Skeptics with a K: Episode #251

Lie detectors, HPV, pregnancy, and llamas. Plus Earth Domes, Frank Spencer, and seven-day creation. Cracking the Crystal Maze, it’s Skeptics with a K.

Get your tickets for MSSX today. Featuring Simon Singh, Britt Hermes, Emma McClure, Chris French, Meirion Jones, Dave Alnwick, and our own Dr Alice Howarth! July 6th. Liner Hotel, Liverpool. Be there!

  1. #1 by Tom Williamson on May 31, 2019 - 10:32

    Guys, guys, guys. Crystal Maze aficionado here. I hate to spoil anyone’s Crystal Maze experience, but the little clip of Richard O’Brien you see at the start was not recorded especially for the Crystal Maze experience, but for a seldom seen Christmas special where he passed the torch to Ed Tudor-Pole. He writes the letter, rides off on a motorbike with Mumsy, then you see a hand enter the shot and take the letter.

    I’m still angry about the new Crystal Maze. Can you tell?

  2. #2 by Muz on May 31, 2019 - 20:57

    Irrelevant trivia: Trish Goddard worked in Australia for a time as a newsreader and host on Play School of all things. So here second career showing up in Shaun of the Dead is probably doubly weird for some.

  3. #3 by Chris on June 3, 2019 - 21:36

    Finance professor Gayle DeLong has provided much hilarity with her “vaccine research.” She came out of the gate with the premise that every child in a school getting Speech/Language Intervention services was actually autistic. Um, yeah… no. Stuttering, hearing loss, aphasia from stroke, dysarthria from cerebral palsy and on and on and on are not part of the autism spectrum.

    Gayle DeLong does a parody of actual research.

    My youngest is in grad school to be a speech/language pathologist with a specialty in voice disorders, especially after throat surgery. So I get to hear about things.

  4. #4 by Cappy Charlie on June 9, 2019 - 13:01

    Interesting piece on polygraph testing. It would be good to hear what Emma has to say on the subject given that some offenders in England and Wales have the mandatory undertaking of polygraph tests as one of the conditions their release from custody. In these cases it would also be very interesting to know who was administering the test, as someone with an existing knowledge of the offender may well be less than impartial in their interpretation of the data.

  5. #5 by Martin on June 17, 2019 - 00:01

    Isn’t a vaccine that is only 70% effective almost completely useless for most women? From basic probability maths even if you had just two sexual partners your coverage will be just 49% (0.7 x 0.7). Here in New Zealand, the *average* woman has had at least 20 different sexual partners. So the chances of being exposed to the 30% of cancer causing HPV not covered by the vaccine is 0.7 ^ 20 = 99.99%. This does assume that almost everyone carries HPV of some sort, which obviously isn’t true, but even with that modifier I doubt this vaccine will have any point whatsoever for the average woman. I guess time will tell if we do or don’t see a massive drop off in cervical cancer rates.

  6. #6 by Chris on June 19, 2019 - 23:27

    It is better than the 0% of not getting the vaccine. Do you mean the 70% of the TYPES of HPV virus? That is completely different than vaccine effectiveness.

    Also, you need a citation for that data on the average woman in New Zealand.

  7. #7 by Martin on June 21, 2019 - 00:29

    No, Alice clearly said in the show that the vaccine only immunises against 70% of HPVs. My mathematics is based on the chances of being exposed to the 30% that isn’t vaccinated against – i.e. almost certain if you have a lot of sexual partners like NZ women, thus rendering the vaccine almost completely useless imo.
    Here is a link to sexual partners in New Zealand:

  8. #8 by Chris on June 24, 2019 - 18:02

    A news article is not a scientific nor statistical citation. That looks exactly like the dodgy advertising click bait surveys that Marsh often talks about. The big hint is that it was compiled a company that makes condoms, not any kind of public health agency.

    Try again. Look for it in the PubMed index and not in click bait news articles.

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