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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 31, 2005 / 26 Av, 5765

‘Successful’ scientists and their gimmicks

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Have you cut down on salt? Forced the kids to eat spinach because it's uniquely healthy? You may think you're eating healthy food, but you're really swallowing junk science.

When I was a kid, my mother thought spinach was the healthiest food in the world because it contained so much iron. Getting enough iron was a big deal then because we didn't have "iron-fortified" bread. It turns out that spinach is an OK source of iron but no better than pizza, pistachio nuts or dried peaches. The spinach-iron myth grew out of a simple mathematical miscalculation: A researcher accidentally moved a decimal point one space, so he thought spinach had 10 times more iron than it did. The press reported it, and I had to eat spinach.

Moving the decimal point was an honest mistake — but it's seldom that simple. If it happened today, I'd suspect a spinach lobby was behind it. Businesses often twist science to make money. Lawyers do it to win cases. Political activists distort science to fit their agenda, bureaucrats to protect their turf. Reporters, like other people who aren't scientists, keep falling for it.

And so does the government. Consider salt. Uncle Sugar hasn't tried banning salt — yet — but he has decided to make all of us pay for a program to tell us salt is no good. But it's the science that's no good.

The federal anti-salt bureaucracy launched expensive public service announcements that warn Americans to cut back on salt. The ads intoned, ominously, "You eat more than 20 times the salt your body needs."

Eat "no more than 2,400 milligrams a day," said Dr. Jeffrey Cutler, the official behind the government's anti-salt campaign.

I feel sorry for you if you follow your government's recommendations. A maximum of 2,400 milligrams a day makes for a miserable diet. Three dill pickles put you over the limit.

Cutler decided that Americans should eat less salt because high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and eating less salt can lower blood pressure. It's a plausible theory, but it doesn't prove that less salt leads to less heart disease. Too many other things may be going on.

Many experts on blood pressure told us there isn't enough scientific research to justify the government's anti-salt campaign, and there definitely isn't enough to justify Cutler's 2,400-milligram limit.

"I can't imagine how they came up with that number. I mean, there isn't a single bit of evidence that suggests 2,400 milligrams is better than 2,100 or 3,700," said Dr. Michael Alderman, who headed the American Society of Hypertension, America's biggest organization of specialists in high blood pressure. He says some people should cut back on salt, but for most people, it's pointless. Some studies have found that those who ate the least salt were four times more likely to have heart attacks.

I couldn't read Cutler's mind, so I don't know that he pushed his anti-salt campaign because he wanted to build himself a little empire. But consider the choices of the bureaucrat: If he finds that you're probably eating "more than 20 times the salt your body needs," his findings may be on "Good Morning America," and he's important.

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If he finds no threat, he is just another bureaucrat.

Scientific communication is very stilted, as if to convey impartiality. Scientists are happy to have non-scientists view them as uniquely unbiased, and reporters fall into the trap of believing them. But supposedly "dispassionate" scientists are as passionate about their ideas as any entrepreneur. They have all sorts of reasons to lose perspective and get carried away with hope and excitement. If they discover something, they may be famous. If they don't, they may have spent years in some windowless laboratory for little good. So if they can convince themselves their theory is right, they are eager for the public to hear about it.

When there's a broad scientific consensus behind a theory, it's quite likely — though still not certain — to be right. But some theories, including some backed by the government, deserve to be taken only with a grain of salt.

Give Me a Break.

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Give Me a Break  

Stossel explains how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests. Taking on such sacred cows as the FDA, the War on Drugs, and scaremongering environmental activists -- and backing up his trademark irreverence with careful reasoning and research -- he shows how the problems that government tries and fails to fix can be solved better by the extraordinary power of the free market. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


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