From the blog: 2012 in review

Here is a review of my favorite “blog moments” from 2012. Here’s to many more adventures of my pet hamster in 2013. I better have a bunch . . . otherwise, why write at all?

Favorite Photos

Here are some of my favorite photos from the year.

Assessing Claims

In 2012, I taught SMU’s Cultural Formations B/Physics 3333 with my colleagues and friends, Profs. Cotton and Scalise. In an attempt to hone my own “claim assessment” skills, I tried to practice what I was preaching when it came to claims that can be scientifically assessed. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • An Epidemic of Gohmert-Barber Syndrome: so many people said so many stupid and hateful things in the wake of a number of high-profile, violent public shootings, that Prof. Scalise and I named the problem: Gohmert-Barber Syndrome. What started as a way to collect a few stupid people’s really tasteless opinions turned into a soul-sucking documentary of the darkest corners of malignant thought in America. Do not enjoy this, and please use it as a cautionary tale for your children.
  • Tim Tebow – is he really as good as people thought? (spoiler alert: no)
  • An Analysis of Attacks on Science: what is meant by “criticizing scientific weaknesses,” in reality vs. in attempts to pass laws to weaken science education
  • Anti-vaccination messages on airplanes? Here is my open letter to American Airlines, which originally planned to publish anti-vaccination nonsense on their airline media services. They later, under strong criticism, chose to NOT publish this life-threatening nonsense.
  • No GMOs in my food! Since humans began agriculture, we’ve been genetically modifying food. We didn’t know that this is what we were doing until the late 1800s, when genetics was discovered, but we’d been doing it all along. Here is some anti-GMO nonsense from 2012.
  • The hCG Liet – when a diet is based on a lie, it’s not only stupid – it’s unethical and dangerous. The hCG Liet is a good example.
  • In response to an evidence-free discussion of vaccines and autism on Facebook, I put together this resource: do multiple vaccinations cause autism? (spoiler alert: no)
  • Prof. Scalise and I disprove homeopathic medicine as actual medicine by overdosing on it. Since we don’t know how to overdose on a medicine based on “dilution = potency,” he licks one pill and I down a whole bottle.
  • The “Ford Dealer Email” chain message: is it possible that a single woman at a single car dealership getting $3250/month from Federal assistance represents the root of all Federal spending problems? Is the story even true? Even if its true, can the author’s conclusions be correct? (spoiler alert: no to many of these)

Politicians say the DUMBEST things

It’s cliché. Here are a few of my favorites.

Great Moments in the Use of Science!


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