The Anthropomorphism Wars

“Crowboarding: Russian roof-surphin’ bird caught on tape” proudly announces a YouTube video that went viral a few years ago. The general public excitedly clicks ‘play,’ not realizing that they have just stumbled upon one of the most divisive topics in the field of animal behavior: anthropomorphism. Anthropo-what? Anthropomorphism is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary …


What’s Significant? Unpacking the P-Value

Douglas Adams once famously wrote that the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.” I beg to differ. For many scientists, the answer is any number less than or equal to 0.05. Why, you ask? The answer lies in p-values. If you’ve never worked heavily with statistics, you might …

Dissecting the Scientific Paper

Reading a report of original scientific paper is daunting in several ways. The first challenge to reading original papers is that you have to know where to look for them. I could write an entire series of posts about the joys and challenges of hunting through databases for papers. Furthermore, unlike most popular articles, a …


Three Answers about Antibiotics

Q: Why does your prescriber say to take all of the antibiotics prescribed, even if you’re feeling better? A: The answer to this question is a lesson in the rules of natural selection. Imagine you have a petri dish of bacteria. Eww. You begin dosing the bacteria with an antibiotic once a day. After a …


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” – 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.


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:


Why Ice Cream Isn’t Deadly: Correlation vs. Causation

Understanding the difference between correlation and causation is essential for anyone who's interested in becoming science literate. In order to appreciate this, let me present you with a shocking fact: When ice cream sales increase, so do homicide rates (1).