Skeptics with a K: Episode #057

Gambling, flooding, cheating and remote viewing. Plus basketball, Gilgamesh, Amsterdam and rolling green hills. With an entourage of eight people, it’s Skeptics with a K.

  1. #1 by Rebecca on October 20, 2011 - 14:44

    I really have to stop being such a pedant (and first poster)… but it is the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin 🙂
    Interesting thing about that is that her accusers (as far as I am aware/been informed) have disappeared. My fellow Skeprechaun Finn has been following this more closely but it is an interesting facet to the story. Since that radio show in which the accusations have been leveled they have gone quiet.

  2. #2 by Mike on October 20, 2011 - 16:10

    No, no, it’s good. Pedantry is good. Especially when we get stuff wrong.

    Though, to my understanding, Simon Singh has been in contact with the women who called the radio station. They haven’t simply disappeared.

  3. #3 by Rebecca on October 20, 2011 - 16:59

    Oh that’s interesting! Though with the how people’s emotions can run very high defending psychics, you can’t blame anyone for going to ground a bit.

  4. #4 by Xander on October 21, 2011 - 14:28

    Don’t the bookies use the SAME data as the punters to set the odds for the races? I can understand that roulette etc. is a set odds independant trial series where previous results have no bearing on subsequent results but Horse racing odds are set by people looking at the “form” of the horses and estimating their chances of winning on this kind of ground in this kind of race over this kind of distance are they not? As such cant punters then look at the same data and possibly glean better probabilities from it ?

  5. #5 by Greg on October 21, 2011 - 14:31

    Excellent episode, fellas. I broke out laughing on the train this morning during the discussion of Noah’s Chinese son, ruining the silence and everyone’s commute. Fantastic.

    I always thought that a good explanation of why there were so many flood stories is that most civilizations, particularly in the Middle East, were clustered around bodies of water, which tend to flood every so often. I generally stopped there, sated, but I appreciate the in-depth look.

  6. #6 by brainfisch on October 21, 2011 - 15:59

    Regarding PLOS One, I would like to comment on the quality of the journal. Although it’s impact factor is only average (4.1), there is still rigorous peer review behind the papers published, as in most scientific journals. So there is NO indication, that the quality of papers is worse than in most other journals.

    The whole PLOS project was started to provide public access research for a moderate price. Currently if you publish with one of the major publishers, the paper is only available to subscribers (and subscription can easily be above £1000) or pay per view (usually around £20 to 40) or the authors have to pay a fee of £2000 to £5000 out of their research grants (which means at least one person – month of research time less). WIth most of the PLOS journals (or similar journals from other publishers), the price for publication is about £400 to £1000, so a lot less money. The only thing that stopped most of these journals from increasing their impact, was the lack of an impact factor until last year – and the fact that many research budgets are based on the impact factor of the journals you publish in.
    So let’s hope that PLOS One will continue to publish great science and will lower the price of access even further.

  7. #7 by Liisa on October 21, 2011 - 20:57

    Apologies for also being a pedant, but I must correct your geography. As much as I get excited at mentions of anything even remotely pertinent to me in podcasts I listen to, (particularly foreign ones) I’m embarrassed to admit the “psychic” masters student is in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada and NOT the USA as mentioned.
    Great stuff guys, keep it up!

  8. #8 by Rebecca on October 23, 2011 - 21:43

    Also… I wouldn’t add Irish accent to the accent lexicon quite yet, some work needed – unless you are looking to sound like an extra from Darby O’Gill 😉

  9. #9 by William Roe on October 29, 2011 - 21:58

    There are no links in the show notes unfortunately, so here’s the PLoS One paper:

  10. #10 by Xtaldave on November 2, 2011 - 12:11

    PLOS is Kosher.

  11. #11 by Marc Naimark on November 16, 2011 - 10:34

    Sudbury (and Laurentian University) are in the US? You Irish folk are so funny!

  12. #12 by Marc Naimark on November 16, 2011 - 10:41

    Actually, after Marsh slamming the writer about domestic violence (“A one-minute search on Google would show…”), I was tempted to say the same about Sudbury, USA (not). But of course this was not the point of the story. Yet Marsh DID use Wikipedia to find out about the Cree… and the article gives a strong impression of the Cree living mostly in Canada. Bad Marsh!

  13. #13 by Marc Naimark on November 16, 2011 - 10:45

    And “First Nation” is Canadian usage. In the US, they say “Native Americans”.

    Past participle of “créer” is “créé”, not Cree.

    Marsh is making me irate.

  14. #14 by Marc Naimark on November 16, 2011 - 10:48

  15. #15 by Marc Naimark on November 16, 2011 - 10:53

    Re Persinger: I should listen to the whole bit before posting here.

  16. #16 by Marc Naimark on November 16, 2011 - 10:58


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