Category Archives: Science

A Fun Quiz About Chemicals: The Answers!

Last week’s Skeptoid post took a look at the maxim of “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” and found it to be silly and simplistic. Judging a chemical (or anything, for that matter) to be “bad” because it … Continue reading

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Whales’ Pelvic Bones: Evolutionary Science at its Best

This summer I took my kids to the Royal Museum for Natural Sciences here in Brussels. Apart from the usual dinosaur exhibits and a very nice exposition on evolution, there was also a large room (evidently) for the display of … Continue reading

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Is the Evidence for Inflation and Gravity Waves Just Dust?

One of the strengths of science and the scientific method is that it is self-correcting. As new evidence is found, old ideas are tested against that evidence. Should they fail, they are either modified or discarded and new ideas take … Continue reading

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A Fun Quiz About Chemicals

The cautionary maxim “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” became popular thanks to food writer and activist Michael Pollan. In an NPR story from 2008, he wrote it as an easy to remember phrase: “Don’t buy products with … Continue reading

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I’m a Science Babe/Big Pharma Shill

While I work on a more detailed post this week on the continued terrible job the media is doing on reporting science, I have been sidetracked by a little Facebook activism. While what I am doing might border on slacktivism, … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Pseudoscience, Science, TV & Media | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Heisenberg Principle of Scientific Knowledge

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is one of the more misunderstood concepts in particle physics. The uncertainty principle says that we cannot measure the position (x) and the momentum (p) of a particle with absolute precision. The more accurately we know … Continue reading

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How This Clinical Trial Went Terribly Wrong

As a lifelong asthma sufferer, I’ve always had alerts set up at ClinicalTrials.gov, a central clearinghouse for clinical trials. If a clinical trial for a new experimental drug came up in my area, I wanted to be notified so I … Continue reading

Posted in Cool Stuff, Health, Science | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

Do Anecdotes Have A Place In Science?

What’s covered in this blog: Anecdotes are not evidence. Anecdotes are valuable to the scientific process, but they are not conclusions. The number of anecdotes does not matter. They can, at most, serve as a basis for forming a hypothesis … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Pseudoscience, Science | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Nut Allergies In Schools: Epidemic or Hysteria?

With kids in the United States going back to school, parents are finding an increasing move towards “nut-free” foods in the public school system, as schools strive to eliminate peanuts and tree nuts from snacks and lunches. Many schools proudly state that they are … Continue reading

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How do you make an atomically sharp needle?

Back in the late 1980s, my friend Dan was a student at University of California, Santa Barbara and an employee of Digital Instruments, one of the very first companies to sell a practical commercial Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), the Nanoscope … Continue reading

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