Quebec Government… Changes Its Mind

Cracked Science

The Minister who had originally proclaimed that funding for French-language science communication aimed at Quebec youth would be dramatically axed has now announced that the financing will, after all, be maintained.

No reason given to the change of heart.

http://www.fil-information.gouv.qc.ca/Pages/Article.aspx?aiguillage=ajd&type=1&idArticle=2212148282

(Link in French)

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition and to all of you who made your voice heard.

It’s a great way to end the weekend!

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Cracked Science Video 3: Homeopathy

Cracked Science

It’s October 23rd or 10-23, which has been suggested as Homeopathy Awareness Day, in homage to Avogradro’s number.

Today is as good a day as any to investigate the claims made by homeopathy.

Reading about homeopathy is one thing; seeing the dilutions is another. I hope this is graphic enough for you.

I have also published a public science article on homeopathy in the Prince Arthur Herald as a companion piece.

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Read: The Food Babe’s Friends… and Critics

Cracked Science

If you listen to my podcast, Within Reason, you know my thoughts on Vani Hari’s crusade against ingredients whose  names she can’t pronounce. On her blog, FoodBabe.com, she regularly commits logical fallacies in her attempt to “educate” the public on what constitutes healthy food.

Kathleen Purvis of the Charlotte Observer recently wrote a fairly lengthy article addressing the Food Babe phenomenon. Its author gets quotes from people on both sides of the debate, which might strike one as a fallacious “equal balance” approach but which I found nonethless interesting. Our very own Dr. Joe Schwarcz is among the Food Babe critics who get to express their opinion:

“”Whatever the story is with azodicarbonamide has nothing to do with whether it’s a yoga mat chemical,’ Schwarcz says. ‘This is absurdity, to say if something is used in one context, it can’t be used in food.

‘We use water to wash our cars…

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Replication Is Key: Revisting the Hypnagogic Jab

Cracked Science

You may remember a twopart article I wrote last January on the very complex issue of whether or not a particular H1N1 vaccine might have caused new cases of narcolepsy.

Toward the end of the second part, I wrote the following two paragraphs:

“The group which recently reported on this hypocretin-targeting white blood cell tested the H1N1 virus, to see if the same blood cell that recognizes hypocretin as ‘bad’ would act similarly for parts of the H1N1 influenza virus itself. Lo and behold, they did find that part of the virus triggered a similar reaction in this highly specialized cell. This is one more piece of evidence pointing in the direction that infectious agents may trigger the onset of narcolepsy in genetically-predisposed individuals.

The Nature News piece that summarized these recent findings had a great quote from Gert Lammers, a neurologist working at Leiden University Medical Center…

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Are We Alone in the Universe? Find Out in October!

Cracked Science

The Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium returns to Montreal on October 6 and 7.

“Are We Alone? Searching for Life Out There” is this year’s theme, and the guests are:

  • Dr. Jill Tarter, SETI Institute;
  • Dr. Jim Bell, President of the Planetary Society;
  • Dr. Sara Seager, MIT;
  • Dr. Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow at CSICOP.

You can check out the poster, which was just released a day ago, by clicking here.

My thoughts on last year’s symposium can be accessed here.

See you there!

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Read: The Med Student Who Wants to Bring Down Dr. Oz

Cracked Science

A very interesting read. Some physicians have had enough of Dr. Oz’s pseudoscience and its effect on their patients.

“‘Dr. Oz has something like 4-million viewers a day,’ Mazer told Vox. ‘The average physician doesn’t see a million patients in their lifetime. That’s why organized medicine should be taking action.’

“Last year, Mazer brought a policy before the Medical Society of the State of New York—where Dr. Oz is licensed—requesting that they consider regulating the advice of famous physicians in the media. His idea: Treat health advice on TV in the same vein as expert testimony, which already has established guidelines for truthfulness. I asked Mazer about what inspired the policy, and what became of his efforts.”
You can read the full article on Vox.com.

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Read: Scientific Journal Nature Chemistry Finally Publishes List of Chemical-Free Products

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Via @edyong209 on Twitter, here is some good news for people like The Food Babe.

Prestigious scientific journal Nature Chemistry has published a fantastic paper by A.F.G. Goldberg and C.J. Chemjobber entitled “A comprehensive overview of chemical-free consumer products”.

I invite all of you to have a look at it. It’s a short read.

If you’re still worried about chemicals in our environment after reading this groundbreaking paper, I would encourage you to listen to my conversation with Dr. Joe Schwarcz on chemophobia.

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Interview with Dr. Joe Schwarcz on Within Reason

Cracked Science

Readers of this blog probably know that I also have a monthly podcast entitled Within Reason, which explores contentious issues from a rational perspective. While the topics are not always science-related, our latest episode features Dr. Joe Schwarcz, director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University, on the subject of chemophobia.

We talked about the chemical composition of apples, the Food Babe’s irrational war against azodicarbonamide, dreaded BPA, cancer cures, homeopathy, and the future of education.

I invite you to either stream the podcast on the Within Reason website or to look for it on the iTunes store (entirely free) and subscribe to it!

The podcast follows in the wake of the release of Dr. Schwarcz’s latest book, Is That a Fact?, my review of which can be found here.

Within Reason Season 1 Logo 600

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Book Review: Is That a Fact? by Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Cracked Science

Three words fly in my head in a tight formation, constantly looping back to my consciousness as I watch the video: “such a shame.”

The video is one of the many amateurish agglomerations of stills and monotonous voice-over narration that seem to populate the skeptical trenches of YouTube. My friend Andrew, whom fans of our podcast will recognize as an undeterred consumer of skeptical content, is absorbing its facts. For me, though, what takes over is a feeling of disappointment at what could have been. Such great content, such unskilled presentation. Such a shame.

Presentation and pedagogy make the medicine go down so much easier. I excelled at organic chemistry in university in large part because of the teaching talent of my professors; I know a few college graduates who came to hate carbon-based chemistry because of the lack of talent of theirs. Knowledgeable university professors are not necessarily (and…

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