Article Archive for October 2007

Skeptic’s Circle submissions
By jonhw
Posted in on 31 October 2007
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Just a quick note - we’re hosting the Skeptic’s Circle blog carnival here on 8/11/07. Please send your best skeptical blogging to us at holfordwatch duck googlemail.com for inclusion (replace the fowl with @ to get a valid e-mail address). Give us a couple of days notice, and we’ll try to write something [...]

The Scotsman reproduces a Standard article - correcting its ‘Dr Holford’ error, but still with lots of dubious claims
By jonhw
Posted in on 31 October 2007
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Bella Blisset previously ran a pretty dismal article on nutrition in the Evening Standard (9/10/07, p. 41) - pretty much reproducing some of Holford’s claims that food is better medicine than drugs, without allowing any experts in evidence-based nutrition and medicine to challenge his - often dubious - claims. To make things worse, the [...]

Society of Homeopaths fan the flames of untruth
By gimpy
Posted in on 31 October 2007
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Look what they have done now, just when you think standards cannot get any worse for the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) they do. In recent weeks they have failed in their attempts to bully a blogger into silence, had their ethical failings exposed and organised conferences with dangerous quacks who believe they can cure [...]

More minority report
By pj
Posted in on 31 October 2007
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More from the Minority Report (Ben Goldacre is currently hosting the reports):”Dr Joel Brind and Dr Greg Gardner submitted detailed evidence to this inquiry that claims there is a causal link between breast cancer and abortion. They are critical of Ber…

Quote for the week
By ambrielle
Posted in on 31 October 2007
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Again from FSTDT (it’s like a supermarket of stupid), but this time I recommend you going to the original source:FixedEarth.com. Several commenters at fstdt have called Poe on this (See here for Poe’s Law if you haven’t spent any time at all on creationism/evolution sites and/or had your head buried in the interweb sand.). I’m [...]

More abortion
By pj
Posted in on 31 October 2007
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Via Badscience, the Commons Science and Technology Committe report on abortion is out today, (as is the minority report):”The Committee concludes that while survival rates at 24 weeks (the current upper limit for abortion) and over have improved since …

Oooooh I’m in the Minority Report!
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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This is officially the most exciting moment of my hobby as a writer. The Parliamentary Science and Tech Select Committee have published a very sensible report about the evidence for and against a change in the Abortion laws. The Minority Report is an extra report, bolted on as an appendix: they are there for when [...]

Sense prevails
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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Ooh ooh I just got this in email at 00:01 and I hereby am posting it before the BBC or anyone. They lose valuable minutes by pretending not to copy and paste the press release, while I find that kind of theatre slightly childish. Meanwhile, pasted below is what our Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee [...]

The BBC Is Not as Good as the Newspapers - The BBC
By apgaylard
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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I had a very polite reply from the BBC about my complaint concerning the blatant plugging of Ecowatts‘ “Thermal Energy Cell” on BBC One’s Breakfast News.   
This is a device that is sometimes described as breaking the first law of thermodynamics; at other times it’s just tapping into a new source of energy previously unknown [...]

Society of Homeopaths and Louis Klein - a coalition of quackery
By gimpy
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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Louis Klein is one of the worlds most renowned and influential homeopaths. He is the primary teacher of the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course, the premier course for advanced homeopathy in the American continent. He is the founder and past president of the North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH) and as his website states:
He [...]

The Uncharacteristic Silence of Private Eye
By jaycueaitch
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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The satirical magazine Private Eye includes a regular column entitled “Street of Shame” covering the bed-swapping, political infighting and boozing that goes on amongst Fleet Street’s finest. You would have thought, then,  that the departure of Roger Alton - editor of  the  Observer -  after a series of “discussions” with Alan Rusbridger - editor of the Guardian would be [...]

The Society of Homeopaths vs. The Quackometer
By ambrielle
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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My education in quackery has undergone a steep learning curve over the last year or so reading Ben Goldacre’s columns in The Guardian and his blog Badscience, and hanging around in the Badscience Forums. Consequently, homeopathy has become one of my bugbears. For the uninitiated, in this incredible ‘parallel universe’ the laws of physics, chemistry [...]

Cold “cure” formula is just viral marketing
By Frank the SciencePunk
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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The Independent reported today on a formula promising a “cure” for the common cold. Although really it did no such thing. There’s so much wrong with the article I scarcely know where to begin debunking it. For a start, its written by “Dr Chris Idzikowski, the director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre” (so [...]

Society of Homeopaths in burning underwear scandal - homeopathic remedy may be of some use
By gimpy
Posted in on 30 October 2007
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Le Canard Noir has a new post up in which he takes to task the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) over their recent press release defending their egregious and unethical legal tactics in the face of the ensuring furore. It is clear the SoH have an honesty and accuracy problem as well as an accountability [...]

Nowy e-mail
By Modne Bzdury
Posted in on 29 October 2007
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Wielkimi krokami zbliża się termin ponownej rejestracji domeny www.modnebzdury.pl (początkowa rejestracja po cenie promocyjnej kosztowała mnie ok. 10 zł). Przedłużenie domeny kosztuje 122 złote, co raczej dość mocno nadszarpnęłoby mój skromny budżet. W związku z tym za jakiś czas Modne Bzdury będą dostępne jedynie pod tym adresem: http://modnebzdury.blogspot.com/. Jeśli ktoś linkuje do mnie pod adres .pl, proszę o zmienienie adresu.

Po wygaśnięciu domeny prawdopodobnie stracę też konto e-mail info@modnebzdury.pl. Już dzisiaj podaję nowy, działający adres kontaktowy: modnebzdury@gmail.pl. Przepraszam za kłopot i dziękuję za wyrozumiałość.

Warzywa z ekologicznych upraw - może jednak?
By Modne Bzdury
Posted in on 29 October 2007
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Nie tak dawno pisałem o dość głupiej postawie polskich partii wobec żywności genetycznie modyfikowanej. Wspomniałem tam, że żywność z upraw ekologicznych nie różni pod względem zawartości składników odżywczych od tej tradycyjnej. Po napomnieniu ze strony jednego z czytelników poprawiłem się i napisałem, że różnice między tymi dwoma rodzajami żywności oczywiście istnieją, choć nie zawsze są one znaczące czy na korzyść eko-żywności. Powoływałem się we wspomnianym poście na opinię brytyjskiej The Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Dzisiaj rano na moją przeglądarkę kanałów RSS przyszedł artykuł z naukowego działu The Guardian, w którym jest mowa o nowym 4-letnim, kosztującym 12 milionów funtów badaniu, które może spowodować zmianę stanowiska FSA.

Chodzi o badanie przeprowadzone na eksperymentalnym gospodarstwie Newcastle University. Uprawiano tam przez 4 lata warzywa i owoce oraz hodowano bydło. Wyniki są - wydaje się - jednoznaczne. Owoce i warzywa ekologiczne zawierały 40% więcej przeciwutleniaczy niż te tradycyjne, uprawiane jako grupa kontrolna. Większa ma być też zawartość cynku i żelaza, choć w tym przypadku nie podano różnic procentowych. Mleko od zwierząt hodowanych eko-metodami zawierało ponad 60% (w niektórych przypadkach o 90%) więcej przeciwutleniaczy i wielonienasyconych kwasów tłuszczowych.

Zdaniem profesora Carlo Leiferta - przedstawiciela projektu Quality Low Input Food - jest to szczególnie dobra wiadomość dla osób, które nie spożywają codziennie zalecanej ilości warzyw i owoców. Uważa on, że dzięki bogatszym w składniki odżywcze produktom spożywczym z eko-upraw osoby te będą mogły pokryć swoje zapotrzebowanie na te składniki bez potrzeby zwiększania ilości spożywanych owoców i warzyw. Leifert stwierdza też, że zespół badawczy jest zainteresowany głównie dowiedzeniem się tym, skąd biorą się te różnice i które elementy w systemie upraw są za nie odpowiedzialne.

Niestety na ostateczne wyniki trzeba poczekać jeszcze rok. Jestem też ciekaw oficjalnego stanowiska FSA. Postaram się Was w tej sprawie informować na bieżąco.

Miscellanea: Amtrak vs Greyhound
By Grey
Posted in on 29 October 2007
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Miscellanea: Amtrak vs Greyhound

Hippotherapy
By Poor Pothecary
Posted in syndicated on 29 October 2007
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In Bad Science circles, a regular gripe is the BBC providing what is in effect advertorial for unproven therapies via news items with little or no balance. For instance, A canna’ change the laws of physics just posted See The Light, a critique of unque…

Think differently about autism
By Mike Stanton
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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Today the National Autistic Society launches its “think differently” campaign. We want to spread the word that autism need not be so devastating and disabling if only  people would take the time to understand it and make the effort to adapt our schools and workplaces and public spaces to make them autism friendly.
To that end [...]

Quantum Road Sign
By Frank the SciencePunk
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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Nano Gold Energising Cream
By Frank the SciencePunk
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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I know many of you out there are thinking: “I wish someone out there would make a face cream that I could feel confident spending £350 on”. Thankfully cosmetics company Chantecaille have come to the rescue. Cleverly realising that rich people have far more money than sense, they have produced Chantecaille Nano Gold Energising [...]

My kind of nonsense
By coracle
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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Observer editor is to go: we are more possible than they could powerfully imagine
By jonhw
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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Observer editor Roger Alton will step down at the end of 2007. It appears that the terrible MMR/autism coverage from the Observer - and their failure to issue a proper retraction or apology - played a role in this. Much more than the ‘mainstream media’, bloggers have been pushing this issue and refusing [...]

Polskie (psychologiczne) Sokal Hoax
By Modne Bzdury
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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No i mamy swojego Sokala. Psycholog Tomasz Witkowski na swojej stronie internetowej pisze:

W październiku tego roku w popularnonaukowym miesięczniku „Charaktery” ukazał się artykuł pt.: „Wiedza prosto z pola” poświęcony nowej psychoterapii. Artykuł zawiera same kłamstwa i fantazje nie mające absolutnie żadnych podstaw naukowych. Mogę to stwierdzić ponad wszelką wątpliwość, ponieważ jestem jego autorem, występującym pod pseudonimem Renata Aulagnier.

Nie będę opisywał prowokacji, gdyż całość - ze wszelkimi szczegółami - można przeczytać na stronie Witkowskiego. Warto!

Źródło: Młodzi Fizycy

Judge Rotenberg Center - Close it Down!
By Mike Stanton
Posted in on 28 October 2007
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Shock Tactics is yet another detailed account of the abuse carried out on people at the Judge Rotenberg Center. Over half the inmates at this institution are wired to a device called the GED that delivers painful electric shocks at the push of a button. At one time the use of electric shocks on severely disturbed [...]

The Society of Homeopaths: Truth Matters
By Le Canard Noir
Posted in on 27 October 2007
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I doubt we will ever see an X-Factor moment where a homeopath is forced to brutally confront the totality of their own delusions as they are exposed to a direct and uncompromising truth assault by a quackbusting Simon Cowell. Their emotional commitment to their healing fantasies is far stronger than their intellectual commitment to reason, truth and evidence. But I would have hoped that a

See The Light
By apgaylard
Posted in on 27 October 2007
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Yesterday the BBC, in what used to pass for a news programme, ran a piece entitled “Worries over ‘winter blues’“.  Aside from trivialising a very real and distressing condition, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it was nothing more than a sales pitch for a dubious “medical” treatment.
The sales pitch was provided by Pauline Allen of the Sound [...]

Homeopath Cures Autism - A Black Hole of Woo with Case Notes *update*
By gimpy
Posted in on 27 October 2007
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John D. Melnychuk RSHom (NA) is an American, English-trained, Homeopath who claims to be able to cure autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and other complaints.“. John is also a member of the North American Society of Homeopaths (NASH). NASH, like the Society of Homeopaths (SoH), have a code of [...]

Parlour games
By Ben Goldacre
Posted in on 27 October 2007
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Here’s a fun parlour game suggested

Official recognition of Electrosensitivity – True or False
By mugsandmoney
Posted in on 27 October 2007
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There’s a claim today (October 12, 2007) that a branch of the British government has classified Electrical Hypersensitivity (EHS) as a disabling disease. It’s not true.
 
The claim appears in an email from Powerwatch. They have been quite careful to phrase their statement as follows –
“According to the VAT office’s definition of a disability, the symptoms [...]