Skeptical Fails and Wins this Week

Hello skeptifans. Here are the Fails and Wins in the media last week.

Image stolen without permission from Skeptic North's Mitchell Gerksup

Satellite debris landing in Alberta ‘one big hoax’
Paul sent in this link. A hoax spread through the media that a piece of NASA space junk fell on Canada. Well, not all of Canada but part of it. The National Post called the story out as a hoax. Here’s an example of an article where it was presented as true. Remember journalists, just because someone on the internet said it doesn’t mean it’s true.

When Alternative Medicine Goes Wrong
Michael sent in this story. Readers Digest posted 10 anecdotes from medical doctors giving examples of alternative medicine going wrong. Anecdotes are obviously not the best evidence, but it’s nice to see the subject covered.

Saskatchewan sending MS patients to New York
Erik sent in this link. I’ve covered “liberation therapy” on the Fails and Wins before. It’s a dangerous and unproven neck vein surgery for people with MS. There is a growing amount of evidence that the treatment does not work and worse, it can be fatal. That isn’t stopping the Saskatchewan government from sending patients to Albany for the treatment. This therapy gives hope to MS sufferers, but hope is not enough. The science needs to be behind the treatment before we start gambling with people’s lives.

Do probiotics promote better ‘gut health’?
Mary sent in this link. It’s definitely a win. There have been a lot of articles claiming all sorts of benefits to eating food full of “probiotics”. It’s nice to see one that takes a more critical look at the claims and risks surrounding these products.

That’s the Fails and Wins this week, folks. See you again next week. Send me your links at

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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.