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Linkies (time to clean the tabs edition):

(apologies - I have liften these from all over, and have for gotten who I swiped them from)

NHS Behind the Headlines

The UK's NHS gets into the science behind popular news stories.

Behind the Headlines on BPA

As an example - what the most recent study on BPA plastics actually says. In brief - it establishes that drinking from BPA bottles increases BPA in your body. There isn't much in the way of research explaining exactly what that does to a person. Which isn't to say that it's proven safe, just that isn't hasn't been proven harmful, either.

You Ask, They... Answer?

Natural remedy store Neal's Yard Remedies agrees to do a "You Ask, They Answer" with the Guardian. Skeptics catch on, ask a lot of awkward questions.

Warning! Teenagers hug!

Moral panic about teenagers hugging. Even guys! Danger! 3 second hug limit instituted.

E is not the drug that destroys your brain, Speed is

An old article about the much touted study claiming that MDMA destroys the brain. Apparently the study was done with meth instead of E. OTOH, after some looking I did find more recent studies linking E to long term sleep pattern disruption and depression.

Cola destroys muscles!

I wonder what the Behind the Headlines site has on this? Anyway, according the the Beeb, "Excessive cola consumption can lead to anything from mild weakness to profound muscle paralysis".

Vacuum Buoyancy

The math behind a vacuum-driven airship.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 28th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
That hugging article is hilarious, especially the headmaster's comments. OMG! Needless hugging in corridors! What do they need to hug for? They're just standing there! It's a disgrace. Let's ban love too.
May. 28th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
My understanding is that BPA exposure in utero was found to be harmful even at very low levels, but there's still controversy about low doses in adults. A quick search found this, which wasn't the actual paper I was looking for but seems to cover similar ground:

That story about hugging being banned in schools makes me deeply sad.
(Deleted comment)
May. 30th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
I disagree. Neal's Yard opened the door by agreeing to a Question & Answer session with this as the lead in:

This is your chance to grill them: from the controversy surrounding the chain's removal of a homeopathic malaria remedy to the benefits and reasons to switch to organic beauty products.

Most of the early questions were in line with the concerns about the malaria remedy that Neal's Yard was forced to remove from its stores, the manner in which it promotes homeopathy, and the ethics of doing so -- Neal's Yard bills itself as an "ethical company". The tone certainly degrades over time, as Neal's Yard did not respond (as promised), but there is no reason to assume it would have if they had responded -- the previous one (linked to in the article) included some tough questions, but the tone remained civil throughout.

None of this seems fanatic or cruel to me. In fact, it seems more responsible than ignoring these questions for the sake of the "feelings" of a corporation.
(Deleted comment)
May. 31st, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
In another context, I would agree with you. But these are not people who have hijacked a forum (or discussion) on homeopathy, and started to mock people. Nor have they built something out of the blue to try to do so.

Neal's Yard was forced to take one of their homeopathic remedies -- for malaria -- off the market this month, on the grounds that it was dangerous and misleading to the public.

This Q&A was arranged in that aftermath, presumably to give them an opportunity to answer questions about the situation -- what is a homeopathic remedy? Why was this pulled? Are the others safe for use?

Also -- assuming that they noticed that they were agreeing to do this in a blog titled Ethical Living on the newspaper's site -- the ethics of the product pulled, and similar ones still in their stores, provide some pretty obvious questions that should be asked in such a debate.

So yes, question writers jumped on other claims on their products (which are still being sold) that would seem no more warranted than the malaria remedy that was pulled. And yes, some crossed the line -- it is the Internet, after all.

But in response to the controversy over one of their homeopathic medicines, they agreed to answer questions posed by readers of a blog on ethics. I cannot agree that it was unexpected, unfair, cruel or malicious for the blog readers to ask Neal's Yard their opinions on the ethics of their business practice, the basis for the claims they put on their labels, and their responsibility towards their customers.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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