Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hey there skeptifans. Vancouver finally got some snow. And not just the light dusting that disappears an hour later, but the kind you can roll up into a snowman. This of course means that we are all trapped inside our houses because we don’t know how to operate in these wild conditions. Luckily the power is still running and the wifi is still…wifi-ing, so I am able to report the Fails and Wins you sent me this week.

This is how I spent Friday the 13th. You?

What FX?

Several of you sent in this episode of CBC’s consumer protection show, Marketplace, and the related news article. Cold-FX is advertised as a remedy that you should take at the first sign of a cold or flu to “stop it in it’s tracks”. However, there is no evidence that the product can do this at all. Cold-FX has been shown to reduce the duration of colds by taking it every day for months. This would be rather expensive, and is not how the product is marketed. Kudos to Marketplace for exposing this, and the fact that many pharmacists are recommending it. You can watch the episode online here.

Friday the 13th: the superstitions and the skeptics
Martin sent in another Win from the CBC, this one is about the Friday the 13th myth. It’s a great article touching on origin theories for the myth and it includes some great quotes from skeptic Joe Nickell. I was really surprised to learn how much money is lost due to people not doing business on Friday the 13th. Check it out.

No evidence cell towers damage health, industry says
Frank sent in this story. St. John’s city counsel has denied a request by Bell to put up a new cell tower due to fear of health risks. Perhaps when wireless service begins to decline because the system gets too stressed, St. John’s city counsel will change their minds.

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.