Author Topic: Episode # 195  (Read 9089 times)

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Offline DoctorAtlantis

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #75 on: April 30, 2009, 11:41:10 AM »
I don't think this is comprehensive. The point is, though, that these stories started in copylore and faxlore even before e-mail and most of them that circulate every year under that idiotic name don't come from the year they are supposed to (the one Jay read was actually from 2004 but it has been on the list for years, each list claiming that it happened in the past year -- just a small part of the bullshit you imbibe with every DA posting), are simply not true, or are extremely exaggerated. Some people have claimed to put out the "real DA" or pretend to have cleaned them up but, regardless of whether they are a good laugh or not (I've never seen what's so funny), I want to ask: Why would any skeptic group in the world want to associate itself with something that has been 1) so full of shit, 2) so damaging to the good scientist's name, and 3) so scientifically misleading? Now they are spread by e-mail and contribute to the large sack of crap that we get every day. Most of the crap skeptics fight against is entertaining in its own way to someone but that doesn't mean we should just repeat it without being skeptical.

My road to skepticism came straight from Urban Legends.  The DA's were the one of the first widespread phenomena that formed a nexus in the sweet-spot of Internet Nerds: confirmation bias of Darwin's principles, confirmation bias of the stupidity of the average joe, the guilty-pleasure of reveling in someone's immense FAIL, and often combined explosions and medical horrors.

I came in through Jan Brunvand's work - but that led me to Snopes and while others in my tech group took great joy in forwarding these stories and their photo-shopped "proof" I sought out the truth through Snopes, or primary sources such as the local papers where the stories were supposed to have happened.

The vast majority of them (if they aren't outright urban legends) have at least girded themselves with the coat and fancy-footwear of myth - now loosely hung  around whatever core truth there was to the tale.

So yeah - I see what you're getting at Ganzfeld.  Having them repeat such a tale, even if it is verifiable, is almost like having them endorse urban legends as a class. 

BUT - if it weren't for the Darwin Awards we wouldn't have MythBusters, right?  I mean when you get down to it that's REALLY what that show is all about.  So as a gateway to skepticism the DA's can be a great teaching tool.  I think this segment wasn't thus intended, but still... without the DA's I wouldn't be who I am today.  And I wouldn't get to watch MythBusters.

Offline bthegoodwin

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #76 on: May 02, 2009, 01:01:37 AM »
Hey, just a quick note. When I listened to the podcast and the rogues were discussing "The Hand of God" image captured by Chandra, they said it was 150 light years across and that compared to our solar system it was massive. However the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across and 1000 light years thick, so the "Hand of God" is actually tiny in comparison to our galaxy.

I was terribly disappointed at the underestimation of our galaxy's massiveness.
Better to keep your mouth shut and appear to be a fool than to reply to a forum post and remove all doubt...but I guess it's too late for that now.

Offline ganzfeld

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2009, 01:07:46 AM »
Hey, just a quick note. When I listened to the podcast and the rogues were discussing "The Hand of God" image captured by Chandra, they said it was 150 light years across and that compared to our solar system it was massive. However the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across and 1000 light years thick, so the "Hand of God" is actually tiny in comparison to our galaxy.

I was terribly disappointed at the underestimation of our galaxy's massiveness.
Galaxy... solar system... galaxy... solar system... I don't remember what they said on the show but I think you need to read what you just wrote!
"It may be that Pluto is the nearest of a group of dwarf planets analogous to our Earth and its three near neighbours.", Hector Macpherson, Makers of astronomy‎ (1933)

Offline DoctorAtlantis

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #78 on: May 02, 2009, 02:26:36 AM »
Hey, just a quick note. When I listened to the podcast and the rogues were discussing "The Hand of God" image captured by Chandra, they said it was 150 light years across and that compared to our solar system it was massive. However the Milky Way is 100,000 light years across and 1000 light years thick, so the "Hand of God" is actually tiny in comparison to our galaxy.

I was terribly disappointed at the underestimation of our galaxy's massiveness.
Galaxy... solar system... galaxy... solar system... I don't remember what they said on the show but I think you need to read what you just wrote!

I remember "solar system" - but as we skeptics know - memory is fallible as hell.

Offline ganzfeld

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #79 on: May 02, 2009, 06:18:32 AM »
I remember "solar system" - but as we skeptics know - memory is fallible as hell.
I'm pretty sure they said "solar system" too. But I only dared say that after your comment reinforced my dubious memory. :) 
"It may be that Pluto is the nearest of a group of dwarf planets analogous to our Earth and its three near neighbours.", Hector Macpherson, Makers of astronomy‎ (1933)

Offline Trinoc

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #80 on: May 02, 2009, 08:39:31 AM »
The average journalist hasn't the faintest idea about the distinction between interplanetary, interstellar and intergalactic distances. If you gave one of them a story saying a probe passed a galaxy on the way from Earth to the Moon, they would probably report it without thinking there was anything at all wrong with it.
I'm a skeptic. Not a "skepdude". Not a "man skeptic". Just a skeptic.

Offline IMDWalrus

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #81 on: May 07, 2009, 04:29:54 PM »
I remember "solar system" - but as we skeptics know - memory is fallible as hell.


They actually said solar system - I was a little disappointed when they talked about the size of our solar system and someone said it was about half a lightyear - as far as I know, it is more in the region of light-minutes or hours and not even days.

To bring up the alcohol-enema again (sorry I only listened to this podcast this week as my ipod broke - check your pockets before you go swimming with your kids ;-)
in some cases it does make a difference if you give some medications rectal as the liver is passed by (mentioned in an earlier post). This is called the first passed effect and as in some medications up to 90% of the actual substance is removed from the blood by one pass through the liver it might contribute a lot to the amount of medication you have to take. But as the first pass effect of alcohol is very small, it does not make a lot of difference if you take it po. or rectally. One difference might be that you can not vomit after an enema which will increase the amount of alcohol you can ingest.
The level of 0.49 is high but not as high as you think for a chronic alcoholic. I had on several occations patient contact to people with 0.25 to 0.3 that were at risk because of alcohol-withdrawal: if you alcohol level in chronic alcohol abuse drops too low you might get seizures. Also you meet a lot of alcoholics with esophageal cancer that will infuse alcohol in artificial feeding devices (like PEG-Tubes that go directly into the stomach) as they can not drink anymore. Not to talk about smoking with the tracheal tube.

And to gross out the rogues - have a look at this site:

http://www.radswiki.net/main/index.php?title=No_strings_attached

And go on with the wonderful podcast - I love it ;D

Offline craig

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #82 on: May 07, 2009, 04:44:06 PM »
I remember "solar system" - but as we skeptics know - memory is fallible as hell.


They actually said solar system - I was a little disappointed when they talked about the size of our solar system and someone said it was about half a lightyear - as far as I know, it is more in the region of light-minutes or hours and not even days.


That depends on how you define the solar system.  If you only include the planetary orbits then it is only about 80 AU or ~12 light hours.  But if you include the Oort cloud then it is, indeed, at least 1 light year in diameter.

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=374
"Why ya gotta act like you know when you don't know....It's okay if you don't know everything." --- Ben Folds

Offline Trinoc

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #83 on: May 07, 2009, 05:11:03 PM »
The solar system is usually defined as extending to the point where interstellar particle flow takes over from the solar wind as the dominant source of particle flux (heliopause). The Pioneer and Voyager probes are believed to be getting (relatively) close to this boundary, though we won't know for sure unless and until one of them passes it while still able to signal home.

Pioneer 10 was just short of 80AU out when contact was lost in 2002, or roughly 0.0012 light year. Unless estimates of the location of the heliopause are vastly inaccurate, it seems the solar system is likely to be well short of 1% of a light year in radius.

The Oort cloud is often estimated to extend to up to about 2 light years, on the basis that anything further away would be in orbit around a different star, or not around any particular star. There are probably bits of debris just about everywhere between stars in a galaxy, so the question of whether or not they belong to a particular star's Oort cloud is really just a case of whether they are close enough to be fairly reliably in orbit around that star.
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Offline bthegoodwin

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Re: Episode # 195
« Reply #84 on: May 16, 2009, 10:20:51 AM »
Ha! Can't believe I wrote that and didn't read it myself.

The initiator of this thread apologizes for his oversight and appreciates the restraint against ad hominem attacks for which he clearly made himself a target.
Better to keep your mouth shut and appear to be a fool than to reply to a forum post and remove all doubt...but I guess it's too late for that now.

 

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