Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Everyday, something new learned

Via Paul Riddell I found two fascinating articles. First is this cautionary piece about how our faltering level of scientific literacy is sure to have disastrous results sometime, probably sooner rather than later. Part of the problem, I think, lies in the scientific community itself, which tends to view efforts at popularization with suspicion and chafes at teaching science to laypeople. But a lot of it also lies in the general "Why the hell do I need to know this?" attitude Americans seem to have toward, well, anything not immediately connected to their own chosen career.

Riddell also points out this article by noted skeptic Michael Shermer, in which I learn that the magic-marker thing that stores use to test large bills for counterfeits doesn't work on counterfeits that are made with any kind of sophistication at all. Interesting. I'm also glad to know that my general view of those little plastic balls you're supposed to throw into your washer to get cleaner clothes ("How the hell can that possibly work?") is the right one.

However, I do think that I could have lived a long and happy life without ever learning of this treatment for "internal cleansing". (Note how these people say they don't include pictures on the site for their product, because they think they'd be targeted by pranksters and whatnot. Gee, I can't imagine why.)

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