Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hey there skeptifans. Here are the Fails and Wins you sent me this week.

Want your own box of placebos, “proven to be as effective as the leading homeopathic treatment”? You can now get them on Etsy.

Calgary psychics offer gifts to dubious police
Calgary psychic Patricia Monna doesn’t understand why the police won’t accept her help. The police have given reasons like “I’ve never had any (psychics) who had accurate information, or it has been too vague to assess” or the fact that information from psychics can’t be used as probable cause for search warrants. These reasons aren’t good enough for Ms. Monna, who claims it’s because people don’t understand her gifts.
Thanks to Lorne and Kyle who both sent in this link.

Read the Label: Natural Health Products

This fail comes from Health Canada. Want to know who is reviewing homeopathic and naturapthic medicine for efficacy? According to this video, some of those reviewers are naturopaths. The evidence includes reviewing “the traditional use of the product”. I traditionally use my palm against my face to cope with situations like this. Can I get an official NPN for that?

Don’t sweat it: Botox, acupuncture among treatments for excessive perspiration

If you read the Fails and Wins often, you’ll know that one of my biggest pet peeves is a thing I call “woovertising”. It’s when a news outlet publishes an article that is apparently a news story, but is actually just a credulous account of what some woo practitioner claims they can do. Most salesmen have to pay good money for advertisements to get this sort of coverage in papers. For some reason alternative medicine gets treated as groundbreaking news, and journalists love to just print quotes and claims without asking any questions. Anyways, here is yet another one of these stories. If you’re sweating too much, you probably haven’t stuck enough needles in yourself or sprayed enough herbs on your pits. Fortunately you can get expert help for that.

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.