Skeptic Fails and Wins This Week

Hello skeptifans!  I’ve got a great roundup of up skeptical Fails and Wins sent in from across Canada.

Dirty electricity is making us sick
Gem from Winnipeg found this treasure in the Winnipeg Free Press.  Here’s how it starts:

Are you feeling tired, suffer from sleepiness, depression, increased irritability, unexplained aches and pains, headaches, skin rashes, ringing in the ears, numbness, an irregular heart beat, increased blood pressure or a foggy brain? If so, you may be suffering from electrosensitivity.

The article then makes some ridiculous claims about what “dirty electricity” is, and what it can do.  Dr. Magda Havas is mentioned as well Steve has mentioned her before in this post, and although she didn’t write this article, it does seem to be entirely made of crap pulled from her website.

The secret to the immortality of McDonald’s food
Mitchell found this interesting article which tries to put some science behind why McDonald’s food doesn’t seem to ever go bad.  Urban legend would have us believe that they must use a lot of “chemicals”, but what’s the real story?

Why Americans believe Obama is a Muslim
It’s easy to blame Fox News for propagating the lie that Obama is a Muslim, but why do so many people readily accept that lie?  This article suggests there may be some deeper pyschology at work.

MP fights battle for MS sufferers across Canada
Another article on the politics of the controversial MS treatment developed in Italy.  This time an MP is taking up the cause of pleading for access to the treatment.

That’s all the Fails and Wins I have this week.  Got more? Send them to me at links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.  Really. Please send me links.  I cry when I don’t get links. It’s not pretty.

11 Responses to “Skeptic Fails and Wins This Week”

  1. Michael5MacKay says:

    The “Dirty Electricity” Winnipeg Free Press article is by Dr. Gifford Jones, a syndicated health columnist. It also appeared in the Toronto Sun, and probably many other media outlets. I believe he also did a follow-up article either today or yesterday.

    This is an issue that does not look like it will be going away any time soon. In a skeptic win this week, however, it appears that Ontario’s Lakehead University is reconsidering its wi-fi ban:

  2. Michael5MacKay says:


    The “Dirty electricity is making us sick” article published on September 10 in the Winnipeg Free Press is the first of two columns by Dr. Gifford Jones. It was published on September 4 in the Toronto Sun as “How dirty electricity affects your health”, and followed up by “Protect yourself from cellphone radiation” on September 11.

    As well, the National on CBC ran two stories on the topic this week: “Wi-Fi Concerns in Schools on September 8, an 11 minute story on parents concerns, and “Wi-Fi Safe for Schools?” a 2 minute follow up in which “Health Canada responds to a CBC report about concerns over Wi-Fi exposure in schools.”

  3. Thanks for the links!

  4. AndrewK says:

    There was a fairly humourous series of tweets and articles from Roger Ebert this week about a photo he took of a deer. Someone replied to him suggesting that there was a ghost in the picture. Also, several others responded pointing out several other ghosts poking their faces out of the picture as well.

  5. David Poulter says:

    Wait. “Dirty electricity” is bullshit? Does that mean I should stop running my compact fluorescent bulbs through the dishwasher?

  6. David, you use a DISHWASHER? Just think of all the artificial vibrations you’re polluting your dishes with…those will end up in your food.

  7. AndrewK says:

    With dishwashers you just have to wait a couple days so that they molecules slow back down their original speed. If you don’t, and the molecules are still sped up from the hot water in the dishwasher you could be allowing more bacteria into your plates.

  8. David Poulter says:

    Dammit! I have dirty dishes even when they’re clean!

  9. Whyhi says:

    Ugh, I found an article from that Gifford-Jones guy in my local newspaper entitled “Electronic Device Radiation Lurks Everywhere” which talked about the risks of cell phone usage, also ironically referencing a study by the WHO which says the exact opposite of his claim.

    He did say something about some product that could protect you from the evil radiation of your cellphone for only $25 though. :)


  10. AndrewK says:

    Kinda looks like one of those cheesy cell phone boosters.

  11. Chris says:

    This is a heads up for a skeptical win next week, an article about Frances Kelsey:

    She was born on Vancouver Island. A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to Victoria, stayed at the Empress Hotel (one of the best places to sleep… I swear those beds were more comfy than the one at home!), and took a bus tour to Butchart Gardens (which I went to over thirty years ago). The bus driver had a spiel on the top 100 Canadians, but he missed her. Hopefully I changed that very bad oversight when I told him about her… especially since she is from Vancouver Island (just like my favorite and only husband!).


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    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.