Skeptical Fails and Win This Week

Hey there skeptifans. I hope you are surviving the winter. The new year is rung in with lots of new woo.

My calendar ends at December....why didn't the world end?

We all overeat during the holidays which prompts a lot of articles on losing holiday pounds, and where there is weight loss, there is woo. A slough of holiday detox articles came out this week. Here are a few of them.
Handled properly, a cleanse can encourage healthy eating
This is one epic Fail. They found a doctor who says that detoxing probably won’t hurt you too bad so he’s not too worried about it, and they take that and use it as an endorsement. The worse part is that it starts out by debunking the concept behind cleansing, but before the end of the article it manages to twist that back on itself as some sort of proof that it will help you lose weight. Really? Not eating for a week will cause you to drop a few pounds? Who knew. And of course, you won’t put them right back on when you go back to food.
Winter detox: How to incorporate cleanses into your social life
Are you on a cleanse, but still want to go to all of January’s dinner parties? Well, make sure the host will be offering boiled vegetables, or graciously offer to bring a bland, mushy dish of your own for everyone to pretend to enjoy. That’s what Gwyneth Paltrow would do.
Liver Detox
CBC Radio Morning Edition had a win of an interview about detox. Click the link to listen, the interview starts about 10mins in. Fatty foods do affect your liver, but herbal fasts aren’t the way to help it. A healthy, sensible diet is the way to go.

Does WiFi pose health risks?
Art spotted this link in Maclean’s. It’s been covered to death, but the media keeps beating this horse. I’m going to call this article a Win for methodically going through the existing research, but it does raises the fear that the risk could live in what we don’t know. This is always possible, but the same could be true of almost anything we do. Still, the article didn’t resort to hysterics, or quote “experts” who don’t base their opinions on hard evidence. This is nice to see.

What You Should Know About 2012: Answers to 13 Questions

Lorne sent in this link from Psychology Today that thoroughly debunks the 2012 end-of-the-world nonsense. Of course, this has already been debunked and we shouldn’t still be hearing about it, but that is too much to ask. The article goes into some really interesting history on the Mayan calendar, various people who have studied and interpreted it, and the source of the end of the world theory. It’s a very interesting read. Let’s just hope that 2012 will be the last year people will be obsessed with this. Somehow I think the end-times obsessed will still find a way to keep it going.

Did you spot a media Fail or Win? Send it to me 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.