Skeptical Fails and Wins this Week

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

A radiation sandwich

Cellphone call limits suggested by Health Canada
Many of you sent in articles regarding Health Canada’s move to recommend people limit their cellphone talk time. This one was sent in by Marion. Although the recommendation is a very soft one there is still no data to show that exposure is harmful or that these new guidelines reduce risk. Releasing these new guidelines may do more harm than good by fueling the fear around cellphones and wi-fi. The CBC also published this article on the subject, which ends in a real win.

Should kids’ access to cellphones be limited?
The Globe and Mail published this article on the same topic. It’s a real fail full of anecdotal evidence, like one kid who was “especially sensitive” to wi-fi. This is the type of fear that Health Canada has fueled by creating guidelines based on no evidence of risk.

Return of the “hot hand” in basketball?

Lorne shared this great blog post on the topic of winning streaks in sports. A new study looked at free throws successes from basketball players and found some interesting results. It’s a great read.

Mass genocide of Mohawk children by UK Queen and Vatican uncovered in Canada

Residential schools are a dark mark on Canada’s recent history. There is no doubt that atrocities were committed within that system, but did the Queen command Mohawk children to kiss her feet before ordering their murder and burial in a secret mass grave? This is one of those extraordinary claims..well you know how the saying goes. Conspiracy theories like these are unfortunate, because they draw attention away from the real horrors committed at residential schools that greatly impacts our society today. Let’s talk about that instead of making up stories.

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

3 Responses to “Skeptical Fails and Wins this Week”

  1. Dianne Sousa says:

    Regarding the mass genocide story, if you click through you’ll see that they claim that there are hundreds of children’s bodies buried around that particular residential school in Brantford, Ontario. They also claim that by using ground penetrating radar, they have been able to determine that these graves are buried beneath tons of soil brought in prior to the closing of the school to hide the location of the graves. They also seem to be planning a dig of the site. The conspiratorial thinking is rampant there, including claims that the government is currently trying to supress the evidence that they have.

    My question is if they dig and do find human remains, doesn’t that mean that the police will be called in?

    • Makoons says:

      As a survivor of a residential school, I know through experience the Canadian government will go to absurd lengths to protect the illusion that it did not participate in genocide during any of its incarnations. This is obviously not true for anyone that survived the attempt.
      Will the police be called in? Assuming you mean the Ontario Provincial Police, I certainly hope not. This is a matter that requires more than they can offer, in both professionalism & forensic ability. That being said, I expect the OPP will take over and “no conclusive evidence” will be recovered from the site and most of the evidence will be “lost”. This wouldn’t be the first time this has happened with a residential school.


  • 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.