Anti-Steve: The Week in Review (2/27)

SMU undergraduate Nicole Hartman (right) explains her simulation of low-energy neutrinos scattering to Prof. Fred Olness, Chair of the SMU Department of Physics. Photo taken at SMU Research Day, 2015.

SMU undergraduate Nicole Hartman (right) explains her simulation of low-energy neutrinos scattering to Prof. Fred Olness, Chair of the SMU Department of Physics. Photo taken at SMU Research Day, 2015.

The past week was a busy one: judging at the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair (DRSEF), the Dallas “Icepocalypse” that shut down SMU for 1.5 days and led to a ridiculous amount of work getting done, meetings with my students about their “Grand Challenge Physics Problem,” SMU Research Day, ATLAS research, and hardware research and development for low-background experiments.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review (2/20)

The infant checklist for the electrostatic shield prototype run (see below). Just one small part of this exciting week.

The infant checklist for the electrostatic shield prototype run (see below). Just one small part of this exciting week.

I thought it might be nice to use this blog to . . . you know . . . actually blog. “Blog” is derived from “Web Log,” a journal or log kept by a person but broadcast publicly on the web. So in this week’s inaugural “Anti-Steve” [1], here are some things that happened this week that I found interesting or notable in my own life.

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Several Studies Suggest – Weasel Phrases and Logical Fallacies

Weasels mythologically suck eggs; weasel words are so-called because they suck the meaning out of words near them in an argument. Let's explore NPR's recent medical blog post on acupuncture and allergic rhinitis and understand some weasel phrases and logical fallacies that make for poor science journalism. Photo from Ref. 7.

Weasels mythologically suck the eggs of fowl; “weasel words” are so-called because they suck the meaning out of words near them in an argument. Let’s explore NPR’s recent medical blog post on acupuncture and allergic rhinitis and understand some weasel phrases and logical fallacies that make for poor science journalism. Photo from Ref. 7.

“Some scientists say…” “Several studies have shown…” These are weasel phrases indicative of poor science journalism, especially if the studies are not linked to, or referenced in, the story. No journalistic body is immune to this fallacy, including NPR. In a recent story about acupuncture and allergies on their blog, NPR committed a few of the classic logical fallacies of science journalism. Let’s have a look.

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Zicam – revisited

Zicam sells its product using the methods of fake medicine. So, let's revisit by how much they are overcharging for zinc, their core ingredient. Photo from Ref. 2.

Zicam sells its product using the methods of fake medicine. So, let’s revisit by how much they are overcharging for zinc, their core ingredient. Photo from Ref. 2.

One of my most popular posts in the last few years was a critical, scientific look at Zicam. I wanted to revisit a few things in this short update to the article, and based on information gathered by a commenter revisit the question: by how much is Zicam overcharging for zinc?

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