Explainer: how anecdotal evidence about alternative medicine can lead you astray

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Jonathan Jarry's short video on the problems with anaecdotal evidence for "alternative medicine" is a powerful, easy-to-digest primer on the ways that confounding variables, survivor bias and regression to the mean can make stuff like reiki seem like it works, and how double-blind tests can uncover these problems and help us figure out what works and what doesn't -- especially important is the idea that "dead men tell no tales"; that is, no one who died because alternative medicine failed to help them will ever tell you how great it worked. (via Motherboard) Read the rest

Australian educational contractor warns of wifi, vaccination danger to "gifted" kids' "extra neurological connections"

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Wise Ones, an Australian "gifted" education programme offers students who test into it vaccination exemption forms, and advises them to avoid wifi, because they say that "gifted children" have "extra neurological connections" that make them vulnerable to "extra sensitivities to food or chemicals." Read the rest

Fruit comparison made simple

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Compare Fruits is your one-stop shop for comparing fruit. Whether you are comparing bananas with plantains, lemons with limes, or, indeed, apples with oranges, it has all you need for your fruit-comparison needs. (Warning: nutritional woo, but no worse than gadget spec woo) [via] Read the rest

Family of teen raising money to rescue her from pray-the-gay-away "boarding school"

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When Sarah, a 17 year old in Texas, decided to take her girlfriend to the prom, her parents forced her into an "East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens" from which she has repeatedly attempted to escape. Read the rest

Color illustrations of 16th C eye-diseases, including those caused by witchcraft

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16th century barber-surgeon Georg Bartisch began his barber-surgeon apprenticeship in 1548 in Saxony, and three years later, became an itinerant barber-surgeon in Saxony, Silesia, and Bohemia. Read the rest

Company says facial features reveal terrorists and pedophiles 80% of the time

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Faception uses 15 secret classifiers of facial features to accuse subjects of terrorism and pedophilia, as well as predicting their poker abilities. Read the rest

Big Vitamin bankrolls naturopaths' attempts to go legit and get public money

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Backed by huge donations from vitamin companies, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is pushing to get naturopathic medicine recognized and regulated in all 50 US states, paving the way to receiving public funds in the form of Medicare reimbursements. Read the rest

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

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