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20
votes
3answers
3k views

Recommended alcohol drinking quantity: are they just making it up?

From an NHS website: To lower your risk of health problems, the NHS recommends that: men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day women should not regularly drink ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Backwards masking in music

It was alleged by opponents to rock and heavy metal that the artists would include hidden satanic messages in their songs that would become audible when playing the song backwards. It was further ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Does (diet) soda cause tooth decay?

I've often heard and read that soda causes tooth decay; most often the reason involves the sugars present in the soda being converted into acids which wear out the enamel. I'm curious if there is ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Are more babies born during full moons?

I've heard from multiple sources -- a simple google search will confirm -- that significantly more babies are born during full moon periods. Are there any studies supporting or disputing the ...
181
votes
7answers
25k views

Did people think the Earth was flat?

I've heard it numerous times, that in the old days people thought that the world was flat. Most commonly I heard this in connection with the voyage of Columbus, that he believed the earth to be a ...
172
votes
4answers
25k views

Does a webpage with a black background save energy?

Blackle is a search engine that claims to save energy because it uses a black background. Is there any evidence to back up their claim that a website using a black background will save energy, and if ...
108
votes
3answers
32k views

Is a woman who dresses sexually suggestively more likely to get raped?

There was a recent controversy about a police officer who is reported to have suggested: Women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a “slut.” If we leave out the derogatory word and focus ...
104
votes
3answers
43k views

Do coal plants release more radiation than nuclear power plants?

As a response to the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant I've heard the claim that fossil-fuel power plants using coal release more radiation than a nuclear power plant. I searched for some ...
107
votes
2answers
28k views

Do expensive, “premium” speaker cables make a difference?

I was tempted to go drop $8500 on these awesome speaker cables so I could be like Whiplash (see customer pictures), but I'm curious, if I use them for my audio system, will they actually make a ...
98
votes
3answers
18k views

Are there any perceptible differences between the sound quality of 192 versus 320 kbps MP3 files?

I have friends that are very picky when it comes to MP3 bitrate, and will always look for the 320 kbps version of a file. However, I have never noticed any differences, they sound the same to me. I ...
32
votes
1answer
6k views

Do nice guys finish last?

xkcd #513 Friends  by Randall Munroe You might think this is something men parrot to justify their lack of luck with the ladies, but ask any androphile and we'll tell you there's just something ...
45
votes
2answers
5k views

Is Genetically Modified food safe to consume?

What's the truth surrounding the popular idea that genetically modified food is dangerous to consume? There's entire websites and institutions dedicated to popularizing the alleged dangers of eating ...
43
votes
2answers
4k views

Is IQ hereditary? If so, to what degree?

The movie Idiocracy suggests that intelligence is hereditary; this idea has also been perpetrated by German author Thilo Sarrazin, who claims that due to the higher fertility of Islamic immigrants and ...
66
votes
3answers
19k views

Did Moses live?

Moses is, arguably, the most significant prophet in Judaism and is credited with leading the enslaved Jewish population out of Egypt and into the promised land. Aside from the Torah, are there any ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Is some level of radiation “good for you”?

"With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably ...
76
votes
5answers
14k views

Were people shorter in the middle ages?

In many castles or museums you'll find medieval armor, belonging to a knight. Those are often very small compared to the average human nowadays. I've heard this explained multiple times as being due ...
53
votes
1answer
9k views

Did COBOL have 250 billion lines of code and 1 million programmers, as late as 2009?

In 2009 COBOL turned 50 years old. It got some publicity with claims, which I find rather hard to believe: "Cobol hits 50 and keeps counting" article in the Guardian. According to David ...
41
votes
3answers
4k views

Is stretching beneficial after exercise?

A quick internet search on stretching reveals that, if physiologists were a bit more belligerent, the question of whether or not to stretch after exercise is something actual wars could be fought over....
28
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there studies clearly illustrating the great discrepancies in programmer productivity?

There exists a widely held (and frequently asserted) belief that there is a very big (relatively to other professions) discrepancy between the top tier software developers and the non-top-tier. ...
51
votes
3answers
6k views

Do rich companies pay little/no corporate income taxes in the United States?

It's a fairly common "fact" that if you make enough money, that you can hire lawyers who can hide all of your money, so that you end up paying little to no tax. Is this true?
48
votes
1answer
3k views

Does decriminalizing drug use lead to less drug use?

While listening to the RSA talk Addiction: What to Do When Everything Else has Failed I'm reminded of an article in the Times from 2009 about Portugal's decriminalization of drugs. The Cato paper ...
48
votes
3answers
135k views

Is it unsafe to swim during a lightning storm?

I was cautioned by mom that I mustn't go swimming when there is lightning; the theory is that it is more likely for lightning to hit you when you are in the water. Is this fear justified?
43
votes
1answer
9k views

Are IQ tests reliable?

Some of the more common types of IQ tests are: source There have been many IQ tests used over the years, and many different proposed scales to evaluate the results. Many tests have been revised and ...
22
votes
1answer
7k views

Do Gunnar Glasses reduce eye strain?

In my RSS feeds today, I got an article named Gunnar Glasses Reduce Computer Eyestrain, Are 75% Off for the Next Two Days which links to a previous article about their benefits: Gunnar's website ...
47
votes
2answers
17k views

Does honey ever go bad?

I have read that honey never spoils. Is this claim true? If so, what is it about honey that can cause it to remain edible for thousands of years?
34
votes
2answers
213k views

How many almonds does it take to get cyanide poisoning?

I was at lunch today and the conversation turned to almonds and their cyanide content. One co-worker said almonds contain a lot of cyancide and the number of almonds that can kill you surprisingly low....
33
votes
3answers
7k views

Are any notable biblical characters historical figures?

Are any of the *main** characters who appear in the Bible that are real historical people, their existence supported by multiple sources. In addition do their actions in the Bible support or ...
68
votes
6answers
7k views

Did the National Rifle Association (NRA) block research into statistics related to gun control?

About 30,000 Americans die every year from gun-related deaths (a number likely to exceed those dying from automobile-related accidents very soon if trends continue). About 1 in 3 of those are ...
47
votes
2answers
5k views

Is there a “red shift” in U.S. elections — a significant shift to republican votes between polls and voting? Does this imply fraud?

This questions on Politics SE introduced me to the concept of the red shift. In short, the claim of a red shift boils down to a statistically significant difference between outcome of final exit polls ...
41
votes
3answers
3k views

Can microwaved water explode?

Some time ago I read a warning that microwaved water can "explode" under certain circumstances. There was one case as an example where someone heated water in the microwave, took it out and then it "...
29
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a deep, hot biosphere?

Thomas Gold claims that oil is not aging vegetal or animal matter, but rather made continously from bacteria deep in the Earth's mantle (a 'deep hot biosphere') so that we would effectively never have ...
26
votes
3answers
11k views

Can blue light from LCD panels cause damage to the eyes?

In Japan there is quite a fad about LCD blue light filtering and how they might help reduce eyestrain, etc. The web site of a major computer accessory manufacturer has an English-language press ...
25
votes
5answers
6k views

Is Soy bad for you?

The internet is full with stories about how soy contains phytoestrogenes, how the protein is actually not readily used by our bodies etc. I especially remember quite a long rant in Tim Ferriss's ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Are saturated fats unhealthy?

I've been taught since I was a kid that eating fat is bad for my health. Later on, I found out that unsaturated fats (especially ones containing Omega-3 and Omega-6) are actually good for your health. ...
26
votes
1answer
6k views

Are some laundry detergents better than others?

As we were looking for laundry detergent yesterday, I noted that my wife was quite swayed by brand reputation/impressions than price. She stated that she didn't think one type of detergent really ...
25
votes
1answer
31k views

Does home-WiFi expose you to less radiation than using the 3G on your cell-phone?

Are there any studies that compare WiFi and cellular data usage, in the home, over time? Mainly I've heard that WiFi uses more battery (so it should emit more radiation) but OTOH it feels like 3G/...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Do fruit/vegetable washes effectively remove pesticides?

Is there any evidence to suggest that commercially available fruit/vegetable washes can effectively remove pesticides from produce? Here are some example claims: Veggie Wash uses natural cleaners ...
23
votes
4answers
4k views

Do 80% of gender-dysphoric children grow up deciding not to change their gender?

A Wall Street Journal article makes the following claim: ... a high percentage—up to 80% in a study of 44 gender-dysphoric boys—grow up to be not transgender, but bisexual, gay or lesbian ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Ultrasound pest control devices

A couple times I've seen advertised on TV and in supermarkets electronic devices that allegedly irritate all sort of insects and rodents, such as mosquitoes, mice, and rats, forcing them away from the ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Do weather changes affect arthritis?

My father always claims he knows when a storm is coming by the pain in his knee. It turns out he might not be as crazy as I thought. Many people with arthritis report varying pain levels as a result ...
19
votes
2answers
6k views

Does smoking cigarettes cause lung cancer?

My friend is a smoker. His dad is a doctor. Both claim there is no firm proof that cigarettes cause lung cancer. This article makes a similar claim -- in particular that smoking cigarettes is not ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Do high-fat diets causes heart disease?

This article in The Guardian alleges that the nutritional science establishment has spent the last 4 decades claiming that fatty diets cause heart disease when in fact sugar is largely to blame. The ...
14
votes
2answers
698 views

Are most published results relying on measures of statistical significance likely to be false?

This article, linked to by Glen, claims most published results are false. The argument is based on an analysis of how papers relying on statistical significance analyse and report their statistical ...
44
votes
6answers
6k views

Are different prices in wines justified by taste?

According to the BBC, Wine costing less than £5 a bottle can have the same effect on the palate as those priced up to six times as much, a psychological taste challenge suggests. My skeptic sense ...
39
votes
1answer
38k views

Do dolphins have homosexual “blowhole” sex?

In his comedy act, Ricky Gervais shows examples of homosexuality in nature, all of them from the book "Biological Exuberance, animal homosexuality and natural diversity" by Bruce Bagemihl. One of the ...
38
votes
3answers
4k views

Is water fluoridation harmful?

There’s a controversy going around whether the benefits of water fluoridation outweigh the potential harms. What is the evidence for the harm this may cause and what evidence supports the health ...
32
votes
5answers
5k views

Were the Wright Brothers the first to fly?

I'd say it's a commonly held belief that the Wright brothers were the first to achieve controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than air human flight, as it can be found in most history books. ...
23
votes
3answers
8k views

Is global IQ dropping over time?

Global IQ: 1950–2050 Essentially the idea is that while smart people are getting wealthier, their birth-rate tends to drop. On the other hand poor countries, which are generally populated by less ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Were 3 million votes cast by non-citizens in the 2016 US presidential election?

Various websites are repeating the claim in this tweet, which says: Completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations. Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million. ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

Do airplanes release biological or chemical agents, forming trails?

Since the topic of the week is conspiracy theories, here's one that I've had re-iterated at me a few times. Supposedly these white stripes after airplanes is created by airplanes releasing biological ...

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