Episode 144: Twenty Questions

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem talks about Google’s search autocomplete feature, then Lauren, Ashlyn, Laura, and Gem answer twenty of the most popular questions suggested by Google.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Correction: When answering the question, “Where is your liver?” Ashlyn misspoke: the liver is of course located below the diaphragm, not above it. Whoops!

Google and Autocomplete: How Google autocomplete works in Search (Google Blog) | Censorship by Google (Wikipedia) | Leaked Google research shows company grappling with censorship and free speech (The Verge) | Google to End Pentagon AI Contract, Will Remain a Defense Contractor (Tom’s Hardware)

How: Avoirdupois system (Wikipedia) | Troy weight (Wikipedia) | How to Make Slime: Our 4 Most Popular Slime Recipes (Home Science Tools) | How to Tie a Windsor Knot (Ties.com) | How to write a cover letter (Youth Central) | Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe (Food Network)

Where: Stages of transcription: initiation, elongation & termination (Khan Academy) | Archibald (Wikipedia) | Where is Xur? | History of pizza (Wikipedia)

Can: Can You Start a Sentence with "Because"? (Writer’s Digest) | Can I give my pet…? (Park Road Veterinary Clinic) | Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs (VCA Animal Hospital) | What Shall You Not Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception as a Guest? (Discover India) | Is it Legal to Marry Yourself? (Parry & Pfau)

Why: Rayleigh scattering (Wikipedia) | Diffuse sky radiation (Wikipedia) | Photosynthesis (Wikipedia) | Polar bear (Wikipedia) | Effects of Earlier Sea Ice Breakup on Survival and Population Size of Polar Bears in Western Hudson Bay (Journal of Wildlife Management) | Why Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell (Smithsonian) | Benjamin Franklin’s Letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels (Early Americas Digital Archive) | Moore’s law (Wikipedia) | Why is Caillou bald? (Chouette Publishing)

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Episode 143: Animal Culture

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn leads a discussion of culture in nonhuman animals. Laura discusses tool use, Lauren talks about crows, and Gem talks about the destructive effect humans have on chimpanzee culture. And everyone has bad opinions about sandwiches.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Animal Intelligence: Episode 104: Animal Intelligence (LUEE)

Animal Culture: Culture (Wikipedia) | Animal culture (Wikipedia) | Do Animals Have Culture? (NPR) | Strongest Evidence of Animal Culture Seen in Monkeys and Whales (AAAS) | Cumulative culture in nonhumans: overlooked findings from Japanese monkeys? (Primates: Journal of Primatology)

Tool Use: Animal Tool Use (Current Biology) | Tool use by animals (Wikipedia)

Chimpanzees: Chimpanzee (Wikipedia) | Do Chimpanzees Have Culture (Jane Goodall Institute) | What do chimp ‘temples’ tell us about the evolution of religion? (New Scientist) | Wild chimps make their own “dolls” (New Scientist) | The genetical evolution of chimp culture (New Scientist) | Unique chimpanzee cultures are disappearing thanks to humans (New Scientist)

Corvids: The Cleverness of Crows (Advocacy for Animals) | An Impressive Encounter Of Cultural Learning In Corvids (Corvid Blog) | Corvidae (Wikipedia) | Crow (Wikipedia) | The Unexpected Genius of Corvids (Motherboard) | 16 Unnerving Facts About Corvids Most People Don’t Know (Ranker.com) | FAQs about crows (CorvidResearch.blog) | Crows Cope With Family Values, City Living, and West Nile Virus (All About Birds) | Marc Bekoff

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Episode 117: Trump

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Ashlyn, Laura, Lauren, and Brendan discuss a few of the many myths and conspiracy theories endorsed by Donald Trump, and Brendan points out that a simple fact check isn’t enough.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Note: For further context on Trump, fact-checking, border control, and claims of journalistic objectivity, Gem recommends these excellent episodes of On the Media: The Game Has Changed (On the Media) | The Ties That Bind (On the Media) | What We Know About the Border (On the Media)

Links: Episode 110: Science & Race (LUEE) | Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks in America (Global Research) | New Research Shows That More Immigration Means Higher Wages for All Workers in Cities (CityLab) | 3 Ways to Immigrate to USA (uscitizenship) | Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men (SSRN) | Unskilled Workers Lose Out to Immigrants (NYTimes.com) | An Aging U.S. is Revitalized by Immigrants (NYTimes.com) | Immigrants Are Replacing, Not Displacing, Workers (NYTimes.com) | Immigration Doesn’t Hurt Native Jobs or Wages in the U.S., Report Finds (Time) | Immigrant Employment by State and Industry (Pew) | Does Illegal Immigration Disadvantage American Workers? (ProCon.org) | Immigrants Aren’t Stealing American Jobs (The Atlantic) | Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories (Wikipedia) | Central Park jogger case (Wikipedia) | COINTELPRO (Wikipedia) | What an Uncensored Letter to M.L.K. Reveals (The New York Times) | Episode 101: “Trace Amounts” (LUEE) | 10 facts on immunization (WHO) | About Vaccines (Manitoba Health) | The GOP’s dangerous “debate” on vaccines and autism (The Washington Post) | Trump team denies skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was asked to head vaccine commission (CNNPolitics.com) | Gregg Phillips: Trump’s Favorite Voter-Fraud Activist (The Atlantic) | 25% of Voters Believe President Trump’s Unfounded Voter Fraud Claim (Time) | President Trump’s Voter-Fraud Expert Was Registered to Vote in Three States (Time) | President Trump Vowed to Investigate Voter Fraud. Then Lawmakers Voted to Eliminate an Election Commission (Time) | Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says (Skeptical Science) | Fact Check: Trump’s Cabinet Picks on Human-Caused Global Warming | Ice-albedo feedback (Wikipedia) | Yes, Donald Trump did call climate change a Chinese hoax (PolitiFact) | 2012 Benghazi attack (Wikipedia) | A Comprehensive Guide To Benghazi Myths And Facts | Hillary Clinton emails – what’s it all about? (BBC News) | Essays: To Profile or Not to Profile? (Schneier on Security) | Protestors call on mayor to make Winnipeg a sanctuary city (Winnipeg Free Press)

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Episode 116: Risk

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Laura, Gem, and Lauren talk about how bad we are at assessing risk. Also on this episode: Do we get more risk averse as we get older? Is margarine going to kill you, or will a hippopotamus get you first? Will the world end not with a bang but a Boolean?

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Note: Music featured in this episode include samples from “Death from the Skies” by George Hrab (featuring Phil Plait), “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead, and “Binnorie” by Mediæval Bæbes.

Links: Relative risk (Wikipedia) | Spreading disease or spreading deliciousness: the butter vs. margarine debate rages on (dietitian at home) | Global catastrophic risk (Wikipedia) | Death from the Skies! (Wikipedia) | Holocene extinction (Wikipedia) | Existential risk from artificial general intelligence (Wikipedia) | AI Risk Analysts are the Biggest Risk (Singularity Weblog) | There is a blind spot in AI research (Nature News) | Program good ethics into artificial intelligence (Nature News & Comment ) | TRC #429.5: Programming Ethics Into AI (The Reality Check) | Potential Risks from Advanced Artificial Intelligence: The Philanthropic Opportunity (Open Philanthropy Project ) | If Aliens Exist, They May Come to Get Us, Stephen Hawking Says (Space.com) | Risk Preferences and Aging: The “Certainty Effect” in Older Adults’ Decision Making (Journal of Psychology and Aging) | Differences in risk aversion between young and older adults (NAN) | Differences in Risk Aversion between Young and Older Adults (Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics) | Aging and loss decision making: increased risk aversion and decreased use of maximizing information, with correlated rationality and value maximization | It is surprisingly rare for an alligator to kill a person (BBC Earth) | Chart: The animals that are most likely to kill you this summer (The Washington Post) | The Odds of Dying | 25 shocking things more likely to kill you than a shark (WNYY) | Choking Prevention and Rescue Tips | 10 Things More Likely to Kill You than Islamic Terror | List of selfie-related injuries and deaths (Wikipedia) | Animal bites (WHO)

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Episode 111: Insect Repellents

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Laura, and Gem discuss insect repellents, natural and artificial, historical and modern, and ask the question: “Do any of these natural bug sprays actually work?” The answer might surprise you! (Yes. The answer is “yes”.)

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Links: Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing (NIH) | The Efficacy of Some Commercially Available Insect Repellents for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Journal of Insect Science) | The Mosquito Patch | Thiamin Health Professional Fact Sheet (NIH) | Repellent efficacy of DEET, MyggA, neem oil and chinaberry oil against Anopheles arabiensis (Malaria Journal) | Neem oil (Wikipedia) | Neem Oil Fact Sheet (National Pesticide Information Center) | Vitamin B1 as a Mosquito Repellent (Livestrong) | The Effect of Exercise and Heat on Vitamin Requirements (NCBI Bookshelf) | The Excretion of Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Pantothenic Acid in Sweat (Journal of Biological Chemistry) | Citronella oil (Wikipedia) | Toxicological evaluation of neem oil: acute and subacute toxicity (PubMed) | Stink Bugs and Cedar Spray (Orkin) | Homemade Bug Repellent with Essential Oils | Mozi-Q Fools the Dragons (Science-Based Pharmacy) | Homeopathic Insect Repellent: Is there anything the Natural Health Products Directorate won’t approve? (Skeptic North) | Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil as Bug Spray Review (Consumer Reports) | Apple Cider Vinegar: 13+ Health Benefits (Reader’s Digest) | How to Make a Natural Flea and Tick Remedy with Apple Cider Vinegar (WikiHow) | Mosquito repellent effectiveness: A placebo controlled trial comparing 95% DEET, Avon Skin So Soft, and a “special mixture” (BC Medical Journal) | Lethal dose (Wikipedia) | Nicotine (PIM) | Is glyphosate, used with some GM crops, dangerously toxic to humans? (Genetic Literacy Project) | The Four Best Bug Repellents: DEET, IR3535, Picaridin, Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus Most Effective, Says EWG (MedicalDaily) | DEET (Wikipedia) | Deet (Extension Toxicology Network) | IR3535 (Wikipedia) | Ethyl Bytulacetylaminopropionate IR3535 (WHO) | Icaridin (Wikipedia) | Icaridin (WHO) | 2-Undecanone (Wikipedia) | Mosquitoes Repelled by Tomato-Based Substance; Safer, More Effective Than DEET (ScienceDaily) | 2-Undecanone Safety Data Sheet (Fisher Science) | Mosquito coil (Wikipedia) | Pyrethrins (Extension Toxicology Network) | Mosquito Coil Emissions and Health Implications (NIH) | DIY Mosquito Trap: How Mosquito Magnets Work (HowStuffWorks) | Mosquito Magnet Test Studies

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Episode 108: Cryptozoology & Mythical Creatures

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem hunts cryptids with Laura, Ashlyn, and Lauren. Also on this episode: dubious advice, bad jokes, worse segues, and one very annoying pronunciation of the word “cryptozoology”!

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Links: Cryptozoology (Wikipedia) | List of cryptids (Wikipedia) | Modern Folklore, by Robert B. Durham (Google Books) | Thylacine (Wikipedia) | Maltese tiger (Wikipedia) | Mutant Big Cats | Loch Ness Monster (Wikipedia) | The Surgeon’s Photo | Second Loch Ness monster video swimming in the Thames (Daily Mail Online) | Patterson–Gimlin film (Wikipedia) | Mange (Wikipedia) | Tom Biscardi (Wikipedia) | “Finding Bigfoot” a Howler (Center for Inquiry) | Kting voar (Wikipedia) | Cambodia’s Mystery, the Horns That Never Were (NYTimes.com) | Pseudonovibos spiralis (Artiodactyla: Bovidae): new information on this enigmatic South-east Asian ox (Wiley Online Library) | Debate on the authenticity of Pseudonovibos spiralis as a new species of wild bovid from Vietnam and Cambodia (Wiley Online Library) | Rod (optics) (Wikipedia) | Man-eating tree (Wikipedia) | Manchineel (Wikipedia) | Raskovnik (Wikipedia) | Silphium (Wikipedia) | Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (Wikipedia) | Barnacle goose (Wikipedia) | Jackalope (Wikipedia) | Wolpertinger (Wikipedia) | Skvader (Wikipedia) | The world’s scariest rabbit lurks within the Smithsonian’s collection (Smithsonian Insider) | Shope papilloma virus (Wikipedia) | Tourist dies on search for Pope Lick monster

Correction: In this episode Gem mentioned that some crytpozoology enthusiasts claim that Lake Manitoba is home to the Winnipogo Monster. While it’s true that some believe that a monster swims the depths of Lake Manitoba, cryptozoologists actually claim that there are (at least) two separate lake monsters in Manitoba (although some sources treat them interchangeably). Lake Manitoba’s monster is of course the Manipogo, with the Winnipogo Monster apparently confined to Lake Winnipegosis.

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Episode 101: “Trace Amounts”

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn subjects Gem, Laura, Ian, and Dave to a viewing of “Trace Amounts”, a prominent anti-vaccine “documentary”. It is… not good.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics.

Note: After we recorded this episode, news broke that prominent anti-vaccine group “SafeMinds” funded a $250,000 study in an attempt to demonstrate that thimerosal causes autism. The study was published at the end of September, and actually found no evidence that the thimerosal in vaccines has any link to autism or autism-like changes in the brain. And they killed 79 macaques to do it. Links discussing the study are provided below.

Links: Review of Trace Amounts (Skeptical Raptor) | Do vaccines contain toxic ingredients? (Public Health Agency of Canada) | The Alleged Autism Epidemic (Science-Based Medicine) | Chelation therapy (Wikipedia) | The CDC Whistleblower William Thompson Appears to Have Gone Full Antivaccine (Respectful Insolence) | Antivaxxers Still Flogging Thimerosal (NeuroLogica) | Has the Government Conceded Vaccines Cause Autism? (NeuroLogica) | Autism Court Ruling: Vaccines Didn’t Cause Autism (NeuroLogica) | Legal Courts and Science (NeuroLogica) | Spurious Correlations | Anti-Vaxxer Group Pays $250,000 for Study Showing That Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism (Raw Story) | Killing Monkeys to Prove Vaccines STILL Don’t Cause Autism (Rebecca Watson) | TRC #370: Antibacterial Soap + Maple Water + Anti-Vaxxers Funding Fail + Top CO2 Emitters (The Reality Check) | PilesOfEvidence.com

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