Skeptics with a K: Episode #080


Nano-vibrations, short-wave radio, level-crossings and clumped blood. Plus shoes, smokers, sinus arrhythmia and the Godfather. Running over unicorns, it’s Skeptics with a K.

Oh, and QED is back! http://qedcon.org/.

Play
  1. #1 by Michael Kingsford Gray on September 7, 2012 - 12:06

    Adore the show, but:
    The encoding is wholly non-standard MP3, and won’t play on my older PDA.
    Is this a ruse to get me to buy a later bit of kit from which you guys make a fortune?

  2. #2 by Mike Hall on September 7, 2012 - 12:27

    I’ve had a few reports of this recently — but as I’m aware the MP3 is a standard encoding (22.05KHz, 32kbps, mono – conforms to ISO/IEC 13818-3:1995), and nothing has changed in the way we encode the show for around two years.

  3. #3 by Mike Hall on September 7, 2012 - 12:34

    Can you send me an email Michael and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of it? mike.hall@merseysideskeptics.org.uk

    Cheers

  4. #4 by John foster on September 7, 2012 - 13:11

  5. #5 by John foster on September 7, 2012 - 13:14

  6. #6 by James on September 7, 2012 - 14:29

    Your experiment didn’t test the effect of the Shuzi band, it tested the effect of the effect of the Shuzi band!

    Their claim that it’s “perfect for athletes” has certainly taken a bashing, but can you be sure that a significant increase in concentration and balance would lead to a significant increase in kicking ability? If concentration rose by 15% for each Shuzi-aided kick, would you know?

    I’m surprised Shuzi didn’t object on the grounds that the blood hadn’t had time to “re-clump” after the functional band had been removed. I thought that would be an obvious get-out.

  7. #7 by martin on September 9, 2012 - 09:58

    I’d speculate that the doctors who worry about giving people good news might have run into people who have been ‘diagnosed’ with a serious illness by quacks.

    I’ve heard of people going to four or five doctors, who aren’t able to find anything wrong, and getting increasingly angry and frustrated.

    It’s another indirect harm from nonsense medicine. In a case I heard of it was reiki, which you might otherwise think is harmless because it does nothing.

  8. #8 by Chris on September 10, 2012 - 06:49

    Mike Hall :
    I’ve had a few reports of this recently — but as I’m aware the MP3 is a standard encoding (22.05KHz, 32kbps, mono – conforms to ISO/IEC 13818-3:1995), and nothing has changed in the way we encode the show for around two years.

    I download onto a Windows 7 machine, and it is kind of freaky that your mp3 file shows up, but there is no indication of how long it is under the “length” column. Right clicking for details shows nothing. But it plays fine in Windows Media.

    I use MP3tag to move all of my podcasts into one album for my “not an iPod” mp3 player. When I open it (version 2.45a, there have been updates) it shows album, title and length info not available in Windows Explorer.

    After modifying the album info on the file with MP3tag, all of the album, title and length is shown in Windows Explorer.

    I hope this helps.

  9. #9 by Homer's Donut on September 10, 2012 - 20:48

    martin :
    I’d speculate that the doctors who worry about giving people good news might have run into people who have been ‘diagnosed’ with a serious illness by quacks.
    I’ve heard of people going to four or five doctors, who aren’t able to find anything wrong, and getting increasingly angry and frustrated.
    It’s another indirect harm from nonsense medicine. In a case I heard of it was reiki, which you might otherwise think is harmless because it does nothing.

    To be fair there are folks who go doc-to-doc regardless of quack and woo buffoonery.

    Anecdote I know but I had a neighbour in the city who was totally convinced something was wrong with her and said the doctors were lying or incompetent. Any time you spoke to her it was about her ‘illness’ and she could talk for hours if allowed. She eventually got all religious, years later, and one day was sectioned for getting a ladder and trying to jump onto a railway.

    Now, as I see it, maybe she had a mental condition or just a chronic hypochondriac but if she was finding solace with the church, I wonder how many similar people end up with quacks and woo woo? I mean, the quacks and woo woo will give them want they want, time and sympathy and for only £90 an hour :(

    I do wonder with many of these believers and receivers of quack medicine if they are predisposed to wanting someone to believe they are ill, when they are not. I suggest that such folks come to a GP and they fob them off or tells them there is nothing wrong with them – my ex’s father was told by his GP that he was a ‘worrier’ because he kept going to the doc about ‘trivial things’. He eventually died of oesophageal cancer and the specialist was surprised the GP didn’t spot it!! The old cry wolf, I guess.

    Perhaps if this country took mental health a little more seriously and considered ‘ping-pong’ patients had an illness and actually researched things like hypochondria MAYBE we can wrestle some people away from lunatic fringe witch-doctoring.

    Personally, I consider folks who partake of woo as having a mental condition and as such know, from my own battles with mental illness, that continually brow beating them with logic and rationality is not going to work, and, for me, is unethical, almost akin to the ‘old school’ ways of ‘treating’ mental conditions.

    Not sure what the answer is but beating down on someone who may be mentally ill is wrong under any circumstances.

  10. #10 by martin on September 13, 2012 - 09:54

    Yes I’m sure there is also plain hypochondria but I had specific knowledge of a FOAF who was caused considerable distress by the actions of an alt-medder. It’s anecdotal but it worried me.

    Diagnosis is a statistical effort and even if doctors get it right 99 times out of 100 the other time is the one that will make the Daily Mail. Another of my friends recently ended up in A&E because a GP missed something. These things are going to happen unfortunately.

    In my skeptical activities I try to reserve my contempt for the dangerous woo practitioners rather than those who go to them. It’s very easy to get sucked into these things through well-meaning but misguided recommendations from friends and seemingly every pharmacy has a profitable sideline in magic.

(will not be published)