Crazy Hypothesis Amnesty

April 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm (Miscellaneous) ()

I’m interested in daft, unlikely, or outright weird ideas (there used to be a non-peer-reviewed journal for this) and would like to read yours. I like daft ideas and I think as long as you don’t assume they’re true, they’re probably pretty harmless (as well as having the benefit of entertaining me for literally minutes). Here are some of mine: Read the rest of this entry »

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Weird Cold Symptoms – Is It Just Me?

April 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , )

The symptom checker at gives the following symptoms for the common cold:

  • Cough
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarse voice
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fever
  • Body aches or pains
  • Decreased smell

Weirdly, I get some slightly odd symptoms not mentioned here. And one that contradicts the final symptom listed by webmd. When I get a cold, my sense of smell (usually pretty terrible) is greatly improved. I haven’t yet found an explanation for my odd symptoms, and nor have I met anyone who has similar symptoms (unless everyone I’ve asked is trolling me). If anything here rings a bell then do please comment. Similarly, if you have a plausible explanation for my odd symptoms I’d be pleased to hear it. Read the rest of this entry »

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SIDS and Smoking: ‘Pro-Choice’ Activist Torpedoes Own Argument

March 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , )

Dave Atherton of Freedom2Choose (which claims to seek “to protect the informed choices of consenting adults on the issues of smoking”) has written a piece that touches on the issue of smoking and SIDS. I found it quite interesting. But probably not for reasons that would please the author. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bad Arguments: Nadine Dorries and IPSA

February 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , )

Everybody’s favourite MP, Nadine Dorries, has written an interesting new blog post on an investigation into her expenses. This is of interest for a couple of reasons. First, it enables us to play the traditional parlour game of spot the fiction. Secondly, it gives us a chance to look at how Nadine argues. Read the rest of this entry »

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ME/CFS: Harassment of Researchers

November 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , )

As has previously been reported in the press, scientists researching ME/CFS have faced abuse, threats and violence from some activists. Let’s take a look at what this has achieved. Read the rest of this entry »

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Correcting Misinformation

September 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm (Miscellaneous)

Back in 2009, I wrote about a paper from Schwarz et al that discussed attempts to improve decision-making and found that efforts to discredit false information could backfire and actually lead to myths being spread due to repetition of the misinformation. Schwarz is co-author of a more recent paper, Lewandowsky et al, that looks at ways to reduce the impact of misinformation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Claims Of Unethical Skeptics: A Mirror Image Of The Truth

August 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Homeopathy, Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , )

Over the years, I have seen a number of baseless claims made by anti-vaccinationists and advocates of alternative medicine regarding unethical behaviour by skeptics. They imagine conspiracies and financial interests. They make claims that their opponents are dishonest and mislead people. Yet there never seems to be any evidence that the skeptics they smear have done anything unethical.There is evidence, though, that some anti-vaccinationists and advocates of alternative medicine have been involved in unethical behaviour. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Confusing Case of the “Cancer Active” Charity

July 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm (Legal Chill, Miscellaneous)

Professor David Colquhoun of the Improbable Science blog has apparently been threatened with legal action over a blog post about CANCERactive. I am baffled. I am confused for various reasons, including the following: I’m uncertain of the objectives of the charity, I am uncertain of the basis of the legal threat, and I am uncertain of the status of the trading carried out by the charity. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Rough Guide to Evidence-Based Medicine

May 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm (Evidence, Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , , , )

On the unimpressiveness of personal anecdotes and the usefulness of clinical evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons From Feynman

May 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , , )

In 1974, Richard Feynman gave a speech at Caltec which was later published, in 1985, in the book Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman. The book chapter was titled Cargo Cult Science and it contained some valuable lessons. Read the rest of this entry »

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