Monday, 23 July 2012

Pseudoscience stuff from the week 16-22/7/12

'BBC One - Panorama - The Truth About Sports Products'
Sports drinks; sports shoes; food supplements... do they work? No.
But worse than that - they're hurting people's health, as well as hurting their wallets.

'Noted authority says women now have higher IQ than men'
This raised alarms, in me, straight away, because... IQ tests are calibrated so that men and women get the same scores. Yes, you read right!
The results of this recent incarnation of IQ testing do not apply to "women". They apply to 15 to 18 year old girls, in comparison to 15 to 18 year old boys.
It shouldn't surprise anyone to hear that matured girls have higher IQs than sill-maturing boys (the curves of maturation during adolescence progress sooner for the ladies)
This is not a "women are smarter than men" story - it's a "girls mature faster than boys" story - which is old news!
In any case - IQ and smartness are *not the same*.
If you want another example of how IQ scores can be wangled, have this one -- i read in New Scientist that some researchers had left out the language tests from their assessments, because they were 'too' subjective.
The trouble is -- language is what girls are really good at. They got a result which they claimed as "boys are smarter", because they ignored the things girls are better at. Like i said - the tests are deliberately formulated so that males and females, on average, *get the same score*

"Oh, you just have to love a new quack and cult leader — they come up with the wackiest stuff, and people fall for it."

'Burzynski is still bilking dying children'

Should this abuse of animals of for entertainment be tolerated? As for all the other cases, i say "no"
'Indian snake charmers urged to switch to fakes'
"PETA claimed snakes were cruelly captured in suffocating bags, kept in tiny boxes, starved or forced to drink milk. Their teeth are often violently torn out, and many snakes' mouths are sewn shut, it added."

"Over-the-counter herbal remedies are often used to treat insomnia, but surprisingly, very little research has been done to study their efficacy, according to an article in Alternative and Complementary Therapies."
Surprisingly? I'm not surprised at all! Quack Journals aren't going to report the results that damn their activities, are they!

An example of the dodgy results you can get if you really wangle your methodology:
'Study finds reflexology affects the hearts of non-cardiology patients'
Somehow, they managed to find improvements to the hearts of healthy people, but not sick people!
We already know that foot-kneading (reflexology) does not work -- they're pulling results out of their arses!

Poachers have killed 281 rhinos so far, and 448 were killed last year.
They do so because they can sell the horns on to 'alternative' medicine markets in the east. Damn their superstition!

What's the harm in charismatic religious leaders? 8 year old girl dead of malnutrition.

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