FROM Charles Seife
Separating Truth from Fiction in Science Last year, headlines all over the world claimed that eating dark chocolate would help people lose weight. The London tabloid, Daily Star proclaimed, "Eating Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight;" the June issue of Shape magazine told readers, "Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily." The story behind the hype was based on science. In fact, it was a ruse — designed to demonstrate how easy it is to circulate conclusions drawn from poorly designed studies that don't really prove what they claim to – and the bad science was passed along by reporters and editors who failed to check out the facts. How does the public know what to believe? It's a question as old as journalism, but harder than ever to answer in the age of the Internet. We hear how junk science finds its way into what look like reliable places that aren't what they seem.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?