Skeptics with a K: Episode #233


In this special episode of Skeptics with a K, Marsh and Alice talk about Good Thinking Society’s in-depth new research into crowd-funded cancer treatments, recently published in the British Medical Journal.  And Mike talks about going to the cat cafe.

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  1. #1 by Julia on September 20, 2018 - 19:53

    Wow, Mike, the Blue Cat Cafe here in Austin isn’t nearly that strict. We were allowed to have bags with us, allowed to have our shoes on, and allowed to touch the cats (but not pick them up), though there were some infant kittens in a box made from a TV set that you couldn’t touch. The drinks weren’t free, but there was no rule against feeding the cats. One cat was VERY insistent on having some of my chips (crisps, to y’all) and I finally did give him some.

    Did your cat cafe charge a cover? Ours does, $5.

  2. #2 by Mark on September 21, 2018 - 09:07

    LED lamps everywhere? I have a new house that is very well insulated. One bedroom has an incandescent bulb and I use the heat from it to warm the room, I can have the radiator turned down to the frost setting. Incandescents have their uses (more than just this and I stockpiled loads).

    LED lights usually use capacitive droppers with a low power factor. People using LEDS frequently increase the number they have as they are ‘low power’. This is low ‘real’ power but higher ‘apparent’ power. Apparent power is important if you have a smart meter. Some time in the future the electricity companies will get an income bonanza by switching smart metering from real to apparent power. Ouchhhh. Why is my 9W led suddenly costing 18W to 30W of power?

    Many LED lamps use threaded bases. These can give a mains electric shock when changing a bulb if the socket is wire backwards. Neutral to the thread, line to the button tip. It is not unusual to find this done wrong. In addition, the insulation between exposed metal parts of the LED lamp and the line voltage may only consist of a sub 1mm gap or a thin coat of paint. Always buy the most expensive LEDS you can find and hope they are not the dangerous ones. Just to finish off, LED power supplies are not unknown to have a failure mode of overheating/catching fire. They can do this in suspended ceilings. Enjoy.

  3. #3 by Andrew Healey on September 25, 2018 - 20:27

    Very impressive work getting that paper out, important topic. I am extremely impressed. Things like this could well make a significant difference. Keep up the good work, well worthwhile.

  4. #4 by Graham on September 27, 2018 - 16:44

    Good work, it is a pity so many of the reports you mention are locked behind paywalls. But you are absolutely right about the problems with crowdfunding.

    There was a YouTuber named DetectiveHACC who covered a number of dodgy crowdfunding projects up until about a year ago. In one of his videos about a person who set up a Kickstarter asking for twelve million dollars to release a new kind of mathematics that would solve everything. He speculates the campaign was a prank and notes that any of these crowdfunding firms have rules that prevent this kind of thing (Along with outright scams like buying a commercial product and then running a crowdfunding campaign claiming that whatever you bought is something you came up with yourself.), but that these rules are treated more as window dressing rather than something to be enforced.

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