Science Doesn’t Prove Anything

“Science proves it: Money really can buy happiness” – LA Times “Science Proves That With Practice, Your Brain Can Become Better At Tasting Wine” – Huffington Post “Science Proves You Can’t Hold Your Baby Too Much” – parents.com What’s wrong with these headlines? The phrase “science proves” is one of my biggest pet peeves. Writers love it because it’s dramatic and attention-catching, but it’s also incredibly misleading. This may come as a surprise, but science doesn’t prove anything. It never has. It never will.

The Invisible Influence of Pheromones

Sexual selection is one of the driving forces of evolution, and yet is has received little attention from the scientific community in comparison to its more-popular cousin, natural selection. Sexual selection is a natural process that acts on an organism’s ability to obtain and successfully reproduce with a mate. Looking deeper into the mechanisms of sexual selection has the potential to not only increase our understanding of evolution, but also our understanding of human behavior. In fact, recent research has shown that sexual selection has played a larger role in human evolution than previously assumed (1, 2).

The Surprising Health Benefits of a Walk in the Woods

Take a moment to remeber the last time you took a walk through nature. When I think about nature here in the Pacific Northwest, images of lush greenery, tall trees, and rushing water come to mind. Why is nature so appealing to us? One evolutionary explanation is that nature is intrinsically healthy for humans. Time spent in nature has been shown to reduce a huge variety of health issues, including obesity, anxiety disorders, and cancer rates (1).

Book Review: ‘The Invention of Nature’ by Andrea Wulf

When first received Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature as a gift from a friend, I had only vague ideas about who Alexander von Humboldt was. As I delved into Wulf’s astonishingly well-researched narrative, I was impressed at every turn by both the author and the subject of the book.

Wolves are Saving Yellowstone from Climate Change

My interest in wolves started early. In middle school, I remember being assigned a project in which all I had to do was pick a topic I was excited about, do some research it, and present my findings with a poster and a paper. I don’t remember how I came to this decision, but I chose wolves as my topic. The research I did for that project kicked off a lifelong fascination and respect for the Canis lupus, so naturally I was excited when I found a paper about how wolves are at the top of a trophic cascade in Yellowstone National Park. Even more exciting was the discovery that the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone in the 1990s has been mitigating the effects of climate change* on the entire park.

Three Easy Steps to Read About Science Like a Pro

Doing science is hard, but for many, reading about science is harder. However, learning how to read and think critically about science is a valuable skill in today’s fast-growing world of information and innovation. Here are three easy steps you can take today to read science like a pro:

The Secret to Detoxing Your Brain

What if I told you that there is one simple way to clean your brain of harmful toxins, significantly improve your memory, reduce your reaction time, and increase general brain function? Some recent research has led scientists to conclude that there really is one simple trick to achieving all the above, and it’s not a pill. It’s sleep.

Book Review: ‘Bonk’ by Mary Roach

Mary Roach is not a scientist. However, despite (or perhaps because of?) her lack of formal scientific training, Ms. Roach writes about science better than most of the scientists I know. Each of her books looks at the science behind a single topic, digging into vast fields of research and presenting her findings to a general audience. She has a talent for finding peculiar facts, and a stomach of steel when it comes to her research. * Her third book (and my personal favorite), Bonk, is a delight to read.

The GMO Myth That’s Eating America

Alright, it’s confession time: I’m one of those snobby Seattleites who shops at expensive, organic grocery stores. I grew up more at home in a Whole Foods than a Costco. That being said, there is one thing that drives me crazy about the “green” eating movement, and that is the shameless fear-mongering around GMO foods (GMO stands for genetically modified organism). The myth that GMOs are dangerous, or at the very least should be avoided, is both ignorant and dangerous to millions of people.