Physics

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Physics

Note: Orac is away somewhere warm recharging his Tarial cells for further science and skepticism. In the meantime, he is rerunning some of his favorite posts. Because it’s vacation, he thought he’d rerun a fun post. He needs it; vacation is almost over, and it’s back to work on Monday. So, here’s one from 2007,…

Note: Orac is away somewhere warm recharging his Tarial cells for further science and skepticism. In the meantime, he is rerunning some of his favorite posts. Because it’s vacation, he thought he’d rerun a fun post. He needs it; vacation is almost over, and it’s back to work on Monday. So, here’s one from 2007.…

It’s rare that I have much in the way of reluctance to leap into writing about a topic. Any regular reader of this blog should know this to be true, given the topics I regularly take on and how often my writing draws flak my way from various proponents of quackery and pseudoscience, in particular…

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years looking at cranks, examining crank science (i.e., pseudoscience), and trying to figure out how to inoculate people against crankery. Because I’m a physician, I tend to do it mostly in the realm of medicine by critically examining “alternative” medical claims and discussing the scientific basis of…

It’s no secret that I’ve been highly critical of The Huffington Post, at least of its approach to science and medicine. In fact, it was a mere three weeks after Arianna Huffington launched her blog back in 2005 that I noticed something very distressing about it, namely that it had recruited someone who would later…

Ever since starting my blog nearly seven (!) years ago, I’ve concentrated mainly on skepticism in medicine, in particular examining various implausible medical claims that proliferate on the Internet and in our media like so much kudzu choking out science and reason. The reasons are two-fold. First, it’s what I’m interested in. Second, it was…

Recently, there have been grumblings in the ranks of Orac-philes. All is not entirely well. Or, at least, all is less well than usual. Even more unusual, I feel your pain. I really do. We’ve been enduring a stretch when the anti-vaccine movement has been unusually busy for an unusually long time, leading vaccines to…

Back in December, I took issue with a highly irritating article by someone who normally should know better, Jonah Lehrer, entitled The Truth Wears Off: Is There Something Wrong With the Scientific Method?, so much so that I wrote one of my typical long-winded deconstructions of the article. One thing that irritated me was contained…

NOTE: Orac was actually out rather late last night. It turns out that the more administrative responsibility he somehow seems to find the more he has to go out to dinner as a part of various cancer center-related functions. As a result, he is recycling a bit of recent material from elsewhere that he in…

Six years in the blogosphere…

Has it really been six years? Six years ago today, on a dim and dreary Saturday in December, almost on a whim I sat down, went to Blogspot, and started up the first version of Respectful Insolence with an introductory post with the cliched title, Please allow me to introduce myself. Here it is, six…

What’s next? Flat earth?

Regarding this whole skeptic thing, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about pseudoscience and bizarre, unscientific beliefs, it’s that, just when I think I’ve seen it all, the world slaps me in the face (facepalm, to be precise) to show me that I haven’t seen it all after all. Such was what happened when a…

I don’t know if I need to get out the infamous paper bag or–even worse–the Doctor Doom mask out yet. As you may recall (if you are a long time reader, anyway) is that the mind-numbing stupidity of certain MDs has driven me to want to hide my face in utter shame at the embarrassment…

The return of the living Choprawoo

With all the anti-vaccine nonsense going on and my feeling the obligation to fire a broadside at “America’s doctor,” there was a tasty bit of woo that totally escaped my attention from an old “friend” of the blog. Actually, he’s an old “friend” of many skeptical blogs, both here on ScienceBlogs and around the blogosphere.…

It has often been written on this blog and elsewhere that the mark of a true crank is hatred of the scientific consensus, be it consensus regarding the theory of evolution, the science that says homeopathy is impossible, anthropogenic global warming; various areas of science-based medicine; or the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Perhaps the…

The scale of it all

If you ever want to get a sense of the scale of the universe and how insignificant our little planet is compared to the scope of it all, here’s something really cool to put things in perspective, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History’s Astronomy Picture of the Day: It’d be really cool if…

Over the holidays, I stayed at home for a combination of some relaxation and some grant writing. (I know, weird.) As I was perusing some of the links I saved during that time, it occurs to me that I totally forgot about one particularly amazing bit of hilarity, courtesy of our old “friend” Deepak Chopra.…

Was Nazi science good science?

I’ve long had an interest in World War II history. Ever since I was around 11 or 12 years old, a major portion of my reading diet has consisted of books and articles about World War II. Back when I was young, my interest was, as you might expect, primarily the battles. The military history…

I have to confess, the ol’ Folder of Woo was looking a little thin this week. No, it’s not that I’m running out of topics (a.k.a. targets) for my usual Friday jaunt into the wacky world of woo. Far from it. It’s just that, in the run-up to writing this, perusing the odd stuff therein…

I don’t know what it is about woo-meisters and vibration. I know I’ve said this before, but it seems to come up so often that I can’t help but repeat it. Everything is vibration. Everything. And if it’ not vibration, it’s waves, be they energy waves, sound waves, or, as I like to describe them…

Pity poor Nikola Tesla. Again. It looks as though the woomeisters have found a way to abuse him yet again. I don’t know what it is about Tesla, but he seems to be a magnet for such woo. Well, actually, I sort of do. Tesla was definitely a character and was known for a variety…

The answer, apparently, is yes, but only for a very short time. I guess the whole exploding heads thing when people are exposed to vacuum (Outland) or just the very low atmospheric pressure on Mars (Total Recall) is a bit of an exaggeration.