Skeptics with a K: Episode #074


Games, gardens, Greece and goals. Plus cats, corrections, children and confirmation bias. With British passports, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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  1. #1 by E.T. on June 14, 2012 - 19:17

    “Exeption that proves the rule.”

    Grrr…..Bill Bryson was wrong!. I found the “proves=tests” example in his book “The Mother Tongue” back in 1998.

    Speaking of tongues, it also seems that the idea of a ‘taste map’ where salty, sweet, bitter, and sour each have their own territory is bullshit propagated from mistranslations by Harvard Psychologist Edwin C. Boring.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue_map

  2. #2 by Steve Andrew on June 15, 2012 - 12:49

    Victoria Coren hit the nail on the head on the subject of psychic animals on HIGNFY last week: “No psychic pigs!”

    It’s always interesting that they can “predict” the results of matches where the identities of the two teams are known (eg: the group stages), but cannot predict say, the results of the final two weeks in advance where there could be any two teams playing.

    And these clips of “psychic animals predicting results” – are they ever shown live, or are they somehow mysteriously released on Youtube after the match with a comment, “Look what we filmed before the game, isn’t it amazing – he predicted the result!” Maybe two sets of footage are originally filmed in advance, with the animal choosing one team in one clip, and one team in the other, and they release the clip with the winning team?

    I’m not saying this is what the owners of the “psychic pig” in Euro 2012 are going to do, but if I was going to try and pass off a farmyard animal as a psychic phenomenon, that is probably how I’d do it.

    And the article about brooding teenagers and modern technology – that sounds like the sort of “rewiring the brain” story Baroness Greenfield always puts out every few months or so…

  3. #3 by Sara on June 24, 2012 - 17:38

    When I was a kid I played Doom all the time, and I became a bit jumpy – starting easily when someone would tap me on the shoulder… but I didn’t start viciously mowing down people (or aliens) with chainsaws and plasma rifles. I think you guys had it right – all adolescents are, to varying degrees, moody and obnoxious.

    Can’t wait until the next show!

  4. #4 by NickT on June 24, 2012 - 21:25

    Regarding Paul the psychic octopus (may his tentacled carcass rest in peace)… Assuming a fair pick, and seven matches, there are 128 outcomes over the run of seven matches.

    So all you’d need is 128 ‘psychic’ animals and you’d be fairly certain of having one predicting all seven correctly.

    What are the chances of that?

    Spoiler alert
    (0.0078125)

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