Category: Computers & Internet

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Zombie Science

Retractions of scientific studies do not always mean that the studies die a deserved death. Sometimes they live on as zombie studies, continuing to be cited by other researchers and having an effect on the scientific discussion. We can fix this.

/ October 11, 2017
WatsonJeopardy

IBM’s Watson versus cancer: Hype meets reality

Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.

/ September 11, 2017
Google Headquarters

Google delists Mike Adams’ Natural News website. Was it because of fake news?

Last week, in a surprise move Google delisted Mike Adams' Natural News website. Predictably, Adams immediately cried "Conspiracy!" and accused Google of punishing him for his support for "natural health" and Donald Trump. The truth appears to be that Adams violated one of Google's rules, leaving the question: What's the best way to fight fake news and fake medicine on the Internet?

/ February 27, 2017

How low antivaccine “warriors” will go: Of Facebook harassment reporting algorithm abuse and publicly attacking a 12 year old boy

Antivaccine "warriors" and supporters of pseudoscience don't take criticism well. They can't, because they don't have evidence and science on their side. Instead, they respond with harassment, threats, and lawsuits. If you think you've seen how low they can go, think again.

/ June 13, 2016
Galadriel

Behold my power, quacks, and despair! Mike Adams publishes several defamatory articles about yours truly…

Internet crank, quack, and conspiracy theorist Mike Adams has launched a campaign of character assassination against yours truly. I didn't know I had so much power.

/ April 20, 2016

Lawsuit Alleges School Wi-Fi Harmed Child with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity

My mother had a favorite saying that rhymed: “All you need from dawn to dawn is someone else to blame it on.” WiFi involves mysterious emissions that you can’t see and that sneakily permeate our environment, and they have become a popular target for blame. A lawsuit has been filed against the Fay School in Massachusetts on behalf of a 12-year-old boy...

/ September 8, 2015

Did Facebook and PNAS violate human research protections in an unethical experiment?

Ed. Note: NOTE ADDENDUM I daresay that I’m like a lot of you in that I spend a fair bit of time on Facebook. This blog has a Facebook page (which, by the way, you should head on over and Like immediately). I have a Facebook page, several of our bloggers, such as Harriet Hall, Steve Novella, Mark Crislip, Scott Gavura, Paul...

/ June 30, 2014

CureCrowd – Crowdsourcing Science

A new website came to my attention that promises to “Discover what truly works.” The idea is to essentially crowdsource anecdotal reports about what treatments work for specific conditions. This is an interesting idea, that can harness the power of information flow over the internet to do what is essentially an observational, uncontrolled, and unscientific study about treatment effects. At its best,...

/ May 7, 2014

Telemedicine: Click and the doctor will see you now

Think you need to see a doctor? How about seeing him (or her) on your computer (or tablet or smart phone) screen instead of in the doctor’s office? The technology of telemedicine, or telehealth, is here. So far, there is no single definition of what it does, and does not, encompass. For example, in some definitions, one of which we discuss today,...

/ May 1, 2014

Ngrams and CAM

Ngram is a Google analytic tool/way to waste lots of time on the internet, a byproduct of Google’s scanning millions of books into its database. In a matter of seconds, Ngram scans words from about 7.5 million books, an estimated 6 percent of all books ever published. Type a word or phrase in the Ngram Viewer search box and in seconds a...

/ January 23, 2014