Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hello Skeptifans. My inbox was absolutely overflowing with Fails and Wins this week. Thanks to all of you who sent me links, and especially to those regulars who I see in my inbox every week.

Doctor’s discredited vaccine-autism link leaves a legacy of preventable death and disease
Fred and Lorne sent in this Win covering the mess that Dr. Wakefield and his fraudulent vaccine/autism link has left. The article unequivocally states that when it comes to the MMR vaccine and autism, there is no debate. The link is hooey. It’s nice to see an article that sides with the facts. And here’s something else that’s nice….you should read the comments left by readers! They won’t make your head explode, they will give you hope. Paul and Art pointed out that this segment of CBC Radio’s “The Current” also did a nice job of covering the story. Unfortunately, not all of the CBC’s coverage was so good. Scott found this Fail. That’s right CBC. Don’t do any actual journalism yourself, just ask your readers to “debate” the topic for you. The National Post and The Star also weighed in with good coverage of the topic.

CRTC Proposes to Change Standard for Broadcasting False or Misleading News
Roger sent in this story on Dr. Michael Geist’s excellent blog. Looks like the CRTC is looking to soften policies on broadcasting lies. You can read more about the change, and how you can submit your opinion to Ottawa, here.

Hanging up on new cell tower
Kyle sent in this Fail from his local Winnipeg newspaper. Some residences are opposed to construction of a new cell-phone tower because they are afraid of health risks. The article also sites a study published by the NRC Research Press that claims exposure to cell-phone towers can cause a variety of symptoms including nausea, memory loss, and headaches. I would love to take a look at this study, but couldn’t locate it. If anyone can track it down, please let me know in the comments!

Couple slam media for biased reporting
John from PEI found this Fail. Here’s the gist of the story. An old lady who used to be allergic to fish can now eat fish, apparently because a naturopath helped her with an exposure diet. Therefore, all media is biased against natural medicine. If that were true, I wouldn’t have to publish so many Fails every week!

Woo in Wonderword
Kelly sent in this Fail. She likes to do the Wonderword puzzle at Merriam Webster’s site. Check out the puzzle from January 4th! It’s full of words like “accupressure” and “iridology”.

Taking care of your body
When you shower and brush your teeth this morning, do you think “I like to be clean, but I’m afraid of all the chemicals I’m exposed to. You know, like soap!”? Then this is the article for you. You can buy a book that will recommend more expensive soaps that apparently do not have “chemicals” in them. The whole article is sheer woovertising.

Why your zodiac sign might have changed
Lorne sent in this story which many of you have probably heard of by now…..apparently the Zodiac signs have changed. That’s right. If you were basing your life off of the advice in that little paragraph in the paper, you may have been getting ripped off. Luckily, this “science” is making the necessary corrections so that you can know if you will be lucky in love this month, or if it’s the right time to ask for a raise, or if it’s time to get that lottery ticket.  Apparently my sign is actually Ophiuchus…a constellation that the Babylonians stupidly kicked out of their Zodiac. Who’s gonna pay for my laser surgery to have the Sagittarius tattoo removed?

That’s the Fails and Wins this week.  Sorry if yours did not get posted! Keep those links coming to links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.

2 Responses to “Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week”

  1. crf says:

    ” I would love to take a look at this study, but couldn’t locate it. If anyone can track it down, please let me know in the comments! ”

    Hmm. Have you read Skeptic North lately!
    ~~>
    http://www.skepticnorth.com/2010/11/levitt-and-lai-peddling-discredited-emf-science/

  2. Dianne Sousa says:

    I saw some coverage about the astrology story on CNN and they briefly played a clip of an astrologer explaining what she thinks. What she said was basically “well this isn’t a new discovery, we’ve known about this for a long time – but when we account for this astrology doesn’t work”. I bet they could make it work. Maybe if they believe – really and truly believe – the magic will happen.

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  • 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.