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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes. Probably no one ever said the WWW or Science... Read More »

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When Ebola was the latest rage in mainstream media (that would be last month - poor people in Africa are so October of 2014) National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins was quick to capitalize on it - they could have had a vaccine by now, he claimed, if only funding had not been flat since 2004.

Science blogging was, naturally, quick to blame Republicans and The Sequester and whatever else would get Democrats to the polls in the run-up to elections. 
Most of the world that has access to the Internet knows two things about the Rosetta mission - it landed on a comet and a European engineer wore an ugly shirt that offended a lot of American women on Twitter.

The least interesting news is that the ESA now knows that if women can't wear bathing suits to represent them on television, then male project scientists cannot wear bowling shirts and shorts. The important news, however, is that mankind has shown we can go on a 10 year, 4 billion mile journey through the solar system and land on a rock the size of Cork City, Ireland.
Wired magazine devotes a special issue each November to a "What's Next?" for the upcoming year - and that means it is time to think about what will happen in the world of science in 2015.

Wired asked me to make a solid prediction, kind of like Jeane Dixon, except actually right about the future. Nostradamus, without all of the meaningless mumbo-jumbo.
Can homeopathy actually work if someone knows it is a placebo? What if, for example, a skeptical Science 2.0 group was told they got a placebo and that nutritionists were getting medicine? Would we feel better anyway?(1)

Of course it's possible, it just wouldn't be due to magic water. It's a mystery of biology why some people just feel better taking something. That is why homeopathy still exists a few hundred years after its invention even though it has never worked.(2)

Does the placebo effect apply to dogs? Do they understand the concept of medicine? If not, they have a placebo effect.
Open access journals charge a fee to publish an article and make the content free to read. Traditional journals charge a subscription - they say the cost is needed because of 'added value' and that open access publications like PLOS One are not doing peer review of 30,000 articles a year, they are doing "editorial review", a peer-review lite where a reader looks the paper over and checks off 4 boxes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning Whole Foods customers not to consume a line of organic raw almonds due to elevated levels of hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid/formonitrile - chemical formula HCN). Hydrogen cyanide is a natural toxic chemical that interferes with oxygen in our organs so it can quickly be fatal, but even in smaller exposure can be damaging to the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the pulmonary system.