Category: Pseudoscience

Marriage causes germs (kind of)

Yesterday morning I watched an interesting breakfast TV show here in Accra, on Ghana’s GTV. Interesting for three reasons: (a) because it illustrated the passionately articulate and comfortably personable nature of many Ghanaians, with whom just about any quick chat can escalate into an eloquent debate within seconds; (b) because it showed how breakfast TV chat shows seem to follow a universal cross-cultural format, focusing largely on fashion, relationships, and personal health with discussion driven by a small coterie of generalist talking heads; and (c) because, well, religion.

After a slightly over-long item on “managing your wardrobe” (pro tip: don’t put smelly shoes in a wardrobe; the moisture spreads bacteria and mould to the clothes), we had a panel discussion on the slightly cognate subject of “managing your in-laws” (pro tip: again, no putting in wardrobes).

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Continue reading “Marriage causes germs (kind of)”

Keep away from camels; crowds (of humans) okay

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Greetings from Riyadh Airport. Saudi Arabia is, well, different. And, moving on…

Here in Riyadh the government have been having to deal with mass panic over an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has taken the lives of over 70 victims. Typically MERS is associated with camels, and test results have just confirmed that the current outbreak has been driven by camel-based transmission.

As with many health scares, panic is built on unsubstantiated rumour. Some of the rumours here have been extravagant. According to today’s Arab Times, one hospital has been suspected of admitting 170 MERS cases when in fact it had admitted none. There were also rumours that its ER had shut down, even though it hadn’t.

Continue reading “Keep away from camels; crowds (of humans) okay”

The homeopathic drugs DO work. Because they’re drugs

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So, how can it be that homeopathy sometimes seems to work? Well there are a few possible explanations:

  1. The universe is broken
  2. Placebo etc.
  3. They’re cutting the stuff with real penicillin

Full marks to those of you who selected #3. Because, that’s right, it’s yet another example of alternative drug pushers contaminating their products with undeclared industrial additives. Continue reading “The homeopathic drugs DO work. Because they’re drugs”

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