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Last update: 2013-06-24

Skeptoid #368: Legislating Pseudoscience

2013-06-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Not every law passed by legislature is based on sound science. All too often, ideologues try to use the cloak of sciencey-sounding language to fool lawmakers and the public alike.…

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Skeptoid #367: Who Is the Grinning Man?

2013-06-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Stories tell of a tall man in a shiny green suit with a maniacal grin on his face who appears to UFO witnesses and terrorizes them.…

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Skeptoid #366: The Sedona Energy Vortex

2013-06-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Some say that Sedona, AZ is home to a series of spiritual energy vortexes, of a type unknown to science, that energize and relax the faithful.…

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Skeptoid #365: The Black Knight Satellite

2013-06-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Plenty of history supports the claim that a mysterious 13,000-year-old alien satellite is orbiting the Earth -- until you look at it more closely.…

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Skeptoid #364: Listener Feedback: Conspiracies

2013-05-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Another trip to the Skeptoid mailbag; this time we're focusing on answer comments from listeners who support conspiracy theories.…

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Skeptoid #363: All About Graphology

2013-05-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Graphology is the art of divining things about someone's personality and aptitudes by analyzing their handwriting. Is it scientifically valid?…

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Skeptoid #362: Polybius: Video Game of Death

2013-05-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

An urban legend says that a 1981 video arcade game called Polybius sickened players, or even drove them to suicide, while government agents collected the data.…

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Skeptoid #361: The 16 Personalities of Sybil

2013-05-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The book and movie "Sybil" told the story of a woman purported to have Multiple Personality Syndrome. But how much of it, if any, was true?…

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Skeptoid #360: Lincoln Kennedy Myths

2013-04-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

An old story claims a long list of astonishing similarities between the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy. Are they true, false, taken out of context, or something else?…

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Skeptoid #359: Cupping for the Cure

2013-04-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Cupping, the practice of putting suction cups on the skin to create bruises, has been around for at least 2000 years. Does its antiquity mean that it has healthful benefits?…

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Skeptoid #358: Listener Feedback: Aliens and UFOs

2013-04-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Skeptoid dips into the feedback mailbag and answers questions written in response to episodes about aliens, UFOs, and other scary things from space.…

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Skeptoid #357: The Aquatic Ape Theory

2013-04-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

One popular fringe theory about human evolution states that we went through an aquatic phase, thus we are hairless, blubbery, and otherwise adapted for life in the water.…

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Skeptoid #356: John Titor, Time Traveler

2013-04-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

An Internet legend claims that a man named John Titor is a visitor from the year 2036. Do we have any reason to take this story at face value, or to dismiss it at face value?…

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Skeptoid #355: The Airplane that Wasn't There

2013-03-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

A B-25 bomber ditched in a Pennsylvania river in broad daylight 1956. Many witnesses saw it and the survivors are still here. But, incredibly, the big bomber has never been found in the small river.…

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Skeptoid #354: The Pentagon and the Missile

2013-03-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The list of 9/11 conspiracy theories is a long one. Today we look at a few of the claims surrounding the idea that it wasn't an airliner that struck the Pentagon on 9/11, but a missile.…

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Skeptoid #353: Pope Joan

2013-03-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Legend holds that a Middle Ages pope was revealed to be a woman when she unexpectedly gave birth. Is there any truth to this tale?…

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Skeptoid #352: Facts and Fiction of the Schumann Resonance

2013-03-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

This cavity in our atmosphere resonates radio frequency at 7.83 Hz. But is that all it does? Many proponents of alternative medicine and New Age advocates say it does much more.…

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Skeptoid #351: Men in Black

2013-02-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Some say the mysterious black-clad agents who visit UFO witnesses to threaten and intimidate them are from the US Government; others say they come from much farther away.…

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Skeptoid #350: Trinity: Interview with Dr. Oz, Alex Jones, and Deepak Chopra

2013-02-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 6s

Skeptoid interviews three of the most popular and controversial figures in modern pseudoscience: TV doctor Dr. Mehmet Oz, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and New Age guru Deepak Chopra.…

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Skeptoid #349: Top 10 Best Pro-Science Celebrities

2013-02-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

A list of ten Hollywood celebrities who have leveraged their fame to proactively create new resources promoting good science and critical thinking.…

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Skeptoid #348: Ganzfeld Experiments

2013-02-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The ganzfeld experiments are often claimed to be the strongest evidence yet for telepathic abilities, and yet the history of their analyses reveals that they are anything but.…

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Skeptoid #347: The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine

2013-01-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

The Lost Dutchman is said to be the greatest of all the "lost mines" in the history of the American west, but a closer examination reveals a history that fails to stand up to skeptical scrutiny.…

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Skeptoid #346: Listener Feedback: Me and My Terrible Arguments

2013-01-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid responds to another round of listener feedback, focusing on criticism of argument techniques.…

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Skeptoid #345: The Cult of Nikola Tesla

2013-01-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

The name of Nikola Tesla is associated with crazy conspiracy claims at least as much as with the real man and his real accomplishments. In this episode we try to separate what he really did from the pop-culture version.…

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Skeptoid #344: Olgoi-Khorkhoi: The Mongolian Death Worm

2013-01-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Mongolian tradition holds that a strange and deadly worm lives beneath the sands of the Gobi desert. How this local belief became a fixture in Western cryptozoology is an even more interesting tale.…

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Skeptoid #343: The Hollow Earth Theory

2012-12-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Throughout history, different sects have held different beliefs about the Earth being hollow. These have included honest scientific inquiry, occult mysticism, and conspiracy mongering.…

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Skeptoid #342: Was the Wow! Signal Alien?

2012-12-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In 1977 a radio telescope received a signal from deep space so closely matching what we'd expect an alien transmission to look like, that the astronomer on duty circled it and wrote "Wow!"…

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Skeptoid #341: Free Energy Machines

2012-12-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

For centuries, mankind has been striving for magically easy solutions to difficult problems, best illustrated by perpetual motion machines that promise limitless free energy.…

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Skeptoid #340: Listener Feedback: A Cacophony of Conspiracies

2012-12-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Skeptoid answers another round of listener feedback emails, this time focusing on conspiracy theories. We look at how you can convince your conspiratorial friends that their theories are nonsensical.…

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Skeptoid in Chinese

2012-12-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 1s

Skeptoid has tripled its audience reach: Announcing the immediate availability of Skeptoid in Mandarin Chinese, the world's most spoken language, on the Chinese iTunes store and at http://skeptoid.com.cn…

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Skeptoid #339: Setting the Bloop Straight

2012-12-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

The solution to the Bloop mystery sound is finally revealed, and Skeptoid corrects some errors from other episodes.…

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Skeptoid #338: The Flat Earth Theory

2012-11-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Everyone knows the Earth is a globe, and we've known it since the ancient Greeks measured it. So why are there stories of a Flat Earth Society, and related legends?…

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Skeptoid #337: The Bermuda Triangle and the Devil's Sea

2012-11-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Pop culture tells us that an unusual number of mysterious disappearances have happened inside the Bermuda Triangle and Japan's Devil's Sea. Is this a true claim, or is there a yet-undiscovered explanation?…

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Skeptoid #336: How to Tell a Good Website from a Crap Website

2012-11-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

A tutorial for learning some of the signs that laypeople can use to discriminate between reliable science information on a website, and crap information on a website.…

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Skeptoid #335: Cleansing Diets: Why or Why Not?

2012-11-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Cleansing diets are trendier than ever, claiming to clean out your body and cure all kinds of supposed conditions. Do they actually work as advertised, or is it just another trendy fad?…

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Skeptoid #334: The Betz Mystery Sphere

2012-10-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In 1974, a Florida family found a strange metallic ball that seemed to move around all by itself and had a myriad of other strange powers. What was it, and whatever became of it?…

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Skeptoid #333: Student Questions: Dancing Plague and the Cinnamon Challenge

2012-10-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid answers student questions on the medieval dancing plague, the ketogenic diet, bee colony collapse disorder, devolution of humanity, death from cinnamon, and who built the pyramids.…

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Skeptoid #332: The Phantom Time Hypothesis

2012-10-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

A few fringe conspiracy theorists claim that several centuries never actually happened, and were faked by the Church. How can we tell whether this is true or not?…

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Skeptoid #331: The Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter

2012-10-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

In 1955, at the height of the UFO craze, a rural Kentucky fought a protracted gun battle with with they thought were aliens from a landed spaceship. What really happened?…

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Skeptoid #330: Hypnotism: Hijacking Your Brain?

2012-10-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

There are many popular misconceptions about the origins and capabilities of hypnotism, including skepticism over whether it's even real at all or not. We look at what's actually known.…

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Skeptoid #329: Is She Real, or Is She Fictional?

2012-09-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

Skeptoid takes a look at 24 women well known from history. But which of them are actual historical figures, and which are from the realm of fiction?…

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Skeptoid #328: Secrets of the Stradivarius

2012-09-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

History's greatest stringed instrument, the Stradivarius violin, has an amazing reputation for incomparable sound that no other can match. Is there a secret, or is the reputation perhaps undeserved?…

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Skeptoid #327: Raiding the Ark of the Covenant

2012-09-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The Ark of the Covenant is regarded by many Biblical literalists as a real physical object, and it just so happens that that probably is indeed the case. Only, which Ark do they mean?…

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Skeptoid #326: The Mystery of the Vitrified Forts

2012-09-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

About sixty prehistoric stone forts in Scotland have vitrified walls, where the stone was melted into glass. Some say this was impossible with the technology of the day.…

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Skeptoid #325: The Golden Ratio

2012-08-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Based on the Fibonacci series, the golden ratio is an interesting construct found in both mathematics and in nature. But is it really the end-all and be-all that its advocates make it out to be?…

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Skeptoid #324: Listener Feedback: That Darned Science

2012-08-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

A lot of people have misconceptions about how the scientific method works and whether it's valid. In this episode we answer some emailed questions about this topic specifically.…

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Skeptoid #323: 8 Spooky Places, and Why They're Like That

2012-08-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

These strange places around the world rank among the most macabre. Some have fascinating historical explanations, and others are explained by cultural traditions.…

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Skeptoid #322: Negative Calorie Food Myths

2012-08-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Negative calorie foods, said to require more energy to digest than they provide, are a popular food fad. But is this supported by science, or is it just another pop urban legend?…

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Skeptoid #321: Skinwalkers

2012-07-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Navajo witches and sorcerers are said to be able to shapeshift into dangerous animals that attack and harass the living. Some think there may be some science behind the tall tales.…

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Skeptoid #320: The Suicide Dogs of Overtoun Bridge

2012-07-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

There's a bridge in Scotland where dogs are said to deliberately commit suicide. Is this indeed the case, or can science and observation shine a little better light on the question?…

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Skeptoid #319: Student Questions: Food Woo and Iron Man at the Airport

2012-07-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Skeptoid answer student questions surround various popular myths about food, brain training computer programs, miracle cancer cures in the rainforest, and whether iron in your blood can get you stopped at a metal detector.…

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Skeptoid #318: The Loch Ness Monster

2012-07-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

There are many theories and many stories surrounding the Loch Ness Monster. We point the skeptical eye to see which are facts, and which aren't so much.…

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Skeptoid #317: Attack of the Nanobots!

2012-07-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Nanotechnology takes many forms - mostly industrial, but also in the possibility of an army of self-replicating machines capable of turning everything on the planet into a grey goo of nanobots.…

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New Skeptoid Books!

2012-06-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 1s

Skeptoid announces two new paperbacks: "Astronauts, Aliens, and Ape-Men" plus "The Secret of the Gypsy Queen".…

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Skeptoid #316: Al-Ghazali and Arab-Islamic Science

2012-06-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Arab-Islamic culture led the world in science and intellect during their Golden Age, but then it came to an end and there have been virtually no Arab-Islamic discoveries since then. Why not?…

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Skeptoid #315: The Tehran 1976 UFO

2012-06-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

Declassified military documents show that Iranian fighter planes engaged a UFO in 1976. But is this all we know, or can we analyze details to get a better idea of what actually took place?…

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Skeptoid #314: Botches and Bungles

2012-06-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Every so often I like to correct any errors that have been found in previous episodes. Enjoy this list of corrections and errata, and send more if you find them.…

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Skeptoid #313: Area 51 Facts and Fiction

2012-06-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Some believe that alien spacecraft are the true business of the US military's secret test facility at Area 51. But does history confirm this, or does it give us a different tale?…

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The Amazing Meeting 2012

2012-05-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 1s

This summer in Las Vegas, I am going to make your brain fail at The Amazing Meeting, the most amazing meeting you'll ever attend.…

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Skeptoid #312: Student Questions: Marauding Mammoths and Queen Elizabeth the Man

2012-05-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers another round of questions sent in by students all around the world. This time: Bikram yoga, cloning mammoths, kitchen bacteria, Queen Elizabeth's gender, eating and dreams, and cholesterol.…

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Skeptoid #311: The Rothschild Conspiracy

2012-05-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Some believe that world governments and economies are secretly controlled by the Rothschild banking family, which was quite powerful in the 1800s. Is their power truly still as strong today?…

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Skeptoid #310: Left Handed Myths and Facts

2012-05-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

There are many popular anecdotes about how and why some people are left-handed. The true facts are even more interesting: differences in aptitudes, health, and even longevity.…

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Skeptoid #309: The Science and Politics of Global Warming

2012-05-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Global warming is the poster boy for failed science communication. What went wrong? It was presented to the public as a political issue, and not as a science.…

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Skeptoid #308: Picnic at Hanging Rock

2012-04-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The classic book and movie is believed by some to be fact, others to be fiction, and still others a combination. What's the truth behind the tale?…

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Skeptoid #307: The Siberian Hell Sounds

2012-04-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

In 1989, Russian scientists are said to have drilled a borehole in Siberia that broke into hell and released the screams of the damned. But did it ever actually happen?…

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Skeptoid #306: Listener Feedback XX

2012-04-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Once again, Skeptoid dips into the feedback mailbag to respond to comments from listeners.…

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Skeptoid #305: I Can't Believe They Did That: Human Guinea Pigs

2012-04-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Sometimes, ethical considerations or a lack of knowledge have prevented certain experiments from being tested on other people, and scientists have had to put their own bodies on the line.…

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Skeptoid #304: Catching Jack the Ripper

2012-04-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Many theories surround the identity of Jack the Ripper, history's most infamous serial killer. Is there truly any evidence that supports any of these theories?…

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Skeptoid #303: Are Vinyl Recordings Better than Digital?

2012-03-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Many audio aficionados split into two camps, those supporting modern digital audio, and those supporting vinyl records. Is either truly or superior format, and can humans really even tell?…

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Skeptoid #302: De Loys' Ape

2012-03-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In the early 20th century, oil company geologist Francois de Loys took a famous photograph of what he says was a new species of ape. Does the photograph have a different history than he claimed?…

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Skeptoid #301: The Beale Ciphers

2012-03-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Treasure hunters comb Virginia search for a legendary hoard of gold and silver, known only from a few encoded documents, the most important of which remain undeciphered.…

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Skeptoid #300: The Secret of the Gypsy Queen

2012-03-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

In which a little girl saves her kingdom when she is the only one who does not fall for the pop pseudoscience of the day.…

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Announcing Skeptoid Episode 300

2012-03-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 4s

A big milestone...…

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Skeptoid #299: Star Jelly

2012-02-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

For centuries, jellylike blobs have been reported to fall from the sky during meteor showers. Are they really from outer space, or is there a more Earthly explanation?…

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Skeptoid #298: Student Questions: Free Energy and Faster-than-Light Neutrinos

2012-02-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid answers student questions about the efficacy of drinking coffee, whether you should go swimming 30 minutes after eating, amber teething rings for babies, neutrinos that travel faster than light, the E-Cat cold fusion device, and whether the consumption of certain foods causes inflammation.…

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Skeptoid #297: A Magical Journey through the Land of Reasoning Errors

2012-02-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Four common types of analytical errors in reasoning are made every day, by people trying to deceive us, by people unintentionally deceiving us, and by ourselves.…

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Skeptoid #296: The Versailles Time Slip

2012-02-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Two women, college teachers from Oxford visited Versailles in 1901. While there, they suddenly time-traveled back to 1789 and saw Marie Antoinette. Is their story true?…

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Skeptoid #295: Finding Amelia Earhart

2012-01-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Popular modern reports claim Amelia Earhart made it to an island and survived for a time, and though these stories are often widely reported, they are not at all consistent with the known facts.…

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Skeptoid #294: Frequent Listener Feedback

2012-01-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

There are a number of common flaws in logical thinking that pop up fairly regularly. Today Skeptoid answers some emails that illustrate a few of the most popular.…

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Skeptoid #293: Wunderwaffen: Nazi Wonder Weapons

2012-01-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

We love to attach mysticism and occultism to the Nazis. Their military might and cruelty almost demand some such explanation. But how much of this gilding is actually true?…

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Skeptoid #292: The Grey Man of Ben MacDhui

2012-01-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

A thin, dark phantom three times the height of a man is said to stalk this peak in the Cairngorms. What do we actually know about it, and what part of it might be real?…

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Skeptoid #291: The Toxic Lady

2012-01-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In 1994, a woman was brought into an emergency room in Riverside, California. When staff drew blood, fumes knocked out most of the staff and hospitalized some. What happened?…

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Skeptoid #290: Approaching a Subject Skeptically

2011-12-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Examining a new topic to learn whether it's fact or fiction is not a trivial matter. In this episode I detail my own process, and some of the pitfalls.…

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Skeptoid #289: The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

2011-12-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The Mary Celeste was famous discovering drifting at sea with nobody on board. Many have offered explanations for what happened, but nobody knows for sure. Here's what we do know.…

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Skeptoid #288: Pit Bull Attack!

2011-12-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Pit bulls have a reputation for being the most dangerous dog breed, so much so that they are actually banned in many places. Is this reputation deserved?…

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Skeptoid #287: Korean Fan Death

2011-12-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Many Koreans believe that sleeping with an electric fan running can actually kill you, but many western scientists scoff at the notion. Is there a more subtle truth in between?…

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Skeptoid #286: Listener Feedback: Dorothy and Her Straw Man

2011-11-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The straw man is one of the most common of the logical fallacies. Today Skeptoid responds to a number of feedback emails that were particular dependent on this ruse.…

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Skeptoid #285: Slips and Goofs

2011-11-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

As always, Skeptoid gladly corrects any errors found in past episodes. Here is another batch of such corrections along with helpful additional information.…

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Skeptoid #284: The Fate of Fletcher Christian

2011-11-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Fletcher Christian led the mutiny on the Bounty and escaped to Pitcairn Island to found the small nation's colony. But some say he actually made it back to freedom in England.…

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Skeptoid #283: Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Websites

2011-11-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Skeptoid's Top 10 list of the worst offenders on the web in the promotion of scientific and factual misinformation. Sadly, this could easily have been a Top 100...…

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Skeptoid #282: The Jersey Devil

2011-10-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The Jersey Devil, also called the Leeds Devil, is said to have been haunting New Jersey since 1735. We take a look at its original roots to see if we can learn what it really is.…

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Skeptoid #281: The Science of Voting

2011-10-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Democracy is a fine thing, except for one problem: No fair voting system exists to ensure the most favored candidate wins an election. What to do?…

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Skeptoid #280: Finding Shakespeare

2011-10-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Claims that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the Bard's works have persisted since about 150 years after his death - and today, they're stronger than ever.…

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Skeptoid #279: Noah's Ark: Sea Trials

2011-10-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Whether you believe the Noah story to be a literal true account or not, the naval engineering questions associated with its construction are fascinating.…

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Skeptoid #278: Brainwashing and Deprogramming

2011-10-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Brainwashing was attempted by the Chinese during the Korean war, and became the default explanation for cult membership. Did it really happen the way history describes it?…

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Skeptoid #277: Student Questions: A Few Good Myths

2011-09-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers student questions on the subjects of the paleolithic diet, the psychotherapy EMDR, stainless steel to remove odors from chefs' hands, polyphasic sleeping, burn-in of audio equipment, and the great PC slowdown conspiracy.…

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Skeptoid #276: The Monster of Glamis

2011-09-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Glamis Castle in Scotland is one of the world's most famous castles, with a famous beast to go along with it. We'll look and see how much of the story is verifiable, and learn what actually happened.…

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Skeptoid #275: All About Fracking

2011-09-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Fracking, the process of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, is one of the most controversial topics of the day. How much of the furor against it is justified by the science?…

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Skeptoid #274: Listener Feedback Revolutions

2011-09-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid answers questions and criticisms from listeners on the Scole Experiment, Morgellons Disease, New Age Energy, and Edgar Cayce.…

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Skeptoid #273: Wi-Fi, Smart Meters, and Other Radio Bogeymen

2011-08-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Some lobbying groups ardently claim that common radio transmitters, such as those in cell phones, smart utility meters, and wi-fi hubs are carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to humans.…

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Skeptoid #272: Are We Alone?

2011-08-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Most agree that there are other technological civilizations out there in the galaxy, but have we been visited by them? There's no evidence that we have, but what are the chances?…

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Skeptoid #271: The Zionist Conspiracy

2011-08-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

For as long as there have been Jews, there have been conspiracy theories predicting that they're planning to take over the world's governments. How much truth is there to these suspicions?…

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Skeptoid #270: The Hessdalen Lights

2011-08-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Scientists and UFOlogists in Norway are looking at some highly exotic, sci-fi sounding explanations for these remote ghost lights. But it turns out that the true explanation might be a lot more mundane than they hope.…

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Skeptoid #269: The Abominable Snowman

2011-08-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The infamous Yeti is said to stalk the high snow fields of the Himalayas, and has even been photographed and left artifacts. Is there sufficient proof that we must accept its existence?…

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Skeptoid #268: Student Questions: Energy Shots and Sunscreen

2011-07-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers questions sent in by students on caffeinated energy shots, Internet myths about sunscreen, "information" in thermodynamics, suppressed miracle cancer cures, and drinking hot water from the tap.…

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Skeptoid #267: Zeno's Paradoxes

2011-07-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The paradoxes developed by the Greek philosopher Zeno seem to prove that movement is impossible, and therefore we must not live in the physical universe we think we do. Could he have been right?…

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Skeptoid #266: Feedback through a Fine Toothed Comb

2011-07-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Today it's time for some more listener feedback, and we're going to put even the craziest of listener emails under the microscope to evaluate their logic... such as it is.…

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Skeptoid #265: "Curing" Gays

2011-07-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

A growing trend in the media is the promotion of therapy programs intended to "cure" gays and make them straight. Are these therapies real, and can they actually do what they claim?…

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Skeptoid #264: Conspiracy Theorists Aren't Crazy

2011-06-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Conspiracy theorists, who believe wild and implausible stories, seem to have a screw loose somewhere. But are their brains really working improperly?…

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Skeptoid #263: Anastasia

2011-06-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

When Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed in Russia in 1918, some say that his daughter Anastasia somehow escaped and went on to live in the United States.…

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Skeptoid #262: The Haitian Zombies

2011-06-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Tradition tells of zombies that wander Haiti as slave laborers. Are they really corpses reanimated by black magic, or is there a more plausible explanation?…

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Skeptoid #261: Near Death Experiences

2011-06-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Many who narrowly escape death on the operating table report euphoric afterlife experiences. But it turns out that these same effects are also associated with simple hypoxia. Does it explain all of them?…

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Skeptoid #260: Military Dolphins: James Bonds of the Sea

2011-05-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Dolphins and sea lions are acknowledged to perform simple military duties like locate mines and retrieve lost objects, but are they also used for much more sinister purposes?…

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Skeptoid #259: Mao's Barefoot Doctors: The Secret History of Chinese Medicine

2011-05-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Conventional wisdom tells us that alternative medicine is preferred in China, but it's simply not true. Neither is it completely true that Mao pushed it onto the Chinese because it was inexpensive.…

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Skeptoid #258: Spontaneous Human Combustion

2011-05-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

For hundreds of years, some unsolved cases of death by fire have been called spontaneous because there was no source of ignition found. Is the absence of evidence actually evidence of absence?…

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Skeptoid #257: The Secret of Plum Island

2011-05-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The Plum Island Animal Research Center is known for defending our food supply against foot and mouth disease, but some say their true purpose is much darker.…

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Skeptoid #256: Student Questions: Supermoons and an Apple a Day

2011-05-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers student questions. Today's topics include a variety of health related questions such as an apple a day and various causes of cancer, plus a look at the media's darling Supermoon.…

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Skeptoid #255: Superhuman Strength during a Crisis

2011-04-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Hysterical strength is what we call temporary superpowers summoned by those undergoing the adrenalin rush of the fight or flight response. Can it really boost your strength as much as the stories say?…

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Skeptoid #254: Finding the POW/MIAs

2011-04-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Some believe that American soldiers missing in action since the Vietnam War are still being held captive as prisoners of war. The military denies it. Where are they?…

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Skeptoid #253: The Port Arthur Massacre

2011-04-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In 1996, a lone gunman killed 35 people in Tasmania. Was he acting alone, or was it a conspiracy by the government to get firearms banned?…

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Skeptoid #252: The Voynich Manuscript

2011-04-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

The Voynich manuscript was written in the early 1400s, and to this day, nobody has been able to translate or read a single word of it.…

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Skeptoid #251: Listener Feedback: Nobody Ever Posts Twice

2011-03-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

Skeptoid dives into the mailbag to answer some emails from listeners. Recorded live at the 250th Episode party at the University of California, Irvine.…

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Skeptoid #250: The History of Knowledge

2011-03-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

A trip through the centuries to see how human knowledge is reflected through music.…

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Skeptoid #249: Student Questions: Airport X-Rays, Shampoo, and the Moon

2011-03-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Today Skeptoid answers questions from students about airport X-ray machines; claims made by shampoo companies; the safety of non-stick cookware; cloth diapers vs. disposables; and what effects the Moon has on us.…

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Skeptoid #248: The Exorcism of Anneliese

2011-03-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Anneliese Michel is only one of many thousands of people who have been killed by exorcism rites. Does this prehistoric ritual have any place in modern psychiatric care?…

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Skeptoid #247: The Miracle of Calanda

2011-02-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

A young man's amputated leg was said to have been miraculously restored in 1640, with plenty of hard evidence to back it up. But is this really the best interpretation of that evidence?…

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Skeptoid #246: Corrections, Errata, Blunders, and Boo-Boos

2011-02-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid revisits another batch of episodes with errors, and rights the wrongs.…

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Skeptoid #245: Finding the Lost Colony of Roanoke

2011-02-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

When Sir Walter Raleigh sent a colony to settle in America on Roanoke Island, every person disappeared. What happened to them?…

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Skeptoid #244: Nuclear War and Nuclear Winter

2011-02-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some say that the atmospheric smoke from fires following a nuclear war will create devastating global cooling; others say this is grossly exaggerated.…

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Skeptoid #243: Student Questions: Orbo, EVPs, and Shakespeare

2011-01-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid answers student questions on perpetual motion machines, electronic voice phenomena, semen retention, the authenticity of Shakespeare's works, and the value of antioxidants.…

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Skeptoid #242: Scientology

2011-01-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Scientology is notorious for opposing psychiatry, for a bizarre apace opera dogma, and for suing its detractors. Is there more to the story than that?…

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Skeptoid #241: The Alien Buried in Texas

2011-01-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In 1897, the newspapers reported that an alien spacecraft crashed in Aurora, Texas, and that the pilot's body was buried in the local cemetery. Can we simply dig it up and find out the truth?…

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Skeptoid #240: Mystery Spots

2011-01-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Mystery spots all around the world, both natural and manmade, purport to be places where gravity works wrong. Is this truly the explanation, or might there be something else at foot?…

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Skeptoid #239: Gluten Free Diets

2011-01-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some people are sensitive to gluten and must adopt gluten free diets, but what about the rest of us? Do we also need to be concerned about gluten?…

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Skeptoid #238: More Hollywood Myths

2010-12-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid takes a look at another batch of rumors from classic Hollywood, including a deep examination of the story that John Wayne's cancer death was caused by filming downwind of the Nevada Test Site.…

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Skeptoid #237: Hollywood Myths

2010-12-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Fancy legends come from nowhere if not from Hollywood. Classic Hollywood has produced more than its share of myths, and Skeptoid looks into them to see whether they're true, or just more show biz.…

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Skeptoid #236: Whales and Sonar

2010-12-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Navy sonar has been proven to cause whale strandings, and even the Navy agrees this is a real risk. But some activist claim much broader danger. What are the real facts?…

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Skeptoid #235: IQ Testing

2010-12-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

IQ testing grew out of the eugenics movement, a way to measure which people were of the most (and least) value to society. Does this idea still have any relevance today?…

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Skeptoid #234: The South Atlantic Anomaly

2010-11-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Unlike the Bermuda Triangle, the South Atlantic Anomaly is a real region with measurable physical properties that truly do pose a danger. Is it knocking aircraft out of the sky?…

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Skeptoid #233: Student Questions: Bird Gender and Bad Karma

2010-11-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Skeptoid answers questions from students on food preservatives embalming your body, playing music for unborn fetuses, violent video games, sexing a bird with a pendulum, and karma.…

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Help Get Critical Thinking on PBS

2010-11-21
Length: 1m 25s

The Skeptologists needs your help with a letter of support.…

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Skeptoid #232: Listener Feedback Rides Again

2010-11-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers some more listener feedback emails, ranging from the sane and helpful to the insane and delusional.…

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Skeptoid #231: The Mystery of STENDEC

2010-11-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

In 1947, a British South American Airways flight crashed in the Andes, killing all aboard, but not before sending an unexplained radio message: STENDEC. What did it mean?…

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Skeptoid #230: DDT: Secret Life of a Pesticide

2010-11-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

DDT has been banned for its environmental effects like eggshell thinning, but this must be weighed against its life saving potential for malaria victims.…

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Skeptoid #229: Speed Reading

2010-10-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

A critical look at speed reading, and its claims of boosting your words per minute from a few hundred to a few thousand. Is this really something that your brain is wired to do?…

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Skeptoid #228: My Favorite Things

2010-10-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

In this episode I talk about some of the moments that have excited me the most when producing Skeptoid, and show why I love making it so much. I hope you like it too.…

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History of the Egg

2010-10-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 1s

Enjoy this song created by listener Nate Kelley, made from samples of Skeptoid episodes.…

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Skeptoid #227: Boost Your Immune System (or Not)

2010-10-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Products everywhere are sold with the claim that they'll boost your immune system. Does that have any medical meaning? Is it something you'd really want to do? We point the skeptical eye at the claim.…

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Skeptoid #226: The Brown Mountain Lights

2010-10-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

For a hundred years, a ghost light in North Carolina has had people wondering what it might be. What are the historical explanations, and do any of them turn out to be the correct one?…

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Skeptoid #225: Beware the Bilderberg Group!

2010-09-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Conspiracy theorist claim the Bilderberg Group consists of the world's power brokers planning Global Domination. Is this in fact true, or is the group's stated purpose the real one?…

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Skeptoid #224: Alien Downpour: The Red Rain of India

2010-09-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

When it rained red in India in 2001, some fringe researchers claimed it must have been alien spore from an interstellar comet. Science, however, produced a much more mundane explanation. Which was correct?…

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Skeptoid #223: The Frog in the Stone

2010-09-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

History is full of tall tales of living frogs and toads being found encased in solid rock, and hopping out once the rock is broken. How did they get there, and how could they have survived all those centuries?…

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Skeptoid #222: Toil and Trouble: The Curse of Macbeth

2010-09-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

According to theater lore, witches placed a curse on Shakespeare's Macbeth that should make the play too dangerous to perform. We take a look at its actual history to see if we can find evidence of such a curse.…

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Skeptoid #221: The Myers-Briggs Personality Test

2010-08-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the world's most widely used psychological metric. But does it really have any psychological value, or is it little more than a horoscope?…

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Skeptoid #220: Yonaguni Monument: The Japanese Atlantis

2010-08-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Yonaguni Monument is a great fractured sandstone feature off the coast of Japan, said by some to have been built by human hands. Skeptoid takes a look at the evidence for, and the evidence against.…

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Skeptoid #219: Stalin's Human-Ape Hybrids

2010-08-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

There's a popular urban legend that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of half-ape, half-human hybrids as a slave army of soldiers and laborers. Did this ever actually happen?…

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Skeptoid #218: The Astronauts and the Aliens

2010-08-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Stories abound that astronauts have reported UFOs in space, stories that have been covered up by the government. Are they true? What really happened?…

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Skeptoid #217: Some New Logical Fallacies

2010-08-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid looks at some newer logical fallacies, which are ways to argue a point with rhetoric when you don't have good evidence.…

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Skeptoid #216: The Things We Eat...

2010-07-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

All sorts of people have all sorts of philosophies on what you should eat and what you shouldn't. What are those philosophies based on: Sound food science, or ideology?…

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Skeptoid #215: Listener Feedback Resurrection

2010-07-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid responds to some very (ahem) thoughtful emails from some very (ahem) interesting listeners.…

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Skeptoid #214: Student Questions: Gold as an Investment and FEMA Coffins

2010-07-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers student questions on investing in gold, neurofeedback, the safety of Swedish snus, FEMA coffins, and gaining your nutrition by staring at the sun.…

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Skeptoid #213: Mozart and Salieri

2010-07-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Ever since the 1984 movie Amadeus came out, most people generally believe that Mozart was killed by his jealous rival, the Italian composer Antonio Salieri. How much truth is there to this rumor?…

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Skeptoid #212: Things About Which I Have In Error Been

2010-06-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Once again I revisit some previous episodes that contained errors, and hopefully get them right this time.…

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Skeptoid #211: Attack on Pearl Harbor

2010-06-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

One of the most popular conspiracy theories from World War II is that the American government had advance knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack, and allowed it to happen anyway, as an excuse to justify declaring war on Japan.…

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Skeptoid #210: The North American Union

2010-06-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

It's often called the Mother of All Conspiracy Theories: the idea that the United States, Canada, and Mexico are all planning to give up their sovereignty and merge into a single huge police state.…

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Skeptoid #209: The Lost Ship of the Desert

2010-06-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Stories about of Viking longships and Spanish galleons turning up in the middle of the American deserts where no ship has any business being. Are they true?…

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Skeptoid #208: The Westall '66 UFO

2010-05-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

200 students watched a strange craft fly near their school in Australia in 1966. Must it have been an alien spacecraft, or are there more reasonable alternate explanations?…

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Skeptoid #207: Dinosaurs Among Us

2010-05-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some cryptozoologists and Young Earth Creationists believe that examples of ancient art prove that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. Do these artworks really serve as proof, or even as good evidence?…

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Skeptoid #206: Morgellons Disease

2010-05-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

In this newly described condition, some patients report strange plastic fibers growing from their skin. The symptoms are identical to those of acute stress. Can treating the patient for stress address the Morgellons?…

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Skeptoid #205: Beyond Listener Feedback

2010-05-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Another trip to the Listener Feedback files, including my favorite yet.…

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Skeptoid #204: Mengele's Boys from Brazil

2010-05-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

After World War II, the Nazi Angel of Death Josef Mengele escaped to South America. And a town in Brazil has an unusually high rate of twins. Are the two connected? Did Mengele continue his human experiments after the war?…

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Skeptoid #203: Therapeutic Touch

2010-04-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Therapeutic touch is a healing method used by many nurses to treat pain. It involves waving your hands over the patient's body to manipulate their magnetic field. Does this field exist, and is there any evidence that doing this would be beneficial to the patient?…

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Skeptoid #202: The Mystery of Pumapunku

2010-04-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Pumapunku in Bolivia contains some of the ancient world's most complex works of stonemasonry. So complex, some say, that only aliens could have made them. Is this truly the best state of our knowledge about these structures?…

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Skeptoid #201: The Virgin of Guadalupe

2010-04-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

The Virgin of Guadalupe is said to be a miraculous image on ancient Mexican fabric. Is it correct to accept this, to dismiss it as silly, or is there a more significant history that's more intriguing than either of those?…

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Skeptoid #200: Buy It!

2010-04-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 3s

You should never blindly trust what we've learned from science. A true skeptic will only trust claims coming from those who are trying to sell us something.…

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Announcing Skeptoid #200

2010-04-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Skeptoid hits a milestone: 200 episodes. Learn how it works behind the scenes, and find out how you can help.…

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Skeptoid #199: Cargo Cults

2010-03-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Certain cultures in the South Pacific believe that if they can recreate the conditions of WWII, ships and planes will arrive bearing cargos like those that brought them modern luxuries 70 years ago. But is their belief system really that simple, or is there more to it?…

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Skeptoid #198: The Georgia Guidestones

2010-03-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Dubbed "America's Stonehenge", the Georgia Guidestones were erected in 1980, bearing an inscription that seems to advocate global genocide and the dawn of a New World Order.…

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Skeptoid #197: Listener Feedback Strikes Back

2010-03-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid takes another perilous dive into the listener feedback files.…

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Skeptoid #196: Zeitgeist: The Movie, Myths, and Motivations

2010-03-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The Internet movie Zeitgeist is among a new breed of machines spreading conspiracy theories. Zeitgeist is a little different in that its true motivation is to advocate a utopian ideology. This raises the question: Why, then, promote the untrue conspiracy theories?…

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Skeptoid #195: Student Questions: Mosquito Repellent and Einstein's Gestation

2010-03-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers student questions on electronic mosquito repellents, the Petition Project of scientists who deny global warming, getting sick from being near someone with a cold, athleticism of different races, and whether Einstein was smart because he spent an extra month in the womb.…

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Skeptoid #194: The Denver Airport Conspiracy

2010-02-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Conspiracy theorists claim that Denver International Airport is a headquarters from which the Illuminati will launch the New World Order via a global genocide. Are there other explanations for the clues they see?…

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Skeptoid #193: The Faces of Belmez

2010-02-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Beginning in 1971, a series of ghastly faces began appearing on the concrete floor of a house in a Spanish village. Should people make life decisions based on their belief that these faces were divinely inspired?…

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Skeptoid #192: Ball Lightning

2010-02-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Ball lightning is often the first explanation many of us reach for when we hear any report involving a glowing orb of light. But science has yet to confirm that such a thing even exists at all, and the widely varying eyewitness reports don't help either.…

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Skeptoid #191: Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?

2010-02-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Popular mythology tells us that the pyramids were built by Jewish slaves, but is there any evidence supporting this? Apparently not. Jews were elsewhere at the time, and skilled Egyptian workers were found to have been at the pyramids.…

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Skeptoid #190: The Bell Island Boom

2010-01-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In 1978, a massive boom shook this small island in Newfoundland, destroying buildings, killing animals, and ruining electrical wiring. Some say it was a test of a US superweapon. What does the evidence support?…

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Skeptoid #189: Martial Arts Magic

2010-01-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some call it Bullshido: Martial arts tricks that you see on YouTube. Instructors knocking out their students with a single touch, or even no touch at all. These con men have been tricking people into their schools for decades.…

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Skeptoid #188: Student Questions: String Theory, the Asian Flush, and the Peltzman Effect

2010-01-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid answers some student questions. This week: string theory, the Asian Flush, the Peltzman Effect, health benefits of daylight lamps, and temperature's effect on arthritis pain.…

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Skeptoid #187: Emergency Handbook: What to Do When a Friend Loves Woo

2010-01-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

We all have friends and loved ones with pseudoscientific, supernatural, or just plain wrong beliefs. Sometimes these beliefs can become a danger to them. Here are some steps you can follow to help them see the light.…

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Skeptoid #186: More Things I'm Wrong About

2009-12-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Skeptoid takes a look back at some old episodes that had errors in them needing correction. Some are big, some are small, all need a slap upside the head.…

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Skeptoid #185: Is Barefoot Better?

2009-12-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Some proponents advocate that going barefoot is not only better for the health of your feet, it can also help you perform better in sports or in virtually every other life situation.…

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Skeptoid #184: The Antikythera Mechanism

2009-12-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The Antikythera Mechanism is a sophisticated bronze instrument found in a shipwreck, dated 1000 years earlier than known peoples were able to build such things. Does it prove the existence of aliens, time travelers, or Atlanteans?…

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Skeptoid #183: The Naga Fireballs

2009-12-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Each October, a Thai festival celebrates the end of the Buddhist Lent with a giant river serpent who spits flaming balls into the sky. You can actually see them. Is there a natural explanation, or is the river serpent real?…

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Skeptoid #182: Listener Feedback X

2009-11-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid addresses some listener feedback pertaining to the Rendlesham Forest UFO, network marketing, microwaved food, and evil worldwide conspiracies of Illuminati.…

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Skeptoid #181: The Baigong Pipes

2009-11-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

On a lakeshore in China, modern metal pipes can be found buried throughout the ancient sediment, as much as 150,000 years ago. Does this prove an alien construction project, or might there be a natural explanation?…

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Skeptoid #180: Vaccine Ingredients

2009-11-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

A closer look at the actual ingredients in vaccines. Do they really contain the horrifying poisons claimed by antivaccine activists? The facts may surprise you.…

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Skeptoid #179: The Scole Experiment

2009-11-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

In the most extensive research done yet on seances, the Scole Experiment sought to establish that such phenomena are real and actually supernatural. Just one problem: They forgot to employ any controls at all.…

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Skeptoid #178: Student Questions: The Montauk Monster and Bee Sting Therapy

2009-11-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid takes on questions submitted by students on the Montauk Monster, the efficacy of skin moisturizer, bee sting therapy (ouch!), aluminum antiperspirants as a cause of breast cancer, inexpensive gasoline, and the claim that homosexuals have shorter lifespans.…

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Skeptoid #177: The Bloop

2009-10-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

The Bloop was a mysterious sound captured by NOAA hydrophones in 1997. Cryptozoologists claim it as evidence of a gigantic unknown sea creature. What do NOAA scientists have to say?…

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Skeptoid #176: Network Marketing

2009-10-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Call them Network Marketing, Multilevel Marketing, or MLM, these pyramid plans are proven not to work. 99.95% of participants lose money. Are you REALLY among that .01% who will recover their costs?…

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Skeptoid #175: Shadow People

2009-10-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Shadow people are dark, ghostlike forms often seen out of the corner of your eye. Witnesses often accept no explanations other than supernatural ones, but are there any rational (but still likely) causes for these phenomena?…

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Skeptoid #174: More Medical Myths

2009-10-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Movies and Mom wisdom tell all kinds of tales about how the body works, how you need to take care of it, and what can happen to it. This week we look at some more of these tales and uncover the facts.…

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Skeptoid #173: All About Astrology

2009-09-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

When examining astrology, we have to not only look at its foundations to see it it's based on any sound science, we also have to look at the results to see if there might be some actual effect due to an unknown force.…

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Skeptoid #172: Daylight Saving Time Myths

2009-09-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Most people think daylight saving time is for farmers or to save electricity. Today we look into those popular notions with some skepticism, and find out what the real reasons are.…

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Skeptoid #171: The Battle of Los Angeles

2009-09-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

During the opening days of World War II, the American defense forces guarding Los Angeles from Japanese attack opened fire one night. Who or what they were shooting at has remained a topic of debate for decades.…

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Skeptoid #170: It's Raining Frogs and Fish

2009-09-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Many times, people have reported storms of frogs and fish raining from the clouds. The usual explanation is that they've been lifted into the sky by a waterspout. But does this explanation hold any water?…

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Skeptoid #169: Bride of Listener Feedback

2009-08-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

More replies to some of Skeptoid's more colorful listener feedback.…

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Announcing New Video Series: inFact

2009-08-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 2s

inFact is a proposed new web video series from Brian Dunning. I'm looking for sponsorship or a distribution deal.…

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Skeptoid #168: Decrypting the Mormon Book of Abraham

2009-08-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith allegedly translated the adventures of Abraham in Egypt, written by his own hand upon papyrus. But modern translations of these same papyri tell a very different story.…

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Skeptoid #167: Should Science Debate Pseudoscience?

2009-08-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

When a scientist debates a pseudoscientist, he is presenting science as if it is an equally valid alternative opinion. Rather than educating about science, this spreads a harmful message that science is merely a competing viewpoint.…

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Skeptoid #166: Organic vs. Conventional Agriculture

2009-08-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

Proponents of organic agriculture support their product with a number of arguments that charge modern farming with being poisonous to those who eat it and to the environment. Which of these arguments hold any water?…

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Skeptoid #165: Real or Fictional: Food and Fashion

2009-08-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Brand names are as important as ever, and marketers go to great lengths when they choose a person to name their product after. Are these popular food and fashion products named after real people, or fictitious people?…

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Skeptoid #164: What's Up with the Rosicrucians?

2009-07-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The Rosicrucians pack more ancient historical references into their image than half a library could contain, but they were only founded in 1915. Their teachings are based on the early 20th century New Thought movement.…

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Skeptoid #163: How to Make Skepticism Commercial

2009-07-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Critical thinking does not offer impossibly easy answers to real problems, and so its message is distinctly unpopular in the marketplace. How can we encourage people to embrace information that will actually help them to lead better lives?…

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Skeptoid #162: Locally Grown Produce

2009-07-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

We all hope and expect that locally grown produce might be fresher than produce trucked in from a bigger farm, but do we also assign less plausible benefits to it? Does it really have a lower carbon footprint, for example?…

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Skeptoid #161: Listener Feedback Episode VIII: No New Hope

2009-07-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Another peek into the Skeptoid inbox to see what's annoying our listeners, and see what Skeptoid has to say back at them.…

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Skeptoid #160: Sarah Palin Is Not Stupid

2009-06-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Making an ad hominem attack upon those with whom we disagree is not only missing the point, it's usually factually wrong and displays a lack of critical thinking.…

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Skeptoid #159: The Mothman Cometh

2009-06-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Many people believe that whenever the Mothman appears, disaster soon follows and people die. Skeptoid takes a closer look at the events that led to this belief.…

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Skeptoid #158: Student Questions: Swine Flu and Depleted Uranium

2009-06-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Skeptoid answers student questions about the swine flu, the health risks of depleted uranium, claims about expensive audio cables, Family Constellations, and Functional Medicine.…

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Skeptoid #157: High Fructose Corn Syrup: Toxic or Tame?

2009-06-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Opponents say that high fructose corn syrup is responsible for obesity, diabetes, and other conditions, and that simple sugar is a safe substitute. But what does the chemistry say? Is it possible for the two compounds to have different effects on the body?…

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Skeptoid #156: Falling into Mel's Hole

2009-06-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

In eastern Washington state is said to be a strange bottomless pit, announced by its then owner, Mel Waters. Mel's Hole has all kinds of incredible supernatural properties. But... does it actually exist?…

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Skeptoid #155: NLP: Neuro-linguistic Programming

2009-05-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Although the creators of Neuro-linguistic Programming bill it as a scientific breakthrough in psychotherapy, it's marketed and used by the New Age self-help industry. What is it, and is there any good science backing it up?…

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Skeptoid #154: Was Chuck Yeager the First to Break the Sound Barrier?

2009-05-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 17s

Credible claims that others broke the sound barrier before Chuck Yeager come from several sources, including the German Me-163 and Me-262 fighters during WWII, and from George Welch flying an XP-86 fighter only days before Yeager's historic flight.…

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Skeptoid #153: Revenge of the Listener Feedback

2009-05-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

More listener feedback. Some of it rabid, some of it crazy, some of it good, and all of it educational.…

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Skeptoid #152: Attack of the Globsters!

2009-05-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Great globs of fleshy tissue have been washing up on beaches for as long as there have been beaches. Many seem nearly impossible to identify, so cryptozoologists believe they are a new species: Octopus giganteus.…

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Skeptoid #151: The Placebo Effect

2009-04-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Everyone knows the role of placebos in clinical testing. But did you know that placebos can also be an effective medical treatment themselves?…

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Skeptoid #150: Screwed!

2009-04-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

Those Illuminati are at it again - planning their New World Order and global domination. Skeptoid special investigators captured this recording of a secret meeting of the Illuminati, the shadow government that secretly rules the planet.…

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Skeptoid #149: Coral Castle

2009-04-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Coral Castle was built from 1,100 tons of coral blocks by one man, Ed Leedskalnin, over 28 years. How did he do it? Some say he used unknown advanced technology like magnetic vortices.…

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Skeptoid #148: Student Questions: Zero Point Energy and Missing Time

2009-04-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Skeptoid answers student questions about the safety of menthol cigarettes, antibacterial cleansers, missing time reported by UFO believers, zero point energy, and the ability to sense when you're being watched.…

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Skeptoid #147: Binaural Beats: Digital Drugs

2009-03-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Some people listen to binaural beats (computer generated rhythmic audio files) in the belief that they can induce desired brain states, like a drug, or like an instant superpower pill. In this episode we look at the claims and at the actual science.…

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Skeptoid #146: How Old Is the Mount St. Helens Lava Dome?

2009-03-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

An infamous case where a Young Earth geologist misused a common dating technique in order to discredit the age of the Earth has become one of the cornerstones of the Biblical Young Earth movement.…

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Skeptoid #145: FEMA Prison Camps

2009-03-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some say that the government maintains a network of up to 800 prison camps, staffed and ready to accept US citizens, to support the New World Order.…

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Skeptoid #144: The Case of the Strange Skulls

2009-03-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

There are a number of "weird skulls" from around the world, but how many of them are actually real? Before concluding that there are anomalous skulls out there, first check the validity of your source.…

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Skeptoid #143: The Lucifer Project

2009-03-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

It started with a fanciful story idea by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, and has grown into a detailed conspiracy theory. Some people believe the real reason for NASA's deep space probes is to turn Saturn or Jupiter into a second sun.…

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Skeptoid #142: Student Questions: Sugary Behavior, Secondhand Smoke, and Wal-Mart

2009-02-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

More student questions answered: Does sugar make kids hyperactive; is secondhand smoke actually dangerous; why do people hate Wal-Mart so much; is omega-3 fatty acid supplementation worthwhile; and is radiometric dating actually useful?…

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Skeptoid #141: Listener Feedback 6: I Want to Believe

2009-02-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Another round of responses to emails and web site comments from listeners.…

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Skeptoid #140: The Bosnian Pyramids

2009-02-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Some say that a 700-foot hill in a small village in Bosnia is actually the world's largest and oldest pyramid, connected by a network of subterranean tunnels, and demonstrating a level of workmanship that predated and was superior to the Egyptians. We point our skeptical eye at the Bosnia Pyramids.…

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Skeptoid #139: Kangen Water: Change Your Water, Change Your Life

2009-02-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Kangen and other similar companies sell machines that purport to "ionize" or alkalize your water, claiming a huge range of fantastic health benefits. The only problem? None of it has any remote scientific plausibility.…

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Skeptoid #138: Is He Real, or Is He Fictional?

2009-01-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

You probably know most of these, but you won't know all of them. Some popular characters from history were real, and some were fictional -- but who really knows which were which?…

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Skeptoid #137: The Angel of Mons

2009-01-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Popular fiction tells us that a small group of British soldiers in World War I defeated a vastly superior German force with the help of angels sent from heaven. Does this story have its roots in military history, or in pulp fiction stories?…

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Skeptoid #136: Student Questions: Light Therapy, the Bermuda Triangle, and Isaac Newton

2009-01-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers questions on light therapy, the Bermuda Triangle, jumping to throw the Earth off its axis, vaccinations and autism, and environmental estrogens.…

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Skeptoid #135: The Rendlesham Forest UFO

2009-01-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 16s

In 1980, a UFO with flashing colored lights is said to have floated around the forest outside a USAF base in England for three nights in a row in plain view of military security who recorded the event. We point our skeptical eye at the evidence.…

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Skeptoid #134: Who Is Closed Minded, the Skeptic or the Believer?

2008-12-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptics and believers both accuse each other of being closed minded, of being "true believers", and of trying to justify preconceived notions. Are they both right, or is neither right?…

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Skeptoid #133: Chasing the Min Min Light

2008-12-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Some say the Min Min Light in Australia's channel country is a ghost light, others that it's some strange form of electroluminescence. Happily for us, but perhaps sadly for the legend, the truth has been conclusively determined.…

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Skeptoid #132: The Sargasso Sea and the Pacific Garbage Patch

2008-12-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

The Atlantic's Sargasso Sea is said to trap ships inside its tangled masses of seaweed, and the Pacific Trash Vortex is said to be a floating island the size of Texas. Are these two hazards real, or tall tales cooked up by mariners?…

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Skeptoid #131: The Bohemian Club Conspiracy

2008-12-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Stories abound about San Francisco's well connected Bohemian Club members: Everything from plots of global domination to stories of bizarre human sacrifice rituals to pagan god in the redwood grove. What are the facts?…

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The Most Important Thing about Skeptoid

2008-12-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 2s

Skeptoid has a much more important impact than preaching to the choir of people who are already skeptical. Find out how you can help Skeptoid introduce critical thinking to students who have never been given the tools.…

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Skeptoid #130: Space Properties for Sale

2008-12-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

Name a star or an asteroid? Buy real estate on the Moon or Mars? Companies are selling it. We turn our skeptical eye on this practice to see if such sales have any scientific legitimacy.…

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Skeptoid #129: The Oak Island Money Pit

2008-11-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Discovered in 1795, some say this strange pit on an island in Nova Scotia conceals a pirate treasure worth millions of pounds. The truth may be a little less sensational.…

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Skeptoid #128: Student Questions: the Mozart Effect, Quantum Theory, and AIDS

2008-11-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Skeptoid answers more student questions about the Mozart Effect, Quantum Theory, the cause of AIDS, gastric reflux disease, and the efficiencies of recycling.…

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Skeptoid #127: The Truth about Aspartame

2008-11-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

The artificial sweetener aspartame has been a mainstay of diet soft drinks and other foods for decades, and all testing has shown it to be safe. But for some reason, activists credit it with millions of deaths worldwide and blame it for nearly every disease.…

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Skeptoid #126: The Incorruptibles

2008-11-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The Catholics are not the only church that claims incorruptible martyrs and saints -- bodies that do not decay after death. Buddhist monks have practiced this for centuries. But not all are as miraculous as claimed.…

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Skeptoid #125: Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience

2008-10-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

When you have a giant audience, you have a giant responsibility; and the celebrities on this list fail to deliver. A critical look at the antics of Oprah Winfrey, Jenny McCarthy, Prince Charles, Bill Maher, Larry King, Pamela Anderson, Ben Stein, Joe Rogan, Chuck Norris, and Montel Williams.…

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Skeptoid #124: Betty and Barney Hill: The Original UFO Abduction

2008-10-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

In 1961, Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been taken aboard an alien spacecraft and had experiments performed on them. It's always been considered the seminal abduction story, and rarely questioned. Today we question it, in spades.…

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Skeptoid #123: Listener Feedback Reloaded

2008-10-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

Reading and responding to some more listener feedback emails, on topics such as genetically modified foods, running your car on water, yet more MonaVie nonsense, and my giant kickbacks from Big Agriculture.…

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Skeptoid #122: HAARP Myths

2008-10-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Critics of HAARP (the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) in Alaska charge that it is a superweapon responsible for earthquakes and weather disasters. The scientists behind it paint quite a different picture of its research goals. Which is true?…

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Skeptoid #121: Scalar Weapons: Tesla's Doomsday Machine?

2008-09-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Proponents of hypothesized "scalar weapons" claim that they are a real class of atmospheric superweapons actually in use by major governments and clandestine crime organizations to cause natural disasters and other attacks worldwide.…

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Skeptoid #120: The World According to Conservapedia

2008-09-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

It's bad enough for an online encyclopedia to present the Young Earth anti-science view of our natural world and physical sciences, but it's worse when Conservapedia disguises itself as merely an "unbiased" knowledge resource.…

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Skeptoid #119: Student Questions: Body Searches and Theta Healing

2008-09-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Skeptoid answers some more student questions, this time on body searches in airports, theta healing, dreams coming true, marijuana use, and the physiological causes of homosexuality.…

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Skeptoid #118: Demystifying the Bell Witch

2008-09-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The Bell Witch is said to have tormented the Bell family of Tennessee in the early 1800's, and even to have murdered the father and beaten US President Andrew Jackson in a challenge. In this episode we follow the process of responsibly investigating these claims to see what (most likely) really happened.…

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Skeptoid #117: How Dangerous Is Cell Phone Radiation?

2008-09-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Turn on CNN or watch YouTube and you'll hear plenty of tales about cell phone radiation being dangerous to human tissue, causing cancer or other health problems. Shouldn't it tell you something that there has never been a documented case of a single victim?…

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Skeptoid #116: How to Be a Skeptic and Still Have Friends

2008-08-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

When you're known as a skeptic, it often makes you unpopular among the pseudoscience believing majority. You're known as that hateful, doubting jerk. Here is one way to manage this process and turn "being the skeptic" from a liability into an advantage.…

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Skeptoid #115: Search for the Missing Cosmonauts

2008-08-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

In 1961, young Italian amateur radio enthusiasts Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia recorded transmissions they say are from Soviet cosmonauts dying in space, on missions covered up by the Soviets. Is their story plausible?…

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Skeptoid #114: Student Questions: Fish Oil, Charities, and Rumors

2008-08-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

Skeptoid answers some questions sent in by students about fish oil, charity fraud, rumors, non-falsifiable science, and osteopathy.…

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Skeptoid #113: The Most Effective Homeopathy Podcast Ever

2008-08-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Does homeopathy contain any useful content, or is it just a lot of nothing?…

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Skeptoid #112: Genetically Modified Organisms: Jeopardy or Jackpot?

2008-08-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Some environmental lobbyists go to great lengths to deny food, to which they have personal objections, to starving people in poor countries. They base these actions on a long list of spiritual, pseudoscientific, and irrelevant red herring objections to food science.…

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Skeptoid #111: Should Tibet Be Free?

2008-07-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Celebrities and many others passionately advocate for a free Tibet. Do they really understand what that means? Are they aware that not even the Dalai Lama himself wants a free Tibet?…

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Skeptoid #110: Illuminating the Fatima "Miracle of the Sun"

2008-07-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The famous "Miracle of the Sun" is said to be one of the Catholic Church's greatest miracles. But, under just the tiniest bit of scrutiny, it seems there is no good reason to suspect that anything remotely unusual might have happened.…

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Skeptoid #109: Will the Large Hadron Collider Destroy the Earth?

2008-07-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

CERN has finally completed construction of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle collider. But some alarmists who don't understand the science have been given a platform by the mass media to spread fear and misinformation that the LHC is somehow a dangerous threat to the planet.…

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Skeptoid #108: Mystery at Dyatlov Pass

2008-07-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Nine cross country skiers died in the Ural Mountains in 1959 in the most bizarre of circumstances. Secret Russian military tests have been blamed, as have UFOs. What really happened?…

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Skeptoid #107: Spy Radio: Numbers Stations

2008-06-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Since the cold war, there have been many mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts called numbers stations, transmitted encrypted messages for some unknown purpose. What are they really, and what do they sound like?…

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Skeptoid #106: King Tut's Curse!

2008-06-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

We've all heard the story of King Tut's curse, and we've all heard the popular scientific sounding explanation. Today we look at the real science behind what actually happened.…

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Skeptoid #105: When People Talk Backwards

2008-06-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some people think that when you say something and play it backwards, you'll hear what your brain truly intended to say. Somehow the brain is clever (and honest) enough to choose words that, when played backwards, say what you actually meant.…

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Skeptoid #104: Yet More Winning Listener Feedback

2008-06-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

There was just too much Detoxification feedback to pass up, I had to pass along a second batch. Plus, a few other assorted episodes that are also worthy of note.…

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Skeptoid #103: Should You Take Your Vitamins?

2008-06-02 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Folk wisdom has long told us that daily megadoses of vitamin C can cure the common cold, and even prevent us from catching one. Megadosing on other vitamins can prolong life, treat or prevent other diseases, and even improve general well being and happiness. Are these stories true? Let's take a look at the science behind them.…

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Skeptoid #102: What You Didn't Know about the Stanford Prison Experiment

2008-05-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Dr. Philip Zimbardo's infamous Stanford Prison Experiment is popularly believed to have proven that bad environments produce bad behavior in good people. However, a closer and more critical look at the experiment itself and its methodology shows that it may not have been a valid experiment at all, and merely an illustration of one man's beliefs.…

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Skeptoid #101: Things I'm Wrong About

2008-05-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Although you probably naturally assume that I'm always right about everything, in fact I do sometimes get stuff wrong, with my limited resources and all. Here's a look back at a few examples.…

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Skeptoid #100: Is Peak Oil the End of Civilization?

2008-05-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Doomsayer web sites claim that peak oil, the point at which diminishing supply forces oil production to drop and no longer be able to meet demand, will result in a worldwide panic of unprecedented proportions. But peaks like this have always happened throughout history, and we've learned that the nature of market economies is to react and adapt.…

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Skeptoid #99: Reassembling TWA Flight 800

2008-05-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Sometimes the NTSB simply can't find the definitive cause of an accident. There isn't always as much hard physical evidence as we're likely to be. Unfortunately, conspiracy theorists believe that whenever this happens, the most reasonable explanation is a massive government coverup of unspeakable proportions.…

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Skeptoid #98: The Crystal Skull: Mystical, or Modern?

2008-04-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

Believers say the Crystal Skull, and others like it (like the one in the Indiana Jones movie), is of ancient origin and possesses magical powers. The facts tell quite a different story.…

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Skeptoid #97: The Face on Mars Revealed

2008-04-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

Today we look at the face on Mars in the Cydonia Mensae region. Conspiracy theorist Richard Hoagland believes it's proof of a Martian civilization. But photography, the perceptual phenomenon called pareidolia, and the Law of Large Numbers combine to say that it's simply a natural hill.…

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Skeptoid #96: What's Wrong with The Secret

2008-04-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

The 2006 book and movie "The Secret" teaches tired old self-help motivational concepts wrapped inside a century-old version of New Age metaphysics. This idea has been widely criticized and attacked from all angles, and rightfully so.…

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Skeptoid #95: Bend Over and Own Your Own Business

2008-04-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Everyone wants to sell you something. And when that product is the promise of financial freedom owning your own business, you can be pretty certain 9 times out of 10 that someone is pocketing your money for no good reason. Real business opportunities are made, not purchased from ads on the Internet.…

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Skeptoid #94: Fire in the Sky: A Real UFO Abduction?

2008-03-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The Travis Walton UFO abduction case, popularized in his book and in the movie Fire in the Sky, is said to be the most compelling abduction case because of the number of eyewitnesses. Did you know these eyewitnesses were all buddies of his who failed as many polygraphs as they passed?…

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Skeptoid #93: Apocalypse 2012

2008-03-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

A number of ancient legends have been interpreted by modern astrologers and doomsayers to mean that the world is coming to an end in 2012. Fear not; not only is there no historical basis to these claims, but there are far more stories of Armageddon with completely different dates to worry about.…

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Skeptoid #92: Rethinking Nuclear Power

2008-03-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Nuclear reactors on today's drawing board produce little or no waste, are cheaper and safer, and can't be used to create weapons grade plutonium. So remind me, please: Why has the environmental lobby forced us instead on to the polluting alternative of coal and oil fired power plants?…

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Skeptoid #91: More Outrageous Listener Feedback

2008-03-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Yet another mano-a-mano round between me and my least enthusiastic listeners. Come and join the fun!…

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Skeptoid #90: Can You Hear the Hum?

2008-03-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Some people hear a mysterious rumble called the Hum in various places, and it's infamous in certain locales. The Taos Hum, the Bristol Hum, the Auckland Hum, the Kokomo Hum. Is there a single explanation for all of them?…

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Skeptoid #89: Despicable Vulture Scumbags

2008-02-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

The wet cell battery, a useless piece of pseudoscience hardware conceived by early 20th century celebrity psychic Edgar Cayce, is offered for sale to people with serious terminal and debilitating illnesses, with no hope of actual treatment.…

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Skeptoid #88: Super Sized Fast Food Phobia

2008-02-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

"Super Size Me" was a highly dramatized documentary movie that stated fast food has extremely dangerous side effects. But, when we examine the issue skeptically, we see that the science tells us something very different.…

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Skeptoid #87: Water: Alternative Fuel of the Future?

2008-02-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Hundreds of claims exist to burn water to make energy, whether as a supplemental power source for your car or as some new kind of way to power the generation of electricity using free fuel and producing no emissions. Yet these systems all share a fatal flaw: They consume more energy than they produce.…

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Skeptoid #86: MonaVie and Other "Superfruit" Juices

2008-02-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

MonaVie and other "superfruit" juices market themselves as great sources of antioxidants and the best way to prevent aging. When these claims are examined scientifically, neither is true; and especially not when compared to the country doctor's favorite axiom of an apple a day.…

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Skeptoid #85: World Trade Center 7: The Lies Come Crashing Down

2008-01-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Conspiracy theorists allege that the collapse of 7 World Trade Center was a controlled demolition, executed by the US government. But their theory is inconsistent with all of the events in the seven hours preceding the collapse. Is it still possible?…

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Skeptoid #84: Magic Jewelry

2008-01-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Ever seen someone wearing a Q-Ray bracelet? They are said to have all sorts of wonderful health effects, of a type not yet understood by western science. One thing is understood: The courts, the FTC, and the Mayo Clinic aren't buying a word of it.…

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Skeptoid #83: The Detoxification Myth

2008-01-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The world is full of hucksters trying to sell us products to "detoxify" our bodies, but nobody ever really hints at what these supposed "toxins" might be. Whether it's adhesive vinegar foot pads, electric foot baths, or pills that rubberize our stools into giant snakes, there's always some brand of snake oil offering to do what our livers and kidneys already do for free.…

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Skeptoid Book Is Now Available!

2008-01-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 1s

Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena by Brian Dunning, with a foreword by James Randi, is now available as a book from Amazon.com. Autographed copies are also available through Skeptoid.com.…

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Skeptoid #82: What Do Creationists Really Believe?

2008-01-07 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

The battle between science and creationism may be the one getting the most headlines in the news, but the real battle is among the various types of creationists. Their radically differing belief systems are irreconciliable and at varying odds with science.…

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Skeptoid #81: Ghost Hunting Tools of the Trade

2007-12-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

In this episode we examine why the flagrant misuse and mischaracterization of electronic equipment by ghost hunters is so stupid. We look at IR gear, EMF meters, cameras, ion and particle detectors, dowsing rods and audio gear.…

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Skeptoid #80: Are Microwave Ovens Safe?

2007-12-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Anti-microwave activists claim that food or water than has been microwaved is toxic to plants and animals, despite the lack of any victims, any useful research indicating this, or any plausible explanation of how or why such a thing might be possible.…

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Skeptoid #79: Aliens in Roswell

2007-12-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

If you've paid much attention to the Roswell Incident over the years, you may have concluded that it's so tangled that the truth will never be known. Fear not; the truth is quite simple, and Skeptoid unravels it for you here.…

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Skeptoid #78: Medical Myths in Movies and Culture

2007-12-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

If you've grown up watching movies or having a mother dispensing folk remedies, you probably know and/or believe a whole array of false anecdotes about the way the human body works. In this episode we'll look at a number of the most popular with a skeptical eye.…

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Skeptoid #77: Orang Pendek: Forest Hobbit of Sumatra

2007-12-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Orang Pendek, which could be described as a miniature Bigfoot by some, is said to inhabit the jungles of Sumatra. Let's weigh the actual evidence for this creature against the tidal wave of local legend and lore from Sumatra's uncounted remote tribes.…

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Skeptoid #76: Who Kills More, Religion or Atheism?

2007-11-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

The age-old debate between which side is responsible for more deaths in history, religion or atheism, is not an argument that either side can ever win. Nor is it a useful tool to analyze the value of religion. Which side is right? Skeptoid's take might surprise you.…

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Skeptoid #75: How to See Your Aura

2007-11-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Infrared photographs, Kirlian imagery, and the AuraCam 6000 all purport to be able to show a person's mystical aura. Unfortunately, these techniques all have much simpler and more mundane explanations.…

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Skeptoid #74: A Magical Journey through the Land of Logical Fallacies - Part 2

2007-11-12 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

When debating, don't allow yourself to be taken in by logical fallacies and argumentative devices that lack merit. Learn these and become handy with them, and you'll be able to easily poke through any bogus arguments thrown your way.…

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Skeptoid #73: A Magical Journey through the Land of Logical Fallacies - Part 1

2007-11-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 13s

Why aren't supernatural and pseudoscientific phenomena supported by scientific evidence? They can't be, by definition - and so they are often supported by these logical fallacies instead.…

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Skeptoid #72: Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Real or Imagined?

2007-10-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 16s

The symptoms of electrosensitivity are identical to the symptoms of stress, and although sufferers attribute their condition to the presence of electromagnetic fields, research has shown quite conclusively that the stress is caused only by their perception of electromagnetic fields.…

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Skeptoid #71: How to Drink Gnarly Breast Milk

2007-10-22 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

People who sell powdered colostrum, the thick yellow milk produced by mothers around the time of childbirth, believe that it has tremendous health benefits such as immunities and muscle building.…

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Skeptoid #70: Raging (Bioidentical) Hormones

2007-10-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 7s

Celebrity endorsers are all over bioidentical hormone therapy, claiming that these plant-based hormones are safer and more effective than the synthetic molecules to which they are chemically bioidentical. Yes, it is is logical absurdity, and no, it isn't true.…

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Skeptoid #69: Ann Coulter, Scientist

2007-10-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 7s

When Ann Coulter starts to talk about the origin of species, all she has in her bag of verbal ammunition is a collection of hoary devices such as ad hominem, special pleadings, observational selection, non-sequiturs, slippery slopes, and straw men.…

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Skeptoid #68: More Wet and Wild Listener Feedback

2007-10-01 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

More listener feedback covering the episodes on the Phoenix Lights, 9/11 conspiracy theories, vaccinations causing autism, chiropractic, and lots of other fun episodes.…

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Skeptoid #67: Do Your Body Features Measure Up?

2007-09-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Despite two centuries of medical science teaching us much about the way human body actually works, some people still prefer to stick with the level of knowledge from ancient times, and still practice phrenology, physiognomy, palmistry, and iridology.…

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Skeptoid #66: The Greatest Secret of Nostradamus

2007-09-17 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 14s

Whole volumes of false history have been woven around Renaissance seer Nostradamus. Nearly everyone knows about his supposed prophecies and predictions, but fewer are aware of the detailed biographies - and it turns out they are all equally false.…

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Skeptoid #65: How to Debate a Young Earth Creationist

2007-09-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

Young Earthers only have a limited number of cogent arguments that they use to refute evolution, and they're easily rebutted if you're familiar with them. This episode gives you a good foundation of what to expect to hear, and how to reply to it.…

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Skeptoid #64: The Attack of Spring Heeled Jack

2007-09-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

Spring Heeled Jack was a mysterious attacker notorious throughout 19th century England. But is it possible that he was simply the same character as the Monkey Man that frightened New Delhi in 2001? That characater being a figment of mass imagination?…

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Skeptoid #63: Subliminal Seduction

2007-08-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

It's commonly accepted that the advertising industry systematically manipulates the public with subliminal advertising. The perception is based on a famous experiment ... that was a complete hoax.…

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Skeptoid #62: Crop Circle Jerks

2007-08-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Ever since Doug Bower and Dave Chorley showed the world how easy it is for people to make even the most complex crop circle patterns, people have been making them by the thousand. And yet, a small but vocal group still maintains that all crop circles - even those made by hoaxers - have paranormal explanations that are physically measurable.…

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Skeptoid #61: Irradiation: Is Your Food Toxic?

2007-08-13 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

Europe sterilizes much of its food with irradiation, as a cheap and safe way to sterilize it. In the United States, people fear irradiation, in many cases believing sterilized food to be radioactive. Who has the safer philosophy?…

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Skeptoid #60: Will Drinking from Plastic Bottles Kill You?

2007-08-08 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

The whole pop culture phenomenon that states plastic water bottles leech toxic chemicals into your water appears to have been started by a single grad student's poorly performed thesis. Pop media picked up the alarming headline, and we have history.…

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Skeptoid #59: Who Are the Raelians, and Why Are They Naked?

2007-08-03 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Raelians are a new atheist sect who believe that a benevolent race of aliens created humanity. They also practice free love and nudism, along with supporting just about every type of scientific advancement and genetics research.…

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Skeptoid #58: All About Fluoridation

2007-07-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

How true are the popular claims that fluoridation of water causes cancer and other illnesses? How true is the medical research that indicates its total safety and overwhelming dental benefits? Skeptoid looks at one community in California that recently fought this battle.…

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Skeptoid #57: Email Myths

2007-07-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Email has made it very easy to spread information - but is that information always reliable? Most of the chain emails you receive are probably bogus.…

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Skeptoid #56: Bizarre Places I'd Like to Go

2007-07-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Whether you're interested in ghost stories, scientific curiosities, or just plan weird wild stuff, California should be high on your list of destinations.…

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Skeptoid #55: Mercury, Autism, and Chelation: A Recipe for Risk

2007-07-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Celebrity activists tell us that vaccinating your child can cause autism. What is this tragic misinformation based on? What are the real causes? What are the real benefits of vaccination? And, should chelation therapy be used on every child who has been vaccinated?…

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Skeptoid #54: The Twin Towers: Fire Melting Steel

2007-07-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

The Oakland freeway collapse in April 2007 appears consistent with the official version of what brought down the Twin Towers on 9/11. But conspiracy theorists charge that the government staged the freeway collapse in order to bolster their official version of 9/11. Which is true?…

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Skeptoid #53: Borley Rectory: the World's Most Haunted House?

2007-07-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Borley Rectory is widely regarded as the most haunted house in England, and probably in the world. Or, was it all the creation of Harry Price, a professional magician, hoaxster, and author?…

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Skeptoid #52: Science Magazines Violating Their Own Missions

2007-06-29 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 7s

Popular magazines like Scientific American and Popular Science claim to be advancing science, but at the same time, they publish material from third party advertisers that shoots that mission down. Should they, or shouldn't they?…

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Skeptoid #51: Ethanol: Miracle Fuel, or Not?

2007-06-24 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 7s

Ethanol is a perfect example of politics distracting progress. Because of misplaced interest in ethanol, time, energy, and money is being spent in a useless direction instead of on true next generation power and fuel systems.…

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Skeptoid #50: How to Identify a "Good" Scientific Journal

2007-06-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

When debating, your opponent will often throw research at you that was "published in a peer reviewed scientific journal". This episode gives you the tools to tell a reputable journal from a non-reputable one.…

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Skeptoid #49: Unconscious Research of Global Consciousness

2007-06-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Dean Radin says that collective consciousness has a direct measurable effect on the output of his random number generators. Others say that his methodology is fatally flawed, and that he only find specific results that he wants using whatever questionable method is needed to achieve each desired result.…

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Skeptoid #48: The Bible Code: Enigmas for Dummies

2007-06-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

During the tumultuous Middle East peace process of the mid 1990's, Michael Drosnin predicted that Yitzhak Rabin would be assassinated, and missed it by a year. Many other psychics predicted it much more closely. Why was Drosnin the one who went on Oprah?…

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How Skeptoid Can Help You Win $1 Million

2007-05-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 5s

Before you can apply to win the James Randi Educational Foundation's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, you must first qualify by having a media presence. Skeptoid is pleased to announce that it is now a qualifying media outlet.…

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Skeptoid #47: Free Range Chicken and Farm Raised Fish

2007-05-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

Free range chickens are not raised on what anyone would think of as a free range, and fish from farms may have different pros and cons than we've been led to believe.…

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Skeptoid #46: Support Your Local Reptoid

2007-05-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

One popular conspiracy theory is that reptilian beings actually control our government and our companies. This story got its start in 1934, ironically from a news story that said nothing about reptilian beings.…

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Skeptoid #45: The Importance of Teaching Critical Thinking

2007-05-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 7s

Teaching skepticism and critical thinking to young people puts them on the path to learning and progress, while allowing them to invest their faith in the supernatural puts them on the path to developmental stagnation.…

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Skeptoid #44: The Truth About Remote Viewing

2007-05-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Are so-called remote viewers, like those hired by the US government in the 1970's for Project Starget, really just performing simple tricks that any competent magician can easily replicate?…

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Skeptoid #43: A Mormon History of the Americas

2007-05-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

The Book of Mormon makes numerous specific historical claims about the history of the American continents. Scientific consensus disputes this version of history. Which is correct?…

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Skeptoid #42: Whacking, Cracking, and Chiropracting

2007-04-30 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Developed by a non-scientist at a time in history when almost nothing useful or true was known about medicine, chiropractic is still unique among alternative medicine systems because some of its practitioners actually do accept much of what we've since learned about anatomy.…

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Skeptoid #41: The Alien Invasion of Phoenix, Arizona

2007-04-25 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Why do these stories persist after a whole decade, when the event has been thoroughly explained. Many people put more faith in unsubstantiated verbal reports than they do in hard evidence.…

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Skeptoid #40: Neanderthals in Present Day Asia

2007-04-20 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

Some researchers of the Almas and Yeti in modern Asia conclude that they are relic populations of surviving Neanderthals and Gigantopithecus. Are these explanations possible, and do they match the evidence?…

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Skeptoid #39: Heating Up to Global Warming

2007-04-15 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Everyone agrees the Earth is warming. Everyone agrees we should do what we can to address the problem. We can spend all the money in the world, but nobody knows how much this will help, if at all.…

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Skeptoid #38: The Marfa Lights: A Real American Mystery

2007-04-10 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

Some say they are ball lightning, others that they're the lantern swung by a ghostly headless brakeman. The truth, it turns out, is even stranger than the fiction.…

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Skeptoid #37: How to Spot Pseudoscience

2007-04-05 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Inspired by Carl Sagan's original Baloney Detection Kit, this 15-point checklist will help you tell science from pseudoscience.…

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Skeptoid #36: Mercury Fillings

2007-03-31 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Merucry amalgam fillings have always been acknowledge to release mercury into the body, but at an insignificant level, about the same rate as a wristwatch or wedding ring. Some fringe dentists claim that it's much higher, even lethal.…

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Skeptoid #35: Revisionist Darwinism: The Theory That Couldn't Sit Still

2007-03-26 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

One claim against evolution made by some creationists is that it constantly needs to be updated to fit the facts, and is therefore too full of holes to be useful. Scientists, on the other hand, say that the ability to incorporate new knowledge is a central strength of the scientific method.…

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Skeptoid #34: Homeopathy: Pure Water or Pure Nonsense?

2007-03-21 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 12s

Many users of homeopathy have a misconception that it's some kind of herbal remedy, or that it treats illness similar to a vaccine. They couldn't be more wrong - according to its founder.…

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Skeptoid #33: Best of Listener Feedback

2007-03-16 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 15s

The best of listener feedback from the first 32 Skeptoid episodes.…

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Skeptoid #32: Blood for Oil

2007-03-11 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

"Blood for Oil" is the favorite de facto reason for the Gulf War among anti-US Halliburton conspiracy theorists. Is the war really improving our access to oil?…

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Skeptoid #31: The Devil Walked in Devon

2007-03-06 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 6s

When a mysterious 100-mile track of footprints appeared overnight in England in 1855, was the devil really the most probable explanation?…

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Skeptoid #30: Raw Food - Raw Deal?

2007-02-28 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 11s

Raw food is a healthy and delicious alternative than anyone can and should enjoy. But for some reason, some raw foodists feel that this is not enough - that they must also support and defend it by spreading silly lies about the dangers of cooked food.…

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Skeptoid #29: Orbs: The Ghost in the Camera

2007-02-23 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 8s

Orbs are said to be ghosts or spiritual energy moving through photographs, but not visible to the naked eye. Some say that orbs are just an ordinary byproduct of photography that anyone can recreate.…

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Special Announcement from Skeptoid

2007-02-19 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 1s

Subscribe to the Skeptalk Email Discussion List for live, real-time email conversation about any and every skeptical issue you want to throw out there.…

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Skeptoid #28: Natural Hygiene: Health Without Medicine (or Wisdom)

2007-02-18 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 5s

Natural hygiene is the practice of avoiding medical care, in the belief that it's harmful to the body. Isn't this contrary to what 100 years of medical science have taught us?…

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Skeptoid #27: Chemtrails: Real or Not?

2007-02-14 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

One group of conspiracy theorists believes that there is no such thing as an aircraft contrail, and that whenever you see one, the explanation must lie elsewhere: Mysterious chemicals being sprayed by our government, in a worldwide covert operation.…

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Skeptoid #26: Biodynamic Agriculture

2007-02-09 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 9s

The Dark Ages are alive and well in the bizarre magical world of biodynamic agriculture. Before you buy that biodynamic wine, be sure that withcraft and sorcery are really what you want to put on your dinner table.…

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Skeptoid #25: Scientists Are Not Created Equal

2007-02-04 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 6s

We tend to accept things as truth simply because we hear that a "scientist" supports it. Is that really a meaningful title, by itself? Is this really a reason we should believe something?…

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Skeptoid #24: Reflexology: Only Dangerous If You Use It

2007-01-27 :: Brian Dunning
Length: 10s

Before you stop to think that reflexology is no more than a great foot massage with some harmless drivel attached to it, be aware of how it can lead to injury or death for some of its believers.…

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