Tag Archive: NPR

(Submitted by Skepticality listener Charles Dahlheim

Back in the bad old days before bluetooth became common in automobiles people often used FM transmitters on their cellphones to listen to their music in their cars. These transmitters often used low FM frequencies and would override reception in nearby cars.

One day I was listening to a fascinating story about how some outstanding grade school science teachers were rewarded by being given a ride on NASA’s Vomit Comet. The teacher’s students had designed experiments for their teachers to perform under microgravity conditions and I was very interested to hear about their experiences.

Just as the story reached the part where the teachers were going to describe how it felt to be weightless, I suddenly heard music coming from my radio and Lionel Richie started singing “Ooo what a feeling, when you’re dancing on the ceiling”.

It’s a good thing I was pulled up at a stop light or I’d have driven off the road. The coincidence was awesome.

Below are the extended notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 238.  Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, please be sure to listen to the podcast for our own hilarious commentary. Also, visit Barbara’s blog.

Hahaha! Very cute.

The odds are not as crazy as people might think. Lots of music might have been funny in that situation. A line from Space Odyssey, maybe, or any line about floating or feeling. I can think of several off the top of my head, some more fitting than others, but all pretty funny, like “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now”, “I can see clearly now”, “I’m hooked on a feeling, high on believing”, or “Up, up, and away”. And I’m sure there are many more that are even better.

But of course none of that reduces the humor of the story, and it was a low, if not crazy-low probability event.

The Bird is the Word…

(Submitted by reader Donald Chesebro)

Last night, a very loud bird outside my bedroom window kept me awake late and woke me several times through the night.

This morning, while checking e-mail and listening to the BBC’s World News Hour on my local NPR station, I was thinking of searching for a website with bird calls so I could try to figure out what kind of bird was being such a nuisance. Before I got to that, I suddenly heard the bird’s call on my radio.  It was almost exactly the same sound I’d been forced to listen to for hours.  The BBC was doing a report about the declining population of the nightingale in England.  They can have mine!!!

The Star Nosed Mole Delusion

(Submitted by friend of the blog, Ross Blocher)

Sometime in 2005 I was reading The Ancestor’s Tale, by Richard Dawkins, and there was a particular chapter about the star nosed mole. It was the first time I’d heard of this creature, and in the account Dawkins mentioned there is still much we don’t know about the movements of its feelers because they move so quickly. After finishing that chapter, I forced myself to stop reading so I could get to the Laundromat in time to get a few loads washed.

The moment I got in the truck, the radio was tuned to the local NPR affiliate, and there was an interview with a researcher talking about the star nosed mole, and how recent high-speed photography had revealed how it uses its feelers.