Pseudoscience, Death By Cards, and Aliens

  • Numerous Lines about 106 Claims. Popular Science has an interesting article wherein the writer lists all the science claims he hears in a day—from cereal boxes to e-mail spam to radio natter—and then looks at the foundations for the claims. Not surprisingly, most of the claims are outright hooey, which simply makes the article that much more enjoyable. Ahh, the fragrant aroma of pseudoscience.

    An excerpt:

    Me: “So how does CortiSlim work to reduce cortisol?”
    Seller: “It decreases the level of cortisol in your body, just cancels it all out.”
    Me: “OK, but how does it do that?”
    Seller: “CortiSlim evaporates it and absorbs it and decreases it and cuts it down. So I want to tell you about a ‘buy two get one free’ special we’re running this week.”

    You get the picture. (Popular Science: “106 Science Claims and a Truckful of Baloney” by William Speed Weed [May 2004])

  • In the Cards. A page on the Jay Card Throwing Technique (including photographs), via BoingBoing. Once you’ve mastered the basic Jay Card Throwing Technique, you can move on to more advanced techniques, and from there you can move on to card throwing as self-defense.

    Jay Card Throwing Technique
  • Aliens? Merely thinking about traumatic memories can be stressful, with a whole host of bodily responses accompanying the memory, from a faster heart rate to increased sweating and so forth. These reactions are often interpreted by people as some kind of indicator of the truthfulness of the memory. But a new study on alien abduction “survivors” by the fine folks at Harvard seems to indicate that a bodily response to any kind of account—be it a contrived memory or a genuine one—depends only on whether or not the account is traumatic, not whether or not it’s truthful. (Psychological Science / EurkeAlert: “Probing the world of alien abduction stories” [June 21, 2004])
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