How to better dispel myths

Myths are tenacious. Many of us get frustrated in our attempts to try and set things straight because it seems like people will believe them against all the evidence. Trying to convince them they are wrong does not seem to work. But maybe we are going about it the wrong way, two authors argue, with the result that we end up actually strengthening the belief rather than weakening it.
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The great shrimp exercise scam

Science research can be tricky. There are many important questions that for various reasons cannot be investigated directly and so imaginative scientists try to find some proxy method that can shed light on the question. That proxy method can seem outlandish to people who are unable or unwilling to look below the surface to see what the connection is between the visible research activity and the underlying research question. Grandstanding politicians who are anti-science often seize on these things as examples of dilettante behavior by scientists and frivolous use of taxpayer money.
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A spectacular demonstration of the Equivalence Principle

The Equivalence Principle enunciated by Albert Einstein says that any two objects in a uniform gravity field will fall at the same rate if dropped from a height. Of course, if we drop a feather and a bowling ball, that is not what we see and we explain that by saying it is because the air resistance slows down the feather much more than it does the bowling ball. But if you could drop the two items in a vacuum, they should fall at the same rate.
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Japan has 500 km/h maglev train

While US infrastructure continues its slow but steady degeneration as politicians stay fixated on richer people paying less taxes and thus starving the government and making it unable to maintain even what we have now let alone make ambitious plans for improvements in the future, we have to look to other countries for the nice things that we cannot have.
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A small win for science and rationality

A state judge in Maine has rejected an effort by that state’s governor to impose a quarantine on Kaci Hickox, the nurse who treated Ebola patients in Liberia and then on her return was the target of a short-lived attempt by New Jersey governor Chris Christie to quarantine her for 21 days before pressure forced him to change his mind and send her to her home in Maine.
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What is normal when it comes to sexual fantasies?

Off and on, depending upon whether it coincides with my eating dinner, I listen to the daily CBC-produced radio program Q with Jian Ghomeshi that is broadcast by my local NPR station. It is a reasonably good program, more heavy on longer interviews with arts and cultural figures than the CBC show it replaced that was called As It Happens.
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Got milk? No? Good!

I have had mild lactose intolerance since childhood. This means that I have no problems with butter or ice cream or milk in my coffee and tea and cereal and in other foods but cannot drink a full glass of milk with getting an upset stomach. It turns out that what I thought of as a limitation and even a minor health hazard (milk is good for you, right?) may actually be a positive thing. While butter and eggs got the green light some years ago, switching from being bad for you to being either good or neutral, a new study suggests that milk may go the other way, switching from being an unalloyed good to health hazard.
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Visualizing the physics in the film Interstellar

Although I like science, or maybe because of it, I tend to get irritated with films that casually break the laws of science merely to achieve a cheap solution to a plot problem. I don’t expect perfect fidelity but gratuitous violations of laws (such noisy explosions in space or the presence of Earth-like gravity on spaceships) are annoying. This is why I liked 2001: A Space Odyssey and to a lesser extent Gravity, because they tried to stick as closely as possible to what may be actually possible.
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