50 Shades of… Fear
February 19, 2018


Much of the criticism of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” erotic franchise is based on the assumption of real-world damage caused by the books and films. Is it fact or fearmongering? A closer look at the breathless claims.  

Wild Bill Hickok Speaks from the Grave to the Stars of ‘Ghost Lab.’ Or Not.
February 5, 2018


I take a close look at the evidence for supposed “ghost voices” recorded by ghost hunters, including one of “Wild Bill” Hickok found on the TV show ‘Ghost Lab.’

Why Trump Is Always Right
January 18, 2018


It’s not a popular thing to admit, but let’s face it: Trump is always right. Here’s why. 

The Arrest and Conviction of ‘Blue Whale Game’ Svengali Filipp Budeykin
January 10, 2018


Russian news stories claim that a man named Filipp Budeykin was convicted of involvement in the ‘Blue Whale Game.’ But that doesn’t mean it’s real.

Dieting Myths: New Year’s Resolution Edition
January 5, 2018


Losing weight is a perpetual top New Year’s resolution. But what about the rest of the year, and how many people are really trying to lose weight? 

‘Why Are You Asking?’ Reporting the Black Santa Story
December 18, 2017


A viral news story in 2016 about racial outrage against a black mall Santa Claus turned out, fortunately, to be false. So why was researching the truth seen as problematic? 

The True, Heartwarming Story of the Mall of America’s Black Santa
December 1, 2017


One year ago today, amid the encroaching commercialization of Christmas, Black Friday sales, and annual social media grumblings about the manufactured controversy over whether “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” is appropriate, an ugly episode of racial hatred tainted the beginning of the 2016 holiday season. It began when the Mall of America hired a jolly …

Gunmen or Maintenance Worker? Applause or Gunshot?  How Expectation Influences Perception
November 20, 2017


Countless real-life examples of false reports remind us that sincere, otherwise credible eyewitnesses can be influenced by many factors, including what they expect (or fear) to see.

The ‘Science Can’t Explain!’ Fallacy
October 19, 2017


When reading claims of baffled scientists and skeptics, remember: “Can’t” isn’t the same as “didn’t try.”

Burying the C.B.S.
October 4, 2017


An innocuous press release for a new book on Darwin raises some red flags.