Fact: Condoms protect against HIV transmission


“Laboratory studies have shown that latex and condoms works as an effective barrier against particles that have the same size as sexually transmitted pathogens (Carey et. al, 1992). Studies on couples where just one of them has HIV have shown that correct and consistent use of condoms are effective for preventing HIV transmission (Holmes et. al, 2004; Weller et. al, 2002; Smith et. al, 2015).

There have been many epidemiological studies on different populations in different countries (including Thailand, Ivory Coast, Bolivia, India, and Zimbabwe) that show that condoms are effecting for reducing the spread of HIV (Hanenberg et. al, 1994; Ghys et. al, 2002; Levine et. al, 1998; Fontanet et. al, 1998; Boily et. al, 2013; Rachakulla et. al, 2013; UNAIDS, 2000; Halperin et. al, 2011).”

Fact: Condoms protect against HIV transmission>

Mailbag: Ban All Agricultural Pesticides?


“There is a culture of fear and hate around agricultural pesticides. This is to some degree understandable, because pesticides have some risks. Large, chronic exposure can cause severe harm, thousands of people die from acute exposure to high doses and pesticides can kill non-target organisms and pollute groundwater.

However, there are also beneficial aspects with pesticides. If we let pests run amok, we would lose 50%-80% of the crop harvest and pesticides play a partial role in preventing such devastating crop loss. They can also reduce labor required to manage weeds and contribute to suppressing insect vectors for diseases (at least for a certain time until resistance develops). Extreme anti-pesticide activists also actively oppose replacing more dangerous pesticides with safer pesticides and using genetic modification to reduce pesticide use.”

Mailbag: Ban All Agricultural Pesticides?

Fake “Stem Cell” Injections Blind Three Women

Stem cell quackery

“Because stem cells can differentiate into different cell types, the general idea is that they might be used to replace things that do not work in the human body, from cell populations to tissues and even organs. The most common legitimate stem cell therapy in medicine involves using bone marrow stem cells (and chemotherapy) to treat leukemia and lymphoma. A small number of other legitimate therapeutic stem cell therapies have been shown to be effective in medical research and approved by regulators.

Yet, there are also fake stem cell treatments that are pushed by quacks that scam people for money and even causes serious harm.”

Fake “Stem Cell” Injections Blind Three Women

FTC Shuts Down Fake Weight-Loss Scam and Impose 1.3 Million USD Fine

FTC crack down on weight-loss scam

“Society has somewhat of an obsession with quick weight-loss schemes. You cannot watch television, read a newspaper or browse the Internet without being exposed to some advertisement about how you can lose a ton of weight and fulfill all of your dreams if only you buy and eat this or that “miracle” weight-loss supplement. In reality, most of them probably do not work and some of them might be very harmful. You also do not really know what is in those pills, simply because they are often sold by unreliable quacks.


Now, the FTC has settled a case against a weight-loss scam that used fake news websites and fake celebrity endorsements. The defendants must pay 500 000 USD and face the threat of paying a total of 1.3 million USD if they do not stop with their illegal and deceptive activities.”

FTC Shuts Down Fake Weight-Loss Scam and Impose 1.3 Million USD Fine

Six Hilarious Pseudoscience Contradictions


“Pseudosciences are the imposters of real science. They attempt to mimic the activities and language used by scientists, but have no intellectual substance beneath their shallow surface. This is likely because science has such a strong cultural authority and has been responsible for many beneficial and exciting discoveries during the past few centuries. Anything that attempts to parasitize on science can potentially steal some of this authority from science.

Yet, because pseudosciences are not based on credible arguments or evidence, they contain a combination of wishful thinking and stuff that is plainly made up. Because critical thinking and scientific evidence plays very little role (in any), it is not surprising that inconsistencies and contradictions have crept into many forms of pseudoscience.”

Six Hilarious Pseudoscience Contradictions

Useful Fact Sheets about HIV/AIDS by NIH

HIV/AIDS fact sheets

“What are the different ways that HIV can be transmitted? How can you protect yourself? What are the different stages of HIV infection and how can the virus hide? What medications are available against HIV and when should a person with HIV start it? What does drug resistance mean in the context of HIV medication? Why is it important to adhere to HIV treatments?

What is the latest information on HIV clinical trials and HIV vaccine research? What does pre- and post prophylaxis mean? What opportunistic infections should people with HIV look out for? How can transmission of HIV between mother and child be prevented? What are some possible side effects of HIV?”

Useful Fact Sheets about HIV/AIDS by NIH

The Robbers Cave Social Psychology Experiment

Robbers Cave

“Seeking community with people is common throughout the world and the history of humans. People who join groups allow them to flourish and avoid harmful physical and psychological consequences of being alone. Yet in our modern era, groups have also formed around things that are much more loose and not tied to direct survival, such as sports teams, countries and so on. Yet the same kind of cognitive and social mechanisms can operate in these groups as well and this can bring with it both positive and negative consequences.

What happens if you get a bunch of people together in an experiment and create artificial groups based on completely arbitrary criteria and subject them to resource limitations? Will preference for in-group members and hostility towards the out-group develop rapidly? By what mechanism does this happen, and are there ways to reduce friction between competing groups?”

The Robbers Cave Social Psychology Experiment

The Apache Attack Helicopter Gambit Declined


“There is a famous quote from several hundred years ago that suggests that misinformation can travel across the globe before truth has gotten its running boots on. If we have learnt anything from the modern Internet era, it is that this is a very apt description for how things work. Claims that are surprising, engaging, sensationalist or emotionally manipulative receive many orders of magnitude more likes and shares compared with detailed fact-checking or other forms of skeptical content.

One such persistent set of claims is involved in the Apache attack helicopter gambit. It involves comparing LGBT people and other gender and sexual minorities to someone who thinks that they are an attack helicopter.”

The Apache Attack Helicopter Gambit Declined

Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology Textbook

Inflationary cosmology

“Cosmology reveals profound insights into the structure and history of the universe. Far from being at the center of the universe, humans live on one of billion planets and our sun is just one of many billion stars. The universe has been around for 13.8 billion years and was much warmer, denser and smaller in the past. Since then, it has expanded substantially. Physicists have discovered that the universe expanded exponentially in the deep past in a process known as cosmological inflation.

Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology is a textbook about cosmology models related to the history of the universe as the particles that make up it. It was written by Andrei Linde at Stanford University in 1990, but was made freely available to everyone in 2005. Although it is a few decades old, the new abstract mentions some of the new findings in the area and recommends more modern texts to read at the same time. The textbook is split up into ten separate chapters.”

Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology Textbook

Soccer Player Francis Koné Did Not Save Four Opponents From Dying

Francis Koné

“Many journalists uphold the duties of their profession. They report honestly, accurately and without bias on complicated topics that they have decided to be of sufficient importance to share with the world. These journalists serve important societal functions and offer vital critical perspectives on governments, politicians and corporations.

However, some journalists never come close to reaching these laudable goals. Instead, they write to gather attention and provoke reactions and pay little attention to scientific accuracy. In the past, this was done to boost single-copy newspaper at food stores and gas stations. In the modern era, this is done in order to get as many clicks as possible to their articles so that they can earn more and more impressions from the advertisements displayed on those websites. They ultimately specialize in manipulating the emotions of people and monetizing the ignorance.”

Soccer Player Francis Koné Did Not Save Four Opponents From Dying