The science corner: Pseudoscience, public health, and media literacy
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

The Use and Misuse of Jargon

Many fields have their own jargon, which Wikipedia describes as "specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity" that often isn't well understand by people outside of that particular field. While jargon can help people within a field communicate precisely, that doesn't necessarily translate well outside of the field. It can be… Continue reading The Use and Misuse of Jargon

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Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

How Do You Search for Information?

This post is an only mildly coherent hodgepodge of things related to how we search for information. I like looking stuff up. I'm curious about the world, and I want to know more, so I spend a lot of time searching. Reading other people's blog posts often sends me over to Google or Wikipedia to… Continue reading How Do You Search for Information?

Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

The Importance of What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know

There's a lot of knowledge out there in the world. We've all accumulated some of it, whether that's by formal schooling, work, or life in general. There are several different ways in which we relate to the potential knowledge that's out there in the world, as shown in the modified Johari window above: what we… Continue reading The Importance of What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know

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Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

What Political Polls Mean – And What They Don’t

With an election looming, lots of figures from politicals are getting tossed around all the time. But what do those figures actually mean, if anything? To understand that, it's important to look at how polling works. Sample The sample is the people that the pollers gather opinions from. The goal is to get a sample… Continue reading What Political Polls Mean – And What They Don’t

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Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

The “Free” Things Online Are Never Actually Free

su This came to mind recently because of a comment I saw on someone's blog to do with a news site requiring a subscription to read article. With the explosion of the internet in recent years and the vast amount of content that's available, we've come to expect things to be free. Except none of… Continue reading The “Free” Things Online Are Never Actually Free

Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Why You Should Get the Flu Vaccine in 2020

The flu vaccine might seem insignificant with the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, but it's actually more important now then ever. Does the flu vaccine offer protection against COVID? No. Vaccines are very specific. Flu vaccines are made to trigger an antibody response in the body to particular surface proteins on the influenza virus capsule. The… Continue reading Why You Should Get the Flu Vaccine in 2020

Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

What Exactly Is the Placebo Effect?

We've probably all heard of the placebo effect, but what is it, and how does it work? For something that happens regularly, it's not all that well understood. A placebo is any substance that's not intended or expected to have any therapeutic effect. Ethically, it generally wouldn't be considered acceptable to give a patient a… Continue reading What Exactly Is the Placebo Effect?

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Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Made-Up Vibrations: The Essential Oils Version

I'm a very science-minded person, and one of the things that really grates my rutabagas is when people make things up and call it science. In particular, I'm not impressed with made-up vibrations, and especially the made-up idea of vibrating thoughts, law of attraction style. Somehow, the notion of essential oils vibrating flew under my… Continue reading Made-Up Vibrations: The Essential Oils Version

Is psychic surgery a real thing? - graphic operating room staff
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Is Psychic Surgery a Real Thing?

There are plenty of odd pseudoscientific health practices out there, but psychic surgery kicks it up to a whole new level of weird. Psychic surgery isn't like what happens in an operating room; it's more like what happens on a magician's stage. Sleight of hand, fake blood, and animal parts are used to make the… Continue reading Is Psychic Surgery a Real Thing?

Does your body need detoxing/cleansing? Or is your liver already on top of it?
Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Do You Need to Detox/Cleanse?

Detox diets and cleanses are quite popular these days, especially if you're of the Goop-y persuasion. And while they might seem to make sense on an intuitive level, from a science perspective, is there anything to actually back that up? The "toxins" Commercial detox products tend to refer vaguely to "toxins" without actually specifying what… Continue reading Do You Need to Detox/Cleanse?