Health

Category archives for Health

As part of my duties as chairman of the Swedish Skeptics, earlier tonight I took part in a studio discussion on Swedish TV4 about Gardasil, the vaccine against human papilloma virus that is offered to all 12-y-o Swedish girls. It was a pretty silly affair. The TV people had decided on the angle that the…

The Swedish Skeptics have announced their annual awards for 2012. Both the Enlightener award and the Deceiver award are given to the editorial staff of programmes on Swedish national radio. Medierna is a weekly media criticism show. They roast journalists in an excellently skeptical fashion and have during the year touched upon mistreatment of subjects…

The Huskvarna Drug

Recently while reading Mats Keyet’s 2000 biography of Swedish beat novelist Sture Dahlström, I came across the sad story of the Huskvarna drug. It killed Dahlström’s father and many others. In 1961 Dr. Hjorton’s powder was made a prescription drug. This measure was of no great consequence anywhere except in Huskvarna, a small single-company industrial…

I got a letter with criticism from a man who believes in electromagnetic hypersensitivity and thinks I should too. Most of the letter is the Galileo argument, where the letter writer refers to an anthropologist whose ideas were, in his view, once highly respected until they were taken apart by critical thinkers. I should be…

Skeptic’s Guide Interview

I’m on the latest instalment of the Skeptic’s Guide podcast talking about the Mora/Orsa electrophobia case and the Obscurantist of the Year anti-award. I also mention a bunch of upcoming European skeptics’ conventions, though Steve Novella cut out the bit where I recommended that the skeptical rogues grow mullet hair styles and mustaches for the…

Saltpetre, potassium nitrate, is added to food to give meat products a nicer colour. One winter in the 70s when we were living in Connecticut, my dad went to a New York drug store to buy saltpetre for our traditional Christmas ham. And the elderly druggist winked at him and said this odd thing. “Hehe,…

I Have A Hidden Pill Compartment

Went to bed with a headache, woke up intermittently during the night to find it still there, and got up in the morning with the same headache or one very similar to it. So I took an aspirin, which stuck in my throat, as pills usually do. I figured it would slide down along with…

The Swedish Skeptics, of whom I am the chairman, have just announced their annual awards for 2011 [a – b]. The Swedish public TV show Hjärnkontoret receives the Enlightener of the Year award, “…for their excellent science coverage directed towards children. Hjärnkontoret has aired for 16 years and thus contributed to the upbringing of the…

The memory of Herman Lundborg (1868-1943) is insolubly linked to the Swedish State Institute of Eugenics that he headed, and thus lives in infamy. Eugenics was the pseudoscientific belief that human populations deteriorated over time unless care was taken to weed out weak specimens and keep them from procreating. Somehow, these allegedly weak specimens tended…

Radiation Phobia and Wolves

For the past few days, Swedish skeptics have been shaking their heads in disbelief over Mora municipality’s office for the environment. The office had taken the complaints of a man with radiation phobia seriously and demanded that all radio transmitters in the area be turned down or re-pointed to ensure that the man’s house would…