Author Archives: Brian Dunning

About Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid.

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After much deliberation, we have decided to follow the lead of other prominent web sites that have removed public comments from their principle articles. Skeptoid episode transcripts no longer have comment sections. Why?

Posted in Education, Skeptoid Podcast | 71 Comments

Are You a Crank?

When recreational mathematician Martin Gardner died in 2010, he left us a huge number of books. One of these is called Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science. In his first chapter, Gardner went into some depth on characterizing cranks. Cranks … Continue reading

Posted in Pseudoscience | Tagged | 6 Comments

Why Mythbusters Ended

‘Nuff said.

Posted in TV & Media | Tagged | 18 Comments

No, Sniffing These Mushrooms Will Probably Not Give You an Orgasm

For a week or so now, the Interwebz have been abuzz with an amazing “scientific” discovery: that a species of Dictyophora mushroom found on Hawaii will give some women an “instant orgasm” merely by sniffing it. The story has been getting … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Medicine, Health, Pseudoscience, TV & Media | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Critical Thinking: My Friend, My Enemy, Myself

Conversations between “skeptics” and “believers” tend to devolve into an argument over who is truly thinking critically and who is not — to nobody’s ultimate benefit. There is a very good reason why trading accusations of a lack of critical … Continue reading

Posted in Education | Tagged | 6 Comments

When a Drone is Not a Drone

It’s unfortunate that language is often used carelessly. We frequently react to news emotionally rather than analytically; and when imprecise language elicits groundless fear, our reaction can be the same as if the fear were justified. The current popular trend … Continue reading

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Electrohypersensitivity and Bad Reporting

The April 2015 issue of Popular Science includes a bizarre feature article that might give many readers cause for a double take: a detailed promotion of a thoroughly debunked pseudoscience. It is largely a profile of one woman, Diane Schou, and … Continue reading

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Are You Orthorexic? Our Obsession with Healthy Eating

We seem to have forgotten that humans are omnivorous. Around the world and throughout history, people have thrived on diets diverse and extreme enough to shame the fad diet section in any modern bookstore. Populations have flourished on staples like … Continue reading

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Captain Cook and the Impossible Cotton

Shortly before Captain James Cook was killed on the island of Hawaii in 1779, one of his botanists, David Nelson, made a single four-day excursion up Mauna Loa and collected 136 species of plants. From Reader’s Digest‘s 1986 book, Mysteries of the Ancient … Continue reading

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Gravitational Waves and the Value of Errors

Imagine a fat guy doing a cannonball into a calm swimming pool. We can predict that a minute later the surface of the pool will be mottled with waves: ridges and valleys, peaks and pits. The Standard Model of cosmology … Continue reading

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