August 21, 2006

Science Gots My Back, Yo; Erudition #15

Here's an article I read for the first time a couple years ago in Popular Science, and remains one of my favorites of all time. It is all about the multitude of science claims we are bombarded with on a daily basis, and how many are, well, without basis. Weed annotates each claim with a full reference. Great article, good read - this is good pop science writing.

From "106 Science Claims and a Truckful of Baloney", by William Speed Weed:

I’m not up five minutes, and it looks like I’ll get my RDA of science claims at breakfast. Cheerios “can reduce your cholesterol.”1 My milk derives from a dairy whose cows “graze freely on lush natural pastures as nature intended.”2 My Concord Foods soy shake is “fat-free” and a “good source of fresh fruit.”3

Then it’s off to the e-mail inbox for some fresh scientific-sounding morning spam: A miracle pill guarantees I will “gain 3+ full inches in length.”4 A second promises me “huge breasts overnight.”5 A third will make me “look 20 years younger.”6 I wonder what I’d look like if I took all three.

Read on...

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