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 As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.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
This year’s episode of the grand meteor shower the Leonids will peak on Monday morning before dawn. The meteors are bits of debris dropping off the comet Tempel-Tuttle that intersects Earth’s orbit every November. Unfortunately, it may be tough to see many shooting stars because activity this year will be low and the waning gibbous […]
Pack rats, aka woodrats, build their nests, called middens, from plant debris, rocks, animal parts, paper, and almost any other bits of detritus nearby. Frequently, they urinate on their middens. The urine crystalizes and encases the nest material, preserving it for as long as 50,000 years by some estimates. For paleobotanists, middens are a great […]
I have long thought of ‘Coke and Mentos’ as a less fun ‘liquid plumber and aluminum foil’ science fair trick, no longer… okay what the fuck did I just watch pic.twitter.com/Ny2Etsm9Hm — 𝖘𝖍𝖗𝖎𝖒𝖕 𝖇𝖎𝖓𝖈𝖍 (@shrimpbinch) November 13, 2019
A typical security camera can give you peace of mind. But that might be offset by the nagging feeling that it’s watching you, too. The best kind of security system is one that protects both your home and your privacy, and the blurams Dome Pro 1080p Security Camera is one rare model that’s set up […]
Sous vide cooking: It sounds fancy, but it’s actually one of the easiest and most reliable ways to cook. It’s the reason why many restaurants are able to put out delicious dishes with a consistent flavor. All you need is the right equipment, and that hasn’t always been available to those outside the resto crowd. […]
The more you use your computer, the more it becomes possible for others to use it too. Where there are anti-virus systems, there are hackers looking for a way to get around them. That’s why it’s important to get software that doesn’t just passively scout for viruses in the background. The folks behind GlassWire have […]