Debunking the drug store: Stodal

For those of you who aren’t aware, I am on a mission to debunk at least a small part of Shoppers Drug Mart.  This time, it’s Boiron’s Stodal cough mixture.

I hadn’t heard of Stodal before.  Apparently it “relieves all types of coughs”, which seems like a pretty bold (and evidence-based claim).  This surprised me as it is produced by Boiron, a homeopathic manufacturer.  Now there are lots of perfectly good cough medicines out there, even if some of them taste like you’re drinking the products of a high school chemistry experiment.  So what does Boiron bring to the table?

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Rubber bands on Groupon – Redux

The skeptical movement is all about consumer protection, especially when people are being ripped off with woo-related paraphernalia. I’ve mentioned balance bands being sold on group-buy websites twice now.  Well, it turns out that Groupon cancelled the deal because they realised that it was an absolute scam!  Read More »

Debunking Chris Hassall

Occasionally I google myself.  A slightly narcissistic habit, I know, but we all do it…  Satisfyingly, most of the results are about me (and rightly so!).  However, there is one result that always bugs me: “Welcome to Chris Hassall · a LifeSuccess Consultant“.  Not only does he appear on the first page of results, but he also has the domain name “”!  So I perused his site and wasn’t impressed.
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In search of Sasquatch

I have been involved in “climate space modelling” for a few years now.  This is an approach that uses observations of a given species to determine the range of environmental variables under which it will occur.  Once you know what the limits of its tolerance are, you can predict where the species will occur.  For example, let’s say that a damselfly (of course I’m using a hypothetical damselfly) can live at temperature of between 10 and 20 degrees and precipitation has to be between 200mm and 500mm per year.  Warmer, wetter, cooler or drier than that and it can’t survive.  We can use these limits to predict (i) where the species currently exists but has not been recorded, and (ii) where the species might exist in the future as the climate changes.

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