SGU Episode 99

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SGU Episode 99
June 13th 2007
SGU 98 SGU 100
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
'Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism'
David Suzuki (Canadian environmentalist, scientist and broadcaster b.1936)
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

News Items ()[edit]

New Gallup Poll on Creationism in the US ()[edit]


Attack on Academic Freedom at the UCL ()[edit]


Mercury/Autism Controversy Goes to Court ()[edit]


Mr. Wizard Dies at 89 ()[edit]


Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Rods ()[edit]


I would love for skeptics guide to cover 'rods'. Some people believe they are a flying creature as yet unknown to most of science. A Los Angeles news program can be viewed here:

Of course the immediate idea is that these are artifacts of video cameras. I was frustrated that the crew didn't just film the phenomenon with two cameras and sync the footage. From that you could pretty quickly and imply determine if the event was in the camera or in the world. If it's in the world, you could determine size and speed from triangulating the two signals if you just recorded how far the cameras were from each other. It doesn't take much to really narrow down this kind of thing, and it's frustrating to see people
miss easy opportunities.

Anyway, if you guys could discuss it, that could be a fun topic.

As always, you do great podcasts.

Matt Dick

Wikipedia rods entry:
Debunking site reproducing 'rod' pictures:

Zero Point Energy ()[edit]

I was watching a show on the Science channel on cable, and they seemed to give some support to John Hutchinson & zero point energy, Jim Ventura and lifter research and anti gravity, Joseph Newman energy machine, Thomas Townsend Brown and anti gravity. Surprised they were taken quite seriously on a science channel. I don't know much about them, any science behind their claims?

Frank Auer

Credulous ZPE theories:

Hutchinson article:

Thomas Townsend Brown:

Skeptical article on Joseph Newman

Interview with Phil Plait ()[edit]

  • Phil Plait is the Bad Astronomer

    Article on Expanding Universe

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: A newly published study shows that spontaneously recovered memories of childhood abuse are almost as accurate as continuous memories. Question #2: Among the many new species recently discovered in the deep Antarctic ocean is a shrimp species the size of dolphin. Question #3: Physicians report a case of a man who bled green blood during a surgical procedure.

Skeptical Puzzle ()[edit]

This Week's Puzzle

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Mark Twain
Herbert Hoover
J. Paul Getty
Napoleon Bonaparte
Rudolph Giuliani

What un-skeptical trait do all of these famous people have in common?

Last Week's Puzzle

Name the former world leader that used to laugh at UFO believers, but later became a believer himself when he himself witnessed one.

Answer: Former US President Jimmy Carter
Winner: Talus

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism'- David Suzuki (Canadian environmentalist, scientist and broadcaster b.1936)

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at Please send us your questions, suggestions, and other feedback; you can use the 'contact us' page on our website, or you can send us an email to 'info @'. 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto and is used with permission.


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