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Half of Biomedical Research Studies Don't Stand Up to Scrutiny

What if I told you that half of the studies published in scientific journals today – the ones upon which news coverage of medical advances is often based – won’t hold up under scrutiny? You might say I had gone mad. No one would ever tolerate that kind of waste in a field as important – and expensive, to the tune of… » 7/29/15 11:40am Wednesday 11:40am

No, This Viral Image Does Not Explain the History of Arabic Numerals

Your cousin’s Facebook friends are probably going nuts over this image that claims to show how the early history of Arabic geometric design informs how we write numerals today. “Each figure contains its own number of corners and angles,” reads the text. That’s half-true of the drawings in the image. The rest is… » 7/21/15 5:45pm 7/21/15 5:45pm

Rumors That Kale is Bad for You Are Based on Hilariously Bad Science

Just read the procedure described above. It describes how alternative medicine practitioner Ernie Hubbard, who set the kale=bad meme rolling earlier this month, tested his suspicion that patients were poisoning themselves with kale. Ah yes, the trusty upside-down-notecard-on-a-desk technique! Where would science be… » 7/20/15 4:20pm 7/20/15 4:20pm

What Other Scientists Are Saying About Today's "Life on a Comet" Claim

This morning, several news outlets gave voice to an extraordinary claim: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where the spacecraft Philae awoke last month, could be home to alien life. But extraordinary claims, we all know, require extraordinary evidence. So guess what these morning’s claims were lacking! » 7/06/15 11:20am 7/06/15 11:20am

Once Again, The Media Is Overhyping The Health Benefits Of Chocolate

“There does not appear to be evidence that chocolate should be avoided in terms of impact on cardiovascular risk.” So conclude the authors of a report published Monday in the august medical journal Heart. Their takeaway is decidedly unsexy (takeaways from well-conducted health studies, which the aforementioned… » 6/16/15 2:27pm 6/16/15 2:27pm

Chocolate Diet Paper Won't Be Retracted, Because It Was Never Published

Yesterday, John Bohannon reported on his deeply (and intentionally) flawed study claiming chocolate accelerates weight loss. Today, we have a new twist: The editor of the journal that published his paper claims they never really published it in the first place, despite emails to Bohannon to the contrary. » 5/28/15 2:40pm 5/28/15 2:40pm

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it… » 5/27/15 1:23pm 5/27/15 1:23pm

Fuck Belle Gibson And The Enablers She Rode In On

“Wellness Guru” Belle Gibson lied about having terminal brain cancer and made a killing peddling bogus cures. At Boing Boing, Xeni Jardin excoriates Gibson and “the culture of magical thinking and hero idolization that built her myth into a profitable business, ignoring decades of real science, and placing vulnerable… » 4/23/15 6:00pm 4/23/15 6:00pm

Yep, That Anti-Robot Protest At SXSW Was A Marketing Stunt [UPDATED]

When a group of plucky students organized a protest at SXSW against the rising threat of artificial intelligence, they got a ton of attention. Including interviews on NPR and the BBC. A grassroots anti-robot protest seemed almost too good to be true. And it's looking like maybe it was. [Updated!] » 3/16/15 1:30pm 3/16/15 1:30pm

Depriving Infants Of Peanut Products May Have Been A Colossal Mistake

For years, parents have been told to withhold peanuts from their children until the age of three, to prevent the onset of dangerous peanut allergies. A landmark study is now throwing this conventional wisdom on its head, instead suggesting that most peanut allergies can be staved off by introducing peanuts to… » 2/24/15 8:20am 2/24/15 8:20am