Strange messages keep popping up in my email inbox. This one was titled “New Technology Helps Fulfill New Year’s Resolutions”. It said the most popular New Year’s resolutions involved health and invited me to a complimentary session or two in a Blu Room. It went on to explain: The Blu… read more "The Blu Room"
Steven Novella said it best: “Pandemics breed more than a contagious disease. They spread fear, misinformation, pseudoscience, and exploitation.” I would add, “and humor.” I have written about Covid-19 before, first on the 4th of February in an article on Science-Based Medicine about how alternative medicine had jumped on the bandwagon, then… read more "Pandemic Stories in the News: Something to Laugh About"
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could actually meet a character from fiction and chat with him over dinner? Who would you choose? One character I would enjoy meeting is Dumbledore, the kindly wizard who is the headmaster of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books.… read more "Better Than Dumbledore"
Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen have written a delightful new book, Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. Histories can sometimes be a bit dry and boring; this is anything but. It’s a page-turner. The authors ferreted out some of the most disgusting and ridiculous… read more "Book about Quackery Is a Hoot!"
I like to read. I read a lot. I am retired and have time to read. And I like to tell others about the books I have read. (My teachers made me write a lot of book reports in high school and I guess the habit stuck.) As a… read more "A Cornucopia of Crislip"
Is it OK to laugh when we encounter a ridiculous claim in alternative medicine? This video lecture highlights some hilarious claims and encourages both laughter and appreciation of the human creativity involved. Since today is a holiday, I decided to take a holiday from writing my usual posts and instead… read more "Fun for the Fourth"
There are many myths about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Some of them are pretty funny. In the SBM comments section, someone recently posted this gem: “That ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic was actually caused by a typhus vaccine. They called it Spanish flu so the vaccine didn’t get blamed.” Other commenters quickly… read more "Fun with Spanish Flu Myths"
Over the years, the claims for health benefits of magnets have provided me with much amusement. Here are just a few examples: A skeptic pointed out that if magnets in health products really attracted red blood cells as claimed, an MRI scan with magnets many orders of magnitude stronger would… read more "Magnets Provide Amusement, But Not Health Benefits"
Note: This article originally appeared in Skeptical Inquirer, 28(1), 48-50 & 55, January/February 2004. I’m recycling it now because I have been at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas instead of home at my computer writing new posts. It’s still timely: despite multiple debunkings and FTC actions, vitamin O is still for… read more "Oxygen Is Good, Even When It’s Not There"
In 1996, Alan Sokal got a bogus paper published in the journal Social Text. It was a parody full of meaningless statements in the jargon of postmodern philosophy and cultural studies. The editors couldn’t tell the difference between Sokal’s nonsense and the usual articles they publish. Now a British professor… read more "Integrative Medicine is the Butt of a Sokal-Type Hoax"