A little while back, a study was published "proving" that dark chocolate could actually help you lose weight. Shape Magazine reported this finding in its June issue with the headline Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily. You may not be shocked to learn that the study is bogus; the author of the study meant it to be. John Bohannon, who published the study in International Archives of Medicine was working with two German journalists who wanted to expose some junk science. The study was real, but the research had intentionally massive flaws that any decent journal would have caught right away. International Archives of Medicine is not any decent journal. In fact, it's one in a sea of so-called "vanity" journals - ones where you can get pretty much anything published if you're willing to pay for the privilege. Kind of like those Who's Who of American High School Students books. Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel, both Simpsons characters, have studies published in this sort of journal. Dr. Peter Vamplew managed to publish a groundbreaking study titled Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List, the entire body of which was Get me off your fucking mailing list over and over and over.
While the pranks are funny, the implications are not. Bunk science can kill, and not just the people who buy into it. Bunk science may actually be endangering entire species.
For instance, several species of shark. You know how sharks don't get cancer, and taking shark fin nutritional supplements will also make you immune to cancer (in much the same way that eating chicken causes you to grow feathers)? Well, it turns out that whole cancer thing is a myth - sharks totally do get cancer, but that fact doesn't seem to drive down demand, and as a result fishermen are catching sharks, lopping off their fins, and throwing them back in the water to die slowly and painfully. Now many species of shark are endangered or critically endangered, and while shark fin soup is largely to blame, the supplement industry certainly doesn't help.
Also, Venus fly traps. It is a well known fact that Venus fly traps don't get cancer, and that drinking an elixir made from it makes you cancer-proof, in much the same way that eating salads turns you into the Hulk. Seems people are poaching the plants like crazy from the only place they grow wild, putting the species at risk.
Know what's insane? We have this moronic law that vitamin and supplement companies can make whatever ludicrous claims about the health benefits of their product, yet they can't claim their product is made from Venus fly traps if it isn't. Grr.
|I have no shark pics, but please enjoy this cuttlefish carousel creature.|
No word yet on whether cuttlefish get cancer. Eating them does, however, totally give you
the ability to evade predators by squirting ink at them.