Pennycook: Timing Matters When Correcting Fake News

Peace Prize winner Gordon Pennycook and colleagues did an experiment about how to disrupt the workings of genuinely faked news. They published a study about what they learned: “Timing Matters When Correcting Fake News,” Nadia M. Brashier, Gordon Pennycook, Adam J. Berinsky, and David G. Rand, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 118, […]

Do small dogs urinate dishonestly? [research study]

The height of dogged dishonesty or honesty, when dogs urinate, gets analyzed in this new study: “Urine Marking in Male Domestic Dogs: Honest or Dishonest?” B. McGuire [pictured here],  B. Olsen,  K.E. Bemis, and  D. Orantes, Journal of Zoology, epub 2018. The authors, at Cornell University, explain: Via two studies, we tested the hypothesis that […]

Distinguishing Real vs Fake Tiger Penises [law enforcement guide]

This eight-page report is a practical guide for law enforcement officials: “Distinguishing Real vs Fake Tiger Penises,” Bonnie C. Yates, Identification Guides for Wildlife Law Enforcement No. 6., 2005, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, Ashland, Oregon. (Thanks to Silvan Urfer for bringing this to our attention.) The author reports: […]

“All these papers were deliberately bad”

“All these papers were deliberately bad. They were created with the purpose of exposing exploitative publishing practices. That is, the works collected here were sting operations on predatory journals.” So says the introduction to the book Stinging the Predators: A collection of papers that should never have been published, assembled by Zen Faulkes. Falkes is a […]

Sham acupuncture needles – how do they perform?

Somewhere around 2002, acupuncture expert Professor Jongbae Jay Park, KMD, PhD, Lac (now at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, US) developed the Park Sham Device (PSD) – a telescoping faux needle, or acu-non-puncture needle [pictured]. It was subsequently evaluated by a research team from The University of Exeter and […]

Evaluating a fake teacher (à la a fake babe on a dating site)

Two medical educators injected a fake teacher into an evaluate-your-teachers survey, in a medical school. Ivan Oransky, writing in MedPage Today, describes the study and the incident that motivated those two medical educators: Dear medical school faculty members, here’s a question that may come to mind as the new academic year gets underway: What if […]

Fake impact factor factories

We’ve all heard about nefarious corporations employing linkfarms (or cyber-robots) to artificially bump-up their Facebook ‘likes’ – or nogoodnik book publishers who pay fake reviewers to positively puff up their online book reviews – but surely the earnest and scholarly world of academic journal publishing is above that sort of thing? Maybe think again. A […]

Viewing Works of Art (authentic and not), an fMRI study

The field of ‘neuro-esthetics’ a.k.a. ‘neuroaesthetics’ can perhaps be loosely described as ‘the search for a neuronal interpretation of creativity’. Nowadays, neuro-estheticists (a.k.a. neuroaestheticians) have powerful scientific instruments at their disposal in the form of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machines. For an example of fMRI-based neuroaesthetic research, which is unique in the fact that […]