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53
votes
4answers
12k views

Does water swirl the opposite way on the other hemisphere?

I have heard this one several times but was never given a convincing explanation. Is this a real phenomenon? (Bonus points for a good physical description of the behavior or reasons it couldn't occur....
9
votes
3answers
552 views

Does reading about cognitive biases improve reasoning?

Is there scientific evidence that people who read a list of cognitive biases in a psychology book or in Wikipedia improve their reasoning abilities. Is there evidence that they will less likely fall ...
14
votes
1answer
678 views

How many of the facts in an average newspaper article are true?

A while ago there was a study that compared the amount of factual mistakes in Wikipedia to the amount of factual mistakes in Britannica. Are there similar studies that count the average number of ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Do plant sterols prevent prostate cancer?

Not a day goes by without me hearing a "super mega beta prostate" (or some other similar product) commercial. Super Beta Prostate is a natural prostate supplement made with beta-sitosterol designed ...
34
votes
1answer
5k views

Does this photo of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall show a ghost?

Are there any ghosts that are captured on photos? More specifically, I'm referring to this famous ghost picture of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall: I've never heard anyone debunking the myth of this ...
26
votes
5answers
7k views

Is salt “white death”?

Salt is sometimes known as "white death" due to the belief that an excess intake of salt can cause substantial damage to health. What evidence exists to support or contradict the idea that excess ...
13
votes
2answers
628 views

Can earthquakes be triggered thousands of miles away?

I read on an Answers Website: "While tectonic plates are independent, some scientists believe that a seismic event thousands of miles away can trigger another seismic event. (So, some ...
59
votes
4answers
10k views

Does watching television damage the eyes?

Is there any evidence that watching television for too long or while sitting too close weakens the eyes (leading to myopia, for example) ?
33
votes
1answer
3k views

Is a kill switch being considered to shut down the internet?

One of my friends has been particularly upset about this. I will try to track down a serious citation of someone making this claim but have been unable to do so. I believe there is a commission or ...
64
votes
3answers
4k views

Is acupuncture an effective treatment?

What evidence is there for or against acupuncture being an effective treatment?
46
votes
9answers
8k views

Is race a discredited scientific concept in biology?

I've heard lots of people say things like "race doesn't exist" and "race has no biological meaning." On the other hand, I've heard lots of disagreements too, from scientific popularizers like Steven ...
15
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the latest scientific consensus on megadoses of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C megadoses were first championed by extraordinary chemist and physicist Linus Pauling, I believe, and as prescription for good health they gained by association with him. I have read ...
11
votes
2answers
401 views

Link between runny noses and rhinoviral infections

Trying to answer another question about the link between the winter temperatures and catching the common cold, I remembered something one of my tutors said, namely that 'we catch more viruses when it ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

Do short pictures as subliminal messages work?

Can an image flashed in the middle of a video for a single frame (as in this hoax by Vicary), induce a specific behavior in people? An example would be the supposed use of this to get people in ...
84
votes
5answers
16k views

How were the pyramids built?

It is claimed in many different pseudoscience publications and sites that it was impossible for the ancient Egyptian civilization to build the pyramids, because: too much labour was needed it was ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Does Fermi's paradox imply that civilizations will self destruct inevitably in a short time?

We should be able to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy according to the Drake equation: By plugging in realistic values we obtain the result ...
55
votes
4answers
11k views

How bitter is Robert Lustig's “Bitter Truth” about sugar?

A couple of months ago I watched the talk "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" by endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig on YouTube. The overall tone of the talk raised a couple of red flags; it sounded a little too ...
47
votes
5answers
6k views

Does the artificial sweetener aspartame cause cancer?

I've often heard that the artificial sweetener aspartame causes cancer. Is it true?
26
votes
5answers
4k views

Does telepathy exist?

I remember reading not too long ago about a study in which experimenters performed a number of standard psychological tests with a twist; it was something about they ran a number of tests from ...
42
votes
3answers
4k views

Was the golden ratio deliberately used for aesthetics in ancient or Renaissance times?

It's a famous claim that the golden ratio was both known to and deliberately used by artists and/or architects, for example in the Parthenon. I doubt this, and suspect that any observations about the ...
6
votes
1answer
325 views

Is there an amphibian mass die off and if so, what is causing it?

http://frogmatters.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/scientists-scramble-to-solve-amphibian-death-puzzle/ Are there thousands of species dying off due to a chitrid fungus? I tend to be very skeptical of this ...
19
votes
3answers
465 views

Do airport backscatter machines increase the risk of diseases?

Would regular travelers who fly more than five or so times a year be at higher risk for cancer, or other diseases as a result of going through the backscatter xray? (assume every time for the ...
88
votes
3answers
8k views

Does a car with a hybrid engine and Lithium batteries pollute more than a car with conventional technology?

You hear a lot of claims that, once you include manufacturing and battery replacement, hybrids pollute more than an efficient, more conventional engine. Are there any end-to-end studies measuring any ...
18
votes
1answer
630 views

Does echinacea reduce the length and severity of symptoms for the common cold?

Echinacea bottles at my local food supplement store claim that taking the pills will reduce the length and severity of symptoms experienced when infected with the common cold. Do these claims have ...
42
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it dangerous to have several vaccines at the same time?

As a parent, I often hear people say that they think it's bad for their children to have several vaccines in one go. Some parents pay for some vaccines to be given separately, and I wondered if there ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

6-meals-a-day strategy

It is commonly suggested, in the body building world, that the following eating strategy rises metabolism and inhibits the production of fat tissue: Eat a substantial meal every 2 to 3 hours (six ...
27
votes
4answers
1k views

Can toddlers learn sign language?

The other day came across a commercial of a 'course for sign language' for infants and toddlers. I was a bit sceptical from the start and my suspicions only rose, then I discovered that there is what ...
25
votes
6answers
4k views

Do organisms have electromagnetic fields?

I doubt that organisms have electromagnetic (EM) fields. If we did have such a field, then we would certainly be susceptible to having electric currents induced in us by stronger EM fields. Or worse, ...
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 "...
13
votes
1answer
556 views

Have any “blockages” ever been observed in the body's EM field?

Crystal healing techniques speak of blockages in the body's electromagnetic field. Electromagnetic fields can usually be measured and observed. So, it seems to me, if a body's electromagnetic field ...
14
votes
3answers
475 views

Do products that contain antioxidants have any value over products that do not?

There are a wide variety of food, health, and beauty products that boast containing Antioxidants in order to convince consumers to buy them. Is there any scientific data that backs-up the need for ...
45
votes
3answers
4k views

Should a healthy adult take a daily multi-vitamin?

Is there any reason for a healthy adult to take a daily multi-vitamin? My intuition tells me that an adult eating a healthy and balanced diet will get all of the nutrients she needs and that taking a ...
38
votes
5answers
39k views

How dangerous is a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL)?

The energy-saving compact fluorecent lamps (CFLs) contain some amount of mercury. If they break, it might be released. I've heard claims that they are really dangerous, and claims that the amount of ...
30
votes
1answer
66k views

What happens when you mix Lysol and bleach?

My mother just forwarded an email to all her contacts (thanks, mom), warning us of the dangers of mixing Lysol and bleach together. Here's most the content, translated from French: Bleach and Lysol,...
32
votes
2answers
8k views

Is alcohol a good enough pain killer to allow for surgery without the patient noticing?

Some urban legends and myths revolve around surgery occurring to a person who has had too much to drink. Is it possible to, as a side effect of the patient drinking too much, reach a point where ...
37
votes
5answers
2k views

Are bees disappearing and why?

According to the web site of the film Vanishing of the Bees: Bees are dying in their billions. In the UK, around one fifth of honeybee hives were lost in the winter of 2008/2009. Is there evidence ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How reliable is the research behind the flu-vaccine?

There is significant noise claiming that flu shots are largely ineffective, especially against new strains of the flu (see, for example, this site). Both the arguments for, and against, flu shots, ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it possible to influence the sex of a baby by controlling the mothers' diet?

Can a mother decide whether a baby will be born male or female through careful control of her diet?
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Koch's postulates for judging if HIV causes AIDS

One of the most prominent proponents of the claim that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, Peter Duesberg claims in a PNAS article from 1989 the following The hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS is ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Chinese Birth Charts

A friend of mine recently became pregnant one of the more woo things she has come out with is Chinese Birth Charts. On the admittedly tiny data set of 5 the chart was 100% accurate. I in no way ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation” (TENS) effective?

I have recently become aware of TENS, but have yet to find any definitive evidence it is either a legitimate treatment or a full-blown pseudo-science. The closest was this BBC article: Some of the ...
28
votes
4answers
4k views

What is going to happen in 2012?

The Mayan calendar completes its 5,125 year cycle, on 21 December 2012. Is there any evidence they foresaw the end-of-the-world?
19
votes
1answer
3k views

How do Ouija boards work?

Have Ouija boards been explained by science? And have they been shown to work under controlled conditions?
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Dichloroacetate (DCA) as a cure for cancer

A while ago I read about a cheap and safe drug that kills most cancers. It was the already known compound dichloroacetate (DCA) and the discovery was widely reported in the media. The results at that ...
10
votes
2answers
578 views

Are zinc supplements beneficial?

There is a lot of advertising for zinc supplements on the web, most of which seems indistinguishable from advertisements for ineffective alt-medicine cures. Are these ads a hoax, or is there any ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Are the “game” systems advertised by pickup-artists effective?

In the pick-up artist community, there is much advertising and hype around "game" systems. These are systems which, as far as I understand, consist of sets of guidelines, advice, strategies, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What makes a naturopathic massage naturopathic, and is there any significant benefit to it or is it a hoax?

I've seen advertisements for naturopathic massage, with claims of health benefits that apply to a wide range of conditions and diseases. Is a naturopathic massage significantly different from a ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

What is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and does it work?

Is there any evidence for emotional freedom technique? How do you get qualified? Is it used in more traditional therapy?
53
votes
3answers
3k views

Have there been unusual disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle?

An unusual number of ships and planes are said to have disappeared without a trace in the area called the Bermuda Triangle. This has caused some people to claim supernatural causes for these ...

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