Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hello skeptifans. December is upon us. If you don’t hear from me next week, it’s likely that I was trampled by Christmas shoppers. I live near one of the largest malls in Canada, and it’s getting a little crazy here. Hopefully nothing like this happens.

Apocalypse 2012
David sent this link about the 2012 Apocalypse. Is it a win for exposing this as nothing but hysteria? Or does it just feed into the fear? Either way, it is an interesting piece to watch.

People injecting urine to lose weight
Lorne found this epic fail of a story in the Globe and Mail. It’s amazing what people will do to lose weight. Now, some are claiming that injections of urine from a pregnant woman can help you lose weight. And the Globe and Mail has decided to publish the story credulously, and without any hard supporting evidence. It’s certainly the weirdest woovertising I’ve seen in a while.

Says who?
Members of the Winnipeg Skeptics rely on reason to separate the real meat from the baloney

Gem Newman of the Winnipeg Skeptics was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press. The story covers the Winnipeg Skeptics planned protest of a Sylvia Browne event, and background on the skeptical movement in general. It’s great to see grass-roots skeptics groups featured in a positive light. Great work guys!

Hope of liberation: portraits of MS therapy patients
The plural of anecdote is not evidence. This article shares the personal stories of patients who have sought out “liberation therapy” for MS. While the anecdotes seemed to be framed in a positive light, most of them are not very compelling. One person said they had a little more energy, another that their feet were warmer than usual. Almost all of the stories easily fall into placebo effect territory, and yet the concept of the placebo effect is never mentioned. The story does mention a recent death from this procedure, so at least there is some warning that this is not a risk-less process. But overall, I call this one a giant fail.

That’s the Fails and Wins for this week! I want to all of you who for sending me links, and a special thanks to those of you who are regulars. Keep those links coming to links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.

One Response to “Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week”


  1. [...] fail found by Skeptic North. Story in the Globe and Mail (they have a high fail rate) about people injecting pregnant [...]

  • 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.