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Gerrymandering, 'Sociological Gobbledygook,' and a Bit of Observational Science

Oct 17 2017 - 11:10

Last week the Supreme Court again took up the issue of gerrymandering. A measure used to test for this bias was described by the Chief Justice as "sociological gobbledygook." Here are the thinking and method behind the measure so you can decide for yourself.

Categories: ACSH

Latest Stats On U.S. Obesity Rates Are Disappointing

Oct 17 2017 - 11:10

In spite of all the public health warnings about the negative health impacts of obesity, the prevalence of the condition in the U.S. has increased markedly since 1999. And the latest stats from the CDC indicate that trend has continued for both adults and youngsters between 2014 and 2016. But there is a glimmer of hope buried amid the otherwise depressing statistics.

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Not To Be Outdone, Pesticide Religion Now Has Its Own Doomsday Prediction

Oct 17 2017 - 10:10

One religious group forecast an apocalypse a few weeks ago. They used the Bible as their source. More recently, a newer religion warned of their apocalypse. And they used Science magazine

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Big (Or Not So) News In Condoms

Oct 17 2017 - 05:10

Bespoke condoms hit the market. With all that can be custom-made these days, why not them? Hoping to tackle the rampant fit and feel complaints of many men, will these actually reverse the declining trend in consistent use or disrupt the space as others have tried and failed to do?

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Marathon Lessons from a Novice: The Fastest, Oldest, Biggest

Oct 16 2017 - 20:10

As I have written in my recent posts entitled "Marathon Lessons from a Novice," I am running my first marathon in less than one month. (1) With the event quickly approaching, I have been wondering a lot about marathons in general. How many people run one each year? What is the average finish time? What about the average age of runners? To answer these questions, I looked at the data from marathons run in 2016 in the United States and was surprised by what I found.  

How many people run marathons and how many marathons are there? 

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Air Pollution: How to Deceive People with Maps

Oct 16 2017 - 19:10

It doesn't matter how bad or wildly untrue an idea might be; it is a near certainty that one can find an academic somewhere who is willing to embrace it. Alternative medicine, AIDS denialism, Holocaust denialism, communism -- all of these find a welcoming home within the ranks of academia.

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Know Your Ozone: It's Good, Bad and Bacteria-Blasting

Oct 16 2017 - 13:10

There's ozone, and then there's ozone.

Is ozone good for us? Yes.

Is ozone bad for us? Yes.

All of which means that the next time the conversation turns to ozone, it's good to know the context before you weigh in.

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Some Good News On Vaccination Stats

Oct 16 2017 - 09:10

In spite of the efforts of anti-vaxxers to scare parents away from childhood vaccines, recent data presented by the CDC indicates that the overwhelming majority of children entering kindergarten are being appropriately vaccinated. Using data from 48 states and the District of Columbia, researchers found that a median of over 90 percent of these kids are receiving the recommended vaccines.

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The Black Death Rages in Madagascar

Oct 14 2017 - 10:10

The latest outbreak of the plague in Madagascar is worrisome. Since late August, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 501 cases of plague on the island. Even more concerning is the 11% death rate of those cases. 

The plague, also known as the Black Death for history buffs, is caused by the bacteriumYersinia pestis. Y. pestis lives in small animals (rats, primarily) and is present in many areas of the world.

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Zinc Lozenges May Triple Recovery Rate from Colds

Oct 13 2017 - 16:10

When you feel a cold coming on, start popping zinc lozenges. That will do much more for you than vitamin C or Echinacea.

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Cord Blood Banking is Not Insurance for the Future

Oct 13 2017 - 15:10

Umbilical cord blood banking has gained notoriety ever since it was discovered that umbilical cords are a rich supply of hematopoietic stem cells.  Operating on the premise that cord blood samples are a form of "biological insurance" against potential future illness, cord blood banks are really selling a false promise.

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The President Forces the Issue of Repeal and Replace

Oct 13 2017 - 14:10

President Trump, frustrated in his attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare turned to two measures yesterday to force Obamacare to “implode.”

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What Would You Do?

Oct 13 2017 - 07:10

Like any other human being, doctors are capable of snapping.  In a viral video, a Florida physician is seen unleashing his fury on a patient in his waiting room.  Before we cast judgment here are some things to consider.

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WWYD

Oct 13 2017 - 07:10

Like any other human being, doctors are capable of snapping.  In a viral video, a Florida physician is seen unleashing his fury on a patient in his waiting room.  Before we cast judgment here are some things to consider.

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Why Articles about Little Risks have Large Circulation

Oct 12 2017 - 22:10

Many science articles pushed into the media convey information about potential danger, even when these dangers are very unlikely. Why? A study of our behavior suggests it is our primitive lizard brain seeking to protect us from harm

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Stop Mommy-Shaming Pregnant Women Who Have a Glass of Wine

Oct 12 2017 - 20:10

The other night, I had dinner with one of my best childhood friends who became an OB/GYN. She has three amazing children and was pregnant with her fourth.

Trigger warning: She ordered a glass of wine. And drank it.

I warned her that there was a lunatic on Twitter with a master's degree in photojournalism who pretends to be a science journalist that would be publicly mommy-shaming her into submission. She shrugged. A little bit of alcohol isn't going to hurt.

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Screaming At One Direction Concert Not Only Way to Collapse A Lung

Oct 12 2017 - 17:10

One Direction concert-goer whose difficulty breathing after “intense screaming” yielded a published case report in the Journal of Emergency Medicine is not alone. Learn why and who is most at risk for such issues.

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After Petty's Death, Let's Look at Easy-to-Use Heart Defibrillators, or AEDs

Oct 12 2017 - 13:10

Tom Petty's musical talent and immense fan appeal combined to produce what most observers would consider an incredibly lucky and charmed life. But ironically, it was the worst luck of all that befell the legendary rock star when suffering cardiac arrest that led to his death on Oct. 2.

Not simply that his heart stopped functioning, but that Petty alone when he was stricken.

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Update on Chicago's Tax on Soda and the Department of Justice's Suit Against United Healthcare

Oct 12 2017 - 11:10

It is time to update you on the sugary beverage tax war and on the Department of Justice's suit against United Healthcare for inflating patient risk and enhancing their payments. 

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The Opioid Epidemic in 6 Charts Designed To Deceive You

Oct 12 2017 - 11:10

I do not know Dr. Andrew Kolodny,  personally, and, aside from one brief phone call last year, I have had no contact with him. Therefore I cannot know his motivation for becoming a driving force behind "opioid reform"— a concept which would border on hysterically funny if not for the tragedy that it is causing in this country. 

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