Friday, July 31, 2009

Organic Food on B.S.

I saw news yesterday about some study showing that so-called "organic" food is no better that regular food, and, guess what? Showtime airs Penn and Teller B. S. with the same topic. I have not had time to follow the show recently, so I'm not sure if it was a new episode, or a re-run, but it was great. Don't you just love when you can do some blind tests on people and they really can't tell the difference between normal and organic food!!! Better yet, when you use the same food (a banana in this case) and tell them one half is normal and one is organic, they like the "organic" half better. Talk about psychology... I have to put B.S. on my DVR!!!

Vaccinations: Some Hard Data

If you want to see (and digest) some really hard data, go and read the article on the Science-Based Medicine Blog, entitled "Cashing In On Fear: The Danger of Dr. Sears".

Dr. Sears is a genius. No, not in an Albert Einstein or Pablo Picasso kind of
way. He’s more of an Oprah or a Madonna kind of genius. He’s a genius because he
has written a book that capitalizes on the vaccine-fearing, anti-establishment
mood of the zeitgeist. The book tells parents what they desperately want to
hear, and that has made it an overnight success.

The article has some really good analysis, unfortunately, most of the people I know, who are either on the anti-vaxx side, or just "worried", prefer not to spend time analyzing this type of material. They'd rather listen to Jenny or Oprah and follow the fear.
We need more articles like this one, simply because we (and I mean people like myself, who can't do the real analysis on our own) need good and reliable sources with relatively simple explanations to help us stop the tide of nonsense.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Organic Food - Another Way to Get Your Money

Another research that proves what many of us already knew:

Organic food is no healthier or more nutritious than regular food. But it is more expensive.
That’s according to a study commissioned by the British government and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

What does it mean if organic food is no healthier than regular food?

They are after your money... if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

HuffPost Is Not A News Site: Spread The News

Huffington Post is not a credible news site... but we all know it already.
Recent article on, by Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. only emphasizes the facts about HuffPost and its total lack of credibility:

[...] when it comes to health and wellness, that diverse forum seems defined
mostly by bloggers who are friends of Huffington or those who mirror her own
advocacy of alternative medicine, described in her books and in many magazine
profiles of her. Among others, the site has given a forum to Oprah Winfrey's
women's health guru, Christiane Northrup, who believes women develop thyroid
disease due to an inability to assert themselves; Deepak Chopra, who mashes up
medicine and religion into self-help books and PBS infomercials; and countless
others pitching cures that range from herbs to blood electrification to ozonated
water to energy scans.

The Huffington Post is crazy about your health

And while you there, read his previous article on some of the nonsense sold to us by Oprah Winfrey:

Oprah's bad medicine

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chiropractic - Show Me Some Evidence!

There are some things that should never be attempted, and taking away freedom of speech, or criticism, especially in science is one of them. However, it is always those, who attempt to silence their critics, that perish in such battles in the age of World Wide Web. I saw it many times in the past with software and hardware, when developers (sometimes called hackers) were being silenced in the name of "intellectual property". It never worked, as the backlash from the Internet was always huge, and information was just spreading faster, and faster...

This time, we have a case of open criticism in science, but due to some really crazy libel laws in the UK, the person voicing his opinion is being sued.

Let's spread the news, or in this case the original article on chiropractic:

Beware the Spinal Trap

Here is a quote from the original article that sums it up well, in my opinion:

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back
problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists
argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic,
sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged
crying – even though there is not a jot of evidence.

Do some research and judge for yourself... chiropractic is a scam (maybe it helps with back problems, but any massage therapy will do that).

Google Ads...

I've seen it around on other blogs, but today I noticed it here: Google Ads from the places I despise showing up on my blog. In this particular case it was a Scientology ad that popped up. I guess it's unavoidable, since they seem to be on the offense after the articles in the St Petersburg Times showed how they operate. I even saw their ad on CNN a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sign Your Rights To Scientology

As I said before, I live in the Tampa Bay area and I see effects Scientology has on Clearwater and its surroundings first hand. Downtown looks pretty bleak, and I hear businesses try to stay away from there, to avoid any problems. After St. Petersburg Times published a series of articles exposing Scientology practices, there was a response in the paper from some more, or less prominent politicians from Clearwater and Pinellas County, and most of them seem like the Church of Scientology has pretty deep pockets...

In case you wonder what it takes to join them, here are some documents one must sign to get on board:

Leaked Scientology Documents Reveal Church Values

Scary, if you ask me!!!How desperate (or just plain stupid) you have to be to sign up?

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'd Say: Science!!!

Going back to a post from just a few hours ago, take a look at the very recent pictures from the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter):

LRO Sees Apollo Landing Sites

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of
the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar
module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low
sun angle make the modules' locations evident.

This is great... not that the "crazy" ones would stop believing. I guess you can always "photoshop" the photos.

Moon Landings... Science Or Fiction???

Reading CNN news site today, I was floored to see a poll that asks:

Do you believe the Apollo moon landings were faked?

Not only that, but they have an article:

Could moon landings have been faked? Some still think so

I wonder... why give a voice to stupidity and nonsense? And for CNN to do so?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dr. Richard Feynman's Lectures Available On The Web

Here is a link to a set of Feynman's lectures in physics:

Richard Feynman: The Messenger Series

made available by Project Tuva

Dr. Feynman has been one of the most influential scientists of the last century. His lectures are amazing to watch and his books are pleasure to read. He was a type of scientist (along with Carl Sagan) who had a unique approach to science and an ability to bring it to masses in almost magical ways.
Thanks, Bill Gates for making this video available...

Work At Home... Make Millions!!!

Living in a "family" community, with a lot of "stay-at-home" moms around, I can see the offers just pouring in: make millions fast, live your life to the fullest, get all the expensive cars, etc... and you don't even have to work hard for it!!! Most of the time I see the pyramid schemes and "sell-to-your-friends-and-family" scams. It always amazes me to see how many otherwise smart people fall for this type of marketing. I have seen Acai berry (and various proprietary names), Internet video exchange, jewelry, and a whole bunch of other stuff being sold to us and our friends via the "networks", and there is always a pressure to join the CLUB. I always try to show the shortcomings, but most of the time you are going not only against a covert (who already join and is convinced that it works), but someone you know, which makes it harder.
In such situation, it's always good to have a backup in a reputable news source, like CNN:

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
If nothing else, this age-old adage might be the most important piece of advice to remember in your job search, especially in today's market.
Though job scams are prevalent at any point in time, today's tough economic times have increased the amount of scammers looking to take advantage of people desperate to make money and find a job.

Read the whole, and watch out for scams: Six signs it's a job scam

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let's Go To The Moon!!!

It's hard to believe, but in just a few days, we'll pass the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. What's hard to grasp is not so much the fact that it's been 40 years, but that we are not back yet. Let's hope the new NASA Constellation program brings us back in our lifetimes.

For all of us, who would like to re-live the glorious days of the Apollo program, here is the place to do it, day by day, hour after hour:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Is Here...

Small bits found on the Web today... for fun and amusement:

100 Essential Skills for Geeks

As Geeks we are expected to have a certain set of skills that the majority of
the population does not possess. This list is by no means complete, but I think
it is a good sample of the skills required to be a true geek. I won’t pretend to
have all the skills listed here. I even had to Google a few of them.

found on Wired site:

Sony Walkman: Reflecting 30 years later on how it set the world on its ear

In the summer of '79, the first Sony Walkman was sold.

I can't believe it's been 30 years! I remember my first "walkman": a model by a company called Broksonic (I could not afford the real Sony, since I was still pre-high school then, with very limited means). It had the orange headphones, sounded great, had pretty terrible battery life, but taking music on the road was beyond anything I could imagine then. Life was good!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Long Time Ago... On The Planet Far, Far Away...

Cool find:

Electromagnetic Leak

It makes you realize, how insignificant we are in the grand scale of the Universe.
We'd like to think of ourselves as technologically advanced, but when you meditate on the fact that our radio transmissions have been leaking out the Earth for barely a century (and TV signals for even less), and how insanely close they have traveled so far, comparing to the size of our galaxy, you really see that we are but a speck of dust...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Teach Your Kids Right!

I feel a bit uneasy when (as a father of a 4-year old) I find myself among some parents, who seem to have their young kids in a race to success, which nowadays starts about one day after birth.
It almost looks like there is a growing competition which child starts crawling, walking, talking, reading, doing advanced calculus, and understands quantum physics first. This crazy idea makes me feel sorry for the children, who have no time to play and just have fun, before they are subjected to the rigors of learning.
The new wave of commercial ads on TV from the company called "Your Baby Can Read", made me very uneasy, as their method seemed to be just memorization. Thankfully, my suspicions were confirmed on the (by Steve Novella, a neurologist from Yale University):

In general studies of neurological development and education show that forcing
kids to learn some task before their brains are naturally ready does not have
any advantage. You cannot force the brain to develop quicker or better. In fact,
it seems that children need only a minimally stimulating environment for their
brain development program to unfold as it is destined to.

Read the whole article: Your Baby Can Read - Not!