Scientific literacy

Seven billion Earthlings: So what’s the problem?

Typically, I get uncomfortable when I’m in the presence of more than, say, five other people. Therefore, you might expect me to be particularly perturbed by reports that the world’s population reached seven billion people earlier today, 31 October 2011. Such reports do perturb me, but not because I’m worried about […]

No, you are NOT worth it

When it comes to questionable science claims in advertising, you rarely need to look further than the cosmetics industry. Just two weeks ago, two magazine advertisements by French cosmetics giant L’Oréal were banned by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority following a complaint by a Member of the UK Parliament. The ASA found that L’Oréal […]

“Extraordinary people, ordinary evidence”

Here’s just something for the archives. I rarely write book reviews nowadays (although I often get invited to do so), partly because they can become extremely time-consuming. After all, to be fair to the book’s authors or editors, you do need to actually read the book in question before reviewing […]

Stop the spread of the ecological fallacy

Have a look at this recently launched public health campaign, pithily titled “Stop the Spread“. It aims to address the problem of overweight in the general population. Co-ordinated by Safefood, the statutory body responsible for the promotion of food safety in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the […]

Talking science with Scibernia

I was recently interviewed by the folks over at Scibernia.ie, who produce an excellent bi-monthly podcast featuring science news, debate, and analysis. The interview was conducted by tech journalist (and “recovering philosopher“) Sylvia Leatham (@SylviaLeatham) after my recent public lecture for the Irish Skeptics Society. You can listen to the interview […]

When correlation does not imply “casualness”

Yesterday, the Daily Mail published a news story with the following headline: “Psychologists warn of ‘casual link’ between internet porn and rise in sex offences”. Hmm, a “casual link” you say? Really?! “Casual”? (Thank you to @EvidenceMatters and @decaux for pointing this out to me on Twitter.) Now, I guess this particular typo […]