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No, This Viral Image Does Not Explain the History of Arabic Numerals

Your cousin’s Facebook friends are probably going nuts over this image that claims to show how the early history of Arabic geometric design informs how we write numerals today. “Each figure contains its own number of corners and angles,” reads the text. That’s half-true of the drawings in the image. The rest is… » 7/21/15 5:28pm 7/21/15 5:28pm

Rumors That Kale is Bad for You Are Based on Hilariously Bad Science

Just read the procedure described above. It describes how alternative medicine practitioner Ernie Hubbard, who set the kale=bad meme rolling earlier this month, tested his suspicion that patients were poisoning themselves with kale. Ah yes, the trusty upside-down-notecard-on-a-desk technique! Where would science be… » 7/21/15 12:16am 7/21/15 12:16am

What Other Scientists Are Saying About Today's "Life on a Comet" Claim

This morning, several news outlets gave voice to an extraordinary claim: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where the spacecraft Philae awoke last month, could be home to alien life. But extraordinary claims, we all know, require extraordinary evidence. So guess what these morning’s claims were lacking! » 7/06/15 2:58pm 7/06/15 2:58pm

Once Again, The Media Is Overhyping The Health Benefits Of Chocolate

“There does not appear to be evidence that chocolate should be avoided in terms of impact on cardiovascular risk.” So conclude the authors of a report published Monday in the august medical journal Heart. Their takeaway is decidedly unsexy (takeaways from well-conducted health studies, which the aforementioned… » 6/16/15 5:49pm 6/16/15 5:49pm

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it… » 5/27/15 4:26pm 5/27/15 4:26pm

Here's Where the Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory Actually Came From

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Look at the sky above you. Are those long, glittering clouds actually part of a government experiment to poison you? If you believe in chemtrails — a conspiracy theory that's spawned a political movement — then yes. If you believe in science, not so much. » 5/26/15 11:58am 5/26/15 11:58am

No, This Hill In Canada Isn't Using Magnetic Force To Pull Cars Uphill

There's a hill in New Brunswick, Canada, where something extraordinary happens. If you park your car at the foot of it, and throw it into neutral, your car seemingly starts to roll (completely unassisted!) uphill. Yes, it's real, and, no, it's not for the reason many people think. » 3/26/15 2:30am 3/26/15 2:30am

The Truth Behind Interstellar's "Scientifically Accurate" Black Hole

You've probably heard that the black hole in Interstellar was a simulation of unprecedented scientific accuracy. You may also have heard that its creation led to an "amazing scientific discovery" having to do with the shape of its accretion disk, which loops over and under its dark, central shadow. Neither of these… » 2/17/15 4:42pm 2/17/15 4:42pm

The Great Library at Alexandria was destroyed by budget cuts, not fire

One of the great tragedies of ancient history, memorialized in myths and Hollywood film, is the burning of the great library at Alexandria. But the reality of the Library's end was actually a lot less pyrotechnic than that. A major cause of the Library's ruin was government budget cuts. » 10/08/13 9:03pm 10/08/13 9:03pm

That California Mystery Missile Was Probably Just a Regular Old Jet

Oh bummer. That mystery missile near LA that neither the Pentagon nor the Navy would take credit for? Well John Herrman, a fellow Gizmodo writer, lays out a pretty convincing case for it actually being a regular old vapor trail from a regular old jet. This is why we can't have nice conspiracies. [SmartPlanet] » 11/09/10 3:58pm 11/09/10 3:58pm