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The Evil Eye

4 Feb 2022

I must admit I’m not sure if the woman is just an intellectual simpleton or a clever charlatan preying on the gullible.  I suspect the former.  In any case, here is the story.  Upon invitation, and...

Chemical Witchcraft in Salem

28 Oct 2021

Could there be a more interesting place to visit on Halloween than Salem, Massachusetts?  The town's stores are filled with witch memorabilia, witches are ready to tell fortunes and a sound and...

Havana Syndrome or a Case for Eliminating the Implausible

9 Oct 2021

The story of Havana syndrome has acquired mythical qualities in its telling. In late 2016 and early 2017, members of the American embassy in Havana, Cuba, started to report debilitating symptoms...

How do you know?

2 Sep 2021

That is the question a student asked me after I had just finished a lecture on toxicology in which I had described the problem of cyanide poisoning by cassava, a tuber similar to the potato. With...

Ricin Emerges From the Shadows Again

23 Sep 2020

Ricin is in the news because this potentially potent poison was supposedly detected in a letter addressed to President Trump. For me, this brings back memories of my last visit to London when I...

No, Bleach Isn't for Gargling or Washing Fruit

17 Jun 2020

This article was first published in The Montreal Gazette.

COVID-5G: How Distrust and Coincidences Empower the Alex Jones in Our Brain

24 Apr 2020

We all have a tiny Alex Jones in our brain. When we forget he’s there, it’s easy to mock the belief that 5G waves are causing our current viral pandemic. But with telecommunications masts on fire...

What is "Hormesis"?

24 Jan 2020

Just about every textbook of toxicology pays homage to Paracelsus, the sixteenth century alchemist. Why? Because he introduced the idea that “only the dose makes the poison.” It makes no sense to...

Antibiotic Prophylaxis and Dentistry

8 Jan 2020

As most dentists can attest, the mouth can be a scary place. Despite impassioned assurances from patients, we know that not all flossers are created equal. Lurking in this often-hostile environment...

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