Tooth worms: yesteryear's explanation for cavities

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Before we understood about microbes and their relationship to tooth enamel, we imagined that the painful holes in people's teeth were caused by burrowing toothworms (previously), something we confirmed by yanking out the especially sore teeth and observing the fiber-like "worms" (that is, raw nerves) that were left behind. Read the rest

Pseudoscientific terror ended fluoridation in Calgary, now kids' teeth are rotting

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Five years ago, the city of Calgary gave in to a scientifically illiterate campaign against fluoride in its water supply; five years later, Calgary's grade two children each have an average of 3.8 extra cavities. Read the rest

Detoxing is (worse than) bullshit: high lead levels in "detox clay"

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"Bentonite Me Baby" is a brand of "detox clay" that you spread on your face, or eat, to rid your body of mysterious, nonspecific "toxins." It is full of lead. Read the rest

Ross and Carrie become Scientologists: an investigative report 5 years in the making

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One of my favorite podcasts is Oh No Ross and Carrie, in which two investigative journalists join cults and fringe religions, and try out new age remedies and practices, and report back on the experience. Read the rest

You can't "boost" your immune system with "health food," nor would you want to

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Your immune system has two approaches: the first wave is a bunch of attacks that make your body less hospitable to germs, like a fever, mucous, and achy lethargy (which keeps you at home, away from opportunistic infectious agents); the second is a tailored antibody attack that kicks in about ten days later. Read the rest

Stop taking "probiotics"

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It's true that your gut biome is awesome, complicated, poorly understood and crucial to your body's normal functioning. Read the rest

That time the DoD paid Duke U $335K to investigate ESP in dogs. Yes, dogs.

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Government research often pushes the boundaries between science and science fiction. Today, the proud bearer of that mantle is often DARPA, experimenting with robots, cybernetics, and more. But in the sixties, during the height of the Cold War, this research often went into more fantastical realms, even exploring whether ExtraSensory Perception (ESP) was possible. Thanks to FOIA, MuckRock looks back on the paranormal history of American surveillance." Read the rest

Reminder: Don't put balls of tea leaves in your vagina

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Embrace Pangaea, a "holistic company that provides high-quality herbal detoxes and information to educate clients about natural living" wants you to buy its Herbal Womb Detox Pearls at costs ranging from $85 and $480 and stuff them up your vagina to flush out "toxins" and, depending on which ball you buy, to promote "vaginal tightening" by "tightening the womb" after which your "vaginal canal will shrink." Read the rest

Facial Flex: terrifying facial muscle exerciser

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Even when producing infomercials extolling its own product's virtues, the people behind Facial Flex can't prevent their fundamental creepiness from shining through. Dean posted this in '11, but you should probably watch it at least twice a decade to keep the memory fresh.

(via JWZ) Read the rest

Transvaginal foetal sonic bombardment: woo-tunes for your hoo-hah

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Babypod is a wireless speaker designed to be worn by pregnant women in their vaginas so as to bombard their foetuses with music with minimal distortion. Read the rest

Why didn't high-priced/pseudoscientific "behavioral profiling" work in San Bernardino?

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San Bernardino is ground zero for the bunkum industry that sells "behavioral detection" courses to law enforcement, the place where the most cops and government employees are taught to spot "lone wolf" "active shooters" before they snap -- but none of Syed Rizwan Farook's expensively trained co-workers noticed that he and his wife Tashfeen Malik were about to go on a shooting spree. Read the rest

In case you were wondering, there's no reason to squirt coffee up your ass

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Coffee enemas have been around since the 19th century (when medical science was a mess) and they persist today (when woo advocates like to hold up the fact that medical practices have persisted since the 19th century as proof that they work). In case you were wondering, they're bad for you. Read the rest

Nassim Taleb defends homeopathy (and calls me “very stupid” for criticizing him)

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The statistician and risk analyst, who rose to prominence with his 2007 book The Black Swan, has a history of sticking up for junk science, but has crossed a Rubicon with his latest set of tweets, in which he defended homeopathy as harmless placebos that divert hypochondriacs from taking too many real pharmaceutical products. Read the rest

Victoria's Secret's "floral, fruity" perfume almost matches DEET as a mosquito repellent

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Floral/fruity scents have long been characterized as attractive to mosquitoes, so it's natural that New Mexico State’s Molecular Vector Physiology Lab researcher Stacy Rodriguez tested a floral/fruity perfume against DEET in a lab trial. Read the rest

Antioxidants protect cancer cells, help tumors to spread

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The largely unregulated supplement industry sells a variety of weird and sometimes dangerous stuff that it wink-nudge promises will cure what ails you, but even the most accurately labeled, evidence-based supplements can make sick people much, much sicker. Read the rest

FBI agent faces discipline for alleged polygraph countermeasures

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The unnamed career FBI agent could lose their job for allegedly gaming the widely discredited, unscientific polygraph tests that are the US government's equivalent to witch-ducking stools. Read the rest

Pre-crime: DHS admits that it puts people on the no-fly list based on "predictive assessment"

A DoJ filing in an ACLU lawsuit in Oregon admits that you can be put on a no-fly list based on "predictive assessments about potential threats," as opposed to threatening or dangerous things you've actually said or done. Read the rest

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