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The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe => Suggestions => Topic started by: EvilAnonym on July 03, 2009, 10:18:02 AM

Title: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: EvilAnonym on July 03, 2009, 10:18:02 AM
This would be very interesting non-skeptic interview.
Christopher Langan is alleged to have IQ between 195 and 200.
He has write he's own "theory of everything" (CTMU) and he promotes intelligent design.
Very hard to understand... but with that IQ, I think we must give him a chance!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Langan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Langan)

Question suggestions:

1. Is there way to test CTMU? What kind of predictions it make?

2. In your opinion, what is specifically wrong with evolution, why ID instead?

3. Why you believe in Cartesian mind-matter dualism? Is there any specific evidence of it?

4. Since you already answered to chicken & egg question; If there is God what created it?
( http://www.megafoundation.org/CTMU/Q&A/Archive.html#Chicken (http://www.megafoundation.org/CTMU/Q&A/Archive.html#Chicken) )


Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 14, 2009, 07:31:22 PM
I have noticed lately that we jump down the throat of the new poster who shows up to criticize the show. I've done it, and I've seen others do it. I'm not sure we should stop, but it probably chases off people. I would encourage people to greet and take interest in a nice way when people introduce themselves.
http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,3.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,3.0.html)
That is partially what spurred me to post this.  NOT that people were being defensive, but that maybe the podcast is getting a little tired, and that is contributing to a drop in new membership.  I'm not qualified to judge if the podcast is getting tired...I'm hopelessly biased.  But when multiple new people show up and say the same thing, I take notice.

This might be more appropriate for the Suggestions section, but I would like to see them broaden their topics a bit.  Jenny Mccarthy's an idiot, we get it!  But, how about an entire episode on global warming?  Or, some of the less-obvious skeptic topics?  I love the show, but I would like to see them expand their topic range, a bit.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Jim S on July 14, 2009, 07:33:05 PM
715 posts in this thread.  At least I've done MY part.   ;D

@KarenX:  Duck. 


Oh, wait...maybe Karen is just doing HER part.  Pretty sneaky.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: pandamonium on July 14, 2009, 07:36:11 PM
I have noticed lately that we jump down the throat of the new poster who shows up to criticize the show. I've done it, and I've seen others do it. I'm not sure we should stop, but it probably chases off people. I would encourage people to greet and take interest in a nice way when people introduce themselves.
http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,3.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,3.0.html)
That is partially what spurred me to post this.  NOT that people were being defensive, but that maybe the podcast is getting a little tired, and that is contributing to a drop in new membership.  I'm not qualified to judge if the podcast is getting tired...I'm hopelessly biased.  But when multiple new people show up and say the same thing, I take notice.

This might be more appropriate for the Suggestions section, but I would like to see them broaden their topics a bit.  Jenny Mccarthy's an idiot, we get it!  But, how about an entire episode on global warming?  Or, some of the less-obvious skeptic topics?  I love the show, but I would like to see them expand their topic range, a bit.

i think they are; the last ep i listened to had a guest that wasn't exclusively talking about skepticism, which was refreshing. there have been a couple in recent memory that have included working scientists talking about their fields, which i think is great. i don't necessarily think that the SGU should move over to this kind of interview, but i would encourage the rogues to keep this kind of mixing-it-up going.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: wastrel on July 14, 2009, 07:38:04 PM
Maybe ILS is stealing members.

Seriously though, I'm sure ILS has something to do with it as the split happened back in November and several of the people who went over were big posters in the book and game forum.

ILS is hardly "stealing" members.  It is a VERY small forum, and the traffic at ILS is no where near the difference in traffic here.

Neither is there a false dichotomy of ILS and SGU.  There are plenty over there that do not post here, but there is plenty of crossover as well.

At the risk of treading on toes here, It sure would be nice if the ILS exiles would come back. The moderation excesses of that time are way in our rearview and things are fine now. Dunno if this has been tried already but anyone in a position to put a friendly hand out might want to consider doing so.

This has been tried, and everyone that posts solely at ILS is well aware that they can come back at any time.  It is a dead horse, and really isn't worth going over again, sadly.

I have noticed lately that we jump down the throat of the new poster who shows up to criticize the show. I've done it, and I've seen others do it. I'm not sure we should stop, but it probably chases off people. I would encourage people to greet and take interest in a nice way when people introduce themselves.

Like it or not, there is a pretty well established community here.  If someone comes in and essentially bitches about how shitty the place is in their first post, they will be flamed.

This is a web forum, and if someone can't be bother to exercise standard netiquette then they will get jumped up and down on.  Pretty standard form, really.

If you think the current forum is "hard" on newcomers, it is nothing compared to when Paul Ganssle, IRON MAN, a3maniac, Orthodox Infidel et al were posting here.  The number of shitty arguments people get away with now is staggering compared to when they were around.  Punches were NEVER pulled for the sake of being nice, and the current community is as soft as a bunny comparatively.

It is next to impossible to pinpoint the how or why forum traffic has decreased without knowing detailed Podcast subscription information.  Has the number of Podcast subscriptions increased, decreased or stagnated over the same period?  My guess would be option b or c, the growth the SGU has seen was too fast to be maintained.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: pandamonium on July 14, 2009, 07:44:03 PM
no, wastrel, i think we can all agree that this entire thing is ILS's fault.

i mean, you guys have awesome t-shirts, how could it not be your fault? ;)
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: seaotter on July 14, 2009, 07:47:55 PM
It's wastrels avatars. Lord only knows how many noobs are twitching in epileptic fits as we speak.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: pandamonium on July 14, 2009, 07:50:22 PM
It's wastrels avatars. Lord only knows how many noobs are twitching in epileptic fits as we speak.

do you think we could find enough evidence to support this claim?
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JamesTate on July 14, 2009, 07:51:37 PM
I wasn't being serious about my ILS stealing comment, wastrel.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: wastrel on July 14, 2009, 07:53:27 PM
Well poo to you guys then.

Why am I taking everything seriously today?
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Jim S on July 14, 2009, 07:54:35 PM
(also think how bad the stats would be without the whoring thread.   :o ) 
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: pandamonium on July 14, 2009, 07:56:10 PM
Well poo to you guys then.

Why am I taking everything seriously today?

/hug

i know ils didn't steal anyone, wastrel. there are members of both that are active on both. karen, for example. i have an account, but i haven't used it in forever. i keep meaning to pop on over there, but i forgot my login info :P
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Skeptress on July 14, 2009, 08:02:24 PM
Wastrel has a hard on for ILS.

LOL, always wanted to purposely say something flame worthy. 
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: wastrel on July 14, 2009, 08:02:59 PM
Wastrel has a hard on for ILS.

......

Well, it is my forum.

ETA: Damnit, I did it again
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Iconoclast on July 14, 2009, 08:03:41 PM
It's wastrels avatars. Lord only knows how many noobs are twitching in epileptic fits as we speak.

do you think we could find enough evidence to support this claim?
caaannnttt ttyyyppeee-- avvvaattaarr ccaaauusssinnng sssshhaakkees
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 14, 2009, 08:07:33 PM

This might be more appropriate for the Suggestions section, but I would like to see them broaden their topics a bit.  Jenny Mccarthy's an idiot, we get it!  But, how about an entire episode on global warming?  Or, some of the less-obvious skeptic topics?  I love the show, but I would like to see them expand their topic range, a bit.

i think they are; the last ep i listened to had a guest that wasn't exclusively talking about skepticism, which was refreshing. there have been a couple in recent memory that have included working scientists talking about their fields, which i think is great. i don't necessarily think that the SGU should move over to this kind of interview, but i would encourage the rogues to keep this kind of mixing-it-up going.

Well, I'm fine w/ them sticking with 'skeptic' topics.  (I mean, it is a skeptic podcast.)  I just want to see them go into topics that (a) aren't 100% clearly 'woo'; and (b) haven't been discussed over, and over, and over again.

For instance, chiropractics are quacks.  End of story.  I think every SGU listener understands that.  We're all pretty confident that the UFO-story of the week is b.s.  We all understand that the research shows no link between vaccines and autism.  And, it's ok for them to mention these issues from time to time, but I don't think they've gone two episodes without going into at least 1 of these topics.

I'd like to see them expand their reach into issues where the conclusion may not be so clear cut.  I read an article a few months back questioning the validity of shaken-baby syndrome.  There's lots of talk out there about whether the New Deal worked.  And, there are even some posters in the SGU forum who believe that ESP research has some validity.  I'd love to see them go into these issues.  And, heck, how about a 9/11 episode?  That should get us a steady stream of forum trolls:)
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Jim S on July 14, 2009, 08:11:14 PM
And they don't have to become experts to do that.  Hopefully they're big enough names and/or their audience is large enough that they can get real experts to join them for interviews. 
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: pandamonium on July 14, 2009, 08:13:23 PM

This might be more appropriate for the Suggestions section, but I would like to see them broaden their topics a bit.  Jenny Mccarthy's an idiot, we get it!  But, how about an entire episode on global warming?  Or, some of the less-obvious skeptic topics?  I love the show, but I would like to see them expand their topic range, a bit.

i think they are; the last ep i listened to had a guest that wasn't exclusively talking about skepticism, which was refreshing. there have been a couple in recent memory that have included working scientists talking about their fields, which i think is great. i don't necessarily think that the SGU should move over to this kind of interview, but i would encourage the rogues to keep this kind of mixing-it-up going.

Well, I'm fine w/ them sticking with 'skeptic' topics.  (I mean, it is a skeptic podcast.)  I just want to see them go into topics that (a) aren't 100% clearly 'woo'; and (b) haven't been discussed over, and over, and over again.

sorry, i didn't read past this. :P but i agree that it would be interesting for them to branch into less clearly cut woo. except, of course, degrees of clear cut depend on your sophistication as a skeptic. you and i aren't newbs, and can definitely say that mercury in vaccines, homeopathy, and chiropractic are all crap. newbs to crit think will need the reminders of why this sort of thing is crap. but, yeah, again, i would love to see an ep on something that isn't so clear cut.

eta for quote retardedness.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Iconoclast on July 14, 2009, 08:32:57 PM
For instance, chiropractics are quacks.  End of story.  I think every SGU listener understands that.  We're all pretty confident that the UFO-story of the week is b.s.  We all understand that the research shows no link between vaccines and autism.  And, it's ok for them to mention these issues from time to time, but I don't think they've gone two episodes without going into at least 1 of these topics.
You know, people may stumble upon this forum and NOT be SGU listeners. They might be people interested in learning more about chiropractors, UFOs, skepticism, whatever. Just because they come here, doesn't mean it is because of the podcast. Google can do that when searching for things, you know. If they aren't clearly a troll, I think we should be encouraging them. Hold the criticism until they are either trolls or clearly not getting it.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 14, 2009, 08:38:37 PM
For instance, chiropractics are quacks.  End of story.  I think every SGU listener understands that.  We're all pretty confident that the UFO-story of the week is b.s.  We all understand that the research shows no link between vaccines and autism.  And, it's ok for them to mention these issues from time to time, but I don't think they've gone two episodes without going into at least 1 of these topics.
You know, people may stumble upon this forum and NOT be SGU listeners. They might be people interested in learning more about chiropractors, UFOs, skepticism, whatever. Just because they come here, doesn't mean it is because of the podcast. Google can do that when searching for things, you know. If they aren't clearly a troll, I think we should be encouraging them. Hold the criticism until they are either trolls or clearly not getting it.

I think you misunderstood.  My point is that I would like to see the podcast branch out into other areas, and stop repeatedly going over the same issues.  The forums are another matter entirely.  I'm all for discussing anything/everything here.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Iconoclast on July 14, 2009, 09:00:48 PM
For instance, chiropractics are quacks.  End of story.  I think every SGU listener understands that.  We're all pretty confident that the UFO-story of the week is b.s.  We all understand that the research shows no link between vaccines and autism.  And, it's ok for them to mention these issues from time to time, but I don't think they've gone two episodes without going into at least 1 of these topics.
You know, people may stumble upon this forum and NOT be SGU listeners. They might be people interested in learning more about chiropractors, UFOs, skepticism, whatever. Just because they come here, doesn't mean it is because of the podcast. Google can do that when searching for things, you know. If they aren't clearly a troll, I think we should be encouraging them. Hold the criticism until they are either trolls or clearly not getting it.

I think you misunderstood.  My point is that I would like to see the podcast branch out into other areas, and stop repeatedly going over the same issues.  The forums are another matter entirely.  I'm all for discussing anything/everything here.
Gotcha
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Rider on July 14, 2009, 09:06:37 PM
For instance, chiropractics are quacks.  End of story.  I think every SGU listener understands that.  We're all pretty confident that the UFO-story of the week is b.s.  We all understand that the research shows no link between vaccines and autism.  And, it's ok for them to mention these issues from time to time, but I don't think they've gone two episodes without going into at least 1 of these topics.
You know, people may stumble upon this forum and NOT be SGU listeners. They might be people interested in learning more about chiropractors, UFOs, skepticism, whatever. Just because they come here, doesn't mean it is because of the podcast. Google can do that when searching for things, you know. If they aren't clearly a troll, I think we should be encouraging them. Hold the criticism until they are either trolls or clearly not getting it.

I think you misunderstood.  My point is that I would like to see the podcast branch out into other areas, and stop repeatedly going over the same issues.  The forums are another matter entirely.  I'm all for discussing anything/everything here.

Yeah it has been getting to the point where the news segment should just be called "What did Jenny do this week."  I get that it's a very important current topic but overcoverage will just make people mute it out.

I've noticed that this has not been an issue since they did the prerecorded shows getting ready for TAM. 
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: wannabeplato on July 14, 2009, 09:11:17 PM
Also in agreement..  I understand they have to keep things at a certain level since one of the main goals is to reach out to new skeptics, but certain things get a bit old when you have been listening since day 1.

But I expect its like so many programs, people will drift off, then rediscover it months later and be into it..

But they should mention the Forum more..
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: seaotter on July 14, 2009, 09:12:34 PM
Also in agreement..  I understand they have to keep things at a certain level since one of the main goals is to reach out to new skeptics, but certain things get a bit old when you have been listening since day 1.

But I expect its like so many programs, people will drift off, then rediscover it months later and be into it..

But they should mention the Forum more..


Like have a poll for each episode?
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: stands2reason on July 14, 2009, 09:13:14 PM
It's wastrels avatars. Lord only knows how many noobs are twitching in epileptic fits as we speak.

do you think we could find enough evidence to support this claim?
caaannnttt ttyyyppeee-- avvvaattaarr ccaaauusssinnng sssshhaakkees

Wait? I think epilepsy was actually caused by demons?

The power of Christ compels you! The power ... of Christ ... compels you!
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Jim S on July 14, 2009, 09:14:03 PM
Also in agreement..  I understand they have to keep things at a certain level since one of the main goals is to reach out to new skeptics, but certain things get a bit old when you have been listening since day 1.

But I expect its like so many programs, people will drift off, then rediscover it months later and be into it..

But they should mention the Forum more..


Like have a poll for each episode?

Oh Jesus.  Seaotter is going to need a tissue.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 14, 2009, 09:14:43 PM
Also in agreement..  I understand they have to keep things at a certain level since one of the main goals is to reach out to new skeptics, but certain things get a bit old when you have been listening since day 1.

But I expect its like so many programs, people will drift off, then rediscover it months later and be into it..

But they should mention the Forum more..


Like have a poll for each episode?

Ooh, good idea! Or, perhaps a specific topic to be discussed?  By doing a 'topic of the week', perhaps more listeners would want to jump in and giver their opinion.  And, they could have a brief segment on the show (like they do w/ "Who's that noisy") talking about the comments and mentioning the new 'topic of the week'.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Evil Eye on July 14, 2009, 09:36:27 PM
Also in agreement..  I understand they have to keep things at a certain level since one of the main goals is to reach out to new skeptics, but certain things get a bit old when you have been listening since day 1.

But I expect its like so many programs, people will drift off, then rediscover it months later and be into it..

But they should mention the Forum more..


Like have a poll for each episode?

Ooh, good idea! Or, perhaps a specific topic to be discussed?  By doing a 'topic of the week', perhaps more listeners would want to jump in and giver their opinion.  And, they could have a brief segment on the show (like they do w/ "Who's that noisy") talking about the comments and mentioning the new 'topic of the week'.

I gave a new topic... except I put it in the religious section because it was about a new book claiming DNA proves Intelligent Design.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Skulker on July 15, 2009, 09:16:37 AM
Also in agreement..  I understand they have to keep things at a certain level since one of the main goals is to reach out to new skeptics, but certain things get a bit old when you have been listening since day 1.

But I expect its like so many programs, people will drift off, then rediscover it months later and be into it..

But they should mention the Forum more..


Like have a poll for each episode?

Ooh, good idea! Or, perhaps a specific topic to be discussed?  By doing a 'topic of the week', perhaps more listeners would want to jump in and giver their opinion.  And, they could have a brief segment on the show (like they do w/ "Who's that noisy") talking about the comments and mentioning the new 'topic of the week'.
Wouldn't be fun if they had a call in segment ? I'm thinking that's beyond their production capabilities but so many times I find myself wishing I could add things to their discussions.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: DoctorOHM on July 15, 2009, 09:39:20 AM
Don't blame me, i've been doing my best to keep the numbers up! I've been more active for the last months than the rest of the year i've been a member.

DoctorOHM was actually the person I was going to blame all of this on. Hmmm.. now I'll have to find a new culprit.  :P

Wait, it isn't the "form destroying proceess of entropy" is it? You know it doesn't say "forum destroying", right!
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Skeptress on July 15, 2009, 09:43:42 AM
So what topics would be less clear cut woo?
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 15, 2009, 10:07:47 AM
So what topics would be less clear cut woo?

Well, I'd like to hear more about shaken-baby syndrome.  The article in Discover kept referring to the 'skeptics' who had peer-reviewed articles showing it's all bunk.  But, Discover seemed to be so biased that it was hard for me to take it too seriously.

I also think global warming would be a good topic to discuss at-length.  They could dissect the ESP research (I personally think ESP is complete and utter woo, but given that there are "skeptics" on this forum who think the research shows it's real, I'd love to hear it discussed on SGU.)

I'm sure there are plenty more topics, but I'd have to give it some thought...
Title: Birth control and insurance companies
Post by: seaotter on July 15, 2009, 11:12:51 AM
Have any on the panel seen this thread

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,21237.new.html#new (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,21237.new.html#new)

A skeptical treatment might make a good segment.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Karyn on July 15, 2009, 04:11:28 PM
I really like it when Steve dissects a bad research paper.  I also think an occasional bit on a product spotlight would be good.  Some products are clearly woo, but there are quite a few out there where I say "I wonder if that actually works."  There could easily be a thread for the submission of these products for the panel to discuss.  This would have the effect of creating fresh content and give pointers on how to research some of the information presented in the ads.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: wannabeplato on July 15, 2009, 04:16:03 PM
I really like it when Steve dissects a bad research paper.  I also think an occasional bit on a product spotlight would be good.  Some products are clearly woo, but there are quite a few out there where I say "I wonder if that actually works."  There could easily be a thread for the submission of these products for the panel to discuss.  This would have the effect of creating fresh content and give pointers on how to research some of the information presented in the ads.

I like that idea.. actually, be better if that here was an actual section for that sort of of thing.. Sort of a Skeptics Better Business Bureau or FDA or whatever.. 

If it was a group, and products were required to be a thread each, then the community could help alot in providing research and content for different things which they could leverage (after whatever degree of fact-checking they wish) on the show.

Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: IrishJazz on July 15, 2009, 04:18:27 PM
Don't blame me, i've been doing my best to keep the numbers up! I've been more active for the last months than the rest of the year i've been a member.

DoctorOHM was actually the person I was going to blame all of this on. Hmmm.. now I'll have to find a new culprit.  :P

You are assuming it was his absence that was driving down the numbers.  ;)
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 15, 2009, 04:46:22 PM
I really like it when Steve dissects a bad research paper.  I also think an occasional bit on a product spotlight would be good.  Some products are clearly woo, but there are quite a few out there where I say "I wonder if that actually works."  There could easily be a thread for the submission of these products for the panel to discuss.  This would have the effect of creating fresh content and give pointers on how to research some of the information presented in the ads.

Great idea; I was picking up lunch about 10 minutes ago, and the deli had this 4-hour-energy drink for sale.  I briefly looked at the ingredients, but except for the caffeine (same amount as in a cup of coffee, according to the label) I had no idea whether it would work.  Given that it's "all natural" I'm guessing it's garbage.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Steven Novella on July 15, 2009, 05:00:15 PM
Thanks for all the input, guys. A few thoughts.

We do need to mention the forums more on the show. However, we have also received feedback from new listeners saying that the show can feel like it is just catering to the established in crowd. Everything has a down side - so we have to be careful about the balance.

We definitely like it when people suggest topics to us. Perhaps we can make this a sticky thread under Suggestions.

We actually do plan to do a "call in" segment. Here is our idea so far:
- In order to be eligible you must be on skype and have a decent headphone/mic combo, and you must be available Wednesday night between 9 and 11 pm Eastern time.
- People can submit the question or topic they wish to discuss (probably e-mail, but we could consider another venue, like a forum thread)
- We will choose a topic and contact the person to confirm their Skype readiness and availability
- We will skype them when we are ready to discuss their question.

Thoughts?
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 15, 2009, 05:11:34 PM
Call-in idea could definitely work; I am assuming this would essentially be a more interactive form of the listener e-mail questions.  In any case, I think it would definitely make your listeners feel more engaged with the show.

But, do you have any way of screening people before hand?  A person may provide an interesting question or topic, but they may end up being terrible 'guests'.  Just a thought.  (Although, I suppose that's a risk you run any time you have an interview, and that's worked out pretty well...)
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Rider on July 15, 2009, 05:13:22 PM
Thanks for all the input, guys. A few thoughts.

We do need to mention the forums more on the show. However, we have also received feedback from new listeners saying that the show can feel like it is just catering to the established in crowd. Everything has a down side - so we have to be careful about the balance.

We definitely like it when people suggest topics to us. Perhaps we can make this a sticky thread under Suggestions.

We actually do plan to do a "call in" segment. Here is our idea so far:
- In order to be eligible you must be on skype and have a decent headphone/mic combo, and you must be available Wednesday night between 9 and 11 pm Eastern time.
- People can submit the question or topic they wish to discuss (probably e-mail, but we could consider another venue, like a forum thread)
- We will choose a topic and contact the person to confirm their Skype readiness and availability
- We will skype them when we are ready to discuss their question.

Thoughts?

Just a thought but maybe you can pick sort of a topic of the week, we discuss it on the forums for a few days then maybe you invite one of those people to discuss the topic on the show during that segment.  Sounds a bit more interesting then a generic call in segment.

That would seem to satisfy everything.  You get us to help research a topic for you, you also get a caller that the forums have already basically pre-screened for you.  We get forum traffic and a chance to help the show.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 15, 2009, 05:14:02 PM
Thanks for all the input, guys. A few thoughts.

We do need to mention the forums more on the show. However, we have also received feedback from new listeners saying that the show can feel like it is just catering to the established in crowd. Everything has a down side - so we have to be careful about the balance.

We definitely like it when people suggest topics to us. Perhaps we can make this a sticky thread under Suggestions.

We actually do plan to do a "call in" segment. Here is our idea so far:
- In order to be eligible you must be on skype and have a decent headphone/mic combo, and you must be available Wednesday night between 9 and 11 pm Eastern time.
- People can submit the question or topic they wish to discuss (probably e-mail, but we could consider another venue, like a forum thread)
- We will choose a topic and contact the person to confirm their Skype readiness and availability
- We will skype them when we are ready to discuss their question.

Thoughts?

Just a thought but maybe you can pick sort of a topic of the week, we discuss it on the forums for a few days then maybe you invite one of those people to discuss the topic on the show during that segment.  Sounds a bit more interesting then a generic call in segment.

That would seem to satisfy everything.  You get us to help research a topic for you, you also get a caller that the forums have already basically pre-screened for you.  We get forum traffic and a chance to help the show.

I love that idea, Rider!
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Karyn on July 15, 2009, 05:23:32 PM

We definitely like it when people suggest topics to us. Perhaps we can make this a sticky thread under Suggestions.


I will split some of this off and move the topic.
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Rider on July 15, 2009, 05:24:52 PM
I know there are people here that can offer insight on a lot of things.  For example every news story about Wikipedia that has ever been covered on any podcast has made me wish I could give some input. 
Title: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Karyn on July 15, 2009, 05:25:47 PM
Oh, I'm going to have to lock this for a sec while I split it off.  Please excuse the interruption.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Karyn on July 15, 2009, 05:29:45 PM
Topic moved to suggestions and set to sticky.  Please ignore anything that doesn't belong.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: wannabeplato on July 15, 2009, 07:16:14 PM
Thanks for all the input, guys. A few thoughts.

We do need to mention the forums more on the show. However, we have also received feedback from new listeners saying that the show can feel like it is just catering to the established in crowd. Everything has a down side - so we have to be careful about the balance.

We definitely like it when people suggest topics to us. Perhaps we can make this a sticky thread under Suggestions.

We actually do plan to do a "call in" segment. Here is our idea so far:
- In order to be eligible you must be on skype and have a decent headphone/mic combo, and you must be available Wednesday night between 9 and 11 pm Eastern time.
- People can submit the question or topic they wish to discuss (probably e-mail, but we could consider another venue, like a forum thread)
- We will choose a topic and contact the person to confirm their Skype readiness and availability
- We will skype them when we are ready to discuss their question.

Thoughts?

Love that idea.

Its a good way to foster the community even more, as well as get ideas and perspectives that may not normally be represented on the show.  You tend to have experts, and talk about the quacks... people calling in will potentially open up  topics that are Golden Calf's inside the skeptical community.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Skulker on July 15, 2009, 07:56:58 PM
Call-in idea could definitely work; I am assuming this would essentially be a more interactive form of the listener e-mail questions.  In any case, I think it would definitely make your listeners feel more engaged with the show.

But, do you have any way of screening people before hand?  A person may provide an interesting question or topic, but they may end up being terrible 'guests'.  Just a thought.  (Although, I suppose that's a risk you run any time you have an interview, and that's worked out pretty well...)
Pretty sure Steve could take care of this in post-production. If the caller is an ass-hat he gets cut.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 15, 2009, 07:59:29 PM
Call-in idea could definitely work; I am assuming this would essentially be a more interactive form of the listener e-mail questions.  In any case, I think it would definitely make your listeners feel more engaged with the show.

But, do you have any way of screening people before hand?  A person may provide an interesting question or topic, but they may end up being terrible 'guests'.  Just a thought.  (Although, I suppose that's a risk you run any time you have an interview, and that's worked out pretty well...)
Pretty sure Steve could take care of this in post-production. If the caller is an ass-hat he gets cut.

I can just imagine a loud series of "BABABOOEY BABABOOEY" from a random caller.  ;D
Title: Bill Nelson's QXCI device prescribed Tuberculosis in a bottle to me!
Post by: Jake Jensen on July 17, 2009, 11:02:04 PM
I know that homeopathy already gets a lot of coverage, but I don't think I've heard anything on SGU about a specific device called the QXCI that homeopaths use to diagnose their patients.  Supposedly, it was created by a quantum physicist/nasa engineer/medical doctor/computer programmer, named Bill Nelson.  This is a quote from a stack of papers that I received from a homeopath about the QXCI.

Quote
The QXCI is a device like no other.  It is not linear.  It is a product of the cutting edge of science: Quantum Physics.  It is like virtual reality compared to an 1800's photo.  It is based on conciousness: the stuff we occasionally experience as intuition- that deep inner wisdom...

My dad took a sample of my hair to his homeopath and from that the QXCI was able to analyze the energy and vibrations of my 200 trillion cells.  It diagnosed me as having a tuberculosis miasm.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with quantum physics, this is what a miasm is.  : )

Quote
Miasms are tendencies and the inherited predisposition to certain diseases, like allergies or infectious diseases.  There are five major miasms: Psora, Cancer, Sycosis, Syphilis, and Tuberculosis.  Miasms can be inherited or acquired; dormant or active.

Inharited misasms are genetic weakness and can be trased back as far as seven generations.  With a Tuberculosis miasm there is a tendency to catch colds, coughs, chills, sore throats, pneumonia and lung disorders.  A family history of certain disease patterns helps to confirm the presence of an active or dormant miasm.  Active miasms are treated while dormant miasms are left alone until they present symptoms.

Acquired miasms are very prevalent, they can be acquired through sexual contact, or when diseases are suppressed by drugs.  These suppressed diseases can alter one's suscpetibility to the environment...

It gets funnier.  Here are the symptoms of tuberculosis miasm. 

Quote
Tuberculosis Miasm Symptoms

Acne, Albuminuria, Allergies, Appendicitis, Arthritis, Athsma, Bronchitis, Bedwetting, Bone Decay, Breast Tumors, Can't get out of bed, Catarrh, Catnapping, Chest congestion, Chilblains, Chilly, Colds, Coughs, Comea, Craves sweets, Desire for cold milk, Diarrhea, Dysnea, Ear Infection, Edema, Emaciation, Elilepsy, Erysipelas, Hunger, Exhaustion, Glands swollen, Headaches and wandering pains, Heart disorders, Hematuria, Hemoptysis, Hyperactivity, Influenza, Kidney Failure, Leprosy, Leucorrhea, Lung Disorders, Lupis, Mania, Menses, Nephritis, Neualgias, Neurasthemia, Night sweats, Paralysis, Pleurisy, Pneumonia, Psoriasis, Retracted nipples, Sensation of suffocation, sweating (profuse), Thirst (extreme), Tonsils enlarged, Vertigo, Weight loss, Aversion to work, Bored easily, changeable Moods, Creative but unable to follow through with projects, Depressed, Desire to travel, Emotions flash out, Enjoys swearing, Fear of animals, Hopeless despair of recovery, Insanity, Irritable, Mood swings, Nervous, Night Terrors, Opinionated, Phobias, Restless, Symptoms don't last long.

And here is what the homeopath recommended for me, even though I wasn't sick.   

(http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c4/jakejensen76/myspace/tuberculosis-in-a-bottle.jpg)  (http://[url=http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c4/jakejensen76/myspace/tbingredients.jpg]http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c4/jakejensen76/myspace/tbingredients.jpg[/url])

Yes, you're reading that right!  It's tuberculosis in a bottle!  : )

There's a lot of information about Bill Nelson and the QXCI on the internet, most of which is hogwash.  My dad has already been taken in by this scam, and I'm sure many others have as well.  Could the amazing staff at SGU please do a piece on Bill Nelson and the QXCI?  My dad thinks I'm a government stooge.  : )
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on July 20, 2009, 12:11:19 PM
Jake, that is friggin hilarious!  Ok, so it's a tad sad, but the fact your own dad thinks your a gov't stooge -- well, that's one for the ages!  Good to hear that you weren't suckered in by this nonsense.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: aethermist on July 21, 2009, 12:10:34 PM
One thing I've noticed that hasn't been covered much on the show (at least not recently) is mass hysteria/hallucination. I think that the last time I heard anything about it was sometime last year, when the subject of genital retraction sydrome (GRS) in Africa came up.

Specifically, I'm interested in the social and psychological factors that influence these kinds of things. In many of the discussions I get into with my peers, the other person will defend versions of events espoused by multiple eyewitnesses (as in the case of accounts from 9-11 that claim to have heard "bombs" go off before the planes hit) by appealing specifically to the "numbers" argument. "They couldn't ALL be hallucinating," the person will point out.

Of course they could. Plenty of well-documented cases throughout history show how easy it is for people to get so caught up in the idea of something that they begin to physically manifest it (Dancing Plague of 1518, June Bug epidemic of 1962) or they conform mentally to a specific version of events (Fatima Sun Miracle of 1917, Asch conformity experiments in the 1950s).

But few people seem to realize that such phenomena are possible, even common. A discussion of some of these events and a bit about the underlying mechanisms (social/psychological) would go a long way toward not only dispelling the misconception that masses are somehow impervious, but also help many listeners to understand some of the reasons why crappy ideas catch on in general.

SGU does a lot of individual debunking, which definitely needs to continue. But a little more discussion of the factors at work "behind the curtain" of the mind and society would help skeptics understand how the other side in any argument can be so convinced of its own position. That understanding is essential for wooing new converts.

Anyhow, that's my two cents.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Si26 on August 10, 2009, 09:36:15 AM
How about a topic on cracking animal communication?
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: liam on August 10, 2009, 10:14:45 AM
Two things:

First, there's Guaifenesin as a "cure" for Fybromyagia (this article pretty much says it all: http://www.fmnetnews.com/resources-alert-product6.php (http://www.fmnetnews.com/resources-alert-product6.php)).

Second, the proposed FDA ban on vicodin and percocet, which is commonly used as a painkiller for Fybromyalgia patients. This is intended to reduce the problems (like death) that addicts have using these drugs, but it completely throws anyone who uses the drugs responsibly under the bus. I personally feel this is similar to saying "People die from car crashes, so we should ban cars ... and we won't provide any details about alternative transportation and let you figure out what will work best."
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Batmaz on August 12, 2009, 10:07:57 AM
I would really like to hear an episode on mental illness denial. It's been mentioned very briefly in passing in past episodes but it's never been discovered in very much depth, and I don't know whether it's because of how taboo mental illness is, or it's not as prevalent as other more popular conspiracy beliefs, or maybe nobody has ever thought to bring the topic up. Mental illness is an issue that affects me very deeply and I've always known how delicate and complicated an issue it is, but the first time I found out that there were people actually denying its existence it appalled me. My father has bipolar disorder, my ex boyfriend had borderline personality disorder, my sister and I both suffer from depression and my current boyfriend has suffered from depression for years and attempted suicide twice in the past, and that's just my immediate friends and family. I don't know what I'd do if I came face to face with somebody who denied the existance of any of these things and I would really appreciate the panel exploring this issue further. I certainly know that it exists, but there's only so far I can go with my research (so I only know what wikipedia can tell me) and it would mean a great deal to me if I could hear the lies some people are propagating and how to rebuff these attacks.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: kawarthajon on August 14, 2009, 04:01:04 PM
I would really like to hear an episode on mental illness denial. It's been mentioned very briefly in passing in past episodes but it's never been discovered in very much depth, and I don't know whether it's because of how taboo mental illness is, or it's not as prevalent as other more popular conspiracy beliefs, or maybe nobody has ever thought to bring the topic up. Mental illness is an issue that affects me very deeply and I've always known how delicate and complicated an issue it is, but the first time I found out that there were people actually denying its existence it appalled me. My father has bipolar disorder, my ex boyfriend had borderline personality disorder, my sister and I both suffer from depression and my current boyfriend has suffered from depression for years and attempted suicide twice in the past, and that's just my immediate friends and family. I don't know what I'd do if I came face to face with somebody who denied the existance of any of these things and I would really appreciate the panel exploring this issue further. I certainly know that it exists, but there's only so far I can go with my research (so I only know what wikipedia can tell me) and it would mean a great deal to me if I could hear the lies some people are propagating and how to rebuff these attacks.

I agree with Batmaz.  Mental illness denial is a really important topic.  I think it is a really good example of how the pseudoscience can straddle the issue - there is both a lot of pseudoscience in the mental illness denial camp, but also among mental health professionals and counsellors.  I myself work as a social worker in the mental health field and find the whole issue very confusing.  There is a huge gap between the researchers in the mental health field and the practitioners and this gap is growing at an alarming rate.  I have to say that there are some major problems with the history of psychiatry and problems with the current practice of psychiatry (at least in Canada) which need to be addressed and probably lend credibility to the mental illness deniers. 

The issue of denial also straddles the boundary between mainstream culture and ideas, and the more extreme, fringe, cultish side of the spectrum.  We hear a lot about the crazy scientologists denying that mental illnesses exist, but I have also come across respected academics (at the University of Toronto) who have built their entire lengthy career on mental illness denial.  I have also been to presentations at therapy conferences where the presenters where speaking about the fact that mental illness does not exist. 
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Mark7300 on August 14, 2009, 04:04:28 PM
Energy. We are walking right into a huge energy crunch. Oil is getting increasingly hard to find and produce, as is gas.

Our lifestyles are going to change over the next few decades. Science holds the ability to make sure we improve our standard of life. Until the problem is talked about nothingmuch will change.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: lovehealthsuccess on August 15, 2009, 05:36:30 PM
I'd like to suggest a topic for "5x5" episode:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Seems like a good fit for the panel....as there are elements of medicine, alternative treatments, controversy over even its existence, disagreement about causes, etc.

Whadda' ya' think?


CHEERS!

D
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: stands2reason on August 17, 2009, 08:36:40 PM
I'd like to suggest a topic for "5x5" episode:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Seems like a good fit for the panel....as there are elements of medicine, alternative treatments, controversy over even its existence, disagreement about causes, etc.

Whadda' ya' think?


CHEERS!

D

That sounds like a good idea. I think they briefly discussed it in a really old SGU episode, but a new overview of what it is (and isn't), as well as the different treatments, would be nice.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Epicurious on August 18, 2009, 06:09:41 AM
I know that this has probably been done to death, but not for a while when I go through the SKUG archives, but one on astrology would be good. My reasoning:

My girlfriend is a huge skeptic and was the one who got me listening 'religiously' to your podcasts. We both love your show and we both feel that we learn so much: not just the information that you provide but the lasting effect it has on us.  We - and especially me - both seek to research things a little closer before believing them on face value.

In the past, she has, on numerous occasions, challenged me on things that I have previously read or heard and usually I come off worse when I realise that my sources have been poor or unsubstantiated. However, the one topic that she allows herself to be influenced by is astrology. I must make clear that she realises that it is rubbish, but she can't help but buy into several aspects of it. For one, she likes to guess people's star signs. For the most part she would not care, but she says she is almost always correct when it comes to identifying pisceans and aquarians - including myself. Interestingly, although this has possibly only happened about three times in my life, everybody who cares to guess, has also identified me as an aquarian.

So knowing that star signs are a load of cr*p, is there any way that seasonal influences could effect a child in utero e.g. seasonal foods, the weather, light levels... that could account for this? Or has she, just been lucky?
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on August 18, 2009, 12:29:04 PM
but she says she is almost always correct when it comes to identifying pisceans and aquarians - including myself. Interestingly, although this has possibly only happened about three times in my life, everybody who cares to guess, has also identified me as an aquarian.

So knowing that star signs are a load of cr*p, is there any way that seasonal influences could effect a child in utero e.g. seasonal foods, the weather, light levels... that could account for this? Or has she, just been lucky?

She's most certainly been lucky.  Or, more likely, she's suffering from confirmation bias (i.e. she remembers the times she guessed right, but forgets the wrong guesses.)  And, maybe you have the classic features associated with an a picese or wahtever, but that's again just a coincidence.

If you really want to press this issue with her, you could easily set up a simple test.  Next time you're at a bar, go around (without her being with you) and tell people you're running an experiment and that you need their astrological sign.  Get 10 people and have her ID the Picese.  Not exactly a particularly scientific test, and she'd have a 10% chance of guessing it correctly, but that means you have a 90% chance of hearing her excuses for why she got it wrong.

Or, you could just leave it be and not push her into dumping you for her Capricorn soul mate or something ;).
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Epicurious on August 19, 2009, 05:48:23 AM
Dear JoelWhy, thank you for your input on this! I agree it would have to be luck, and if she was anyone else I would instantly dismiss this without a second thought. However, she is horribly accurate in everything - I learned quickly that even a slight exaggeration in a story renders the whole story wasted breath in her view. She prides herself on her accuracy and she happily says that she could never guess any other star sign and admits that even her guesses for Pisceans are wrong on occasion. But she would bet her life that her guesses are better than chance on Aquarians. Hence, why I wonder if there could be ANYTHING, that is not complete horsesh*t, that could even possibly, slightly, influence a person's personality?

I would be happy to leave it, but it is my main trump card! Albeit a dog-eared, palm-greased card considering the number of times I have played it now!  :-\
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on August 19, 2009, 12:55:01 PM
Dear JoelWhy, thank you for your input on this! I agree it would have to be luck, and if she was anyone else I would instantly dismiss this without a second thought. However, she is horribly accurate in everything - I learned quickly that even a slight exaggeration in a story renders the whole story wasted breath in her view. She prides herself on her accuracy and she happily says that she could never guess any other star sign and admits that even her guesses for Pisceans are wrong on occasion. But she would bet her life that her guesses are better than chance on Aquarians. Hence, why I wonder if there could be ANYTHING, that is not complete horsesh*t, that could even possibly, slightly, influence a person's personality?

I would be happy to leave it, but it is my main trump card! Albeit a dog-eared, palm-greased card considering the number of times I have played it now!  :-\

I concede it's possible that a person's appearance would somehow, someway be influenced by the time of year they're born.  But, I find it highly unlikely.  In fact, I believe that either she can pick out Aquarians through some supernatural power or she can't.  (My money is on the latter option.)

If you really want to put this issue to rest, there's a simple way to do so.  This type of "power" would likely be eligible for the JREF prize for $1,000,000.  (In fact, Astrology is specifically mentioned by JREF as an eligible category.) 

But, I would recommend starting off smaller.  Set up an unscientific test with, say, 10 people (3 of whom are Aquarians.)  Have her examine the 10 people and pick out the 3.  I'm terrible at statistics, but I say if she gets even 2 out of the 3, I'd be impressed.

If she can do better than chance, you'll need to get some"media attention" to apply for the JREF prize.  (Brian from Skeptoid (http://skeptoid.com/) has been approved by JREF to fulfill the media requirement; he's willing to provide you with the requisite media attention if you can convince him of the power)  You then get sign up for an informal test.  Pass the test, you go to the formal test.  Pass that, you get $1 million in cash w/in 10 days.

Of course, no one's ever made it past the informal test.  I'll bet dollars to doughnuts your girlfriend doesn't even do better than chance on a self-run test with 10 people.  But, if she genuinely believes her claim, I suspect you guys wouldn't mind the extra cash:)

That being said, if she gets past the informal test, make sure to marry her before the formal test.  You wouldn't want her to dump you right before she hits paydirt!  ;)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: mattrogers on August 22, 2009, 02:37:54 AM
scientology
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: seaotter on August 22, 2009, 08:34:16 AM
9/11
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on August 22, 2009, 11:23:11 AM
9/11

Oh, the nutsos we'd bring to the board if they did a 9/11 episode...
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: stands2reason on August 22, 2009, 12:23:51 PM
How about "neurodiversity"? I heard this concept being proposed by Tyler Cowen. Basically, the idea that diversity is under-appreciated, and many things that we think of as disorders (even, say, autism) really aren't. I would like to hear what Steve has to say about this.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Karyn on August 22, 2009, 02:10:32 PM
9/11

Oh, the nutsos we'd bring to the board if they did a 9/11 episode...

I recently visited the Seattle skeptics.  They like to invite some of these types of locals...creationists, truthers, etc.  They said the creationists were far more respectful than the truthers, who apparently stuck them with their beer and food tab.  Bastards!
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: pandamonium on August 22, 2009, 02:32:27 PM
9/11

Oh, the nutsos we'd bring to the board if they did a 9/11 episode...

I recently visited the Seattle skeptics.  They like to invite some of these types of locals...creationists, truthers, etc.  They said the creationists were far more respectful than the truthers, who apparently stuck them with their beer and food tab.  Bastards!

Maybe the truthers saw this as "sticking it to the man."
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Evil Eye on August 24, 2009, 07:37:11 AM
Florida Muck Monster baffles Marine Biologist?

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/278151 (http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/278151)

"The elusive muck monster!" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucVqx4Q3-iI#normal)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Batmaz on August 24, 2009, 01:18:09 PM
How about "neurodiversity"? I heard this concept being proposed by Tyler Cowen. Basically, the idea that diversity is under-appreciated, and many things that we think of as disorders (even, say, autism) really aren't. I would like to hear what Steve has to say about this.

Sounds like more mental illness denial to me.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on August 24, 2009, 01:27:05 PM
How about "neurodiversity"? I heard this concept being proposed by Tyler Cowen. Basically, the idea that diversity is under-appreciated, and many things that we think of as disorders (even, say, autism) really aren't. I would like to hear what Steve has to say about this.

Sounds like more mental illness denial to me.

I heard an interview with Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who also is considered a leading expert on animal behavior.  She believes that functional autism is more a different way of experiencing the world than it is a disability.  She noted that a significant number of computer programmers, etc, fall within the autism spectrum, and that this "illness" was actually an asset for certain lines of work.  (This obviously plays right into the not-altogether-inaccurate stereotype of computer programmers being socially awkward.  I am NOT saying that all programmers are like this, but if you've worked with programmer before, you most certainly have met your fair share of people who don't seem to fit in.)

I'm not saying she's correct, but I think her explanation is certainly plausible.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Batmaz on August 24, 2009, 01:39:17 PM
But then you could argue that narcissistic, histrionic, or borderline personality disorders are all different ways of perceiving and reacting to the world, which they certainly are, but that doesn't mean that they are a product of a wholly functional brain. It seems like a bit of a non-sequitur.

[ETA] For some things it is an advantage to be autistic. There's an autistic boy in my maths class that achieved very high scores. But it's only one aspect of someone's life; what about when an autistic person has to go shopping, or integrate with any other aspect of life? It's a real problem.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on August 24, 2009, 01:40:49 PM
But then you could argue that narcissistic, histrionic, or borderline personality disorders are all different ways of perceiving and reacting to the world, which they certainly are, but that doesn't mean that they are a product of a wholly functional brain. It seems like a bit of a non-sequitur.

Well, I guess it's an issue of how well said person can function in society and whether the benefits of such a "disorder" outweigh the negatives. 
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Batmaz on August 24, 2009, 01:44:43 PM
I edited to add something but you replied to quick for me; I don't really believe the benefits do outweigh the negatives. When everyone perceives the world in one way and you in another, it will ultimately do you no good if you want to be a member of society.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on August 24, 2009, 01:49:50 PM
I edited to add something but you replied to quick for me; I don't really believe the benefits do outweigh the negatives. When everyone perceives the world in one way and you in another, it will ultimately do you no good if you want to be a member of society.

I definitely understand your point.  And, if I somehow had a choice of being "normal" or being autistic with terrific math skills but terrible social skills, I'd definitely prefer to be "normal".  Maybe it's more an issue of 'when Xenu hands you lemons, make lemonade kick-arse advances in the world of high-tech."
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: ArtifexCrastinus on September 05, 2009, 11:21:29 PM
I'd love to hear Steve's take on the recent placebo studies, as reported in Wired Magazine. Maybe he's waiting for more of them to be completed before he brings it up. But I really think he should at least mention it as a topic to look forward to in future episodes.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: leooliveira on September 14, 2009, 01:10:25 PM
Don't forget to mention Norman Borlaug's recent death in the next podcast.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: DoctorOHM on September 14, 2009, 02:01:06 PM
Don't forget to mention Norman Borlaug's recent death in the next podcast.

I agree, if he's not mentioned i will, i will, i will be...

...sad.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on September 14, 2009, 09:12:20 PM
This would be a good topic for the show, I think (both from a scientific point of view, as well as examining the mix of politics and science.)

U.S. senator promises look into cellphone-cancer link (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090914/hl_nm/us_cellphones_cancer)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iowa senator Tom Harkin, newly empowered to investigate health matters as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, promised on Monday to probe deeply into any potential links between cellphone use and cancer.

Harkin, who took over the committee earlier this month after the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, said he was concerned no one has been able to prove cellphones do not cause cancer.

"I'm reminded of this nation's experience with cigarettes. Decades passed between the first warnings about smoking tobacco and the final definitive conclusion that cigarettes cause lung cancer," Harkin said.

Cell phones, used by an estimated 275 million people in the United States and 4 billion worldwide, use radio waves. Years of research have failed to establish any clear link between their use and several kinds of cancer, including brain tumors.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: benevolent_sociopath on September 19, 2009, 03:08:03 PM

Thank you for the blog and podcast it nice to know that logic has a place in the world.

Can you comment on nurse education or chiro-qactic woo in a future podcast?
Is there a Skepticial Nurse you could interview about the woo in Nurse ED like 'healing touch'.

I am a student working in a hospital and towards both a nursing degree and a degree in mental health.
While I expected there to be resistance in the field of counseling and psychology to the evidence based method; I am shocked to find a large portion of my coworkers, classmates and instructors believe in alternatives to medicine.

I am in Iowa so chiropractic quackery is rampant (thanks to Palmer). – proving that a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.

Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Evil Eye on September 26, 2009, 03:35:39 PM
I was thinking about this today, and I'm really curious if any kind of study has ever been scientifically done on it.

Do actors that play in scientific roles (Like Hugh Laurie on House) on a regular basis, retain methods they learn from playing the roles, or do they stay pretty much the same person they always were?

What I mean is.... The Character House, is a critical thinking, methodological person, while Hugh may not have been before. But would playing that part rub off on him after doing it so long that he (Hugh) actually became a better critical thinker? Or do they get so wrapped up in memorizing their lines and staying in character that they retain nothing they just portrayed?
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on September 28, 2009, 01:09:30 PM
I was thinking about this today, and I'm really curious if any kind of study has ever been scientifically done on it.

Do actors that play in scientific roles (Like Hugh Laurie on House) on a regular basis, retain methods they learn from playing the roles, or do they stay pretty much the same person they always were?

What I mean is.... The Character House, is a critical thinking, methodological person, while Hugh may not have been before. But would playing that part rub off on him after doing it so long that he (Hugh) actually became a better critical thinker? Or do they get so wrapped up in memorizing their lines and staying in character that they retain nothing they just portrayed?

Not able to address your bigger question, but Hugh is actually an atheist and a skeptic.  (Make sure to watch the video, it's quite entertaining!)

Quote
I'm not a religious man. Again, I think this is connected to my father. My father was religious oddly enough, but I nonetheless I suppose was impressed by [and] enamored of his devotion to medical science. I find I am a fan of science. I believe in science. A humility before the facts. I find that a moving and beautiful thing. And belief in the unknown I find less interesting. I find the known and the knowable interesting enough.

Quote
    "I don't believe in God, but I have this idea that if there were a God, or destiny of some kind looking down on us, that if he saw you taking anything for granted he'd take it away.


James Randi and an Astrologer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDhxcIaC23k#normal)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Doggy on September 30, 2009, 04:54:01 AM
 I came across an interesting podcast by the BBC world service science in action team which touched on DIY bio engineering. It was a short interview with a Kay Hall on how she had set up a bio lab in her bedroom closet. With what seemed relative ease she was doing all kinds of stuff with her own DNA that I thought would have been restricted by law or cost. But no it appears there is a whole community of bio-hackers out there and any Tom, Dick or Ossama with the know-how can cut and paste DNA to there own ends.
 The pitfalls are obvious and I was wondering what the SGU's thoughts are on this.
 Also when will my 'home-clone' zombie kit be available?
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Evil Eye on September 30, 2009, 09:50:32 PM
I was thinking about this today, and I'm really curious if any kind of study has ever been scientifically done on it.

Do actors that play in scientific roles (Like Hugh Laurie on House) on a regular basis, retain methods they learn from playing the roles, or do they stay pretty much the same person they always were?

What I mean is.... The Character House, is a critical thinking, methodological person, while Hugh may not have been before. But would playing that part rub off on him after doing it so long that he (Hugh) actually became a better critical thinker? Or do they get so wrapped up in memorizing their lines and staying in character that they retain nothing they just portrayed?

Not able to address your bigger question, but Hugh is actually an atheist and a skeptic.  (Make sure to watch the video, it's quite entertaining!)

Quote
I'm not a religious man. Again, I think this is connected to my father. My father was religious oddly enough, but I nonetheless I suppose was impressed by [and] enamored of his devotion to medical science. I find I am a fan of science. I believe in science. A humility before the facts. I find that a moving and beautiful thing. And belief in the unknown I find less interesting. I find the known and the knowable interesting enough.

Quote
    "I don't believe in God, but I have this idea that if there were a God, or destiny of some kind looking down on us, that if he saw you taking anything for granted he'd take it away.


James Randi and an Astrologer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDhxcIaC23k#normal)

That was hilarious and great retro - THANKS!
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Ghaklah on October 03, 2009, 08:59:22 AM
Have they ever done a segment about "Organic" food and the various suspect claims made about its environmental and health benefits?

There was recently a episode of Skeptoid about Organic food, and it seems like it might be an interesting topic for the SGU panel to discuss.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: stands2reason on October 03, 2009, 10:12:48 AM
Come to think of it, I don't think that SGU has ever talked specifically about "organic" food for any great length.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on October 05, 2009, 01:00:23 PM
Come to think of it, I don't think that SGU has ever talked specifically about "organic" food for any great length.

Yea, I can't recall much talk of that.  I'd also love to hear their take on global warming.  (I'm certain they agree it's real and man-made, but I'm curious as to their take about the claims made on both extremes.)

If you're interested in learning more about organic food, btw, you can check out Skeptoid.  He's done a couple of episodes about organic food.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Batmaz on October 07, 2009, 03:01:31 PM
Hugh Laurie is friends with Stephen Fry, which makes him awesome by association.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Beleth on October 12, 2009, 03:47:15 PM
It might be worth mentiong in passing on the podcast that theskepticsguide.org is us, The Good Guys, and that theskepticsguide.com is... um... very much not.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: DJBexbot on October 13, 2009, 03:39:24 PM
Come to think of it, I don't think that SGU has ever talked specifically about "organic" food for any great length.

Yea, I can't recall much talk of that.  I'd also love to hear their take on global warming.  (I'm certain they agree it's real and man-made, but I'm curious as to their take about the claims made on both extremes.)

If you're interested in learning more about organic food, btw, you can check out Skeptoid.  He's done a couple of episodes about organic food.

Might link well into the discussion on GM food we have been having in the science boards.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Batmaz on October 16, 2009, 02:07:06 PM
It might be worth mentiong in passing on the podcast that theskepticsguide.org is us, The Good Guys, and that theskepticsguide.com is... um... very much not.

IA, I was caught out by that a couple of times when trying to find the site.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on October 20, 2009, 02:28:36 PM
I'd love to hear a discussion on the dangers and benefits of marijuana use.  The NORML camp insists there are proven medical benefits, no evidence of death caused by pot use.  Conservatives argue that there are no medical benefits, that the drug is carcinogenic, and that it's more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.  I've also seen medical studies indicating that it does not cause lung cancer, but may cause testicular cancer.

As a skeptic, I'm interested in knowing what the objective evidence actually shows.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: stands2reason on October 20, 2009, 03:53:19 PM
I'd love to hear a discussion on the dangers and benefits of marijuana use.  The NORML camp insists there are proven medical benefits, no evidence of death caused by pot use.  Conservatives argue that there are no medical benefits, that the drug is carcinogenic, and that it's more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.  I've also seen medical studies indicating that it does not cause lung cancer, but may cause testicular cancer.

As a skeptic, I'm interested in knowing what the objective evidence actually shows.

 :munch:
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on October 20, 2009, 03:59:44 PM
I'd love to hear a discussion on the dangers and benefits of marijuana use.  The NORML camp insists there are proven medical benefits, no evidence of death caused by pot use.  Conservatives argue that there are no medical benefits, that the drug is carcinogenic, and that it's more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.  I've also seen medical studies indicating that it does not cause lung cancer, but may cause testicular cancer.

As a skeptic, I'm interested in knowing what the objective evidence actually shows.

 :munch:

What's that, you got the munchies?   ;D
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Skulker on October 20, 2009, 04:02:48 PM
I'd love to hear a discussion on the dangers and benefits of marijuana use.  The NORML camp insists there are proven medical benefits, no evidence of death caused by pot use.  Conservatives argue that there are no medical benefits, that the drug is carcinogenic, and that it's more dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.  I've also seen medical studies indicating that it does not cause lung cancer, but may cause testicular cancer.

As a skeptic, I'm interested in knowing what the objective evidence actually shows.
:350: Me too.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: mabell_yah on October 20, 2009, 05:31:29 PM
I'm loath to extend the 15 minutes of fame for balloon boy and his wretched father, but I think there are some skeptical lessons to be learned here.  The story went immediately from heart-tugging search to ridicule for the hoaxer.  Whats missing is what we should have known or asked before the balloon even landed.

When I first saw the headline, I was a bit skeptical.  It takes a pretty huge balloon to have enough reserve lift to accidentally carry away a child.  I suppose a large number of SGU listeners are also Mythbusters fans, and have seen their episode with a child and a bunch of helium balloons.  It took a vast array of balloons to get that kid off the ground.

The balloon in this case seems to be way too small for the job.  Has anyone done the calulations on its lift capacity?  Even before it hit the ground, one edge was sagging.  That indicated that it had no payload at all, and was barely able to keep its skin aloft.

The initial story said the balloon was to carry instruments for scientific research.  Really?  It's made of silver Mylar and shaped like a flying saucer.  The shape in quite unstable.  And silver Mylar is not a friendly material for balloons.  If it had hit a power line, there would have been quite a mess.

I'm just saying that the media and rescue authorities should have known this was a hoax from the get go.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Left Flank on October 29, 2009, 11:36:53 PM
I was impressed immediately by Barbara Ehrenreich's discussion on bhTV about the perncious aspects of the positive thinking gospel and cancer treatments (http://Barbara%20Ehrenreich%27s%20discussion%20on%20bhTV%20about%20the%20perncious%20aspects%20of%20the%20positive%20thinking%20gospel%20and%20cancer%20treatments). An interview would efinitely be a coup for SGU!
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: JoelWhy on October 30, 2009, 01:09:12 PM
I was impressed immediately by Barbara Ehrenreich's discussion on bhTV about the perncious aspects of the positive thinking gospel and cancer treatments (http://Barbara%20Ehrenreich%27s%20discussion%20on%20bhTV%20about%20the%20perncious%20aspects%20of%20the%20positive%20thinking%20gospel%20and%20cancer%20treatments). An interview would efinitely be a coup for SGU!

That's actually a terrific suggestion for an interview!  I've heard her interviewed a couple of times on NPR, and I was hoping someone would call in and ask "are you at all involved in the skeptic movement?"  Because, whether she is or not, she sure sounds like an excellent addition to the skeptic movement.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: lippard on October 31, 2009, 10:10:31 PM
I'd like to suggest a topic for "5x5" episode:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Seems like a good fit for the panel....as there are elements of medicine, alternative treatments, controversy over even its existence, disagreement about causes, etc.

Whadda' ya' think?


CHEERS!

D

I think this has been covered before, but may be due for an update now that there's evidence of a retrovirus associated with the condition, as reported earlier this month in the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/health/research/09virus.html (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/health/research/09virus.html)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: tWin on November 01, 2009, 11:17:11 PM
Hi, love the show. New to the forum. Saw this news article and thought it would be a good topic.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/20091102/psychic-computer-can-read-people-minds-developed.htm (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/20091102/psychic-computer-can-read-people-minds-developed.htm)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: fly44d on November 04, 2009, 06:19:24 PM
From NYT
"BAGHDAD — Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, Iraq’s security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless."

Speaking of woo and body counts...  the Iraqi's are using expensive divining rods for weapon and bomb detection.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/world/middleeast/04sensors.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1257375688-vt2LtROmCWKklhbb/p1VOA (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/world/middleeast/04sensors.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1257375688-vt2LtROmCWKklhbb/p1VOA)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: nativeflame on November 09, 2009, 12:39:54 AM
Sunscreens cause cancer?

I live in Melbourne Australia and we are having our first 35+ day and its not yet the middle of spring (we got up to 48 last year at the peak of summer). I just bought some sunscreen and was checking out the ingredients, out of curiosity about how they work I looked one up on wiki and found this...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunscreen_controversy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunscreen_controversy)

Will the skeptics guide team be using sunscreen on their trip downunder?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on November 22, 2009, 09:26:51 AM
I have one!

If everyone was finally converted to skepticism and became a great critical thinker....

How could any blinded study work?

Just the fact that you are being involved would set off the skeptical bells-a-ringing. And would influence the results.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: stands2reason on November 22, 2009, 10:15:49 AM
Sunscreens cause cancer?

I live in Melbourne Australia and we are having our first 35+ day and its not yet the middle of spring (we got up to 48 last year at the peak of summer). I just bought some sunscreen and was checking out the ingredients, out of curiosity about how they work I looked one up on wiki and found this...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunscreen_controversy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunscreen_controversy)

Will the skeptics guide team be using sunscreen on their trip downunder?

The PDF (http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/VitDNonAuto/HolickAJCN.pdf) that the article sources doesn't appear to show the evidence that sunscreen is carcinogenic.

Quote
    * Vitamin D deficiency caused by reduced exposure to ultraviolet light

Reduced exposure to UV radiation means reduced vitamin D. Unless you get it from a pill.

It also lists incomplete protection and increased time in the sun. You can't discount the effectiveness of sunscreen because it isn't 100% effective, or because people end up exposing themselves more.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Cyberfez on December 07, 2009, 11:35:28 PM
My question is to do with climate change. As you may know, here in Australia the opposition party known as the liberal party has just had a new leader appointed. He is known as a Climate Change denier. The labor party here elected as our government of the day are trying to get a emmissions trading scheme off the ground and are currently being blocked.

Trying to research this on my own has been proven to be quite difficult at the moment with Copenhagen occuring. There are many websites on both sides of the fence of the argument, all claiming to be taking their information from the "robust" Science, all claiming to be scientists, all claiming to be skeptics. It has made me so confused.

My actual simplistic questions are as follows:
- What facts do we know about Climate change?
- Is Global warming real & From what actual facts do we know that?
- Can we/Should we do anything or is this a hang on for the ride type event where humanity can not make a significant enough change to warrant the attempt?
- Is my governments stance a correct one arrived at by critical thinking?

I will post this in the forum but I do think this would be good to be discussed on your show as there are many of my fellow countrymen in the same boat here in Australia, who could benefit from your filtering out the bullshit in these issues.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: kneighbour on December 10, 2009, 07:40:18 PM
I am an atheist and generally agree with you on all things you talk about (alternative medicine, religion, etc). However, I do not agree with you about global warming.

I look at things like the fact that CO2 is a lagging indicator for global temperatures, and that alone does it for me. But I am open to being swayed by evidence.

Would you cover this topic a bit more? Perhaps address some of the points raised in this forum?

[edit]I just noticed that the previous poster suggested something very similar to me. I am also from Australia (Brisbane). 

I am also not that thrilled with the 'global warming denier' name! I am certainly a skeptic - but if any good evidence is provided, I will certainly change my point of view. As with anything else.

Perhaps a bit less of the name calling (ad hominem attacks), and more evidence.....
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Exordium on December 12, 2009, 11:27:44 PM
Church-Turing-Thesis.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: kneighbour on December 13, 2009, 02:37:50 AM
Church-Turing-Thesis.
I am sorry - is this response supposed to have some meaning?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Hanes on December 13, 2009, 03:13:07 AM
I look at things like the fact that CO2 is a lagging indicator for global temperatures, and that alone does it for me.

Here's a great video on why the CO2 lag is a fake argument against AGW:

Climate Denial Crock of the Week - The "Temp leads Carbon" Crock (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJeqgG3Tl8#normal)

Quote
But I am open to being swayed by evidence.

We'll see ;)

greenman3610's got a lot of great videos where he actually goes to the peer reviewed literature to show why actual deniers (as opposed to the well-intentioned people they trick) are wrong.  potholer54 has some good videos as well, again, going to the actual sources of the science.

Perhaps a bit less of the name calling (ad hominem attacks), and more evidence.....

Name calling is not an ad hom unless they're saying "you're wrong because [insult]."

For example:  "Jenny McCarthy is an unspeakable cunt" is not an ad hom.  "Jenny McCarthy's wrong about vaccines because she's an unspeakable cunt" is an ad hom.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Exordium on December 13, 2009, 12:00:43 PM
Church-Turing-Thesis.
I am sorry - is this response supposed to have some meaning?

No, just a podcast topic suggestion. Didnt't read the rest of the thread, and I apologize for interupting ... but actually not really.

p.s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Turing_Thesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Turing_Thesis) ^^;
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Draquakon on December 14, 2009, 01:47:11 AM
My question is to do with climate change. As you may know, here in Australia the opposition party known as the liberal party has just had a new leader appointed. He is known as a Climate Change denier. The labor party here elected as our government of the day are trying to get a emmissions trading scheme off the ground and are currently being blocked.

Trying to research this on my own has been proven to be quite difficult at the moment with Copenhagen occuring. There are many websites on both sides of the fence of the argument, all claiming to be taking their information from the "robust" Science, all claiming to be scientists, all claiming to be skeptics. It has made me so confused.

My actual simplistic questions are as follows:
- What facts do we know about Climate change?
- Is Global warming real & From what actual facts do we know that?
- Can we/Should we do anything or is this a hang on for the ride type event where humanity can not make a significant enough change to warrant the attempt?
- Is my governments stance a correct one arrived at by critical thinking?

I will post this in the forum but I do think this would be good to be discussed on your show as there are many of my fellow countrymen in the same boat here in Australia, who could benefit from your filtering out the bullshit in these issues.


From Brisbane here and i agree with you m8. I know most people around me think that we're facing a climate change crisis, the politics involved here seem to state otherwise and is misleading to the public, especially since Mr.Tony Abbott is the new heir to the liberal throne.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Derwood on December 14, 2009, 08:46:38 AM
in response to my call for PMS jokes in the skeptical dating thread, Anders posted a wonderful clip from Red Dwarf where Kryten tries to understand Kochanski's mood swings.  This got me thinking how Kryten is my favorite android.. or mechanoid as they call him in the show.  I recall that Brent Spiner seems to have drifted into the antivax lane so I decided to read up on Robert Llewellyn and see what his story is.  At first glance it seems that he has a science and perhaps skeptical bent (noticed some atheist youtube subscriptions in his list).  I think it would be fun to have a skeptical battle of the android/mechanoid to see who deserves to be our official artificial spokes appliance.
Title: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: 2BLive on December 14, 2009, 02:27:26 PM
10 STEP GUIDE TO PUTTING A LOCAL HOMEOPATH OUT OF BUSINESS. The kind of fake emails you would need to write to them, letters, visits with recording devices. How to break the story to news and authorities alike. Get them to make bogus claims and let's try this ridicule thing, be angry that Homeopathy is worse than gambling for your community, at least you can win at the casino. Or w/e, there has to be a form email we can sent to people that if they reply with some non-cense like about how I don’t need malaria pills or how they can cure cancer, is that enough to run em out of town, should I start a local Skeptic group and make some “Homeopathy is Fraud” picket signs?   How about a guide to help me make some news 
Andrew
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: EvanHarper on December 21, 2009, 12:28:18 AM
News item:

For more than 30 years, the notion that teaching methods should match a student's particular learning style has exerted a powerful influence on education. The long-standing popularity of the learning styles movement has in turn created a thriving commercial market amongst researchers, educators, and the general public. [...] But does scientific research really support the existence of different learning styles, or the hypothesis that people learn better when taught in a way that matches their own unique style?

Unfortunately, the answer is no...


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216162356.htm (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091216162356.htm)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on December 21, 2009, 11:26:11 AM
Just came across crislips treatment of mold toxicisity. Thought that was totally science.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: biffissimo on December 24, 2009, 10:22:13 AM
Hey guys, love the show, saw you at TAM 7, and I was in the audience for Rebecca's awesome wedding.  I just heard your current 5x5 about irreducible complexity and it made me think of an analogy.  When I was growing up Atari was the top of the line and we were amazed at how awesome and user-friendly it was.  Then NES came out and we were sure that this would be the end of the road.  I'm sure that 20 years from now we will look at the PS3 and scoff at its primitive 2D environment, but it seems to work great right now.
We think of the eye as the end of the road, the top of the line product, but it has many faults in it, just like the eye patch or the "1/2 an eye" had.  People who think that 1/2 an eye is useless might also be thinking that WE are the end of the road, the goal, of evolution when in fact every organism that has ever lived is the end of the road.  If you survive long enough to have kids, you win and you are the top of the line
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on December 24, 2009, 10:35:39 AM
How about a treatment of crime rates?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on January 08, 2010, 10:05:55 AM
Rise in Sacrifices of children for wealth.

http://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/10128 (http://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/10128)
Title: Miracle Mineral Solution implicated in death
Post by: woodle on January 09, 2010, 06:33:40 PM
There was an article in papers in Australia this week about a woman in Vanuatu who died allegedly because of taking a bogus malaria medicine - http://www.smh.com.au/national/deadly-chemical-being-sold-as-miracle-cure-20100108-lyvl.html. (http://www.smh.com.au/national/deadly-chemical-being-sold-as-miracle-cure-20100108-lyvl.html.)

The product is Miracle Mineral Solutions and the web site claims it can cure everything from the common cold to cancer and AIDS - http://www.miraclemineralsolutions.com/MMS-faq.pdf. (http://www.miraclemineralsolutions.com/MMS-faq.pdf.)  It's actually mainly sodium chlorite.  You have to mix it with citric acid, and they even say that the chlorine gas given off when you mix the solution is harmless, but if it's too strong maybe take it outside, ot to another room.

The interesting angle here, I think, is that it's made in Australia, among other places, and sold online.  The domain miraclemineralsolutions.com is registered through a hosting company in Utah.  Perhaps it will actually take some international agreements to stop this sort of thing, but that might take some deaths in the U.S. for it to be taken seriously.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: toxibunny on January 10, 2010, 04:52:10 AM
Audiophile woo is always good for a laugh.  Some people will do *anything* to improve the sound coming out of their hi-fi.

It goes from the very simple 'really expensive cables' solution: http://www.avland.co.uk/audioquest/sky/sky.htm (http://www.avland.co.uk/audioquest/sky/sky.htm)

To cryogenically freezing your CDs: http://www.cryogenicsinternational.com/cd-dvd.htm (http://www.cryogenicsinternational.com/cd-dvd.htm)

To more budget-friendly solutions, like putting a piece of blue paper underneath a flowerpot: http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/Free_Techniques/Free_Techniques.html (http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/Free_Techniques/Free_Techniques.html)


Interestingly, I came across these guys while searching about.  I wonder if they match up to their name..? ;)
http://www.xinheaudio.com/en/home/about.html (http://www.xinheaudio.com/en/home/about.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: IrishJazz on January 10, 2010, 08:17:01 PM
Just an FYI- the audiophile idiocy thing was done pretty well on SkepTech.

I once "broke in" a $10,000 pair of speakers for a friend of mine who was an audio dealer.  He wanted me to take along some half-inch Monster Cables to "break in" as well.  Loosening up the speakers makes some kind of half-assed sense, like loosening up a pair of sneakers, but copper is copper.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: RandomReason on January 13, 2010, 11:40:47 AM
Hey!

I have been a skeptic for a few years but just started listening to your podcast.

I recently stumbled across this paper via the Freakonomics blog:
http://www.peterleeson.com/Ordeals.pdf (http://www.peterleeson.com/Ordeals.pdf)

It deals with medieval ordeals (superstitious methods of judging guilt) and their effectiveness using economic arguments. The paper is ultra interesting and very well argued, however, I feel his argument is missing a crucial component because he comes to the conclusion that "The superstitious society outperforms the scientific one."

Please give this the skeptic treatment.

Also, I'm not sure if you've read or discussed Freakonomics or SuperFreakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, but both books are interesting and informing. They also present a number of topics related to skepticism that can benefit from a skeptical point of view.
Title: Horizonal Gene Transfer of THC to other plants.
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 13, 2010, 11:41:11 AM
Ok, so this morning I woke to find a litany of tweets about a supposed company in CA who have managed to transfer the THC producing genes horizontally to the seedlings of other plants. They claim that they have made it into a spray form, which you simply spray on the leaves of the seedling, and tada! Your herb garden now produces herb. They claim, in fact that the genetically modified tomato plant actually produces more THC than the cannabis.
I've done a SMALL amount of dredging of the net for more info on this, and can't really find much. I've read claims that the transfer isn't that simple, and that this company doesn't even exist. Hopefully the guide or my fellow UndeadSkeptics can shed some more light on the subject.
Here is a link to a copy of the article. It has been reposted several times around the net.
http://thecrit.com/2009/06/03/company-makes-any-plant-produce-thc-and-the-tomatoes-are-especially-yummy/ (http://thecrit.com/2009/06/03/company-makes-any-plant-produce-thc-and-the-tomatoes-are-especially-yummy/)

I've been unable to find any good sources, no info on this supposed company, and nothing in the mainstream news media about this. I would think that people on both sides of such an issue would be very vocal about this concept. Well, maybe the stoners would be a little quieter.
Anyway, as much as I would love for this to be true, in the absence of evidence I must assume that there is no base for this. I guess it was just a cruel joke.  :(
Title: NeenerNeener Hands off Weiner
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 13, 2010, 11:53:28 AM
Just stumbled across another article.
Sorry for posting back to back like this, but this article caught my interest because I think there is potential here for getting Rebecca's panties in a wad.
If not her, definitely that SkepChick Carrie Iwan who got all pissy about the "Big Bang Theory" guy at TAM.#show211
http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2010/01/science-news-is-a-manthing-apparently.html (http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2010/01/science-news-is-a-manthing-apparently.html)

#AndYesIKnowThisIsntTwitter #IHaveAProblem
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: mrquimper on January 13, 2010, 03:56:21 PM
I agree with OP, I just listened to episode 73# I think its the best episode I have heard. Steve and B. Alan Wallace really shone. It was like listening to a guide in debating. I find these interviews must more intresting, I would very much like to heard more interviews like this where the person being interviewed doesnt already hold the same beliefs as the sceptics but is clearly still intelligent and capable of having a reasoned debate. Its not some much that I enjoy hearing what the guests have to say but how they say it and the wonderfully skillful way Steve can agrue a point.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: toxibunny on January 14, 2010, 03:06:00 AM
"At The River Church on Holt School Road, members not only believe in healing prayer, they say it took place in front of their eyes. It happened Dec. 13 when a young mother brought her severely disabled 8-month-old baby to church."

Youtube 750,000 views A Christmas Miracle at The River (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpJu7Tlhz-Y#normal)

http://www.newsobserver.com/life/story/250270.html (http://www.newsobserver.com/life/story/250270.html)

it's a couple of weeks old, and has been debunked already, but there you go. 
Title: Cell tower causes health problems -- even when switched off
Post by: clgood on January 15, 2010, 06:54:46 PM
http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Wireless/11099.html (http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Wireless/11099.html)

There is someone at iBurst whose hand I would like to shake.
Title: What the harm? bomb detector dowzing type devices sold for millions to iraqis
Post by: Ali on January 25, 2010, 05:52:14 AM
Hi everyone,
I might be wrong but I don't remember the topic of dowsing being treated in details on the show. I watched this week's report on the BBC on a bomb detector dowsing device (ADE-651)sold to iraqis for millions of dollars.
There are allegations that failure of the ADE-651 may have been a factor allowing suicide truck bombs to pass through checkpoints on three occasions last year, leading to hundreds of deaths. This seems a sad example of how pseudo-science kills.
see full report on:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00q9hx6/Newsnight_22_01_2010/ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00q9hx6/Newsnight_22_01_2010/)  (video might be removed after a few days)

shorter sample from the report:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8471187.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8471187.stm)

The worse is that the credulous iraqis officials responsible for the purchase are now defending the device: "Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, whose department bought $85m of the devices, said the ADE-651 had detected 16,000 bombs, including 700 car bombs."
"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8477601.stm

This looks like a worthy sceptical news item, and may be an opportunity to address the whole dowsing rod pseudo-science on the show.

Many thanks,

Ali
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 26, 2010, 11:14:07 AM
man uses BS bomb detector.
BS bomb detector fails.
man gets killed by bomb.

seems like natural selection hard at work to me.

Save your criticism. My heart stopped bleeding long ago.
The world is too crowded, and every little bit helps.
Yes, they didn't buy the "devices" themselves and most likely didn't know any better, however ignorance is never a suitable excuse for complicity. Especially when it's your own life that is on the line.

And yes, I also get it that in many cases the ones using the "devices" weren't the ones killed by the bombs. The bleeding heart just isn't here.

Sorry, having a shitty morning.
I wonder how things are in Haiti.
Thinking about that seems to help me put things in perspective.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on January 26, 2010, 11:32:34 AM
man uses BS bomb detector.
BS bomb detector fails.
man gets killed by bomb.


Thing is it more often goes:
man uses BS bomb detector.
BS bomb detector fails.
several other men women and children gets killed by bomb. Who might or might not have anything to do with or belive in BS detector!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: 2BLive on January 26, 2010, 06:13:54 PM
http://www.maps.org/home.html (http://www.maps.org/home.html)   discuss.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 26, 2010, 07:16:51 PM
http://www.maps.org/home.html (http://www.maps.org/home.html)   discuss.

I support personal freedom to put whatever you want in your body so long as you don't hurt anyone else physically in the process.
That being said, I've never had much luck with psychedelics like LSD and Mushrooms, but I did visit a very dark place in my head while on Salvia Divinorum. It's legal in most states in the US and you can order it through the mail. I used the 60x concentrated version if I remember correctly. I taped my friend doing it for the first time, and you can watch it at myspace.com/silentmewes. you can also watch alot of other videos of people using it on youtube. I would not recommend it to anyone with depression, persistent dark thoughts, or mental instability. It took me to a really dark place. Luckily it only lasts seconds to minutes when smoked, and within 10 minutes I was completely back to normal.
DMT on the other hand is a drug that I have never had the pleasure of trying. Joe Rogan and Doug Stanhope are big fans of it, especially when used with sensory deprivation chambers, a la "Altered States". It is supposedly responsibe for "encounters" with "beings". Strange shit.

Medical marijuana on the other hand is a complete joke to me. Before I go any further, I would like to make it clear that I am a pot smoker from time to time and if I were pressed to label a drug as my favorite, pot would take the prize.
That being said, "medical" marijuana is nothing more that a clever rebranding of the legalization movement. Using people in pain to get a foot in the door of pro-pot legislation is just the newest methodology of the same pro-weed camp. I'm not saying that sick people don't experience legitimate benefits from smoking cannabis. All I'm saying is that the pro-weed camp is using those benefits to try a more humanist approach. There was a time when the main argument was "It's my right to put what I want into my own body", and In my opinion that is what it should be in all honesty. However, if putting the issue in a shiny new wrapper with pictures of ill people all over it is the only thing that gets changes made, I suppose it is a necessary evil. I wish we lived in a world where we didn't have to legislate our personal liberties like what we ingest and who we can marry, but I guess we don't.
This being said, I am afraid of two main consequences that may result from "medical" pot.
1. Your doctor has to write you a prescription of sorts for marijuana. What effects will this lead to in terms of a doctor's reputation? Many doctors become known as the guy to go to to get the script. If your doctor prescribes pot to someone for a medical reason, will this hurt his reputation? What affects would this have in regards to the DEA busting crank docs? I remember a few years when docs were getting their doors busted in for prescribing oxycontin frivolously or for personal gain.
2. Once pot is labeled a "medicine", how will this affect prescription drug coverage? I know insurance companies can choose not to cover particular drugs, but what if some didn't? I certainly support your right to get high and watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force(I'll probably be doing the same), but I don't want to pay for your stash.

Sorry to ramble on here, but when someone brings up medical pot my head starts swirling with pros and cons.

One thing is certain. Every person that buys marijuana from a "dispensary" is taking a little more money out of the pocket of a "street dealer" and therefor is reducing the crime rate a little more. They can't get arrested for buying or possessing drugs and our jails and prisons don't bare the burden. Nor do our tax dollars pay to support those non criminals while incarcerated.
The government can tax the hell out of pot if legalized without the "medical" branding, increasing state revenue and when legalized the FDA would introduce standards.

To sum this haphazard response up, I strongly support the legalization of marijuana, but I hate to see it being done through the loophole of "medical".
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to drink some scotch, because I have a drug screen coming up in a few weeks and the government doesn't mind me destroying my liver, but if I use a vaporizer to get some green happiness going I'm an example of what's wrong with society and should be scorned.
Apparently, I also am automatically ineligible for workman's comp should I get injured on the job.
What a lovely world we live in.

Again, sorry. I know that was all over the place.
It's all opinions people. Don't take it too personally.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 26, 2010, 07:19:25 PM
man uses BS bomb detector.
BS bomb detector fails.
man gets killed by bomb.


Thing is it more often goes:
man uses BS bomb detector.
BS bomb detector fails.
several other men women and children gets killed by bomb. Who might or might not have anything to do with or belive in BS detector!

I guess you didn't read the entire post.
It's ok.
Title: “The Neurology of dancing.”
Post by: 2BLive on January 26, 2010, 11:40:47 PM
“The Neurology of dancing.” The mechanics of dancing in the Neurological arena have to be fascinating, can you speak about this Dr. Novella?
Andrew Bangsberg
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: thequietkid10 on January 27, 2010, 12:43:37 AM
Hi I'm a first time visitor and I have a question, over the past couple of months I have developed a taste for Gourmet Tea.  Now, if you go to say, Teavana, which is a major seller of tea, you will find that they promise curative properties from fighting cancer to improving memory.  It feeds off the almost mystical healing powers of tea.

Of course all these promises only fuel my own skepticism.  So what's the truth about the health benefits of tea?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 27, 2010, 11:55:12 AM
Hi I'm a first time visitor and I have a question, over the past couple of months I have developed a taste for Gourmet Tea.  Now, if you go to say, Teavana, which is a major seller of tea, you will find that they promise curative properties from fighting cancer to improving memory.  It feeds off the almost mystical healing powers of tea.

Of course all these promises only fuel my own skepticism.  So what's the truth about the health benefits of tea?
antioxidants maybe? that's all I can think of off hand. maybe they can shed more light.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nacreous on January 28, 2010, 02:17:00 PM

"Crime goes up after strict gun control laws are passed."

I have heard this claim from many sources (http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=3083618&page=1).  I would like to know if there are any reliable studies indicating it is true or false.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on January 28, 2010, 02:29:36 PM

"Crime goes up after strict gun control laws are passed."

I have heard this claim from many sources (http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=3083618&page=1).  I would like to know if there are any reliable studies indicating it is true or false.

I think the rule of thumb is that, if John Stossel claims it's true, it's probably not.

More to the point (as you obviously know) correlation ≠ causation.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 28, 2010, 04:27:44 PM
I have no idea whether or not the crime rate actually is affected, but I look at it this way. Gun laws only apply to law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to do what they want regardless of the laws. Stricter restrictions on firearm possession  only means that less law abiding people are carrying weapons. I'm not saying that everyone 21 years of age and up should be packing at the grocery store, but  I do wonder how the ratio of gun wielding criminals to gun wielding citizens would be affected. I think the general belief is that criminals become more apt to commit crimes as the chance of the victim being armed goes down.
Perhaps the stricter laws would lessen the number of "throw away's" on the streets also somehow, making it harder for the criminal to get a gun in the first place. I just don't know.
Personally, I like the idea of law-abiding citizens packing heat.
I know this may seem fucked up, but If you consider how on edge someone must be when committing a robbery or whatever, I like to think that if someone is going to get shot in that situation, it is either the guy committing the crime, or the guy pulling the gun on that guy. I'll be over on isle 6 hiding behind the rice cakes. That's probably close enough to a vest.

I hope I didn't F logic in the A too badly there. I find when I form my thought too completely I tend to over explain and ramble.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 30, 2010, 10:52:13 AM
So I loaded all the 5x5 episodes into my phone/mp3 player and have been listening to them on "shuffle" while I do mindless tasks. After going through them all 2 or 3 times I realized that there was not an episode dedicated specifically to Chiropractic. I would love to see a show I could let friends and family listen to. They all have accepted what I've explained to them about things like homeopathy, naturopathy, ufo's, ghosts, monsters, and the like, but Chiropractic is the one thing they don't believe me about. I know they should be doing their own research to find out the facts, but they're too lazy to do anything other than keep up with the goddamn Kardashians.
Anyway, a show on Chiropractic "Medicine" would be helpful and a great addition to my rotation. Thanks for all the hard work guys. You're my beacon of light.

-yours, DirtyNastyGene
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on January 30, 2010, 06:11:57 PM
This may be a bit broad for this thread, but like a few other people have noted on here, I'd really appreciate it if the panel paid more attention to the issue of global climate change. This topic is pretty huge, imho it's quite important, and right now there is so much misinformation out there that it makes creationism (my other favorite pseudoscience) seem like a minor nuisance. It'd be great if some of the points that are so often brought up were addressed on the show, especially those that seem legitimate at first, but that have been debunked time and again and yet are still be touted by the same people - I loved the fact that Steve went into one of these (the atmospheric saturation argument) in detail in #174. More of that, pretty please! }|:o)

(http://www.bentoboxgifts.com/Portals/0/Products/2008-12-03/CherriesLightBox.jpg)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: stargazer9915 on January 31, 2010, 12:20:08 PM
I have not read through all the posts so I can't say if I am duplicating any.  On that note, a short discussion or a 5x5 episode on weight loss pills such as hydroxycut or various others.

After the Mark Edwards - Bonnie Vent hubbub and the whole Simon Singh(?) affair, and interview with a skeptic friendly attorney on national and international libel laws would be nice.

Forgive me if any of these topics have been covered.  I still have feb09 to sep09 to catch up on.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on January 31, 2010, 03:20:59 PM
After the Mark Edwards - Bonnie Vent hubbub and the whole Simon Singh(?) affair, and interview with a skeptic friendly attorney on national and international libel laws would be nice.
I second this. It seems incomprehensible to me that a citizen of a sovereign nation could be subject to any laws of a foreign nation.
Specifically, I reference the "Absoluteness" and "Exclusivity" portions of the Sovereignty wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on February 01, 2010, 04:11:50 PM
This one should be interesting:

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,11897.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,11897.0.html)

This guy -Nassim Haramein and his resonance project- has been getting a lot of attention the last year, especially on youtube (and, incidentally, next door to me). He's pretty much got everything covered; UFOs, pyramids, ESP, TOEs, quantum theory, fractals, cosmic consciousness, closed minded scientists... He's on the same basic scale of absurdity as Neil Adams, only he has more sexy lingo to hide behind. In fact, he might even make for an equally painful interview if he'd agree to come on as a guest, but I think my brain might bleed if he does.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on February 08, 2010, 03:46:31 PM
1. What do you think of the link between Vitamin D deficiency and autism (http://www.thedoctorstv.com/Larissalle/posts/5337-Vitamin-D-Deficiency-and-Autism-Connection-Grows), and does it take some of the fuel out of the fire of the Anti-Vax crowd?

2. Apparently four states(California, New Jersey, New York, and I believe Nevada) will allow voters to decide this November whether or not to legalize Marijuana (http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics/Pot-Legalization-Headed-for-2010-Ballot-79304947.html)(for the public, not just "patients") possession up to one ounce and cultivation up to twenty five square feet(I've seen individual plants that took up more space than that). What is the opinion of the Rogues on the decriminalization of marijuana for the general public? Many of my fellow proponents point out all of the possible benefits of legalization, but I have yet to see a single one take a skeptical view and objectively consider the possible negative effects. I know inhaling smoke is never a good idea, but there are plenty of other ways of introducing THC into the bloodstream(vaporizers, foods, drinks, pills, topical solutions).
We also like to point out that tobacco, alcohol, and even Rx drugs kill people everyday while "not a single person has ever died from marijuana", but this argument has never held up for me. I'm sure marijuana has contributed to many DUI's that were fatal, in addition to many accidental deaths where people were way too high for their own tolerance level and the situation got out of hand(but couldn't that happen with almost any drug?). Wouldn't that show up on toxicology reports though? Why don't we those see numbers in the media or by by the anti-pot movement?
We claim that legal pot would reduce the number of criminals and drug dealers, but wouldn't most of those people just switch to a different drug such as coke or heroin? That is, if they weren't already dealing in those. It seems to me that dealing illegal drugs is done primarily because it is an easy way to make allot of money without allot of work. These people aren't going to open up dispensaries because of a deep commitment to marijuana. It is easier to just find more crack-heads and junkies.
There are many other arguments that are full of holes, but there are also a few that I have been unable to find flaws in. For example, taxation of marijuana sales would be an enormous boost to local economies. Also, regulation by the FDA would put in place strict standards to ensure the safety and quality of the end product. And what about all the jobs that would be created by the dispensaries and growing and storage facilities?
Perhaps it is a false analogy on my part, but this "legalization of marijuana" issue seems to be escalating more and more, perhaps to the point of resembling the prohibition of alcohol. It seems that many people, such as myself, have made the decision that this drug is going to be a part of our lives regardless of whether or not anyone else likes it. I believe that the group of people who support marijuana use is large enough and becoming vocal enough that our voice is finally being heard through the wonderful thing we know as voting.
The point of that rant is that I assume that you all have used marijuana at some point in life and whether or not you support it's legalization, I'd like to hear someone from an objectively skeptical point of view talk about it. Like in most situations, the only people I hear talking about the issue are the ones personally vested in one side or another.


3. And just as a side question, do you think that Oaksterdam University (http://www.oaksterdamuniversity.com/) takes anything away from the public's common idealization of the label "University"?
Granted, it is not an accredited school and really seems to serve no purpose for anyone not interested in some aspect of the cannibis movement, but doesn't using that term imply something that is not true?

Sorry for the weed heavy nature of this post. It's just been on my mind lately. I haven't used marijuana in almost two months now and I promise I am not high(because of a possible upcoming job change and inevitably possible drug screen). I miss getting a little high before bed. It is the only thing I have found that allows my mind to stop turning the wheels and puts me to sleep quickly. Prescription sleep aids have always made me feel like a zombie the next day, and alcohol is just not in my wheelhouse. It tastes like crap, makes me feel like crap, and alcohol abuse killed my father when I was ten.

Always glad to go out on a happy note.

OK, OK, here's a silly joke.
-A sandwich walks into a bar and orders fish and chips. The bartender looks at it and says, "We don't serve food here..."-


I know, it's foodism, but I like it anyway.


Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: okielogic on February 11, 2010, 01:19:27 PM
Hi yall,
   My name is Raun (pronounced Ron) and I have been catching up to you guys at a furious rate.  I work tucked away in a lab and am sometimes able to listen to as many as 6 podcasts a day, and I never get tired of it.  My question today is about Urine Therapy.  As a teenager, like most, I had some pretty brutal acne, and eventually took to using prescription medication for it.  But, before this, I remeber my mom telling me about an interview she had seen one morning in which the interviewee was claiming that you could actually use your very own urine to treat acne.  It was said that you should take a sample from your very first urination of the day and actually smear it on your face and it would help diminish your acne and resulting scars.  Needless to say I never tried this, but my sense of smell tells me that there may have been a few at my school who did.  I recently tried to research this to see if there was any validity to it but I couldn't find any resources that convinced me of their reliability.  Being as I am now 28 years old, I no longer suffer from acne, but I would like to know what your thoughts are on Urine Therapy out of shear curiosity.  I must add that I am definately skeptical of the claims of Urine Therapy in that most of its proponents tout it as a panacea for numerous afflictions: a definate red flag.  Thanks for all that you guys do, and keep fighting the good fight.

                                                                            Your Oklahoma Ally,
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 Raun
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Fast Eddie B on February 11, 2010, 03:23:39 PM
I have a neighbor that buys into a wide spectrum of conspiracy theories.

She warned my wife the other day about chemtrails. Said that was why everyone was suffering from so many ailments these days.

Its to the point where she hates to go outside, so as to limit exposure.

So, as topic suggestions:

1) Chemtrails

2) How to define the line between slightly kooky with a few unusual beliefs and true, diagnosable mental illness
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on February 11, 2010, 03:38:02 PM
I have a neighbor that buys into a wide spectrum of conspiracy theories.

She warned my wife the other day about chemtrails. Said that was why everyone was suffering from so many ailments these days.

Its to the point where she hates to go outside, so as to limit exposure.

So, as topic suggestions:

1) Chemtrails

2) How to define the line between slightly kooky with a few unusual beliefs and true, diagnosable mental illness

I know they've mentioned chemtrails before (mainly in jest).  But, if you want a good analysis of this "phenomenon", there's a Skeptoid episode on the topic.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on February 16, 2010, 10:53:30 AM
How about an interview with someone who is working to find replacement sources of raw materials for the vast majority of things we interact with on a daily basis. Almost everything around you is either made of oil byproducts or was manufactured using materials that contain oil byproducts. The Modern Marvels episode on Oil brought this question to mind.
Everyone is concerned about global warming and alternative energy sources, and rightly so, but this issue seems to go largely unnoticed.
Recycling can help, but only to a point. It is not a closed loop cycle and once the last barrel of oil is drained, the supply of usable and recyclable oil and it's byproducts will certainly wind down until there are no more.
I really feel that everyone should look into just how many things in your day to day life would not be possible without oil. I do not see how this planet can support a population predicted to be 9.1 Billion and growing (http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/Long_range_report.pdf)(in 2100 by a medium growth scenario) without oil.
I'm not saying that we cannot survive without oil, I'm just saying that we can't all survive.  We certainly can't explore space or watch American Idol either.

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: PHI Guy on February 21, 2010, 08:54:47 AM
I'm sorry I heard this too late to have it on this week, but thought it deserved the derision of the Rogues.
From CBC news this morning (Feb. 21, 2010), those Norweigians will find ANY excuse!

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/02/19/bc-norwegian-shaman-salmon-farm-curse.html (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/02/19/bc-norwegian-shaman-salmon-farm-curse.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Marius on February 26, 2010, 06:33:42 PM
Jenny McCarthy does a 180?  Is this too good to be true?
http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2010/02/26/jenny-mccarthy-says-her-son-evan-never-had-autism/ (http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2010/02/26/jenny-mccarthy-says-her-son-evan-never-had-autism/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on February 26, 2010, 07:08:52 PM
Jenny McCarthy does a 180?  Is this too good to be true?
http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2010/02/26/jenny-mccarthy-says-her-son-evan-never-had-autism/ (http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2010/02/26/jenny-mccarthy-says-her-son-evan-never-had-autism/)

 :o :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on February 26, 2010, 08:06:37 PM
Read the time article. She is just as much a loon as before. It's the time reporter that suggests no autism. She has her own "truth".
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: hadoque on March 02, 2010, 08:34:49 AM
Could you please discuss this article on acupuncture against depression in pergnant women. It's seems well done to me, and it shows benefit from acupuncture..
http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx (http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on March 02, 2010, 10:30:47 AM
Could you please discuss this article on acupuncture against depression in pergnant women. It's seems well done to me, and it shows benefit from acupuncture..
http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx (http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx)

Do they really need to address something that has been thoroughly debunked
Acupuncture is covered in the following places.
SGU episodes 199, 175, 166, 134, 116, 114, 100, 57, 56
SGU 5x5 ep. 11
I also suggest this website. http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html (http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: hadoque on March 02, 2010, 04:23:03 PM
Could you please discuss this article on acupuncture against depression in pergnant women. It's seems well done to me, and it shows benefit from acupuncture..
http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx (http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx)

Do they really need to address something that has been thoroughly debunked
Acupuncture is covered in the following places.
SGU episodes 199, 175, 166, 134, 116, 114, 100, 57, 56
SGU 5x5 ep. 11
I also suggest this website. http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html (http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html)
Well, I was thinking that this study seemed remarkebly well done. All positive studies I've seen has been really crappy. So I would really like to hear what rouges has to say about it.
In Sweden acupuncture is pretty big and considered by many to be the one alternative that actually works. This study got the front page and two whole pages in one of the largest serious daily newspapers here.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on March 02, 2010, 04:30:09 PM
Could you please discuss this article on acupuncture against depression in pergnant women. It's seems well done to me, and it shows benefit from acupuncture..
http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx (http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx)

Do they really need to address something that has been thoroughly debunked
Acupuncture is covered in the following places.
SGU episodes 199, 175, 166, 134, 116, 114, 100, 57, 56
SGU 5x5 ep. 11
I also suggest this website. http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html (http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html)
Well, I was thinking that this study seemed remarkebly well done. All positive studies I've seen has been really crappy. So I would really like to hear what rouges has to say about it.
In Sweden acupuncture is pretty big and considered by many to be the one alternative that actually works. This study got the front page and two whole pages in one of the largest serious daily newspapers here.

mass delusion does not mean something works.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: hadoque on March 02, 2010, 04:39:58 PM
Could you please discuss this article on acupuncture against depression in pergnant women. It's seems well done to me, and it shows benefit from acupuncture..
http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx (http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2010/03000/Acupuncture_for_Depression_During_Pregnancy__A.7.aspx)

Do they really need to address something that has been thoroughly debunked
Acupuncture is covered in the following places.
SGU episodes 199, 175, 166, 134, 116, 114, 100, 57, 56
SGU 5x5 ep. 11
I also suggest this website. http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html (http://skepdic.com/acupuncture.html)
Well, I was thinking that this study seemed remarkebly well done. All positive studies I've seen has been really crappy. So I would really like to hear what rouges has to say about it.
In Sweden acupuncture is pretty big and considered by many to be the one alternative that actually works. This study got the front page and two whole pages in one of the largest serious daily newspapers here.

mass delusion does not mean something works.
I know that, but since I'm doing a lot of debating with proponents of acupuncture, I beleive that this article will be referenced a lot and I could really use a rouge behind me...
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on March 03, 2010, 09:38:19 AM
fair enough.
I had the impression you were an acupuncture proponent who thought they had found the "magic bullet" that would finally end all skepticism, but didn't want to take the time to research how thoroughly it had been covered.
Sorry. Didn't mean to sound like a dick.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: hadoque on March 04, 2010, 07:16:26 AM
fair enough.
I had the impression you were an acupuncture proponent who thought they had found the "magic bullet" that would finally end all skepticism, but didn't want to take the time to research how thoroughly it had been covered.
Sorry. Didn't mean to sound like a dick.
Hehe, no problem  :)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: PHI Guy on March 05, 2010, 12:08:38 PM
Just finished listening to the podcast version of Spark from CBC Radio (Canada). They had an interesting Skeptical Item on their show from Feb. 21 (yeah, I'm a little behind on podcasts). There is a site called "Dispute Finder" that claims to reveal "the other side of the story". It might be a useful resource, but also a cause for obfuscation if the denialists and woo-adherents get control. The URL is:
http://disputefinder.cs.berkeley.edu/ (http://disputefinder.cs.berkeley.edu/)
and the originator is Rob Ennals:
http://berkeley.intel-research.net/rennals/ (http://berkeley.intel-research.net/rennals/)
Hope you find it interesting!

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Cay on March 05, 2010, 03:59:18 PM
Psychic scams investors - from an article in the Guardian about some guy in California who made millions off of the credulous:

"He claimed he could get returns of up to 117% over five months through his Delphi Associates Investment Group. "I have called ALL the highs and lows of the market, giving EXACT DATES for rises and crashes over the last 14 years," he wrote in the newsletter in July 2006."

Link to story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/american-prophet-market-predictor (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/american-prophet-market-predictor)

His website where he sells useful products: http://delphiassociates.easystorecreator.com/ (http://delphiassociates.easystorecreator.com/)

Oh my, when you google this guy, he's all over the crazy places on the internet.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Snakes on a Wii on March 20, 2010, 07:52:19 AM
"6 natural remedies that really work" (emphasis mine)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35063075/ns/health-alternative_medicine/ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35063075/ns/health-alternative_medicine/)

I was wondering if Steve could take a quick look at this.  It stinks of quackery, I noticed words like "aromatherapy" being thrown around.  Are any of these "natural" remedies actually worthwhile?

And I would go so far as to say that if any of them actually did work, why would anyone use an herb, when you could use a drug, which is tested, safe, and dosed correctly?

- Fred

edit:  They also mention a "William Boericke, MD" (alarm bells ringing) who wrote an "influential medical treatise" titled "Homeopathic Materia Medica".  Is he a well-known quack, and if so how did he get that MD?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Snakes on a Wii on March 24, 2010, 06:27:26 PM
Autistic Teenager picks perfect bracket

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/Autistic-Teen-Picks-First-Two-NCAA-Rounds-Perfectly-88916437.html#ixzz0j1yIDl9b (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/Autistic-Teen-Picks-First-Two-NCAA-Rounds-Perfectly-88916437.html#ixzz0j1yIDl9b)

Seems quite dubious, perhaps the panel could use this opportunity to discuss how savant-like intelligence really behaves, since all popular culture knows is what it sees in "Rain Man"
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on March 24, 2010, 07:58:28 PM
Autistic Teenager picks perfect bracket

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/Autistic-Teen-Picks-First-Two-NCAA-Rounds-Perfectly-88916437.html#ixzz0j1yIDl9b (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/Autistic-Teen-Picks-First-Two-NCAA-Rounds-Perfectly-88916437.html#ixzz0j1yIDl9b)

Seems quite dubious, perhaps the panel could use this opportunity to discuss how savant-like intelligence really behaves, since all popular culture knows is what it sees in "Rain Man"

Well, I can come up with a pretty likely explanation...:

Quote
CBSSports.com can not confirm Alex's entry -- the company doesn't track entries to their Bracket Manager program. Unlike CBSSports' Bracket Challenge, which ranks players nationally and locks entries once the tournament begins, Bracket Challenge does allow changes after play starts.

Title: Re: Miracle Mineral Solution implicated in death
Post by: woodle on March 31, 2010, 07:12:11 AM
There was an article in papers in Australia this week about a woman in Vanuatu who died allegedly because of taking a bogus malaria medicine - http://www.smh.com.au/national/deadly-chemical-being-sold-as-miracle-cure-20100108-lyvl.html. (http://www.smh.com.au/national/deadly-chemical-being-sold-as-miracle-cure-20100108-lyvl.html.)

The product is Miracle Mineral Solutions and the web site claims it can cure everything from the common cold to cancer and AIDS - http://www.miraclemineralsolutions.com/MMS-faq.pdf. (http://www.miraclemineralsolutions.com/MMS-faq.pdf.)  It's actually mainly sodium chlorite...

OK, I posted this a while back, but this MMS thing seems to be growing.  The number of Google hits for "Miracle Mineral" has grown substantially even in a few months.

But this is just priceless - http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2995531/chemtrails_exposed_powerful_video_must_watch/ (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2995531/chemtrails_exposed_powerful_video_must_watch/)

It even features Glen Beck, which makes it double-extra-family-size scary.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: antidogmatist on March 31, 2010, 08:29:53 PM
How about the Dismal Science.

   I remember way way back you guys spoke to an economist type but as whole it hasn't covered too much on the SGU.

I know economics is difficult to cover from a skeptics POV as it is generally murkier than the topics that are usually covered. I still believe there is some low hanging fruit(so to speak) that could be covered. How about, for example, the broken window fallacy(see http://bit.ly/dynJVC (http://bit.ly/dynJVC))? This misconception is very prevalent and arguably just as damaging as some of the nastier pseudo-scientific beliefs.

As guest Im thinking maybe Will Wilkinson or Ezra Klein?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on April 01, 2010, 10:21:37 AM
One possible quick thing to tackle from a skeptical perspective is the new Quattron Pixel Technology from Sharp (http://www.sharpusa.com/ForHome/HomeEntertainment/LCDTVs/WhatIsQuattron.aspx).

Everything I read about it basically states that adding a fourth color, yellow, to the standard Red, Green, and Blue enables the LCD TV to display colors never before available.  I cannot, however, find a good explanation of exactly why this is supposedly true. My understanding of color TV technology is that various combinations of red, green, and blue create the picture. I have been watching color TV all my life and know for a fact that I have seen yellow many times.
Does the addition of the fourth color supposedly free up the other colors from having to produce yellow, thus creating a more defined, crisp picture?
Also, I would like to know why now, all of a sudden, there is a breakthrough in adding yellow to TV's. Why stop there? How about adding orange? pink? teal? mother of pearl?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on April 01, 2010, 11:18:25 AM
.
Does the addition of the fourth color supposedly free up the other colors from having to produce yellow, thus creating a more defined, crisp picture?

No! (at least i think not)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on April 01, 2010, 01:25:49 PM
How about the Dismal Science.

   I remember way way back you guys spoke to an economist type but as whole it hasn't covered too much on the SGU.

I know economics is difficult to cover from a skeptics POV as it is generally murkier than the topics that are usually covered. I still believe there is some low hanging fruit(so to speak) that could be covered. How about, for example, the broken window fallacy(see http://bit.ly/dynJVC (http://bit.ly/dynJVC))? This misconception is very prevalent and arguably just as damaging as some of the nastier pseudo-scientific beliefs.

As guest Im thinking maybe Will Wilkinson or Ezra Klein?

Yes, SGU should definitely start focusing more attention on conservative economists... ::)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on April 19, 2010, 03:14:38 PM
This is going worldwide...

EFT (whatever the hell it is supposed to be.)

It also claims to cure "animal Autism" due to vaccines

http://animal-eft.org/ (http://animal-eft.org/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: youngcontrarian on April 28, 2010, 12:20:28 AM
We really need a whole episode about the ZOMG IMMINENT PUBLICATION!!11!  OF TEH BIG PHARMA'S BOOK OF DEATH!!!11

(http://i43.tinypic.com/5wxjd4.jpg)

This is just from the FAQ on the official website.
Quote
With the interest in the revision of DSM, articles have appeared in the news media, speculating on the addition of potential new diagnoses. Most of this speculation has very little basis in fact.  The goal of DSM is to establish clear criteria for diagnosing mental disorders, not to create medical conditions out of the full range of human behavior and emotions. Any new or substantially modified diagnosis will come about only after a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, and full discussion by the work group members with input by the DSM-5 Task Force and Advisors.

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: evolvedmonkey on April 29, 2010, 06:22:29 PM
Could you address Chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) on the show. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_cerebrospinal_venous_insufficiency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_cerebrospinal_venous_insufficiency))

I know Dr. Novella has written about it on his blog and suspects confirmation bias and also calls out some poor science journalism:
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3197 (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3197)

I have a friend with MS who really wants the balloon angioplasty treatment, but I'm afraid that she is full of false hope that this will cure her MS.

She is participating in an advocacy event in Toronto to persuade the government to approve this treatment for MS. I think similar events will be taking place in the USA and other countries.

CSSVI Liberation Day, May 5, Toronto:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=113124448717851&ref=ts (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=113124448717851&ref=ts)

I can see the media snowball of ignorance starting to grow.

I don't think it's my place to disillusion her unless she engages me for advice. But I would like to prepare myself with facts if she does need my support.

 



Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: molly on May 07, 2010, 03:51:13 PM
There's a bit of a meme on parenting message boards and sites, esp slightly woo ones, that you are supposed to put plastic over a crib mattress to prevent SIDS. 
As near as I can tell the belief started in New Zealand.
Many websites repeat the claim that it has a "100% success rate" and that "no SIDS death has been reported on a plastic-wrapped mattress" and things like that.
They often reference some guy named Sprott, who is apparently an "OBE, chemist, and forensic scientist" and coincidentally sells plastic coverings.

This all sounds like it adds up to total bullshit.  Is there any research  on this?  I had trouble finding any good sources online, everything was either a repetition of the claim, or a site selling plastic coverings.  I couldn't find anyone refuting the claim, though, either. 

Putting a big plastic bag on a baby mattress sounds like a really bad idea to me, also.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Damage Magnet on May 17, 2010, 04:43:49 AM
Hi - I dont know if this has already been suggested (since wading through 12 pages is too much for a lunch break) but thinking about topics there is something that could be intresting.

Why Woo? The subject has been touched on a few times with bewailing the lack of education that leaves people susceptible.

But the thing is there must be benefits - there is a diffrence between being vulnerable and seeking something out as many woo folks do. So why? Do they like it, do they feel better, do they get to be part of a support group?

To put it another way we know what the harm is but whats the benefit?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on May 17, 2010, 09:14:05 AM
IMO...

for many people it is easier to use "magical thinking" to explain the world than it is to get your hands dirty with actual science.
I also think many people want to believe in pseudo-scientific concepts because they do not see how magnificent the natural world around them is. They lack an appreciation for a the wonderful things that surround them and fill that void with ideals that to them are equally fascinating.

For an example...
They don't understand the processes that occur inside the brain causing consciousness, but they do understand the concept of a "soul". In many cases the "soul" idea also backs up their religious beliefs and reinforces other woo belief systems such as ghosts and near death out-of-body experiences. In the absence of the scientific method, the "evidence" builds up until you have someone who is so invested in that belief system that they see science as an opposing force, something there to test their conviction. This seems to be particularly evident in religious belief systems.
There is also comfort and reinforcement in having a community of like-minded people who also know the "truth".
I'm rambling.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Damage Magnet on May 17, 2010, 09:51:40 AM
IMO...

for many people it is easier to use "magical thinking" to explain the world than it is to get your hands dirty with actual science.
I also think many people want to believe in pseudo-scientific concepts because they do not see how magnificent the natural world around them is. They lack an appreciation for a the wonderful things that surround them and fill that void with ideals that to them are equally fascinating.

For an example...
They don't understand the processes that occur inside the brain causing consciousness, but they do understand the concept of a "soul". In many cases the "soul" idea also backs up their religious beliefs and reinforces other woo belief systems such as ghosts and near death out-of-body experiences. In the absence of the scientific method, the "evidence" builds up until you have someone who is so invested in that belief system that they see science as an opposing force, something there to test their conviction. This seems to be particularly evident in religious belief systems.
There is also comfort and reinforcement in having a community of like-minded people who also know the "truth".
I'm rambling.
Umm - yeh.

Thats the kind of thing i was thinking might be worth a discussion. There is an assumption that people are just fools for not seeing the wonder. I agree and like the quote on the bottom of someones posts "the fact that an atheist is not as happy as a believer is as relevant as pointing out that the sober man is not as happy as the drunkard" - that was mangled! - but i think we need to discuss the impacts on them.

My father used to say that there is nothing as difficult as explaining something to a man whose job depends on not understanding you and there may be an aspect of that.

The person who loses belief in a cult for example may lose a home, family and job in one go.

That must have an impact on how willing they are to accept evidence.

The politican who accepts evoloution may lose his seat - can he really claim to be impartial in listening to the arguments?

I think it would help us to understand what influences (above and beyond either stupidity or greed) make people reluctant to accept truth.

If nothing else you may be able to adjust your argument once you know why people are scared by a conclusion.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on May 17, 2010, 10:23:31 AM
the extreme oversimplification would be that it all boils down to a fear of the unknown, coupled with laziness. People are scared of things they don't understand.
Science in general is very densely packed with information. Most of the time, understanding that information is predicated on your understanding of other information. This can quickly take the form of a wall of knowledge that one feels they must gain before understanding the original information.
Woo, on the other hand, is largely based on subjective interpretation of data that does not stand up to the rigors of the scientific method. There is no empirical "information" that one has to learn to understand why this method works, or that belief system is true. Superficial understanding of something that is not based on science is easy then, because the methodology can be whatever you want it to be.

I really hate explaining my pov like this because I feel like I come off condescending. I don't mean to sound that way, though there is a small part of me that holds contempt.
I was raised in a church going home. Several males on my fathers side of the family were preachers.
All through my teens I bought into bigfoot, UFO's, ESP, Ghosts, and so on. No one held my hand and guided me to the scientific method, I had to find it myself. If I could do it, I expect no less from anyone else. So in a way, I guess I do have to admit that I attribute some of the base cause to intillectual laziness.
I would love to believe that ESP is real. That ghosts exist and when we die we continue on in some way. That psychics are legit. That would add an unimaginable palette of colors to the painting of life. Unfortunately, the science says there is not sufficient evidence to support any of those claims. It's not some vendetta that skeptics have against believers. It's just what the science tells us.

Rambling on again...Sorry.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Damage Magnet on May 18, 2010, 06:18:09 AM
I really hate explaining my pov like this because I feel like I come off condescending. I don't mean to sound that way, though there is a small part of me that holds contempt.
I was raised in a church going home. Several males on my fathers side of the family were preachers.


Dont apologize - I disagree.

What I think we do agree on is the value of the scientific method and the intrinsic value of honesty and rigor in your thought processes. My point is that even though that is our shared view we have to accept that not everyone shares it and they do not always have bad reasons for that. For diplomacy lets agree that there is a diffrence between having bad reasons and having inadequate reasons - the last thing i want to do is promote woo.

Lets go through what you said and explain my diffrences ok.

the extreme oversimplification would be that it all boils down to a fear of the unknown, coupled with laziness. People are scared of things they don't understand.
Science in general is very densely packed with information. Most of the time, understanding that information is predicated on your understanding of other information. This can quickly take the form of a wall of knowledge that one feels they must gain before understanding the original information.

You concede that this is an oversimplification and i am not sure you have to.

People are scared of things they don't understand so this then is one possible explanation of the benefits - it reduces the fear of the unknown.

This can quickly take the form of a wall of knowledge which is a phrase i love and will soon be copying eventually claiming as my own ;). This is how you start talking about in group and out group benefits. The point here you are making is that there is a barrier to entry and people who cannot see a particular benefit see no reason to overcome the barrier...

Woo, on the other hand, is largely based on subjective interpretation of data that does not stand up to the rigors of the scientific method. There is no empirical "information" that one has to learn to understand why this method works, or that belief system is true. Superficial understanding of something that is not based on science is easy then, because the methodology can be whatever you want it to be.

Again we are talking about barriers to entry and the people who do not see the benefit of overcoming it.

I was raised in a church going home. Several males on my fathers side of the family were preachers.
Me too (irish catholic family). Some of my relatives can be downright creepy but they are happy. They 'know' thier place. They 'know' what to do in even the most terrible of situations and this gives them confidence. If things go wrong there is a ready made support group around them.


They may be deluded but in at least some cases ignorance really does seem to be bliss.

All through my teens I bought into bigfoot, UFO's, ESP, Ghosts, and so on. No one held my hand and guided me to the scientific method, I had to find it myself. If I could do it, I expect no less from anyone else. So in a way, I guess I do have to admit that I attribute some of the base cause to intillectual laziness.
Despite disagreeing in this argument a portion of my heart shares sympathy with that point. Not everybody however could do that by themselves and some may need encouragement. That encouragement may be informing them of how much better off they will be with some rigor to thought or it may be not spending money on woo. But there will be costs as well. The cult member losing everything has been mentioned. What about the fortune teller who must now face a future aware of having no control? What about the sick person who must lose hope and accept death.


There are reasons to hold these beliefs (not very good ones i concede) but they exist. We need to talk about them. We need to recognise them and shape our arguments to take them into account.


And sometimes yes maybe we should back off.

I am not expert in this subject - perhaps this could be dealt with by interviewing a physciatrist or a sociologist but just putting it down to intellectual laziness may not be true in all cases and does not accord respect to the person whom you are trying to convince. From sheer ruthlessness its easier to persuade someons you are able to talk to and contempt often seeps out.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on May 20, 2010, 06:54:08 PM
I doubt I even need to bring it up, but I'm pretty excited about this one. A must-have topic: first synthetic life created in the lab! (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37256799/ns/technology_and_science-science)

The First Life Created In The Lab 1/2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAEjlX_almQ#lq-lq2-hq)
The First Life Created In The Lab 1/2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-qd055OA9s#lq-lq2-hq)

Hooray!...?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on May 21, 2010, 12:21:07 PM
Oh, and this TED talk, in which Venter makes the official announcement:

Craig Venter unveils "synthetic life" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHIocNOHd7A&playnext_from=TL&videos=jKenQBy5q4o#lq)

This is pretty cool.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nacreous on May 23, 2010, 06:44:54 PM

The AAAS has just released this statement. (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/media/0518board_statement_cuccinelli.pdf)

The attacks on scientists and science by the forces of ignorance are beyond outrageous.  Michael Mann, in particular, has been subjected to scurrilous attacks by politically motivated propaganda outlets for over a decade.  It is time for SGU to address these disgraceful libels against working scientists.

Slamming homeopathy and chiropractic is shooting fish in a barrel; the hot war is over climate science.  C'mon rogues, grab a rifle and man the barricades.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on May 24, 2010, 09:43:51 AM

The AAAS has just released this statement. (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/media/0518board_statement_cuccinelli.pdf)

The attacks on scientists and science by the forces of ignorance are beyond outrageous.  Michael Mann, in particular, has been subjected to scurrilous attacks by politically motivated propaganda outlets for over a decade.  It is time for SGU to address these disgraceful libels against working scientists.

Slamming homeopathy and chiropractic is shooting fish in a barrel; the hot war is over climate science.  C'mon rogues, grab a rifle and man the barricades.

I second this. Something is wrong with the skeptical community when we start shying away from topics that cause a stir. My one complaint about the SGU is that they address this issue so infrequently - the panel seems to actively avoid it.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions (DDT)
Post by: Left Flank on June 14, 2010, 07:51:54 PM
I've been reading and hearing more push back about DDT. I believe this podcast mentioned DDT in the news section before, but I'd be interested in a longer treatment.

http://asiancorrespondent.com/rwdb-jfbeck/lefty-bloggers-bend-the-truth-while-ignoring-the-deaths-of-millions (http://asiancorrespondent.com/rwdb-jfbeck/lefty-bloggers-bend-the-truth-while-ignoring-the-deaths-of-millions)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on June 14, 2010, 07:54:15 PM
I'd like to hear the panel flail around with free will. Have Tom Clark on.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on June 14, 2010, 08:05:18 PM
How about a skeptical eye towards the cleanup efforts in the gulf.

I've been emailing companies trying to get paid HAZWOPPER training so I can get a job in the area helping with the cleanup. This is a copy of the most recent email I recieved on the issue, from the president of F.A.S.T., in response to my questions about the difference between the MOD training they're offering and the  40 hour certification that is mandatory for anyone coming in contact with oil.
Quote
Goodmorning,
I am writing in response to your interest in Hazwopper Training.  First I would like to answer your question about BP's MOD 3.  This 4hour course does not take the place of the Hazwopper 24 nor 40 courses.  The MOD 3 is an Offshore Workers Incident Orientation Module, which all workers will need to take and present their card before they are allowed to work on any oil spill related job.
At this time we are working on possible Hazwopper 40 classes and will get back with you as soon as I have more specific course information.
--
Sincerely,
Sherry Benoit
F.A.S.T.
President


I can't understand for the life of me why there are underwater plumes and thick sheets of surface oil wreaking unknown havoc, and they aren't training and hiring every willing hand. In fact, they should have commercials on every channel begging every unemployed worker in the country to come to the area for immediate work.
BP should be paying travel, lodging, meals, per-diem, and a decent wage, but I would just settle for an address to show up at, paid training, and a job.
I've emailed news outlets on the subject, but apparently it isn't the hot talking point this week. Or last week. Or the week before.

It's like a cheap magic trick.  Look at this hand while I pocket the ball with the other.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Zeno Izen on June 17, 2010, 05:53:49 AM
If you think the current forum is "hard" on newcomers, it is nothing compared to when Paul Ganssle, IRON MAN, a3maniac, Orthodox Infidel et al were posting here.  The number of shitty arguments people get away with now is staggering compared to when they were around.  Punches were NEVER pulled for the sake of being nice, and the current community is as soft as a bunny comparatively.

I really miss that.  Back then you had to think before you hit 'post'.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on June 17, 2010, 09:06:38 AM
New segment: Things That Have Been Done To Death On the Forum. Again free will, acupuncture, Jenny.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Topics to cover on the Podcast
Post by: Lead Farmer on June 17, 2010, 09:35:22 AM
If you think the current forum is "hard" on newcomers, it is nothing compared to when Paul Ganssle, IRON MAN, a3maniac, Orthodox Infidel et al were posting here.  The number of shitty arguments people get away with now is staggering compared to when they were around.  Punches were NEVER pulled for the sake of being nice, and the current community is as soft as a bunny comparatively.

I really miss that.  Back then you had to think before you hit 'post'.
I can't believe the amount of crap people let me slide on. I attribute it to a well used ignore feature.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Tmic on June 21, 2010, 07:13:24 AM
Newspaper article in The Age (Australian Broadsheet) - actually made front page.

http://www.theage.com.au/sport/power-wristbands-might-be-the-biggest-scam-20100619-yo11.html (http://www.theage.com.au/sport/power-wristbands-might-be-the-biggest-scam-20100619-yo11.html)

Not sure if this kind of thing has been covered before, assuming the genre has, but the fact that it was front page news is a good sign. Or maybe it was just a really slow news day.

Could be worth a discussion from the perspective of reasonable (certainly could have been more thorough and damning) skeptical reporting.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: buckcc81 on June 26, 2010, 08:31:31 AM
I was wondering if Martial Arts has been talked about on SGU? This is a broad subject i know but an interesting one i feel as there are many misunderstandings about it. From the media perception from tv, movies and books through to Eastern style Martial arts and their history. Aslo key areas may be the physical activities that martial artists carry out. Or the rip off merchants that try to sell it in the wrong way. maybe this is to big an area to discuss. Like religion there is more then one area to it for critical analysis. I have been a student of Martial arts in one way or another for many years and I think the public generally have a mystical view of it which may need a look at.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on June 26, 2010, 01:52:05 PM
I think Bullshit has an episode this season on Martial Arts.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: buckcc81 on June 27, 2010, 05:22:49 AM
Yes they did but it seemed that a lot was brushed over and a lot was just  done on an entertainment point of view. i think it could be dealt with on SGU 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Tmic on June 30, 2010, 06:42:35 AM
Some time ago I was listening to an interview with the person who's research brought left brain/right brain into the public dialogue. Forgive the lack of reference... I can't even remember his name - the interview was podcasted by ABC (Australia), I think in the 'Big Ideas' program, or maybe in the 'All in the Mind' program. Part of the discussion was about how this has spawned a whole industry (particularly in the publishing field). It struck me that in my own field - education - there are a number of publications, programs and resources that boast the claim 'Brain based research' or something similar. I've sometimes heard them called neuromyths.  I've often wondered just how rooted in research many of these things really are. For example, Brain Gym is a program that many schools in Australia buy into. Having listened to a talk by someone who was introducing (selling) Brain Gym, it seems at least partly b.s. When the line 'in tune with the body's energy rhythms' comes out my spider senses start tingling.  Anyways.... to the point... perhaps the panel could discuss the 'brain based' research product industry, particularly in educational settings.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Blazorge on June 30, 2010, 12:12:34 PM
Hello all!  I'm a long-time listener to the SGU and first time poster to the forums.  I've just recently recently read about the so-called "Science Wars" which I've somehow never come across before.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_warsAs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_warsAs) I've been reading about this I couldn't help wondering time and again what the rogues would have to say about it.  Maybe this has been covered before here but I thought it would be an interesting topic to go over from a historical POV with the SGU gang and maybe a guest or two.   Just a thought...
-B
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on June 30, 2010, 12:47:20 PM
Hello all!  I'm a long-time listener to the SGU and first time poster to the forums.  I've just recently recently read about the so-called "Science Wars" which I've somehow never come across before.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_warsAs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_warsAs) I've been reading about this I couldn't help wondering time and again what the rogues would have to say about it.  Maybe this has been covered before here but I thought it would be an interesting topic to go over from a historical POV with the SGU gang and maybe a guest or two.   Just a thought...
-B

FYI, the link you provided takes you to a non-existing Wiki page.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on June 30, 2010, 12:53:53 PM
Let me fix that for you Joel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_wars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_wars)

He just missed the space bar before that next sentence of his post.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Blazorge on June 30, 2010, 01:39:12 PM
Oops yep, space bar after the link.  Sorry about that... 
Thanks for pointing that out and posting the fix.



Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on June 30, 2010, 01:41:18 PM
Oops yep, space bar after the link.  Sorry about that... 
Thanks for pointing that out and posting the fix.
Just trying to help Joel. He can be a silly old git sometimes   ;D  :-*
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on June 30, 2010, 01:46:40 PM
Oops yep, space bar after the link.  Sorry about that... 
Thanks for pointing that out and posting the fix.
Just trying to help Joel. He can be a silly old git sometimes   ;D  :-*

 :'(
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on June 30, 2010, 01:47:48 PM
 :D
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on June 30, 2010, 01:56:53 PM
 :jugglesaws:
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: El Lasa on July 11, 2010, 10:21:59 PM
Paul, the Psychic Octopus!
Check the discussion at this link: http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,29289.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,29289.0.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: greenlion on July 14, 2010, 10:20:48 AM
My Google-Fu is strong and, as a science teacher, I try to keep up to date on the latest science news, and correct false information when I find it. However, I think it would be interesting to hear the Rogues discuss how they go about researching a new claim that seems unlikely to be true, especially when there is little information available. Are there advanced Black-belt tactics that most of us aren't aware of ?

Thanks for all you do SGU.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on July 15, 2010, 03:08:07 PM
My Google-Fu is strong and, as a science teacher, I try to keep up to date on the latest science news, and correct false information when I find it. However, I think it would be interesting to hear the Rogues discuss how they go about researching a new claim that seems unlikely to be true, especially when there is little information available. Are there advanced Black-belt tactics that most of us aren't aware of ?

Thanks for all you do SGU.

I second this; I was actually thinking of asking the panel this myself a few weeks ago.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anders on July 19, 2010, 03:40:24 PM
I want to hear PZ as a guest rogue discussing whether cephalopods can predict footbal results.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on July 19, 2010, 04:00:09 PM
I want to hear PZ as a guest rogue discussing whether cephalopods can predict footbal results.

+1
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anders on July 19, 2010, 04:19:36 PM
I would also like to hear Birgitta Ohlsson discuss why Europe needs more of science, more of skepticism and less of superstition. (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,29404.0.html) She's our Minister for Europe, so she's not just any clown.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on July 19, 2010, 05:00:31 PM
I would also like to hear Birgitta Ohlsson discuss why Europe needs more of science, more of skepticism and less of superstition. (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,29404.0.html) She's our Minister for Europe, so she's not just any clown.
+1 on this as well!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: I_Kant_Be_Faded on July 21, 2010, 04:34:08 PM
Male circumcision is a topic I really would love your podcast to place your opinion on.  The more I read about it the more confused I get about why it's common, and whether or not the reasons given for it are just excuses for justifying Bronze Age habits or legitimate.

If this topic has been covered already, please point me to the episode... I've been listening for about a year, but haven't really dipped into the previous episodes too much.  Thanks, love the show BTW!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on July 21, 2010, 06:06:12 PM
I can't remember if the show has gone into the issue at any length, but you may want to check out Penn & Teller: Bullshit. They did an episode that covered the issue pretty well.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on July 21, 2010, 06:27:56 PM
I can't remember if the show has gone into the issue at any length, but you may want to check out Penn & Teller: Bullshit. They did an episode that covered the issue pretty well.

I disagree.  I saw that episode, and IIRC, I walked away learning no real information, other than that P&T are against the practice.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on July 21, 2010, 06:30:30 PM
I can't remember if the show has gone into the issue at any length, but you may want to check out Penn & Teller: Bullshit. They did an episode that covered the issue pretty well.

I disagree.  I saw that episode, and IIRC, I walked away learning no real information, other than that P&T are against the practice.
ugh. I have it on my HD and I'll watch it in a little while to refresh my memory. You  may be right. I only watched it once and it was a while ago. Personally, I'm cut and will never get that skin back, so the topic bugs me.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: I.Strange on July 26, 2010, 11:36:34 AM
Canada's census crisis may be of interest to skeptics. 

As one critic said, "It's not often that sample selection bias becomes an issue of national importance, but then again, it's not often that census sampling design is outsourced to drunken monkeys." 

The Chief Statistician of Canada has even resigned on point of principle.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on July 27, 2010, 01:38:02 PM
What is the current consensus about nitric oxide in medical treatments? I just saw one of those "Hugh Downs Reports" web ads next to an article I was reading advertising some miracle "artery clearing cure" discovered by Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Louis Ignarro (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Ignarro) which is being "covered-up", presumably by "they" ;).

The doctor seems to have impeccable credentials, except that he works for the MLM company "HerbaLife".

I found a Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A53099-2003Oct6) article about Dr. Ignarro from 2003, but nothing recently.

I know that nitric oxide has at least one successful application (Viagra), but the "NiteWorks" supplement being marketed by HerbaLife/Dr. Ignarro costs about $90 a month... If its effective then I don't see why it isn't being marketed by a Pharma company, thus making it eligible for Rx co-pays through health insurance plans. It just screams "scam" to me, but the science seems to be there, and Dr. Ignarro doesn't seem like a crank, so I'm wondering if this could be covered in the podcast.

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: B-Broods on July 29, 2010, 05:42:59 PM
I visited my mom (sorry Rebecca, MUM) last weekend and noticed she had some contraption on the kitchen counter top with a book next to it titled "Juiceman's Power of Juicing".  Curiosity I picked it up and started reading.  The bottom of the cover said "Over 100 delicious juice recipes for energy, health, weight loss, and relief from scores of common ailments."  So I started reading the book and basically that guy with the wicked eyebrows says that just by drinking liquefied raw vegetables can you then improve your health or fly or girls will think you're sexually attractive or something, I don't know I didn't read past the second page.  Anyways, this sounds like total crap to me, but I unfortunately can not find much information regarding the validity of this man's claims.  I don't recall SGU ever talking about a all liquid diet before, and I think it'd be great issue to bring up because I know people who've done this in the past when I was younger and now my mom is testing the waters because she believes in this based upon what I presume as medical misinformation as claimed by this Jay Kordich guy, even though admittedly I don't know anything about liquefied and juice diets.

Here's the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Juicemans-Power-Juicing-Jay-Kordich/dp/0446365483# (http://www.amazon.com/Juicemans-Power-Juicing-Jay-Kordich/dp/0446365483#)
And here's the pile of plastic you need to buy:
(http://www.thebestjuicerreviews.com/image-files/juiceman-jr-juicer-review.jpg)
On a side note, the picture is pretty funny.  That jucie blender thingy actually makes a huge mess of things and requires a lot of cleaning up after every use.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 09, 2010, 01:49:07 PM
Oh man, you guys absolutely need to mention this in an episode.

http://wireupdate.com/wires/8494/russian-man-jailed-for-assaulting-fortune-teller-who-predicted-he-would-go-to-jail/ (http://wireupdate.com/wires/8494/russian-man-jailed-for-assaulting-fortune-teller-who-predicted-he-would-go-to-jail/)

Quote

Russian man jailed for assaulting fortune teller who predicted he would go to jail

MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) -- A Russian court has sentenced a man to more than two dozen years in prison for assaulting a Gypsy fortune teller who predicted that he would be jailed, local media reported.

Gennady Osipovich was told by the female fortune teller that she saw a "state-owned house" in his future, which is a Russian euphemism for jail, The Moscow Times reported, citing the country's Investigative Committee.

The woman managed to escape the man, but Osipovich stabbed two unidentified witnesses to death during the assault, which happened in October.

Osipovich was sentenced to 22 years in a maximum-security prison.

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: stands2reason on August 09, 2010, 02:39:14 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/tomdynia/Ironymeter.jpg)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: kevinf on August 13, 2010, 10:56:27 PM
Here's an amazingly crappy article that actually was published in a peer-reviewed journal. 

I wish I could publish papers with no data!

http://www.virologyj.com/content/pdf/1743-422X-7-169.pdf (http://www.virologyj.com/content/pdf/1743-422X-7-169.pdf)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jack on August 14, 2010, 06:31:45 AM
Oh man, you guys absolutely need to mention this in an episode.

http://wireupdate.com/wires/8494/russian-man-jailed-for-assaulting-fortune-teller-who-predicted-he-would-go-to-jail/ (http://wireupdate.com/wires/8494/russian-man-jailed-for-assaulting-fortune-teller-who-predicted-he-would-go-to-jail/)

Quote

Russian man jailed for assaulting fortune teller who predicted he would go to jail

MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) -- A Russian court has sentenced a man to more than two dozen years in prison for assaulting a Gypsy fortune teller who predicted that he would be jailed, local media reported.

Gennady Osipovich was told by the female fortune teller that she saw a "state-owned house" in his future, which is a Russian euphemism for jail, The Moscow Times reported, citing the country's Investigative Committee.

The woman managed to escape the man, but Osipovich stabbed two unidentified witnesses to death during the assault, which happened in October.

Osipovich was sentenced to 22 years in a maximum-security prison.

"more than two dozen years" ≠ "22 years"
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 16, 2010, 09:36:34 AM
Translation server error?

(http://kera.name/articles/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/translateservererror.jpg)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: stands2reason on August 20, 2010, 11:30:52 PM
http://conservapedia.com/Theory_of_relativity (http://conservapedia.com/Theory_of_relativity)

Need I say more?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lead Farmer on August 21, 2010, 09:52:03 AM
Edinburgh University Researchers Turn Whisky Dregs Into Fuel for Everyday Cars
 (http://www.fastcompany.com/1683290/edinburgh-university-researchers-come-up-with-drink-driving-car)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Apxeo on August 24, 2010, 04:35:39 PM
I just joined the forum. As luck would have it as soon as I joined, someone sent me this.  Glenn Beck on archaeology, god help us  ::).

Native Americans Wrote in Ancient Hebrew (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnRN-GOLLI#normal)

Beck could be for archaeology what Oprah is for medicine.  If he didn't have such a huge scary audience, it would be funny--beyond the zany topic matter, he talks about "evacuations" instead of "excavations" and he can't even get John Wesley Powell's name right (even though he is supposedly looking right at his journals).  Kenneth Feder is really great with this stuff.  Maybe another interview with him, smacking Beck around? :dance:
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jack on August 24, 2010, 04:44:48 PM
Mormons are crazy.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on August 25, 2010, 09:58:53 AM

Native Americans Wrote in Ancient Hebrew (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnRN-GOLLI#normal)


Ok, I know this is utterly ridiculous, but I really would like someone to explain to me what this stuff really is.  Is it not Hebrew?  Or, just a hoax?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 25, 2010, 10:07:18 AM
I haven't had a chance to watch that video yet because I have no audio on my computer right now (stupid SPDIF cable died, GRR), but AFAIK there was no written language among the Native Americans of the United States until long after their first contact with white people.

I'll bet that that those stones that Glenn Beck are talking about are just as real as the gold tablets which Joseph Smith found and then which mysteriously disappeared.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Apxeo on August 25, 2010, 05:36:21 PM

Native Americans Wrote in Ancient Hebrew (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnRN-GOLLI#normal)


Ok, I know this is utterly ridiculous, but I really would like someone to explain to me what this stuff really is.  Is it not Hebrew?  Or, just a hoax?

Probably hoaxes.  There are a whole lot of stones with supposed celtic/Viking/Phoenician/etc. inscriptions, and almost all of them were found in the late 19th century.  Archaeology seems to have had a real Barnum-like atmosphere then.  Combine that with various urges like giving the Americas some "Olde World" style historical depth, proving that Whites had a legitimate historical claim to the Americas, or just proving that one's own ethnic group was here first (witness the prevalence of runestones in Minnesota and Wisconsin  ;D) and you have a lot of hoaxes.  It's pretty safe to assume weird finds from late 19th/early 20th century are crap.

Last I heard the Bat Creek stone was a Masonic inscription, make of that what you will.

On the rest, here's a post from a sceptical arch. page (A Hot Cup of Joe) covering some of Beck's numerological seepage The Pseudoarchaeology of Glenn Beck (http://ahotcupofjoe.net/2010/08/the-pseudoarchaeology-of-glenn-beck/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Techskeptic on August 25, 2010, 06:13:02 PM
Well I hope this gets read by the rogues.

Perhaps this was asked before, but I'll ask again since a search revealed nothing on these boards.

Pepsi if giving away tons of money.
http://www.refresheverything.com/index (http://www.refresheverything.com/index)

Now, my thought is that there are a lot of clinical trials, experiments or projects that expose nonsense  that could be done.

What are the 5 most important ones and why dont we apply for this money for them?

These trials that we do should directly attack soem form of woo and should NOT just be a duplicate of whatever randi is doing.

Our trial, in randi fashion should be done WITH the biggest name in the particular brand of woo.

For example, I have no idea who the leading moon hoaxer is, but what if we put together a small satellite whose only purpose is to photograph the moon and one landing and send back data until it crashes into the moon near an apollo landing site.

Perhaps this is real? http://interorbital.com/TubeSat_1.htm (http://interorbital.com/TubeSat_1.htm) so the sattellite may not be that expensive but the whole project may cost a lot. Use pepsi money.

Its just one example, what about a 6 month high fructose corn syrup trial using people, but done with Mercola? this sort of trial has never been done for some reason.

What 5 things at 50K-250K would you think is important to get done, and why dont we try to do them?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: shanedk on August 27, 2010, 04:42:13 PM
Could you please do an episode about the pertussis outbreaks in California and other states? I'm getting it left and right from the anti-vaxxers and I feel like beating my head against a wall...
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on August 27, 2010, 04:49:26 PM
Could you please do an episode about the pertussis outbreaks in California and other states? I'm getting it left and right from the anti-vaxxers and I feel like beating my head against a wall...
Why are you getting it from the anti-vaxxers? You should be giving it to them since this is in direct correlation to their refusal to vaccinate.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 27, 2010, 05:34:03 PM
Could you please do an episode about the pertussis outbreaks in California and other states? I'm getting it left and right from the anti-vaxxers and I feel like beating my head against a wall...
Why are you getting it from the anti-vaxxers? You should be giving it to them since this is in direct correlation to their refusal to vaccinate.

I think the "getting it" thing is a reference to anti-vaxxers' well known propensity to rape their ideological opponents.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on August 27, 2010, 05:54:15 PM
Could you please do an episode about the pertussis outbreaks in California and other states? I'm getting it left and right from the anti-vaxxers and I feel like beating my head against a wall...
Why are you getting it from the anti-vaxxers? You should be giving it to them since this is in direct correlation to their refusal to vaccinate.

I think the "getting it" thing is a reference to anti-vaxxers' well known propensity to rape their ideological opponents.
True but this seems like a good opportunity to rub their noses in the mess they are causing by not vaccinating. This whole outbreak of pertussis, at least here in California, can be traced back to parents that didn't have their kids vaccinated against it.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 28, 2010, 05:29:22 PM
Could you please do an episode about the pertussis outbreaks in California and other states? I'm getting it left and right from the anti-vaxxers and I feel like beating my head against a wall...
Why are you getting it from the anti-vaxxers? You should be giving it to them since this is in direct correlation to their refusal to vaccinate.

I think the "getting it" thing is a reference to anti-vaxxers' well known propensity to rape their ideological opponents.
True but this seems like a good opportunity to rub their noses in the mess they are causing by not vaccinating. This whole outbreak of pertussis, at least here in California, can be traced back to parents that didn't have their kids vaccinated against it.

No argument here, but last I looked at this story the children who had died of pertussis were the children of migrant field workers from Central and South America who probably didn't have access to vaccination, not that they weren't vaccinated because their parents exercised their PBEs, has more information come out to the contrary?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Tatyana on August 28, 2010, 05:53:43 PM
I would love to hear some sensible, skeptical analysis of the evidence on artificial sweeteners. I think the most prevalent ones now are aspartame and sucralose.

The things that I commonly hear:

- artificial sweeteners prime the hunger response to have you eat more food (especially sweet food)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040630081825.htm (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040630081825.htm)
- artificial sweeteners promote panic disorders and other neurological disorders
http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-sweeteners.html (http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-sweeteners.html)



Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: MountainManPan on August 28, 2010, 06:03:30 PM
I do agree with Dr. Edell's take on the fake sugars.  If I am going to eat something sweet, I'll just eat it with real sugar. And of course I keep such things to very moderate once in a while type thing.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on August 28, 2010, 06:49:38 PM
Could you please do an episode about the pertussis outbreaks in California and other states? I'm getting it left and right from the anti-vaxxers and I feel like beating my head against a wall...
Why are you getting it from the anti-vaxxers? You should be giving it to them since this is in direct correlation to their refusal to vaccinate.

I think the "getting it" thing is a reference to anti-vaxxers' well known propensity to rape their ideological opponents.
True but this seems like a good opportunity to rub their noses in the mess they are causing by not vaccinating. This whole outbreak of pertussis, at least here in California, can be traced back to parents that didn't have their kids vaccinated against it.

No argument here, but last I looked at this story the children who had died of pertussis were the children of migrant field workers from Central and South America who probably didn't have access to vaccination, not that they weren't vaccinated because their parents exercised their PBEs, has more information come out to the contrary?

Well, even if that's the case, there's herd immunity to consider.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 28, 2010, 06:52:03 PM
I know, all I'm saying is that unless the people were exercising their PBEs because they believed that vaccines caused autism (or for whatever reason people exercise their PBEs) this outbreak can't be laid at the feet of Jenny McCarthy and her ilk, as much as I'd like it to be her fault.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on August 28, 2010, 07:45:47 PM
I know, all I'm saying is that unless the people were exercising their PBEs because they believed that vaccines caused autism (or for whatever reason people exercise their PBEs) this outbreak can't be laid at the feet of Jenny McCarthy and her ilk, as much as I'd like it to be her fault.

Well, it's less obvious, for sure, but aren't they responsible to a significant degree for breaking herd immunity? I don't know the numbers on that, but if so, I think a case can be made.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 29, 2010, 12:41:48 PM
I know, all I'm saying is that unless the people were exercising their PBEs because they believed that vaccines caused autism (or for whatever reason people exercise their PBEs) this outbreak can't be laid at the feet of Jenny McCarthy and her ilk, as much as I'd like it to be her fault.

Well, it's less obvious, for sure, but aren't they responsible to a significant degree for breaking herd immunity? I don't know the numbers on that, but if so, I think a case can be made.

Yes, but did they have a motive? I'm saying that no, they probably didn't. If the original story is correct, and they are migrant farm workers from rural villages or urban ghettos in Central and South America who are suffering from aching poverty it's very unlikely that they know enough about modern medicine to even know how a vaccine actually works, let alone know what herd immunity is.

I highly doubt that you can blame anything other than poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to even the most basic levels of medical care on the recent outbreak of pertussis.

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on August 29, 2010, 01:11:09 PM
I'm confused... I meant the anti-vaxers can be held accountable for breaking herd immunity, not the immigrants. I don't think you can blame the latter group. But as I said, I don't have the numbers, so maybe I'm wrong about the anti-vaxers playing a significant role.
Or did you mean that these groups largely overlap?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on August 29, 2010, 06:43:43 PM
I meant the anti-vaxers can be held accountable for breaking herd immunity, not the immigrants. I don't think you can blame the latter group. But as I said, I don't have the numbers, so maybe I'm wrong about that.

I sort of doubt it. The communities in which these outbreaks are occurring are poor and rural, hardly the type of place where the selfish and ignorant decisions of wealthy white people who choose to believe in fake science would live.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: shanedk on August 30, 2010, 12:18:21 PM
The reason why California is having such a problem is that, across the board, vaccination for the pertussis booster is the lowest in the country. The concentration in rural areas probably is due to immigration issues.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on August 30, 2010, 01:17:30 PM
The Interacademy Council released a report today on the procedures of the IPCC. I think it's worth a discussion, given how heavily the IPCC has been under fire recently:

http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/ (http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/)
Title: Potential podcast tπopic/Science or Fiction headline
Post by: Virtuoso on September 07, 2010, 10:10:17 PM
Here's an article I would like to hear Steve summarize/discuss/critique, or maybe even use on Science or Fiction!

"SCIENTISTS DECODE WORDS FROM BRAIN SIGNALS"

http://unews.utah.edu/p/?r=062110-3 (http://unews.utah.edu/p/?r=062110-3)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on September 08, 2010, 06:28:21 AM
The dangers of Paranoia. http://www.wesh.com/news/24908735/detail.html (http://www.wesh.com/news/24908735/detail.html)

Almost like a game of telephone.
Title: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: etaggart on September 14, 2010, 09:27:23 AM
Hey All,

Very interesting article in the LA Times this morning:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lapd-scam-20100914,0,7416903.story (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lapd-scam-20100914,0,7416903.story)

Police (including detectives) getting duped in a real estate scam.  Lots of apparent confirmational bias involved, as well as misplaced trust and a total lack of critical thinking by hard-working people who we depend on to be critical thinkers - especially about scam artists.  Just because someone claims to be a 70-year old minister doesn't mean you should give them $4M.

Cheers!

ET
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on September 14, 2010, 12:18:31 PM
There's a thread on this forum about this topic and I'd love to get Steve's take on it either in blog form or on the show.

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,30616.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,30616.0.html)

The subject is about the government settling what's reported to be the first ever award in the US for vaccine injury.  The basic gist is that after the child in question received her vaccinations her health deteriorated and she was diagnosed with autism.  The reason for the award is given as the vaccine triggering an unknown mitochondrial disorder which resulted in her developing autism. 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on September 14, 2010, 12:21:03 PM
The dangers of Paranoia. http://www.wesh.com/news/24908735/detail.html (http://www.wesh.com/news/24908735/detail.html)

Almost like a game of telephone.

Didn't you see Full Metal Jacket?  Remember the part with the teddy-bear that set off the explosives?

Clearly, we simply cannot afford to trust any stuffed animal!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: wormguy on September 14, 2010, 07:27:42 PM
Given how heavily we (civilisation) rely upon the peer-review process I found this article interesting.  The model suggests that the overall publication quality is highly sensitive to small numbers of poor reviewers.  Given the seemingly random responses of yay, nay, or completely-missed-the-point reviews I've had on some manuscript submissions their assumptions may not be far off (at least in ecology/biology).

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43691 (http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43691) 

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1008/1008.4324v1.pdf (http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1008/1008.4324v1.pdf)

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: I.Strange on September 16, 2010, 10:31:34 AM
I'm getting red flags, but it could be legit for all I know:

Mind games take aim at brain decline
Software helps Toronto patients fight HIV symptoms
http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/14/f-videogames-brain-fitness.html#ixzz0zhdXozyS (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/14/f-videogames-brain-fitness.html#ixzz0zhdXozyS)
Title: Podcast Topic Suggestion for Bob
Post by: 2BLive on September 21, 2010, 12:01:07 AM
http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html (http://twm.co.nz/hologram.html)   Quantm this and that reality is just a dream, row row row your boat....Nail this Bob, I know you have hit this before, but hit it harder?
Andrew.......Come to Burning Man where Science meets Art.
Title: CFLs and Dirty Electricity
Post by: KevinTernes on September 22, 2010, 08:55:07 AM
CFLs and Dirty Electricity would be a good followup to the Wi-Fi scare news item.

Local News:
http://www.cflimpact.com/ (http://www.cflimpact.com/)

Dr. Magda Havas appears to be the pusher:
 http://www.magdahavas.com/2009/12/13/what-is-dirty-electricity/ (http://www.magdahavas.com/2009/12/13/what-is-dirty-electricity/)
Title: Re: CFLs and Dirty Electricity
Post by: KevinTernes on September 22, 2010, 06:28:53 PM
CFLs and Dirty Electricity would be a good followup to the Wi-Fi scare news item....

Looks like Steve already has this covered in his Science Based Medicine blog.  Oh, well...
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: rlquinn1980 on September 24, 2010, 12:24:14 AM
This was just posted on James Randi's Facebook:

Psychic Readings to be Regulated in Michigan (http://www.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=224989)

It's already causing debate among the commenters, and I'd be very curious about the panel's take on it. Are there serious political implications? Does this "legitimize" psychics who stay in the business?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: westcoaster on September 28, 2010, 12:28:28 PM
I'd like to hear a discussion of the new observations about seasonal variation of methane on mars (story here: http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1009/21mars/ (http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1009/21mars/) ). The story is that local methane concentrations rise and fall with season temperature variations.  Can the variations be explained by known geological mechanisms?  The depletion of methane is much faster than expected - months rather than decades.  Are there non-biological explanations for the depletion rate? 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: rlquinn1980 on October 01, 2010, 02:47:31 PM
I'd also like to know how much truth there is to the lark/owl theories of our circadian rhythms. The most I've seen on the subject is from Psychology Today, which is an exceptionally dubious publication, even for a magazine. Think you guys would ever cover it?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on October 05, 2010, 05:53:55 AM
The "science" of prayer?

http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=77411 (http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=77411)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: rlquinn1980 on October 06, 2010, 02:22:00 PM
The "science" of prayer?

http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=77411 (http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=77411)

I'm betting that in a meta-analysis, this is either a fluke or fully insignificant based on its design.

A recent Psych Files podcast reviewed a study in which Superstitions Actually Work! (Sort of.) (http://www.thepsychfiles.com/2010/07/episode-129-video-science-shows-superstitions-actually-work-sort-of/) Of course, it's not the superstition itself that's working: it's people's belief in it. If the patients in the prayer group knew they were being prayed for, then I expect the same effect is taking place. Patients feel reassured, which reduces stress hormones, which helps the patient feel better, and may reduce some of the effects of a given condition. Or maybe they just tried harder.

I'm really curious about the design. I would expect to see:

control group - no prayer
group 1 - others praying for, encouraged to pray for self
group 2 - no others praying, encouraged to pray for self
group 3 - others praying for, no encouragement to pray

And I'd want to know if the patient was aware of whether others were praying for him or her, and if he or she was a witness to these prayers.
Title: Someone caught thinking like a scientist
Post by: Oh_Really on October 08, 2010, 11:35:07 AM
I like the way SGU promotes science as a discipline of thinking and exploring.  A recent example that I came across, I think, perfectly illustrates this.  The link below shows how a guy got his answer to why taco bell hot sauce cleans a penny.

http://www.cruftbox.com/cruft/docs/cleaningcopper.html (http://www.cruftbox.com/cruft/docs/cleaningcopper.html)

This just needs peer reviewing to qualify as some of the best science writing I've seen recently.

More of us should answer and document the important questions in life this way!

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Virtuoso on October 09, 2010, 09:46:03 PM
Lightning kills entire soccer team during game.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/203137.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/203137.stm)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on October 11, 2010, 11:21:21 AM
I know I'm becoming a bit of a one-trick-pony on these forums, but there's another global warming topic that is worth discussing:

I think John Mashey's recent analysis of the infamous Wegman report on the "Hockey Stick" graph is worth a look:

http://deepclimate.org/2010/09/26/strange-scholarship-wegman-report/ (http://deepclimate.org/2010/09/26/strange-scholarship-wegman-report/)

Unlike most climate blog dissections, this one may actually lead to something significant; the Wegman report has been used frequently as a reference work for climate contrarians who take issue with the hockey stick (it is also sometimes confused with the NAS report from the same period, as Wegman was the NAS' chair of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics), and has been cited in testimony before congress. Virginia attorney general Ken Cuchinelli is currently using it as a reference work in his attempts to file a suit against Michael Mann for alleged fraud against taxpayers (Cuchinelli's first attempt has failed, but he's at it again - that may be a topic worth commenting on in it's own right). The accusations that Mashey levels against Wegman et al are numerous and quite serious, and, if they hold up, would almost certainly constitute scientific fraud, possibly more. George Mason University has started an investigation into the allegations.

You can find a link to the Wegman report, a link to Mashey's full dissection (very lengthy, 250 pages) and a 6 page summary thereof in Mashey's blog post above.
Dan Moutal at Irregular Climate also discussed the issue on his latest podcast (http://www.irregularclimate.com/node/podcast) (#12).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on October 13, 2010, 12:06:26 PM
This is some crazy shit right here!

http://www.oilpulling.com/ (http://www.oilpulling.com/)

Quote
Dr. (med.) Karach said the Oilpulling heals totally “head-aches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and women’s diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, and encephalitis. It prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them. Chronic sleeplessness is cured.”

And at the same time, one click away (in the "disclaimer" section)
Quote
All material and information presented by oilpulling.com is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made about products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this site is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made at oilpulling.com.



Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on October 13, 2010, 05:08:51 PM
This is some crazy shit right here!

http://www.oilpulling.com/ (http://www.oilpulling.com/)

Quote
Dr. (med.) Karach said the Oilpulling heals totally “head-aches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and women’s diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, and encephalitis. It prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them. Chronic sleeplessness is cured.”

And at the same time, one click away (in the "disclaimer" section)
Quote
All material and information presented by oilpulling.com is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made about products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this site is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made at oilpulling.com.

Heh, I actually sent this in by email a while ago. A friend of mine does it because someone recommended it for improved dental hygiene (it sounded like woo at the time, but nothing this obvious, and back then I was only vaguely aware of the amount of medical pseudoscience). I tried it once or twice when we were on vacation together. It's.... oily.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: pnakotus on October 18, 2010, 12:13:51 PM
An interesting picture was taken by "a college biology professor." The article from the Examiner.com website doesn't mention the guy by name, go figure. However the photo was sent to the author of the article by a bigfoot expert! The photo was vouchsafed by Brad Steiger, a photo expert and who is about to publish a book on monsters, so you know he knows what he's talking about. The picture looks to be a guy standing by a lake shore. There is a strange humanoid figur with what looks to be glowing eyes in its "head." I think the lights are from somethign at the horizon, but too faint to be seen until they upped the contrast a bit. The "body" could be the light reflecting off the water. Still, there isn't much else to go on. We need a daylight photo of the same area to see what was there. I suppose it could also have been a person standing out of flash range, but it did get the boat dock so I think that is out as an explanation. Enjoy.

Link is here: http://www.examiner.com/ufo-in-memphis/humanoid-night-creature-pic-declared-authentic-by-brad-steiger-s-photo-expert (http://www.examiner.com/ufo-in-memphis/humanoid-night-creature-pic-declared-authentic-by-brad-steiger-s-photo-expert)

I learned about this from the Weird Things podcast, who were jusifiably skeptical about it.

Shawn Shelton
Tulsa, OK
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Moloch on October 20, 2010, 04:00:23 AM
I'd love to hear some discussion by the panel on a local researcher to me who's developing "machines that daydream". This guy has already developed a program that can distinguish between the emotional content of Aesop's Fables, grouping together fables that share little in common other than the emotion's they elicit. When asked why it grouped 3 fables together it replied "I felt sad for the bird".

Read more about it here: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/232971,researcher-builds-machines-that-daydream.aspx (http://www.itnews.com.au/News/232971,researcher-builds-machines-that-daydream.aspx)

- Christian Polson-Brown

See you at TAM Oz!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: TransplantJoe on October 24, 2010, 01:08:20 AM
Destroy this, please:

http://www.globalnews.ca/video/index.html?releasePID=AhhRhlekznL_LjjrebR55HNcPGi8kNUK (http://www.globalnews.ca/video/index.html?releasePID=AhhRhlekznL_LjjrebR55HNcPGi8kNUK)

Wifi causing illnesses, and fantastically bad reporting.  Features a professor from Trent University in Ontario advertising that testing a single subject under less than ideal conditions is a "blind study", among other wonders.

Global is one of the major TV networks in Canada, this played in prime time.
Title: time traveller in 1928 film ?
Post by: tiny333 on October 26, 2010, 04:14:58 AM
hi guys what do you think of this ?

http://dvice.com/archives/2010/10/is-this-a-time-.php (http://dvice.com/archives/2010/10/is-this-a-time-.php)

quite funny ... a person on a mobile in a 1928 charlie chaplain film

:)

cheers

damian asker

England

Title: Re: time traveller in 1928 film ?
Post by: JoelWhy on October 26, 2010, 12:59:43 PM
hi guys what do you think of this ?

http://dvice.com/archives/2010/10/is-this-a-time-.php (http://dvice.com/archives/2010/10/is-this-a-time-.php)

quite funny ... a person on a mobile in a 1928 charlie chaplain film

:)

cheers

damian asker

England

That's pretty funny  :D
Title: Re: time traveller in 1928 film ?
Post by: werecow on October 26, 2010, 01:18:31 PM
hi guys what do you think of this ?

http://dvice.com/archives/2010/10/is-this-a-time-.php (http://dvice.com/archives/2010/10/is-this-a-time-.php)

quite funny ... a person on a mobile in a 1928 charlie chaplain film

:)

cheers

damian asker

England

That's pretty funny  :D

Indeed. Cellphone my booty. She's clearly a CIA agent with an earpiece.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions: Cornell psi study
Post by: reedonly on October 27, 2010, 04:22:34 PM
I recently ran across this study reported at Psychology Today Online

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-thinker/201010/have-scientists-finally-discovered-evidence-psychic-phenomena (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-thinker/201010/have-scientists-finally-discovered-evidence-psychic-phenomena)

about a controlled study that seems to suggest a small but significant statistical indication for , if not actual "paranormal" effects, at least something atemporal. The Psychology today article was a little too credulous IMHO, so I clicked through and read the full paper - 61 pages. I tried working through the stats, protocols, etc. and on first read it seems like solid, well-designed research. What is your take on this, what else needs to be done, other than replicability, to either support or refute the findings, and is this as well-controlled as it seems? Is the effect reported really significant, or just on the outside edge of what can be expected by chance?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on October 28, 2010, 10:12:14 AM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: stands2reason on October 30, 2010, 02:09:51 PM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.

 :ughh:
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Fast Eddie B on October 31, 2010, 07:10:37 AM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.

And how men use the other 65% to think about sex every 10 seconds!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: MountainManPan on October 31, 2010, 08:03:48 AM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.

Did they really say that?
Title: The Elliott Wave
Post by: brasey on October 31, 2010, 08:24:16 AM
I was introduced to the concept of the Elliott Wave on Friday.  Has anyone here done any research about it?  Here's my take:

http://bob.rasey.net/2010/10/elliott-wave-how-to-detect-bullshit.html (http://bob.rasey.net/2010/10/elliott-wave-how-to-detect-bullshit.html)

It's not as sciency a topic as SGU usually covers, but it's mathy.  Might be worth covering.

Bob
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on October 31, 2010, 11:09:30 AM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.

Did they really say that?

Yes.
Title: Laser Accupuncture to stop you smoking
Post by: ZaneCOYS on November 05, 2010, 10:25:15 AM
Thought you might find this interesting,

I always knew science fiction would fix me. La\ser accupuncture will stop me smoking how very 21st century.

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/846202-cant-quit-smoking-try-taking-a-laser-shot (http://www.metro.co.uk/news/846202-cant-quit-smoking-try-taking-a-laser-shot)

Thanks for the podcast guys!!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on November 05, 2010, 10:36:16 AM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.

Did they really say that?

Yes.

That's something of a misquote. They calculated that you only use about 35% of the brain at a time while performing certain tasks in laboratory conditions.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on November 05, 2010, 10:57:17 AM
I would like to hear a discussion of the recent Mythbusters episode in which they claim to have demonstrated that humans only use 35% of our brain.

Did they really say that?

Yes.

That's something of a misquote. They calculated that you only use about 35% of the brain at a time while performing certain tasks in laboratory conditions.

But that was the take-home message of that segment: 35%

They didn't really address the underlying woo of the claim: that the bulk of the human brain is "untapped potential."  Even though they said that their 35% figure "busted" the myth, i don;t think it did so in the minds of true believers -- they can just say "10%, 35%, whatever -- we don't use all of our brain, and if we did, we could (insert woo here)."

It was a sloppy piece, and it would be nice to here Steve talk about it.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on November 05, 2010, 11:07:30 AM
Yeah.. I agree, they went about it all wrong. I don't think they even attempted to hammer home the point that even if we could use 100% of our brains at any given moment it wouldn't grant us the powers of telepathy or super strength or shooting lasers from our eyes.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: The Dog Delusion on November 07, 2010, 04:30:44 AM
I know it's been covered a little bit in a number of episodes, but perhaps having a segment that talks about the placebo effect. What it really is, what it can and cannot prove, what we know and what we don't. I've heard in some places that it's still a "medical mystery," while other sources seem to claim that it's pretty much completely understood.

This might be best as one of the "skepticism 101" episodes of 5x5, but I just thought it might be something they want to cover, especially since it's so used/abused by quack medicines, and we do have a doctor on the panel.

I dunno...maybe it's too simple a topic, but I'd still like to hear the rogues talk about it in a "definitive" conversation.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on November 07, 2010, 08:53:32 AM
This would be a good excuse to get mark crislip on again. Flu season is starting dont we need an update on the vaccine wars?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on November 07, 2010, 10:16:46 AM
MORE MARK!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on November 10, 2010, 12:23:02 AM
MORE MARK!

...because the world needs more Mark Crislip.

(and more listener emails)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on November 10, 2010, 10:20:20 AM
The "Mystery" Missile?

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/california_vapor_streak_confounds_4xEOTdPZ66LdCKuxFup8iL (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/california_vapor_streak_confounds_4xEOTdPZ66LdCKuxFup8iL)

Quote
The FAA said it rechecked its radar scans of the area west of LA on Monday night and found no fast-moving objects.
   Meanwhile, several scientists said it was almost certainly the vapor  trail of a commercial aircraft. If the jet were traveling horizontally  toward the KCBS helicopter, it would have appeared to be vertical  because of the optical illusion of perspective, they said.
  "If  it's coming over the horizon, straight at you, then it rises quickly  above the horizon. You'd think it was just going vertically up,"  astronomer Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for  Astrophysics, told New Scientist magazine.
  He discounted the  possibility that it was a missile because no one besides the helicopter  crew has reported seeing the contrail.
  John Pike, a security analyst, said it could not have been a rocket, since it altered its course.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/california_vapor_streak_confounds_4xEOTdPZ66LdCKuxFup8iL#ixzz14tSNQvEX
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on November 10, 2010, 11:01:12 AM
Perfect example of how our eyes can fool us.

This is a shuttle taking off. The mission was perfectly succesful, but it looks like it's going down.

(http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn268/EvilEyeMonster/20430713_320X180.jpg)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Chew on November 10, 2010, 11:17:07 AM
This moronic Moon landing hoax believer believes Apollo 17 crashed back on the Moon because of that change in apparent motion.

Skip ahead to the launch at 1:00.

Apollo 17 Crashes back on the Moon (unmanned) Part 2/1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-uDv1G_iB8#normal)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 10, 2010, 12:04:19 PM
Perfect example of how our eyes can fool us.

This is a shuttle taking off. The mission was perfectly succesful, but it looks like it's going down.

(http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn268/EvilEyeMonster/20430713_320X180.jpg)

It also shows some vague resemblance to a simpsons-style female bigfoot profile.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on November 10, 2010, 12:52:15 PM
This moronic Moon landing hoax believer believes Apollo 17 crashed back on the Moon because of that change in apparent motion.

Skip ahead to the launch at 1:00.

Apollo 17 Crashes back on the Moon (unmanned) Part 2/1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-uDv1G_iB8#normal)

Awesome vid (with the exception of the idiotic balloon thoughts.) 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: synsei on November 14, 2010, 08:08:39 AM
Hello !
Did anyone attend this conference ?
http://www.catholicintl.com/galileowaswrong/index.html (http://www.catholicintl.com/galileowaswrong/index.html)
I've heard of it on Skepticality podcast and thought it was worth your attention.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Chew on November 14, 2010, 08:28:25 AM
Hello !
Did anyone attend this conference ?
http://www.catholicintl.com/galileowaswrong/index.html (http://www.catholicintl.com/galileowaswrong/index.html)
I've heard of it on Skepticality podcast and thought it was worth your attention.
The SGU discussed it in episode 270. We had a thread on it and several forums members were talking about going: http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,30593.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,30593.0.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Dr M on November 16, 2010, 05:33:40 AM
I believe prostate cancer screening has been discussed on an occasion or two before, but after a friend pointed me to this opinion piece by Prof Simon Chapman, I've been thinking that it would be interesting for the SGU to do a comprehensive segment on prostate cancer and in particular early detection and screening.

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/movember-prompts-a-few-curly-questions-20101115-17uan.html (http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/movember-prompts-a-few-curly-questions-20101115-17uan.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: PANTS! on November 18, 2010, 09:44:12 AM
New study "proves" pregognative abilities.

I started a thread here.

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,31858.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,31858.0.html)

I'd like y'all to rip it apart.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 18, 2010, 11:32:24 PM
The panel is probably already aware of this, seeing as I know that at least one member follows youtube (or has a channel there anyway, hello Rebecca! }|:o)), but I figured I'll bring it up anyway. Youtube anti-creationist "celebrity" dprjones is currently trying to get Peter Popoff's latest TV spectacular off the air. The original video was taken down, but he's done two follow ups (that I know of):

Update on Peter Popoff (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCc_vH2WZuo#normal)

and

Open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP regarding Peter Popoff (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Ov7UsjT44#normal)

I think it's worth a mention on the podcast. Popoff is a nasty little rash on the ass end of humanity, and we need some more skeptical ointment!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: ReductionistNurse on November 22, 2010, 04:57:25 AM
This is all 100% CGI done by 2 friends in just a couple months:
Silestone -- 'Above Everything Else' (http://vimeo.com/15630517)
It is an amazing work of art but in my mind it highlights the threat of forgery.

The phenomena of filmed event forgery both amateur and professional has obviously always been around to plague us with fake alien dissections and bigfoot videos, but considering the rate that historic thresholds of visual validation are broken, I think it would be a good talking point to address the increasing need for skepticism, especially in an age of insidious viral marketing video distribution sets the rules that make even seasoned digital experts second guess their opinions.

I remember listening to Alex Jones rant on and on awhile back and used the 'Forest Gump meets JFK' scene as proof that "powerful forces" can fake anything.

Conspiracy theories are inherently built like Rube Goldberg Machines that require 1000 precise macro-actions to form the implausible end micro-reaction, but any "evidence" that confirms their belief holds 1000 times the gravity in their magical thinking.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Fern on November 22, 2010, 06:31:41 AM
Quote
This is all 100% CGI done by 2 friends in just a couple months:

I am extremely doubtful that your video was computer generated imagery. Maybe heavily edited, but not entirely generated.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: ReductionistNurse on November 22, 2010, 08:24:59 AM
Quote
This is all 100% CGI done by 2 friends in just a couple months:

I am extremely doubtful that your video was computer generated imagery. Maybe heavily edited, but not entirely generated.

Right. Which is precisely why I raise the issue, because it is in fact, 100% CG without any real footage.

Heres an interview with the author including some pictures with wireframe outlines.
http://area.autodesk.com/inhouse/bts/publications_by_alex_roman (http://area.autodesk.com/inhouse/bts/publications_by_alex_roman)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 22, 2010, 10:34:48 AM
Quote
This is all 100% CGI done by 2 friends in just a couple months:

I am extremely doubtful that your video was computer generated imagery. Maybe heavily edited, but not entirely generated.

Right. Which is precisely why I raise the issue, because it is in fact, 100% CG without any real footage.

Heres an interview with the author including some pictures with wireframe outlines.
http://area.autodesk.com/inhouse/bts/publications_by_alex_roman (http://area.autodesk.com/inhouse/bts/publications_by_alex_roman)

Holy crap, that is impressive. I can barely model the basic shape of a decent spaceship.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on November 26, 2010, 06:38:29 AM
It would be cool to hear the Brian Dunning DDT kurfuffle discussed.  Especially since the primary source of Dunning's Fail was Steve Milloy's blog, and Steve Milloy was one of the SGU's earliest guests.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 26, 2010, 07:26:13 AM
It would be cool to hear the Brian Dunning DDT kurfuffle discussed.  Especially since the primary source of Dunning's Fail was Steve Milloy's blog, and Steve Milloy was one of the SGU's earliest guests.

I'm a bit out of the loop, but I did read some stuff about DDT related pseudoscience recently (with passing reference to Milloy and his fellow ideologues)... what did Brian say about DDT?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on November 26, 2010, 08:16:54 AM
It would be cool to hear the Brian Dunning DDT kurfuffle discussed.  Especially since the primary source of Dunning's Fail was Steve Milloy's blog, and Steve Milloy was one of the SGU's earliest guests.

I'm a bit out of the loop, but I did read some stuff about DDT related pseudoscience recently (with passing reference to Milloy and his fellow ideologues)... what did Brian say about DDT?

He basically repeated a bunch of misinformation from Steve Milloy's "Junk Science" site on a recent Skeptoid episode: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4230 (http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4230)

Here is the article on Skepchick that brought it to my attention: http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/11/brian-dunnings-ddt-fail/ (http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/11/brian-dunnings-ddt-fail/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 26, 2010, 04:11:32 PM
Bug girl eh? I like her style. Anyway, too bad Brian fell for Milloy's tricks. Unfortunately not the first time a skeptic has fallen for his schtick. Oh well.

But yeah, I agree, the panel's comments would be nice. It's good to have a reminder every once in a while that we all have to check each other as well as the woo-heads. Keeps us on our toes.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: bandini on November 30, 2010, 08:54:29 PM
Hi – I’m a new regular listener making my way through the back catalogue. Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere but there is a product called Miracle Mineral Solution: http://miraclemineral.org/ (http://miraclemineral.org/) They say: ‘The answer to AIDS, hepatitis A, B and C, malaria, herpes, TB, most cancer and many more of mankind's worse diseases has been found’.

‘… instructions that came with the product directed users to mix it with lemon juice or some other citric acid. However, the mixing process creates a lethal cocktail of chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment’. From http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/11/30/health-warning-over-miracle-supplement/ (http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/11/30/health-warning-over-miracle-supplement/)

There are many other articles warning against it and other websites selling it. Sounds like a job for the SGU…
Many thanks for your great work,
Steve
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nayabusa on November 30, 2010, 11:03:09 PM
This is more of a funny idea. Before reading the science or fiction have Jay play a psychic charater,  do the "mort" voice and pick one then he can say why he picked it after weather it was wrong or right. I think this will also show how many someone can get right purely by chance.
YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: biffissimo on December 07, 2010, 11:37:10 AM
Hey guys love the show, I just saw the movie Flight From Death dealing with the 1973 book by Ernest Becker Denial of Death.  The documentary was poorly made but the ideas in it were fascinating.  Have you guys heard of Ernest Becker?  The people that talk about him make the topic seem a bit new agey or hippy but the substance of his theory is really intriguing.  His theory is called Terror Management Theory.  I've heard every one of your shows and I'm surprised you've never touched on this topic.

Thanks,

Brian,
Baltimore
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Balaam on December 20, 2010, 10:36:39 AM
Here is a great question: What piece of BASIC scientific understanding, if more widely known and understood, would have the biggest tangible impact on people's everyday lives? I'm not talking about areas of long and caustic debate like religion or global warming, rather items accepted by 99% of scientists.

My vote: Think what would happen to drugstore sales if more people understood the most uncontroversial aspects of the placebo effect. The over-the-counter medicine, vitamin/supplement, and haircare sales would crash dramatically.

Can the Rogues think of other examples?

Thanks to the best podcast crew on the web.
Balaam
(talking through my ass for 4000 years) (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2022:30&version=KJV)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GoodDerf on December 20, 2010, 10:48:55 AM
Here is a great question: What piece of BASIC scientific understanding, if more widely known and understood, would have the biggest tangible impact on people's everyday lives? I'm not talking about areas of long and caustic debate like religion or global warming, rather items accepted by 99% of scientists.

My vote: Think what would happen to drugstore sales if more people understood the most uncontroversial aspects of the placebo effect. The over-the-counter medicine, vitamin/supplement, and haircare sales would crash dramatically.

Can the Rogues think of other examples?

Thanks to the best podcast crew on the web.
Balaam
(talking through my ass for 4000 years) (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2022:30&version=KJV)

The 2 examples you gave are accepted by 99% of scientists as bullshit and real respectively.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Balaam on December 20, 2010, 06:41:46 PM

The 2 examples you gave are accepted by 99% of scientists as bullshit and real respectively.

My point is that both are, in fact, sources of political and ideological controversy.

To deny they are controversial is a failure of rational thinking.

And large numbers of scientists, up to 30% in some surveys, maintain a religious affiliation, so you are wrong twice.

I am looking for the non-controversial, yet significant.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: superdave on December 20, 2010, 08:15:11 PM
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/12/a-tale-of-an-ingenious-experiment-with-a-dubious-interpretation.ars (http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/12/a-tale-of-an-ingenious-experiment-with-a-dubious-interpretation.ars)

fascinating story with lots of skeptical angles.  I think the link title says it all. 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on December 20, 2010, 09:05:36 PM

The 2 examples you gave are accepted by 99% of scientists as bullshit and real respectively.

My point is that both are, in fact, sources of political and ideological controversy.

To deny they are controversial is a failure of rational thinking.

And large numbers of scientists, up to 30% in some surveys, maintain a religious affiliation, so you are wrong twice.

I am looking for the non-controversial, yet significant.

Climate change is not controversial among climate experts. Most pseudoscience eventually gets framed in terms of ideology, whether it's free market fundamentalism (or conversely, environmentalism), religion, or general new age mumbo-jumbo.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Zombie Frenchman on December 28, 2010, 09:15:29 PM
Hi guys,

My question is very simple.
Is psychoanalysis a science ? Has it been tested ?
If not, what is the value of its theories ? Are psychoanalysts just quacks, the way homeopaths or chiropractors are ?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Sci_BA on December 29, 2010, 07:02:57 PM
I just saw this Ripley's that says psychic claims are regulated in Romania. if it's true this could actually be be good for skeptics. http://comics.com/ripleys_believe_it_or_not/2010-12-29/ (http://comics.com/ripleys_believe_it_or_not/2010-12-29/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: mpcookson on January 02, 2011, 01:34:17 PM
Have you heard of/read this article in the New Yorker?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all)


My first thought was that I hope that the climate change deniers don't see this...

It's a fascinating article about random variation and confirmation bias leading to published papers showing an effect that often can't be reproduced (because it's probably not there). The alarming part is that these later negative or null studies often can't get published, apparently because of bias in the reviews to want to believe their previously accepted studies.

Really makes it easy to be skeptical, but hard to know what to believe.  Would the Rouges care to comment?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: eddwilson on January 02, 2011, 06:38:51 PM
There's been a tiny brouhaha about this in the UK over the last few days.

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fblogs%2Ftoday%2Ftomfeilden%2F2010%2F12%2Fare_political_beliefs_hard_wir.html&h=1fa5e (http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fblogs%2Ftoday%2Ftomfeilden%2F2010%2F12%2Fare_political_beliefs_hard_wir.html&h=1fa5e)

When interviewed, the guy in charge (professor Geraint Rees at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) said all the right things about sample size (90, if I remember rightly) and direction of causality, but he did sound stimulated.  I just thought it was a snippet to follow, perhaps with reference to the cab driver's hippocampus.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on January 07, 2011, 02:38:08 PM
per jaypee's excellent suggestion, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys is apparently attributing his cancer cure to a vegan diet and eastern medicine (including an Indian puja for healing)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/07/adam-yauch-cancer-free-beastie-boys-rapper-beats-disease_n_805702.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/07/adam-yauch-cancer-free-beastie-boys-rapper-beats-disease_n_805702.html)

An older HuffPo post where they list his surgery and radiation treatment as a footnote...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/08/beastie-boy-adam-yauchs-c_n_314066.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/08/beastie-boy-adam-yauchs-c_n_314066.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DK on January 07, 2011, 03:29:28 PM
This one could go in the interview suggestions as well, but I think it works better as a topic. It involves setting up a debate between Mark Crislip and Ben Goldacre, where they discuss the pros and cons of Cochrane Reviews. (http://www.cochrane.org/cochrane-reviews)

Mark seems to think little of them, while Ben uses them all the time to support his arguments.

Thing is, this confuses the hell out of me and I think it'll be pretty cool if you could get the two of them on the phone at the same time to put forward their cases.

Also, it would involve more Mark (which the world apparently needs) and the chance for the Americans to swoon over Ben's British accent.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DeanMorrison on January 07, 2011, 05:03:21 PM
The Fluoridation debate is back in the news in Calgary, with 10 of 15 council members supporting the notion to remove it from the water supply. Might be a good time for an update on this situation, specific questions being wether or not fluoridation is still necessary, and the complex politics surrounding the issue.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on January 07, 2011, 05:23:17 PM
I'd like to hear more about two topics;

1. the science of sleep/dreams. I love having weird, vivid dreams, but I don't know much about the science of it. Since dreams feature prominently in some pseudosciences, I'd like to learn more.
Additionally, at present I also happen to suffer from insomnia because I screwed up my biorhythm too much for too long while working on my thesis. I've been trying to get myself back to a slightly more normal sleep cycle, but I'm having a hard time doing so. My sister also suffers from insomnia (even more than I do, and for a long time now), and she's currently undergoing "hapnotherapy" (with an "a", not a "y") - or rather, was, until she went off to do charity work in Nepal a few months back. What she's been describing about that therapy sounds a bit wooish to me, so I'd really appreciate the panel's input - or anyone else's. Additionally, she was taking melatonin, which you mentioned in passing as not having much effect a while back. I've actually been

2. The history of skepticism. It occurred to me that I don't know all that much about the roots of the skeptics movement, and I'd really like to know more about the origins of the movement and its founders. Might also be a good topic for a 5x5 (or maybe a couple of them if there's too much to cover there for a single ep).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: billhunter on January 17, 2011, 06:03:57 PM
I think the anti-vaxers are in full retreat, but every time one of them is given a voice on the radio, they always bring up some list of studies that still support their claims. I found such a list, at fourteenstudies.org, and waded about half way into the first one before deciding it had a major flaw (it was a correlative study between children with and without Hep-B vaccine and diagnosis of developmental disorders that ignored that both both factors correlate strongly quality of medical care).
I imagine that all these studies are probably sub par or have been misinterpreted, but I think it would be good for some skeptic org to address these studies in a scientific manor. This may have already been done somewhere, but it would not hurt to go over it again.

My concern is we are going to continue to here about this list again and again. Every time they are brought on a show, even one hostile to them, they still tout this list of studies. If these studies are poor in quality, or misinterpreted, it is vitally important to publicize this fact. The podcast could also be useful reference material for any reporter that is about to interview an anti-vaxer.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: craig on January 17, 2011, 06:27:23 PM
I think the anti-vaxers are in full retreat, but every time one of them is given a voice on the radio, they always bring up some list of studies that still support their claims. I found such a list, at fourteenstudies.org, and waded about half way into the first one before deciding it had a major flaw (it was a correlative study between children with and without Hep-B vaccine and diagnosis of developmental disorders that ignored that both both factors correlate strongly quality of medical care).
I imagine that all these studies are probably sub par or have been misinterpreted, but I think it would be good for some skeptic org to address these studies in a scientific manor. This may have already been done somewhere, but it would not hurt to go over it again.

My concern is we are going to continue to here about this list again and again. Every time they are brought on a show, even one hostile to them, they still tout this list of studies. If these studies are poor in quality, or misinterpreted, it is vitally important to publicize this fact. The podcast could also be useful reference material for any reporter that is about to interview an anti-vaxer.

Good suggestion.  You should check out David Gorski's post about the list over at Science-Based Medicine http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=451 (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=451).  Mark Crislip also did a couple of articles there.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Halloran on January 27, 2011, 02:48:59 PM
Hello, I have a suggestion for a new Segment in the podcast and I hope I'm posting in the correct area.

I would like a segment that is similar to: Name That Fallacy

Often times on the program a news item or quote is brought up that is fundamentally incorrect due to some logical fallacy. Sometimes I will hear Dr. Novella call out the quote and ask the panel if they know which fallacy is being employed by the commentor/article/etc; either way, he'll usually state what fallacy is being used. On other occasions, he will simply remark "Oh, that's simply a Strawman," when he comes across one and move on with the conversation.

So in the interest of learning about Logical Fallacies, I would like to suggest a segment that specifically explores a single fallacy each week.  As an example, I could see the segment go along the lines of the "Who'se That Noisy" format, in that Dr. Novella could read a quote from an article or person and then ask the panel about it. For example:

"This theory about a potential cure for cancer has been introduced by a doctor who is a known lesbian feminist. I don't see why governments should extend an invitation for her to speak at the World Conference on Cancer."

To which Dr. Novella could poll the panel and see if anyone can Name That Fallacy. Then he could follow up with explaining why, or what makes this, an Ad Hominem. In doing so, the listeners can learn about a fallacy each week using real world examples.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Vargonian on January 28, 2011, 12:48:38 AM
People-shaped plants?

http://www.worldnewsinsight.com/person-shaped-chinese-fleece-flower-plants/5081/ (http://www.worldnewsinsight.com/person-shaped-chinese-fleece-flower-plants/5081/)
(http://www.worldnewsinsight.com/images/chinese-fleece-flower2.jpg)

"According to the owner, this remarkably-shaped root is entirely the product of Mother Nature."

(There are more examples in the article.)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Stultis on January 28, 2011, 07:57:53 AM
The Gorilla Apocalypse is upon us!!

Gorilla Walks like a Man!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzeGJC4FQ8c#)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Googolplexbyte on January 28, 2011, 11:43:34 AM
Boop http://buythissatellite.org/ (http://buythissatellite.org/) Beep
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on January 28, 2011, 05:39:28 PM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3-h3lqEIcx0/RokfU64_yKI/AAAAAAAAAx0/A49-ricLrHs/s400/square-watermelons_medium.jpg)

So is this. I don't buy it!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Danquixote on January 28, 2011, 08:53:09 PM
I would be grateful to hear Dr. Novella's opinion of the research on meditation and changes to the brain that are discussed in this article:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-brain/ (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-brain/)

The specific study is here:

http://www.psyn-journal.com/article/S0925-4927%2810%2900288-X/abstract (http://www.psyn-journal.com/article/S0925-4927%2810%2900288-X/abstract)
Title: Magic swimming pool potions
Post by: P@J on February 03, 2011, 03:01:11 PM
Hi guys, love the show, marry me Rebecca, yadda yadda yadda…

I work for a City government, and recently our energy conservation manger was talking about a new product they were going to try to introduce in order to save energy in the city pools. You can read about it yourself (link: http://www.heatsaver.co.uk/ (http://www.heatsaver.co.uk/) ), but it smells very pseudo-science-scam to me. I’m not a chemist or thin film physicist but can a molecule-think layer of isopropyl alcohol save you 20% on your pool heating? How does a molecule-thick layer of anything survive on a dynamic, wavy, convecting pool surface? How does adding something that evaporates really quickly (isopropyl alcohol) reduce evaporation losses? Doesn’t isopropyl alcohol react with the chlorine and/or ozone in the water? Wouldn’t it dissolve away into the water instead of forming a magic layer?

Help me, Rogues, you are my only hope! Maybe we can save the taxpayers some money here by not spending it on aquatic snake oil?

Title: Re: Magic swimming pool potions
Post by: JoelWhy on February 03, 2011, 05:12:32 PM
Hi guys, love the show, marry me Rebecca, yadda yadda yadda…

I work for a City government, and recently our energy conservation manger was talking about a new product they were going to try to introduce in order to save energy in the city pools. You can read about it yourself (link: http://www.heatsaver.co.uk/ (http://www.heatsaver.co.uk/) ), but it smells very pseudo-science-scam to me. I’m not a chemist or thin film physicist but can a molecule-think layer of isopropyl alcohol save you 20% on your pool heating? How does a molecule-thick layer of anything survive on a dynamic, wavy, convecting pool surface? How does adding something that evaporates really quickly (isopropyl alcohol) reduce evaporation losses? Doesn’t isopropyl alcohol react with the chlorine and/or ozone in the water? Wouldn’t it dissolve away into the water instead of forming a magic layer?

Help me, Rogues, you are my only hope! Maybe we can save the taxpayers some money here by not spending it on aquatic snake oil?

If this worked as well as they claim, they would have articles published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Call and ask them for this.  Don't even ask "do you have anything published in a peer reviewed journal."  Ask as if you're assuming they have done this because, why wouldn't they if it worked so well.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DayB4TheEnd on February 07, 2011, 01:21:35 AM
Hey SGU,

    I'm always interested to hear about some of your personal experiences as skeptics. So I'm thinking something simple, if you haven't already done it. A few days ago I was in a heated argument with someone when suddenly without warning they happened to see my point, agree with me, AND apologize. I was in shock, it was the kind of argument that you'd expect to last forever, neither side backing down but this person suddenly became rational, without warning. To tell the truth I didn't know how to react and at first I thought it was a game just to stop the argument but they were sincere.

    So my question is, have you ever had a moment when you argued with someone that had an irrational point of view when suddenly they happen to see the rationality in your argument? And in that moment you were stunned by the sudden insight they had?

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Halloran on February 09, 2011, 12:45:25 PM
Hello, I have a suggestion for a new Segment in the podcast and I hope I'm posting in the correct area.

I would like a segment that is similar to: Name That Fallacy

Often times on the program a news item or quote is brought up that is fundamentally incorrect due to some logical fallacy. Sometimes I will hear Dr. Novella call out the quote and ask the panel if they know which fallacy is being employed by the commentor/article/etc; either way, he'll usually state what fallacy is being used. On other occasions, he will simply remark "Oh, that's simply a Strawman," when he comes across one and move on with the conversation.

So in the interest of learning about Logical Fallacies, I would like to suggest a segment that specifically explores a single fallacy each week.  As an example, I could see the segment go along the lines of the "Who'se That Noisy" format, in that Dr. Novella could read a quote from an article or person and then ask the panel about it. For example:

"This theory about a potential cure for cancer has been introduced by a doctor who is a known lesbian feminist. I don't see why governments should extend an invitation for her to speak at the World Conference on Cancer."

To which Dr. Novella could poll the panel and see if anyone can Name That Fallacy. Then he could follow up with explaining why, or what makes this, an Ad Hominem. In doing so, the listeners can learn about a fallacy each week using real world examples.

Thoughts?

Well I'm bummed that this suggestion seems to have been glossed over, but was happy to hear in the latest ep that they addressed a letter from someone asking for something similar. I hope it becomes a regular part of the show!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: craig on February 09, 2011, 12:58:39 PM
There is a new show on the OWN called Miracle Detectives.

http://press.discovery.com/us/own/programs/miracle-detectives/ (http://press.discovery.com/us/own/programs/miracle-detectives/)
http://www.oprah.com/own-miracle-detectives/Miracle-Detectives-About-the-Show_1 (http://www.oprah.com/own-miracle-detectives/Miracle-Detectives-About-the-Show_1)

It appears to be a "believer" and a "skeptic" investigating unexplained phenomena.  I don't hold out much hope for it because it is on Oprah's network, but the skeptic is a neurologist and an interesting character http://indreviskontas.com/index.html (http://indreviskontas.com/index.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Chew on February 09, 2011, 01:04:13 PM
Well I'm bummed that this suggestion seems to have been glossed over, but was happy to hear in the latest ep that they addressed a letter from someone asking for something similar. I hope it becomes a regular part of the show!

No one glossed over your suggestion because the podcast has been doing a "Name that Logical Fallacy", on and off, since episode 41. I think everybody ignored your suggestion because they thought you were a crazy person.

Click this link.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=site%3Awww.theskepticsguide.org%2Farchive+%22Name+that+Logical+Fallacy%22 (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=site%3Awww.theskepticsguide.org%2Farchive+%22Name+that+Logical+Fallacy%22)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jon Garvin on February 09, 2011, 01:22:34 PM
I'd like to see a 5x5 episode on "placebo".  I'm trying to explain to a friend of mine via email what the "placebo effect" is, and is not, and would love to have a quick 5x5 blurb to send them to help explain it (and to make sure I understand it, too).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on February 09, 2011, 01:23:36 PM
I'd like to see a 5x5 episode on "placebo".  I'm trying to explain to a friend of mine via email what the "placebo effect" is, and is not, and would love to have a quick 5x5 blurb to send them to help explain it (and to make sure I understand it, too).

Skeptoid did a great episode (http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4151) on placebos.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on February 09, 2011, 02:41:09 PM
There is a quackcast covering placebo too.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on February 09, 2011, 08:22:56 PM
There is a quackcast covering placebo too.

Yea, and it's excellent.  But, it's pretty much the polar opposite of a 5x5 episode.  (Quackcast episodes tend to be loooooooong!)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on February 09, 2011, 08:32:27 PM
There is a quackcast covering placebo too.

Yea, and it's excellent.  But, it's pretty much the polar opposite of a 5x5 episode.  (Quackcast episodes tend to be loooooooong!)

Don't tell Crislip but his show was made for 2x.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on February 09, 2011, 08:39:58 PM
There is a quackcast covering placebo too.

Yea, and it's excellent.  But, it's pretty much the polar opposite of a 5x5 episode.  (Quackcast episodes tend to be loooooooong!)

Don't tell Crislip but his show was made for 2x.

lol
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on February 10, 2011, 12:04:15 PM
There is a quackcast covering placebo too.

Yea, and it's excellent.  But, it's pretty much the polar opposite of a 5x5 episode.  (Quackcast episodes tend to be loooooooong!)

Don't tell Crislip but his show was made for 2x.

I rather like them that length, sometimes i wish they were longer.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on February 10, 2011, 12:05:59 PM
I just wish there were more of them.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on February 10, 2011, 12:17:29 PM
I just wish there were more of them.

Well, there's Persiflagers and there's Gobbet o' pus!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DRmeg378 on February 13, 2011, 04:00:55 PM
Yesterday I saw a documentary about the Onkalo nuclear waste repository (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant#Onkalo_waste_repository) in Finland. It's not a great documentary, but it does pose very interesting questions - they are building a facility that is meant to survive 100,000 years. I would love to see the rogues talk about nuclear waste, the options for its treatment, and the like. Maybe even interview someone who works in that area.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GasMaNZ on February 20, 2011, 12:46:25 AM
Fellow Sceptics,
I have a suggestion for your investigation.
I was raised to boiling point by an article published in the NZ  Journal ‘Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand’ February 2011, which was brought to my attention by a nursing colleague (whom I suspect fully realised the effect said article would have!)
The article in question is the centre fold article entitled “Is it time to integrate medical and natural health care?”  Succinctly the answer , no , springs to mind.
However  said article by one Richard Harman. The included bio follows :
 “is a retired mechanical engineer and university lecturer from Christchurch. He has pursued interests in natural health care since 1986 and was certified as a healing touch practitioner in 2001. Contact through www.expansions.co.nz (http://www.expansions.co.nz)”
The article itself can best be described as execrable nonsense .
The problem I have is that publishing such magical thinking in a journal that purports to be science based, lends undue credence to such thinking in the minds of the lay people.
I must have more tea, this makes my blood boil!
Congratulations on an excellent (and improving with every episode!) podcast. I have also reported this article to the NZ sceptics!
Title: The "Fairness Doctrine"
Post by: The Dicklomat on February 21, 2011, 10:16:23 PM
Dear SGU:

I would be very interested in hearing a discussion on the now-defunct FCC regulation "The Fairness Doctrine"...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/2679-Fair-Game (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/2679-Fair-Game)

This, having established a way of thinking in America for almost 40 years,  may explain the reason that even moderately rational Americans now tolerate the argument for “Intelligent Design", even 24 years after Reagan repealed it.

My thoughts on this are well summed up in my response to my son, who sent the link to me…

From: Jason Hall [mailto:jason.hall@ns.sympatico.ca]
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2011 9:47 PM
To: 'Adrian Hall'
Subject: RE: Fairness Doctrine

Interesting.  I had heard the term “FD”, but I guess the FCC regulation was repealed before I became fully aware of such things.  This actually explains America’s obsession with “let both sides have their say…it’s only fair” and the IDiot’s battle-cry, “teach the controversy!”  I thought it was all due to America’s obsession with what they perceive as “democracy”.

…not to mention the whole False Dichotomy thing…what happened when there was three (or more) sides to an issue?  What if some Christian had a view that was contrasted by a Jew, but the Muslims’ opinion on the matter, which objected to both the Christian and the Jew, wasn’t represented?  Two idiots are in an argument over whether or not 2+2= 3 or 5 and this is to be considered “satisfactorily fair”?

You will not catch me falling in for that sort of thinking.  I’d rather be called a “Fan Boy” if that’s the price that I have to pay for having a (learned) opinion.  I recall our agreeing that there are, in fact, some opinions which are not worthy of one’s holding.
Title: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Data_please on February 26, 2011, 10:30:48 AM
During the basic science segment, how about discussing black holes and the reasoning for why there seems to be no dark matter black holes.   Even if they are unable to lose angular momentum, there are still a vast amount of material in the universe and it does interact with gravity.   

Thanks
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: rlquinn1980 on March 02, 2011, 01:02:59 AM
Another "OMGWTF" moment for all skeptics:

Today, Fox News broadcasted a story declaring that diet can reverse the symptoms of autism in children. Apparently, with a little anecdote and a lot of media-hot-button words, one can get one's product on the news with no skeptical (or any opposing) counterpoint—not that this deserves to go on the air at all, let alone be accepted as debate worthy. The emphasis of the diet is on the gut-mind connection and consuming probiotics and fermented foods, along with removing sugar, gluten, and dairy from the diet entirely.

The Fox News story:
http://video.foxnews.com/v/4561788/did-diet-help-reverse-autism-effects (http://video.foxnews.com/v/4561788/did-diet-help-reverse-autism-effects)

The official site of the featured product:
http://cocokefir.com/ (http://cocokefir.com/)

Aside from the obvious woo of the gut-mind connection and the power of probiotic products (made with organic food, no less), isn't this type of diet especially unhealthy for a child? I would think that unless the child is diabetic, a diet of no sugar or carbohydrates would be more likely to stunt neurological growth. Is that so? And if so, this isn't merely a waste of money and a little self delusion—this is direct and reprehensible harm.

The saddest part of the story is the little girl. On the video, when asked a question by the news anchor, she seems unresponsive—not at all the girl described in the story as having greatly improved social skills and eye contact.
Title: another topic to discuss
Post by: Boss Burrill on March 04, 2011, 02:28:14 AM
they're at it again. and this time striking close to my home.  http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110225/news/702259898/ (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110225/news/702259898/)

the worst quote is: “It’s not a belief, it’s proven fact,” Burke said. “I would hate to see the line between those two things blurred.”
Title: Re: another topic to discuss
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 04, 2011, 10:16:26 AM
they're at it again. and this time striking close to my home.  http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110225/news/702259898/ (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110225/news/702259898/)

the worst quote is: “It’s not a belief, it’s proven fact,” Burke said. “I would hate to see the line between those two things blurred.”

I think you're misreading the article.  Look at it again in context:

Quote
Burke also said “yes,” but not as enthusiastically as the other candidates. He acknowledged scientific evidence supports evolution.

“It’s not a belief, it’s proven fact,” Burke said. “I would hate to see the line between those two things blurred.”

If teaching creationism in science classes is unconstitutional, officials shouldn’t try to get around the law, he added.

Seems to me he was referring to Evolution, not Creationism and I'd support his statement if that's the case.  All-in-all though, I can't see them getting around the Supreme Court's ruling so I wouldn't be worried.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on March 04, 2011, 10:20:58 AM
He may have acknowledged that evolution was "proven", but he also said he supports teaching Creationism in school so he's just talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 04, 2011, 11:36:17 AM
He may have acknowledge that evolution was "proven", but he also said he supports teaching Creationism in school so he's just talking out of both sides of his mouth.

I completely agree.  I was just pointing out that out of context his quote implicated he'd hate to see a world where facts were regarded above beliefs, but in context it's implying he'd hate to see a world where beliefs were regarded on the same level or above facts. 

It's mind-boggling if anyone thinks they can get anywhere with this though.  Maybe if they were attempting the "teach the controversy" of the more recent ID approach I could see being deluded enough, but they're taking it a step or 10 back and are trying to resurrect the utterly squashed idea of teaching Christian creationism in public schools.   
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on March 04, 2011, 12:18:54 PM
These people are basically running on a platform of "We want to incur a multi-million dollar legal penalty by instituting a teaching program which has already been ruled unconstitutional".
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 04, 2011, 02:22:49 PM
These people are basically running on a platform of "We want to incur a multi-million dollar legal penalty by instituting a teaching program which has already been ruled unconstitutional".

I lolled
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on March 04, 2011, 05:10:38 PM
If at first you don't succeed....
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Chew on March 04, 2011, 06:05:17 PM
If at first you don't succeed....

1. Ask for equal time.
2. Call it "scientific" creationism.
3. Rename it Intelligent Design.
4. Teach the Controversy!
5. Call it "academic freedom".
6. Go to step 1.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on March 04, 2011, 06:07:06 PM
(http://controversy.wearscience.com/img190/turtle.gif)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on March 04, 2011, 07:30:27 PM
All the way down!!!!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 05, 2011, 12:56:43 AM
(http://controversy.wearscience.com/img190/turtle.gif)

That's genius!  I'm so stealing that.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on March 05, 2011, 03:32:03 AM
(http://controversy.wearscience.com/img190/turtle.gif)

That's genius!  I'm so stealing that.

Better, get the t-shirt:
http://controversy.wearscience.com/ (http://controversy.wearscience.com/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 05, 2011, 10:48:05 AM
(http://controversy.wearscience.com/img190/turtle.gif)

That's genius!  I'm so stealing that.

Better, get the t-shirt:
http://controversy.wearscience.com/ (http://controversy.wearscience.com/)

Cool!  Thanks.  Now I just have to decide which one to get... this will not be easy. ;D
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on March 06, 2011, 09:43:09 AM
Fecal transplants.

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,34042.msg923893.html#msg923893 (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,34042.msg923893.html#msg923893)

Opportunity for the world to get more Mark Crislip?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Ben Bell on March 06, 2011, 10:50:31 AM
Hi everyone,

I just saw this on a business/marketing blog and thought this would be a fun topic to tackle. http://fearlessrevolution.com/blog/dont-put-your-iphone-next-to-your-head.html (http://fearlessrevolution.com/blog/dont-put-your-iphone-next-to-your-head.html)  Apparently Apple is recommending we hold iPhones at least 5/8" away from our heads.  This is being taken up as evidence that Apple knows some detrimental effect of cellphone radiation that others do not.  I think it would be interesting to talk about why companies have recommendations like this when they don't really know if there's a danger (I'm assuming they don't).  For most companies the threat of litigation is enough to prompt a warning regardless of any real health concern. 

There are countless other cases of this behavior, but I suspect this will get some traction because it involves a very large and popular company in Apple.

Peace Out,
Ben
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skeptress on March 07, 2011, 05:23:31 PM
Stillborn baby brought back to life. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443575/Baby-girl-born-dead-survives-after-doctors-froze-her-for-three-days.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443575/Baby-girl-born-dead-survives-after-doctors-froze-her-for-three-days.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on March 07, 2011, 05:36:29 PM
Stillborn baby brought back to life. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443575/Baby-girl-born-dead-survives-after-doctors-froze-her-for-three-days.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443575/Baby-girl-born-dead-survives-after-doctors-froze-her-for-three-days.html)

The article is completely misleading:

Quote
Stillborn Ella Anderson bled to death in the womb.

I read the same story from another news source (http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Ice-Baby-Stillborn-Ella-Anderson-Frozen-To-Prevent-Brain-Damage---Rachel-Claxton-Tells-Of-Treatment/Article/201103115944738?f=rss) that says the baby almost effectively bled to death.  They then dropped the baby's core temperature to hypothermic levels to prevent brain damage.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on March 10, 2011, 08:32:42 AM
Dutch skeptics can now call a quack a quack again!

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/08/dutch-sceptics-have-bogus-libel.html (http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/08/dutch-sceptics-have-bogus-libel.html)


This turns out to be old news, I failed to check the date. See below (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,21053.msg927499.html#msg927499).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skeptress on March 11, 2011, 06:53:14 AM
Stillborn baby brought back to life. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443575/Baby-girl-born-dead-survives-after-doctors-froze-her-for-three-days.html (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443575/Baby-girl-born-dead-survives-after-doctors-froze-her-for-three-days.html)

The article is completely misleading:

Quote
Stillborn Ella Anderson bled to death in the womb.

I read the same story from another news source (http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Ice-Baby-Stillborn-Ella-Anderson-Frozen-To-Prevent-Brain-Damage---Rachel-Claxton-Tells-Of-Treatment/Article/201103115944738?f=rss) that says the baby almost effectively bled to death.  They then dropped the baby's core temperature to hypothermic levels to prevent brain damage.

There has to be more to this story.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Chew on March 11, 2011, 09:03:14 AM
Dutch skeptics can now call a quack a quack again!

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/08/dutch-sceptics-have-bogus-libel.html (http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/08/dutch-sceptics-have-bogus-libel.html)

Is this the same group that was sued for libel and was ordered to take out advertising apologizing to the quack? The SGU discussed this about 4 years ago. If so this is fantastic news.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on March 11, 2011, 10:59:58 AM
Dutch skeptics can now call a quack a quack again!

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/08/dutch-sceptics-have-bogus-libel.html (http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/08/dutch-sceptics-have-bogus-libel.html)

Is this the same group that was sued for libel and was ordered to take out advertising apologizing to the quack? The SGU discussed this about 4 years ago. If so this is fantastic news.

Woops. Yes, I received this by email from a local skeptics group who linked it to the Singh case, and in my rush to go out and buy food, failed to note the date. My memory tricked me into believing that this case was still ungoing and on appeal, and upon returning, my mind then warped the email into a news report that there had been a new development, so I copy/pasted the link here, and only read the article just now to find out that it was actually from 2009 (I recalled the SGU covering the case when it first came up, but I'm not sure if the outcome of the appeal was ever discussed). So, as good an outcome as it was, this is actually very old news. View it as a demonstration of what jumping to hasty conclusions on the basis of half-read emails and inaccurate recollections will get ya. }|:op

EDIT: can only find the original (http://www.theskepticsguide.org/archive/podcastinfo.aspx?mid=1&pid=102) case in the archive, so maybe that's how I got confused?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 15, 2011, 10:10:01 AM
I vote for the news hubub over Atlantis supposedly being found. (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,34214.0.html)  I'd imagine that this is already on their list though.  I'll still take the credit for suggesting it when they do discuss it though >:D.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: relic on March 18, 2011, 09:38:40 AM
Something about the actual science behind the nuclear accident in Japan would be nice. It's tiring having to constantly calm down my family (hi Mom!) who want me to skedaddle back to Canada from Tokyo because of the latest sensationalist headline they've been reading.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JoelWhy on March 18, 2011, 01:54:04 PM
Something about the actual science behind the nuclear accident in Japan would be nice. It's tiring having to constantly calm down my family (hi Mom!) who want me to skedaddle back to Canada from Tokyo because of the latest sensationalist headline they've been reading.

I'm assuming you typed that last post using your newly-formed tentacles... 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 18, 2011, 02:19:07 PM
Something about the actual science behind the nuclear accident in Japan would be nice. It's tiring having to constantly calm down my family (hi Mom!) who want me to skedaddle back to Canada from Tokyo because of the latest sensationalist headline they've been reading.

I'm assuming you typed that last post using your newly-formed tentacles...

You might be a skeptic if this made you think of FSM before mutants.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on March 18, 2011, 03:00:39 PM
Well, if we're all created in His image it stands to reason that maybe this whole radiation thing is so that he can mutate our genes in order to create noodly appendages of our own.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DK on March 18, 2011, 03:04:58 PM
Something about the actual science behind the nuclear accident in Japan would be nice. It's tiring having to constantly calm down my family (hi Mom!) who want me to skedaddle back to Canada from Tokyo because of the latest sensationalist headline they've been reading.

I'm assuming you typed that last post using your newly-formed tentacles...

You might be a skeptic if this made you think of FSM before mutants.

What does it make you if your first thought was freaky Japanese tentacle porn?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 18, 2011, 03:11:17 PM
Well, if we're all created in His image it stands to reason that maybe this whole radiation thing is so that he can mutate our genes in order to create noodly appendages of our own.

Suddenly this  makes a lot more sense now.

(click to show/hide)

Davy Jones was FSM's messiah!  I now declare my everlasting hatred for the descendents of Will Turner for killing him!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: glusher on March 23, 2011, 09:14:01 PM
Something about the actual science behind the nuclear accident in Japan would be nice. It's tiring having to constantly calm down my family (hi Mom!) who want me to skedaddle back to Canada from Tokyo because of the latest sensationalist headline they've been reading.

Here are some stories that aren't all about media scaremongering  >:D

Been a bit refreshing after all the main stream news stories

http://www.slate.com/id/2288212/%27s+nuclear+crisis+and+the+2011+earthquake+tsunami:+Let%27s+cool+the+political+meltdown (http://www.slate.com/id/2288212/%27s+nuclear+crisis+and+the+2011+earthquake+tsunami:+Let%27s+cool+the+political+meltdown)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/22/fukushima_tuesday_2/ (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/22/fukushima_tuesday_2/)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Tag/fukushima (http://www.theregister.co.uk/Tag/fukushima)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: relic on March 24, 2011, 11:05:28 AM
Thanks for that glusher. It's amazing how the mainstream media makes the extreme sound like the norm.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: PHI Guy on March 28, 2011, 10:34:04 PM
Okay, it's not exactly news, but it is encouraging:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20110328/hl_hsn/nogoodevidencethatfolkremedieseasecolic (http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20110328/hl_hsn/nogoodevidencethatfolkremedieseasecolic)

What IS interesting is how, when I searched for it, I came up with mostly alternative Medicine sites quoting the article as stating Fennel is effective.

Yeesh!!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: rreppy on March 29, 2011, 12:51:08 AM
I would love to hear some discussion about what I think is the most exciting research to come out of modern neuroscience; that is, the existence of "mirror neurons" and their implications for empathy, compassion, social interaction, etc. I have read V.S.Ramachandran's work on the subject, and the Brain Science Podcast, which I highly recommend, has much to say on it. I would love to hear SGU's take on mirror neurons, especially with Steve being a neurologist and all.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Eternally Learning on March 31, 2011, 09:28:13 AM
I think that this story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12888421) could make for a good topic.  It's about an some old books that were recently discovered which people are saying could be the earliest discovered Christian writings.  Problem is, the story does nothing to back up the claims that it dates to the timeframe between Jesus' supposed resurrection and Paul's writings, nothing to show how the writings are conclusively (or even tentatively conclude) Christian, and certainly nothing to show how these writings are gospel accounts of Jesus' life.

I'm sure that there are facts here which the story is not covering as I would hope that historians (Religious or otherwise) would have more to back up such wild claims before making them, and I'd love to see the panel discuss the merits of these claims.

BTW, this is already being discussed elsewhere on the forums if anyone's interested:

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,34618.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,34618.0.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on April 02, 2011, 09:32:33 PM
 I just came across this:

EDIT: Hah, I guess I got to that video through Snowy's post in the interview suggestions thread and forgot about it. My apologies.

George Monbiot vs. Dr. Helen Caldicott: A Debate on the Future of Nuclear Energy. Part 1 of 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p0d05M5JpY&feature=related#)

In relation to the Fukushima power plant. If I am to believe this (http://pathsoflight.us/musing/), however,Caldicott significantly inflates the death toll associated with past nuclear meltdowns and the projected morbidity and mortality associated with nuclear accidents in general. And she does seem to have a bit of a conspiratorial slant when it comes to the science on this issue.

Based on what I know, my feeling is that the contrast between coal and nuclear is a lot like cars and airplanes; while cars are involved in a far greater number of deadly accidents, individual car crashes get little or no attention on the news, since they are common and typically very few people are involved. Whenever an airplane goes down, though, dozens of people tend to be involved, and this is not such a common occurrence, which leads to a hyperinflated sense of danger that some people associate with planes (well, that, and it's less "natural" for us to fly than it is to move over land). We don't pay as much attention to coal-related deaths because it constitutes a creeping death toll, rather than a single catastrophic event.

I should say, though, that my personal bias is probably in the direction of Monbiot's position, so I think it would be very interesting to hear what the panel has to say about this, particularly contrasting the death toll associated with nuclear against that associated with coal.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on April 15, 2011, 01:24:04 PM
Every once in a while, it's nice to have a story about a real scientific debate. There seems to be an interesting scientific controversy brewing around the subject of kin selection and group selection. See this paper (http://www.socialgenes.org/publications/Pub_Nature.pdf), signed by 137 (!) authors (also here (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v471/n7339/full/nature09833.html)). I don't have a link to the paper to which this was a response, but basically, Nowak and two co-authors, one of whom was E.O. Wilson himself, were arguing that kin selection and inclusive fitness are of little value to evolutionary theory. This is rather surprising, since, if I recall correctly, Wilson himself coined the term!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: vespine on April 18, 2011, 02:21:34 AM
I came across a real conspiracy loon on youtube and I thought it was interesting to learn about some of the REALLY wacky beliefs people have, instead of the usual suspects "mainstream" crazy beliefs like UFO abduction and homeopathy. If you haven't done something like this already.

I started a thread here. http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,35023.msg954342.html#msg954342 (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,35023.msg954342.html#msg954342)
That particular instance is probably too fringe, but "cloud busters" is a good example of a really "internally consistent" and quite intricate"belief which is not as isolated as most people think. There are videos on youtube of how to build a cloud buster (look it up if you've never seen it, it's fascinating) where people build these really intricate "machines" with crystals and stuff, that most people would recognize do absolutely nothing, it's basically cargo cult stuff.   I thought it might be interesting to briefly explore some of the wackier fringe ideas just to show how haywire our beliefs can get.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: amysrevenge on May 17, 2011, 03:38:20 PM
Podcast topic suggestion:

"Welcome to Skepticism"

Basically, a discussion of how to get started.  Where to find information.  Other podcasts/blogs, with links in the show notes.  How to approach discussing critical thinking with the true-believers in your life.  How not to be a dick about it (ie. when to keep your mouth shut).

If an episode has already been devoted to this, then making it more prominent would suffice (there's always going to be new folks coming in).

The reasoning here is that it can be daunting to enter the community.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: craig on May 17, 2011, 03:40:12 PM
There is a relatively new podcast called Meet the Skeptics that you should check out for a good idea of what other people are doing.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: diabhal on May 23, 2011, 02:18:27 AM
Topic suggestion for Swindlers List

Pyramid schemes / multi-level marketing.

I'm sure it would be quite easy to get in touch with someone who has been a victim of these scams for an interview on the show, possibly even pulling from the audience.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: MurphDogg on June 28, 2011, 12:02:17 PM
Global Warming.  As a recent forum member, I was shocked to see so many GW deniers posting on this site.  I would love you guys to hit the topic (and maybe you have, I'm still working my way through the back episodes).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on June 28, 2011, 03:14:41 PM
Global Warming.  As a recent forum member, I was shocked to see so many GW deniers posting on this site.  I would love you guys to hit the topic (and maybe you have, I'm still working my way through the back episodes).

Yeah, unfortunately the global warming board is a bit of a hot zone. Most people here seem to avoid the topic like the plague. I give it a go every once in a while, but lately I've been slacking. The panel has addressed the topic a couple of times, though I'd definitely like them to do so more frequently. You may want to look up the episode with Donald Prothero (http://www.theskepticsguide.org/archive/podcastinfo.aspx?mid=1&pid=268), and a couple that they did on climategate.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on June 28, 2011, 03:35:58 PM
It's such a politically charged topic and the science has already weighed in on it. For the most part the SGU states they side with the scientific consensus and will address new topics on GCC as it comes up, but I think it's too much of a lightning rod and distracts to dwell on it more than just going with the consensus of the experts.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on June 29, 2011, 08:09:54 AM
It's such a politically charged topic and the science has already weighed in on it. For the most part the SGU states they side with the scientific consensus and will address new topics on GCC as it comes up, but I think it's too much of a lightning rod and distracts to dwell on it more than just going with the consensus of the experts.
Well, you could say the same thing about creationism and evolution. The fact is, it's one of the biggest topics in anti-science and skepticism, and it has global implications. Not to mention the fact that the science is pretty interesting, too. I'd really like for them to have a couple of actual climate scientists on. And the way the professional climate denier think tanks operate is fascinating (as is their history), and imo demonstrates some very important issues that skeptics face in the modern age. The main problem seems to be that it's such a vast topic that its difficult to tackle.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: SkepTom on June 29, 2011, 06:46:42 PM
I'd be interested to hear SGU discuss the science for and against so called "liberation therapy" for MS.   

Canada announced today that it will support clinical trials, is this a good thing for us Canadians, or are our tax dollars going to be spent on quackery?

Link to article announcing Canada's position:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/feds-approve-controversial-ms-therapy-trials-spite-latest-191833643.html (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/feds-approve-controversial-ms-therapy-trials-spite-latest-191833643.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaypee on June 30, 2011, 09:47:49 AM
I'd be interested to hear SGU discuss the science for and against so called "liberation therapy" for MS.   

Canada announced today that it will support clinical trials, is this a good thing for us Canadians, or are our tax dollars going to be spent on quackery?

Link to article announcing Canada's position:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/feds-approve-controversial-ms-therapy-trials-spite-latest-191833643.html (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/feds-approve-controversial-ms-therapy-trials-spite-latest-191833643.html)

Well, the thing with this theory is that apparently people who suffer from MS have really grabbed onto it like a lifeline, even though Dr. Zamboni himself has said that the treatment should not be done outside of clinical trials. At the very least, Canada is taking a cautious approach and funding research rather than just throwing money at an unproven treatment.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: MurphDogg on July 07, 2011, 12:02:35 PM
As a fairly recent listener and even more recent forum member, I was surprised to see the number of woo pushing posters (example:  there was a thread about a supposed cancer cluster where everyone was jumping to conclusions).  I suggest picking a post a week to call out on the pod cast for one reason or another.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: addisontree on July 11, 2011, 01:14:38 PM
The latest "Through the Wormhole" (with Morgan Freeman) took a very credulous and uncritical look at the topic "Is there a 6th sense?". They treated thoroughly debunked and discredited research as if it were fact.

I'd seen other episodes of the show and had thought it was fairly good. Episodes on black holes and other parts of physics seemed factual (as far as I could tell) and I had thought "Through the Wormhole" was a *science* show. Now, though, given the bad judgment displayed in this "6th Sense" episode, I'm not sure I can believe anything the show states as fact anymore.

SGU might want to mention this episode of "Through the Wormhole" as an epic fail with regards to science education. People not versed in the skeptical literature might have been fooled (as I was) into thinking this show was about science and grant it more credence than it deserves.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anakritis on July 11, 2011, 02:04:10 PM
Would anyone (besides me) enjoy a discussion of "Model Dependent Realism" as supported by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow?
 
More specifically does MDR add any value or veracity to "string theory" and the "Holographic principle" or is this simply a cogent rationalization on behalf of Hawking to explain away recent intellectual advances of Susskind's work?
Regardless of controversy regarding Susskind and Hawking, the MDR theory is compelling and deserves some attention, if SGU resources could be spared and guests scheduled that is.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on July 11, 2011, 02:09:40 PM
I think we all need Massimo for another visit. Could Steve find something he disagrees with Massimo on and argue?

Have y'all ever had Julia on?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on July 11, 2011, 04:08:47 PM
Would anyone (besides me) enjoy a discussion of "Model Dependent Realism" as supported by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow?
 
More specifically does MDR add any value or veracity to "string theory" and the "Holographic principle" or is this simply a cogent rationalization on behalf of Hawking to explain away recent intellectual advances of Susskind's work?
Regardless of controversy regarding Susskind and Hawking, the MDR theory is compelling and deserves some attention, if SGU resources could be spared and guests scheduled that is.
The roughly half of that I understood sounds really interesting.  :)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anakritis on July 11, 2011, 05:47:57 PM
Would anyone (besides me) enjoy a discussion of "Model Dependent Realism" as supported by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow?
 
More specifically does MDR add any value or veracity to "string theory" and the "Holographic principle" or is this simply a cogent rationalization on behalf of Hawking to explain away recent intellectual advances of Susskind's work?
Regardless of controversy regarding Susskind and Hawking, the MDR theory is compelling and deserves some attention, if SGU resources could be spared and guests scheduled that is.
The roughly half of that I understood sounds really interesting.  :)
Ya, me too. I know that Jay has talked about the Holographic principle in past episodes but tying that together with Suskind's work in string theory and an overview of MDR would go great lengths in helping me understand clearly as well.
I know that the issues are related in some special way but  I am not really certain how yet, as I am a member of the "Cult of the amateur" much like the rest of the members here.
Steven and the Rogues are expert at filling in the details in a way a novice like myself can understand and benefit from.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nacreous on July 18, 2011, 05:55:15 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: gs on July 18, 2011, 07:12:24 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?

there are 10,000 new science news articles every week, yet the SGU only talks about 2 or 3 every week.  WHY SGU WHY>??!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anakritis on July 18, 2011, 08:07:10 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?
LINK PLEASE! Why hasn't this been posted in the main forum?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nacreous on July 19, 2011, 06:24:01 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?
LINK PLEASE! Why hasn't this been posted in the main forum?

Because such posts are banned to the Global Warming ghetto.  Look there.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nacreous on July 19, 2011, 06:40:59 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?

there are 10,000 new science news articles every week, yet the SGU only talks about 2 or 3 every week.  WHY SGU WHY>??!

Why indeed, if time is so short, does SGU repeatedly shoot the same fish in the same barrels?  UFOs, creationists, CAM, all get regular attention. 

They must prioritize, of course.  Evidently the possibly catastrophic alteration of the climate and the persecution of scientists who study it don't pass triage.  Ever.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nayabusa on July 19, 2011, 06:57:23 PM
I would love for you guys to discuss through the wormhole with Morgan freeman. I would love to here you guys address the topics discussed in every episode and point out the mistakes made. I tend to get really caught up in the amazing theories put forth and succumb to the argument from authority.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anakritis on July 19, 2011, 09:26:33 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?
LINK PLEASE! Why hasn't this been posted in the main forum?

Because such posts are banned to the Global Warming ghetto.  Look there.

Oh no, I am not sure I can risk entering that circus!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Nacreous on July 19, 2011, 11:24:08 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?
LINK PLEASE! Why hasn't this been posted in the main forum?

Because such posts are banned to the Global Warming ghetto.  Look there.

Oh no, I am not sure I can risk entering that circus!

That's the problem, isn't it?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anakritis on July 20, 2011, 08:54:37 AM
Isn't it? >:D
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Anakritis on July 20, 2011, 10:05:25 AM
Would anyone (besides me) enjoy a discussion of "Model Dependent Realism" as supported by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow?
 
More specifically does MDR add any value or veracity to "string theory" and the "Holographic principle" or is this simply a cogent rationalization on behalf of Hawking to explain away recent intellectual advances of Susskind's work?
Regardless of controversy regarding Susskind and Hawking, the MDR theory is compelling and deserves some attention, if SGU resources could be spared and guests scheduled that is.

In "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow chapter 3, What Is Reality (pages 39 - 59, 1st edition)  there is an excellent synopsis of Model Dependent Reality. In this chapter, around page 44, The Authors point to the fact that arguments, seemingly so different as to be at odds with each other, can and often do accurately describe the same phenomena. More pointedly the arguments differences are in effect irrelevant and the only quality for we need concern ourselves with is wether or not a "Model" (argument) agrees with observation. If competing models both agree with observations made though their conceptual constructs, each model then both have a reality dependent on the observations made within those constructs.
It seems to me to be an equivocation of sorts. In the end though the debate goes on and both Hawking and Susskind seem to be locked in a waltz of the mind, a communion of intellectual pursuits that the rest of us only dream of being able to partake of.

Regardless of the outcome, this is an epic and engaging story. One very worthy of a topic of discussion.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on August 04, 2011, 01:51:33 PM
Climate scientists are receiving death threats in Australia and are the object of witch hunts in the USA, yet SGU continues to ignore the subject.  Why?

I wish they would talk about AGW more, too.  They do have a AGW guess every couple of months, but I think they don't do it more often because it's boring, it's just, "Yes, all the evidence indicates AGW is real, those who are still skeptical of it are resorting to denialist tactics, and we don't know what to do about it yet, but we will probably come up with something."

AGW deniers have even stopped trolling after such episodes, because the SGU panel tends to meet their ravings with little more than a calm recitation of, "All the evidence indicates AGW is real, those who are still skeptical of it are resorting to denialist tactics, and we don't know what to do about it yet, but we will probably come up with something."

It gets old quickly.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on August 04, 2011, 02:01:47 PM
I can only say, the goal of the SGU is to spread critical thinking and science. Perhaps they feel this subject is an impediment to that goal, like a skeptical treatment of religion, although that subject doesn't seem to be as off limits as it used to be.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: vespine on August 08, 2011, 01:33:22 AM
Can the expert skeptics please give us their take on the recent events concerning "rawesome foods" in california? We seem to only be getting thoroughly one sided (government out of control) coverage in the media.

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/omkara/2011/aug/6/rawsome-foods-raided-sad-day-america/ (http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/omkara/2011/aug/6/rawsome-foods-raided-sad-day-america/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: vespine on August 08, 2011, 02:53:17 AM
actually scratch that, i think I've worked it out by myself:

Idiots dealing without a license, after repeated warnings, pleading innocence and crying foul when the law catches up with them.

Oh no the US government is a corrupt gangster organization full of thugs!  ::)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Audiophile on August 11, 2011, 06:55:12 PM
Pimp this:  - LHC@home allows public to help hunt for Higgs particle (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14488797)

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: madjockmcferson on August 23, 2011, 08:44:07 PM
Maybe you could do a section on this. I started a topic in the science section and various people seem to be at odds about what the study is showing.

Its about black scientists being discriminated against when it comes to funding. Its an interesting story because science is an area where you wouldn't think discrimination was as likely to occur.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14584860 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14584860)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on August 24, 2011, 11:58:20 AM
Maybe you could do a section on this. I started a topic in the science section and various people seem to be at odds about what the study is showing.

Its about black scientists being discriminated against when it comes to funding. Its an interesting story because science is an area where you wouldn't think discrimination was as likely to occur.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14584860 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14584860)
A topic like that won't play well on this forum, I'm sure of that, but I would love to hear this sort of thing get more exposure in our supposed "post racial" America (and obviously the world at large isn't immune to the race relations problems the US has had).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: madjockmcferson on August 24, 2011, 01:46:44 PM
Maybe you could do a section on this. I started a topic in the science section and various people seem to be at odds about what the study is showing.

Its about black scientists being discriminated against when it comes to funding. Its an interesting story because science is an area where you wouldn't think discrimination was as likely to occur.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14584860 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14584860)
A topic like that won't play well on this forum, I'm sure of that, but I would love to hear this sort of thing get more exposure in our supposed "post racial" America (and obviously the world at large isn't immune to the race relations problems the US has had).

Its creating a debate here.

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,37574.0.html (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,37574.0.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: MothyJohn on August 24, 2011, 10:26:57 PM
I've been listening to a podcast which is sponsored by something called Nature Bee "Potentiated" pollen.  They claim it's good
for everything but ED.  I'm expecting that to be added to the list any day now.  Sounds like total BS to me.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: worldslaziestbusker on September 11, 2011, 06:40:33 AM
Arguing with a homeopath on the train on Friday, I asked why, if they are so effective, homeopathic treatments weren't being used as pesticides.  The placebo effect in amphids?? Self reported sense of being about to die and fall off the crops from locusts??  They were stumped and couldn't vouch for any efforts on that front.  Google revealed the work of Dr Iftikhar Warishttp://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_21-10-2002_pg6_12 (http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_21-10-2002_pg6_12), who hits almost every slimy mis-representation of data in the book with his various appearances in the soggy, brown, organically printed literature.

Some forum discussions also revealed that Dr Waris is full of shit, as homeopathic remedies only work to preserve life, never to destroy it.  Bummer.  Kiss homeopathic parasite treatments goodbye.

I think the topic warrants attention partly because the nonsense comes to the fore so quickly in the resources I found on a single page of search results for "homeopathic pesticides" that it could serves as a case study in baloney detection (not that the world is short on these) but also because I think questioning homeopaths about the efficacy of their products using the pesticide example is a novel means to get them thinking about their claims.
Regards
Matt
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on September 12, 2011, 10:14:41 AM
Arguing with a homeopath on the train on Friday, I asked why, if they are so effective, homeopathic treatments weren't being used as pesticides.  The placebo effect in amphids?? Self reported sense of being about to die and fall off the crops from locusts??  They were stumped and couldn't vouch for any efforts on that front.  Google revealed the work of Dr Iftikhar Warishttp://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_21-10-2002_pg6_12 (http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_21-10-2002_pg6_12), who hits almost every slimy mis-representation of data in the book with his various appearances in the soggy, brown, organically printed literature.

Some forum discussions also revealed that Dr Waris is full of shit, as homeopathic remedies only work to preserve life, never to destroy it.  Bummer.  Kiss homeopathic parasite treatments goodbye.

I think the topic warrants attention partly because the nonsense comes to the fore so quickly in the resources I found on a single page of search results for "homeopathic pesticides" that it could serves as a case study in baloney detection (not that the world is short on these) but also because I think questioning homeopaths about the efficacy of their products using the pesticide example is a novel means to get them thinking about their claims.
Regards
Matt
Interesting point. If they only preserve life then why not homeopathy for plant disease ? Maybe we could get Stubbs to do a study on this  ;)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: RatBite on September 21, 2011, 05:04:35 PM
The topic of patriotism is seldom discussed - anywhere. Yet, it seems to me that the faulty belief that your country must be in the right or have god on its side may be at the heart of more senseless killing and death than any other fallacy. As a youngster and a draft dodger I was astounded to watch friends march off to take part in the pointless killing of two or three million people.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on September 21, 2011, 05:16:53 PM
The topic of patriotism is seldom discussed - anywhere. Yet, it seems to me that the faulty belief that your country must be in the right or have god on its side may be at the heart of more senseless killing and death than any other fallacy. [CItation Needed] As a youngster and a draft dodger I was astounded to watch friends march off to take part in the pointless killing of two or three million people.[CItation Needed]
Or are you just making this stuff up ?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on September 21, 2011, 05:25:08 PM
The topic of patriotism is seldom discussed - anywhere. Yet, it seems to me that the faulty belief that your country must be in the right or have god on its side may be at the heart of more senseless killing and death than any other fallacy. As a youngster and a draft dodger I was astounded to watch friends march off to take part in the pointless killing of two or three million people.

I disagree with your definition of patriotism. I refuse to let the american exceptionalists have the term. A patriot recognizes the countries faults and works to correct them.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: uolj on September 21, 2011, 06:20:48 PM
The topic of patriotism is seldom discussed - anywhere. Yet, it seems to me that the faulty belief that your country must be in the right or have god on its side may be at the heart of more senseless killing and death than any other fallacy. [CItation Needed] As a youngster and a draft dodger I was astounded to watch friends march off to take part in the pointless killing of two or three million people.[CItation Needed]
Or are you just making this stuff up ?
Why do you need a citation for something that is explicitly qualified with "it seems to me"?

(Also, I'm guessing RatBite is referring to the Vietnam War given that draft dodging was mentioned. Via wikipedia here (http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/items.php?item=2322414020) is a source for 2-3 million deaths.)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on September 22, 2011, 09:13:26 AM
The topic of patriotism is seldom discussed - anywhere. Yet, it seems to me that the faulty belief that your country must be in the right or have god on its side may be at the heart of more senseless killing and death than any other fallacy. [CItation Needed] As a youngster and a draft dodger I was astounded to watch friends march off to take part in the pointless killing of two or three million people.[CItation Needed]
Or are you just making this stuff up ?
Why do you need a citation for something that is explicitly qualified with "it seems to me"?

(Also, I'm guessing RatBite is referring to the Vietnam War given that draft dodging was mentioned. Via wikipedia here (http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/items.php?item=2322414020) is a source for 2-3 million deaths.)
So ratbite is your sockpuppet ? Is that why you're answering for him/her ?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Billzbub on September 23, 2011, 01:45:31 PM
I haven't read through this entire thread, so flame me if someone already suggested this idea.

I would love to see an episode that is an overview of all things skeptical.  It would be sort of like speed-dating where you flirt with an idea as fast as you can and then move on to the next one.  Once complete, skeptics could direct people to the episode for an overview of topics that skeptics have been talking about.  I know the show is only and hour or so long with an intro and exit, so maybe you could pick the top 25 topics and give them 2 minutes each.

Ready...GO!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: hroobarb on September 25, 2011, 07:31:11 PM
"Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind"

I'm having some problems making heads or tails of this.
I would like to hear what Steve, with his neurological expertise, has to say about this.

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/09/22/brain-movies/ (http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/09/22/brain-movies/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on September 25, 2011, 09:20:57 PM
Have we said interview the caustic soda guys?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: The God Delusion on October 22, 2011, 11:45:43 PM
A podcast on Social Anxiety Disorder
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: clavicorn on November 02, 2011, 09:24:36 PM
I would like to see the SGU address the Andrea Rossi cold fusion business...
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: tonydrake on November 06, 2011, 02:15:03 AM
I keep on hearing that 'sk/ceptics keep an open mind, and will change on evidence'.

So apart from religion (too easy - I went from catholic to atheist - most of us have travelled that low handing fruit), what other major believe have anyone changed based on evidence.

I've 2 - I now believe that speed cameras are good (not just revenue raisers) and that marijuana has a link to psychotic disorders.

Anyone?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: seaotter on November 06, 2011, 11:50:53 AM
Mold & vitamins
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions: Wheat
Post by: ufo on November 15, 2011, 01:26:49 AM
 I read the following with interest in my local paper today.  Have you guys looked into this?  I checked QuackWatch.com and found nothing about it there.  I suspect that among Dr. Steve Novella and the Skeptical Rogues there is enough general and specific knowledge to let us know if this is BS of if there is something to it.   The assertion that there are 9 proteins in modern wheats which are not in "wild" wheat varieties is intriguing, but there is so much dietary crap in the media these days, that I would definitely like a 2nd thru 6th opinion from you guys on this one.


 
New book on wheat goes against the grain
 
U.S. cardiologist says destructive dietary ingredient causes rashes, diabetes, colitis and more
 
By TRACEY TUFNAIL, Vancouver Sun November 14, 2011
 
35
 

    Story
    Photos ( 2 )

 
In his new book, Wheat Belly, cardiologist Dr. William Davis, of Wisconsin, argues that the world’s most popular grain, found in everything from lager to licorice to lunch meat, is destructive to weight loss and overall health. He links its consumption to diabetes, dementia, arthritis and digestive problems.
 
More Images »
 
In his new book, Wheat Belly, cardiologist Dr. William Davis, of Wisconsin, argues that the world’s most popular grain, found in everything from lager to licorice to lunch meat, is destructive to weight loss and overall health. He links its consumption to diabetes, dementia, arthritis and digestive problems.
Photograph by: Benny Sieu, MCT

Book Review

WHEAT BELLY: Lose the wheat, lose the weight, and find your path back to health (by William Davis, MD)

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/book+wheat+goes+against+grain/5704519/story.html#ixzz1dkeT4KBi (http://www.vancouversun.com/health/book+wheat+goes+against+grain/5704519/story.html#ixzz1dkeT4KBi)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: michaelbnewman on November 15, 2011, 08:46:54 PM
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/450/so-crazy-it-just-might-work (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/450/so-crazy-it-just-might-work)

"Act One" of Episode 450 of This American Life is a great segment about how an amateur scientist fails to achieve science due to a lack of skeptical skills. Synopsis: a music teacher believes he has figured out how to kill cancer cells with sound waves. He seeks to have his invention validated in a lab under the guidance of a trained scientist. However, after failed attempts to prove this method in a rigorous manner... he starts up a quack website to promote his cure.

My favorite part is how the trained scientist asks the amateur about how he handed the control sample of cancer cells (paraphrasing): Did you take the control out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for the same amount of time as the main test sample treated with sound waves?... Response: No (he doesn't see why that is required).

My question to the SGU panel: Is the music teacher a true believer the entire time? Or did he start normal and become a quack? I would argue he's a true believer the entire time, since he had so much conviction about his technique, and not about the scientific method. Further, the interviewer makes clear the confirmation bias he had.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GoodWolf on November 16, 2011, 02:54:05 PM
I have a topic worthy of discussion! Pornography and masturbation.

Today I found on reddit a subreddit called r/nofap [http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap (http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap)]. A board that advocates refraining from masturbating. Thinking that since I had found this place linked from a religious board that everyone would be doing it to avoid making Jesus cry, I started a discussion asking if there were many people people there refraining for religious reasons. A few were but a lot weren't. So I asked why then that they would not fap if not to avoid making baby Jesus cry. Their reasons seemed fairly dubious to me. While their faq "explains" the benefits of not fapping, which mostly sound quite dubious, a lot of the people answered that their porn addiction lead to erectile dysfunction.

I'd like to know what the science says about porn addiction.

Also in one of the comment threads that got a little ugly, I was referred to a website that I thought seemed very alarmist and dubious. YourBrainonPorn.com (http://YourBrainonPorn.com)

It makes a lot of claims about the affects of porn on the brain, so this should be right up your alley, Dr. Steve, and some of them sound crazy, like for instance that some guys might go gay because of porn "abuse". It certainly follows that excessive porn numbs one's tastes and you start escalating, but changing your sexuality sounds very extreme.

I'd love to hear what you guys make of this.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on November 18, 2011, 01:57:02 PM
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/450/so-crazy-it-just-might-work (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/450/so-crazy-it-just-might-work)

"Act One" of Episode 450 of This American Life is a great segment about how an amateur scientist fails to achieve science due to a lack of skeptical skills. Synopsis: a music teacher believes he has figured out how to kill cancer cells with sound waves. He seeks to have his invention validated in a lab under the guidance of a trained scientist. However, after failed attempts to prove this method in a rigorous manner... he starts up a quack website to promote his cure.

My favorite part is how the trained scientist asks the amateur about how he handed the control sample of cancer cells (paraphrasing): Did you take the control out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for the same amount of time as the main test sample treated with sound waves?... Response: No (he doesn't see why that is required).

My question to the SGU panel: Is the music teacher a true believer the entire time? Or did he start normal and become a quack? I would argue he's a true believer the entire time, since he had so much conviction about his technique, and not about the scientific method. Further, the interviewer makes clear the confirmation bias he had.
I'm glad you posted that, I think it's a brilliant discussion about how lack of scientific training can lead otherwise extremely brilliant people down the path of self delusion.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GoodWolf on November 19, 2011, 12:12:38 PM
Has male circumcision been discussed on the podcast before?

For Americans it is a controversial subject, though not for the rest of the English Speaking world, however my sense from Americans in the skeptical community is much more subdued, critical and rational. So it could well be a good topic.

I found a wonderful site about the topic of the history of circumcision throughout the world, and its origins as a social phenomenon, for anyone who's interested.
http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=8&id=73 (http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=8&id=73)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: murraybiscuit on November 20, 2011, 01:37:24 AM
Why does war breed more boys?
According to this article, gender bias could be a heritable trait passed on by the male.
Yeah, I know, it's an old article, but I couldn't find much else on the topic online. Which I found surprising.
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-12/why-does-war-breed-more-boys (http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-12/why-does-war-breed-more-boys)

It all gets a bit complicated, but I find the idea very interesting.
Thoughts?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 27, 2011, 09:46:45 AM
After no less than 9 separate investigations into some aspects of its first rendition, climategate is back:

Climategate mark 2 -- the quotes and the context (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OB2prBtVFo#)

And just in time for the upcoming Durban policy conference, too. Surprisingly fortunate timing!

Your comments would be appreciated.
Title: BLK water ?
Post by: ufo on December 03, 2011, 07:25:37 PM
BLK water?   This may be relatively new.  It seems to be some kind of MLM / health supplement scam.  Amazon.com reviews of the stuff (it is black, but doesn't apparently taste that much better than the other stuff known in the trade as Black Water) tend to be uncritical of its health claims and just complain about how bad it tastes.   Tastes bad, so it must be healthy, right?  :)     I'm working with a very bright guy on some unrelated projects.  He's unfortunately never got beyond high school education and has a tendency to fall for pseudoscience.  He's getting involved in marketing this stuff.  Has anyone run across any studies of this "miracle" water?

I did a search for it on the forums here but didn't find any references to it.

 >:D
Title: 300 million+ missing girls: a Demographic Disaster
Post by: ufo on December 03, 2011, 07:32:17 PM
How about a discussion of the pending demographic disaster occasioned by the entirely irrational preference in some cultures for male children.  How this ties into the status of women in such cultures and what the implications are for the future in "developing" pestilential mullah infested hell-holes like Pakistan and Afghanistan vs more modern countries like India and China where that preference still holds sway but women are gradually getting a bigger role in society.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Alvanorum on December 05, 2011, 11:24:48 AM
I haven't read through this entire thread, so flame me if someone already suggested this idea.

I would love to see an episode that is an overview of all things skeptical.  It would be sort of like speed-dating where you flirt with an idea as fast as you can and then move on to the next one.  Once complete, skeptics could direct people to the episode for an overview of topics that skeptics have been talking about.  I know the show is only and hour or so long with an intro and exit, so maybe you could pick the top 25 topics and give them 2 minutes each.

Ready...GO!

I could 2nd that. 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on December 05, 2011, 12:41:35 PM
I haven't read through this entire thread, so flame me if someone already suggested this idea.

I would love to see an episode that is an overview of all things skeptical.  It would be sort of like speed-dating where you flirt with an idea as fast as you can and then move on to the next one.  Once complete, skeptics could direct people to the episode for an overview of topics that skeptics have been talking about.  I know the show is only and hour or so long with an intro and exit, so maybe you could pick the top 25 topics and give them 2 minutes each.

Ready...GO!

They do something like that already; it's called SGU 5x5.  It's a podcast that is a lot of little episodes covering one topic each instead of one big episode covering a bazillion topics, but it does what you're looking for.  It's only major drawback is that they attached the same stupidly long intro and outro on every episode, so listening to a bunch of them in a row makes your want to stab puppies.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Skulker on December 05, 2011, 03:39:55 PM
I haven't read through this entire thread, so flame me if someone already suggested this idea.

I would love to see an episode that is an overview of all things skeptical.  It would be sort of like speed-dating where you flirt with an idea as fast as you can and then move on to the next one.  Once complete, skeptics could direct people to the episode for an overview of topics that skeptics have been talking about.  I know the show is only and hour or so long with an intro and exit, so maybe you could pick the top 25 topics and give them 2 minutes each.

Ready...GO!

They do something like that already; it's called SGU 5x5.  It's a podcast that is a lot of little episodes covering one topic each instead of one big episode covering a bazillion topics, but it does what you're looking for.  It's only major drawback is that they attached the same stupidly long intro and outro on every episode, so listening to a bunch of them in a row makes your want to stab puppies.
Are they still doing these? I haven't gotten any new ones from iTunes in a long time.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on December 06, 2011, 02:53:04 PM
I doubt I really need to suggest this, but:

A couple of blogs, including viXra and Peter Woit's Not Even Wrong, have now posted rumours that the Atlas and CMS teams see Higgs-like signals around 125GeV, though they say the evidence is not robust enough to claim an official discovery.  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/dec/06/is-higgs-boson-real)

Could it be?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: mkrone on December 11, 2011, 02:45:11 PM
The LA Times is running a series on autism.  The first of which ran today:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/autism/la-me-autism-day-one-html,0,1218038.htmlstory. (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/autism/la-me-autism-day-one-html,0,1218038.htmlstory.)  Based on my lay-understanding of the topic, the reporting is fairly reasonable.  Words such as "mercury," "McCarthy," or "booger-eating" were completely absent from the article.

One of the issues that seems SGU-worthy is the proposition that knowing parents with an autistic child one strongly influences a positive diagnosis in one's own child:

     Peter Bearman, a sociologist at Columbia University, has demonstrated how such social forces are driving autism rates.
     Analyzing state data, he identified a 386-square-mile area centered in West Hollywood that consistently produced three times as many autism cases as would be expected from birth rates.
     Affluence helped set the area apart. But delving deeper, Bearman detected a more surprising pattern that existed across the state: Rich or poor, children living near somebody with autism were more likely to have the diagnosis themselves.
     Living within 250 meters boosted the chances by 42%, compared to living between 500 and 1,000 meters away.
    The reason, his analysis suggested, was simple: People talk.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Jeremy's Sea on December 13, 2011, 03:02:03 PM
The LA Times is running a series on autism.  The first of which ran today:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/autism/la-me-autism-day-one-html,0,1218038.htmlstory. (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/autism/la-me-autism-day-one-html,0,1218038.htmlstory.)  Based on my lay-understanding of the topic, the reporting is fairly reasonable.  Words such as "mercury," "McCarthy," or "booger-eating" were completely absent from the article.

One of the issues that seems SGU-worthy is the proposition that knowing parents with an autistic child one strongly influences a positive diagnosis in one's own child:

     Peter Bearman, a sociologist at Columbia University, has demonstrated how such social forces are driving autism rates.
     Analyzing state data, he identified a 386-square-mile area centered in West Hollywood that consistently produced three times as many autism cases as would be expected from birth rates.
     Affluence helped set the area apart. But delving deeper, Bearman detected a more surprising pattern that existed across the state: Rich or poor, children living near somebody with autism were more likely to have the diagnosis themselves.
     Living within 250 meters boosted the chances by 42%, compared to living between 500 and 1,000 meters away.
    The reason, his analysis suggested, was simple:
(click to show/hide)
[/color]
It's contagious!!!!  >:D
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: lo8i on December 13, 2011, 05:13:54 PM
Have genetically engineered/modified foods been discussed recently, or at all?  I have a friend, a registered dietitian in Alaska, who is very concerned that there should be mandatory labeling.   She has apparently done a great deal of research into published studies showing health risks, but is seems the issue is very complicated. 

The current specific issue is about "Feds should not fund GE salmon".  I would love to hear some unbiased information on this issue. 

http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2011/Feds-should-not-fund-GE-salmon/#.TuepgK5BJio.facebook (http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2011/Feds-should-not-fund-GE-salmon/#.TuepgK5BJio.facebook)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DK on December 14, 2011, 02:06:29 PM
Have genetically engineered/modified foods been discussed recently, or at all?  I have a friend, a registered dietitian in Alaska, who is very concerned that there should be mandatory labeling.   She has apparently done a great deal of research into published studies showing health risks, but is seems the issue is very complicated. 

The current specific issue is about "Feds should not fund GE salmon".  I would love to hear some unbiased information on this issue. 

http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2011/Feds-should-not-fund-GE-salmon/#.TuepgK5BJio.facebook (http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2011/Feds-should-not-fund-GE-salmon/#.TuepgK5BJio.facebook)

I think they've touched on it and Steve has mentioned that he'd like to get someone who knows more about it to interview (I think, I may be confusing it with another food related topic). I'd be interested in this as well, including the reports your friend has on the health risks on eating GM food. As far as I was aware there have been zero reported cases of GM food related health issues. None, zip, nada.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Slash on January 01, 2012, 08:40:46 AM
I would like to see a change in the order that your panel answer the question of fact or fiction. The last winner should go first. The leading winner should go next and the guest should go last.  This does not give an advantage to the leaders who can use previous comments to influence his/her decision.  The last episode of the SGU for 2011 is a prime example.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Keovar on January 13, 2012, 02:53:33 AM
http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.com/2012/01/possible-ancient-sea-kings-source-map.html (http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.com/2012/01/possible-ancient-sea-kings-source-map.html)

This is about a claim that stone-age cave paintings somehow translate into a world map, which is then tied back in with Atlantis.  Honestly, it sounds like something out of the Terry Pratchett novel,
(click to show/hide)
, but it could be fun for an anthropologist guest to pick apart.

Keovar
(KEE-o-var)
Title: Spider Silk and Space Elevator
Post by: ufo on January 15, 2012, 02:49:13 PM
I've read and heard a fair bit about genetically engineering silkworms (and even goats) to produce spider silk.   It would be interesting to use the combined technical research abilities of the SGU gang to explore the possibility of using spider silk in the construction of a Space Elevator.   There should be an X-prize to develop this soon... as soon as we figure out how to make a cable 24,000+ miles long with enough strength to support a significant load beyond its own mass.   The benefits for space exploration and development are pretty obvious.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Alvanorum on January 16, 2012, 10:58:15 AM
Hi, The 5x5 #89 "Chemtrails" is missing.  Personally I think it's a cover up but I would really love to get that episode to help me calm down one of my friends on the issue.  Thank you much!

(I didn't want to bump the thread on the p-cast episode section)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: npoljak on February 08, 2012, 09:36:44 AM
Recently I saw a news item about a group of 39 people in Italy imprisoned for selling tap-water which they marketed as holy water from famous pilgrimage sites like Lourdes. Of course, they promoted their water as the ultimate cure. I was instantly reminded of the italian blogger sued by Boiron in the homeopathy hubbub last year, so I decided to do a write-up, drawing attention the the many parallels, yet opposite outcomes with regards to the legal system.
The quackademic in charge of this "White Light" water went to the school of ear acupuncture in France, where she discovered "hydrofrequencies" and the principle of "infinite reproducibility" which meant that 9 drops of holy water could be mixed in a liter of tap-water while retaining the healing properties of the original substance. Sound familiar, ahem ahem?
Perhaps you might want to visit the topic in this manner in the podcast?
The original Telegraph article about the arrests can be found here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9060286/Italians-arrested-for-passing-off-tap-water-as-miracle-cure.html), and a very poor Google translation of my write-up here (http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=hr&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=hr&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Flaikaskeptik.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F02%2F08%2Fitalija-dvije-carobne-vode-a-jedna-od-njih-nije-homeopatska%2F).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GodSlayer on February 08, 2012, 05:53:23 PM
bicycle helmets / head injury

specifically, the strength of the evidence with respect to the standards we have for law (think of the evidence supporting vaccines that precedes any policy to make them mandatory).

apparently "further research is needed" regarding their efficacy, but perhaps this is close enough to Dr Novella's wheelhouse to determine whether that is just rhetoric from those who oppose the laws, or whether there are legitimate concerns about their ability to do the job expected of them (such that no superior alternative is demanded).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: ninkasi on February 08, 2012, 10:04:50 PM
I don't know if this is true with other medical insurance providers globally, but I have found that Medibank Private in Australia reimburses members for certain 'alternative and natural therapies' (a huge list including myotherapy, remedial massage, reflexology, western herbalism, chinese herbalism, shiatsu, exercise physiology, Alexander technique, Bowen Therapy, aromatherapy, Kinesiology... ), in some cases more than you can get from real science based services. This has annoyed the [heck] out of me, and was wondering if this insanity was the case elsewhere and if so if perhaps some sort of campaign was in order? Just to get things moving, I'll post the message I sent to them about my coverage...

Hi

I'd just like to note my dismay at the fact my extras cover includes an allowance for Alternative and Natural Therapies - things like Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy..... most if not all having no scientific evidence that they provide anything more than what could be attributed to the placebo effect.

I have no problem with people choosing these sorts of services in a recreational manner, but my issue is with Medibank providing implicit approval of them.... basically implying that going to an Naturopath is as valid as going to a podiatrist or dietician. In fact I could claim up to $400 for seeing a Naturopath giving me pseudo scientific treatment, but can only claim $250 for the glasses I need to physically get around or $180 every three years for the nebulizer required to help my wife with asthma breathe.

The big issue is of course a person might be sick and decide to undergo alternative therapy rather than conventional (science based) medicine. Steve Jobs is a recent quite public example of a person who did this, and whose life was probably shortened due to his holding off from science based treatment.

So:
I am concerned that Medibank providing coverage for these services means that these are being supported by Medibank as true alternatives to real medicine and therapies that have been proven to work
I am concerned that people may not get the treatment they really need, when they need it
I am concerned that Medibank is paying for people to be treated twice for the same ailment
I am concerned that people may go to a naturopath and rather than have a child immunised, have 'homeopathic immunisation' that puts both the child as well as other children in the community at risk of serious illness from hooping cough, chicken pox etc.
I am concerned that Medibank may get sued because of the above, and that our monthly rates will increase to cover legal costs
I am concerned that part of my monthly payments are going towards funding these so called therapies

I would suggest that including these services be *optional* rather than by default, with a big warning when people select it that states something along the lines that these are not based on science and that Medibank strongly recommends consulting a doctor rather than, or in conjunction with, these services.
I would then suggest either reducing the current rates OR increasing the levels of coverage for approved medical services (eg increasing optical, dental, etc)

I know that this may take time to do, but although I am happy with other aspects of the services my family and I have recieved from Medibank over the years, this does concern me enough to consider changing to a different health provider.

Regards
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: ninkasi on February 09, 2012, 06:51:42 AM
...and of course I meant "whooping cough".... or pertussis... bit you know what I meant....  ;D
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kwisatz Haderach on February 09, 2012, 10:59:49 AM
Several years ago th podcast discussed a study that supposedly demonstrated that for non-controversial topics, Wikipedia is at least as accurate as the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Over the past few years, it seems that Wikipedia's reputation for accuracy has been rapidly diminishing, to the point that now conventional wisdom seems to be that Wikipedia is completely unreliable.

I would be interested in hearing an update on Wikipedia's accuracy, especially if there have been any more recent studies on how it compares to other sources of general information.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Boßel on February 21, 2012, 07:07:44 PM
The other day a friend* of mine told me that he wants to increase his penis size by doing an exercise called jelqing. It would be nice to see your thoughts on this, since there is an entire forum of men that all claim that they have increased their size by doing said exercise.

http://www.thundersplace.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7510 (http://www.thundersplace.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7510)

Is this plausible?

*And when I say friend, I really mean friend. I don't mean me!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GodSlayer on February 21, 2012, 08:13:55 PM
The other day a friend* of mine told me that he wants to increase his penis size by doing an exercise called jelqing. It would be nice to see your thoughts on this, since there is an entire forum of men that all claim that they have increased their size by doing said exercise.

http://www.thundersplace.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7510 (http://www.thundersplace.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7510)

Is this plausible?

*And when I say friend, I really mean friend. I don't mean me!

for that matter, is it possible to increase the size of any organ (stomach, kidneys, liver, etc.) as though it were a muscle? -- the skin is one, obviously (done for skin grafts).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Madfishmonger on February 24, 2012, 01:20:03 PM
A quote:

“The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety.
They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.”
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: CultureClash on March 07, 2012, 08:25:20 PM
I recently came across this http://www.superconductors.org/28c_rtsc.htm (http://www.superconductors.org/28c_rtsc.htm) article claiming a room temperature superconductor.

And then I discovered that this is not the first article claiming such a thing on the site http://www.superconductors.org/News.htm (http://www.superconductors.org/News.htm)

Now my skeptic senses are going a bit haywire because I follow science news and room temp superconductors is a BIG deal.

And I haven't heard anything on this.

Looking closely these articles are showing very tentative early results, but even so I would still thought this would have got more
attention if true...

So this is my question... Using your awesome SGU detective powers... can you determine if this story is true and if these really are the first hints of room temp superconductors.
Or just some kind of internet nonsense.
Title: Plausible mechanism for cellphone radiation causing cancer?
Post by: Grognard on March 12, 2012, 03:20:27 AM
Previously, it was thought that it was impossible for cellphone and Wi-Fi radiation to cause cancer, because of the fact that the frequencies of EM radiation are too low (e.g. 2.4 GHz and lower) to actually ionize molecules and cause any sort of chemical change.

However there is a bit of new research showing that this can actually happen with high-intensity low-frequency radiation acting in a similar way to a low-intensity high-frequency (e.g. X-Rays) radiation by actually activating the photo-electric effect.

Here is the article I read:
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/03/thousands-of-photons-carry-the-photoelectric-effect-into-the-classical-regime.ars (http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/03/thousands-of-photons-carry-the-photoelectric-effect-into-the-classical-regime.ars)

Is it possible that one ramification of this (according to my own reasoning) might be to show how it is then theoretically possible for cellphone radiation to cause a chemical / biological change in humans if the intensity is high enough? Even if not, it should make an interesting topic.

Please can the Skeptics' Guide please address this.

Thank you.

Grognard
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: le mig on March 15, 2012, 12:53:23 PM
Along the same lines as Grognard - A new different study linking cell phone use to fetal development.... I just can't imagine the physics supports their hypothesis - especially given the difference in relative distances given spread in EM radiation levels.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315110138.htm (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315110138.htm)
Title: New red meat study / nutritional epidemiology
Post by: jt512 on March 17, 2012, 03:02:36 PM
I suspect that you are likely to discuss the new study (http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/archinternmed.2011.2287v1) published in the Annals Archives of Internal Medicine that found a linear dose-response relationship between intake of red meat and total mortality.  Typically, discussions of observational studies by skeptics stress the difficulty of ascertaining causal relationships between exposures and outcomes.  This one-sided view has become so entrenched in the skeptical subculture that it is common to see skeptics reject any observational study, no matter how rigorous its methodology, out of hand.

Therefore, I propose that the SGU take advantage of the publication of this new study to provide a more thorough and balanced discussion of observational studies, especially in nutritional epidemiology, where they are necessary and ubiquitous.  Perhaps you could invite one of the co-authors of the study onto the show to discuss the state of the art in nutritional epidemiology.  In particular, Frank Hu and Walter Willett have spent decades developing methodology in the field, and consequently have a deep understanding of its strengths and limitations.

Jay
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GodSlayer on March 21, 2012, 10:57:50 PM
I suspect that you are likely to discuss the new study (http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/archinternmed.2011.2287v1) published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found a linear dose-response relationship between intake of red meat and total mortality.  Typically, discussions of observational studies by skeptics stress the difficulty of ascertaining causal relationships between exposures and outcomes.  This one-sided view has become so entrenched in the skeptical subculture that it is common to see skeptics reject any observational study, no matter how rigorous its methodology, out of hand.

Therefore, I propose that the SGU take advantage of the publication of this new study to provide a more thorough and balanced discussion of observational studies, especially in nutritional epidemiology, where they are necessary and ubiquitous.  Perhaps you could invite one of the co-authors of the study onto the show to discuss the state of the art in nutritional epidemiology.  In particular, Frank Hu and Walter Willett have spent decades developing methodology in the field, and consequently have a deep understanding of its strengths and limitations.

Jay


I'd like to know how widely their "multivariate adjustment for major lifestyle and dietary risk factors" allows their conclusion to apply. does this mean we can assume it's true of the cooking of one country as much as another, and unprocessed no less than processed, or any other such variations? (a lot of the old rhetoric people throw around seems to be more relevant to an excessive American fast-food diet than a diligent and moderate omnivorous diet).
they say "Red meat consumption is associated with", but their results talk about "1-serving-per-day". is the conclusion not to concern those who eat meat once or twice a week? is there a reason they didn't look at a lower frequency like this (hard to find such a population? Harvard already addressed it? only looking to see if it's dangerous, not how much is safe?)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jt512 on March 22, 2012, 03:41:52 PM
Regarding the recently published study on red meat and mortality, you write:


[. . .]

they say "Red meat consumption is associated with", but their results talk about "1-serving-per-day". is the conclusion not to concern those who eat meat once or twice a week? is there a reason they didn't look at a lower frequency like this . . .


This probably isn't the forum to discuss this in depth, but what they found was that mortality increased by a factor of 1.12 per serving of red meat per day.  In principle, this factor applies to every level of red meat intake consumed by members of the study population.  The risk for n servings per day compared with intake of no red meat is 1.12n.  So, for instance, consuming red meat at every meal—ie, 3 servings per day—raises your risk of death to 1.123=1.4 times what your risk would be if you ate no red meat at all. 

The same formula works—in theory anyway—for fractional servings of red meat.  For instance, the risk for 1/2 a serving per day (say, eating 1 serving every other day) would be 1.12½=1.06 times what your risk would be if you ate no red meat at all.

Jay
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GodSlayer on March 22, 2012, 07:28:30 PM
The risk for n servings per day compared with intake of no red meat is 1.12n.  So, for instance, consuming red meat at every meal—ie, 3 servings per day—raises your risk of death to 1.123=1.4 times what your risk would be if you ate no red meat at all. 

is there a way you can explain that for someone who sucks at math worse than Clever Hans?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Chew on March 22, 2012, 07:49:05 PM
The risk for n servings per day compared with intake of no red meat is 1.12n.  So, for instance, consuming red meat at every meal—ie, 3 servings per day—raises your risk of death to 1.123=1.4 times what your risk would be if you ate no red meat at all. 

is there a way you can explain that for someone who sucks at math worse than Clever Hans?

The more red meat you eat the sooner you will die.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GodSlayer on March 22, 2012, 08:04:01 PM
The risk for n servings per day compared with intake of no red meat is 1.12n.  So, for instance, consuming red meat at every meal—ie, 3 servings per day—raises your risk of death to 1.123=1.4 times what your risk would be if you ate no red meat at all. 

is there a way you can explain that for someone who sucks at math worse than Clever Hans?

The more red meat you eat the sooner you will die.

it's not dying I worry about, it's how I'll die.
...money wasted on cancer treatment would suck worse than a swift heart-attack. (do heart-attacks even kill people? maybe I'm thinking of something else)

how much do I have to eat to make it to 65? :)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jt512 on March 22, 2012, 08:24:24 PM
The risk for n servings per day compared with intake of no red meat is 1.12n.  So, for instance, consuming red meat at every meal—ie, 3 servings per day—raises your risk of death to 1.123=1.4 times what your risk would be if you ate no red meat at all. 

is there a way you can explain that for someone who sucks at math worse than Clever Hans?

The more red meat you eat the sooner you will die.

it's not dying I worry about, it's how I'll die.
...money wasted on cancer treatment would suck worse than a swift heart-attack. (do heart-attacks even kill people? maybe I'm thinking of something else)

how much do I have to eat to make it to 65? :)

According to the study, red meat increases your risk of dying from both heart disease and cancer, so you can't win.

Jay
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on May 06, 2012, 07:23:18 AM
Very simple question... Hard to answer.

Should psychiatrists have an ethical obligation to discourage schizophrenic patients from attending religious services?
Title: Naprapathy- Non-science based medicine?
Post by: Thorloar on May 11, 2012, 07:11:13 PM
Has anyone heard of Naprapathy? My aunt in law has a doctorate degree in this seemingly alt-medical field in Illinois. At first I took this for granted until I saw on her facebook page that she was selling Earthing blankets, which are purported to cure illness by electromagnetically grounding the body. This set off my bullshit detector. If she was selling that kind of crap, how shady is this Naprapathy? I did some searching and from what I can see Naprapathy is much like chiropractic and is only sanctioned in Illinois and New Mexico which both have Dr. Programs (only from Naprapathic colleges). I cannot however find any information about how it is supposed to work. Do I have a real quack in my new family?   
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoctorOHM on May 12, 2012, 05:39:52 AM
Naprapathy straddles the border between quackery and massage. As i understand it, it's a bit like chiro, but mainly focused on soft parts and not so much the spine.

So, for aches and pain in joints and so, naprapathy can be ok, but doesn't do anything a physiotherapist cant.

That's how i understand it, but then, as always, i could be mistaken.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on May 14, 2012, 11:52:16 AM
Hiccup lollipops? meh....

http://www.psfk.com/2012/05/hiccup-lollipops.html (http://www.psfk.com/2012/05/hiccup-lollipops.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Evil Eye on May 24, 2012, 05:20:23 PM
Discuss (in kind) the condition: Paraphasia. (I so do this all the time)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Boßel on June 15, 2012, 11:08:40 PM
Dr. Amen and his brain scans. PBS gives him a time slot promoting his brain health program.

http://www.amenclinics.com/ (http://www.amenclinics.com/)

Do any of the rogues even look at this thread?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: daemonowner on June 17, 2012, 12:09:43 AM
I've been watching Potholer54's videos on YouTube, where he goes through some of the stupid arguments for creationism or made by creationists, and goes through objections to carbon dating etc. Perhaps all the arguments against carbon dating could be summarised in a 5x5 or two.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Silly Llama on June 26, 2012, 08:22:56 AM
I recently (June 12th) heard an interview with a woman (Barbara Roberts) on NPR who claimed that statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) do not work well enough to justify the risks associated with them.  There were several aspects of her claims that were setting off my BS detector though.  She wrote a book, not a study for example.  She was also claiming that the "Mediterranean Diet" lowered cholesterol more than statins with little more than anecdotal evidence.  I'd like to hear the truth of this issue from the SGU, which I trust.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-06-12/new-cholesterol-research-and-heart-disease-prevention (http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-06-12/new-cholesterol-research-and-heart-disease-prevention)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Gatayus on June 29, 2012, 10:36:37 AM
Lately we've had a nice example of the Streisand effect in Norway. It's about an MLM sold chocolate called Xocai. A couple of years back a blogger wrote a couple critical posts about the alleged health effects of the chocolate. That didn't garner much attention but after a while, this blog crept up on google when people searched for Xocai. The chocolate powers-that-be rose to action and threatened the guy not only with a huge law suit, but his family and they warned his employer.

Since the employer was American, and afraid og lawsuits, the blogger did as told, and took down the posts. Then another blogger, Gunnar Tjomlid got wind of this, and reposted everything, plus the story in all it's sordid details. That went viral immediately, and the result was large reports in most major newspapers. The MLM-people have now gone undercover.

Here's the story in English: http://tjomlid.com/2012/06/28/xocai-the-nasty-tale-of-a-norwegian-chocolate-mafia/ (http://tjomlid.com/2012/06/28/xocai-the-nasty-tale-of-a-norwegian-chocolate-mafia/)

Title: Tumor Treating Fields and Novocure vs woo-woo-bunk
Post by: etaggart on August 03, 2012, 10:45:02 AM
Hi Rogues,

I recently listened to Bill Doyle’s TED talk on tumor treating fields and Novocure.
-   http://www.ted.com/speakers/bill_doyle.html (http://www.ted.com/speakers/bill_doyle.html)
-   http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search/view?cdrid=647437&version=HealthProfessional&protocolsearchid=8237659 (http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search/view?cdrid=647437&version=HealthProfessional&protocolsearchid=8237659)
-   http://www.novocure.com/ (http://www.novocure.com/)

I’d be very interested in hearing you discuss how/whether tumor treating fields are different from sham treatments related to magnetic therapy, electrical stimulation, etc. as well as similar legitimate therapies for other diagnoses (like electrical stimulation for muscle therapy).

I think this would be a very interesting topic where your unique perspectives could help inform us lay people about the borderlands of science and pseudoscience.  And, I might also like to hear your thoughts on how science-based medicine proponents may need to position themselves with these types of therapies so they the public better understands the difference between science and pseudoscience.

Thanks very much,

Eric
Title: Feelgood story about kidney trasnplant seeker has woo twist
Post by: CraigOsaka on August 25, 2012, 03:55:20 AM
Random click on a feelgood story yielded an interesting skeptical twist.
"Reiki" still gives me nightmares. Once I was asked to correct an English translation of a Japanese Reiki pamphlet. All I could tell my non-skeptic/non-woo boss (call her a "civilian", I guess?) was that the contents literally did not make any sense. It was impossible to "correct" it. Almost got in trouble until a coworker confirmed my story. Anyway, that words still jumps out for me, as when I saw this story.

Billionaire Ty Warner gives woman $20,000 for her cause after asking her for directions

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/billionaire-ty-warner-gives-woman-20-000-her-165731962.html (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/billionaire-ty-warner-gives-woman-20-000-her-165731962.html)

Vasilakos was at the intersection trying to raise $20,000 for a stem cell procedure she needs to help save her life because she suffers from kidney failure and does not qualify for a transplant.

Very kind of the donor. Hopefully a happy ending. But the woo twist?

Vasilakos, an herbalist and Reiki teacher, received a package on July 16 with a $20,000 check and with a handwritten note from Warner.

Herbalist and Reiki teacher? Must be desperate to seek real medical treatment.
Wouldn't be surprised at all if perhaps there is a Steve Jobs-ish angle at work here. Using woo until too late, now needs real medicine?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: thombarker on August 28, 2012, 04:28:18 PM
I think SGU should check out a new Canadian activist group called Bad Science Watch.

www.badsciencewatch.ca (http://www.badsciencewatch.ca)

Its first projects are pressuring Health Canada to de-register homeopathic "vaccines" and countering anti-WiFi activism in this country.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on December 09, 2014, 11:49:27 AM
"If you can talk, you can breathe," would be a good myth to dispel.  It's behind a number of accidental killings by police, including the current high-profile Garner case out of Brooklyn, and I literally just now saw it in a TV show on Netflix. 

The gist of it is that the short-shallow breathes required to speak are not enough to keep you alive, but I'm unfamiliar with the mechanics of inhalation/exhalation and 'functional reserve capacity' beyond just 'this is what the diaphragm does,' and I only know that much due to public education.  I expect most people would be in the same boat.  It could make for a nice bit of science chat. 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Mother Hitton on December 11, 2014, 06:19:00 AM
Not much that would surprise anyone here, just a further depressing example of harm from the "natural is good" meme. Producers selling unpasteurised milk as a cosmetic or baths to bypass laws prohibiting selling raw milk for human consumption. Surprise, surprise, toddler dies of a microbial infection. Ughh...

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/11/raw-milk-company-shared-image-mocking-labelling-unsafe (http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/11/raw-milk-company-shared-image-mocking-labelling-unsafe)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/11/health-warning-following-death-of-toddler-who-drank-unpasteurised-milk (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/11/health-warning-following-death-of-toddler-who-drank-unpasteurised-milk)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: optimusLime on January 05, 2015, 02:25:31 PM
I have a suggestion for the SGU's May 2nd 2015 10-hours-for-10-years live stream event. Some of my favourite show moments involve The Rogues competing with one another (usually Science or Fiction, obviously.) I also love that many of them are into gaming, particularly RPGs. I think it'd be great to see the rogues play an RPG game live on the show for a couple of hours.

I don't know much about RPGs like D&D, so I don't know how feasible this is, but perhaps if the game would take too long (or drag on), it could be modified to be only an hour or two? It could have a science and skeptical theme...or not, as The Rogues have gone off on tangents regarding their love for fantasy and sci-fi on the show in the past (the James Marsters interview comes to mind). Again, no doubt Steve, Evan, et al. have much more experience with RPGs than I, so they'd be a better judge regarding whether or not this would work.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: mleelocke on January 08, 2015, 10:09:44 AM
Hoping that the documentary movie "The Principle" will be discussed/debunked.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on January 10, 2015, 08:58:38 PM
Article: Argentina Grants an Orangutan Human-Like Rights
From: Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/argentina-grants-an-orangutan-human-like-rights/)
Date: January 9, 2015

Audience Question:

To what degree does evolutionary conservation of brain structures connote conservation of function?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: docpaul on January 13, 2015, 04:40:08 PM
Always worth a look - another perpetual motion claim...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDqalCW-w14 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDqalCW-w14)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: bahead on January 14, 2015, 04:02:26 PM
I'd be interested in knowing the panel's thoughts (especially Dr. Novella) on the "Thync" device (http://www.thync.com/ (http://www.thync.com/)) which purports to use low-energy transmissions manipulated by algorithms to affect people's moods.  Anecdotal reports based on reviews by tech journalists (see links below) seem to show an effect, although of course my first thought is placebo.  The device's website claims to have used blinded studies to isolate any placebo effect (in fact, they spend a lot of time on this ... an awful lot of protesting) but I'm not convinced. I realize that transcranial magnetic stimulation does have an effect, but could it actually affect emotional states and/or brain activity to the degree claimed here?  It's certainly stimulated my brain's bullshit detector, so a reality check would be nice.

Manufacturer website:
http://www.thync.com/ (http://www.thync.com/)

Recent tech journalists "reviews":

http://qz.com/325070/this-brain-altering-wearable-could-end-our-dependence-on-drugs/ (http://qz.com/325070/this-brain-altering-wearable-could-end-our-dependence-on-drugs/)
http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/thync-wearable-hands-on/ (http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/thync-wearable-hands-on/)
http://www.gizmag.com/thync-mood-changing-wearable-hands-on/35535/ (http://www.gizmag.com/thync-mood-changing-wearable-hands-on/35535/)
http://www.businessinsider.com/thync-mood-changing-gadget-2015-1 (http://www.businessinsider.com/thync-mood-changing-gadget-2015-1)
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2474823,00.asp (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2474823,00.asp)
http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/07/thync-mood-changing-wearable/ (http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/07/thync-mood-changing-wearable/)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Clémance on January 15, 2015, 05:38:26 PM
I'd be interested in knowing the panel's thoughts (especially Dr. Novella) on the "Thync" device (http://www.thync.com/ (http://www.thync.com/)) which purports to use low-energy transmissions manipulated by algorithms to affect people's moods.  Anecdotal reports based on reviews by tech journalists (see links below) seem to show an effect, although of course my first thought is placebo.  The device's website claims to have used blinded studies to isolate any placebo effect (in fact, they spend a lot of time on this ... an awful lot of protesting) but I'm not convinced. I realize that transcranial magnetic stimulation does have an effect, but could it actually affect emotional states and/or brain activity to the degree claimed here?  It's certainly stimulated my brain's bullshit detector, so a reality check would be nice.

Manufacturer website:
http://www.thync.com/ (http://www.thync.com/)

Recent tech journalists "reviews":

http://qz.com/325070/this-brain-altering-wearable-could-end-our-dependence-on-drugs/ (http://qz.com/325070/this-brain-altering-wearable-could-end-our-dependence-on-drugs/)
http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/thync-wearable-hands-on/ (http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/thync-wearable-hands-on/)
http://www.gizmag.com/thync-mood-changing-wearable-hands-on/35535/ (http://www.gizmag.com/thync-mood-changing-wearable-hands-on/35535/)
http://www.businessinsider.com/thync-mood-changing-gadget-2015-1 (http://www.businessinsider.com/thync-mood-changing-gadget-2015-1)
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2474823,00.asp (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2474823,00.asp)
http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/07/thync-mood-changing-wearable/ (http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/07/thync-mood-changing-wearable/)


To piggy back on your topic, I read a great book by a brain scientist named Jill Bolte Taylor.  Is anyone familiar with it?  She asserts that changing the mind and the mood is available to all of us at anytime without the use of any outside stimulation of any kind.  I think this might be a great topic.  I found this book to be fascinating and useful...
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Clémance on January 15, 2015, 05:44:49 PM
The name of the book is My Stroke of Insight
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: BitterCoffee on January 21, 2015, 01:55:03 PM
I would like to see the SGU discuss this fairly damning meta-analysis of the health effects of sitting.

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2091327 (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2091327)

Their conclusion was "Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity."

So in other words, even if you get appropriate exercise, sitting for a long time will still harm you.

I know that standing desks are already a popular fad (I have one) but I wondered: Are we really doing ourselves any favors by standing in place rather than sitting?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: DoktorBob on January 22, 2015, 04:30:28 AM

Their conclusion was "Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity."

So in other words, even if you get appropriate exercise, sitting for a long time will still harm you.


Thank you for translating that- I don't think any of had the intellectual ability to understand the original statement.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Plastiq on January 22, 2015, 07:33:39 AM
I know that standing desks are already a popular fad (I have one) but I wondered: Are we really doing ourselves any favors by standing in place rather than sitting?

Probably better than prolonged sitting, but I understand standing in one spot for hours has its own issues (like causing a higher propensity for varicose veins). I'd love a treadmill desk.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on January 30, 2015, 12:05:46 PM
Has blood type - personality type been covered?  In east Asia, especially Japan, blood type is looked to for guidance on personality type and relationship compatibility in a fashion not dissimilar from astrology, but more seriously.  It could be a fun topic since there's even nebulous scientific research on this front to poke at. 

Edit:

Sample wiki: Blood types in Japanese culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_types_in_Japanese_culture)

Quote
There is a common, popular belief in Japan and other East Asian countries that a person's ABO blood type or ketsueki-gata (血液型?) is predictive of his or her personality, temperament, and compatibility with others.[1] This is similar to how astrological signs are perceived as influencing factors in a person's life within other countries throughout the world. However, blood type plays a much more prominent role in Japanese and other East Asian countries than astrology does in other countries.

...
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: User3point14159 on January 31, 2015, 04:43:21 PM
GMO mosquito plan sparks outrage in Florida http://phys.org/news/2015-01-gmo-mosquito-outcry-florida.html (http://phys.org/news/2015-01-gmo-mosquito-outcry-florida.html)

A British company's plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue fever and other diseases has sparked an outcry from fearful residents.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: fuzzyMarmot on February 02, 2015, 11:49:49 PM
The most popular podcast on iTunes right now is NPR's "Invisibilia". It "explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions".
http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/ (http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/)

So far, the show seems focused on taking concepts from neuroscience and psychology, and spinning them into "This American Life" type stories. It is well-produced, and highly entertaining.

My concern is that, in its attempts to connect science with personal narratives, it misrepresents science. For example, the latest episode "Entanglement" starts with a segment on quantum entanglement, and uses that to launch into stories about empathy. There is an implication that the physics stuff and emotional stuff is connected. The quote "our thoughts are actual matter" is emphasized. They also say "there could be one particle of you right now entangled with the person you just passed on the street".

I'd love to hear the SGU do a review of this podcast. It would be a good entry point for a conversation about science podcasting, promoting science to the general public, the competing demands of narrative and scientific accuracy, etc.
Title: Addiction and Recovery
Post by: AJ_Barbarito on February 08, 2015, 05:54:59 PM
Hi guys. I love the podcast, and I'm incredibly thankful to you all for devoting your time to it.

I would love to hear you all do a segment on addiction and recovery. I am a recovering alcoholic, and I am very often confronted by pseudoscience in the rooms of AA. While I am thankful to AA for being there when I needed someone, it is difficult to dispute the fact that the people in those rooms can give out some very bad advice, and that the information we receive from the "Big Book" of AA is outdated, poorly sourced, largely anecdotal, sexist, and of course, involves a religious aspect that many of us in the rooms are uncomfortable with. I would like AA to come into the 21st century with regard to addiction science, and I would like those in the rooms to start understanding the often co-morbid afflictions of mental illness, and the fact that medicine is often needed to treat these afflictions.

I don't want a big hate party against AA, because it really is helpful, even for an atheist skeptic like me. It's good therapy, even if you have to hold your nose sometimes to deal with the rampant pseudoscience. What I want is for people to better understand addiction. I personally want to understand it better, and understand recovery better.

I'm also curious about the programs out there that claim not to use the disease model of addiction, and claim to "cure" addiction. These fairly reek of pseudoscience, but I have seen very few refutations or denunciations of these folks. My personal experience is that I must abstain from alcohol in order to maintain sobriety, and that I will never be able to drink normally. I have heard claims, though, from people who say they were alcoholics, and can now drink normally. I wonder if there is any credence to these claims. I don't ever want to drink again, but I'm curious if that's even been shown to be possible.

So anyway, I would love to hear something about addiction, if you guys can swing it. Thanks again for the podcast!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Boßel on February 14, 2015, 01:32:49 AM
Not sure if this is the right place or if this thread is even visited by Steve and the rogues, but here's a suggestion.

You guys should mention Brian Brushwood's new skeptical show called Hacking the System on Nat Geo. Always important to promote a fellow skeptic.

Brain Games is another skeptical show on the same network.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: JauntyAngle on February 25, 2015, 12:55:35 PM
I would like to see a good debunking of this

 http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/jeff-wise-mh370-theory.html (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/jeff-wise-mh370-theory.html)

"How Crazy Am I to Think I Actually Know Where the Malaysia Airlines Plane is?" Uhm ... very. Yes, very crazy. He says Russian hackers took over the plane, caused it to emit fake satellite signals, evaded land radar and then landed at an abandoned airfield in Kazakhstan where the plane was buried by Vladimir Putin for some unexplained reason.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Enkidu Shamesh on March 01, 2015, 03:58:29 PM
I love the basic idea of this game, though it's execution seems a bit flawed. It would be great to see a more polished clone with a stronger skeptical bend to it:

► WTF Is... - Social Justice Warriors ? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jEHPH30NVc#ws)

It would be cool to hear your thoughts on it, and maybe throw the idea out there on the podcast that it would be great if someone took the basic premise and moved it to more traditional skeptical topics. Maybe stay away from the more politically and socially charged ones for the sake of teaching critical thinking and just hope that seeps into those other areas.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: brilligtove on March 06, 2015, 11:04:56 AM
Not sure if this is the right place or if this thread is even visited by Steve and the rogues, but here's a suggestion.

You guys should mention Brian Brushwood's new skeptical show called Hacking the System on Nat Geo. Always important to promote a fellow skeptic.

Brain Games is another skeptical show on the same network.

NatGeo has Dan Pink's show "Crowd Control (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/crowd-control/articles/meet-daniel-pink/)" too. Perhaps the rogues can review their lineup of skeptical programming? I didn't know about the other two shows until coming to this thread to make a suggestion.
Title: Forgotten Heroes of Science Suggestion
Post by: brilligtove on March 06, 2015, 11:10:12 AM
I just saw this tweet from @XOR (https://twitter.com/xor/status/573741941537406976)

Quote
Margaret Hamilton developed the field of "software engineering" at NASA, saved Apollo 11 moon landing #FilmHerStory pic.twitter.com/OwP0VgUobd

If her wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hamilton_(scientist)) is accurate she's a hoopy frood who really knows where her towel is.


(modified to correct wiki link to correct case - who knew wikipedia is case sensitive?)
Title: New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function
Post by: snoqminer on March 18, 2015, 04:22:46 PM
Is this as amazing as it reads? Would love to hear a validation or take down.

http://www.sciencealert.com/new-alzheimer-s-treatment-fully-restores-memory-function (http://www.sciencealert.com/new-alzheimer-s-treatment-fully-restores-memory-function)

It seems too good to be true.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Lee Daniel Crocker on April 25, 2015, 06:45:36 PM
A suggestion for an upcoming show: I've been hearing a lot of noise in different news outlets lately about the demise of forensic science. Of course there's the big story of the FBI's hair analysis admissions, but other stuff questioning fingerprints, blood spatter, all the foundations. I think this needs to be more exposed. Perhaps you might even interview Jim Fisher (Forensics Under Fire). It's an older book (2008), but it didn't make a big splash back then, and now it seems more relevant.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on April 26, 2015, 09:39:45 PM
^^+1 vote

Forensic pseudery is harrowing.  I posted a thread here (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,44178.msg9307565.html) with these two articles quoted in the OP:

Article: FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/fbi-overstated-forensic-hair-matches-in-nearly-all-criminal-trials-for-decades/2015/04/18/39c8d8c6-e515-11e4-b510-962fcfabc310_story.html)
From: Washington Post
Date: April 18, 2015

Article: Pseudoscience in the witness box (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/04/fbi_s_flawed_forensics_expert_testimony_hair_analysis_bite_marks_fingerprints.html)
From: Slate
Date: April 22, 2015

This calls into question hundreds of convictions including dozens of death penalties.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Craig C on May 28, 2015, 09:54:17 AM
This article published on i09 yesterday is amazing:

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800

It is a reporter detailing how he intentionally created a junk study and got it picked up and widely reported. 
The article really resonates with a lot of the recurring themes in the podcast: junk science, pay to publish journals, and credulous science reporting. 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions - Good quote for the show
Post by: jfausnight on May 31, 2015, 12:17:29 PM
From the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska:

"Being rational is a moral imperative. You should never be stupider than you need to be.”

—  Billionaire investor Charlie Munger
http://www.businessinsider.com/warren-buffett-charlie-munger-quotes-at-berkshire-hathaway-annual-meeting-2015-5

Keep up the great work, guys!

Joe Fausnight, Damned Dirty Ape
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: fuzzyMarmot on June 07, 2015, 10:55:00 PM
I'd be interested in hearing the rogues' take on the recent LaCour scandal involving the retraction of a paper at Science.
http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/06/will-academia-waste-the-michael-lacour-scandal.html (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/06/will-academia-waste-the-michael-lacour-scandal.html)

The discovery of the scandal is an interesting case of data sleuthing. Sometimes when data is too good to be true, it actually is:
http://stanford.edu/~dbroock/broockman_kalla_aronow_lg_irregularities.pdf (http://stanford.edu/~dbroock/broockman_kalla_aronow_lg_irregularities.pdf)

I think this is another good opportunity to reflect on the flaws of the peer review process (a topic touched on in Episode 517). It also highlights the problems of wanting science to reflect things that make use feel good. The paper was featured in an episode of This American Life, and was very heart-warming. TAL later had to issue a retraction.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jaded_in on June 14, 2015, 08:03:16 PM
http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jun/14/60000-fewer-patients-took-vital-statin-drugs-following-abcs-catalyst-program

great piece on the impact of bad science reporting.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Razamataz on July 08, 2015, 04:05:25 PM
I just saw this piece on an afternoon msnbc show with Lisa Miller PhD, a psychologist and 'spiritualist' pushing her book http://www.amazon.com/The-Spiritual-Child-Parenting-Lifelong/dp/125003292X. She has also done a TED Talk, it's on youtube if you want more. She was sounding pretty adamant about all her 'facts' and I'm very curious what the Rogues think about all this. I was yelling at the tv, and wife couldn't stay in the room!

http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle
The Cycle 7/7/15
Research suggests babies are born spiritual
Before a baby is born, parents already worry about how best to help them grow physically and how to support them emotionally. However, scientific research suggests that it is just as important to nurture a baby's natural spirituality.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: PabloHoney on July 23, 2015, 10:19:56 AM
How about a book review of Sam Harris' Waking Up
http://www.samharris.org/waking-up

Would love to hear a discussion on his positions on Meditation and spirituality not being in conflict with science.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: brilligtove on July 25, 2015, 10:01:21 PM
Earlier I posted "Clear connection between wireless devices and cancer, experts say. (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,44814.0.html)"

Based on what I've heard so far, I presume this is bunkum. The source material for the click bait headline is a paper is called "Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation." It is posted here:

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.3109/15368378.2015.1043557

I have been reading the study, but have no idea if the research they reviewed is any good. I'd love to hear your analysis of this analysis.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: lonely moa on July 27, 2015, 01:28:17 AM
I'd like to nominate Lynn Margulis and Rachael Carson for unsung science heroes... fat chance, though, they are both biologists.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: brilligtove on July 27, 2015, 05:21:32 AM
I'd like to nominate Lynn Margulis and Rachael Carson for unsung science heroes... fat chance, though, they are both biologists.

Are biologists ignored or under represented?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Sawyer on July 27, 2015, 06:06:06 PM
I'd like to nominate Lynn Margulis and Rachael Carson for unsung science heroes... fat chance, though, they are both biologists.

Are biologists ignored or under represented?

I thought this was a rather odd critique, but I have noticed a heavy emphasis on astronomy and computer science in the forgotten superheroes segment.  Now if part of the agenda of the SGU is to promote under represented demographics in science this makes total sense, because there's already a much higher percentage of women in biology compared to physics.  Stressing people who have been forgotten within these fields helps dispel more prominent myths about who makes the most contributions to science.  It really is rather silly that Hubble gets a freaking telescope named after him and Leavitt,Cannon, and Burnell get, well, nothing.

I would like to see a little more coverage of biology and medicine, especially considering Steve is a doctor.  All of the Rogues are Game of Thrones fans, how have they not selected John Snow as a forgotten medical pioneer!?!

EDIT:  Curiosity got the best of me.  Here's what I came up with for stats:
Quote
Mary Sherman Morgan         Aeronautical Engineering
Katherin Johnson         Aeronautical Engineering
Patrick Matthew         Agriculture
Fazlur Kahn         Architecture
Henrietta Leavitt         Astronomy
Vera Rubin         Astronomy
Sandra Faber         Astronomy
Jocelyn Bell Burnell         Astronomy
Annie Jump Cannon         Astronomy
Rosalind Franklin         Biology
Margaret Hamilton         Computer Science
Grace Hopper         Computer Science
Women of Eniac         Computer Science
Ada Lovelace         Computer Science
Jerry Lawson         Electrical Engineering
George Melies         Film
Emmy Noether         Mathematics
Edward Lorenz         Mathematics
Oswald Avery         Medicine
Charles Drew         Medicine
Earl Palmer         Music
Mary Anning         Paleontology
Charles Townes         Physics
Maria Goppert Mayer         Physics
Chien Shiug Wu         Physics
Lise Meitner         Physics
Ida Tacke         Physics
Irene Joliot Curie         Physics

Rosalind's looking awfully lonely.  I know she's been mentioned before but Frances Oldham Kelsey would be an excellent addition.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: lonely moa on July 27, 2015, 07:30:07 PM
Biology isn't the Rogues strong suit.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Dan I on July 28, 2015, 12:25:27 PM
I think you guys should do a segment on what's been happening with IFLS recently. Over especially the last few months they have become almost nothing but pure, unfiltered, clickbait focused on generating as many clicks as possible for maximum ad revenue no matter how speculative the article or information.

For example, they were at the forefront of pushing that "mini-ice age is coming!" thing from a couple of weeks ago. Then the other day they finally released a "mini-ice age was a massive failure of communication."

Absolutely ZERO acknowledgement of their participation in said miscommunication. I, and others, pointed out in the Facebook comments to the "miscommunication" article their complicity and what happens? Well today I find that I have been blocked from commenting on any IFLS article. All I can do is share them to my feed.

My exact comment (and I may be giving away my identity to anyone who saw it in the feed here) was "A miscommunication that you gleefully participated in."

Nothing vulgar, threatening, obscence. Just a criticism albeit a snarky one.

Needless to say, I unfollowed and unliked them.

Simply refusing to listen to criticism or engage with it is exactly the OPPOSITE kind of behavior we want from a science communicator.

You guys had Elise on the podcast a few months ago and I think the responsible thing would be for you guys to invite her back to discuss the recent criticisms. If she refuses, and it seems almost certain she will, you should STILL do the segment, making clear you gave her a chance to respond and she refused.

But the SGU implicitly endorsed IFLS in your last interview and the responsible thing would be for the SGU to talk about the recent issues.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: GaulBadder on August 08, 2015, 10:55:51 PM
http://www.icr.org/article/4827

Could we have the panel address the ICR contention that Dinosaur soft tissue is found in fossils? Thanks!
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: hillbillygulch on September 26, 2015, 10:56:48 PM
This Australian "energy healer" is allegedly begging to be studied.  Elle magazine did a very thorough article on him, unfortunately written by Chip Brown, massive believer, author, and promoter of this nonsense

http://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/news/a30626/energy-healer-charlie-goldsmith/
(this article also appears in the print issue of October's Elle (America)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: lidnos on October 14, 2015, 04:58:19 AM
A New South Wales homeopath who has repeatedly claimed to be able to prevent whooping cough with homeopathic "vaccines" has been banned from selling the products for five years and she and her business fined $138,000.

Central Coast homeopath Fran Sheffield is an advocate of alternative medicines who authorities have apparently been unable to prevent from making misleading claims about the benefits of homeopathy in contravention of federal medicines laws.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/homeopathy-plus-director-fran-sheffield-banned-from-promoting-vaccines-20151013-gk8ic7.html
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on November 13, 2015, 07:49:11 AM
Item 1:  Which Star Trek race do you think would furnish the best guest host?  I believe that any answer other than Cardassian is incorrect and terrible. 


Item 2:  A new aquaculture system (from Greenwave (http://greenwave.org/)) which is supposedly both inexpensive, resilient, carbon-negative and pulls double-duty as coastal remediation.  How legit is this?  It could also serve as a good jumping off point for a number of topics. 

Headline: GreenWave ocean farming model scoops $100,000 sustainability prize (http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/oct/22/greenwave-ocean-farming-bren-smith-fuller-challenge-sustainability-climate-change)
Subheadline: A commercial fisherman who admitted to once pillaging the oceans has won the 2015 Fuller Challenge with a system that only grows restorative crops, such as seaweed and shellfish
From: The Guardian
Date: October 22, 2015

Quote
A commercial fisherman who admitted to once pillaging the oceans has won the 2015 Fuller Challenge, one of the most important prizes in sustainability.

Bren Smith, executive director of nonprofit GreenWave, took home $100,000 for his 3D ocean farming model, designed to address overfishing, mitigate climate change, restore marine ecosystems and provide jobs for fishermen.

...

“GreenWave is a real example of what Fuller meant when he talked about what one person can do on behalf of humanity,” Thompson said. “We’re looking for ideas that are replicable and verifiable. You have to prove that what you’re proposing is achievable”.

Smith, based in New Haven, Connecticut, has now perfected a vertical ocean farming system that only grows restorative crops, such as seaweed and shellfish, to produce food, fertilizer, animal feed, cosmetics and biofuel.

Each species is carefully selected to address a certain environmental challenge, such as fixing excess nitrogen, in the case of oysters, or seaweed that soaks up carbon dioxide. Requiring zero input, such as fertilizer, these farms are designed to have a negative carbon footprint.

...

They are also working to train a new generation of farmers whose production model will have a restorative environmental impact. GreenWave has created an open source model that anyone in the world is free to replicate.

GreenWave is in the process of developing eight farms from southern new England to New York. The group also has a hatchery and is currently building a food truck, which Smith says will be the ambassador of a new cuisine inspired by these farms.

...

[Smith] turned to aquaculture farming in Canada as a more sustainable occupation. “Aquaculture was supposed to be the great answer to overfishing, ” Smith said during a TEDx Talk in Bermuda. “It turned out to be just as destructive, using new technologies, chocking fish full of medicine, antibiotics, polluting local waterways – just for a terrible tasting, low-quality food.”

He told the Guardian it wasn’t until hurricanes Irene and Sandy that he really started to think of new ways to address some of the problems we face, including overfishing and climate change, growing new sources of fuel and capturing carbon and nitrogen.

“When two hurricanes in a row wiped out my oysters and dragged my gear out to sea, it was clear to me this is the new normal,” he said. “So, I really had to adapt.”

Each of Smith’s model farms includes hurricane-proof anchors on the edges. Within its boundaries, seaweed, mussels and scallops hang from floating ropes. Oysters grow in cages below the ropes, and cages of clams hang beneath them. GreenWave farms also harvest salt.

Kelp soaks up five times as much carbon as land-based plants while oysters filter 50 gallons of water a day, pulling out nitrogen, according to Smith. He also said GreenWave is capable of producing 30 times more biofuel than soybeans and five times more biofuel than corn – without polluting the food chain.

“I think it allows us to take the crisis of climate change and flip it into an opportunity to really innovate in sustainable ways,” he said. “Anybody with 20 acres, a boat and $30,000 can start a farm and be up and running within a year.”

GreenWave provides new farmers with grants, low-cost seed, free outdoor gear from Patagonia and training for two years. And they guarantee to purchase 80% of crops over five years at triple the market rate. The crops are then sold to restaurants around the country.

“It’s a stunning, relatively simple, fully-integrated strategy,” Thompson said. “Implemented at scale, it will have an enormous impact.”
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on November 18, 2015, 07:16:31 AM
Article: American Medical Association backs prescription drug ad ban (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/645dff9967b04f12b863a9229b724d97/american-medical-association-backs-prescription-drug-ad-ban)
From: AP
Date: November 17, 2015

Quote
CHICAGO (AP) — The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices, saying they contribute to rising costs and patients' demands for inappropriate treatment.

Delegates at the influential group's policy-making meeting in Atlanta voted to adopt that as official policy as part of an AMA effort to make prescription drugs more affordable. It means AMA will lobby for a ban.

"Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.

According to data cited in an AMA news release, ad dollars spent by drugmakers have risen to $4.5 billion in the last two years, a 30 percent increase. Other data show prices on prescription drugs have climbed nearly 5 percent this year.

...

The pharmaceutical industry opposes the AMA's stance. Direct-to-consumer ads aim to provide "scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options," said Trish Stow of the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The ads also encourage patients to visit their doctors' offices "for important doctor-patient conversations about health that might otherwise not take place," Stow said

...
 
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Sawyer on November 18, 2015, 10:07:14 PM
Article: American Medical Association backs prescription drug ad ban (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/645dff9967b04f12b863a9229b724d97/american-medical-association-backs-prescription-drug-ad-ban)
From: AP
Date: November 17, 2015

Quote
CHICAGO (AP) — The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices, saying they contribute to rising costs and patients' demands for inappropriate treatment.

Delegates at the influential group's policy-making meeting in Atlanta voted to adopt that as official policy as part of an AMA effort to make prescription drugs more affordable. It means AMA will lobby for a ban.

"Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.

According to data cited in an AMA news release, ad dollars spent by drugmakers have risen to $4.5 billion in the last two years, a 30 percent increase. Other data show prices on prescription drugs have climbed nearly 5 percent this year.

...

The pharmaceutical industry opposes the AMA's stance. Direct-to-consumer ads aim to provide "scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options," said Trish Stow of the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The ads also encourage patients to visit their doctors' offices "for important doctor-patient conversations about health that might otherwise not take place," Stow said

...


I suppose it's a sign of progress that the PR people aren't even bothering with the guise of medical literacy at this point.  I'm going to guess about 99% of people that work for the very drug companies this guy is defending know that there's zero evidence that direct ads are saving lives.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: mikew on November 30, 2015, 02:25:06 PM
I haven't seen this hit the popular media yet, but a new paper, "On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit," reports on the use of a "Bullshit Receptivity Scale," (where some of the stimuli were based on Deepak Chopra's Twitter feed) to unpack skepticism or the lack thereof...

Article: On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit
Journal: Judgment and Decision Making
Link: journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.pdf (http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.pdf)

Abstract: Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: wormguy on November 30, 2015, 07:09:56 PM
Second only to the Ignobels, this is my favourite science competition of the year.  Please consider covering it briefly! 

http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2015/11/announcing-2015-dance-your-ph-d-winner

Cheers,
Brian @ Cal Poly
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: tornadotj on December 16, 2015, 04:23:45 PM
This video is making the rounds again. I have listened to every single podcast and I am pretty sure he and his theory have never been discussed. I'd love to hear this as the subject of a podcast.

http://geraldschroeder.com/wordpress/?page_id=211
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Alex K on December 18, 2015, 02:23:36 PM
If you guys haven't put it in the latest issue already, here is a nice piece of gossip from CERN.
There are LHC hints for a new particle which are keeping everyone in the particle physics community excited right now:

http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,45797.0.html

A relatively technical discussion can be found here

http://resonaances.blogspot.de/2015/12/a-new-boson-at-750-gev.html

but I have worked on similar things myself and am happy to answer questions.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: AndrewzC on December 31, 2015, 04:45:07 AM
A general suggestion regarding discussion on the podcast - I'd like to hear more discussion about what motivates people to believe unsubstantiated and irrational claims. For example, homeopathy is - rightly - often featured on the SGU as belief in its efficacy is entirely irrational (even though some might perceive benefits due to the placebo effect). However there are clearly reasons that many resort to homeopathy and other alternative cures. For example, I imagine that in countries like the USA where the costs of medical care are high and only basic care is available for the uninsured many turn to alternative medicine simply out of desperation.

To my mind, the best way to combat irrational thinking is to understand the psychology involved - what motivates people to hold irrational beliefs? What needs do they think are met? - and so on. The contortions which our minds are able to put themselves through in order to maintain irrational beliefs are, of course, well known. My favourite wikipedia page lists many of them - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases - and could itself form the basis of a new recurring topic on the podcast when it's decided to introduce one.

Just a few thoughts. I'm a huge fan of the podcast. Of the many to which I subscribe (I'm a registered podcast addict), SGU is the one I most look forward to arriving every week.  Everyone makes great contributions but Steven in particular is to be congratulated for the huge amount of effort and thought he puts into producing the podcast along with everything else in his very busy life!

Very best wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: galexioza on January 13, 2016, 08:27:18 PM
Happy New Year to everyone.

I'm not sure if you have seen this, or if it has already been discussed on the SGU, as I haven't been able to listen to the podcast for the last few months (my formerly podcast-filled commute now features a toddler demanding music). However, I did a search of the forums, and couldn't find anything, so here it is.

The University of Wollongong in Australia, a university currently ranked 243 worldwide, has recently awarded a PhD to Judy Wilyman, a prominent anti-vaccination activist who runs the website Vaccination Decisions (vaccinationdecisions.net (http://vaccinationdecisions.net)). The title of the PhD thesis is 'A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy' and it can be downloaded here: http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4541/.

The conclusions of the thesis are basically that vaccines have not been proven to be safe or effective and that the WHO is in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industries and the World Bank. I must admit, I haven't read the whole thing, but there's a good write-up about it here: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/01/13/the-university-of-wollongong-issues-a-phd-in-antivaccine-pseudoscience/

The degree was awarded by the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, which means scientific rigour was not a pre-requisite, but there still should have been some serious questions raised by the University of Wollongong. The danger now is that she will be Dr Wilyman, making her sound like a medical professional to those unwilling to dig any deeper and therefore giving her message more validity.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: pdeboer on January 21, 2016, 09:18:39 AM
Google explains how they are preventing natural health products ad scamming and other type of phishing and scam ads.

https://googleblog.blogspot.ca/2016/01/better-ads-report.html

Paul
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on January 25, 2016, 02:32:21 AM
More trouble with forensic science:

Article: D.C. Court of Appeals judge faults overstated forensic gun-match claims (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/dc-court-of-appeals-judge-faults-overstated-forensic-gun-match-claims/2016/01/22/a4dbd8c2-c078-11e5-83d4-42e3bceea902_story.html)
From: Washington Post
Date: January 22, 2016

Quote
Claims that forensic experts can match a bullet or shell casing found at a crime scene to a specific weapon lack a scientific basis and should be barred from criminal trials as misleading, a D.C. Court of Appeals judge wrote this week.

The opinion, by Associate Judge Catharine Easterly, is not binding on criminal prosecutions in D.C. Superior Court, where firearms and ballistics evidence have been introduced in scores of violent felony cases in recent years. But it continues a nationwide push for heightened scrutiny of forensic techniques and testimony relied upon in thousands of criminal convictions.

Forensic, "science," could make for a good episode topic.  I'm behind on my episodes but if you guys didn't cover the FBI's hair analysis being decades of bunkum and false convictions, that'd be a good tie-in, too.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: SkeptiQueer on January 25, 2016, 03:37:48 AM
More trouble with forensic science:

Article: D.C. Court of Appeals judge faults overstated forensic gun-match claims (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/dc-court-of-appeals-judge-faults-overstated-forensic-gun-match-claims/2016/01/22/a4dbd8c2-c078-11e5-83d4-42e3bceea902_story.html)
From: Washington Post
Date: January 22, 2016

Quote
Claims that forensic experts can match a bullet or shell casing found at a crime scene to a specific weapon lack a scientific basis and should be barred from criminal trials as misleading, a D.C. Court of Appeals judge wrote this week.

The opinion, by Associate Judge Catharine Easterly, is not binding on criminal prosecutions in D.C. Superior Court, where firearms and ballistics evidence have been introduced in scores of violent felony cases in recent years. But it continues a nationwide push for heightened scrutiny of forensic techniques and testimony relied upon in thousands of criminal convictions.

Forensic, "science," could make for a good episode topic.  I'm behind on my episodes but if you guys didn't cover the FBI's hair analysis being decades of bunkum and false convictions, that'd be a good tie-in, too.
I would love a good deep dive on the "forensic science" stuff. I'd be happy to write a primer on forensic ballistics and why it's bullshit if they decide to do it.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on January 25, 2016, 06:56:15 AM
More trouble with forensic science:

Article: D.C. Court of Appeals judge faults overstated forensic gun-match claims (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/dc-court-of-appeals-judge-faults-overstated-forensic-gun-match-claims/2016/01/22/a4dbd8c2-c078-11e5-83d4-42e3bceea902_story.html)
From: Washington Post
Date: January 22, 2016

Quote
Claims that forensic experts can match a bullet or shell casing found at a crime scene to a specific weapon lack a scientific basis and should be barred from criminal trials as misleading, a D.C. Court of Appeals judge wrote this week.

The opinion, by Associate Judge Catharine Easterly, is not binding on criminal prosecutions in D.C. Superior Court, where firearms and ballistics evidence have been introduced in scores of violent felony cases in recent years. But it continues a nationwide push for heightened scrutiny of forensic techniques and testimony relied upon in thousands of criminal convictions.

Forensic, "science," could make for a good episode topic.  I'm behind on my episodes but if you guys didn't cover the FBI's hair analysis being decades of bunkum and false convictions, that'd be a good tie-in, too.
I would love a good deep dive on the "forensic science" stuff. I'd be happy to write a primer on forensic ballistics and why it's bullshit if they decide to do it.

You mean the great mouse detective got it wrong? }|:oo

(https://ak-hdl.buzzfed.com/static/2013-10/enhanced/webdr01/18/12/anigif_enhanced-buzz-28746-1382115369-25.gif)

Seriously, though, that would be interesting.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Catzilla2332 on January 27, 2016, 12:14:11 AM
I noted a post on Facebook that 22,000 nurses who refused to get the flu vaccine,were in danger of loosing their jobs.  I replied that: It's probably a bad idea for people who work with immune compromised people to expose them to the flu.  Perhaps if they signed a waver to the effect that if any person under their care died from the flu, they could be charged with manslaughter?   
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Kintay on February 07, 2016, 12:12:30 AM
Would love to hear the panels' views on this!

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/marijuana-advocacy/
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: causticmango on February 11, 2016, 08:38:54 AM
Curious about this linked study on gender bias in software projects. The study itself has kind of surprising findings and it looks like the authors tried to sort or retroactively fit hypothesis to the data (I seem to recall you saying on a previous episode this was problematic).

https://twitter.com/felienne/status/697461281050251266

https://peerj.com/preprints/1733/

It's disappointing the bias against women is so pervasive (though I do wonder if the bias here might be more mundane; just an "us" vs. "them" that would be the same for any group of apparent "outsiders" and thus just endemic to human nature and not targeted at women per se [in a way, that's what I would hope is true since it's less ugly]).

Anyway ... would love to hear the panelists take on this.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: sstarr on February 11, 2016, 04:55:38 PM
1.  Gravity Waves, of course.  I don't think I need to even suggest this.
2.  Rap battle between Neil deGrasse Tyson and a rapper whose stage name is B.o.B.  B.o.B is a FLAT EARTHER!  He made a RAP VIDEO supporting the FLAT EARTH and accusing Neil deGrasse Tyson of being a member of the Illuminati.  The SGU needs to get to the bottom of this.  Is the Earth flat?  Is Neil a member of the Illuminati?  We need to know.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/26/464474518/neil-degrasse-tyson-gets-into-a-rap-battle-with-b-o-b-over-flat-earth-theory

There is a giant rabbit hole of flat earth youtube videos.  They're amazing.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: smittypap on February 23, 2016, 01:29:45 PM
Kansas Moves to Allow Chiropractors to Clear Concussion Injuries in Sports...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/22/1489450/-Against-Doctors-Orders-Kansas-Moves-to-Allow-Chiropractors-to-Clear-Concussion-Injuries-in-Sports
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: daniel1948 on April 04, 2016, 10:44:35 AM
I would be very interested to hear what a neurologist has to say about psychiatry. This is a subject which would require more than the usual segment length on the podcast, but I would love it if Dr. Novella would do a longer discussion on the subject. I.e., his view, as a neurologist, of the field of psychiatry. Perhaps as Premium Content.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on April 08, 2016, 12:17:13 PM
In continuing the tradition of skeptical dick jokes:

I just came across this, and thought it might make for an entertaining discussion on the show:

http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/china-125000000-year-old-giant-mummified-penis-baffles-scientists/ (http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/china-125000000-year-old-giant-mummified-penis-baffles-scientists/)

Quote
A team of paleontologists of the Linyi University’s Institute of Geology and Paleontology made an astonishing discovery, while excavating at a site in China’s Sichuan province. They unearthed a 10-meter (33 feet) long mummified penis dating back  to the Early Cretaceous period and estimated to be at least 125 million years old.

Quote
“Just like bulls, Xīyì dà yīnjīng had a fibro-elastic penis containing only a small amount of erectile tissue,” said Dr Xu, the lead author of the paper published by the researchers in the Nature magazine. “This means that there was little enlargement after erection and that penis was quite rigid, even when non-erect. Therefore, males of that species of dinosaurs, had to walk around with 10-meter long penises hanging between their legs, all the time!”

Also, "Phallosaurus". This is gold guys. Just saying.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: brilligtove on April 09, 2016, 10:53:20 PM
In continuing the tradition of skeptical dick jokes:

I just came across this, and thought it might make for an entertaining discussion on the show:

http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/china-125000000-year-old-giant-mummified-penis-baffles-scientists/ (http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/china-125000000-year-old-giant-mummified-penis-baffles-scientists/)

Quote
A team of paleontologists of the Linyi University’s Institute of Geology and Paleontology made an astonishing discovery, while excavating at a site in China’s Sichuan province. They unearthed a 10-meter (33 feet) long mummified penis dating back  to the Early Cretaceous period and estimated to be at least 125 million years old.

Quote
“Just like bulls, Xīyì dà yīnjīng had a fibro-elastic penis containing only a small amount of erectile tissue,” said Dr Xu, the lead author of the paper published by the researchers in the Nature magazine. “This means that there was little enlargement after erection and that penis was quite rigid, even when non-erect. Therefore, males of that species of dinosaurs, had to walk around with 10-meter long penises hanging between their legs, all the time!”

Also, "Phallosaurus". This is gold guys. Just saying.

This was posted on April 1st, wasn't it.

*reads article*

July 2015, huh? Was it back dated?

*reads more*

Huh.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on April 09, 2016, 11:28:39 PM
I would be very interested to hear what a neurologist has to say about psychiatry. This is a subject which would require more than the usual segment length on the podcast, but I would love it if Dr. Novella would do a longer discussion on the subject. I.e., his view, as a neurologist, of the field of psychiatry. Perhaps as Premium Content.

I also support this, btw, and not just for the Freudian dick jokes. Although, that should be a nice bonus. Maybe a theme show, together with Phallosaurus?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Hudson on April 20, 2016, 11:56:53 PM
Several people in my circle are talking about National Geographic/Morgan Freeman "The Story of God". I just watched the first episode and I found it less than interesting. It rehashed superstitions from around the world and in history how humans have tried to cheat death, or rather survive after death. Freeman asks some interesting questions but doesn't really challenge any answer no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

I think this topic (the NG series) is worth being discussed by the panel.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Billzbub on April 21, 2016, 02:08:16 PM
Comparing faith-based addiction recovery programs to secular ones would make an interesting topic.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: LaPalida on April 22, 2016, 07:35:30 AM
I came across this rather... vague post today:
http://upliftconnect.com/science-proves-meridians-exist/

Then I looked up the PVS and a study related to it that the above author mentioned in the post:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2005290113002082

Would be interesting to hear Steven's thoughts on this.

Some other links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Bong-han#Primo-vascular_system
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: SkeptiQueer on April 22, 2016, 11:29:33 AM
I came across this rather... vague post today:
http://upliftconnect.com/science-proves-meridians-exist/

Then I looked up the PVS and a study related to it that the above author mentioned in the post:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2005290113002082

Would be interesting to hear Steven's thoughts on this.

Some other links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Bong-han#Primo-vascular_system
I showed the paper (second link) to my SO, who is working in a medical lab, studying to be a pathologist's assistant, and worked at the drug discovery lab at UF for a couple years. Response began with "what even...this is bullshit." I was then sent a link to the description of The Book from Neal Stephenson's "Anathem."

"In the Mathic Society, the Book refers to a volume consisting of twelve chapters, some number of which are assigned to be memorized as penance for infractions of the Discipline. The content of the Book is designed to be illogically annoying, and becomes exponentially more complex and difficult to memorize."

Similar, but not quite the same as "not even wrong." When I got the part about "mysterious blue dying" I tapped out.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: LaPalida on April 25, 2016, 05:20:10 AM
Haha... yeah well of course he'd say that... his authority as a practitioner of traditional western medicine is being undermined by this groundbreaking study! :P
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: chook raffle on May 07, 2016, 08:27:55 AM
http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/cancer-conwoman-belle-gibson-faces-1m-fines-over-fundraising-scam-20160428-goh3r2.html (http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/cancer-conwoman-belle-gibson-faces-1m-fines-over-fundraising-scam-20160428-goh3r2.html)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: lonely moa on May 07, 2016, 04:36:41 PM
I am still incredulous that Lynn Margulis hasn't been a 'Superhero of Science".

(edit) Especially after this week's Science or Fiction.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Rowdyone2 on May 22, 2016, 12:53:23 AM
I would like a segment titled "what we youtube" just to get an idea on what you watch on youtube....and comment on it. It doesn't need to be any other than what you like to youtube.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: arthwollipot on May 22, 2016, 04:21:32 AM
I would like a segment titled "what we youtube" just to get an idea on what you watch on youtube....and comment on it. It doesn't need to be any other than what you like to youtube.

While I don't want to discourage people from coming up with new ideas, this particular one would add zero value for me.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Rowdyone2 on May 22, 2016, 12:35:48 PM
I would like a segment titled "what we youtube" just to get an idea on what you watch on youtube....and comment on it. It doesn't need to be any other than what you like to youtube.

While I don't want to discourage people from coming up with new ideas, this particular one would add zero value for me.

Every once in a while Bob will say "look up X on youtube it is awesome" or something like that. This would provide interest for me. But, maybe  only me....
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: brilligtove on May 22, 2016, 06:36:45 PM
I'd like that, especially if it was science / skeptical links and not SF/F.
Title: Neil DeGrasse Tyson's COSMOS
Post by: forbesbc on June 25, 2016, 09:19:46 PM
Hank Campbell shoots down DeGrasse Tyson with 5 things that he "got wrong" in the new cosmos.
1. Venus was not caused by global warming"
[Venus does exhibit the global warming phenomenon with 95%+ levels of CO2.]
[Hank's statement of "Venus was not caused by global warming" doesn't even make sense. I think he means, Venus' atmosphere temperatures are not caused by global warming.]
[If you look at the solar power incident and Venus' albedo...you can model its atmosphere and compare the theoretical temperature with the actual temperature.]
2. "many of us suspect" is a logical fallacy
[This is not presented as fact...IMHO.]
3. There is no sound in space <yet we hear the spaceship of the imagination make sound...in space.
[I agree here; the spaceship should make no sound...but, the effect of moving through space and time is lost to the watcher...so, I understand.]
4. " Giordano Bruno Was Not More Important To Science Than Kepler And Galileo...Bruno was excommunicated from three different religions, which means two of them accepted him after he had already been excommunicated from others. If freedom of thought was really suppressed, they wouldn’t have taken him at all."
[This sounds logical, but so does the other. Due to the suppression of the freedom of thought (speech), Bruno was kicked out of two different religious associations.]
5. The Universe Was Also Not Created In One Year.
[Ok, DeGrasse Tyson clarifies this...having the viewer imagine a cosmic calendar, saying, "In order to imagine all of cosmic time, let's compress it into a single calendar year."]
[The Bible does not suggest that God's 7 days is really 13 billion years. It says "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done..." Read the entire Genesis 1:1-2:3.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on July 17, 2016, 09:27:50 PM
Rat kings (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,36430.msg9426660.html#msg9426660) are an interesting phenomenon that appear to be kind of on the border between cryptozoology and general biology. I think this would make for a fun topic, as crypto-stuff usually does (imho).

Also, bit of a long shot, since I know the SGU doesn't do politics, but recently I've become more interested in the Iraq war, its motivations and its consequences. I realize it's a minefield, so it will be controversial, but from my admittedly limited excursion into this topic, there may be a bit more to (in particular) the whole Iraq WMD discussion than there at first appears to be in the narrative one hears in most of the press (at least on my side of the political divide, which tends to be more towards the left). That is, even after more than a decade, it is an interesting, controversial topic with a big impact, but which can be fact checked, that I don't think has been given its fair due in the skeptical community.
I was thinking of plugging a lecture here on that topic, but actually, I'd rather hear what others come up with by themselves (though if you're interested, shoot me a PM).
Title: A few topic ideas and a study suggestion
Post by: bbookman on July 27, 2016, 05:54:08 PM
I might do this myself, and it would be cool to see other fans of the show with more time and knowhow do it also - How about a count of topics?  Really this may boil down to a chart of word frequency use.  Take all the text of all the show notes and do a word usage analysis.  The objective would be to see which topics are getting the most play and the least play.  Using this and other tools would help keep the show lively if the team makes decisions from such data.  In other words, use science based tools to keep track of what is covered and leverage those tools to improve the show

Topic ideas:
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: wgallop on August 08, 2016, 01:11:59 PM
Was wondering if the show could cover this therapy that Olympic Athletes seem to be using a lot. Would love to hear Steve's take on this "Red Cup Therapy" especially...Here is a link to the first article I could find:
http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-phelps-cupping-therapy-rio-olympic-swimming-2016-8
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Friendly Angel on August 08, 2016, 01:45:23 PM
Was wondering if the show could cover this therapy that Olympic Athletes seem to be using a lot. Would love to hear Steve's take on this "Red Cup Therapy" especially...Here is a link to the first article I could find:
http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-phelps-cupping-therapy-rio-olympic-swimming-2016-8

Covered in Dr. Novella's blog a few years ago.
http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/wacky-medical-treatments/
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: fil512 on September 02, 2016, 03:28:53 PM
This looks like big news:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/09/01/alzheimers-new-drug-that-halts-mental-decline-is-best-news-for-d/

Can you speak to the voracity of the claims?

Thanks!
Ken
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on November 14, 2016, 08:14:12 AM
Has the SGU ever talked about the possible deep relation between entanglement and space-time (http://www.nature.com/news/the-quantum-source-of-space-time-1.18797)? I don't recall, but I've now seen this mentioned in various places as "a mini revolution in physics". In any case, it sounds very interesting. Seems like a :bob: topic. From the article:

(http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.31405.1447669320!/image/Engtanglement%20gravity%20graphic%20FINALRGB2_Web.jpeg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/Engtanglement%20gravity%20graphic%20FINALRGB2_Web.jpeg)
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on January 30, 2017, 07:42:39 AM
I'm currently reading this (https://decorrespondent.nl/6013/de-wetenschap-leert-nu-beschaving-is-een-veel-dikkere-laag-dan-gedacht/231169785-1890c417) article about Stanley Milgram's famous experiments about the banality of evil - you know the ones that are in every psychology textbook, in which he had people administer increasingly powerful shocks to another person and they all went along with delivering a fatal shock without requiring much effort by the experimenter. Well, as it turns out, it's not quite that simple.  The article is unfortunately in Dutch, so I'll do my best to summarize the main points here:

First of all, Milgram conducted not one, but 23 variants of his experiment across 117 sessions, with results varying between 0 and 92.5% compliance. In 1963 he reported only on one of these, in which 65% went all the way. However, if one looks at all 23 experiments, 57% actually eventually disobeyed. Obedience decreased significantly if the person receiving the shocks was in the same room, or if the experimenter took off his grey lab coat, but everyone complied if the person receiving the shock was silent. Everyone tried to resist, and used three main tactics to do so: (1) talking to the victim, (2) pointing out the experimenter's responsibility and (3) simply refuse to continue. The subjects who successfully resisted going along with the experimenter simply did so more often and more consistently than those who didn't.

Milgram's "experimenter" (who was picked specifically because he radiated a sense of authority) frequently deviated from the protocol they had established in order to push people as hard as he could, and Milgram himself wrote in his notes that he wondered whether his experiments had more to do with science or theater. For example, the experimenter was asked to give each subject 4 verbal "nudges" of increasing intensity when they failed to comply, but in reality he often went beyond those, giving as many as 9 or in one case 26 nudges. When he gave the most urgent nudge "you must comply, you have no choice", every test subject refused to cooperate. It seems that Milgram, whose career depended upon reaching a certain conclusion from these experiments, had started with his desired conclusion and refined his experiments until he reached it. It also turns out he failed to inform about 600 of his subjects that the experiment was faked after it was over, because he feared that word would spread and that would render his results useless.

Because of the 1973 refinement of ethical guidelines for psychological experiments, it was next to impossible to even attempt to replicate Milgram's findings.

Recently, two psychologists, Alex Haslam and Stephen Reicher, re-interpreted the outcomes of these experiments as being due not to a hard wiring for obedience, but due to the subjects' love for science, and them actively deciding to team up with the experimenter. This would explain why, for example:
- Fewer people went along with the experiment when Milgram conducted it in an ordinary office building, rather than at Yale.
- Little nudges that appealed to scientific goals (e.g.: "the experiment requires that you proceed") were most effective.
- Fewer subjects went along with the experiment if they were told it was about "social behavior" than when it was about "cognitive neuroscience".
- Many subjects were relieved and reacted positively (encouraging the experimenter to continue his experiments) when they were assured that their participation had benefited science after the experiment.

In other words, the Milgram experiments were not about blind obedience at all, but rather about seduction, conviction, misdirection, temptation, and engagement. The subjects came into the lab hoping to help out with a scientific experiment, and, rather than relying on blind obedience and human nature, Milgram and his experimenter manipulated those preexisting tendencies. They went along with it not because they were submissive, but because they thought it was the right thing to do. For example, one subject recounted that he went along with the experiment for the sake of his 6 year old daughter, who suffered from a form of paralysis that he hoped science would find a cure for.

The article also deals with other symbols for the banality of evil, like Hannah Arendt, Adolf Eichmann and the Holocaust, and the question of why it is so tempting to believe the worst about human nature.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: 2397 on February 17, 2017, 02:00:25 AM
With the recent talks about sport, I'd like to suggest a tangential topic; doping. Maybe talking about the challenges of detecting it, but also about the potential benefits of the methods for humans outside of cheating in competitions. Or about the damage it can cause. Could there be a "doping" league, allowing more ways of exploring what can be done to enhance humans, or is that an absurd idea?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Fast Eddie B on February 17, 2017, 08:17:52 AM
The recent report of the American College of Physicians recommending acupuncture as an alternative treatment for lower back pain.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Doctor Whom on March 01, 2017, 07:10:24 AM
A Brief History of Tim

I've just read an interesting article on the guardian's website about a study into nominative determinism. The study's behind a paywall so I can't verify its claims but it seems to suggest that people can guess what someone's name is just by looking at a picture with better results than chance alone. "He looks like a Tim" or whatever. I thought it might be interesting.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/01/a-brief-history-of-tim-dowlling
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: smudge on March 02, 2017, 08:38:30 AM
Placebo effect - is it really real?!
The gang at 'Skeptics with a K'  (excellent UK based skeptical podcast for those who don't know) have been looking at the placebo effect, specifically some of the claims made by Ben Goldacre in Bad Science (and in some of Ben's live shows) but also looking at the placebo effect in general. Looking at the data Ben used it seems that the apparent effect may be down to poor studies and/or bias suggesting that the effect may be nothing more than a myth. I'd love to hear the SGU crew look into this. Maybe even have a chat with someone from Skeptics with a K (I know Marsh has appeared in the past, Mike is the one investigating placebo).
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: werecow on March 02, 2017, 09:04:01 AM
Placebo effect - is it really real?!
The gang at 'Skeptics with a K'  (excellent UK based skeptical podcast for those who don't know) have been looking at the placebo effect, specifically some of the claims made by Ben Goldacre in Bad Science (and in some of Ben's live shows) but also looking at the placebo effect in general. Looking at the data Ben used it seems that the apparent effect may be down to poor studies and/or bias suggesting that the effect may be nothing more than a myth. I'd love to hear the SGU crew look into this. Maybe even have a chat with someone from Skeptics with a K (I know Marsh has appeared in the past, Mike is the one investigating placebo).

That would certainly be interesting... Which episode was this discussed in? Was Mark Crislip (http://www.skepdic.com/news/newsletter93.html#8) involved in this, by any chance?
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Fast Eddie B on March 02, 2017, 09:28:06 AM
Posted to another thread on Tucker Carlson/Bill Nye debate on Global Warming:

As an aside, does Carlson's debating tactic have a name? Taking the form, "If you can't predict x with absolute precision, anything you have to say about x is a guess and therefore suspect". It not exactly shifting the burden of proof, more demanding an unreasonable level of proof in an attempt to falsify an assertion. This might make a good "Name That Logical Falacy" segment.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: smudge on March 02, 2017, 10:04:18 AM
Placebo effect - is it really real?!
The gang at 'Skeptics with a K'  (excellent UK based skeptical podcast for those who don't know) have been looking at the placebo effect, specifically some of the claims made by Ben Goldacre in Bad Science (and in some of Ben's live shows) but also looking at the placebo effect in general. Looking at the data Ben used it seems that the apparent effect may be down to poor studies and/or bias suggesting that the effect may be nothing more than a myth. I'd love to hear the SGU crew look into this. Maybe even have a chat with someone from Skeptics with a K (I know Marsh has appeared in the past, Mike is the one investigating placebo).

That would certainly be interesting... Which episode was this discussed in? Was Mark Crislip (http://www.skepdic.com/news/newsletter93.html#8) involved in this, by any chance?

It pops up intermittently werecow- the most recent episode 192 I found particularly interesting. From memory, the most recent couple have also had a section where Mike delves into it a little.

http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/podcasts/

No, I don't recall any mention of Crislip. I'll have a look at that link when I get time.

Title: Time Crystals
Post by: Tom B on March 18, 2017, 08:56:34 PM
I think an interesting topic would be time crystals. I've got the vaguest idea of what they're describing, and I think a discussion would be very interesting.

https://qz.com/928609/physicists-have-created-an-impossible-state-of-matter-that-could-power-quantum-computers/

Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: zoomHYPERIONzoom on April 15, 2017, 02:48:35 AM
Hi first time poster. I'm still working my way through the podcast archive. Really enjoying the podcast.

I have an associate that is unfortunately extremely susceptible to woo and has recently fallen hard for this new thing called Functional Patterns http://www.functionalpatterns.com/ (http://www.functionalpatterns.com/). It's an exercise method which is aggressive towards science and spends an unusual amount of energy attacking science and the scientific community. It seems to me that it is preemptively attacking science before it can be debunked. That way if it turns out to be hocus pocus then it could claim that "science" is just being spiteful and/or corrupt.

I'm not saying that Functional Patterns (FP) is not an effective exercise methodology but while talking to my friend I noticed a few red flags. I don't know if it was just my friend's warped interpretation of FP but he definitely associates it with:
1. curing chronic pain (this one is a common boast in the fitness industry so nothing new there)
2. preventing disease in a more significant way than just being more physically active would normally do so,
3. and creating a spiritual mindset that is in my opinion both anti-scientific and new-age in nature. Alters behavior that could change the world! (This isn't that new either)

I haven't yet found much that supports that third one online so take that one with a grain of salt. It could just be my friend's misrepresenting FP or it could be my own fallible interpretation of it. I have read hints of this in this "Letter To The Fitness Industry" http://www.functionalpatterns.com/a-letter-to-the-fitness-industry/ (http://www.functionalpatterns.com/a-letter-to-the-fitness-industry/) on the FP website as well as from this obvious antagonist to FP here: https://bretcontreras.com/challenging-naudi-aguilar-of-functional-patterns-to-a-debate/ (https://bretcontreras.com/challenging-naudi-aguilar-of-functional-patterns-to-a-debate/) It could be that FP is keeping the more radical views out of the general view a la Scientology and Mormonism or I could be way off the scent.

My main interest is Functional Patterns' apparent animosity towards science. My friend has just returned from a training course in America so he can be a local redistributor of the brand AKA an official FP trainer and it could just be his nature but the intensity of his loyalty and defense of FP borders on cult-like fervor. Has he been suckered by a guru? If it's the real deal why is it so adamant that it doesn't need scientific testing?

With only a little bit of research I've found enough to be sceptical of Functional Patterns but I've by no means performed a deep dive. Don't get me wrong, if it works I'll be the first to get on board but what's up with the guru/anti-science angle?

Has anyone else already researched FP? What have you found?

Thanks,

Hyperion

P.S. TNG is the best Star Trek series.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Fast Eddie B on April 15, 2017, 07:38:46 AM
Another thread is discussing self-aware AI.

I think it would be an interesting topic to discuss what sort of test could be devised to determine if an AI was actually self-aware. Since programming could achieve the illusion of self-awareness, I fail to see how one could discern true self-awareness - even in principle.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: NorwegianHobbit on April 23, 2017, 06:28:00 AM
Would love the panel to discuss this: "The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics"
http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on April 23, 2017, 12:40:00 PM
The degeneration of cable news.

Jeff Zucker's been president of CNN since 2013. 

Quote
Zucker is a big sports fan, and from the early days of the campaign had spoken at editorial meetings about wanting to incorporate elements of ESPN’s programming into CNN’s election coverage. “The idea that politics is sport is undeniable, and we understood that and approached it that way,” he told me.

Quote
As Zucker sees it, his pro-Trump panelists are not just spokespeople for a worldview; they are “characters in a drama,” members of CNN’s extended ensemble cast. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you have Jeffrey Lord or Kayleigh McEnany,’ but you know what?” Zucker told me with some satisfaction. “They know who Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany are.”

http://www.gq.com/story/cnn-jeff-zucker-thinks-this-is-a-game

I'm a millennial.  It's my understanding that the news wasn't this stupid in the days of yore.  Is that true?  Because cable news has been complete trash at least since I was a teenager.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: jeffgdotorg on April 25, 2017, 10:53:25 AM
[This post is an expansion of my reply on an episode thread, apologies for the duplication]

Hi, I'm a new listener working backwards through the episode catalog. I've tried out several generalist skeptic podcasts, and yours is the first one that really suits me. I appreciate the relatively soft touch, the variety of backgrounds (if not surnames  ;)) among the presenters, the predictable publishing schedule, and the great production values. Especially with five presenters, I know that the last two are hard to achieve. Thank you all for pouring your time and energy into this important vehicle.

The discussion of dark anti-vax conspiracy theories in episode 310 (starting at 35m30s) really hit near home for me, as I have a family member who is way down the rabbit-hole. It started with an evidence-backed exercise therapy method that brings a strong anti-surgical slant, progressed to essential oils, and has spiraled into electromedicine (specifically Rife) with anti-vax being just one facet. I agree that a promising strategic approach is to target highly visible conspiracy promoters, limiting their ability to reach unwary marks. I'm doing just that via a professional board action against one promoter (an MD) whose influence was a big factor. Bringing the action feels good, and I know it's a public service that stands to make a real difference down the road, but what about the people already harmed? I'm wondering what the panel and community think are generally the best ways to help those already lost in Wonderland. As a corollary, how do we deal with the damage done to relationships when our loved ones decide that their skeptical family members are in on the conspiracy? Counseling surely plays a huge role in addressing both points, but it may be impossible to get the family member to consent to it.
Title: Re: Podcast Topic suggestions
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on April 27, 2017, 07:03:44 PM
There's a number of computer science podcasts concerning AI, as in machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, etc.  AI's getting ever increasing amounts of attention with all kinds of claims circulating around it.  Could be nice to do a cross-podcast interview with an expert on where the field's at and where it isn't, where the field's going and where it isn't, what these tools are and can do and what they aren't and can't do.  Would be interesting!