In The Media

1. If you don't have HBO, and if you have HBO but you don't watch John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight", and if you do ordinarily watch but missed the August 13th episode...well, you didn't miss much.

We're a science non-profit with $2 billion in activists lined up against us, we have had world-class hit pieces done against science at their bequest, in places like "60 Minutes" and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." John Oliver instead exposed himself as being a pretender in the science community, siding readily with trade group hacks out to undermine American expertise. By comparison, rather than being a humorous or at least sharp take, his attack was instead flaccid....

1. In Puget Sound Business Journal, Dr. Alex Berezow takes Seattle to task for engaging in Californication - desiring to play nanny state to the rest of the country while ignoring its problems at home. Like it's runaway homeless drug user population that is driving people and businesses away. You can read it here.

2. Our interns went into surgery. Well, they didn't perform it. But there is a strong chance one of them will in the future.

We try to give our interns a cross-section of experiences, which along with research projects (and even writing articles, if you saw our July 4th "...

1. Jamie Wells, MD, testified at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week in favor of more transparency in science. The debate over putting an end to "secret science" and "sue-and-settle" agreements is solely a political one, but that has not prevented some scientists from circling the wagons defending a lack of transparency at the agency.

While no one really argues that government decisions should be made based on outlier studies that are not replicable and for which scholars refuse to turn over their data, the rationale ends up being just that. But scientists who are masking their political agenda with claims of reason insist it is about their data. We have repeatedly noted it's not their data. It's the taxpayers' data, then it's...

1. How ridiculous is the annual hot dog eating contest at Coney Island? So ridiculous that the judges miscounted wildly on the number of hot dogs and no one noticed. Until winner Joey Chestnut insisted he had broken his own world record and eaten 74 in 10 minutes and the judges had to go back and review the 10 minute tape and actually count this time. And he was right, they were off by a whole plate, not just for him, but for the second place finisher. Viewers had been switched over to a gripping Cornhole match by then, so they didn't realize a world record had been made. 

But if you try this contest at home, use some common sense. While choking in hot dog eating contests is rare, so I am certainly not scaremongering weiners, it is the big risk you'll face...

1. Big Think interviewed Dr. Alex Berezow for their article Are there limits to the truths science can discover? The discussion ranged from defining evidence-based public policy to setting limits on what science should determine. 

2. In Washington Examiner, Dr. Josh Bloom and Henry Miller, MD, discussed Senator Dianne Feinstein's unscientific chemical scare bill.

3. I moderated a panel called  "The Challenge Between Critical Thinking and Emotional...

1. The BBC was into poop - the still-ongoing trend of public serial poopers - and linked to work by Dr. Jamie Wells on it. That wasn't the only place this fad was noted

2. We met with HHS leadership to discuss how to better move the needle when it comes to both government and the public making decisions based on solid evidence. While we are critical of some decisions, we recognize that for the most part they want to do good...

On Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, I gave the commencement speech for the North Penn-Liberty class of 2018, 35 years after I graduated. While much has changed, the basic challenges young people will face have not. A number of attendees asked me for a copy and I didn't have a clean one, mine was half-typed, half hand notes, so it is presented below. At least as it was written. I went off book in a few spots, including at the end. So even at my age I have new things to learn: Like always listen to the experienced speechwriters.

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Thank you, Kaitlyn, for the terrific welcome, North Penn-Liberty graduates from California to New York cheered like crazy when we heard you and the rest of the team did so well at the STEM competition this year. Thank you,...

1. Tech Times seeks to inject some science into police violence discussions and uses our work to do it. In the ongoing debate over gun ownership, a lot of papers are produced but not all of them make sense. "Virtual lives lost" is one such metric. Like virtual water, virtual money, and virtual emissions, pretend assets can't be utilized. If someone dies young, is is correct to assume they will live to be 80? Not really, which is why average life expectancy is a flawed notion. And if a paper is publicized in the political The Guardian, even more suspicion is warranted. To offset their bias, John Diente used the non-partisan work of Dr. Alex Berezow, who showed the paper Guardian gushed about...

1. Dr. Alex Berezow set off a Seattle firestorm last week when he announced that misguided policies, which had led to a surge in homelessness (and therefore drugs and crime) had caused him to buy a house outside the city. In the Seattle Times, Alex notes his ongoing concern, and that when he asked the City Council member he voted for to provide insight on how they will address the problem, she compared him to Hitler. Not easy to take for a guy whose grandparents were fortunate enough to survive Germany under the Nazis.

Seattle used to pride itself being an equally nice but more practical version of Seattle. Now it is a very...

1. Governments love to pretend to accept science if it means more revenue for government employees, and nothing has been more prone to confirmation bias than that "sin" taxes are for the public good. Yes, they can correlate higher costs to lower uptake but that is simply government fiat handicapping the free market - there is not much evidence that sin taxes lead to better outcomes

Smoking is down, but it did not go down more because New York City dramatically increased taxes on cigarettes. Instead, in NYC the black market took over, then cops were told to enforce penalties on sales of "loose" cigarettes because revenue from cigarette taxes dropped, and a guy died on the street because he was selling them, to national outrage. Smoking went down because we...