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The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe

Stephon Alexander (photo by Lendel Marshal)

Photo by Lendel Marshal

In The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe, physicist and jazz saxophonist Dr. Stephon Alexander revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander’s own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and physics, from taking music lessons as a boy in the Bronx to studying theoretical physics at Imperial College. Playing the saxophone and improvising with equations, Alexander uncovered the connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else. As he reveals, the ancient poetic idea of the “music of the spheres,” taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics. Dr. Alexander is the Royce Family Professor at Brown University’s Physics Department. In 2013, he won the prestigious American Physical Society Bouchet Award for “his contributions to theoretical cosmology.” He is also a jazz musician, and recently finished recording his first electronic jazz album with Erin Rioux.

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About this week’s feature

Research is suggesting that pornography addiction may be distorting our ideas of healthy sexual relationships, causing erectile dysfunction, social anxiety, depression, compulsivity, desensitization, anorgamsia, delayed ejaculation, difficulty having sex with real partners, and abnormally low sexual desire. In this week’s eSkeptic, renowned psychologist Philip Zimbardo, along with Gary Wilson (author of Your Brain on Porn), and Nikita Coulombe (co-author of Man Interrupted) discuss the problem of pornography addiction.

Read short biographies of the authors at the end of this article.

How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood

by Philip Zimbardo, Gary Wilson & Nikita Coulombe

Finding a needle in a haystack would be easier than finding an adolescent male who hasn’t seen online porn. Surveys indicate the average boy watches roughly two hours of porn every week with porn viewing becoming common by age 15.

The most popular porn site—PornHub—reported that the average Millennial porn session lasts 9 minutes, while the average age young people have sex for the first time is 17 years old. This means the average boy has had about 1,400 porn sessions prior to having real life sex. So why aren’t more people asking what kind of effects porn is having on these young viewers?

Almost all people can recall the first erotic image they saw; like a flashbulb memory it is forever emblazoned in our minds. There appears to be a special window of time when visual sexual interests form most readily: adolescence. When this critical period gets hijacked by watching copious amounts of online porn, it seems some men can suffer from what one Italian urology survey called “sexual anorexia,” or difficulty having sex with a real partner. Many of the young Italians in the 28,000-person survey started “excessive consumption” of porn sites as early as 14 years old and later, when in their mid-20s, they became inured to “even the most violent images.” Professor Carlo Foresta, head of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS), explained that the problem worsens when young men’s sexuality develops independently from real life sexual relationships. First, he said, viewers become less responsive to porn sites, then their libido drops, and finally it becomes difficult to get an erection.

Read the full article

Watching Science

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek has a discussion with Dr. Ivan Oransky, MD. Oransky is the global editorial editor for MedPage Today, and co-founder of Retraction Watch, a site which reports on scientific integrity, fraud, and other issues. He previously was executive editor of Reuters Health and held an editorial position at Scientific American and The Scientist. His main passion is the promotion of science-based medicine and encouraging those in the medical field to use a more common sense approach to diagnosis, focusing less on ‘pre-conditions’ and possible symptoms of less-than-certain diseases.

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Skepticism 101

What is a Skeptic anyway? Are they just naysayers? Are they cynics? Do they just automatically say “that’s not real” to anything exciting and mysterious? Find out the true meaning of Skepticism in this MonsterTalk special episode — Skepticism 101, featuring Dr. Steven Novella.

Dr. Steven Novella is a clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. He is a prominent figure in the Skeptic community, he is the host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, and he is actively involved in the promotion of Science Based Medicine. Steve joins us to talk about the basics of Skepticism we’re calling Skepticism 101.

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