Skeptics with a K: Episode #063

Welcome to 2012. ┬áThe end of the world starts here–with liars, Bob Holness, Zeta Reticuli, and Walt Disney. Plus Gary Coleman, the Star Trek theme, Comet Hale-Bopp and Johnny Cash. Fighting the law (though the law wins), it’s Skeptics with a K.

  1. #1 by Rupert on January 13, 2012 - 12:33

    Back on Hale-Bopp – if the real thing were 180 degrees away from Hale-Bopp, then inventing the comet would be a pretty unneccesary and useless distraction, as looking in the opposite direction from Hale-Bopp would probably require waiting twelve hours and then looking at the sky during daytime. The Sun normally does a better job of distracting people from such objects than a comet that people could see twelve hours later would do.

  2. #2 by Chris on January 13, 2012 - 21:34

    Did they say exactly 180 degrees from what?

    I remember my mother-in-law calling to remind me to look at the comet, and the lunar eclipse. When I looked out my front door I saw the comet in all its glory, then I went to the back door and saw the lunar eclipse.

    It is a straight line from the front door to the back door.

    It was spectacular, and I am really glad my mother-in-law called (being a bit busy with three kids all under eight years old).

  3. #3 by Lisa on January 14, 2012 - 17:32

    The lie detector test bit was a bit terrifying. I thought I’d seen a discussion about some people who do very bad things can be quite emotionally flat anyway & wouldn’t perceive/experience/respond to questioning in a measurable way. No basis for investigating.

    Lovely singing & swearing : )

  4. #4 by E.T. on January 16, 2012 - 08:24

    Ah, Pedantry!

    Johnny Cash recorded two live concert albums that were performed for American prisons: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and Johnny Cash at San Quentin.

    Bloody Hell.

    Formulating a sentence that unambiguously communicated the facts on this one was tricksey. “Johnny Cash recorded two hit albums in prison” is %100 accurate, but unfortunately lacking in clarity…

    It’s the sort of sentence that makes me wish the libel laws would move forward a few centuries already.

  5. #5 by Stephen on January 27, 2012 - 17:52

    The main problem with all these ineffective lie detecting techniques is that they give investigators unreasonable confidence in the results. Passing or failing a lie detector test doesn’t really tell you anything definitive, and I think a lot of people will kind of admit that if you pressed them, but your colleagues in the police would still think you’re awfully keen if you kept investigating someone who passed the test.

    *Human* lie detection is a big one too. It’s basically giving officers a piece of paper to wave at their colleagues in support of their gut feelings about people. They’re not actually better at detecting liars after the training.

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