Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hello Skeptifans.  Here’s the Fails and Wins for this week.

U.S. report clears climate scientists in e-mail review
The US Department of Commerce conducted an independent review of the “climate-gate” emails leaked in 2009. Unsurprisingly, they found no evidence of wrongfully manipulating data to prove global warming, no evidence of a conspiracy by climate scientists to make up global warming to keep research money flowing in, and no inappropriate procedures whatsoever. I guess that clears that up, right? Climate change deniers will surely change their minds now that they have new evidence, right? If only.

Edmonton Grade 6 girls have a blast with a robot
Grade 6 girls in Alberta were invited to the U of A to get some hands-on learning about science and engineering. The girls learned to control robots, extract DNA, and program a ping-pong game. The goal is to promote science and engineering as a career choice for women. As an engineering grad, I’d definitely like to see more women with iron rings on their pinkies. In the 90′s, enrollment by women into engineering was on the rise. But last decade this leveled off at around 20%, and has started to decrease. Only 9% of registered engineers in Canada are women*. Let’s hope programs like this show girls that robots, computer programming, and science experiments are not just for boys. *These statistics are from research by Engineers Canada.

Calgary’s council votes against teeth
Art found this Win criticizing the recent vote in Calgary to stop fluoridating the cities water. While the ethics of choice is something to debate, you can’t argue with the facts. This article sums up those facts very nicely, and counters some of the common things you hear from the anti-fluoride crowd. They say fluoridation isn’t natural, and yet fluoride is present in natural minerals, and in fact many “natural” sources of water are fluoridated because of this. One could argue that fluoridating our drinking water helps restore the natural minerals we would have received from drinking water from a natural source. But for some reason, you don’t hear the natural health crowd making this argument. Another thing you hear from that group is about how many European cities don’t fluoridate, and don’t have dental problems because of it. But, as this story points out, many of those cities have naturally fluoridated water supplies, and some of those countries choose to add fluoride to food instead of water.

Dr. Oz – so corrupted by fame he even sells himself out.
Lorne sent in this great Win from the excellent Weighty Matters blog. Dr. Oz gets called out on skeptic blogs a lot. He is a real doctor, he has a big audience, and he seems to give little regard to scientific evidence. This combination makes him a dangerous. The blog post calls shenanigans on a new diet, one where people get injections while taking in a very small amount of calories. Studies show the injections work no better than placebo. But what’s really hilarious, is that the diet was criticized on Dr. Oz’s blog, only to be featured by him months later. If you’re gonna be a quack, Dr. Oz, at least get your quacking story straight!

That’s the Fails and Wins this week, folks. Thanks for continuing to send me links. Without your support, I would be forced to write original content! If you spot a skeptical Fail or Win in the media, please send it to me at links [at] skepticnorth [dot] com.

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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.