Browne 2004 covid excerpt
Sylvia Browne’s Bogus Coronavirus Prophecies
March 24, 2020 by

In recent weeks there’s been many rumors, myths, and misinformation about the current coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19. One of the most curious is the recent resurrection of a posthumous prediction by psychic Sylvia Browne. In her 2008 book End of Days, Browne predicted that “In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, …

Equatorial Misinformation Misadventures
February 19, 2020 by

Last month I was editing a piece by Rob Palmer (perhaps better known as “The Well-Known Skeptic”) on the subject of misinformation he encountered in the middle of the world. Or, put another way, bogus information on the equator in Ecuador (a country named after the equator). I had a particular interest in the topic, …

Crackpots, Serial Killers and Flat Earthers
November 6, 2019 by

Things are a bit different now. Any crackpot with a 6th grader’s knowledge of computers can design and launch a website, shoot, edit and post a You Tube video that is wrong in every sense of the word, and search the world for people who share their same fetishes, dopey ideas, or sick fantasies.

Are 1 in 4 Americans Going Into Debt Buying Food?
June 5, 2019 by

It’s a scary, dismaying headline that made the social media rounds over the past few weeks: “Nearly 25% of Americans are going into debt trying to pay for necessities like food.”   The piece, which appeared on CNBC, began with the following: “American have an average of $6,506 in credit card debt, according to a …

Trump’s Tricks: The Illusion of Popular Support
May 17, 2019 by

Donald Trump is widely known for boasting. He brags about his intelligence, his physical and mental health, his wealth, and pretty much anything else he can think of or in some tangential way take credit for. But most of all, Trump loves to brag about how influential, adored, and popular he is. From his wildly …

Do 60% of People Misgender Trans People to Insult Them?
March 21, 2019 by

Recent news reports claimed that most people intentionally disrespect transgendered individuals by calling them by something other than their preferred gender pronoun. For example one piece began: “Three in five people internationally report that they would intentionally misgender a transgender person, according to a recent survey. Ipsos found that only two out of five people …

‘HS Teacher Tells Students to Vote Republican’: Case Study of a Social Media Outrage Cycle
March 1, 2019 by

Last month an indignant Florida mother named Barbara took to Twitter seeking advice for a problem: “I’m really PISSED; my daughter who is in the 12th grade recently registered to vote through her high school. Her teacher told the class that they all must register as Republicans or else they would not be allowed to …

‘Monster Freed After Lawyer Offers Ridiculous Defense!’: Post Hoc Fallacies in Legal Outcomes
February 1, 2019 by

In an article by Bil Browning for LGBTQNation headlined “Texas Man Gets Probation after Using ‘Gay Panic’ Defense to Explain Killing his Neighbor” noted that “James Miller of Austin, Texas was found not guilty of manslaughter and murder by a jury after killing his neighbor, Daniel Spencer. After Miller used the ‘gay panic’ defense, claiming …

Holocaust Denial Headlines: Hatred, Ignorance, or Innumeracy?
January 7, 2019 by

In the wake of racial incidents such as the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018, it’s natural for the public and pundits to wonder just how common anti-Semitism is. Deadly attacks on Jewish houses of worship are thankfully rare, but what about anti-Jewish belief among the general public? One often-used metric is public …

‘First Man’ A Fitting Space Odyssey
October 15, 2018 by

First Man tells the true story of the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling). As the film shows, he got there largely through skill and determination, but also luck and circumstance. The outlines of the story are, of course, well known, and part of the challenge in telling …