeah, like a nerd.

S: All the time.

C: You see the same stigma around normative relationship structures. This is something else that I struggle with. I feel like people are really waking up to LGBTQI affirmative. This idea that a monogamy and a marriage and 2.5 kids is the only way to be happy. And it's, yeah, it's bad. But again, like the point you guys were making-

G: We can be just as miserable as married people.

C: We are way fucking happier, by the way. It's in your-

S: It's not true, married people are happier.

C: No, happily married people are happier.

S: Yeah, that's true, yeah.

C: Single, no, it's true.

J: Shit.

C: Single people-

J: Happy people are happier.

C: No, no, Jay, really.

S: If you have a good marriage.

C: It's a small sliver of people who are satisfied with their marriage, and they have the highest satisfaction rate. Single people are significantly more satisfied with their lives than people who are struggling in their marriage, which is-

G: Yeah, and they like Michael Jackson.

C: The vast majority of people.

G: Didn't even register that you were doing something because you were so clueless. It didn't register that if you did a lisp, that you were-

C: But the point I'm saying is it did register for me.

B: Cara, that's a good point, Cara.

C: Yeah, and I feel like nobody's-

B: And you were right. We should throw that qualifier in from now on because it's not obvious.

C: It's important. It makes it sound like that's everybody.

B: It's not an obvious qualifier to everybody.

C: My white male normative perspective was everyone's perspective. Just because something was okay, it was only okay amongst the people in power.

B: Agreed, and we should make it more explicit when we talk about it.

S: But that meant that it occurred generally in the popular culture.

C: It was forced onto people.

S: And now it doesn't.

C: Well, it's, yeah.

S: Right?

G: Well, at least it's pointed out, and there's a much more clear-

B: It's a minor example that I've noticed. What do you, can you guys even look at Will Smith anymore? I mean, I know it's not comparable to some of the egregious acts that other people have done.

S: But he's one mea culpa away from, I think, getting back into our good graces. Seriously, if he just said, I had a bad day, it was right, it was stupid, it was wrong, he didn't really, he gave kind of a nopology thing. If he like sincerely, I do think he could earn his way back.

E: Scientologist. Pfft. (laughter) Thumbs down.

S: Yeah, that's a different issue. That's a different issue.

J: After the slap, I looked at him and I'm like, oh man, he's got deep problems.

S: He'll never undo the slap. He'll never undo the slap, but that doesn't mean that's the death of his career.

J: But my feelings for him went in two directions. One, I was like, what kind of asshole would get up on TV and slap, that's just so out of what, I would never do something like that. And it makes me think, wow, he's one privileged MF-er that thinks, like Kanye West getting up and interrupting people's thank you speeches.

C: Kanye West doing anything, Kanye West does, very problematic.

J: Talk about elitism. All right, one more quick point. And I also feel really sorry for him, because he's got to be really screwed up in the head to be able to do it. Like he needs to go to therapy and reassess what kind of human being he is.

S: I think all celebrities are screwed up.

E: A lot of people need to, yeah, that should be built.

S: All right, let's move on. Let's go back to a couple quickie. We're gonna try to do these news items very quick so we can get through all of the cool stuff we have to talk about.

News Items, continued[edit]

Water Worlds (51:59)[edit]

S: I'm gonna just talk briefly about water worlds. So these are-

E: Kevin Costner?

S: No, but planets that are completely surrounded by water. This is not something we've ever actually directly detected, but you know, there's thousands of confirmed exoplanets. Most of the time, like we don't have pictures of these exoplanets. Yeah, we can-

B: A couple of them though.

S: Yeah, a couple of the-

J: But how do we know that they are actually completely surrounded by water?

S: So that's the question. How would we know? So recently we discovered two exoplanets are fairly close, a couple hundred light years away. And we've discussed before about the fact that they're the most popular star out there. They're cool red stars. They're also very unstable, especially early on in our life.

E: Like Will Smith.

S: Yeah.

J: Unstable meaning what? They can go supernovae?

S: Meaning, no, no.

B: No, but they're very active.

S: They're very long-lived, but they're very active. They put out a lot of solar flares. They put out a lot of energy.

B: Yeah, if you're on a planet that's nearby that's life-bearing, you're not gonna last long.

J: Solar giants are very handsy.

S: Yeah, they're very handsy. So especially early on, like if there's any planet anywhere near them would be completely blasted clear of any atmosphere. So the question is, is there any way that you could have a planet with an atmosphere within the habitable zone? Habitable.

C: Habitable. Habitable.

B: What does that refer to? I actually don't know the reference to that.

S: There is one that we made that one up.

C: That's just a fun word to say. Say it, say it right now.

G: There's a podcast called the SGU.

C: Habitable.

S: Habitable.

G: They do these weird things.

B: It's our own. All right.

J: To me, it's very George. George, you do all this having and all that stuff.

E: That would be her-habitable.

S: So there's an active debate going on among astronomers do they calm down enough that you could have a planet in the habitable zone that has an atmosphere and therefore could have life on it? And it's not looking good, but there's still some potential this with the magnetic field or whatever. There's still some maybe that it's not totally outside their own possibility. But a water world is different, right? Because you don't really necessarily need an atmosphere for a water world. So how do they know? So it's all about density. We know how big the star is, because of how much light it's putting out, and we know how much it transits. We could say, oh, it's got to be this diameter. And we can also calculate its orbit, and therefore its mass, right? So we could say that these planets, they're super earths, so they're bigger than the earth, but they're less dense than the earth.

J: That's the water.

S: That's the water part. So they're not big enough to be a gas giant, right?

J: Why do we know it's water? Why can't it be ammonia or something?

S: It could be something else. We don't know that it's water. It's just something that's less dense than rock.

J: So it could be, it's liquid.

S: But the most common thing out there that's less dense than rock is water.

J: Is that a fact?

S: Yeah.

E: Less dense than rock.

S: So that's gonna be the most common thing that an inner planet in that density would have.

J: So if alien life is gonna be anywhere, I would imagine a water-based world would be very high on this.

S: Yeah, sure. But here's my question, and there's no direct answer to this, but I tried to find out as much as I could about it. So let's say you have a water world in the habitable zone that is still active enough to strip its atmosphere. What happens?

B: Well, the water would start evaporating with no atmosphere, right?

S: Of course.

B: So how long would it take to evaporate all that water?

E: Is that what happened on Mars?

J: But wouldn't that evaporation make more atmosphere?

S: Yes, so Jay's right. So there's a process that happens. So first of all, liquid water in a vacuum boils away. It turns into water vapor because the pressure isn't there to keep the water liquid. But then that forms an atmosphere of water vapor.

B: And it stops. And the evaporation stops or slows down.

S: Well, it's more complicated than that.

J: It's a magnetic field.

B: It always is.

J: If the solar wind strips.

S: Let's even forget about the solar wind for a minute.

J: Am I getting too technical for you?

S: Yeah, you're getting ahead of the game. Let's just talk about what happened. So you have the water vapor. So the evaporation cools the ocean, right? It might even cool it to the point where it freezes. Now you have a crust of ice on top. That's good, because that would then protect it. So some of these worlds may be like Europa, where they have an outer shell of ice and then the liquid water underneath. And then who cares if there's an atmosphere, right? But if the water at the surface is liquid, it will keep evaporating away until there's an equilibrium point between the pressure from the water vapor and the liquid water. However, water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas. Way more powerful than CO2. So it's gonna heat it, which is gonna cause more evaporation, which will heat it some more. So that could run away. And then you might have a Venus-type situation where there's super hot, thick atmosphere. And what would that be like? But at the same time-

J: It would be like Florida. (laughter)

S: -near a red dwarf, it's gonna continually strip away the atmosphere. And so again, there's another equilibrium point that you might get to between the stripping away, the evaporation. So I don't know that we've modeled. I couldn't find what would these planets be like if they were all water.

B: So how close is this planet to the primary, to the star? Is it a close orbit?

S: Yeah. It's liquid water range, yeah.

B: So then that would mean, if it's really close, then that would mean that the tidal forces would be off the hook, which then would mean that there could be a lot of volcanism happening under the water, and that could spew gases into the atmosphere.

J: But Bob, have you considered that, and I'm serious about this, is it possible for the whole planet down to the core to just be liquid?

S: No, there's gonna be a rocky core. There's gonna be a rocky core, yeah.

B: The density would just be too high.

S: I mean, just think about Earth with 100 miles of ocean, something like that, or 200 miles of ocean, like all around. But the other thing is that the radiation from the star would strip the oxygen off the water vapor, which would then combine with carbon into CO2. So you would get some CO2 in the atmosphere as well. There's also another greenhouse gas. So anyway, I couldn't find the answer to what would that be like exactly, but that's what I was able to piece together from just discussions of the more general principles of what would happen. So it's an interesting thought experiment, though, is like, the bottom line is, can there be life under the water on these super-Earths around a red giant?

J: What it tells me is that we live on a remarkable planet.

S: Total.

J: It's balanced, like nature exists.

E: Yeah, we're screwing that up pretty good.

C: Actively [inaudible].

G: That's why I think more and more like, if we are the only sort of sentient species in the universe, I guess, it's like.

S: It's an awful big place, big place, but yeah.

G: Yeah, it's an awful big place, but boy, everything is just, this is the winning lottery ticket. It's such a winning lottery. And I used to think, oh, there must be other intelligent life. There must be, there must be. And like, to me, it's a 50-50.

C: There might be, but they might be just like significantly.

S: I think the real question is how close, on average, is that, cause again, the universe is an awfully big place, but it wouldn't surprise me if eventually we discover that there's like, on average, one technological civilization per galaxy or a couple of galaxies.

B: For how many years?

S: Yeah, I mean, at any given moment, you give a survey and like, yeah, then maybe if you get one per galaxy, that's a lot.

J: It'd be pretty cool to know that we basically, the galaxy is ours. This is our galaxy.

S: But it's also disappointing.

J: But on top of that, it's not just that life occurred on our planet, but we also, there are traits that humanity has that I think are really luckily there and wonderful. Like, we can appreciate, we have this thing called appreciation. We can look at things and look at things like you were saying on your show, like a sunset or a sunrise, and we can enjoy it. And there's something remarkable about that. And art and the appreciation of art. There's something like really heavy about that.

C: We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

S: Yeah, and how much more precious is human life if we're it? Or one of the very rare examples of a self-aware kind of sentient, sapient species.

G: And then especially your 80 to 100 years of it. Think of that too, like, you've got this, it is luck upon luck upon luck upon, and that we exist in this time now, where we can have the world's knowledge in our pocket and then be able to Google or call each other or have conversations with people that are on the other side of the planet. It's like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. And then we are super privileged on top of that even, that we are in the Americans in this part of the country.

S: And we complain if you have to wait long at Starbucks.

G: That's what I mean, and it's, yeah, right? Like they say, every man is on football.

B: I reserve the right to complain.

G: You're allowed to complain, you're allowed to have your problem. Every now and then you gotta just take a breath.

J: Our problems are like, the room's too cold. We're used to beeing well-fed. Wearing clothes that keep us warm in a warm place.

S: Ukrainians are freezing to death. We're like, it's a little chilly in here. I'm not happy.

E: Intolerable.

G: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll have heat two days this week. It's a good week. We've got power for Monday, Tuesday, it's good.

Psychic Fraud (1:00:43)[edit]

S: All right, Evan, tell us about a psychic heist.

B: Oh, okay.

E: It's a short story. One might say a novella. Waiting 18 years to say that. All right, gotta take it back to April, 2019. A man from Dubai, connected online with another man. His name is John Lee from Florida, okay? John Lee claimed to be a, this is quote, psychic and love specialist, okay? Over the course of the next few years, the man from Dubai began paying John Lee for his psychic services, great. June, 2022. The situation increased in a way. John Lee asked the man to send him some jewelry. Psychic says, send me some jewelry. So that he could cleanse the jewelry because apparently the jewelry had these strong negative energies. And it was possibly the reason the man in Dubai was not feeling satisfied with his life, couldn't find love among the other emotions he was expressing with him, okay. So the man from Dubai mailed John Lee the jewelry. John Lee had the jewelry for a few days, did his thing, and he mailed back the jewelry to the man in Dubai. He said it was cleansed. But after a while, the man was still feeling down. There was still negative energy somewhere in his world that was having an influence. Well, John Lee said, well, I need more jewelry. So the man in Dubai happened to work for a very wealthy person in Qatar. The man from Dubai went to the safe, of the wealthy person from Qatar, took the jewelry that he had in that safe out of the safe because it was in proximity to where he worked. 17 pieces of jewelry, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and watches, estimated value, $90 million. Sent the $90 million worth of jewelry to John Lee and said, okay, I need to cleanse these for a while. You'll have them back in August, in August of 2022. And he said, look, if I try to send you back this stuff, it's gonna be seized by customs. Let's not take this chance. What I'm gonna do instead, I'm gonna hand them back to you. I'm gonna meet you in France. So meet me in France, in Cannes, and I will give you your items back all cleansed. Okay, the date comes. The man from Qatar goes to France to meet him. John Lee, from Florida, never shows up. He texts him.

S: I'm shocked. Shocked.

E: Right? He says, oh, where are you? What's going on here? And he responded. The psychic responded to him. Please stop. I don't know what you're talking about. I don't think you need a psychic. You need a psychiatrist. God bless you. Please stop harassing me. One of the items in that collection of jewelry is a 13.15 carat pink emerald cut diamond, estimated value, $35 million.

B: How many carats?

E: 13.15. That's big. John Lee takes this diamond, ill procured, to a legitimate other place in which he swaps it. And he swaps it for other jewelry worth about $8 million. So the person on the legitimate side says, hey, great, I got a great deal here. I think this thing's worth a lot more than $8 million. Here's your $8 million of other diamonds. Now, that's cleansing. That's also called laundering.

S: Yeah, laundering, yeah.

E: November 14th, all of a sudden, the diamond shows up at where? Christie's Auction House, from a private collector who approached the auction house to have the pink diamond put up for sale. An unnamed witness recognized the description of this diamond and said, hey, this belongs to someone in Qatar.

S: This is hot goods.

E: They knew exactly who the owner of this was. And of course, fortunately, Lee was arrested, the psychic, in New Jersey on November 22nd, charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen goods.

J: Did they get all the stuff back?

E: They got at least this diamond back. They don't know where the other pieces.

C: How did the Qatari, or I guess it was the guy from the UAE that got the jewelry from Qatar.

E: Work for him.

C: They what, did they mail it to him?

E: Yes, that's right. FedEx, yeah.

C: They FedExed how many millions of dollars?

E: $90 million worth of jewelry.

S: This guy's clearly not bright. I mean, I think that's sort of coming through loud and clear.

E: But desperate. And to the length of the desperation and the pain and the anguish that these people have when they go to these psychics and the things that they're willing to do is just absolutely heartbreaking. Oh my gosh, they so take advantage of these.

S: Totally.

E: Horrible victims.

S: And they are considering him a victim, in which he definitely most certainly is. He's not been, the person who took the jewelry, according to the FBI report, has not been arrested or-

S: They're not gonna press charges.

E: Not yet, at least as of yet. This is all kind of new. Only this news came out recently and it's still an evolving case.

Special Segment: Rogues' Expert Advice (1:05:37)[edit]

S: Okay, we're gonna do one more discussion topic. We're gonna do a quickie version of it. So a lot of us have some area in our life where we have some area of expertise above and beyond the average person. And so what we wanted to do is have, for each of the panelists to talk about one thing where they have in this sort of above average area of knowledge, specifically to name two or three things that would be most helpful for the general population to know about their area of expertise. Makes sense? So to anybody who wants to start, anyone wanna volunteer to go first?

G: I'll go first.

S: George go for it.

George's wedding dos and dont's[edit]

G: So over the last 25 years I was in a band. I just sort of left that organization on good terms. But during that time, and probably the eight or 10 years before that, 80% of the jobs that we did were weddings. So I've probably played close to a thousand weddings in the last quarter century or so. Maybe about 900 or something like that. The last count was around there. So I've done a lot of weddings, and a lot of people ask me about what's important for weddings? What do you do? What shouldn't you do? That kind of thing. I thought that would be a nice little outside of skepticism level of expertise. I have three things I usually tell people when it comes time to plan a wedding or have a wedding. The first thing that I say is that most things don't matter. There is an entire wedding industry that is designed to upsell, number one, like most industries. But the wedding industry is particularly devious in its upselling. And I was a part of it. Part of my reason of retiring is I just, I didn't want to be part of it anymore, where the band that I was in on a Friday night, we would play the same material we'd be playing the next night. The same people, the same repertoire, the same everything. We'd be doing the same work. But because we were in a bar on Friday, we would get $800. And because we're playing a wedding, the next day, 12 hours later, we'd get $12,000. Simply because we could. And I just, after a while, it just got so much more distasteful. And everybody that's involved in a wedding has that same mentality. The florists, the caterers the room. This room would cost three to four times more if this was a wedding than a podcast thing. That's just the way it goes.

E: It'd be just as cold.

C: [inaudible]

B: But you know what? If it was a podcast wedding?

G: It's funny that Cara just said that it'd be the saddest wedding. It wouldn't be because of what-

C: Right, because they wouldn't have done all the, yeah.

G: Well, what matters is, when I say most things don't matter, what matters is the guests, and what matters is, do you really want to get married and celebrate the fact that you're getting together with this person? Because we've played gigs that have been in rooms exactly like this that were unbelievably great parties. And it didn't matter how big the cake was. It didn't matter what the centerpieces looked like. It didn't matter whether the chairs had the silk, that wrapping thing that did whatever. What mattered was we could tell the people liked each other. We could tell that these families liked each other, and it was wonderful. So that's the number one thing of invite cool people. Don't try to impress people necessarily, too, which I know it's a very, the whole culture is about Instagramming every aspect of your wedding. It's just gonna ruin things. That's the first thing. The second thing, if you're ever tempted to do the garter belt and bouquet thing, if you're unaware, this is a tradition, where the groom removes the garter belt from the bride. He throws it to all the single gentlemen in the audience.

C: So gross.

G: Then the bride throws her bouquet to all the single women in the audience, and then the gentleman that caught the bouquet, caught the garter, puts the garter on the woman, he puts it on her leg, and it's, it's horrible.

C: It's gross, it's gross.

G: First off, it's gross. First off, just the whole history of it is just gross. Second off, it's a party killer, because as soon as people are dancing, it's like, all right, stop enjoying yourselves, everybody, and let's just cringe for the next session. If you're gonna do anything, a bouquet toss can be okay, but that should just be to everybody. Don't single out single women, single anything. Just like, oh, the bride's gonna throw the bouquet, everybody who ever grabs it, yay, it's fine. I like the tradition of you give the bouquet to the oldest couple that is at the wedding. So it's always a grandparent here's our bouquet, we want you to be the example of what we're gonna try to be, that's a wonderful thing. Third, sort of along those lines, is don't create moments, have moments. So often, people in the planning of a wedding think, at this point, we're gonna do a thing with all of the, all of our college friends, we're gonna get together, and we're gonna do like a line dancey thing, and it's gonna be great, and then we're gonna do this other thing, and then the bride's gonna come in over here on a trapeze, we're gonna have a blow torch, and then we saw this thing in a movie once where, this happens all the time for me, where I would see something happen in a movie, in a wedding, and I'd go, shit. Someone's gonna want us to do that. The best example was, what's the one that takes place over Christmas, the British one?

S: Four weddings and a funeral?

G: Not that one, no. Love Actually, yes, there's a big wedding scene where like the guy, the guitarist pops up out of the back aisle, and the trombone player's in the thing, and there's a choir that starts singing, and they're all doing this stuff, and I'm seeing this play out the first time I'm watching this movie, and I'm like, someone's gonna ask for this, because it's great, it looks so easy, and logistically, to do that would be impossible. Like, you would have to rehearse it, you would have to do, I mean, just the, where does the guy playing guitar get power if he's gonna be up in the balcony, you know? And of course, about a year later, we got this lovely thing. We thought it would be really fun during the ceremony, the band could sort of pop up, nope, can't do it, no, it's not, and you have to explain, we can't, we can't do that, because blah, blah, blah, blah. So, that's creating a moment, and they very rarely are cool. Invite awesome people, let them enjoy themselves, have whatever kind of food is gonna be fine, have a decent band, or a decent playlist, or whatever it's gonna be, and just celebrate that you guys are together, and don't create moments, that's what I would say. And you can have a fan, the most wonderful weddings that I've been involved with have been small productions that were not they spent the most on us, because they realized, let's have a killer band, whatever, food, whatever, candles, whatever, fine, and it was wonderful, so that's my advice.

S: So, your advice is give all the money to you. (laughter)

Steve's doctor visit tips[edit]

S: All right, I guess I'll go next. I'm gonna do the obvious thing, the doctor advice thing, but I'm gonna give you just a few examples of just a little, some hacks, what to do when you have to go to see a physician or have a visit. One thing is you have to realize is that we're all horrible historians. You're never gonna give the physician all the information that they want. It's okay, we don't expect patients to be good historians, but there's a few things you could do to, I think, streamline your visit. One is bring all your meds, right? Just bring them all, bring in the bottles, the original bottles with the prescription on them, in a little plastic bag, just bring them. Don't assume your doctor's gonna have information because it's in the system, or they, didn't you get the notes? How many times have I heard that? Didn't you get the notes from my doctor? Well, no, I didn't get the notes from my doctor. Or they sent me notes, but the information I want is not in the notes that they sent, because they didn't know what I wanted either. They just sent me their notes. Doesn't have the critical bits of information. But, so know your medical history. If you have any tests, by the way, keep copies of your own tests, right? Keep, if you have any, if you're perfectly healthy, you don't have to worry about this. But as we get older, no one's perfectly healthy. So it's good to keep a little binder of any critical medical information that you have, any MRIs you've had. You can get a copy yourself. Keep a copy of anything important medical. Bring that to your visit. Don't assume they have any information, because they probably don't. Also, if you have a complicated history, it's okay to jot it down. But the other thing is don't go to the doctor's visit expecting that they're gonna read a book that you bring to them. Because it's not practical. I wanna get the information that I want. But if there's critical bits of information, like if it could fit on one page, that's probably about right. Like just, this is what happened. Here's my timeline, here's the jot list. That kind of cemented. So you're not going 100% on memory. It's like, yeah, it happened, I don't know, three years ago, it was probably six years ago. And we know that. But anyway, if you, little critical bits of information are helpful, actual medical records are helpful. And your medications are very, very helpful.

E: Steve, when I go to a doctor, I get a form that asks a lot of these things. So is that different? Are we talking something different?

S: Yeah, that's different. That's usually the intake form. That's usually more nursing level stuff. But they'll ask you for your meds. And that's great if you have that list. But again, we also like to just to see it. Like how do you take this medication? You know what I mean? It's just good to have that there with the physician.

E: So it's a layer deeper, okay.

S: So that's one. Another thing is, in terms of the interaction with the physician, I think sometimes people patients do something which is ultimately counterproductive. And I understand why they do it. Is that they're obsessed with telling me the story of their previous interactions with the healthcare system. Which is a very limited value to me as their new physician who needs their story. I wanna know about your illness, about your symptoms, your experience of it. And then I'll ask you for the critical bits of information about your medical interactions. But I don't need a detailed blow-by-blow history of your interaction with every medical person you've ever contacted before. But some people think that's the history I want. It actually isn't the history I want. And especially don't complain about it. Not that it's not helpful, but it's or that it's not important I should say. But it doesn't really help. And I try not to do this, but I'm telling you, like all you're doing is saying, by the way, I'm a really problem patient who's gonna give you a hard time. And then I'm gonna tell the next guy a bunch of stuff about you that's not true. Because that's basically what we hear. And first of all, we're not gonna believe anything that you say.

E: So it's a waste of time.

S: Because it's not true. I'll tell you 100% of the time where I'm able to compare what a patient told me about a medical interaction, and then what was documented or talking to the actual physician, it's always completely wrong. And it makes sense because-

C: But it is reflective of what they heard.

S: Of course it is. That's what it is. What it tells me is how well they were communicated to, to some extent. But it also tells me about the filters that that patient had. Because I've also heard what, so I've had things where I've had a conversation with a patient, then that patient told another physician what I said, and then that physician told me what the patient told me I said, and it's not what I said to them.

E: The game of telephone.

S: And I like to think I'm a good communicator. So I don't think it was like I'm a bad communicator. It was just a patient had a filter in place that maybe I wasn't aware of, and they heard something just completely different than what I was telling them. It's very common. So anyway-

G: So you're saying we should talk about the other doctors as much as possible?

S: So just be aware. We wanna know what your symptoms are, what you're experiencing, and then tell me the critical bits of your previous workup. But the fact that some other physician didn't treat you well isn't gonna help your visit. It's just gonna really distract from it and not be good for the tone. Final thing, really quick. If you're gonna have a procedure, don't put any lotion on your body. If anything's gonna happen on your head-

J: It puts the lotion in the basket.

G: Don't put lotion on your body.

S: If you have makeup on, they're probably gonna wipe it off and probably not in an attractive way. So just prepare to have alcohol rubbed on your body somewhere. So you don't want lotions or anything. You just want dry, plain skin. Wear clothes you can strip down to, right? So think about it. Some people just don't think about it. They just come in and they say, okay, well, you gotta get into a gown because you don't have a t-shirt on. If you had a t-shirt on underneath your shirt, you wouldn't have to get into a gown because you could just take off your sweater and you'd have a t-shirt with short sleeves. You'd be good. So just think about that if you're going for anything. Have clothes you could strip down to, but also may facilitate whatever. I'm not saying, I don't know what procedure it might be, but whatever procedure it could be would be very, very helpful.

C: If you're having anaesthesia, you need to take out all your jewelry, too. Or they're gonna make it. They're gonna take it out.

S: Don't go with jewelry. Don't go with anything you would lose. Give your wallet to your, whoever, to somebody else to hold on to. Don't go with, yeah, don't go to, especially if you're gonna be, even a same-day procedure. If you're gonna go into the hospital, don't take anything that you don't wanna lose. All right, I hope that didn't take too long. Anyone?

J: I'll go.

S: All right.

Jay's podcasting advice[edit]

J: This is about podcasting. I've said stuff on the show before, but I've actually talked to a lot of people over the years about, they're like, hey, you're in a podcast. What do you do? How do you do it? That type of thing. And the first thing I usually tell people is, and I'm not trying to be funny, but it is funny, is I tell them don't start a podcast. There's so many podcasts out there that it's very hard to do the next things that I'm gonna say to be original, right? The problem is the saturation is so absolutely intense that you have to be ready to have it be a complete failure because it's very likely that it will be.

S: Or define what you mean by success. If having 100 listeners is okay with you, then that's fine.

J: That's absolutely, yeah. So coming up with your editorial policy and your shtick, and also your expectations. So most podcasters wanted, oh, I wanna make enough money to live, like, okay, you wanna go for the big gun, so let's talk about that. So you gotta come up with a niche or something, or deliver the information in a way that isn't already being done well by somebody else, and it's hard to do that today. When we started this podcast, there was one other skeptical podcast, and the two shows couldn't be more different. I mean, we had such a different vibe than the other show. So today, it doesn't work that way. ou wanna talk about virtually any topic. There's a dozen people that are doing it, and they're doing it really well because you know about their podcast, right? Because the good ones and the ones that have the fortitude.

S: It's probably 100 you don't know about because they're not a success.

J: The editorial policy is very important. Steve created our editorial policy before we started the show. It was in place from the very beginning, and it adds continuity to the show. It's a very difficult thing to do because you have to really think about what is the content gonna be? What is the flow of the show gonna be? How is this show gonna actually function? You gotta come up with everything, and the interstitial music and whatever. You gotta have that all cooked up before you, because you can't start a janky podcast today. That's another thing. You can't start a, oh, we're just gonna kinda let's do it. No, you have to be spit polished because everybody else is spit polished, and there's an expectation. And the last thing is you have to do it for at least a year, and you should be putting out content at least once a week. There are exceptions, like the hack podcast that I like, they put out a show every month, but there's a ton of research that they have to do, and there's a different vibe. Most podcasts, though, if you're not putting out, you have to put out the hook and the lure every week, which is the show. That's how you get more people in, and that's how people know that you're gonna be there, and you have to be very predictable. We haven't missed a show in how many years?

S: 18 years.

J: I think that's a huge testament to why we're still here. We just don't miss it.

S: Showing up is number one.

J: Yeah, you gotta show up. And that's it, but the first thing I said is the most important, just don't start a podcast.

Bob's tips for going to a haunted house[edit]

B: I got one, I just put this together in the past 10 minutes. All right. Going to a haunted house. All right, find out if it's online tickets only. Sometimes you go there, and they're like, do you have tickets? No, well, you had to get them online. Sorry, see you next year, whatever. So check and see if it's online, and then if it is online, find out if there's rain dates. Sometimes it rains all of a sudden, you don't really anticipate it, and you gotta know, all right, they have a rain date the next day or the next weekend or whatever. Dress warmly. October's very unpredictable. It could be very, very cold. Of course, this past October was the warmest I ever remembered. Thank you, global warming. That's been a little bit helpful. Be careful with your iPhone, with your phones, your money, your shoes. We have walked our haunt after everyone left, and oh, look, here's an iPhone. So now we gotta deal with getting that back to the person. The best is when you find money, because my partners and I would pick up the money, we'd split it between us, and that's a fun addition to the end of the night. And we've had people that have leaped out of their sandals and ran out of the haunt, like, oh, we got sandals.

E: You forgot your sandals, hey.

B: We got sandals. So if you lose your phone and you come to us, I lost my iPhone, I'm like we'll give it a look, but we're so busy, we don't have time to scour every square foot of the entire haunt.

J: Bob, and my shoes fell off.

B: Go with your crew, bring some friends. It's a lot of fun when you go with your friends. I, of course, have gone alone to multiple haunts because I couldn't get people to come with me, but I'm kind of crazy that way. Please, do not bunch up. If you're in a group of five or six or seven, do not bunch up with the group in front of you, because there's really not much worse. I'm a zombie in the cemetery, and I look, oh, here's 40 people coming towards me. It's like, there's no way, because I have some good friends, there's no way, because I have some fun scares. Like in one, I'm like, I'm in a coffin that's partially buried, and I can see people coming, and I pop out.

J: Bob, can you say that again?

B: Yeah. All right. There's a coffin that's sticking out of the ground. It's half buried and half out, and the door is cut in the middle, and I've got a hole, and I'm looking at people coming towards me, and I open it, and I scream in my zombie voice, or I fling my intestines at them, (laughter) whatever prop I happen to have, and it's a great scare. People are like, holy shit, what just happened? People are really afraid. It's fun for me, but then I look, and oh, there's 30 people behind him. Now, here's 30 people that I cannot scare, and so if you're in that group, if you've bunched up, you're gonna be missing out on some fun scares. If you're sensitive to flashing lights, you may have to close your eyes during a scene and have your buddy walk you through, so be prepared for stuff like that. If you're not very capable walking, if you're not very ambulatory, if you can't take walking for 20 or 30 minutes, maybe over uneven terrain, you might want to think twice about going, because it might be tough for you. My mom asked me this year, Bob, can I go to your haunt? You know, Mom, I'd love for you to see my haunt, and I'll show you pictures and videos, but you can't handle it. You really can't handle that haunt. She had the trouble three years ago, and now it's like 20% longer, so she really, unfortunately, couldn't really enjoy it. Do not touch the props or the people. In America anyway, maybe not so much in other countries. I went to a country where they tell you, you're going to be touched, very lightly touched and frightened, but in the United States, generally, they will not touch you, so don't touch them. Do not touch the props. I often touch your-

S: So it's like strippers, what you're saying. (laughter)

E: It's a champagne room.

B: Don't touch the props. Some of these props are hundreds or thousands of dollars. I can touch the props. When I go to a haunt, I can touch them because I'm a professional. I know what I'm doing. I really do though, right, Jay? I'm always like, I'm knocking. What's this made of? Oh, this is really cool. I got to get this from my haunt, but I'm very careful.

J: You know the materials that things are made out of, like latex and stuff, and Bob knows certain things are really, you shouldn't touch them.

B: Right, but I'm a professional. I could do stuff that other humans can't.

S: Bob, I'm going to cut you up there.

B: What?

S: I got to cut you up.

B: Oh, I had a lot of good stuff.

S: No, you're done. (laughter)

B: All right, leave them wanting more.

Cara on How to search for therapy & pick a therapist[edit]

C: Oh, I don't know how to keep this super fast, but I will. Yeah, I think a lot of people have asked on the show, they've even asked us to put together a guide, which I think we will eventually do, but you know, I have a full-time job and I'm trying to finish my dissertation. If you're going to, if it's time, you've decided you want to see a therapist, what do you need to know? How do you go about the process? And there's just a couple, I mean, this is so top level, so I'm happy to get deeper into it with people individually. I think first, it's important to know that psychotherapist is a very vague term. Even psychotherapist is a vague term. So just because somebody is a psychotherapist does not mean that they have certain credentials. So it's important to know what it is you're looking for. Some of that has to do with your budget. Some of it has to do with how naive you are to therapy. If you're just starting out and you have a relatively not complex issue that you're dealing with, like a life change issue, you, it's, I don't think there's anything wrong at all with going to one of many very competent, what we would call like master's level psychotherapists. So there are MFTs, that's a marriage and family therapist. In some states, there are what are called mental health counsellors. There are social workers, LCSWs, licensed social work, clinical social workers. And all of these people are certified to do therapy. They have licenses within their own fields. They're trained in their fields, but they might approach these things differently. I'm training to become a clinical psychologist. There are only two degrees that you can be a psychologist with, a PhD or a PsyD. Psychologists with their license, and this is a state by state thing, have some capabilities that master's level therapists can't do. We can do assessments. Many master's level therapists can't do a number of clinical psychological assessments. Some master's level therapists don't diagnose, but many, all psychologists diagnose. And there are different settings where we can work. The unfortunate thing though is we also often charge more per hour for psychotherapy. So that's something to think about. If you're on a limited budget, you've never seen a therapist before, you want to go in early, and you're not dealing with a super complex diagnosis, psychosis, bipolar disorder, things like that, you may not need to see a clinical psychologist.

E: Do most insurance companies not cover that?

C: No, every insurance company is going to cover a parity diagnosis up to a certain number of visits. Parity diagnosis is something like, basically the law is that if you are diagnosed with something like major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, whatever, that is parity with a medical diagnosis. And you can't be denied services simply because your diagnosis is psychological in nature. But a lot of insurers actually farm out and use a secondary insurance company to cover mental health. So you've got to make sure that you're advocating for yourself, that you know your diagnosis. And so yes, these are things before you see a psychotherapist. And there's a couple other things I can tell you. One is just a little hack. Use Psychology Today. has a therapy search tool that has a million filters on it. So you can search by your insurance, you can search by your location, you can search by your issue, you can search by the gender, by the special population that they say, you want somebody who's LGBTQI friendly and who's like a black female therapist in a certain neighbourhood. You know, if they exist, you will find them on Psychology Today. Pretty much every psychotherapist is registered on there. And so you can search for people that way, get their number or their email address off of that site and then reach out to them individually. Once you have found a therapist, you've decided to start working with them, there are things that are important to know. I always recommend you ask after a few sessions, it won't be in your first session, but after a few sessions, what's my diagnosis? That's information you should be privy to. If you don't know what it is, you don't know how you're being conceptualized as a patient or a client, how you're being treated, this is a co-facilitated process. You and your therapist should be on the same team. You should be working together. Also, there is no rule that says you have to stick with a therapist that you don't like, or that you feel like you're not getting the right treatment from. You can say, this isn't working for me and I wanna work with somebody else and that's okay, that's your right as a patient. And then lastly, this is a bigger conversation, which we were planning on having a little bit more time, so I'm happy to talk about this offline because I don't think we're gonna have enough time to really dig into it. Psychologists especially, not all master's level counsellors, but psychologists especially, are trained within a specific orientation and they also often have a specific specialty or they may be generalists. But training within a specific orientation means that they conceptualize mental health according to their theoretical backing. So some psychologists are cognitive behavioural therapists and they identify as such. Some psychologists are psychodynamic or psychoanalytic therapists and they identify as such. I am an existential psychotherapist and I identify as such. Most competent mental health professionals are integrative, meaning that they pick and choose interventions that are evidence-based based on the needs of the client and based on how the client responds. So even though I am an existential psychotherapist and I conceptualize therapy through an existential lens, I use CBT all the time, I even use some psychodynamic approaches, I use a ton of existential humanistic approaches. So a good therapist is not ever gonna be one track, that's really inflexible and that probably means that their training was not very good. They're gonna be listening to your needs and adapting their psychotherapy to you, but you can study up on what those things are and you may be able to say, I identify more with this approach, I wanna find a therapist who utilizes this approach and you can do that in most listings on psychology today, they actually list their orientations. Most clients have no idea what that means, so in marketing, like when you look at people's websites, they're not out front about it because it's meaningless to the client, yeah.

G: Can you touch the psychotherapist or is that?

C: It's a whole other kind, I work in end of life and we do, but it's interesting because in certain clinics it's really not okay and so there's different cultural norms around that as well.

S: I know, psychiatrists cannot treat their patients medically. For the little, you have a splinter, you gotta go to somebody else to get it.

S: All right, Evan, give us a quick three tax hike.

Evan on tax scams[edit]

E: I think a lot of us are familiar with people trying to get our information and trying to steal from us and all sorts of sensitive information, taxes are a wonderful arena for people to go and try to get that information. We're familiar with phone call, they'll try calling you on the phone, we're all familiar with those and maybe what those sound like. Emails absolutely have been, text messages, now.

B: I just got one from Amazon, it's telling me to redo my account information online because of a new regulation. Yeah, I'm gonna do that.

E: But here's the most current and sophisticated one, are the letters and notices. Now, and this started a couple of years ago in which they were pretty obvious that these letters that you were getting from a agency which had some sort of IRS looking stamp in the upper right corner were bogus, but they've gotten to the point now in which they have caught up and they know what the official documents from IRS, from other state tax agencies as well look like and they absolutely, basically forged these things. They're practically indistinguishable. So what do you do if you receive a letter from the IRS? Oh, and by the way, the IRS will never call you, the state tax agency will never call you, those are 100% fake, okay?

S: But they will contact you through Facebook though, right?

E: Oh, absolutely. Yes, and TikTok and Twitter and Grindr. But the letters is the tricky one because that is hard to determine what that is. I understand a lot of people do their own taxes and stuff, the majority of people do, but if you do have to spend a little bit of money to get the advice of someone, if you receive a letter and you are really unsure about it, spend that money and go ahead and talk to a tax professional. There are also, you can look up online for your local tax advocate offices, usually in the major cities they have them. They're a little hard to get ahold of, because they're understaffed, but if you can get ahold of there, they won't charge you and they will assist you in trying to determine whether or not the letter you received is legitimate or not, okay? I would always assume it's not until somebody else tells you that it is. That's the first tip, scam. Number two, wills, powers of attorney, and beneficiaries, okay, and this isn't something that is, it's more legal, frankly, than it is tax related, but you'd be surprised at how much these two overlap on the Venn diagram, and that we have to constantly remind our tax clients about these every year. Did you have a will? Did you update your will? Do you need a will? Most people, and depending on the state you're in, you may not think you do, you probably do, and the good thing is there are a lot of services online that are cheap and inexpensive, and you can go and make a basic will. Better to have a basic will than nothing at all. Powers of attorney, do you have your financial power of attorney, correct, but who is that person who's gonna take care of your financial matters in case you become incapacitated, and of course, health, power of attorneys, very important. Do you wanna judge in some court to decide if they're gonna take you off of your medication, take you off of life support and these other vital, important things, or do you wanna make sure that you've got the right person? Do you not want your crazy sister who's your closest of kin to be designated the person who is insane as opposed to somebody else that you trust? So these are important things to have.

S: I'll reinforce that, it's super important to have healthcare power of attorney. If something happens, it's a complete, there may be a legal next of kin, like a spouse, but maybe there isn't, or you both are in an accident or whatever. Designate the person you trust as your power of attorney, and also, it's better to have a power of attorney than advanced directives. I'm not telling you not to do advanced directives, but the problem with that is you cannot anticipate every possible contingency or situation, and we try to adhere to the advanced directives, but we also know that they're limited in their scope.

C: The advanced directive is really, I think more than anything, it's for the proxy themselves. It's so that your healthcare proxy knows your wishes when they are faced with making decisions because you're incapacitated.

S: Better to have a conversation with them.

C: For sure.

S: So they know what you want, and just say, like I would say, just listen to the doctor and do what they tell you, would be like my advice, but.

C: But it's good to go through an advanced directive with your proxy.

S: Yes.

C: Like that's a good idea, fill it out together.

S: It's super important.

E: Super important. And beneficiaries, folks. We have retirement accounts. We have 401Ks. We have insurance policies. Was your ex-wife the name on the beneficiary, and you never changed it when you got divorced and have a whole new life? Are you leaving money to people that you no longer associate with? You don't really think about these things, but check your beneficiaries and see exactly where your inheritance is.

B: Bye, guys. Wear your seat belts.

S: Plus, if there's no beneficiary, it goes through probate.

E: Absolutely.

S: That's a year, two years delay. If you have a beneficiary, they cut a check right away.

E: That's right. It absolutely cuts through the whole probate process. And the third thing I'm gonna talk about just a little bit are penalties. There are some very, very big penalties that the IRS and other state agencies will hit down you, but I'm gonna concentrate on some of the Department of Treasury and IRS ones, the three biggest ones. FBAR, foreign account reporting, okay? U.S., all the U.S. If you fill out a tax return in the United States for the IRS, okay? And if you have an account that exists in a foreign country that at any day during the course of the year reached the value of U.S. dollars, $10,000 or more, you must disclose it. You don't pay tax on it. You must disclose it, okay? We have clients who have children who their grandparents in Germany set up these accounts for. And it started with $500, but now they're worth $10,000. Guess what? Every year you have to file this report with the Department of Treasury. You know what the penalty is if you don't? Civil monetary penalty of $100,000 or 50% of the balance in the account, whichever is greater. So you could have a $20,000 account, and guess what? It could potentially hit you for $100,000. It's rare, okay? They usually want to make examples out of people, high-profile people in these cases, but that is the statute, okay?

B: They should call FBAR a FUBAR.

E: So that's one of them. Number two, required minimum distributions in our retirement accounts. You are allowed to start taking it out penalty-free at age 59 and a half, but age 72, you must start to take the money out, okay? At a certain amount each year from age 72 and beyond. If you don't, 50%, they're gonna take 50% of what you were supposed to take, and that goes away. And the last one is-

S: That's how they get you.

E: So check with your accountants if you have retirement accounts and you're 72 or older about your RMDs. Make sure your institutions are calculating those correctly for you. Last one, employment taxes. So most of us don't have employees, but if we do, if we are businesses, some of us do have small businesses, and we do have employees, and you don't make those deposits of the taxes that you are withholding, they can penalize you 100%. So if you owed them $10,000 and you didn't send it in on time, if they're aggressive with you, guess what? You not only owe that tax, you owe another $10,000 on top of it. So beware the big, dangerous penalties from the IRS.

S: Yeah. I think the bottom line is, honestly from my perspective, is get an accountant. The thing is, you actually save more money than they cost. Yeah, they'll charge you a few hundred bucks a year taxes, but you'll probably get better off at the end because they'll find more than that in deductions.

E: And there's all sorts of other things, which I didn't even get into.

S: Yeah, they'll save you from all sorts of other nonsense. That's like, you get a doctor, you get a dentist, you get a tax account.

B: Get a masseuse.

G: Even as a broke musician in my first couple of years of being an independent musician, it was always like, okay, just don't eat for that month, but get an accountant.

B: And a Christmas tree.

G: It was worth it. It was so worth it.

S: All right, guys, we're gonna move on with Science or Fiction.


Science or Fiction (1:39:56)[edit]

Theme: Arizona

Item #1: Other than a few stray plants, Arizona is the only state in the US with the famous saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea).[5]
Item #2: With 3,928 peaks and summits, Arizona is considered the most mountainous state of the 48 contiguous states.[6]
Item #3: Arizona is the most venomous state in the US, with the only venomous lizard, the gila monster, 13 species of rattlesnake, scorpions, africanized bees, a venomous centipede, and the insect with the most painful bite, the tarantula hawk.[7]

Answer Item
Fiction Most mountainous state
Science Only state w/ saguaro cactus
Most venomous state
Host Result
Steve sweep
Rogue Guess
Only state w/ saguaro cactus
Only state w/ saguaro cactus
Only state w/ saguaro cactus
Only state w/ saguaro cactus
Only state w/ saguaro cactus

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

S: We have a theme to our Science or Fiction. The theme is Arizona. It's Arizona.

E: Yes.

G: True, false.

S: So we're gonna ask the Rogues, then we'll ask the audience. We don't want you guys to kibitz the Rogues because I'm assuming that those of you who are from Arizona may know some of these things. (laughter) Are we ready? But this should be, hopefully this will be tricky even for the locals. All right. Number one. Other than a few stray plants, Arizona is the only state in the U.S. with the famous saguaro cactus, the carnegia gigantea. That's the Latin name. All right, number two. With 3,928 peaks and summits, Arizona is considered the most mountainous state of the 48 contiguous states. And item number three. Arizona is the state in the U.S. with the only venomous lizard, the Gila monster. 13 species of rattlesnake, scorpions, Africanized bees, a venomous centipede, and the insect with the most painful bite, the tarantula hawk. So basically Arizona is the Australia of America.

C: So wait, are you saying it's the only state that has all of those things? Or it's the only state with the Gila monster and it also has all of these things?

S: So here's what I meant to write. Arizona is the state in the U.S. with the most venomous animals.

C: Gotcha, okay.

S: And then that's the list of list. Yeah, I just screwed it up. Okay. All right. So I started on the left last night. So we're gonna start on the right. So George, you get to go first.

George's Response[edit]

G: Okay. Cactus, mountainous, or poison? I think other states have the big cactus. I think that. So I'm gonna say that's science. The mountainous thing seems weird because we drove two hours.

C: Wait, that would mean that was fiction.

S: You're saying Arizona is the only state with the saguars.

G: Yeah, so I think other states have it.

S: So that would make that fiction.

C: He's got the caraproblem. I always struggle with it.

S: I know, I throw some triple negatives in there sometimes.

G: I'm not, I am not the one. Oh, he's the only state in the thing.

B: The only state that has it or the only state where it's indigenous?

S: The only state that has it.

C: He said other than a few stray plants. That there are a few stray plants elsewhere.

G: So that seems really good now.

C: I know.

G: But then you got the mountainous thing because we drove two hours through a flat piece of nothing.

audience member Yes, you did.

G: So yeah.

S: Hey, no kibitzing. No kibitzing from the audience.

G: Again, it's like the because the state lines are so randomly drawn out here, it's just these like square like, okay, here's a corner, enjoy. (laughter) It's hard to imagine that it's so regionalized. So I'm gonna say that the cactus is the fiction.

S: Okay. Cara.

Cara's Response[edit]

C: Yeah, it's hard because basically when it's saying the most mountainous state is not because it's got the biggest mountains or the baddest mountains, but because it's got the most differentiations between peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys. Because California has a lot of mountains, obviously Colorado has a lot of mountains, but maybe Arizona has a lot of mountains too. I think the cactus, I know everybody's really proud of the cactus, but there's also like weird stuff where like California has Joshua trees, but I think there's a little pocket here or like in New Mexico. And then there's some in like Jerusalem or something weird. So like, I wonder if there's a parallel somewhere else in the globe that has this cactus, just because it's like right at the same latitude and longitude, I don't know. So maybe, maybe that one is the fiction for that. Oh, but it says the only state in the U.S. It doesn't say the only place in the world. The peaks and summits, that seems like one of those things that there's no way that's true, which means it's probably true. And the state in the U.S. with the most, like the venomous lizard, glia monster, rattlesnake scorpions, that's also one of those things. Like you were saying the boundary line, it's like, okay, so like there's none in New Mexico, like you just like walked across the border. Or like Texas or California.

G: Don't go there, the taxes are really high.

C: Exactly, like, I don't know. I mean, we have tarantula hawks all over L.A. even.

G: Those are agents though.

C: Yeah, right. (laughter) But I think I might, I don't know. I'm gonna go with the, maybe. I'll say other states have all of these scary, toxic, stinging things.

S: Okay, Evan.

C: Spread it out.

Evan's Response[edit]

E: Okay. The only state in the U.S. with the famous, I've never heard of it, saguaro cactus.

S: What do you mean?

C: We've been pointing them out this whole trip.

S: The big, stinging cactus.

E: I don't know what they're called, they're just cactus.

C: They're just cacti. Did you say cactuses?

E: No, I did not, I said cactus.

C: You said cactuses.

E: Sorry, I don't know the name of a cactus.

S: Connecticutian.

C: Yeah, seriously.

E: That's right. The peaks and summits, 3,928. Those mountainous state, oh boy. There's a lot of states out here in the west with a lot, and they're big, they're all big.

C: Wait, I can't change mine since you didn't make a decision yet, can I?

S: No.

C: Really?

S: What would you change it to?

C: I'm gonna change it to the cactus.

S: Okay.

C: Yeah, I'm gonna change it to the cactus. It's not the only state.

E: And then the gila monster. I remember that from Ren and Stimpy, that's how I learned that one. Yeah, okay, saguaro, cactus. I'll go with the group, fiction.

Bob's Response[edit]

B: I don't need that.

E: Bob doesn't need this.

C: You got your own?

B: I'm gonna do a GWG, go with George.

C: We're all going with George. Okay, yeah, we're all going with George. All right, well let's see what the audience says about this.

Audience's Response[edit]

S: So you guys know about the one clap thing, right? Should we practice? (audience claps) All right. I'm gonna do it, George, is that all right? All right, so if you think that the saguaro cactus is the fiction clap. (barely any claps)

C: Oh, shit.

S: If you think that the mountainous state is the fiction clap. (audience claps) If you think that the venomous animals is the fiction clap. (barely any claps) All right, so people seem to be the most comfortable with the venomous things.

G: It was one gila monster in the back of the school.

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

S: So Arizona is the state with the most venomous animals with the only venomous lizard, the gila monster, 13 species of rattlesnake scorpions, Africanized bees, the venomous centipede, and the insect with the most painful bite, the tarantula hawk. Pretty much everybody thinks that is science and that one is science, that is science. There's a lot of venomous animals in Arizona and all of those things that I listed are in Arizona. It's the most species of rattlesnake 13. So interestingly, after I prepped this item, I was chatting with my daughter and I threw out the tarantula hawk. She's like, yeah, that's the most painful bite of any insect. I'm like, how the hell did you know that? And then she starts rattling off all of the things on my list. She just knew it. I don't know.

E: Correct that child.

C: Love it.

G: I learned it from you, dad. I learned it from you.

S: She's the daughter with a blue tongue skink as a pet.

E: How dare you one-up me?

S: She's a herpetologist. She knows all this stuff. Autumn, yeah. I was totally impressed. Like, holy shit. She knew what the tarantula hawk was. She knew it had the most painful bite. You know, there's other insects with really bad painful bites too. It's like among the most painful bites.

B: She's like Wednesday Addams, I'm not surprised.

S: She's like Wednesday Addams. But it's not deadly. It's just, you just want to die.

C: You wish you were dead. Yeah, exactly, yeah.

S: It won't kill you, but you will wish you were dead for about a week. Remember the killer bees? They're still around. You know, the Africanized bees, they're not that bad. And then the gila moths are the only venomous lizard. Yeah, cool. All right, we'll discuss, work our way backwards.

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

S: With 3,928 peaks and summits, Arizona is considered the most mountainous state of the 48 contiguous states. The entire panel thinks that one is science. Maybe about half the audience thinks that one is science.

C: No, fiction.

S: And that one is, what's the half?

C: Shut up.

S: Half. And that one is.

B: Say it.

S: The fiction. (applause)

B: Ah. Damn.

G: I'm sorry.

S: But this is a bit of a double head fake, right?Because Arizona is way more mountainous than you think it is. Remember, we're in the southern part of the state, right? Am I right about that? The northern part of the state is very mountainous, right? Arizona is considered the most mountainous of the mountain states, which is kind of, I always like that when you have to caveat the superlative. But so there are states which are considered the mountain states, and Arizona is the most mountainous of those. But apparently that doesn't include Nevada, which is more mountainous than Arizona. Nevada is the most mountainous state of the 48 contiguous states.

C: But both more than Colorado.

S: Yeah, both more than Colorado.

C: That would be a good match.

S: Alaska is the most mountainous state.

C: Of course, Alaska.

E: Half of Colorado is pretty flat.

S: But the other half is mountains, apparently.

C: Lots of mountains.

S: Yeah, so it's Nevada, which is surprising. But it's that, I included it because if you might hear that statistic and not pick up on the caveat that it only is about the mountainous states. All right.

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

S: That means that other than a few stray plants, Arizona is the only state in the U.S. with the famous saguaro cactus. That is science. It really is the only state.

C: It's all over Los Angeles and Southern California.

S: Yeah, they mention that they're planted in Los Angeles.

C: They're in people's yard everywhere, yeah.

S: That's because of the Sonora Desert. That's the only place where they are, and that's only in Arizona.

C: But you see them, yeah, people plant them in Joshua.

S: But it's so iconic for just the West, right? But it's just Arizona. Isn't that interesting? And I vetted the crap out of that, but that is true.

G: They're really cool.

S: Yeah, they're beautiful.

C: They're old, too, right?

G: Old, crazy old.

S: Yeah, everyone knows, they don't start growing arms until they're 100 years old.

C: That's cool.

S: Yeah, I mean, I'm sure it's not absolute, but they have to be really old before they start budding.

B: Imagine if people were like that. (laughter) That'd be rough. That'd be rough.

G: I'll shake your hand one day, son. (laughter) Some day we'll shake hands. We'll know we'll have matured to shaking hands age. Till then, just slap my foot. (laughter)

S: But it's always, when I do research these kind of topics, like most of the information you come across is wrong. Because mainly it's like sites that are like, oh, 20 weird things about Arizona, and it's mostly crap, you know? So I have to go, I have to like find the ones that I think are plausible and interesting, and then independently vet them, and half the time they're not true, or they're like not quite true, or there's something wrong about them.

E: Mark Twain did not say all that stuff.

S: Or it's just a complete myth but yeah, but these are the ones I checked out. All right, so the audience did pretty well. You guys, I think, got it generally right. And not the, the rogues not so much. I believe I swept them.

C: Good job.

S: So one of the pieces of feedback. (applause) Thank you.

E: No, no, no, no, no.

B: No. Don't encourage him.

S: At the private show on Thursday, one of the pieces of feedback, someone said, I want to talk to you about science or fiction. You don't smack talk the rogues enough when you beat them.

C: So now you're working on it.

S: Yeah maybe you're right. Maybe I need to smack talk them a little bit more. No, I like I like to keep the game fun.

C: How are you when you play games like at home? Are you like a shit talker?

S: No.

C: Okay, this is just your personality. You don't like.

S: Yeah, I mean, well, it's also that I'm trying to, I mean, I want you guys to win. I want this to be fair. I love, what I like best is when you guys split the answers, right? Because that means that they were all in play. Yeah, they were all plausible. That's always the best. I also like when somebody gets a solo win because they broke away from the crowd because I like to encourage that behaviour. But of course it doesn't suck when I sweep you guys. All right, Evan, finish us off with a quote.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:52:15)[edit]

Among all the geographic areas of the United States, the Southwest in general and Arizona, in particular, is blessed with a panoramic beauty that almost defies description. Only a limited number of poets, painters, and photographers have been able to do justice to her splendor.

 – Marshall Trimble (1939-present), American author, singer, professor, and Arizona's official state historian

E: I will. Folks, this one is for you. "Among all the geographic areas in the United States, the Southwest in general and Arizona in particular is blessed with panoramic beauty that almost defies description. Only a limited number of poets, painters, and photographers have been able to do justice to her splendor." That was said by Marshall Trimble. Anyone know who Marshall Trimble is? American, yes, American author, singer, former community college professor, and Arizona's official state historian.

C: Oh, cool.

E: Well, that one's for you. (applause)

S: Well, this was a lot of fun. Thank you all for joining me this week.

C: Thanks Steve.

E: Thank you.

B: Sure man.

S: Thank you to the audience.


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

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


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