Confusion about Coriolis

July 2000 by Robert Novella You might think that the popularity of the weather channel would result in a much higher public saviness for meteorological concepts. While more people than ever are aware of cold fronts, dew points, jet streams, and high-pressure systems, many meteorological misconceptions are still deeply entrenched in the public consciousness. So […]

Conjunction Assumption

April 2000 by Robert Novella Now that we’re well into the year 2000 and Y2K fears have subsided, I thought I could relax and forget about impending global disasters. Not so, if an increasingly vocal crop of doomsayers are correct. Apparently, a planetary alignment that will occur on May fifth will wreak havoc on the […]


January 2001 By Robert Novella We survived the arrival of a new millennium without significant incident, despite numerous predictions of societal collapse by a host of doomsayers and apocalypse predictors. What were the origins of the anticlimactic Y2K bug and the fear it inspired? Much to the surprise of many people, the world did not […]

The Physics and Fantasy of Firewalking

July 1999 by Robert Novella Many alleged powers of the mind, like reading another person’s thoughts or seeing the future, can be very subjective phenomena with ambiguous experimental results. Firewalking, however, cannot be denied. For centuries thousands of people have undeniably and routinely walked barefoot over long beds of hot coals. This coal, or wood […]

Scientists Report: Bumblebees Can’t Fly

September 1999 by Robert Novella When I was in High School we had school meetings every Friday during which we would discuss current events, see movies, listen to speakers etc. One morning we listened to an accomplished disabled man who started his speech by describing how science has proven that bumblebees cannot fly. He continued […]

90% of a Brain Is a Terrible Thing To Waste

January 1999 by Steven Novella, MD The average person uses only 10-12% of their brain. Almost everyone has heard this statement of fact in one context or another, and most people, in accordance with human nature, accept this as just another amazing but true pronouncement of science without too much scrutiny. References to this “fact” […]