Episode #132

News Items

    Got Milk

    • Hey Steve & the gang,I’m worried about a friend who’s drank copious amounts of organic Kool-Aid, so to speak. He gets raw (i.e. unpasteurized) milk from a local farm and claims it’s actually healthier than pasteurized milk because it contains beneficial bacteria that get killed off in the pasteurization process. (Of course it also might contain some not-so-nice bacteria… like e. coli, for instance.) This isn’t my area of expertise, so I was wondering if you guys could give some more information on the health effects of drinking raw milk. What can I tell my friend that would get him to quit his habit?Thanks for the always-excellent podcast.Jordan H.MassachusettsHi all!I’ve noticed something odd. A few years back I went through a phase were I almost exclusively bought ‘Organic’ foodstuffs. Having gotten over that with a little help from my bank statements I have continued to buy Organic Milk, because it seems to me that it lasts longer before spoiling than regular milk. I mentioned this to my family and friends and after having tried it they generally agree with me. It seems that you can count on it lasting about a week longer.Is there any truth to this? Or are we all suffering from an observational bias? And if it is true, why? I’d hate to think that I spread BS even unknowingly.Help me SKU, you’re my only hope,Micah WheelerColorado, United States
    • After Heath Ledger died, I thought I’d check to see if Nikki, Psychic to the Stars, had predicted his death. I checked her website (http://www.psychicnikki.com/predictions.html) and, amazingly, she had. Given that none of her earlier predictions ever mentioned Heath, and that there was nothing particularly adverse in his background that would suggest an early death, this seemed to me to be a major hit by a psychic.However, I recently gave a talk at one of my neighborhood clubs about why people believe weird things. I thought it would be fun to end with a reading of some psychic predictions for 2008. So, in my research, I copied Nikki’s predictions to a file. This was the day before he died. Guess what – no Heath Ledger. Looks like Nikki ‘postdicted’ his death. She also added Barrack Obama’s name to the ‘Death Watch/Health Watch’ list.So, is this a case where she just forgot to put Ledger’s name down, and his death happened to remind her to updater her website?I think not, be cause she also DELETED her prediction that Angelina Jolie would be nominated for an Oscar AFTER the Oscar nominations came out.Details can be found at my blog.Thanks for all your great work.The skepTickJim ChathamUSA/Maryland

    Science or Fiction

    • Item #1 Fiction

      A new analysis of the homology of multiple endogenous retroviruses among primates suggests that humans may be more closely related to orangutans than chimpanzees.

    • Item #2 Science

      Researchers have discovered how to use DNA to guide the creation of 3-D nanoparticles.

    • Item #3 Science

      A new study shows that all humans with blue eyes share a single common ancestor.

    Skeptical Quote of the Week.