Podcast #107 - August 8th, 2007
News Items: Largest Planet Discovered, New Da Vinci Conspiracy, Korean Stem Cell Controversy, UK UFO Followup; Questions and E-mail: Unproven Therapies, CO2 from Walking, AI Sense of Humor; Name That Logical Fallacy; Randi Speaks; Science or Fiction; Skeptical Puzzle
- Largest Planet Discovered www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/08/07/883737-scientists-discover-largest-known-planet
- New Da Vinci Code Conspiracy www.skepchick.org/blog/?p=639
- Korean Stem Cell Follow up www.iht.com/articles/2007/08/02/news/stem.php
- UFO Followup Mystery Solved www.watfordobserver.co.uk/mostpopular.var.1582237.mostviewed.ufo_mystery_solved.php
Questions and E-mails
- Using Unproven Therapies Skeptical rogues and roguette-
My question is this: might it not be reasonable for a skeptical, rational-thinking individual to turn to an herbal remedy or other medication which has not made it through this rigorous vetting process, and which has only anecdotal or preliminary evidence supporting its use, if they are desperate for some treatment (any treatment), and if evidence-based medicine has nothing to offer them?
Dr. Novellas Blog entry on this topic: www.theness.com/neurologicablog/default.asp?Display=150
- CO2 from walking vs driving I ran across this interesting article from the UK, where it's suggested that walking to the store is worse for the environment than driving;
Rebecca's Blog on the topic
- AI Sense of Humor As always thanks for providing an excellent podcast to start my week off just right. However last week I did find one thing to gripe about a bit. One of my favorite segments is the science or fiction portion and while I am definately not always right I generally understand the correct answer. However last week even after learning the true stories I did not feel that the AI with a sense of humor should be classified as science. To me 'sense of humor' describes something more than just the way something is delivered. If I am understanding correctly this program detects variations in the voice that are commonly associated with telling a joke, much the same way a lie-detector tries to determine truth through bio patterns. Perhaps a 'joke-detecting' AI was made, but just as sweaty palms don't constitute a lie, the right inflections in the voice don't always make humor.
Unfortunately I think we still only have 'Data'; able to understand that a joke has been told, yet unable to find the humor in it. Hence, in my view, Data had no sense of humor.
Maybe I'm way off base here, but I'm sure you'll let me know if I am!
Anyways keep the great work coming!
Name That Logical Fallacy
- Logical Fallacies 'Say I am arguing against someone about fossil fuel usage. I state that the average American should drive a fuel efficient vehicle to lower the amount of fuel that is used. The person that I am arguing against then tells me that since I drive a car that is not fuel efficient I cannot expect and tell others to drive different vehicles.'
- James Randi The Uncompromising Observations of a Veteran Skeptic
James Randi returns to give his skeptical commentary in his own unique style.
This week's topic: Acupuncture
Science or Fiction [ Show Answers ]
- Question #1 Science New study shows that drinking milk after weight lifting led to more fat loss and greater muscle gain that drinking soy or a carbohydrate drink.
- Question #2 Fiction New study suggests that the elderly should be eating more vegetables and less meat in order to maintain their muscle mass.
- Question #3 Science A new animal study suggests that low calorie or diet foods and drinks may lead to obesity.
- Puzzle This Week's Puzzle:
I sure hate this delusional person
Though hate may be a word too strong
As I learn more, my opinion does worsen
Perhaps I won't re-write this song
Micro set scams were just some of his wares
He claims he is spiritual at heart
A dozen or so of these blessings are shared
Jesus could only hope to Master their art
From his website I read, as they humbly plead
That they can lay hands and cure you of ills
Just join them and pray, for you will see one day
You've found their holy mountains and hills
For it was their king, that taught them these things
They are simply swine to this pearl thrower
A doctor, a reverend, and a knight, so he sings
But it was yoga that made him a knower
Name the person.
Last Week's puzzle:
What do you call a snake handler who appears between a stinger and a shooter?
Winner: Cap Sponge
Quote of the Week
- Quote 'To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.'
- Stanislaus I (1677-1766) a Polish king 'of some note.'