Welcome

A blog about science, medicine, media and the ramblings of Irish hack....

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blog update plus Irish Times piece on why the Green movement need to embrace nuclear power

Hey folks; am currently on holidays in France and if you've ever tried typing on a French Keyboard you'll see why I have tried to avoid posting here while I'm supposed to be enjoying my break. However, due to the increasingly abusive behavior of certain posters, I decided to implement a new comment system (DISQUS) so I could simply mute the more aggressive of these people; please note it is not my policy to delete comments, and all the old ones are currently being transferred over and should be viewable again in about 24 hours.

To reiterate, I am all in favour of deep discussion but there is no place for ad hom attacks and denigration. Because of this, I am introducing this moderation facility as I do not think it is fair one unduly loud bully can put people off from talking about a subject. Please note I will NOT be aggressively moderating so do not feel the need to hold back too much, just try to respect one another!

I'm back next week, but in the interim enjoy this little piece I had in the Irish Times on why the Green movement need to embrace nuclear power. Bonus points if you spot the Top Gun reference in the article I slipped in...

Negative punwriter, the pattern is full...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why physics precludes homeopathy from having any real effect - a summary of some recently published work

Last year I spent a few months in Australia, a serious competitor for the woo capital of the world with clinics in every town offering everything from crystal healing to aura reading to colonic irrigation, though one would presume not at the same time of course. Naturally in such a place, homeopathy is widely practiced, despite some high profile tragic cases . Anyway, upon my oft quite inebriated travels I came across many a proponent of the weird and wacky, including a professional homeopath. Despite my repeated explanations about the placebo effect, regression to the mean, and how this all meant homeopathy was bunk, she steadfastly quoted anecdote after anecdote. So I decided to be a little devious; I asked her for a loan of her homeopathy texts so I might educate myself better. She gladly obliged, gloating slightly that she had got the attention of a sceptical hard scientist as she bequeathed me her tomes and a handful of papers she said "prove" homeopathy works. "You can't fail to be inspired by them!" she stated confidently.

On that note, she was right, but I doubt she'll like the result. What I read inspired me to write a review paper, which has just been published in the journal Focus on alternative and complementary therapies with the snappy acronym FACT. The paper is entitled Proposed mechanisms for homeopathy are physically impossible. The abstract is shown below; if you're an academic type in medicine or the hard sciences with journal access, you can read the full paper here. With the kind permission of the legendary Professor Edzard Ernst, this post is a synopsis of what might be a very interesting paper to those interested in finding out why homeopathy doesn't work. So without further preamble, let's talk about what the paper says and why homeopathy can't work without violating basic physical laws. I've cut down the math and referencing to the minimal needed is this explanation, but do comment if you want any more explanation!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...