Category Archives: science literacy

Americans want science done, but can’t name any scientists or places where science is done

A poll conducted last year and just now released by Research!America and Zogby Analytics (full results here; Zogby summary here) shows how abysmally ignorant Americans are about science, even though they trust scientists and think scientific research is important.  Here, for example, are some statistics and graphs: Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans can name […]

SciBabe, paid by Splenda, touts its product

Yvette d’Entremont writes about popular science, especially consumer scams and misconceptions, on her website SciBabe. Her site’s bio notes that she has bachelor’s degrees in theater and chemistry from Emanuel College in Boston, a masters degree in forensic science with a concentration in biological criminalistics from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and worked eight years as […]

This is science, Bill Nye?

It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of Bill Nye, regarding him as a buffoon who will engage in any shenanigans that keep him in the public eye and help him retain the fame he desires—fame accrued as “The Science Guy”. I never saw the old show, and realize that many people liked […]

Scientific American uncritically blurbs flawed study making students think science and religion are compatible

My big objection to science aggregation sites like Science Daily is that they don’t really do honest, critical reporting, but mostly parrot the bulletins issued by university public relations departments. The result is that readers get one-sided puffery of new results and no critical analysis. Science journalists often depend on such sources and, often lacking […]

Sold out!

by Grania Jerry’s venturing downtown this afternoon, and spotted this and asked me to post it. My first thought was “There’s a play about Neil deGrasse Tyson?” But of course, it isn’t a play but a talk, although Chicago Theater is particularly coy about saying what he will be talking about. It is heartening to see […]

Tim White goes Full Curmudgeon: damns the love affair between media and science

Timothy White, a paleoanthropologist at Berkeley, is rightly famous for his work on hominin fossils, especially Lucy. And he’s done some good work against creationism as well: he was the scientist who most flummoxed the UK creationists in our television show “Conspiracy Road Trip“. The fundies just couldn’t get around his sequential presentation and explanation of hominin skulls (see […]

Two debunkings of widespread woo: Ouija boards and homeopathy

Here are two nice videos that constitute empirical tests of the efficacy of woo. The Ouija board study, presented by National Geographic, is a nice example of how a simple experiment, using only blindfolds, can completely trash a widespread (but not very harmful) form of woo. And from deadstate.org, we have a video in which “Scibabe” tests […]

Up close and personal with Pluto

by Grania Pending a few more black and white images still to be taken, the New Horizons odyssey to Pluto is done. It may still have work to do in the Kuiper Belt, but that has not yet been decided. They’ve already learned some new things, such as Pluto is geologically active. C.C. Peterson at […]

Victims of our own success

by Grania Not long after Jim Carrey’s misbegotten rant about vaccines came the tragic news from Washington State that a woman had died from measles. USA Today reports that she had been on medication that supressed her immune system and she died of pneumonia – a common complication of measles. Peter Hotez, president of the […]

Something and somethinger

by Grania Spingies There are a whole lot of reasons why people deny truths, and most of them don’t do it out of malice or contempt for humanity. In many cases they truly believe that they are doing the right thing. It is fairly self-evident that many of the anti-vaccine brigade do this because they […]