TRC #522: Recent Anti-Vax Article + Errors In Textbooks with Barry Panas + Passwords

Welcome to your weekly dose of TRC! Adam kicks things off by addressing a syndicated column filled with anti-vaccine misinformation and pseudoscience that was recently published in the Toronto Sun newspaper. “Physics Commando” Barry Panas schools us about errors in school textbooks after hearing a recent episode where Darren cites the Earth’s mass. Finally, Pat drops a bombshell on the panel with a segment everyone should hear regarding passwords and how to find out if you’ve been compromised without even knowing it.

Download direct: mp3 file

Recent Anti-Vax Article

Vitamin C: Do High Doses Prevent Colds? – Quackwatch

Antivaccine propaganda from Dr. W. Gifford-Jones in The Toronto Sun – Science Based Medicine

Toronto Sun newspaper pulls column skeptical of vaccines after backlash – CP24

Toronto Sun: Facts Matter More Than Opinion


Worst Passwords 2017

Hacker Vs Cracker

Darknet Diaries Podcast

Motherboard: VTech Hack

Wikipedia: Troy Hunt

The Cyberwire – Hacking Humans Podcast

Have I Been Pwned?

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3 Responses to TRC #522: Recent Anti-Vax Article + Errors In Textbooks with Barry Panas + Passwords

  1. Rich Wilson says:

    I’m a bit surprised that none of you knew about the Megabyte vs. Mebibyte (etc.) thing (though not at all surprised that you don’t use them). If you’ve ever dropped a lot of money for a huge hard drive and then noticed that Windows didn’t report the advertised number of “megabytes” on it, you should have checked the fine print: besides accounting for filesystem overhead, most manufacturers advertise in mega/giga (base-10 type) numbers, not mebi/gibi (base-2 type) numbers – so a 1.0 Tebibyte drive can usually be sold as a 1.1 Terabyte drive (“a whole 100 gigabytes more!”), etc. Sure, it is marginal, but it has always allowed them to round up.

    (Back in the early ’90s when ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) was supposed to be the future of digital communications, telecom people were always *very* eager to point out the difference to me, but I still never used those prefixes: honestly, it would talk too long to convince anyone that it was the correct set of terms… and they still wouldn’t use them because it sounds too much like babytalk.)

  2. Eric from Seattle says:

    In the FPS system, a pound is a unit of force. The unit of mass is the slug. It was disappointing to hear you sound so certain of something you were exactly backwards on.

    • Barry Panas says:

      Hi Eric. Thanks for your post. I’ll try to clarify and back up my claim about the pound being a unit of mass. Warning: this is excessively confusing, so I’m going to start with a “summary” and then move into details:


      The “pound” (lb) is very much a unit of mass:

      The “pound-force” (lbf) is a separate unit, and is a force unit. The pound-force is often mistakenly confused with the pound. Notice in the wikipedia page that you linked to, the “pound” is actually the “pound-force” (lbf).

      Here is a link to NIST (US National Institute of Standards and Technology) in which units are defined. Click the link near the top of the page for “MASS and MOMENT OF INERTIA” to find the pound listed a mass unit which is, in fact, defined in terms of the kilogram.


      You are correct that the slug is a unit of mass, but you are not correct about it being the unit of mass in the FPS system. In the FPS system, the pound actually is the unit of mass. The slug is, however, the unit of mass in the BG system, which is a variant of the FPS system:

      Confusion arises from there being a completely separate unit which is properly known as as a “pound-force” which is abbreviated “lbf” (whereas a “pound” is abbreviated “lb”). For what it’s worth, there is also a force unit which is called a “kilogram-force” (kgf) which is the exact analog of the lbf. And if all of this isn’t confusing enough, there is ALSO a unit called a “poundal” … which is the force needed to give a mass of one pound an acceleration of 1 ft/s^2.

      Hope that helps.

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