Trick or Treat or Pseudoscience?

When a charity organization that works to support families and children dealing with childhood cancer partners with a race organization that promotes pseudoscience, this scientist gets upset.
When a charity organization that works to support families and children dealing with childhood cancer partners with a race organization that promotes pseudoscience, this scientist gets upset.

Every year, Jodi and I run a local Halloween-themed 5K race together. Recently, the race became a charity for an organization that tries to help children and their families deal with particular cancers. It’s nice that the race goes to support a good cause; to be honest, I don’t run it for the cause, but for the run itself. That said, for the past 2 years I have been fairly horrified by some of the “goodies” in the race bag that you get at registration.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review, October 11-16

A flight back from CERN (well, London actually) kicked off my last weekend of Fall Break. Hilarity ensued.
A flight back from CERN (well, London actually) kicked off my last weekend of Fall Break. Hilarity ensued.

I haven’t done a week-in-review in quite a while, because I’ve been stupid busy. But I’m tired, I feel like writing, and this seems like a good way to reflect and pass the time. So let’s take a look at the week. This week began with Fall Break at SMU, and thus with me being sick. We cooked with cold in Honors Physics this week, and we started talking about Magnetic Fields in my introductory electricity and magnetism course. In honor of the memory and achievements of Ada Lovelace, I took up a computer science challenge. Oh, and Lindau.

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Science and its Opposite: Social Media Story About Walnuts Labeled as Drugs by the FDA

A web article makes the claim that the FDA labeled Diamond Foods' walnuts as "drugs". But is that what really happened? Photo from Ref. 5.
A web article makes the claim that the FDA labeled Diamond Foods’ walnuts as “drugs”. But is that what really happened? Photo from Ref. 5.

A social media story crossed my feeds today, and in the spirit of spending a small fraction of my online time addressing issues of science and its opposite, pseudoscience, I thought I’d dissect the claims in the story and look at the evidence behind its claims. Someone on Facebook shared an Oct. 14, 2014┬ástory from “GetHolisiticHealth.com” entitled “FDA Says Walnuts Are Illegal Drugs” [1]. Normally, stories like this are the “corpses floating face-down in the river” of the internet – best to avoid them. But I decided to check it out and see if there was anything to be assessed from this story, so I flipped the corpse over to have a look. Here is what I learned.

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