Skeptics with a K: Episode #100


The Age of Transparency, the Playstation Generation, prior plausibility and the British X-Files.  Plus education policy, the Queen, laser eyes and blogging a pissy response.  Attempting to communicate peacefully with UFOs, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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  1. #1 by Murff on June 28, 2013 - 00:16

    Haven’t listened yet, that’ll have to wait till tomorrow at work, but a big congrats on reaching 100 episodes! Your work is very much appreciated, worldwide!

  2. #2 by Rebecca on June 28, 2013 - 10:16

    Big shout out for 7th Guest – it terrified me when we had it, I would have to retreat to the relative safety of Sim City 2000 and Theme Park to calm me.

  3. #3 by Mike on June 28, 2013 - 14:18

    Want a balloon, sonny? Here’s a nice one…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoh4sJbFKiU

  4. #4 by Disagreeable Me on June 28, 2013 - 15:19

    Congrats on 100! Hope you continue for many more.

  5. #5 by Matt P on June 29, 2013 - 22:07

    Australia says, “Congrats on producing 100 fantastic eps” (I feel like I can speak for the entire country). Really appreciate your work fellas. Bring on the next 100.

  6. #6 by RyanG on July 1, 2013 - 22:47

    Complete tangent and has absolutely nothing to do with this podcast episode (i’m working through the archive, currently on around 36), but this video reminds me of you three.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uja3W-ibifc

    Main one speaking at the beginning is Mike (host).
    Guy next to “Mike” is Marsh.
    And ginger joe = Collin.

    Thought it was hilarious.

  7. #7 by Gareth Binks on July 3, 2013 - 00:10

    It’s not really skeptical but I thought the 7th guest was a bit further forward than 92, n it seems it was ’93. For that make mesas for correcting mike hall? 😉

  8. #8 by Gareth Binks on July 3, 2013 - 00:11

    Does* not for….stupid iPhones!

  9. #9 by Gareth Binks on July 3, 2013 - 00:18

    Please delete my last comment! It should say…

    It’s not really skeptical but I thought the 7th guest was a bit further forward than ’92, n it seems it was ’93. Does that make me sad for correcting, mike hall?

  10. #10 by Darryl on July 5, 2013 - 02:20

    First of all congratulations on the 100th podcast. Sort of funny that you mentioned it in passing at the end. Anyway re the UFO letters to MoD, Queen etc from Australia. There is a cultural thing here. You should have put on an English accent as there would have been from an English immigrant resident in Australia. An aussie would have written to the Department of Defense and/or PM (of Australia that is). It’s not rare. There’s a lot of English people living here who sort of don’t get it that Australia is a country all of it’s own.

    Anyway keep up the good work. Need the laugh in the car on the way to work in the morning.

  11. #11 by Rebecca on July 11, 2013 - 12:25

    Mike :Want a balloon, sonny? Here’s a nice one…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoh4sJbFKiU

    *Shudder* up until this point the only computer game that scared me more was “Killed Until Dead”, I always got a knife in the back in the library…

  12. #12 by Gavin Machell on July 14, 2013 - 04:50

    On dogs detecting cancer, firstly, it’s not difficult to find studies that successfully show that dogs can detect disease – here’s one from the British Medical Journal about clostridium infection.
    http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7396
    You may also be aware of the recent breakthrough made by 15 year old (!!!!!) Jack Andraka based upon detection of mesothelin, a protein biomarker for several cancers, using an electrically conductive matrix of carbon nanotubes and antibodies to mesothelin. His test is sensitive to levels of mesothelin above 0.156 ng/ml (mesothelin is a 40kDa protein so this translates to a sensitivity of 1 part in 10,000 billion) and is 400 times more sensitive to standard ELISA test.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-ycQufrgK4

    So, how does a dog’s sense of smell rack up against 1 part in 10,000 billion? Well, olfactory sensitivity depends very much upon the substance in question, but literature commonly cites bloodhounds as having 100 million times the olfactory sensitivity as do humans. Human noses are still pretty sensitive, especially to certain substances, e.g. hydrogen sulfide – the substance responsible for the “rotten egg” smell (amongst others). The human nose can detect this gas, faintly, at concentrations of 1 part per million. Now, you can see where I’m heading. A bloodhound, having a sense of smell 100 million times as sensitive as a human being should be able to detect hydrogen sulfide at concentrations 100 million times lower than 1 ppm. That translates into 1 part in 100 million million, or 1 part in 100,000 billion.

    Jack’s test was sensitive to 1 part in 10,000 billion remember, and as far as the very odorous hydrogen sulfide is concerned, a dog can detect 1 part in 100,000 billion. Ten times the sensitivity.

    So, I wouldn’t rule out dogs being able to “smell” cancer, not on principle at any rate. As far as the above is concerned and the research already done on dogs detecting cancer, or cancer medication, then it is at least plausible that dogs can detect cancer, even likely.

    The problem is with the ethics of any double blind study that would prove that dogs can smell cancer alone, and not the drugs being used to treat it. You’d have to start with test subjects who did not have cancer. The best way of setting that up would be to take a few thousand randomly selected individuals who do not have cancer (yet), run each one by the dog scan (cheaper than a CAT scan), without either the dog handler or the subjects being aware what was going on, whilst being secretly observed and the results recorded. Pretty easy to look at the incidence of cancer in this group over the next five or ten years and correlate it with the results of the dog scan. But is that ethical? For the subjects to whom the dog gave a positive result for cancer, is it ethical not to investigate further straight away, and if you do that, then you have to investigate all the subjects who tested negative with the dog or you’ve skewed your results.

    As soon as Jack Andraka’s test is up and running then it would be easy to use it to test everyone with his test and the dog – but the Andraka’s test is so simple, so cheap and holds so much promise for early cancer detection, why are we talking about dogs at all?

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