hype

Of all the ridiculous claims made in the popular science press, one of the biggest is that we have discovered the possibility of alien life on some remote exoplanet.

The story usually goes like this: Astronomers find a star located many light-years away that hosts multiple planets. One of those planets is located in the "Goldilocks Zone," the habitable region around a star. Upon closer examination, that planet appears to have gases in its atmosphere that might indicate life. The authors conclude that given the sheer number of these types of exoplanets, life could be everywhere in the universe.

Oh, that's just too good to resist. So, studies like that tend to lead to...

Staying fit by playing tennis

A recent health story is currently making the rounds proclaiming that some forms of exercise, as well as participation in three particular racquet sports, are better than others for your overall health and will help you live longer.

These online articles invariably attract our attention. Why? Because they carry headlines that provide the simple solution that everyone craves: the way to better fitness, and finally, a clear, unambiguous and athletic path to a long, healthy life.

Sure, these stories do contain some worthwhile information on how to improve one's fitness. But unfortunately, they are the very definition of health hype.

That's because placing emphasis on specific activities is overblown, and the study these stories are based on has a range of...

Ben & Jerry's headquarters, in Waterbury, VT

It's amazing what lengths a company will go to in order to sell you something.

With that thought squarely in mind, hats off to Ben & Jerry's for coming up with a doozy of a rationale for prompting its customers to (1) get involved in the political process, and (2) get on the grocery store checkout line.

Based on a recent product awareness campaign, it seems the Vermont-based ice cream producer wants us all to believe that global warming, while catastrophic enough in its own right, could also deprive its customers of some of their favorite dessert flavors. Action must be taken immediately, the company implores us, or the chocolate, and the nuts, and the coffee that's needed as ingredients for 26 separate creations could, in time, vanish from the Earth. 

And when...