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Placebo Buttons?

A recent article suggested that many of the buttons/toggles that we experience in our daily lives...

The Development Of Social Monogamy In Mammals

Two papers published this week have proposed explanations regarding the evolution of social monogamy...

Easy Answers To World Problems

After reading another article by Alex Berezow ["The Arrogance of a Well-Fed Society"] insisting...

The Precautionary Principle Review

There is an interesting series of articles published by the Guardian discussing various aspects...

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Gerhard AdamRSS Feed of this column.

I'm not big on writing things about myself so a friend on this site (Brian Taylor) opted to put a few sentences together: Hopefully I'll be able to live up to his claims. "I thought perhaps you... Read More »

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While many people may not be explicitly familiar with Koch's Postulates, they are generally viewed as a type of "common sense" when it comes to pathogens.  Briefly the postulates consist of four criteria.
1.  The microorganism must be found in abundance in all organisms suffering from the disease, but should not be found in healthy organisms.
2.  The microorganism must be isolated from a diseased organism and grown in pure culture.
3.  The cultured microorganism should cause disease when introduced into a healthy organism.
4.  The microorganism must be reisolated from the inoculated, diseased experimental host and identified as being identical to the original specific causative agent.
More questionable science abounds in a recent article ["Female Mammals Follow Their Noses to the Right Mates"] regarding mammal mating habits.  Although the original paper was published in 2009, it hasn't improved with age.

One of the more telling problems occurs with the following quote:
Since the dominant males often chase away other males, it's hard to tell if females are choosing to mate with certain males, or are merely mating with them by default.
I recently watched the full two hours of this presentation [Evacuate Earth] and was disappointed in the fact that speculation rapidly degenerated into silliness, and ultimately pseudoscientific nonsense.
A recent article entitled "Fluctuating Environment May Have Driven Human Evolution", proceeded to take something that is obvious and attempt to create even more significance from it.  It is obvious, that environmental changes [yes, including fluctuations] have driven ALL of evolution, so to even qualify it as "human" indicates some attempt to make the results more significant than they are.

However, the intent of this article in trying to assign relevance was exemplified by this quote:
According to Magill, many anthropologists believe that variability of experience can trigger cognitive development.
In many modern discussions about bacteria, or germs, we find that novel descriptions are used that are more self-involved than accurate regarding the role of bacteria and microbes.  Certainly there is an increased awareness that many microbes are commensal [or "good"] and are necessary for our well-being, while others are considered "bad" and cause disease.
A recent article pointed out a radical conclusion published in the British Medical Journal that reducing dietary fat intake could lead to weight loss and reduced BMI.

Obviously such radical results will need to be verified and peer-reviewed, but it is expected that additional studies will show that increased sleep will make you feel less tired.  Exercise will tend to promote fitness, and eating will make you feel less hungry.

Ain't science grand!

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Published by IBO (Institute of the Bloody Obvious)