I’m not an expert at archery, but there’s a way I can guarantee I get a bull’s eye every time. It’s simple. I shoot the arrow at a large target, one I can’t possibly miss. Then, I walk up and draw a bull’s eye around the arrow.
We laugh at how ridiculous this is, but this sort of error occurs every day in peer reviewed studies published in prestigious journals. Called the Sharpshooter Fallacy, it’s all too common, so it’s important that we be able to recognize it.
If it’s natural, it must be safe! Right? Not exactly. There’s a common misconception that chemical compounds made in a laboratory are always dangerous, while those assembled by Mother Nature are inherently safe. It would be nice if this were always the case, but it just isn’t so. It’s obvious, if we stop to consider that arsenic and cobra venom, seriously dangerous substances, are both quite natural.
Essential oils are also natural. But, being the skeptic that I am, after hearing from a number of people that essential oils will cure pretty much anything, I started asking two questions: are they effective—do they do what they claim to do—and, more importantly, are they safe? Continue reading
In the wake of the recent spate of mass shootings, gun control is again being debated. I had just finished reading some opinion pieces (now called “news”) both for and against more restrictive laws, when I came across this article in Newsweek:
Wondering how a chicken lunch could be considered offensive and racist, I clicked on the article. I learned that eating chicken for lunch is considered a black stereotype, so a social program targeting chicken lunches is offending some people. (Really? Fried chicken is racist? I thought it was just delicious!)
Girl eggplants? Boy eggplants? Peppers with three lobes—or four? Does one taste better than the other? Is one for cooking and the other for eating raw? And what does all this have to do with plant sex?
As I’ve been perusing Pinterest and adding things to my “Bad Advice” board, I discovered a bunch of discussion about “male” vs. “female” eggplants and peppers. We’re talking about the fruit—the eggplants or peppers that we eat—not the individual plants on which the veggies grew. I hate to burst their bubble, but eggplants and peppers don’t have gender. (Actually, the plants are’t male or female, either.)
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. I have plenty to write about, but I hurt my back and sitting at my desk hurts. A lot. Since my paying job also requires me to sit at my computer, that uses up all the sitting I can tolerate.
So… don’t give up on me. I’ll be back, just as soon as I can sit down long enough to write something!
Blessings on you all.
Spring may have finally arrived. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s amazing how the beauty of nature can lift my spirits.
I’ve been thinking lately how that beauty is no accident. I’ve never met a person who was indifferent to a glowing sunset, spectacular mountains, or the white sand and turquoise water of a tropical beach. While standards of human beauty change somewhat from culture to culture, and generation to generation, an appreciation for the beauty of nature is universal.
Done any hurtling lately?
A recent headline on Forbes cited a journal article in the Royal Astronomical Society:
“Milky Way will collide with nearby galaxy,
hurtling solar system into space, report says”
The phrase appears again in the article: “The impact could send our solar system hurtling into space.”