Whatever happened to science—revisited


This HND piece goes back to a subject we've covered a few times before: The proliferation of junk science. In this case, we examine a blatant political screed masquerading as science, that checks off so many boxes: 

  1.    Politically correct...check

  2.    Anti-Trump...check

  3.    Based on a post hoc fallacy...check

  4.    Involves a minority group...check

  5.    Suggests that this minority is suffering at the hands of the bad Orange man...check

  6.    Cherry picks data...check

  7.    This cherry picking ignores a much larger trend that destroys the authors' premise...check

  8.    Key references cited do NOT state what the authors claim

  9.    Main hypothesis cannot be proven since there is no control group, nor could there ever be one.

10.    Even if their hypothesis were proven, it is a pointless finding.


Embarrassingly bad study, yet originating from prestige institutions, and published in a well-regarded journal.  Read the complete article.

Glyphosate: How A Safe Chemical Is Being Maligned By Greedy Elites


This HND piece covers the awful junk science and flat-out corruption behind the demonization of the pesticide Glyphosate. This chemical has been rigorously studied since before it went on the market in 1974, and has been approved as safe by every relevant agency in the world.

But in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) labeled it as "Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans). Bear in mind that IARC also puts red meat consumption into Group 2A, and processed meats into their worst category—Group 1 (carcinogenic to humans). To call this action politicized and corrupt is to understate what went on. After all, the guy who got IARC to study this compound in the first place—and was instrumental in the final classification—also got himself a fat consulting contract with two plaintiff's firms going after deep-pocketed Bayer, the manufacturer of Glyphosate.

To make matters worse, a paper came out a few months ago that linked the chemical to an increased rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Except the methodology used has been widely criticized—and rightly so—as total and complete garbage.

Read the complete article, and lament what "science" has become.

Be a man...unless it hurts your feelings

This HND piece analyzes the new "Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men," published by the American Psychological Association. Sadly, they are heavily influenced by PC diktat, and seem to offer little that would improve the actual mental health of males. The Guidelines, which were developed over a 13 year period, are based on research from the past 40 years, hold that "The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful."

One can only wonder what the geniuses behind the Guidelines would recommend in the case of a five-year-old boy who thinks he's a girl.

Read the complete article.

No smell like an old smell

This HND piece focuses on the phenomenon of old-person smell. Yes, this is really a thing. Research indicates that it is caused by the compound 2-nonenal, which is a product of bacterial action on certain omega-7 fatty acids, that are more common in older individuals.

Ironically, this odor is not necessarily characterized as "bad," when compared to other human body odors. In fact, it is described as "similar to old pomade and candle wax, having a fishy or resin-like smell." The odor has also been described as unpleasant--greasy, grassy. While the compound is diffciult to remove from skin with conventional hygiene, research indicates that extracts of persimmon (containing tannin) are quite effective in its removal.

Read the complete article.

Surrogate calibration in environmental air monitoring? No thanks

This HND piece digs into the matter of calibrating environmental air monitoring instruments. We detail why it's needed, along with the common calibration modalities. After that, we segue into the faulty notion of surrogate calibration.

Unfortunately, surrogate calibration has gained some popularity because it is...expedient. When it's used, it is inevitably because doing the calibration properly is a bit more difficult than the practitioners would like. Trouble is, surrogate calibration can introduce significant error into these measurements.

Read the complete article.

Hydrogen sulfide: Yes, it's nasty

This HND piece delves into that familiar "rotten egg smell" compound—hydrogen sulfide (H2S). We cover its toxic properties and regulatory status. It turns out that it's second only to carbon monoxide as the leading cause of fatal gas inhalation exposures in the workplace.

One of the reasons why this stuff is so deadly is that it inflicts olfactory paralysis upon those exposed (at a high enough concentration). Thus, you can smell hydrogen sulfide at low levels, where it is not so harmful. Once you get above a certain point, you cannot smell it at all. Then, it can kill you within seconds. Bad as it is, though, researchers are now talking seriously about therapeutic benefits of hydrogen sulfide.

Read the complete article.

Bringing science back

This HND piece discusses how science became distrusted by Americans, and what we can do to restore its lost luster. We look back to the short-lived "Golden Age" of science, peaking in the postwar years, with the structure of DNA being elucidated, and the polio vaccine being introduced. But, as we note:

"As the 1960s played out and the public's respect for all manner of once cherished institutions began to crumble, Science too was put under scrutiny. Its great promise and past accomplishments now forgotten, the accounting was done, and on the bottom line were frightful weapons systems, nuclear waste, and napalm."

Much of the loss of confidence has to do with the outlandish health/diet scares that have plagued the media for more than 50 years. Ending on a hopeful note, we spotlight a wonderful organization that gets students involved in real space experiments.

Read the complete article.

What's wrong with toxic gas detection?

This HND piece traces the history of toxic gas detection back to 1816 and the Miner's Safety Lamp. We cover other major developments, including detector tubes, but then discuss how progress started to derail in the 1960s. You see, that was the time when instrumentation was beginning to hit the market, and a a false analogy would develop between toxic and combustible gas detection.

Among other things, toxics operate in the world of parts-per-million, while combustibles are in the percent range—four orders of magnitude higher. In addition, interfering gases are nowhere near as much of a factor in combustible apps. To put it bluntly, you can be a whole lot sloppier in the combustible field, and still get away with it. Thus, beyond the fact that both applications are...gas detection, there is really very little similarity between the two.

Although this false analogy still haunts the field, new users and exciting new apps in the toxic world, such as hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid detection, seem to be slowly changing the landscape.

Read the complete article.