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Pop quiz: 17 for 17

Donate What better way to celebrate 17 years of the Skeptoid podcast than a 17-question pop quiz!  

by Brian Dunning

Filed under Feedback & Questions

Skeptoid Podcast #904
October 3, 2023
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Pop quiz: 17 for 17

Today is the 17th anniversary of the Skeptoid podcast. And moreover, it is episode #904, and the 904 is my favorite Porsche model, and which ended production in the year I was born. So we are celebrating with one of Skeptoid's famous pop quizzes, 17 questions, one from each year of the show. Since it's my anniversary, I'll pick an episode from each of the previous 17 years that I personally really enjoyed researching and writing — and we'll see if your skeptical chops are up to par. We'll go with 10 out of 17 as a passing grade. So no more dallying; let's get started!

From 2006: A Primer on Scientific Testing

In what type of clinical trial are the test administrators blinded, but the statisticians who tabulate the results are not?

A. Single blinded
B. Double blinded
C. Triple blinded

Reveal the answer

From 2007: A Mormon History of the Americas

A few Mormon theologians attempt to prove the literal truth of the Book of Mormon by disputing the historical fact that some things in the book are known not to have existed in pre-Columbian America. Which of the following did exist in pre-Columbian America?

A. Horses
B. Barley
C. Gold plating

Reveal the answer

From 2008: HAARP Myths

HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a 28-acre field of radio antennas that conspiracy theorists accuse of everything from causing targeted weather disasters to world mind control. Where is it located?

A. Antarctica
B. Alaska
C. Near Alice Springs, Australia

Reveal the answer

From 2009: The Antikythera Mechanism

This first century mechanism, retrieved from an ancient merchant vessel in the Ionian Sea, starred in Indiana Jones 5 as a time travel device. What was its actual purpose?

A. A toy for rich people
B. A naval instrument
C. An astronomical instrument

Reveal the answer

From 2010: The Virgin of Guadalupe

This image of the Virgin Mary, painted by one of the earliest known educated Aztec painters, had its use debated in converting Native Americans argued by which two Catholic orders in the 1500s?

A. The Jesuits and the Dominicans
B. The Dominicans and the Franciscans
C. The Franciscans and the Jesuits

Reveal the answer

From 2011: Pit Bull Attack

Pit bulls unquestionably have a reputation for being a dangerous dog breed. Which of the following is true about pit bulls?

A. They tend to hold a bite longer than other dog breeds
B. They are more likely to bite than other dog breeds
C. Rottweilers kill more Americans than pit bulls

Reveal the answer


From 2012: I Can't Believe They Did That: Human Guinea Pigs

This episode about scientists who experimented on themselves, because they were unwilling to endanger others, included this famed rocket sled rider whose data persuaded Congress to require seatbelts in cars:

A. Col. John Stapp
B. Col. Joseph Kittinger
C. Ralph Nader

Reveal the answer

From 2013: The Sedona Energy Vortex

Sedona, Arizona is famous for its "energy vortices" which appeal to the New Age crowd. Which of the following is true?

A. About a half dozen specific locations in the Sedona region are geomagnetically distinctive.
B. Sedona, in general, is geomagnetically distinctive from the surrounding region.
C. There is nothing geomagnetically distinctive about Sedona

Reveal the answer

From 2014: Hemp, Hearst, and Prohibition

Some marijuana advocates claim that the reason it's illegal goes back to a conspiracy primarily driven by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Which of the following was not a factor in marijuana being declared illegal?

A. Religion: the ban was to appeal to the temperance/prohibition lobby
B. Money: the ban was to protect paper and cotton profits
C. Racism: the ban was a punitive measure aimed mainly at Mexicans and Chinese

Reveal the answer

From 2015: Did the 1914 Christmas Truce Really Happen?

The 1914 Christmas Truce between British and German troops did happen, but which of the following statements about it is true?

A. It was actually a bloodier than normal day
B. It was, as the urban legend says, an uncommonly peaceful day
C. It was about like any other day

Reveal the answer

From 2016: Earthquake Lights: Do They Exist?

Earthquake lights are the name given by some to apocryphal flashes that light up the sky during an earthquake. Which of the following is the only proven cause of them?

A. Exploding electrical transformers
B. Piezo-electric effects in quartz rock layers
C. Atmospheric lightning-like phenomena called sprites

Reveal the answer

From 2017: Remembering the Mandela Effect

Although "the Mandela effect" today is our name for when a lot of people share the same false memory, that's not what the term originally meant. What did the Mandela effect originally refer to?

A. People trading consciousness with other people in different centuries
B. People drifting between alternate dimensions where things are actually different
C. The artificial implantation of a false memory by Cold War spies

Reveal the answer

From 2018: Three Big Macs a Day

If you ate three Big Macs a day, you would get too much of what?

A. Sodium
B. Sugar
C. Calories

Reveal the answer

From 2019: Mexico's Zone of Silence

Which of the following is true of Mexico's mysterious Zone of Silence, a remote desert region that's become a tourist attraction because of all the strange legends surrounding it?

A. A missile once contaminated it with radioactive cobalt
B. Radios do not work there
C. Compasses are wrong there

Reveal the answer

From 2020: When the Earth's Magnetic Field Flips

Which of the following statements is true about the Earth's magnetic field?

A. Pole reversals are often triggered by major earthquakes.
B. It's not known what impact to life on Earth a pole reversal might have.
C. Pole reversals take thousands of years and have happened many times.

Reveal the answer

From 2021: What Really Happened at Tunguska

When this superbolide exploded over Siberia in 1908, how many human casualties were there (to the best of our knowledge)?

A. No humans are known to have been killed or injured.
B. An entire village of hundreds of Evenk people was completely destroyed.
C. Three people were killed and many in the vicinity were injured.

Reveal the answer

From 2022: Demystifying the Winchester Mystery House

This giant, sprawling mansion that follows no clear plan was built by Sarah Winchester, widow and heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, at the turn of the 20th century, for what reason?

A. To confound the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles
B. To keep people employed
C. On the advice of her psychic

Reveal the answer

And there we have it, 17 questions for 17 years of Skeptoid. Did you get 10 or more right? If you didn't, you need to listen to more Skeptoid; and if you did, your reward is that you get to continue listening to Skeptoid for many more years to come.

By Brian Dunning

Please contact us with any corrections or feedback.


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Cite this article:
Dunning, B. "Pop quiz: 17 for 17." Skeptoid Podcast. Skeptoid Media, 3 Oct 2023. Web. 20 May 2024. <>



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