Victoria from the UK's Sense About Science writes in with news about its Ask For Evidence campaign, a structured system for demanding evidence of sciencey-sounding claims from governments and companies, such as claims that wheatgrass drinks accomplish something called "detox" (whatever that is). The campaign has been remarkably successful to date, and they're looking for people to carry the work on in their own lives.
We hear daily claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, treat disease or improve agriculture. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can't be regulated and many of us wouldn't want the level of regulation and policing necessary to prevent unfounded assertions. But every time one claim is debunked another pops up - like whack-a-mole at a fair. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for whether their claims stack up?
If they want us to vote for them, believe them or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens. Our Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.
This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work.
Ask for Evidence
A key challenge in building colonies on the moon is that it’s incredibly expensive to transport construction materials to space from Earth. That’s why researchers are exploring how moon bases could be mostly constructed from raw materials already there. A team of scientists working with the European Space Agency (ESA) are exploring how urine could […]
The new Mars rover Perseverance, set to launch in July for a February 2021 landing, will be outfitted with its own small helicopter. NASA engineers at Kennedy Space Station recently put the chopper through its paces, marking the last time they’ll spin it up before landing on the red planet. From Kennedy Space Center: The […]
American drug maker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it plans to begin the human testing phase of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by September 2020, with plans to make it available for emergency use in early 2021.
Python is everywhere. Just look under the hood of virtually every major tech player of the 21st century and you’re likely to find a whole lot of Python-based coding language staring back at you. Case in point: Netflix. You may not know it, but from its security protocols to its much-hyped recommendations, it turns out […]
There are definite benefits to the whole work from home thing. The commute is a breeze. The dress code is supremely casual. And your boss has to work a lot harder to actually find you. Despite the joys, there are still some clear downsides to the whole home office thing as well. Job focus can […]
If you’re routinely prone to being stressed out, hurried or generally made out-of-sorts by the hectic pace of the world and life changes, then…yikes. We don’t envy what you must be going through these days. Right about now, even the most zen and centered among us are bound to be feeling some level of anxiety […]