New “Ghost” at Hampton’s Court

March 04, 2015

At England's Hampton Court Palace, in Middlesex, “ghosts” are always welcome, whatever their true nature. Recently 12-year-old Holly Hampsheir captured a strange figure on her iPhone—as she and her cousin of the same age noticed the following day, while perusing their images. Was it the fabled ghost of the Grey Lady? asked the tabloid Daily Mail. Or was it something else? as I was asked by Alan Boyle of NBC News.

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Epilepsy “Cures”

February 24, 2015

New York City directories listed Henry Root, Patent Medicines, from as early as 1881 until 1913 or possibly later. Sometimes calling himself “Dr.” Root, he offered a “cure” for epilepsy—only one among many.

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A Parisian Patent Medicine

February 18, 2015

Recently acquired for my collection of paranormal and pseudoscience artifacts is a rather curious bottle.

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Pictures (For Diana)

February 12, 2015

 

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Science Slams “Supplements”

February 10, 2015

Like the snake-oil products of yesteryear, which ran afoul of the 1907 Food and Drug Act, today’s “herbal dietary supplements” were dealt a severe blow in New York state when the attorney general ordered four major, national retailers to stop selling such store-brand products. Concluded the state’s top lawman, Eric T. Schneiderman: “Misbranding, contamination and false advertising are illegal. They also pose unacceptable risk to New York families—especially those with allergies to hidden ingredients.”

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RIDDLEculous VI

February 03, 2015

More funny riddles with a science/critical-thinking angle.

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Dr. Taft’s “Asthmalene”

January 27, 2015

A product with the unique name “Asthmalene” was sold as an asthma “cure” by the Taft Brothers, physicians, who joined forces in 1868 and settled in Rochester, New York, where they formed a medicine company, Dr. Taft Bros.

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“Selma”: A Nickell-odeon Review

January 21, 2015

My wife Diana and I celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by seeing the movie Selma. It brought back many memories of our civil rights work in the sixties. She was at the iconic March on Washington, and I marched with Dr. King in Frankfort, Kentucky. I also picketed the Lexington, Kentucky, federal building during the Selma crisis (along with several friends, including famed agrarian writer Wendell Berry), and I became a community organizer in Georgia. In 1968, in Atlanta, wearing a black armband, I stood in a long line and walked past Dr. King’s open casket following his assassination.

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Terrorism

January 14, 2015

 

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Je Suis Charlie

January 12, 2015

(on the terroristic assassination of journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, Paris, 1-7-15)

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