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Category: Slate

It’s easy enough to dismiss an unpopular claim, but harder to really question it. Before the 2012 elections, for example, abortion opponents started touting scientific evidence that women rarely got pregnant from rape. There was no shortage of commentary that followed – most of it critical and...

It’s easy enough to dismiss an unpopular claim, but harder to really question it. Before the 2012 elections, for example, abortion opponents started touting scientific evidence that women rarely got pregnant from rape. There was no shortage of commentary that followed – most of it critical and dismissive. Emily Bazelon went a step further and questioned whether abortion foes were referring to specific studies, and if so, who did these studies and why.

What she found took her down a twisted path through the harrowing world of Nazi science. The latest chapter in her investigations came out last week in a Slate piece headlined, The Nazi Anatomists. Here’s the second graph, about a young medical student named Charlotte Pommer and her boss, anatomist Herman Stieve:  

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Correction: The Joseph Mercola piece on fluoride first appeared in January. Last week was when I first learned he was a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, which in itself seemed worth a Tracker entry. 

One of the things I like and will miss about newspapers is the systematic way they separate news...

Correction: The Joseph Mercola piece on fluoride first appeared in January. Last week was when I first learned he was a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, which in itself seemed worth a Tracker entry. 

One of the things I like and will miss about newspapers is the systematic way they separate news and features from op-ed pieces. And while the op-ed pages give people a voice, they were distinct from the stories gathered by staff writers who were paid not to voice their opinions but to go out and check into things. And if you had an agenda or something you wanted to sell, you could pay to take out an ad.  

Enter The Huffington Post, which featured this offering by Joseph Mercola: Harvard Study Confirms Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQ.

I first came across Mercola – apparently  medical doctor - a few years ago when someone started...

Yesterday, I wrote a post in praise of a collaboration between PBS News Hour and the Center for Public Integrity which took a twenty-years-after look at story of Erin Brockovich. As you may recall, Brockovich was the crusading law clerk (made...

Yesterday, I wrote a post in praise of a collaboration between PBS News Hour and the Center for Public Integrity which took a twenty-years-after look at story of Erin Brockovich. As you may recall, Brockovich was the crusading law clerk (made famous in a movie starring Julia Roberts) whose work led to multimillion settlement from the California utility company, PG&E, to a residents of a small town in California.

That settlement was based on years of chemical dumping that led to hexavalent chromium contamination of the ground water in that area - and years of a company coverup. As these latest stories pointed out, the ground water is still contaminated (although PG&E is working on a clean up plan) and the town of Hinkley is now pretty a ghost town. The part of the reporting that I found most fascinating was the evidence of the way the company manipulated the state regulatory system following the...

Curtis Brainard at the Columbia Journalism Review's The Observatory has talked to Discover magazine for a reaction...

Curtis Brainard at the Columbia Journalism Review's The Observatory has talked to Discover magazine for a reaction to the recent blogger exodus that Deborah Blum covered here at the Tracker.

A week ago, news broke that  Ed Yong (his blog is Not Exactly Rocket Science) and Carl Zimmer (The Loom) were leaving Discover for National Geographic's new Phenomena blogging collective to be run by National Geographic science editor Jamie ShreevePhil Plait (Bad Astronomy)...

Noteworthy moves:

--Phil Plait is moving his Bad Astronomy blog from Discover to Slate on Nov. 12. "I’ve been writing at Discover Magazine for over four years, and...

Noteworthy moves:

--Phil Plait is moving his Bad Astronomy blog from Discover to Slate on Nov. 12. "I’ve been writing at Discover Magazine for over four years, and it’s been a great ride," he writes. Laura Helmuth, Slate's science and health editor, says, "We're thrilled to get him." The Bad Astronomer calculates that he has posted some 4,600 items at Discover. He leaves with great praise for Discover and its blog network, but can't resist adding, "I also hope y’all will follow me to Slate as well."

--Science News announces two promotions to fill top spots....

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Earlier this month, the Slate science writer Dan Engber noticed a story circulating in the British media regarding the so-called "five second rule" - the  idea that if dropped food is only on the floor for a few seconds, bacteria don't have a chance to swarm it.

Wait, he thought, hasn't that whole idea been discredited? But then he noticed that the...