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Old 4th August 2010, 10:45 AM   #41
pk_boomer
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A few things that I would like to possibly see in a future episode:

1) CCSVI "liberation" treatment for MS

2) I know chiropractic has been done to death already, but I recently saw a bit on The Doctors about Upper Cervical Chiropractic. Is there anything to this?

3) A friend of mine recently sent me a link claiming that milk causes osteoporosis. To the best of my research abilities, all I could deduce is that excess protein may inhibit calcium absorption. But is there anything to the claim that excess calcium supplementation can lead to osteoporosis? And why do they single out milk itself?

4) A bit of a fluff piece, but might be kind of fun - "digital drugs".
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Old 5th August 2010, 07:50 PM   #42
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Big cat sightings in the UK.

A quick search of the BBC website gives plenty of examples (some with videos) of many "sightings" all over the UK. There was one local to me recently (Carmarthenshire) I'd like to know more on this phenemena.

Kincraig Big Cat

The Berkshire Beast

Big Cats in Gloucestershire

Dorset Big Cat


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Old 29th August 2010, 07:21 PM   #43
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Are our Cosmetics Killing Us?

I really enjoy Skeptoid, but as a skeptic, I find that most of the shows discuss myths that I can't imagine believing in the first place. I can usually detect the warning signs of pseudo-science and that is why my proposed topic interests me.

According to a popular website (Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database), many of the products that I use daily contain carcinogenic compounds or neuro-toxins. This website seems to be incredibly thorough. It breaks down each product into its chemical compounds and then describes the risk associated with each along with what tests were used to come to this conclusion.

I'm still skeptical because I have trouble believing that these products could be released if they are unsafe, yet I don't have a sufficient scientific background to definitively say that they are safe.

I would really appreciate it if someone with a better understanding of chemicals could look into this website for me and help me have an informed opinion on its validity.

~Lina

Ps. I did not include a link to the website because I do not have that privilege yet. It should be an easy enough google search.
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Old 29th August 2010, 07:51 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Lina View Post
I really enjoy Skeptoid, but as a skeptic, I find that most of the shows discuss myths that I can't imagine believing in the first place. I can usually detect the warning signs of pseudo-science and that is why my proposed topic interests me.

According to a popular website (Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database), many of the products that I use daily contain carcinogenic compounds or neuro-toxins. This website seems to be incredibly thorough. It breaks down each product into its chemical compounds and then describes the risk associated with each along with what tests were used to come to this conclusion.

I'm still skeptical because I have trouble believing that these products could be released if they are unsafe, yet I don't have a sufficient scientific background to definitively say that they are safe.

I would really appreciate it if someone with a better understanding of chemicals could look into this website for me and help me have an informed opinion on its validity.

~Lina

Ps. I did not include a link to the website because I do not have that privilege yet. It should be an easy enough google search.
That's a good suggestion as some of these places don't necessarily start off with the red flags (like hawking products).

http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

One clue is to do a search for related topics already exposed as pseudoscience. Going to the Environmental Working Group and searching on "autism" finds a number of articles linking autism to mercury exposure, which suggests that it isn't valid.

Another clue is the absence of HONcode certification. HONcode is a non-profit NGO set up to provide guidance as to which sites provide valid and reliable health information.

http://www.hon.ch/

I also notice that their responses in the FAQ are quite misleading compared to the FDA website on cosmetic regulation, when it comes to giving the impression that cosmetics are unregulated.

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Guidanc...on/default.htm

Linda
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Old 29th August 2010, 08:13 PM   #45
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A recent episode of "Pawn Stars" featured an old Geiger counter that could search for oil. Apparently oil is radioactive? And caused Gulf War Syndrome?

The science is beyond my understanding, but if oil is radioactive (which to me just translates into "bad mutagen") then is there any possibility that exposure to this radioactive oil is contributing to what people call Gulf War Syndrome? Seems like an interesting idea for a show.
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Old 30th August 2010, 12:50 PM   #46
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Here's a fun one:

The myth that beehives are being abandoned because of excessive EM radiation from mobile phones.
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Old 31st August 2010, 10:37 AM   #47
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I'd like to see an episode about what the crazies got right. Sort of along the lines of "What I Got Wrong", only in reverse.

This could go two ways. First, conspiracy theorists/Creationists/that sort of people who have made significant contributions to our understanding of X. There have been some. Second, ideas that looked crazy at the time (continental drift, for example).
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Old 31st August 2010, 04:39 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Hershele Ostropoler View Post
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Also, though I don't know that this is exactly topical, the origins of homosexuality.
Someone got their wished fulfilled today.


I would like to see skeptoid tackle Black eyed kids

Also go back to Crop circle jerks and do one about BLT's research

Last edited by Frying Dutchmen; 31st August 2010 at 04:47 PM. Reason: NO DOUBLE POSTS
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Old 2nd September 2010, 09:49 AM   #49
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A look into the historical accuracy of the stories surrounding Jesus Christ.

I'd like to see this, simply because I find the amount of popular opinions and occasionally contradictory information in this regard quite a bit overwhelming. I often hear people claim that, whether anything else in the Bible is true or not, at least Jesus himself has been proven to have been a real person, but is this actually true, and if so, to what extent? Basically, I'd just like Mr. Dunning to weed through the baseless claims and the real historical research, and then sum it all up in a convenient little package, sparing me the effort. That'd be swell

Aside from that, another episode on medical myths in popular culture would be fantastic. I really enjoyed the previous two.
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Old 6th September 2010, 07:15 PM   #50
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Brian, considering your interest in music, I hope you might like this idea:

Psychotropic acoustics, the alleged technology to incite profound biological or psychological responses--or even illnesses--within unwitting subjects solely through the use of artificially-generated sound waves. There's no doubt that music has profound emotional and psychological effects, but what about barely detectable or undetectable low-level noises?

The "Feraliminal Lycanthropizer" is said to have been an device developed by the Nazis during the late years of WWII. It is said to have employed sine waves of varying frequencies, along with a combination of recorded animal and human vocalizations, to induce a variety of gut-level responses in humans. It was supposedly intended as an aid in interrogations, and also had possible uses in motivating troops before going into battle.

There have also been some stories of the Soviets using some sonic devices to bombard embassies and certain hotel rooms with low-frequency acoustic waves intended to cause physical and psychological discomfort in Western diplomats and ambassadors housed there.

The "Disco Dump" (aka the "brown note" from South Park) is said to be a subsonic tone (often identified as being in the 5Hz range) amplified to extremely high volume, that causes subjects to involuntarily lose control of certain bodily functions like bowel movements.

Last edited by John Albert; 6th September 2010 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 8th September 2010, 05:50 AM   #51
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I'd like to see an episode on misconceptions about money, such as:
  • Banks lend their depositors' money to other customers (commonly accepted, but obviously not true: when was the last time you or anyone you know was unable to withdraw your money from the bank because it had been lent to someone else?)
  • The government (or central bank) controls the money supply (also commonly believed, but the money supply is actually driven by consumer demand for credit; governments and central banks typically only try to influence the demand for credit by tweaking interest rates)
  • The debt virus: because bank loans provide only enough money to pay off the principal and none to pay off the interest, banks are slowly draining the money supply, leading to economic collapse (flawed argument based on an incomplete picture of how money flows between banks and the public)
  • The ever-growing national debt will cripple future generations, and therefore should be paid off (no, only the interest on the national debt ever needs to be paid off; the national debt figure itself is pretty much a meaningless large number)
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Old 8th September 2010, 06:12 PM   #52
Dinwar
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Quote:
Banks lend their depositors' money to other customers (commonly accepted, but obviously not true: when was the last time you or anyone you know was unable to withdraw your money from the bank because it had been lent to someone else?)
Actually, it IS true. First, banks are required to keep a certain percentage of their accounts on hand at all times. This was instituted in (I believe--if I'm wrong someone please correct me) the time after the Great Depression to prevent the devistation caused by bank runs in the wake of the stockmarket crash.

Secondly, banks must necessarily lend out a certain percentage of their income. They give their savings acounts a certain percentage (not much, but it's there). If there's no income other than more savings acounts it will eventually collaps under its own weight (it's akin to multilevel marketing). Not a lot of room to grow, at least in this country. So the other option is to have a pile of cash lying around. That'll run out ("If it goes out and doesn't come in, it's not there"). That leaves finding some sort of income. The only asset a bank has is cash. Well, a LOT of people want cash. They'll even pay you for it!

Either banks are really, really, really stupid, or they make money from loaning money.

Quote:
the national debt figure itself is pretty much a meaningless large number
I'm curious: at what point does a number become meaningless?
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Old 9th September 2010, 05:34 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Either banks are really, really, really stupid, or they make money from loaning money.
Of course banks DO make money from loaning money. The misconception is that they lend out their depositors' money, which is not true. When a bank lends $1000 (say) to a customer, that customer receives a new bank deposit of $1000, which he can then withdraw and spend. Everyone else's deposits are untouched.

If you still believe that banks lend out their depositors' money to other customers, you will need to explain how their depositors' balances are unaffected when the bank advances loans.

Quote:
I'm curious: at what point does a number become meaningless?
I'm curious: why do you think there might be a specific point at which a number becomes meaningless?
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Old 9th September 2010, 04:37 PM   #54
Dinwar
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Quote:
I'm curious: why do you think there might be a specific point at which a number becomes meaningless?
Because I'm used to dealing with big numbers, and astronomers deal in numbers that make our national debt look small. Besides, your argument is that we don't need to pay off the national debt because the principle is a meaninglessly high number (or at leas that's what I gathered from your statement). That means that your argument more or less hinges on that definition.

Quote:
If you still believe that banks lend out their depositors' money to other customers, you will need to explain how their depositors' balances are unaffected when the bank advances loans.
I already did. The deposits are NOT untouched. However, laws ensure that banks always have enough cash on hand to handle a reasonable number of withdraws--a certain percentage (don't know it off hand). And "reasonable number" here means more or less the maximum number of withdraws that can be expected barring catastrophies.

The only evidence you've presented thus far for banks NOT lending out their depositer's deposits is that depositors can withdraw their funds at any time. I've dealt with that. Got any other evidence?
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Old 9th September 2010, 05:10 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Besides, your argument is that we don't need to pay off the national debt because the principle is a meaninglessly high number (or at leas that's what I gathered from your statement).
No, my argument is that only the interest on the national debt needs to be paid off, so focusing on the size of the national debt itself (as some do) is pointless.

Quote:
I already did. The deposits are NOT untouched.
You are mistaken. Have you ever noticed your or anyone else's bank balance being decreased because the bank has lent the money to another customer?

Quote:
However, laws ensure that banks always have enough cash on hand to handle a reasonable number of withdraws--a certain percentage (don't know it off hand). And "reasonable number" here means more or less the maximum number of withdraws that can be expected barring catastrophies.
You're referring to the reserve requirement, which is zero in some countries (e.g. Canada and the UK), and non-zero in others (e.g. the US). But how is the amount of cash a bank keeps in reserve, or the fact that it keeps cash in reserve at all, related to what might happen to deposits when a bank lends money? I don't see the connection you're trying to make.

Quote:
The only evidence you've presented thus far for banks NOT lending out their depositer's deposits is that depositors can withdraw their funds at any time. I've dealt with that. Got any other evidence?
No, the evidence I've given is that the depositors' balances are unaffected by bank loans to other customers. That's all the evidence that's required. What more would you want to see?

For the details on how banks lend money, you can refer to any decent textbook on economics, or do some googling.

UPDATE: I've done some googling of my own, and discovered that decent, concise descriptions of how banks lend money are hard to come by. I'll keep looking, though. One economics textbook I can recommend is "Economics" by David Begg. I know it's unlikely you'll be able to get a copy, but the chapter on money and banking is pretty good. Finally, to show I'm not just pulling the idea that banks don't lend their depositors' money out of my posterior orifice, see the fourth item here:

wfhummel.cnchost.com/misconceptions.html

Actually, I recommend the whole website if the subject of money piques your interest. It's a very good collection of articles on money and how it works.

Last edited by Nobbit; 9th September 2010 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 9th September 2010, 08:17 PM   #56
Dinwar
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Quote:
You are mistaken. Have you ever noticed your or anyone else's bank balance being decreased because the bank has lent the money to another customer?
This is an erronious way to test this. The bank acounts are records of funds. The accounting can get VERY complex, but in the end it amounts to taking in money, loaning it out, giving the depositers a portion of the income, and lending out the rest.

As I said before, either the banks are sitting on a pile of cash (an infinite pile), or they're ponzi scheams. The other option is that they're counterfitting money like crazy. If you have information about such illegal activities, it is your obligation to inform the Secret Service.

Quote:
You're referring to the reserve requirement, which is zero in some countries (e.g. Canada and the UK), and non-zero in others (e.g. the US).
Well, to be fair I had assumed that we were discussing United States banks. I suppose we need to confirm or deny that. In the united States banks need to have a certain amount of cash in reserve.

Quote:
But how is the amount of cash a bank keeps in reserve, or the fact that it keeps cash in reserve at all, related to what might happen to deposits when a bank lends money? I don't see the connection you're trying to make.
It's simple. The ONLY time the actual, physical money in your bank acount is when you withdraw it. Otherwise it's all record keeping (and like I said, it gets complex; the average consumer only deals with the end result, ie the number in the checkbook).

Look, it's really simple. I take $100 from you (I'm the bank, you're the depositer). I invest $75 of your money into mortgages, personal loans, car loans, etc. at 15% APR. I give you 5% APR. I leave $25 in cash at the bank. At the end of the year, your account ballance is $105 and I pocket $10. I also re-invest the origian $75. So your account says $75 (the numbers on the paper don't magically disappear), but the money isn't technically in the account.

If it's just you and me this sucks. If it's five million people and a thousand corporations ranging from mom-and-pop shops to multinational corporations, the $2000 I put in the bank is more than covered by what the bank has on hand. So they can safely invest the money in some short-term loans, and if I pull my money out they have the cash on hand to handle it. This is what complicates the books--you've gotta keep track of a LOT of money changing hands.

The other complication is that you have multiple types of accounts. A savings acount is very liquid, and therefore the funds aren't good to use for long-term investments--which means that the bank's not going to give you much. Money-market accounts are less liquid, and get a better interest rate by virtue of the better investments that can be made. CDs are better yet, and get better yet. But the basic concept is the same.

Again, unless you wish to present evidence that banks are ponzi schemes, rappidly depleating, or criminals.

Quote:
I've done some googling of my own, and discovered that decent, concise descriptions of how banks lend money are hard to come by.
I've spoken to numerous accountants, bankers, etc. on this subject. I'll trust them more than random websites, thanks.

Quote:
No, my argument is that only the interest on the national debt needs to be paid off, so focusing on the size of the national debt itself (as some do) is pointless.
Okay. Fair enough.
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Old 10th September 2010, 05:48 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
This is an erronious way to test this.
Verifying that depositors' balances don't change when a bank lends money is an erroneous way to confirm that banks do not lend their depositors' money? I have to raise an eyebrow at that.

Quote:
It's simple. The ONLY time the actual, physical money in your bank acount is when you withdraw it. Otherwise it's all record keeping (and like I said, it gets complex; the average consumer only deals with the end result, ie the number in the checkbook).

Look, it's really simple. I take $100 from you (I'm the bank, you're the depositer). I invest $75 of your money into mortgages, personal loans, car loans, etc. at 15% APR. I give you 5% APR. I leave $25 in cash at the bank. At the end of the year, your account ballance is $105 and I pocket $10. I also re-invest the origian $75. So your account says $75 (the numbers on the paper don't magically disappear), but the money isn't technically in the account.
Ah, now I see where your misunderstanding is. You think that the number reported as a depositor's bank balance is actually a lie, and does not reflect the "real" money that is in the account. This model makes sense if you assume that the only "real" money is the physical cash in the bank's vault. However, the generally accepted definition of money (which I'm using) includes bank deposits too. So I'm saying that if my bank balance is $1000, then I really do have $1000; the bank is not lying to me. If my bank lends $500 to someone else, a new bank deposit (new money) is created for them, leaving everyone else's deposits (money) untouched.

The problem with your narrow definition of money as "physical cash only" is that it leads to the absurd conclusion that if we moved to a completely cashless system - which is quite feasible - then there would be no "real" money at all, just numbers stored on the hard disks in banks. That's why I think it's reasonable to accept those numbers now in the definition of money: bank deposits already far outweigh physical cash in quantity, and are accepted as money (when we use cheques and debit cards, for example) in the same way as cash.

Quote:
Again, unless you wish to present evidence that banks are ponzi schemes, rappidly depleating, or criminals.
There is no need to do this; I just need to point out that my definition of money (unlike yours) includes bank deposits.
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Old 10th September 2010, 01:13 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Nobbit View Post
If my bank lends $500 to someone else, a new bank deposit (new money) is created for them, leaving everyone else's deposits (money) untouched.
Undoubtedly banks create money. When a bank lends money, that money can be deposited in other banks and can be the basis for those banks' loans, which can be the basis for other loans, etc., etc.

Here is a good article summarizing banking and "money mechanics":
http://web.archive.org/web/200702112...oney/mmm2.html
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Old 10th September 2010, 01:33 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
Undoubtedly banks create money.
I agree, but as we've seen with my discussion with Dinwar, the statement is true only if you're careful to define "money" up front as at least including bank deposits. If that step is omitted, disbelief or disagreement may follow.

Don't most people regard bank deposits as a form of money, though? It would surprise me if they didn't, but I confess I've never done a survey.
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Old 10th September 2010, 01:45 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Nobbit View Post
Don't most people regard bank deposits as a form of money, though? It would surprise me if they didn't, but I confess I've never done a survey.
I agree that it depends how you define money, but in its most basic definition, as a medium of exchange and a store of value, I doubt most people would disagree that bank deposits are money (to quote from the article I linked to above: "Since $1 in currency and $1 in checkable deposits are freely convertible into each other and both can be used directly for expenditures, they are money in equal degree."). If you get into more formal definitions used by economists (M1, M2 and M3), all of these include types of bank accounts.

I think it's only when you very narrowly define money as currency (just a part of M1) that there may be some confusion.

ETA: This graph may be helpful:

http://dollardaze.org/blog/posts/005...oneySupply.png

Last edited by AdMan; 10th September 2010 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 11th September 2010, 05:47 AM   #61
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I've just noticed that Dinwar actually hit on the fundamental truth about money without realising it:
Originally Posted by Dinwar
The ONLY time the actual, physical money in your bank acount is when you withdraw it. Otherwise it's all record keeping
In fact, these days ALL money is just a matter of record-keeping. Cash (coins and notes in circulation) is just a way of keeping records using physical tokens. We should not be deceived into regarding it as somehow more "real" than bank deposits (another form of record-keeping) just because we can hold it in our hands. As I explained earlier, we could move to a system that doesn't use physical tokens, but that doesn't mean that money would cease to exist.
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Old 11th September 2010, 01:09 PM   #62
AaronMHatch
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This whole time, I've been under this impression:

Person A deposits $100 into a bank. Person B deposits $100 into a bank. There is now $200 available for the bank to use. Say the bank loans out $100, leaving $100 on hand. Doesn't this mean that while the records show $200 in deposits, there is physically only $100 in the bank? Is this not how banks generally operate?
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Old 11th September 2010, 01:29 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by AaronMHatch View Post
Person A deposits $100 into a bank. Person B deposits $100 into a bank. There is now $200 available for the bank to use. Say the bank loans out $100, leaving $100 on hand. Doesn't this mean that while the records show $200 in deposits, there is physically only $100 in the bank? Is this not how banks generally operate?
That's more or less it, yes. In more detail, assuming an empty bank to begin with:

Person A and Person B each have $100, making $200 in total. The money supply (bank deposits plus cash in circulation) is $200.

Person A deposits $100 (in cash) into the bank. Now the bank has liabilities of $100 in deposits, and assets of $100 in cash. The money supply is still $200 ($100 in deposits, $100 cash in circulation).

Person B deposits $100 (in cash) into the bank. Now the bank has liabilities of $200 in deposits, and assets of $200 in cash. The money supply is still $200 ($200 in deposits, no cash in circulation).

The bank lends $100 to person C, who immediately withdraws it as cash. Now the bank has liabilities of $200 in deposits, and assets of $200 ($100 cash and a $100 loan). The money supply is now $300: $200 in deposits, and $100 in cash held by person C.

The bank lent $100 to person C without touching A's and B's deposits (their money). In the process, it also expanded the money supply by $100 (the value of C's loan).
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Old 12th September 2010, 06:18 PM   #64
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I'd like to hear an episode of skeptoid about something alittle different than the normal type of topics. I'd like to hear one about... Rudy.

Rudy, the little wanna be Notre Dame football legend who currently makes millions in speaking tours on the back of his legend and a major motion picture... both of which are a bit inaccurate. Rudy didn't sack the QB, he got half a sack at best, and putting him in on the last play was NO BIG DEAL, it was typical of ND to try to get everyone a chance at the end, and The entire team DID NOT turn in their jerseys when the coach wouldn;t put Rudy in, that NEVER happened.

Recently Joe Montana made some comments about Rudy being less than truthful, and I have heard Rudy dodge questions about the actual game events many times. I'd like to hear this urban legend torn apart.
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Old 13th September 2010, 04:09 AM   #65
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An expose on the retarded claims of the American rightwing "birthers" against Obama in the US would be funny.
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Old 13th September 2010, 05:28 AM   #66
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Hey, isn't this thread supposed to be about money and banking? Don't derail it.

I'd just like to add one more point to address in any "money misconceptions" episode that might happen. It's clear from the mention of "physical money" by Dinwar and AaronMHatch that some people think that money is cash, and cash only. So:
  • Money consists of coins and banknotes (in fact, money is pure information, such as the numbers reported on bank balances; coins and notes are just physical record-keeping tokens that are used instead of cheques and debit cards in some situations)
Any remaining scepticism on this point can be exorcised by imagining the move to a cashless system, where cheques and debit/credit cards are used exclusively. In that case, demand for cash would be zero, and so banks would no longer carry it in their vaults. But money would still exist.
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Old 13th September 2010, 05:29 AM   #67
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OK, I'll get back on track too.

Hypnotism: True or Woo?

What is hypnotism? Does anyone really understand what it's supposed to be? Does it really create an "altered state of mind", or are the subjects of hypnotism just carried along and motivated by what they think is expected of them?

Also, hynotherapy. Does it work? Does it treat anything effectively? If so, what can it treat? Are there any theories on how it works, and do they make sense?
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Old 13th September 2010, 07:00 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Nobbit View Post

Hypnotism: True or Woo?

What is hypnotism? Does anyone really understand what it's supposed to be? Does it really create an "altered state of mind", or are the subjects of hypnotism just carried along and motivated by what they think is expected of them?
This is a good one. I've seen some tests where subjects are brought into deep hypnotic "trances" and later swear they weren't just playing along. Then again, I've heard Randi (at this year's Skeptic Track at DragonCon, for example), say that he's done a hypnotism act, and it is exactly that--subjects just pretending and helping the performer put on a good show. Apparently I am the non-hypnotizable (or non-playing along) type, so have no personal experience. I think it would be great to have Skeptoid shed some light on the subject.

BTW, Randi also said that on the other hand, hypnotherapy may have some merit for some people by allowing them to "play out" things, if I remember correctly.

Last edited by AdMan; 13th September 2010 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 13th September 2010, 05:48 PM   #69
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Quote:
It's clear from the mention of "physical money" by Dinwar and AaronMHatch that some people think that money is cash, and cash only. So:
I've never held that view, and none of my statements about how banks work indicate such a view. I merely pointed out that only the federal government can create money (others can create VALUE, but MONEY is another issue entirely). It does not matter, as far as my statements are concerned, whether a deposit is made via physical cash or via electronic transfer.
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Old 13th September 2010, 06:24 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
I merely pointed out that only the federal government can create money (others can create VALUE, but MONEY is another issue entirely). It does not matter, as far as my statements are concerned, whether a deposit is made via physical cash or via electronic transfer.

I think there is still some confusion, maybe by differences in how money is defined (and I am not sure how you define 'value' vs 'money').

It is a generally accepted economic idea that banks do create money, simply by lending. Take a look at the article I linked to above (originally from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and worth a read): http://web.archive.org/web/200702112...oney/mmm2.html

Quote:
Changes in the quantity of money may originate with actions of the Federal Reserve System (the central bank), depository institutions (principally commercial banks), or the public. The major control, however, rests with the central bank.

The actual process of money creation takes place primarily in banks... As noted earlier, checkable liabilities of banks are money. These liabilities are customers' accounts. They increase when customers deposit currency and checks and when the proceeds of loans made by the banks are credited to borrowers' accounts...

Then, bankers discovered that they could make loans merely by giving their promises to pay, or bank notes, to borrowers. In this way, banks began to create money [emphasis added]. More notes could be issued than the gold and coin on hand because only a portion of the notes outstanding would be presented for payment at any one time. Enough metallic money had to be kept on hand, of course, to redeem whatever volume of notes was presented for payment.

The money that banks create (e.g., a loan I receive) is no less "real" than cash I may have in my pocket. Again, unless you define money as just physical currency.

Last edited by AdMan; 13th September 2010 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 13th September 2010, 07:51 PM   #71
Dinwar
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Value: 1) that which one feels is good, right, or important (BGSU student handbook).
2) That which one acts to gain or keep (Introduction to Objectivist Epistomology. Yeah, yeah, I know, Rand and all. But I like this one because it provides a method for determining someone else's values, which is often useful.)

Money: A standard tool and unit of exchange.

I'm not going to continue with the other argument.
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Old 14th September 2010, 05:39 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
I've never held that view [that money is cash and cash only], and none of my statements about how banks work indicate such a view. I merely pointed out that only the federal government can create money (others can create VALUE, but MONEY is another issue entirely). It does not matter, as far as my statements are concerned, whether a deposit is made via physical cash or via electronic transfer.
OK. In that case it seems that your definition of "money" coincides with what's usually called "base money", which is cash in bank vaults plus bank reserves held at the central bank. For sure, only the government or central bank is permitted to create base money.

If you agree with that, you might want to look at the article linked to in the thread I started here:

forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=185511

It's an article that tries to explain money creation by banks as something else: a circulation of base money. To me it seems like a tortuous attempt - for ideological reasons, perhaps - to avoid accepting bank deposits as part of the money supply. I wonder if it would jibe with your apparently similar view of money, though.
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Old 16th September 2010, 11:40 PM   #73
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I would like to see an episode on the works of Charles Berlitz (his Bermuda Triangle and Atlantis stuff) and/or Erich von Däniken (the Swiss UFO wacko)
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Old 19th September 2010, 05:44 AM   #74
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Some stuff I'd quite like to see discussed:
  • Shakespeare's plays
  • Commercial oxytocin spray "Liquid Trust"
  • The DSM
  • The youth of today (are they really worse than ever?)
  • Columbine conspiracy theories
  • Music piracy (does it harm or help the industry?)
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Old 21st September 2010, 07:19 AM   #75
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Spontaneous human combustion

In many cases, the evidence that it is truly spontaneous is either scant or nonexistent, but it would be interesting to hear some theories on how people might be tricked into believing it's spontaneous.
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Old 21st September 2010, 04:18 PM   #76
Dinwar
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Nobbit: I'm still curious as to how a bank can loan money it doesn't have (which is what necessarily must happen if the bank is creating money). However, I think there's at least one point you and I can agree on: This definitely would make a valuable contribution to the Skeptoid podcast library. Obviously it can generate a fair bit of discussion!

Quote:
The youth of today (are they really worse than ever?)
Always a good topic of discussion. And a very old one--the Romans were discussing it back when the Meditaranian Sea was called Mari Nostra.
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Old 22nd September 2010, 10:27 AM   #77
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Quote:
Spontaneous human combustion
Gets my vote.
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Old 22nd September 2010, 11:03 PM   #78
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Female ejaculation. Or spontaneous human combustion. Or both.
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Old 24th September 2010, 12:27 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by BibleWelt View Post
Female ejaculation. Or spontaneous human combustion. Or both.
You know I'm sure there is a club in Soho that probably offers both...
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Old 6th October 2010, 10:42 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
How about a show about this myth commonly circulated within the vegetarian/vegan/PETA crowd: that we humans are really herbivores by nature instead of omnivores, and the human body is biologically unsuited for consuming, digesting and metabolizing animal meat.

I've encountered many vegetarians, animal rights activists and the like who insist their diet is not only a personal preference, but is in fact the proper natural fodder of human consumption. They charge that the rest of us who eat meat are indulging in a hideous perversion of our own nature which is not only immoral and cruel, but also unhealthful and even downright poisonous to our bodies.

This argument is supported by a number of very well-crafted bits of pseudoscience. Here are just a few examples of this 'evidence' that supposedly proves humans have evolved as herbivores:
  • Humans are primates descended from apes, and nearly all apes are exclusively herbivorous
  • Archaeological investigations of early human remains have found that early man was not primarily a hunter, but ate a diet of mostly fruits and nuts
  • Humans do not possess sharp talons or protruding canine teeth as do other predatory carnivores
  • Humans have flat molars for grinding up botanical material, a type of teeth which carnivores do not have
  • The human mouth produces a lot of very alkaline saliva with powerful enzymes - similar to herbivores which need to break down plant cell walls to derive nutrition from plants, whereas carnivores produce relatively little, acidic saliva
  • Most carnivores have stomach acid that is 20 times stronger than that of herbivores, necessary for digesting meat, but humans have a more dilute stomach acid like that of an herbivore
  • The human digestive tract is of a similar length as that of most herbivores (in a ratio of alimentary canal length to body length), and carnivores generally have a much shorter digestive tract
  • Because humans have such a long digestive tract, digesting meat tends to decay inside our intestines, introducing harmful bacterial "toxins" into our systems

I've heard a number of other points to this argument, but these seem to be the most popular.

When researching this topic on the Internet, I found an astounding number of websites promoting these claims as fact. One website has a statement by a guy claiming an MD, who gives his professional opinion that a strict vegetarian diet is necessary for optimal human nutrition. Not surprisingly, just about all of these sites are openly dedicated to vegetarianism and other 'alternative' lifestyles.

People have been eating meat for millennia. Meat is consumed on every continent on Earth. The main reasons why people do not eat meat are economic, religious, cultural or personal. If meat is so bad for us, how come more people in the industrialized world aren't diseased and dying from all the dead animals we consume? Why don't vegetarians live much longer lives and vastly outperform weak, sickly meat-eaters in athletic competitions? Seems like this myth ought to be very easy to debunk, but I haven't found a single resource which addresses these claims critically, with citations of, you know, actual scientific data and such.
If humans evolved from "apes" as you say, then why are there still apes!? I find it hard to beleive anyone on this theory because of the lack of evidence. Just dimply saying "we both have apposable thumbs" isn't enough for me. And another thing, is it too hard to beleive that God created science. I am a christian and I believe in both science, and religeon.

In my veiw GOD CREATED SCIENCE!
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