Skeptic Fails and Wins this Week

Colloidal silver: a panacea or toxin?

Mitchell spotted this skeptical article about colloidal silver on the technology blog, ars technica. They give a great overview of some of the claims huckster make about silver supplements, and point out the lack of evidence. They also cover some of the health risks of prolonged ingestion to these supplements.

What’s in a signature?

Lisa spotted a big fail in Vancouver’s 24 Hour newspaper on Wednesday. The article dissects the signatures of some Canadian celebrities and claims that handwriting analysis can tell you about them. The article says Pamela Anderson’s loopy letters suggest she’s bubbly, and David Suzuki’s forward slant suggests he’s optimistic. It doesn’t sound too scientific, but it’s not exactly harmful either. Or is it?

Handwriting analysis, also known as graphology, is a controversial science. It has been used in crime investigations, psychological evaluations, diagnosis of certain brain diseases and disorders, and psychic readings. It is very hard to separate the science from the pseudo-science when it comes to this, and I think most people assume that there is something to it. However, there is one disturbing area that graphology is used, and that is in employee evaluations. When it comes to this area, science has shown over and over again that graphology is not an effective way to evaluate job candidates; however it is still used extensively, and legally, all over North America. And that is what really makes this article an epic fail, because at the end this website is advertised. Guess what they sell? You can download Wednesday’s 24 newspaper here, and read the article on page 4.

Moran requests funds for alternative medicine center

Paul spotted this fail from our neighbors to the south. A member of the House Appropriations Committee has requested a $1.5 million earmark to fund a program to help manage military health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts. So what’s the problem? The earmarked money would go to the Center for Mind-Body Medicine run by an alternative medicine specialist. I’d love to say that could never happen here, but Canada does not have the best record in keeping pseudo-medicine out of our government programs either.

An Evening with Deepak Chopra

Several people sent in this story. The Royal Ontario Museum will be hosting Deepak Chopra. I’m not sure what else to say, except FAIL!

Steve Novella on Virgin Radio

Brett let us know that Virgin Radio now has a weekly call-in spot with skeptic Dr. Steven Novella. I tried to find more information on the website, but it was a bit of a maze. If anyone has a link please share!

That’s all the fails and wins for this week. Stay skeptical, and keep those links coming, use our new fancy form by clicking Contact Us above!

One Response to “Skeptic Fails and Wins this Week”

  1. Brett says:

    I believe this is the Novella interview:

    That was on "Breakfast with Nat and Drew":

    Sounds like they'll be entering The Skeptical Zone every week on Wednesday.

    (BTW, I'm not the Brett that sent in the original tip (as far as I know…))


  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.