Episode #724

News Items

Who's That Noisy

  • Answer to last week: Artificial car noise

Question #1: Jevon's Paradox

  • The past few episodes you have skirted about the subject of Jevon’s Paradox. For example, when discussing more efficient LED lights, we use the efficiency savings to light up more areas. More generally this is an example of the rebound effect, and that name may be more appropriate in this case. Only becoming a paradox when the increase in lighting costs more than it did previously. This concept is about 150 years old, and could make a great discussion on it own. I read an article a long time ago that throughout history, economies have always spent about 1.7% of their GDP on lighting, whether it’s whale oil, acetylene, or electricity. (Can’t find the reference, sorry) –Dave Hampson Pullman, WA

Science or Fiction

  • Item #1 Science

    Scientists have created the highest temperature superconductor on record, at -23 degrees Celsius, 50 degrees warmer than the previous record. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190522141823.htm

  • Item #2 Fiction

    Astronomers have discovered a new regular period comet, which they believe has extrasolar origins. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190522120525.htm

  • Item #3 Science

    Astronomers now believe that Pluto has a liquid water ocean under its icy crust, and have an explanation for how that is possible. https://gizmodo.com/scientists-think-they-know-how-plutos-hidden-ocean-stay-1834902253

Skeptical Quote of the Week

“All the real true knowledge we have of Nature is intirely experimental, insomuch that, how strange soever the assertion seems, we may lay this down as the first fundamental unerring rule in physics, That it is not within the compass of human understanding to assign a purely speculative reason for any one phaenomenon in nature.” — Peter Browne In The Procedure, Extent, and Limits of Human Understanding (1728, 1729)