Skeptics Guide to the Universe Forums

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe => Podcast Episodes => Topic started by: Quetzalcoatl on June 08, 2019, 04:47:54 PM

Title: Episode #726
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on June 08, 2019, 04:47:54 PM
Forgotten Superheroes of Science: Anne Dagg; News Items: WHO and TCM, Solar Cell Defect Solved, Mutation Affects HIV and Flu, Defense Lasers; Who's That Noisy; Your Questions and E-mails: Closest Planet; Science or Fiction

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Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 on June 08, 2019, 05:31:02 PM
Back to the topic of weighing convenience gained vs. damage caused, I don't see what tremendous benefit these satellite swarms have that would justify them visibly streaking the sky. There's no technological limitation that's preventing us from giving the masses, including rural communities, fast internet access. We can do that on the ground, as Cara pointed to.

But I strongly disagree with the statement that the "entire economy is built on advertising". Facebook isn't the economy, Facebook is a parasite. People feed it their private information, and that's what it lives off of. If Facebook and similar ad-related platforms disappeared, it wouldn't stop anything from being manufactured that there was demand for. Advertising can influence demand and which providers succeed where others fail, but advertising doesn't create anything that is vital. Instead it probably leads to a lot of consumption that we would be better without, mainly because there is far too much consumption, and we desperately need to cut back on it.

For a long time the SGU didn't need advertising to be able to exist (can't say how big of a role it has now, without seeing their accounts). They did it all on their own, utilizing their own free time, the tools they bought, but also open source code and protocols that had been created for the good of society as a whole. Through other's free time and through public investments. Advertising is just paying someone to tell someone else to buy your stuff, and most of the time they don't. It's not very efficient.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: CookieMustard on June 08, 2019, 05:39:55 PM
When Jay mentioned that frying bacon can sound like rain it reminded me of the following auditory illusion called the McGurk effect. Maybe it is well known but I was unfamiliar with it until recently.

https://youtu.be/yJ81LLxfHY8 (https://youtu.be/yJ81LLxfHY8)
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: The Latinist on June 08, 2019, 07:20:15 PM
There were so many things I wanted to call out in today’s episode that it’s probably a good thing there was no thread while I was watching it. Of course now I cannot remember any of them—which is probably just as well.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on June 08, 2019, 07:24:57 PM
Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey . . . Birutė Galdikas.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on June 09, 2019, 12:39:08 PM
For a long time the SGU didn't need advertising to be able to exist (can't say how big of a role it has now, without seeing their accounts). They did it all on their own, utilizing their own free time, the tools they bought, but also open source code and protocols that had been created for the good of society as a whole. Through other's free time and through public investments. Advertising is just paying someone to tell someone else to buy your stuff, and most of the time they don't. It's not very efficient.

I don't think the reason for the ads was for the SGU to continue to exist, but to expand their activities. I recall from reading an interview that Steve was initially reluctant to monetize the SGU. It was Jay who argued for it as it became more and more common among podcasts, and eventually Steve warmed to the idea.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 on June 09, 2019, 02:07:17 PM
I guess I should try to get more people riled up about ads, if commonality is what it takes.

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. They're also the ones who aren't subjected to the ads, so they won't get much feedback about ads there.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: The Latinist on June 09, 2019, 04:40:58 PM
The ads are fine.  You’re fucking obsessed.  Get over it.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Zelda McMuffin on June 09, 2019, 07:16:05 PM
I don't give a sh*t what the *content* is of an ad projected onto the moon (!), or what the motivation is for whatever sky pollution people dream up; I want there to be some kind of agreement about what's allowed. Is there?

The idea of the tragedy of the commons repeating, further into the solar system without any consensus among us about our goals and safety/aesthetic red lines is just... depressing. There's probably a great seven-syllable German word for the feeling.

Yeah, I'm a hippie. Sue me.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 on June 10, 2019, 08:35:58 AM
The ads are fine.  You’re fucking obsessed.  Get over it.

That's a fine opinion, but it's not much of an argument.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: The Latinist on June 10, 2019, 12:58:06 PM
I’m not making an argument.  I’m telling you that you’re obsessed with this issue and it’s incredibly annoying.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 on June 10, 2019, 01:08:28 PM
It's definitely one of the topics I'm likely to talk about when it comes up, as it did in this episode. If you find that it happens so often that it's annoying to you, there's an ignore list.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Ah.hell on June 10, 2019, 03:14:15 PM
I’m not making an argument.  I’m telling you that you’re obsessed with this issue and it’s incredibly annoying.
While I largely agree with you, that's a bit harsh.  Sure, I'm tone policing, which is also annoying.....
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: daniel1948 on June 10, 2019, 03:16:49 PM
I got into discussion about Roundup the other day. The fellow I was talking to insisted emphatically that it has been proven to cause cancer. His source? The World Health Organization! It did no good to argue that the WHO was relying on one outlying study, that it is politically motivated, or that every other study has shown it to be safe, and that if farmers cannot use Roundup they will use chemicals that are worse. Trying to argue the difference in the technical meanings of hazard and risk would have been pointless. The WHO has spoken, as far as the New Age crowd is concerned.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: seamas on June 10, 2019, 05:11:20 PM
If ad revenue help keep the show going, more power to them.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: mabell_yah 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: mabell_yah 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: cytotoxic 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: CarbShark 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.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Episode #726
Post by: PatrickG 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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Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend 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.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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).
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: lonely moa 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.


snap.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend 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...
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Steven Novella 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend 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.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Zelda McMuffin on June 15, 2019, 07:39:06 PM
I think the way they've funded the SGU is well-considered and fair.
Also, the content is still great. I've been listening since 2006 when my first baby was born and I needed to hear the skinny on vaccines because we were living in California at the time and it was very difficult to separate signal from noise.  Over time, they've settled into a good format that maybe doesn't allow for the long discussions they used to have (or long monologues *ahem* Quickie with Bob), but overall the analysis it's still there and they've deftly navigated a lot of the US political drama and atheist/skeptic infighting other podcasts have been sucked into.
So, I might kvetch with my spouse about the inevitable errors that pop into the show, (which almost always get corrected) but we're both really grateful for all the hard work the SGU people do and don't mind listening to ads/paying for ad-free.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: daniel1948 on June 16, 2019, 01:25:27 PM
A lot of the SGU’s ads seemed to me not appropriate.  Mattresses and socks aren’t really a sceptical concern.

I think that's an unfair criticism. Ads are to raise money. The thing being advertised need not have a skeptical concern. As long as they're not advertising something that's dishonest. But that applies to any medium and any program. TV stations that run ads for quack medicines are reprehensible. I see no inherent problem with the SGU advertising mattresses and socks. My only issue would be if they make false statements, such as "These socks are the most comfortable I've ever worn," if they've actually worn socks they felt were more comfortable.

The need to raise money through advertising (which I accept) does not justify being dishonest in the advertisement. I don't know if they are doing that. But it's a very slippery matter when a trusted host is touting a product. And I suspect that it's common for podcast hosts to do just that, and justify it to themselves with, "Well, all my listeners know that I'm being hyperbolic because it's an ad." There seems to be a widespread view that "opinions" are not objective truths, so it's okay to lie when giving your own opinions. "It's okay for me to lie about my own opinions, because after all, it's just opinions, and somebody could have that opinion." NO! When you are in a position of trust, taking money to lie about your own opinion is a form of prostitution. Stick with something like, "These are pretty good socks. Please buy them because the company is giving us money to make this show possible."

Advertising is fundamentally dishonest. Be honest about that fact in the ad.  ;)

Note: I am speaking in generalities. I have no idea what SGU ads are like since I don't hear them.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Tassie Dave on June 16, 2019, 04:10:20 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.

Most skeptics use both, and many of the products are for lovers of science and science education (kiwico & Great Courses +)

Every ad doesn't have to be skeptically related. Why put that limiting factor on what advertising revenue you can access. As long as they don't have anything that is anti-skeptical.

I don't mind the ads. I have even bought products that I first heard of on a podcast. So they do work.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: sqwerty on June 17, 2019, 04:06:46 AM
Regarding the talk of advertising on the moon.

Forgive my naivety as I’m not an astronomer, but is the moon ever directly over the top of the equator at night?

If it is, would that mean that people in the northern and southern hemisphere’s (close to the equator) could see the moon at the same time?

If yes again, then how would they advertise to both hemispheres at the same time because the moon is seen upside down in the southern hemisphere? Would they have to split it in two thus making the ad half the size?
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: The Latinist on June 17, 2019, 08:04:50 AM
Regarding the talk of advertising on the moon.

Forgive my naivety as I’m not an astronomer, but is the moon ever directly over the top of the equator at night?

If it is, would that mean that people in the northern and southern hemisphere’s (close to the equator) could see the moon at the same time?

If yes again, then how would they advertise to both hemispheres at the same time because the moon is seen upside down in the southern hemisphere? Would they have to split it in two thus making the ad half the size?

That the Moon would appear ‘upside down’ to people in the southern hemisphere is not something that I had ever considered.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

I imagine that such an advertisement would be oriented for the 88% of the world’s population that lives in the northern hemisphere. That said, any such advertisement would probably be a simple logo, and should be easily recognizable in either orientation.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: 2397 on June 17, 2019, 09:01:59 AM
I guess the Outer Space Treaty needs to be updated.
Title: Episode #726
Post by: sqwerty on June 17, 2019, 09:08:06 AM

That the Moon would appear ‘upside down’ to people in the southern hemisphere is not something that I had ever considered.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

I imagine that such an advertisement would be oriented for the 88% of the world’s population that lives in the northern hemisphere. That said, any such advertisement would probably be a simple logo, and should be easily recognizable in either orientation.

I watch a lot of flat earth debunking videos and the moon being upside down is often cited as proof we're on a ball (even though they won't accept it ).

But I agree that majority might rule in that scenario as I also forgot that the majority of people are in the northern hem.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: daniel1948 on June 17, 2019, 04:50:52 PM
People in the southern hemisphere could read the ad just by standing on their heads. Or by bending over and looking between their legs. The moon isn't big enough for text on it to be readable with the naked eye. And there'd only be room for one logo. Who gets to decide whose logo goes when? Without an international agreement, they'll all be up at once and none of them will be discernible.

The whole flat Earth thing is weird. Is it even possible to believe in that without being mentally ill? Though I suspect that most of them don't believe it at all, and only think it's a silly way to have fun.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: brilligtove on June 17, 2019, 06:17:08 PM
Given how small the moon is in the sky, I imagine normal ads would not be practical. You could probably get a single coloured letter to show up to the naked eye if it covered the whole thing? Maybe a simple logo? But made of light, not a structure.
Title: Episode #726
Post by: CarbShark on June 17, 2019, 06:48:16 PM
Given how small the moon is in the sky, I imagine normal ads would not be practical. You could probably get a single coloured letter to show up to the naked eye if it covered the whole thing? Maybe a simple logo? But made of light, not a structure.

A Nike Swoosh?

The CBS eye?

The name Trump?
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend on June 17, 2019, 08:32:46 PM
Putting an ad on the moon wouldn’t be very effective and would also be very expensive.  I’ve never been impressed by the supposed ‘Man in the Moon.’  Trying to ‘paint’ the surface of the moon somehow would be extremely expensive. The full moon just shows a haphazard arrangement of darker and lighter areas.  Whatever ad could be added, could also be similarly ignored.  And shining light on the new moon would just be lost in the brightness of the day sky.  Do you actually know where to look for the new moon?  Actually, I’m going to be doing that in little over a week.  There’s a total solar eclipse in Chile.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: brilligtove on June 17, 2019, 09:48:10 PM
Given how small the moon is in the sky, I imagine normal ads would not be practical. You could probably get a single coloured letter to show up to the naked eye if it covered the whole thing? Maybe a simple logo? But made of light, not a structure.

A Nike Swoosh?

The CBS eye?

The name Trump?

I thought of the first one, can imagine the second, and vomited after that.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: arthwollipot on June 17, 2019, 10:05:51 PM
Regarding the talk of advertising on the moon.

Forgive my naivety as I’m not an astronomer, but is the moon ever directly over the top of the equator at night?

If it is, would that mean that people in the northern and southern hemisphere’s (close to the equator) could see the moon at the same time?

If yes again, then how would they advertise to both hemispheres at the same time because the moon is seen upside down in the southern hemisphere? Would they have to split it in two thus making the ad half the size?

A logo that's an ambigram (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambigram) would work.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Zelda McMuffin on June 17, 2019, 10:11:37 PM
Regarding the talk of advertising on the moon.

Forgive my naivety as I’m not an astronomer, but is the moon ever directly over the top of the equator at night?

If it is, would that mean that people in the northern and southern hemisphere’s (close to the equator) could see the moon at the same time?

If yes again, then how would they advertise to both hemispheres at the same time because the moon is seen upside down in the southern hemisphere? Would they have to split it in two thus making the ad half the size?

A logo that's an ambigram (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambigram) would work.
Cool! Also, shh! Don't give them any ideas
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: The Latinist on June 18, 2019, 12:04:37 AM
The average albedo of the moon is only about 0.12 -- roughly the albedo of aged asphalt.  One might conceivably scatter high-albedo particulates to increase albedo by a factor of 2-3. It would not require full coverage, and it could be done with something as simple as water ice.  The result might be something like this:

(https://imgur.com/7aXVLjE.png)

For full effect, position yourself so that your thumb, at arms length, just covers the disk of the moon. A non-trivial effect, don't you think?
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend on June 18, 2019, 12:38:34 AM
The average albedo of the moon is only about 0.12 -- roughly the albedo of aged asphalt.  One might conceivably scatter high-albedo particulates to increase albedo by a factor of 2-3. It would not require full coverage, and it could be done with something as simple as water ice.  The result might be something like this:

(https://imgur.com/7aXVLjE.png)

For full effect, position yourself so that your thumb, at arms length, just covers the disk of the moon. A non-trivial effect, don't you think?

How much water would you need?  It costs around $10,000 to get 1 kg into low earth orbit.  How much would it cost to get a kg of water to the moon?  How much surface would it cover to be effective?  How long would it last before it evaporates and disappears?  You’d need something more permanent.  And actually as advertising it would only be effective around the time of the full moon.  A few days each month.

And the effect would be almost trivial.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: daniel1948 on June 18, 2019, 11:16:10 PM
Terraform the moon, plant rainforest over the whole near-side surface, then cut down greenery in the form of your logo, and salt it so no more plants could grow there.

Actually, I thought the idea was to shine a laser at it, not to create a permanent structure on the surface.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: bachfiend on June 18, 2019, 11:22:24 PM
Terraform the moon, plant rainforest over the whole near-side surface, then cut down greenery in the form of your logo, and salt it so no more plants could grow there.

Actually, I thought the idea was to shine a laser at it, not to create a permanent structure on the surface.

Well, your ‘suggestion’ is almost as feasible as the idea of spraying water on the Moon.

I don’t think a laser would work.  Not only would it have to be a very large (in order to create an image around 4000 km in length) and powerful, it would only work on the new moon, and the image would be lost in the glare of the day sky.
Title: Re: Episode #726
Post by: Fast Eddie B on June 23, 2019, 10:42:57 AM
About Who’s That Noisy...

I never would have guessed it. And I was a multi-engine flight instructor who taught prop synchronization.

The planes I instructed in were 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s vintage. None had automatic prop synchronization that I recall. But the sound of props out of synch was a far lower frequency throbbing than the sound presented. A BE99 is a turboprop, so that may be a factor, yet turboprop props are geared down to spin at roughly the same speed as piston props*, so I don’t think that’s the difference. In any case, that throbbing was nothing like that in the audio.


*If a prop turns faster than about 2,800 rpm - depending on diameter - the tips go supersonic, with hits to both noise and efficiency. So turbines and high-rpm engines need to be geared down to lower speeds.