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

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

When scientists hoard data, no one can tell what works

Peer review and replication are critical to the scientific method, but in medical trials, a combination of pharma company intransigence and scientists' fear of being pilloried for human error means that the raw data that we base life-or-death decisions upon is routinely withheld, meaning that the errors lurk undetected in the data for years -- and sometimes forever. Read the rest

Young fellow makes, tests and celebrates outstanding Rube Goldberg machine

Seven-year-old Audri designed this astounding Rube Goldberg machine, and then systematically studied its failure modes and improved it, producing a fine video account of his work. He is made of pure distillate of awesomesauce.

Audri's Rube Goldberg Monster Trap

(via Make) Read the rest