Perception

Bad science Writing Example A: Linking plesiosaurs to the Loch Ness Monster

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An obviously inexperienced science journalist latches on to the mistaken and downright nonsensical idea that plesiosaurs = Loch Ness Monster. Then, media outlets propagate the silliness. The fossil remains of a giant marine reptile have just been discovered by a team of researchers from the University Of Alaska Museum Of The North. The remains were…

Holy Mother’s mouth

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Maronite Catholics in Sydney have filmed a painting of the Virgin Mary moving its lips in prayer, believing a miracle is occurring in their church. Source: Virgin Mary painting filmed praying in Sydney church Parishioners at Saint Charbel’s Maronite Catholic Church in Punchbowl in Sydney’s southwest have recorded a painting of the Madonna apparently praying…

Toy tiger joyride scares a witness

He looks comfy

Who knew that stuffed big cats could cause such trouble! Here is another case of people totally misinterpreting what they see. It happens ALL the time. Source: Washington 911 Caller Was Convinced Stuffed Tiger Was Real – Yahoo The caller seemed so matter-of-fact, but what he told a dispatcher on a newly released 911 call…

New research prompts call to reconsider mental health of those who hallucinate

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An international study led by The University of Queensland and Harvard Medical School found that hearing voices and seeing things others cannot impacts about 5 percent of the general population at some point in their lives. Source: Hallucinations and delusions more common than thought | EurekAlert! Science News “We used to think that only people…

Mass animal deaths reported; fringe sites panic over headlines

Masses of dead vellella on the beach. It happens.

Mass animal deaths can be caused by a myriad of things – disease, natural toxins, algal blooms and other oxygen-depleting situations, human hunting and dumping, accidents, warmer waters, lack of food, etc. The mystery mongering sites will lump all the mass mortality events under one scary banner – DEAD ANIMALS! PANIC! They do a serious…

Enfield poltergeist set plagued by… fickle camera – OOOHH scary

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Let’s make a bit more publicity for this showing, shall we? Enfeld poltergeist filming hyped with haunts. TV stars left terrified after a ghost wreaks havoc with the set of a new poltergeist drama – Daily Record. Sounds scary! But it’s not. This article contains pretty much ZERO evidence of anything “wreaking havoc”. This is a…

More evidence that near death experiences are related to brain activity, not the supernatural

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It’s long been suspected that what we describe as near death experiences (NDEs) may be related to processes in the brain that create a flurry of activity to produce the strange sensations. Those that survive the beginning of the shutdown process may tell about it as a religious or spiritual experience. Well, it’s certainly strange. New…

Joni Mitchell’s health scare brings Morgellons condition back into the news

Typical fibers found in our environment from fabrics, hair, carpet, etc.

Legendary folk singer Joni Mitchell’s emergency hospital trip this week has brought Morgellon’s disease back into the media eye. What Is Morgellons? Singer Joni Mitchell’s Disputed Diagnosis – NYTimes.com. Joni Mitchell, 71, was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles on Tuesday after she was found unconscious at her Los Angeles home. In recent years, the…

A hundred times NO – the moon does not cause a crazy night at the hospital

If the moon ever REALLY looks like this, we're DOOMED.

Yet another analysis has come out to kill the idea that hospital admissions and human birth rates are greater during the full moon than at other times. More than one analysis of such data shows conclusively that the moon has no correlation with these conditions. But, it’s such a widespread belief, I’m not sure another study…

Triple sunrise

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Ice crystals cause ‘triple sunrise’ in Russian city – in pictures. Chelyabinsk, the city made famous by a meteorite that exploded over its skies two years ago, was witness to another rare phenomenon on Tuesday: a triple sunrise over the morning sky. The combination of low temperatures, estimated to be –25C, and clear skies enabled…

Wisconsin budget cites hefty sum to study a nonexistent hazard

Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA

A Wisconsin-sized waste of money. Scott Walker’s Budget Includes $250,000 To Study ‘Wind Energy System-Related Health Issues’. The two-year, $68 billion budget proposal Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker unveiled Tuesday includes a request for $250,000 to study the health impacts of wind turbines. Page 449 of the budget proposal includes a recommendation from the governor “directing…

Anonymous commenters undermining science have negative impact. We knew this.

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This is further justification why we do not allow anti-science commenters on this site. It’s not a debate but the reader often does not know that. Healthcare websites are attempting to educate about health risks but a new study shows, surprisingly, that readers may be influenced more by online comments than by credible public service announcements.…

The main problem with confession – it could be completely manufactured

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Think memory is like a videotape? Wrongity wrong wrong. It can be rather easily manipulated and is reconstructed without our awareness every day. Of special interest to criminal confession cases, it’s not really too hard to convince someone that they committed a crime. People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened –…

There’s DNA in food?! That’s disgusting!

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This story is going around: Mandatory labels on foods containing DNA? 80% of Americans support that. According to a recent survey by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, over 80% of Americans said they would support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,” roughly the same number that support the mandatory labeling of GMO foods…

Amazingly spectacular, perfectly natural: Frilled shark caught

Specimen captured in Australia recently.

Stupid media click-bait headlines piss me off. It’s not ‘horrific’, grotesque, something from “Alien” or even a silly “living fossil”. It’s a cool animal. Learn about the real world, it’s amazing. A rare specimen of a frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) was brought up by a fisherman in Australia. Trawler skipper David Guillot caught the 1.5 meter specimen while…

The (cat) Beast of Bodmin Moor is old news

Photo submitted as evidence in the study.

Dr. David Clarke at Sheffield Hallam University, an expert in journalism in the U.K., has followed the “alien big cat” phenomenon. The ABC idea is that large, out of place (OOP) cats (lions, black panthers, pumas/cougars) have colonized the British Isles. Their presence is responsible for the reported sightings of big cats, livestock kills and mystery…