Abusing Substance Abuse Data

I haven’t covered the issue of alcohol for a while, but a recent set of headlines had a reek of moonshine about them. “Heavy social drinkers show brain damage” ran the Reuters headline in many news outlets. The UK press, as usual, was more creative. “Three glasses of wine a day ‘a health risk'”1 said the

The True State of the Environment

The Fraser Institute has found a strong disconnect between Canadian student perceptions of environmental trends (mostly negative) and the reality of environmental trends (mostly positive): 65 percent of the students attending Fraser Institute seminars believe that air quality is deteriorating. 58 percent of students are convinced that annual forest harvests exceed regrowth. 73 percent of

Science and the Mass Media: A Clash of Cultures

How many journalists does it take to change a light bulb? Three. One to report it as an inspired government program to bring light to the people, one to report it as a diabolical government plot to deprive the poor of darkness, and one who aims for a Pulitzer prize, reporting that the electric company

Is Asthma Caused by Global Warming?

The Globe and Mail began an article on purported links between asthma and climate change with the following sentence. “America’s cities, blanketed with smog and climate-altering carbon dioxide, have become cradles of ill health and are fostering an epidemic of asthma.” Is this really the case? According to the media, the conclusive results were in. Global warming

Are Women Being “Gouged” by a “Gender Tax?

“‘Gender tax’ gouging women,” reads the headline of a recent article published by the CanWest News Service. “Companies get away with overcharging customers with extra X-chromosome,” continues the sub-header. The article raises three dubious issues relating to women’s ability to purchase goods in free and competitive markets. First, the article discusses the fact that women, reportedly,