Author Topic: Episode #724  (Read 2806 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #724
« on: May 25, 2019, 01:04:58 PM »
News Items: Life on Mars, Stem Cell Scams, Mandatory Vaccines, NASA Moon Base Plans; Who's That Noisy; Your Questions and E-mails: Jevon's Paradox; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2019, 04:01:52 PM »
Thank you for a new episode.

As for the new website, I really, really miss being able to see the details for each episode, like links to news items, items (and the correct answer) to science or fiction, and the skeptical quote.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2019, 07:27:42 PM »
This episode provided a fascinating contrast between the over-the-top sci-fi enthusiasm of the legacy rogues, and what the show could be when an item is presented by someone who actually knows his field. The latter was the guest rogue's piece on vaccine law, which was both interesting and informative. The former was the Mars discussion which was worthy of a grade-B sci-fi movie. It contained one lonely piece of information, followed by a long stream of blather.

Item: One of the rogues said he had not heard of the perchlorate problem. When the book and movie The Martian came out, it was pointed out that one of the many crimes against science in that movie was that the perchlorates would have made it impossible for Watney to grow potatoes. This was an enormous flaw in the claims that the movie was true to science, and yet one of the rogues was so enthralled by the fantasy that he was unaware of the science.

Item: We've already contaminated Mars. If Earth microbes can survive there, it's already too late because we lack the technology to completely sterilize our space probes.

Item: Talk of "moral obligations" all you like, you're never going to get every nation with a space program to agree.

Item: Once we have people living there, they will further contaminate the planet because those miracle space suits that never let anything out do not exist and never will. NOTHING IS PERFECT! There WILL be leaks. There are ALWAYS leaks. Whether it's national security, biological containment, nuclear power plants, or anything else, there WILL be leaks.

The one actual news item there, that a probe to look for microbial life on Mars is being planned, led the rogues to enthuse interminably about how wonderful it would be to find life on Mars, and all sorts of "what if"s. And only as an afterthought that "maybe it won't have DNA." Well, Duh! If it evolved independently, it would be truly amazing if it did have DNA. The whole piece was nothing but fluff, and ignorant fluff to boot. And BTW, this will not be the first probe to look for life on Mars. One of the earlier probes did a chemical analysis to look for signs of life, and for a while some people thought the results were positive. Turned out it was just chemistry.

Jay and Evan should step down, and maybe Bob also. Steve, who is actually a trained scientist (MD) and Cara, who is a science student and trained communicator, should stay as anchors, and the show should bring on more guests like the fellow this week who can talk about a subject they actually have some expertise in.
Daniel
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Offline CookieMustard

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2019, 10:45:49 PM »

As for the new website, I really, really miss being able to see the details for each episode, like links to news items, items (and the correct answer) to science or fiction, and the skeptical quote.

Me too.

Online Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2019, 03:15:56 AM »
Jay and Steve were talking about the closest planet to Earth. They mentioned Mars and Venus, but didn't mention the planet that is, statistically, our closest planetary neighbour most often.

I heard this information only recently, but Mercury is the closest planet to Earth 46% of the time. Then it is Venus at 36% and Mars at only 18%.

Mars makes the closest approach to Earth, obviously. But it also gets the furthest away from Earth (of the other 3 inner planets) when it is on the opposite side of the sun.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 03:19:56 AM by Tassie Dave »

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2019, 09:55:02 AM »
Why does it seem like "religious freedom" is almost always about excusing forcing religion on children, and never about allowing children to be free from having religion imposed on them by adults?

Your child is not you. Your child is your responsibility, your duty to care for. What your personal religion is should be utterly irrelevant for what you are required to do to ensure that they're healthy and raised to become able to function independently of you.

Online swan

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2019, 02:39:57 PM »
Item: Talk of "moral obligations" all you like, you're never going to get every nation with a space program to agree.

Also, can you imagine how every indigenous group on Earth would react if all the rich white people suddenly declared that colonizing Mars would be "unfair" to the microbes living there? Obviously it's not like there are important/necessary resources there, but it would still be a kick in the face.

I too was surprised that Jay – who clearly follows way more science stuff than I do – hadn't heard of the perchlorate issues on Mars, but it's probably a bias on my part since The Fraser Cain Media Empire™ ;) is a big part of my science diet.

Offline stands2reason

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2019, 05:40:40 PM »
The Jevon's paradox refers to the case where the rebound effect is above 100%. And I appreciate that the rogues made a distinction of short and long term. The aggregate supply & demand curves basically model how the economy responds to having more or less of a resource. In the long term, the economy adapts, and those curves are different.

Jevon's paradox isn't like incrementally increasing efficiency of an established technology. It's like what happened a century ago when they barely made gas engines efficient enough. Once it was, it was efficient enough for mass use. The idea is that the incteasing efficiency of steam engines made them more economical in more categories of industry. However, I doubt that is relevant: during a transition period when they were being widely adopted, mechanization and steam engines spread throughout the economy as fast as people could figure out how to add them to a variety of business processes; thus I expect coal use [for steam engines] would have increased regardless of developments in the engine technology.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 05:43:22 PM by stands2reason »

Offline Darb

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2019, 06:07:49 PM »
No mention of Cara.  Please speculate...

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2019, 07:00:28 PM »
Zombie virus.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2019, 08:36:11 PM »
No mention of Cara.  Please speculate...

She has many irons in the fire and cannot always be there for the podcast. They knew that when they first invited her to join the show. We are fortunate that she's on the show more often than not. Last week she mentioned that she's working on a project that's taking a lot of her time. No need to speculate unless you want to guess what the project might be. I'm not going to. She'll tell us when she can.
Daniel
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2019, 09:01:00 PM »
She's recording a TV show. This has been mentioned repeatedly in the last several weeks.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline Darb

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2019, 09:43:19 AM »
I know but they usually acknowledge the person who's missing...

Offline nightfire36

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2019, 10:34:31 AM »
I meant to post this on the Contact page, and I will try again later, but there seems to be an error. Anyway..:

Listener for about 8 years. You probably already heard this correction, but...

During this most recent episode, Dr. Novella mentioned that pacemakers simply pace at a certain rhythm without being able to change rate, but that isn't true. From this page (https://www.inovaheart.org/heart-care/pacemaker/history) Pacemakers can have "a piezoelectric crystal [that] would bend or deform with body activity. This electrical signal could be used by a pacemaker to increase the heart rate with activity just like a normal heart. The crystal has long since been replaced by an "accelerometer" to reflect activity more accurately." Obviously, the trick is something that is battery efficient and also works relatively well, and I think that this could actually make for an interesting materials science section.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to thank you all for all that you have done. You have really guided me on my journey of skepticism, and I almost want to mention you in my medical school primary statement that I am procrastinating to finish up, because you were all a part of that decision for me. My love of science and medicine has increased by leaps and bounds because of you, so thank you all.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Episode #724
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2019, 02:36:18 PM »
No mention of Cara.  Please speculate...

She lists herself as an SGU rogue on her Twitter, and is listed on their website. Your speculations may now end.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

 

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