How can you tell it from make believe?

How can you tell it from make believe?

I once overheard a conversation between a couple of friends about how to know what medications to take.  They were musing about how in an ideal world there would be a council of elders who would be the custodians of that sort of knowledge and if you were sick you'd go to them and they'd tell you.  The assumption seemed to be that there was some innate wisdom required and somehow this council would know what to do - better than trained...

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Organic Food.  It’s good for the environment. Right?

Organic Food. It’s good for the environment. Right?

Better for the Environment Well, now we're getting onto firmer ground. It's pretty widely acknowledged that there is little, if any, taste or health benefit to organically grown food.  While that is at odds with popular belief and personal experience (a friend wrote to tell me that "oohs" and "aahs" only happen when the food is organic and local and never when purchased through a supermarket), this seems to be a case of confirmation bias.  When...

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Organic food. It’s gotta be better for you. Right?

Organic food. It’s gotta be better for you. Right?

 Organic food is healthier. It stands to reason. If you don't use  chemical fertiliser and pesticides the end result has simply got to be healthier - for you and me and the environment.   And besides, everyone knows that organic food is just better for your body.  End of story - I might as well end this post right here. But maybe we need to examine this just a bit.  While the taste differences between organic and non-organic food have been...

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Organic tastes better?

Organic tastes better?

Everyone knows it.  It really goes without saying.  Organic is just better, more wholesome, healthier, more flavourful, better for the environment. What's not to like?  It's just better.  No pesticides, no herbicides, nothing bad of any sort. Ever.  We all know it.  No one questions it.  So I suppose it must be true. But, in the dark night of my skeptic dreams I wonder.  Is it true?  Is there any reason for it to be true? Does it actually make...

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The Craig Egan/Tenpenny Saga. Part 3: Tenpenny Returns

The Craig Egan/Tenpenny Saga. Part 3: Tenpenny Returns

Dr. Tenpenny on Vaccines is back on Facebook.  If you don't partake in Facebook I suppose you won't be able to see what she's up to, but she has websites as well.  Feel free to look her up on the innerwebs.  Tenpenny Integrated Medical Centers, the page for her business where she offers up all manner of unscientific therapies, has also returned.  They are both up and running, though feeling just a bit more sedate than usual. At the same time...

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The Craig Egan/Tenpenny Mystery. The Saga Continues.

The Craig Egan/Tenpenny Mystery. The Saga Continues.

  I just saw the following in a Facebook post. I just got a call at work from the FBI. The agent asked me if I knew who Dr Tenpenny was and if I was "trolling" her page. I explained the best I could and offered full cooperation.  If that was me I would be describing a moment of shitting myself.  The FBI. Is calling me. Why is the FBI calling me? Shit. But it turns out that writer went by the name of Craig Egan.  Yesterday I suggested...

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The tale of Craig Egan, the mythological scourge of the anti-vaccine crowd.

The tale of Craig Egan, the mythological scourge of the anti-vaccine crowd.

Image from http://www.cover4face.com/ Not long ago, say about 6 weeks, there was a Facebook page called Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children (PPUC). Its purpose was to celebrate having children who were unvaccinated so as to trade suggestions and advice about how to keep kids unvaccinated. That advice ranged from merely misinformed to utterly bizarre. It was a hotbed of conspiracy theory, new age, libertarian, pseudo-science, outright lies...

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Do you believe in contagion?

Do you believe in contagion?

  I was at a workshop this last weekend.  One of the attendees had a cold and announced that anyone who believed in contagion might want to avoid hugging her.  And I thought, what????  Is that a joke?  Can she be serious?  Who could not "believe in contagion"?  It's not like it's a concept that originated in the last couple of centuries with the advent of science.  It's been around a long time. Doubting that diseases are communicable would...

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Ok, so I wrote a song.

Ok, so I wrote a song.

Kiss It Better, Written and performed by DB Weinstein[haiku url="http://goo.gl/p2dxk" title="Kiss It Better"] Last May I wrote a post, one of my early ones when I was posting more frequently than I do now, where I announced that I was going to write a song. It was a good intention. A noble intention. And that's what it remained, an intention. I did start scribbling once, but it didn't go anywhere. Somehow, in my semi-retired, theoretically...

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Slow catastrophe

Slow catastrophe

I've been playing with a thought experiment.  I don't think it's very original, but I think it's an interesting exercise so I'm going to share it with you and ask for your input.  This is an outgrowth of a Global Warming conversation I had the other day with my book club.  (Yes, I live in the country and am [semi-]retired.  We do that sort of thing.) Most of the table accepted the science and was in agreement with with the proposition that...

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I used to play guitar

I used to play guitar

Year before last I took a guitar course. It was an "advanced" course but that only meant I was in the part of the class that knew at least a little about the guitar. The alternative would have been "beginners" guitar which wouldn't do since I'd been playing guitar for over 40 years. The idea had been that by taking a course I could re-enthuse myself, bring the guitar back into focus in my life and start playing again.  I had never been a great...

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On looking respectable.  Sometimes it’s useful.

On looking respectable. Sometimes it’s useful.

  February 1973. I was 24 years old.   The hairdo requires a little explanation.  I was on my way from the USA to South America when I got the passport.  It's the oldest passport of mine that I can find, and the only one where the passport photo was a disguise.   I was planning to travel from California via Mexico to Guatemala and on to Columbia.  A couple of posts ago I wrote about Silvia, Columbia - this was the start of my South...

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Have you met my good friend Maria? 1948 – 2008.

Have you met my good friend Maria? 1948 – 2008.

Her name is Maria.  Just Maria.  I must have known her surname at one point because we travelled together in Europe. She would have needed a passport and that would have included her surname. We started travelling in 1970, forty-two years ago. I'd met her in an acting class at the University of California at Berkeley.  I thought she looked pretty hot, but I was shy and didn't talk to her.  She later told me that she'd noticed me looking at her....

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Silvia, Columbia ,1972, getting over it.  (And a bit about magic mushrooms)

Silvia, Columbia ,1972, getting over it. (And a bit about magic mushrooms)

I'm going to have to see if my old passport still exists deep in some storage space. That's probably the only way I'd be able to work out exactly when I was in Silvia, Columbia.  I would have been about 23 years old. Oddly enough, it was when I got over it about my parents.  It seems to me that most of us have a period starting in our teens when it's all our parents fault.  It's never clear what is meant by "all", but there is no question who...

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What do you do when you see misinformation on the internet?

What do you do when you see misinformation on the internet?

I spent a while last night and this morning making this up.  Please take the poll and please pass it on.  There's a facebook share button at the bottom of this post.  If you click on it you'll share this blog post on Facebook.  If you don't use Facebook (and I know there are a few holdout reading this), please pass on the poll any way you like.  Getting this message out is an interest of mine, which you already know if you've been reading my...

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