Another Abducted Girl, Another Psychic Fail
January 16, 2019 by

Psychics and fortunetellers are often seen as relatively harmless, dispensing shopworn advice about tall handsome strangers, a brighter future, and reassurances that departed loved ones are indeed watching over us. For $100 or less we can gain a temporary feeling of control over our destinies, armed with the foreknowledge (foreguessing?) of what will (might?) happen. …

“Bigfoot” Is Endangered Species
January 10, 2019 by

A federal judge on August 30, 2018, temporarily blocked the hunting of grizzly bears outside Yellowstone National Park. This was in response to the Trump administration’s removal of those animals’ endangered species protection. I said “grizzly bears” but I was also thinking of Bigfoot, and therein is a story. For more than four decades grizzlies …

Stonehenge Assumptions
December 17, 2018 by

In my years of media and science literacy I’ve repeatedly encountered cases where people have failed to question their premises and simply forged ahead without bothering to make sure that the assumptions were grounded in fact. Premises often seem self-evident—and who wants to waste time verifying or fact-checking something that’s obvious? About six or seven …

Aliens? Balloon Boy? Bright Lights over Fort Collins, CO.
October 9, 2018 by

On Saturday evening, September 1, 2018, observers saw two UFOs over Fort Collins, CO. Described as “two glowing lights in the sky,” they caused a stir, and responses from observers were forthcoming. Residents in nearby Windsor, Wellington, and Bellvue also saw the pair of bright lights and speculated about their source. Theories included aliens, planets—even …

Happy Belated Anniversary, History Channel!
August 9, 2018 by

It’s always a little embarrassing to miss an important birthday or anniversary, and I confess that I’ve been especially busy over the past month and overlooked an important date. That date was about a month ago, when The History Channel suffered one of the highest-profile blows to its credibility in, well, the history of the …

Everybody Plots All the Time! – Tanner Edis on Misinformation Outside the U.S.
October 28, 2017 by

Taner Edis gave a remarkably compelling and sobering talk this morning on how an advanced, modern society can find itself in thrall to conservative religious politics, baseless medical treatments, the institutional embrace of pseudoscience, the diminishment of secular expertise, and an embrace of conspiracy thinking and creationism. Oh, I’m sorry to mislead you. I was …

Stuart Vyse Trains Our Brains on Brain-Training
October 29, 2016 by

I remember when I first started seeing Stuart Vyse’s columns at the CSI website, and with each piece, always thinking, “Wow, I’m really glad someone wrote about that.” That’s how I felt again seeing Vyse discuss the claims of “brain-training” games and services. And yes, he wrote about this subject in 2015 for CSI in …