Scienceline Staff Picks

2011: A year of contradictions

Scienceline takes a look back at some of the best contradicting science stories of 2011

December 26, 2011
From alcohol to fracking, 2011 seemed to be the year of the paradox [Image credit: Brett Jordan via Flickr]

“Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” – Ayn Rand

Alcohol: We all enjoy a cheeky nip, or two, at this time of the year. Judging from 2011’s coverage on health, you’d be at a loss to know whether you were doing yourself harm or good. Here are two of my favorite contradictions:

Cheap alcohol is killing us!

Alcohol slows the spread of breast cancer.

The Higgs-boson: The so called “God particle” was not quite discovered earlier this month. Close but no cigar. So is the existence of the particle a matter of faith or a matter of science? Your guess is as good as mine:

The Higgs-boson could change the universe!

Of God particles and Moses’ laws.

Coffee: Like alcohol it seems, coffee may or may not cause cancer. As you think to yourself in the morning, “Get me some #$%@ coffee,” perhaps you should really be thinking about health costs or benefits.

Coffee, pickled veggies also ‘possibly’ cause cancer.

Four coffees a day could prevent womb cancer.

What the frack? Could fracking, a type of deep natural gas exploration, be the cause of some of this year’s earthquakes?

Cuadrilla admits drilling caused Blackpool earthquakes.

Seismologist: fracking not the cause of recent earthquakes.

Plan B: Obama recently refused to relax the laws governing access to the “morning after pill.” The LA times offers a summary of the controversy:

A look at the plan B controversy

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About the Author

Benjamin Plackett is proud native of North Yorkshire, England and a graduate of Imperial College London with a B.Sc. honors degree in biology with a year in Europe. He loves writing about all things science, but has a particular penchant for health and also political stories. Check out his website and follow him on Twitter: @BenjPlackett

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