Posts Tagged ‘science’

Something I find frustrating sometimes is the idea that, if something is “natural”, it is safe and good for you. (And don’t get me started on the “no chemicals” thing!)

It is an especially dangerous trope in the field of herbal medicine. You don’t have to go much further than “deadly nightshade is natural” to disprove “natural=safe”, but many people don’t get that far. So while a study may not have been strictly necessary, it is nonetheless useful that a review has been done.

(Also, someone has clearly been doing some publicising here. I read about the study in the SMH, and when I went searching to see if I could find the article, there were a lot of other newspaper (etc) stories about it. It’s nice to see some reporting of a paper like this!)


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Thanks, SMH, for making me smile at the end of my working day. This quote:

at least four buses still on the road have made the equivalent of two return journeys to the moon

It reminds me of the Ms Frizzle and the Magic School Bus and gives me the most fabulous mental image of an old blue & white Sydney bus suddenly lifting off and heading moon-wards.

(And what a great role model Ms Frizzle was!)

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I wrote about this phenomenon recently.

Heard this morning on the BBC, this headline:

Anxiety, depression and sleepless nights increase the risk of diabetes in men, a Swedish study suggests.

Of course, I heard that and wondered: does that also apply to women? So I listened to the rest of the 30 second or so segment, and they didn’t mention women until the last sentence (the linked page is a little better, it at least mentions in the third sentence that the study also looked at women – but other than that, yep, last sentence is the only reference).

Ok, so on one hand: finding no link is a negative result, in a way, and so perhaps it makes sense that the positive result gets more airtime. But having said that … negative results often do get reported by the newspapers in a field like this, which might be expected to have some general public interest. And it doesn’t justify having just one and a half sentences devoted to women, especially when the results are so different! So I think the positive result > negative result is a justification as much as an explanation.

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I love evolution.

A Guardian article about how “whales may be descended from a small deer-like creature”.

For some reason, I really like this idea! (Although I hate the headline: “How Bambi evolved into Moby Dick”.)

And at the bottom, there was a link to the latest article (ok, 3 months ago, but I missed it!) about what looks like it will be called H. floresiensis.

Which is, as one of the researchers is quoted as saying, “a little shot to our over-inflated modern human egos.” Nice.

And spot on!

What’s also interesting to note is that researcher’s comment that one group will be completely proved wrong and one will be completely proved right. As he notes, that’s unusual in science.

Like I said, I love evolution!

[First posted here.]

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