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The Food Babe Decoded

Vani Hari, who goes by the alias “The Food Babe” has become a real social phenomenon. She blogs, appears on TV and has just come out with a book that quickly made it to the New York Times best seller list. She has lots of followers and lots of critics, including myself. I don’t disagree with her goal of improving people’s eating habits. I just disagree with the methods used. Irrational fear-mongering is not the way to go. "There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever," she says.

Published on : 15 Mar 2015

Invasive Species in the Great Lakes by 2063

The Great Lakes have been invaded by more non-native species than any other freshwater ecosystem in the world. In spite of increasing efforts to stem the tide of invasion threats, the lakes remain vulnerable, according to scientists from McGill University and colleagues in Canada and the United States. 

Published on : 29 Jan 2015

Tracking down the origins of the Ebola outbreak

To address these questions, Dr. Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin assembled a large international interdisciplinary team consisting of virologists, veterinarians, ecologists, epidemiologists and an anthropologist. One member was Jan Gogarten, a doctoral student in Biology and Vanier graduate scholar at McGill.  We spoke with Gogarten about the resulting study, published this week in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, and his role in it.

Published on : 30 Dec 2014

McGill grad John O’Keefe wins Nobel Prize in medicine

McGill University alumnus John O'Keefe was named co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in medicine, for his contribution to the discovery of cells that constitute the brain’s ‘inner GPS,’ which makes it possible to orient ourselves in space.

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Published on : 06 Oct 2014

World-renowned green chemist joining McGill

Dr. Robin Rogers, one of the world’s most renowned green chemists, will become Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals at McGill University. Rogers comes to Canada from The University of Alabama, where he was Robert Ramsay Chair of Chemistry and director of the Center for Green Manufacturing.

Published on : 29 Sep 2014

If you happen to be in Washington on April 24....

Spotlight on X-STEM Speaker Dr. Joe Schwarcz! Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the science of the paranormal from X-STEM Speaker Dr. Joe Schwarcz at the X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium on April 24 !

Published on : 05 Apr 2014

Is Your Makeup Killing You? Decoding Cosmetic Scare Stories

You’ve seen the stories: There’s Lead in Your Lipstick! Pthalates in Your Shampoo! Parabens in Everything!   Our cosmetics are awash in toxic chemicals, or so it seems. Are we in imminent danger? Should we throw them all out and go au naturelle? Or slather away in a fool’s paradise, only to develop cancer – or worse, pass on our toxic habits to our children as birth defects? Why are there toxins in our products at all? And if these toxins are so dangerous, why isn’t anything being done?   A Scientific Opinion

Published on : 18 Mar 2014

More Oz Folly

Dr. Oz has absolutely gone haywire. In pushing the "alkaline" diet he takes a piece of kidney and pours acid on it to show how it disintegrates and infers this is happening in the body. This is insane. The pH of the blood is maintained at about 7.35 no matter what the diet. Oz has lost all perspective and is falling deeper and deeper into the abyss of quackery.

Published on : 27 Jan 2014

Dr. Joe comments on Dr. Oz

The wizardry of Dr. Oz The surgeon and TV celebrity has succeeded in winning fans and influencing public health debates - which troubles some experts. Mehmet Oz's followers believe he is a trustworthy, serious-minded (and hot) physician. His equally fervent flock of critics say he is a fad-foisting, ratings-grubbing (and smart) TV celebrity. In the 10 years since Oprah dubbed him "America's Doctor," the 53-year-old Oz has shown he is comfortable in both roles.

Published on : 26 Jan 2014

Online course offers Food for Thought on ever-changing information

What is it like to teach a class of more than 20,000 students? I don’t know, but I’m about to find out. Colleagues David Harpp and Ariel Fenster and I have been selected to offer McGill’s first “massive open online course,” known in the trade as a MOOC.

Published on : 17 Jan 2014

CTV Montreal: Dr. Joe Schwarcz on the dangers of E.coli

Many strains of E.coli are necessary for human digestion, but O157:H7 can be deadly.   To view the video, click here 

Published on : 16 Jan 2014

New Year's News!!!

We are pleased to announce that we now have an “App” both for Apple and Android devices so that the McGill Office for Science and Society’s nifty and sometimes quirky science can always be at your fingertips. The Apps are free and can be downloaded here:   For Apple devices, download the app at:  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/office-for-science-society/id779488353?mt=8   

Published on : 06 Jan 2014

CSI: Dr. Oz’s Questionable Wizardry

SKEPTICAL INQUIRER: Miracles are pretty rare events. Except on television’s Dr. Oz Show, where they appear with astonishing frequency. Oz of course doesn’t claim to raise the dead or part the Red Sea, but he does raise people’s hopes of parting with their flab. And he’s certainly not shy about flinging the word miracle about. But it seems miracles fade as quickly as they appear.

Published on : 29 Dec 2013

Michael Specter: Irrational rejection of science threatening our lives

Information is the key to life. We want to know what to eat, how to protect our environment, what risks to avoid and what to do if illness strikes. But when it comes to acquiring information, it is the best of times and the worst of times. It is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness. Newspapers, television, radio and of course the Internet bombard us with information at an unprecedented rate, but when it comes to scientific issues the quality of the information is variable.

Published on : 17 Oct 2013