TRC #249: Oak Island Money Pit + Teddy Wilson + Do Cell Signals Go To Space?

nevereverEpisode 249 is explosive!   First Adam looks into the Oak Island Money Pit in Nova Scotia then Pat and Elan have a chat with Teddy Wilson from “Never Ever Do This At Home” and lastly Darren tell us whether or not cell phone signals go to space.

Download direct: mp3 file

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Oak Island Money Pit

The Secrets of Oak Island – CSICOP

I’m not saying it was aliens but it was aliens

Oak Island Money Pit Mystery

Teddy Wilson From Never Ever Do This At Home

Discovery Channel – Never Ever Do This At Home

Spike  – Never Ever Do This At Home

Sizzle Reel

Do Cell Signals Go To Space?

How Does a Cell Phone Transmission & Signal Work? (eHow)


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6 Responses to TRC #249: Oak Island Money Pit + Teddy Wilson + Do Cell Signals Go To Space?

  1. Funkmon says:

    I was initially skeptical of the etymology of cellular phones as referring to cities being subdivided into cells, which didn’t make sense to me. Particularly because I couldn’t find any etymology online. Then, upon reading the entire goddamn wikipedia page, it started to make more sense. Car radiophones, as they used to be, were kind of high powered, and had one big transmitter per city. When cell phones came around, they moved to many low powered transmitters, so it makes more sense. But, the wikipedia article still didn’t give me a clear answer. I also saw a HSW article later explaining this, but there were no sources.


    But, with some tenacity, I did come across a well researched article on The Atlantic, which also includes a helpful diagram.

    I worked at this for approximately 15 minutes. Amazing how impatient one becomes in the age of the internet. If it were 1984 and I heard you guys say this on a radio broadcast, I’d need to go to the library, find an encyclopedia or book on cell phones, or, in the case of these as emerging technology, possibly look through years of popsci or pop mechanics to determine the etymology. Now I’m pissed off at fifteen minutes. What the fuck.

    Congrats on 250, guys. That’s a quarter of 100, which means it has no significance in our decimal number system. I hope over the course of the podcast, you’ve learned a little bit about science and skepticism, and a lot about how often people correct minor, irrelevant errors.

  2. Darren says:

    Your comment is all sorts of delightful. We thank you for your rigor, tenacity, self-reflection, and entirely appropriate compliment. 🙂

    Hope you listen to the next 250,

  3. Jo says:

    Just a question… The cell towers seems to have a ‘small’ coverage. So there are certainly no towers in the ocean… So do long-distance calls go through satellites?

    • Darren says:

      Thanks for the question. I should have been more clear, when cell phones are talking to each other, they are using a tower as a middle step and that tower is supported by the larger, land based telephone system (with actual wires running above or below ground).
      So it goes cell to tower through the air, then tower to tower (through a physical line), and then tower to cell back through the air.

      Typically, long distance calls ‘over’ oceans would go along the cable lines underneath and then to towers.

      Thanks again and keep listening 🙂

  4. Jon B says:

    Hey Guys,

    A regular listener and first time commentator here. Thanks for all the free content! It makes my commute much more interesting.

    I’m a software engineer in the mobile-telecom field, and also a fan of Louis C.K, so I’d like to offer some unsolicited comments on the cell-space segment

    Cell towers actually do not talk to each other directly. In UTRAN (also known as 3G by marketers), which you guys in Canada will be familiar with, as most Canadian networks are based on UTRAN, the cells (NodeB) are all connected to a component called RNC – Radio Network Controller, which they talk to [1].
    These RNCs are very big and expensive boxes (not towers themselves) which aggregate hundreds of cells together, and when a user wants to move from one cell to the next due to changing radio conditions, the RNC facilitates this transition and makes sure to forward any data that user has incoming from one cell to the next (otherwise you’d have outages and dropped calls every time you move from cell to cell, which happens A LOT).
    In order to aggregate a bunch of cells together to a single RNC, and then a bunch of RNCs to a single MSC or GGSN (these are two bigger and even more expensive components further up the network, which are in charge of handing voice and data, respectively), operators have what is called “a backhaul” [2]. This backhaul can be made out of optic fiber wires, copper wires, microwave antennas and any other means of moving large amounts of information from point A to point B. These other means can and sometime do include… You guessed it… Satellite relays.

    Mobile operators and internet service providers, even in developed countries like Canada, still use satellite backhauls to relay calls and internet traffic, you can feel that fact when one of these satellites fails [3]. This is particularly true for remote areas where leasing a satellite relay is cheaper than putting fibers or copper in the ground, or erecting microwave relays at relatively short intervals.

    While researching this comment, I also found a cool Canadian company which actually plans to launch a bunch of satellites with the stated intention of providing backhaul services [4].

    So yea, when Louis C.K tells you “give it a second to come back from space”, he might be right (also, the RTT values for some of these satellite uplinks can be 700 ms, so “give it a second” is close to accurate :-)).
    So when I download your episodes in Israel where I live (and did not escape the Israeli army…), some of the bytes my phone received might have spent time in space, depending on the routes they had on the way.


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