Author Topic: Episode #726  (Read 2070 times)

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Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2019, 12:30:10 AM »
I was happy to hear Steve head me off on the Jupiter advertising story. It's Buy Jupiter c1958 by Isaac Asimov.

Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2019, 12:36:05 AM »
Really interesting that we start the episode discussing the unintended consequences of too-shiny satellites and (nearly) wrapping up discussing the recklessness of using Crisper on the human germ line with respect to the myriad potential unintended consequences.

Offline cytotoxic

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2019, 03:21:00 AM »
You know that old trope about trusting the news until they cover a topic in which you have some expertise?   Well, I am no expert, but I know enough about the starlink story to know that literally everything you discussed was wrong. 

It isn't entirely your fault... There have been lots of sensationalist news stories on the topic of late.  And those stories even managed to goad a couple of astronomy groups onto making statements.  But none of it is really true.

First, the thing that brought this up was a string of stories about a beautiful string of satellites crossing the sky after the launch of 60 starlink satellites in one go... Not hundreds.   They are very small as communications satellites go... But not tiny.   They are unique in being quite flat... Shaped like a giant pizza box with a big solar panel sticking out the top. 

They did not launch them without talking to any scientists.  And it isn't exactly a secret.  They had to get permitted and everything.  Permits mean public comment periods.   And there was a lot of coverage over many years.   This was in no way a surprise to anyone interested in space.   

There will not be 12,000 objects brighter than the stars whizzing by overhead, obscuring the night sky...  First, space is really big.  So you won't be able to see as many as you think.  Second, satellites are only visible during the time when they are illuminated by the sun, but you are in shadow.   So just a while after sunset and before sunrise.    Think of it as a band of visibility around the demarcation zone between day and night.   The higher the satellite, the longer it is illuminated after dark.   Conversely, these very low satellites will be visible for much shorter times.

They were also much brighter during deployment than in their operational orientation.   

But you also failed to give the whole thing a couple of sanity checks.   The ISS is many orders of magnitude larger and brighter than these satellites.   How often have you seen it?   Also, how many airplanes are aloft right now?  (The answer is about 10,000)  Every one of those is bigger, closer and brighter than these satellites. And airplanes also have really bright lights on them, so they are visible all night. 

There was also discussion about deorbiting.... These are short lived satellites that are intended to be replaced frequently.   They are built to deorbit and because they are so low, their orbit will decay rapidly even if they are not actively deorbitted.  So not a worry.

And astronomers know how to deal with satellites.  They have very predictable orbits.
And even though you got literally everything wrong - just as the news stories did... SpaceX had already announced intentions to address concerns about the reflectivity of the satellites.  So it wasn't even a rant worth ranting.   

The deployment of the satellites does make for a good show... And  there will soon be one every couple of weeks.. so check out one of the sat-tracker sites and see if you get the chance to see one of the deployment strings while they are briefly visible.  It is quite the show.

Also... With One Web, Amazon and others looking to launch their own LEO constellations soon, this is hardly just A SpaceX issue.

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2019, 07:31:54 AM »
Quote
Also... With One Web, Amazon and others looking to launch their own LEO constellations soon, this is hardly just A SpaceX issue.

You're not describing why we shouldn't worry, by listing the problems that already exist, and then how many more there might be. Astronomers already have to deal with light and light-blocking pollution, more is not better.

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2019, 11:43:28 AM »
You know that old trope about trusting the news until they cover a topic in which you have some expertise?   Well, I am no expert, but I know enough about the starlink story to know that literally everything you discussed was wrong. 

It isn't entirely your fault... There have been lots of sensationalist news stories on the topic of late.  And those stories even managed to goad a couple of astronomy groups onto making statements.  But none of it is really true.

First, the thing that brought this up was a string of stories about a beautiful string of satellites crossing the sky after the launch of 60 starlink satellites in one go... Not hundreds.   They are very small as communications satellites go... But not tiny.   They are unique in being quite flat... Shaped like a giant pizza box with a big solar panel sticking out the top. 

They did not launch them without talking to any scientists.  And it isn't exactly a secret.  They had to get permitted and everything.  Permits mean public comment periods.   And there was a lot of coverage over many years.   This was in no way a surprise to anyone interested in space.   

There will not be 12,000 objects brighter than the stars whizzing by overhead, obscuring the night sky...  First, space is really big.  So you won't be able to see as many as you think.  Second, satellites are only visible during the time when they are illuminated by the sun, but you are in shadow.   So just a while after sunset and before sunrise.    Think of it as a band of visibility around the demarcation zone between day and night.   The higher the satellite, the longer it is illuminated after dark.   Conversely, these very low satellites will be visible for much shorter times.

They were also much brighter during deployment than in their operational orientation.   

But you also failed to give the whole thing a couple of sanity checks.   The ISS is many orders of magnitude larger and brighter than these satellites.   How often have you seen it?   Also, how many airplanes are aloft right now?  (The answer is about 10,000)  Every one of those is bigger, closer and brighter than these satellites. And airplanes also have really bright lights on them, so they are visible all night. 

There was also discussion about deorbiting.... These are short lived satellites that are intended to be replaced frequently.   They are built to deorbit and because they are so low, their orbit will decay rapidly even if they are not actively deorbitted.  So not a worry.

And astronomers know how to deal with satellites.  They have very predictable orbits.
And even though you got literally everything wrong - just as the news stories did... SpaceX had already announced intentions to address concerns about the reflectivity of the satellites.  So it wasn't even a rant worth ranting.   

The deployment of the satellites does make for a good show... And  there will soon be one every couple of weeks.. so check out one of the sat-tracker sites and see if you get the chance to see one of the deployment strings while they are briefly visible.  It is quite the show.

Also... With One Web, Amazon and others looking to launch their own LEO constellations soon, this is hardly just A SpaceX issue.
Thanks for that. It’s all good information.

Since the rogues don’t closely monitor the forums you may want to email them directly.


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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2019, 06:51:46 PM »
You know that old trope about trusting the news until they cover a topic in which you have some expertise?   Well, I am no expert, but I know enough about the starlink story to know that literally everything you discussed was wrong. 

It isn't entirely your fault... There have been lots of sensationalist news stories on the topic of late.  And those stories even managed to goad a couple of astronomy groups onto making statements.  But none of it is really true.

First, the thing that brought this up was a string of stories about a beautiful string of satellites crossing the sky after the launch of 60 starlink satellites in one go... Not hundreds.   They are very small as communications satellites go... But not tiny.   They are unique in being quite flat... Shaped like a giant pizza box with a big solar panel sticking out the top. 

They did not launch them without talking to any scientists.  And it isn't exactly a secret.  They had to get permitted and everything.  Permits mean public comment periods.   And there was a lot of coverage over many years.   This was in no way a surprise to anyone interested in space.   

There will not be 12,000 objects brighter than the stars whizzing by overhead, obscuring the night sky...  First, space is really big.  So you won't be able to see as many as you think.  Second, satellites are only visible during the time when they are illuminated by the sun, but you are in shadow.   So just a while after sunset and before sunrise.    Think of it as a band of visibility around the demarcation zone between day and night.   The higher the satellite, the longer it is illuminated after dark.   Conversely, these very low satellites will be visible for much shorter times.

They were also much brighter during deployment than in their operational orientation.   

But you also failed to give the whole thing a couple of sanity checks.   The ISS is many orders of magnitude larger and brighter than these satellites.   How often have you seen it?   Also, how many airplanes are aloft right now?  (The answer is about 10,000)  Every one of those is bigger, closer and brighter than these satellites. And airplanes also have really bright lights on them, so they are visible all night. 

There was also discussion about deorbiting.... These are short lived satellites that are intended to be replaced frequently.   They are built to deorbit and because they are so low, their orbit will decay rapidly even if they are not actively deorbitted.  So not a worry.

And astronomers know how to deal with satellites.  They have very predictable orbits.
And even though you got literally everything wrong - just as the news stories did... SpaceX had already announced intentions to address concerns about the reflectivity of the satellites.  So it wasn't even a rant worth ranting.   

The deployment of the satellites does make for a good show... And  there will soon be one every couple of weeks.. so check out one of the sat-tracker sites and see if you get the chance to see one of the deployment strings while they are briefly visible.  It is quite the show.

Also... With One Web, Amazon and others looking to launch their own LEO constellations soon, this is hardly just A SpaceX issue.

The Andromeda Galaxy isn’t usually visible as far south in the Southern Hemisphere as Perth, Australia except for a few weeks, so I once made the effort of travelling around 100 km to an observatory to observe it, including looking at it and other interesting stellar objects through a medium powered telescope.

The guide at one moment of time pointed to a particular position in the night sky and said words to the effect of ‘look closely, in a minute you’ll see an Iridium satellite’ and as if on cue there was a bright flash of light where he was pointing, which disappeared almost immediately (I was so impressed, I asked him - tongue in cheek - for him to repeat it).  It must have been the ‘Iridium flare’ owing to the particular orientation of the antennae of the early generation of Iridium satellites:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridium_satellite_constellation

which doesn’t occur with the later models.

So you’re right.  Satellites are very predictable, and can be allowed for by astronomers.  I used to use an astronomy app which also included a section indicating when and where particular satellites were visible anywhere in the world.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2019, 11:05:38 PM »
@cytotoxic:

CarbShark beat me to it, but it bears repeating: You address your post above to the rogues, but they seldom read these forums. Please email your post to them: info at theskepticsguide dot org. Maybe they'll address your points. I hope so.

And thanks.
Daniel
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Offline PatrickG

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Episode #726
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2019, 11:19:08 AM »
First, the thing that brought this up was a string of stories about a beautiful string of satellites crossing the sky after the launch of 60 starlink satellites in one go... Not hundreds. 
They did not launch them without talking to any scientists.  And it isn't exactly a secret.  They had to get permitted and everything. 
There will not be 12,000 objects brighter than the stars whizzing by overhead, obscuring the night sky...

This was indeed a massive skeptical fail by Steve. I understand that some mistakes are likely given the amount of work it is to make the podcast. But this internet satellite disaster story does not pass the smell test at all: a 1-minute Google search would have fixed it. Developing a good sense for reality is what skepticism is all about. I wonder how Steve will correct this.

Are the Rogues slowly losing the edge, getting side-tracked into commercializing the podcast? I have listened every episode since 2006. The past year I notice myself skipping more and more in favor of other podcasts. The awful new layout of the website, and this mistake won’t help.




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« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 04:09:08 PM by PatrickG »

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2019, 10:42:52 PM »
First, the thing that brought this up was a string of stories about a beautiful string of satellites crossing the sky after the launch of 60 starlink satellites in one go... Not hundreds. 
They did not launch them without talking to any scientists.  And it isn't exactly a secret.  They had to get permitted and everything. 
There will not be 12,000 objects brighter than the stars whizzing by overhead, obscuring the night sky...

This was indeed a massive skeptical fail by Steve. I understand that some mistakes are likely given the amount of work it is to make the podcast. But this internet satellite disaster story does not pass the smell test at all: a 1-minute Google search would have fixed it. Developing a good sense for reality is what skepticism is all about. I wonder how Steve will correct this.

Are the Rogues slowly losing the edge, getting side-tracked into commercializing the podcast? I have listened every episode since 2006. The past year I notice myself skipping more and more in favor of other podcasts. The awful new layout of the website, and this mistake won’t help.




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I haven’t listened to a complete episode for around two months, and I’ve only listened to part of one - the previous, not the current one.

It’s not the ‘commercialisation’ that’s put me off, but the content, which seems to me to have become trivial (and not particularly accurate at times), while at the same time becoming more self-congratutulory and self-important.

It dates back to the episode in which Steve had stated that Winston Churchill had bipolar disorder (it wasn’t the sole, or even, major reason).
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2019, 11:20:25 PM »

I haven’t listened to a complete episode for around two months, and I’ve only listened to part of one - the previous, not the current one.

It’s not the ‘commercialisation’ that’s put me off, but the content, which seems to me to have become trivial (and not particularly accurate at times), while at the same time becoming more self-congratutulory and self-important.


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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2019, 12:14:01 AM »

I haven’t listened to a complete episode for around two months, and I’ve only listened to part of one - the previous, not the current one.

It’s not the ‘commercialisation’ that’s put me off, but the content, which seems to me to have become trivial (and not particularly accurate at times), while at the same time becoming more self-congratutulory and self-important.


snap.

It applies more to you than to me.  ‘Snap.’  Actually, I never played the game.  Funny how ‘cultural’ references stick...
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Offline Steven Novella

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2019, 11:10:52 AM »
Regarding ads - they are simply a fact of life. To maintain a successful social media enterprise you cannot tread water. It takes more work, more time, and more resources to maintain relevance. This has a larger and larger footprint on our lives. We have to pay more people to maintain the infrastructure. Monetizing is an absolute necessity. The SGU cannot now exist as it is without it. There is a limit to what you can extract from people as volunteers, and we are way past that limit.

Further - we are actually trying to change the world, not just put out a podcast. So we are expanding our activity.

So - we are doing what everyone is doing. We put in ads - but we limit the ads (we have far fewer per hour than most similar podcasts), and we very carefully vet the ads to make sure they are appropriate to our audience. Ideally our audience would want to hear about the product we advertise, like the Great Courses of Kiwico.

We also offer voluntary membership, and offer extra stuff for those who choose to support us. That's the model.

We will still engage with everyone - on Facebook, over e-mail, on my blogs, at conferences, etc. But the model is to give something back to supporters. Seems fair enough.

Also - not for nothing- but what we do entails considerable liability. I was sued, and I could not have weathered that suit without the resources of the SGU.

It is frankly naive to think that we can maintain the incredible amount of work and liability that the SGU entails indefinitely without any resources except our own blood and sweat.
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2019, 12:28:15 PM »
Again I should probably note that I prefer the SGU's advertising model to many others, being that you're offering it as either ads or membership. The only better way (that I can think of atm) would be to make the ad feed the special feed that people could opt in to, because they for one reason or another want to listen to hem. That's targeted advertising.

But I don't like the inherent dishonesty of advertising, so I'm not going to like ads, regardless. However carefully someone selects what makes it through, their opinions are irrelevant when they're being paid to have them. There's no discussion, no legitimate comparisons, just various ways of framing that everyone agrees that the product/service is nice.

I much prefer sponsorship, where it's "This week's episode paid for [in part] by <company name>", maybe with a few details about where you can find them and what they do, without adding opinions.

It is frankly naive to think that we can maintain the incredible amount of work and liability that the SGU entails indefinitely without any resources except our own blood and sweat.

Also going to note that I'm not saying that it should be ads or nothing (or that it should be anything).

But if the advertising industry somehow collapsed and ceased to exist, as much as that would change current social media platforms and the entertainment industry, I don't see how it would stop people from getting together and creating content, or creating demand that others can meet. I see it stopping some of the unnecessary consumption, unnecessary travel, and maybe it would make people feel a little better about themselves in general, when they're not being targeted by companies that want them to feel as if they should've been spending more of the money that they might not even have, etc. Which could put some people out of business, and that should be fine, as long as we still have societies that are made up of people who care about each other, or at least care enough about themselves to want for there to be social safety nets.

What the world needs is to cut back on consumption and emissions. Cutting down on advertising seems as good a place as any to start, when the point of advertising is to motivate people to do something they otherwise wouldn't.

Of course they've started cutting themselves off more from the typical listener, by having a pay-only forum system that they give more attention to.

Quoting myself to say to say that I shouldn't have said that. I should've said that that's what it sometimes feels like, in part because of how the Discord is presented on the podcast. I'm not on social media, maybe if I were I would have a different impression.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2019, 01:23:43 PM »
I don't hear the ads on the SGU. What follows is a comment on the ads I do hear (and usually skip through) on other podcasts. I don't know if the SGU does ads the same way:

The ad model from the very early days of radio, and now being revived in podcasting, is for the podcaster (or the actor in the case of old radio) to personally endorse the product as the best thing there's ever been. The listener typically trusts the podcaster (or radio celebrity) or they would not be listening. It's really hard for me to believe that Me Undies are really the best underwear in the world, or that Casper is really the best mattress in the world, or that a toothbrush that requires disposable batteries is really better than a rechargeable toothbrush, etc. Does Bark Box really have better dog toys and treats than you could buy cheaper at your local pet shop? Is it really that much easier to cook from a mail-order cook-it-yourself meal box than from a cook book? You get the point. In this ad model, the podcaster/broadcaster is prostituting him/her-self by giving a personal endorsement to a claim he/she probably does not honestly believe. They never say "This is a pretty good product. They gave me a free sample and I liked it." They say "This is the best <whatever> in the world. This is the best company that's ever been."

The other ad model is just to play an ad produced by the company being advertised. The broadcaster is then not giving their personal imprimatur to the product. They're just saying, "We need money and this company is paying us to run this ad." Pretty much all advertising is dishonest, but at least in this model the broadcaster is not telling trusting listeners that he/she believes the hype in the ad.

Again, I have no idea if any of this applies to the SGU because I don't hear their ads.
Daniel
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #726
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2019, 07:33:17 PM »
When I was listening to the SGU, the ads didn’t particularly bother me.  Other podcasts I listened to (such as Michael Connelly’s one) contained more ads, and more obtrusive ones. 

But at least Michael Connelly’s ads were appropriate to his audience, being recommendations for crime books or crime prevention security equipment. 

A lot of the SGU’s ads seemed to me not appropriate.  Mattresses and socks aren’t really a sceptical concern.
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