Tagged With bad science

As a young child, every morning at sunrise I would wake up to tap dance on the patio outside my mum's bedroom door, much to my poor mum's chagrin. These sunrise salutations became an enduring family story, as did my habit of getting up with the sun. Imagine my surprise, then, when a DNA test recently suggested that I am, in fact, a night owl.

Asparagus might be good for you, but there is no firm evidence to suggest it can prevent cancer. And yet, the website for wellness company BioStar Organix listed it among multiple products that do just that. "Asparagus should be taken by everyone for heart, cancer prevention," the website read. It can also treat leukaemia, breast cancer, cervical cancer and help with heart arrhythmia. Not bad for a mere $US45 ($60) per bottle.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

If someone applied to a top position at a company, you'd hope a hiring manager would at least Google the applicant to ensure they're qualified. A group of researchers sent phoney resumes to 360 scientific journals for an applicant whose Polish name translated to "Dr Fraud". And 48 journals happily appointed the fake doctor to their editorial board.

An obviously male doctor in Kansas thinks that as an alternative to pesky and unseemly tampons, women should basically start gluing their vaginas shut. In case the word "glue" next to "vagina" didn't already made this apparent, this is a very, very bad idea. And before you ask, no, he is not joking.

I know that you want to get healthy this year, because it's the most popular New Year's resolution. Plenty of people want to help you, too, with everything from diet tips to exercise suggestions. They will tell you to make some lifestyle changes, to download a new app or even to buy a wearable fitness tracker (those probably don't work, by the way). But with lots of advice floating around, there are bound to be bad suggestions -- those rooted in confirmation bias, trendiness and pretty much anything except scientific evidence.

If you keep confusing Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's national security adviser, with a two-bit villain in a Tom Clancy novel, we don't blame you. Jack Ryan would have definitely been suspicious of Flynn, who was on the board of a dubious "brain fingerprinting" company, working alongside a guy once convicted of trying to sell stolen biotech material to the KGB to interrogate people using brain scans.

Earlier this month, a new study came out suggesting that it's possible to predict whether a toddler will become a criminal. Based on neurological exams, scientists correlated the brain health of people at age three with whether they went on to commit any crimes as adults. And for those with poor brain health, 80 per cent of the time, it turned out that they did.