Archive: Open Parachute March 2010

Public discussion of science can be toxic

Ken Perrott May 19, 2016

Public discussion of the science around problems humanity faces today seems inevitably to be diverted by hostility, misleading propaganda, personal attacks, and even outright censorship* of scientists and supporters of science. This creates an atmosphere, and an information overload, which turns the ordinary person off –  if it doesn’t actually fool them into taking up an unscientific position. So … Read More

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Overall increase in tooth decay noted in fluoridation cessation studies

Ken Perrott May 15, 2016

Anti-fluoride activists love to trot out studies where no increase in tooth decay was found after community water fluoridation  (CWF) ceased. They are cherry-picking, of course, because they ignore the studies which do show a decline in dental health. I have written about this before (What happens when fluoridation is stopped? and Anti-fluoridationist’s flawed attacks on Calgary study), so I am pleased to see a … Read More

Don’t be fooled by simple media “science”

Ken Perrott May 11, 2016

This video is getting plenty of coverage – and despite its length, it is worth watching. The humour helps, of course. You certainly won’t be bored if you commit the 20 minutes required to watch the video right through. Oliver warns about the way journalists often misrepresent the science. Further, he is warning that often the science itself is suspect … Read More


Anti-fluoridation: fresh wave of cherry-picked arguments

Ken Perrott May 09, 2016

Cherry-picking data is an old technique used by those who wish to raise doubt about a scientific consensus. On one hand it isolates the cherry-picked data from their context and the rest of the data. On the other hand it presents a “sciency” authority to the argument by pretending to be evidence-based. I have written about cherry-picking in several … Read More

Will we be using contact lens cameras in future?

Ken Perrott May 05, 2016

A few decades ago I taught photography to night classes. We had no idea then that it would not be long before almost everyone would be carrying around a small camera in the form of a mobile phone. I couldn’t even get students interested in the concept of digitising their photos and processing or storing them on their computers. It’s hard to predict the … Read More

April ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking

Ken Perrott May 01, 2016

There are about 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake or get your stats wrong). Every month I get queries from people wanting their own blog included. I encourage and am happy to respond to queries … Read More

Korean community water fluoridation supported by new evidence

Ken Perrott Apr 28, 2016

New scientific evidence for the effectiveness of community water fluoridation (CWF) is appearing all the time. So that is hardly news – but I just thought it worth mentioning this latest example from Korea because I get told again and again that there is no evidence to show CWF is effective in improving oral health. This latest Korean study was reported … Read More

A challenge to anti-fluoridationers to justify their misrepresentation of New Zealand research

Ken Perrott Apr 15, 2016

 One of the frustrations I have with the fluoridation issue is the refusal of anti-fluoride activists to engage on the science. They will pontificate, but they won’t engage in discussion. On the surface, one would think there is a difference of opinion or interpretation of scientific issues and that could be resolved by discussion. Yet local anti-fluoride campaigners refuse to … Read More


Fluoridation decisions to be made by District Health Boards

Ken Perrott Apr 12, 2016

 Responsibility for water fluoridation is to move from local councils to district health boards, the health minister Jonathan Coleman has revealed. This has been on the cards for a while. In recent years ideologically and commercially motivated activists have played havoc with the consultations organised by local body councils. Councils have shown by their own actions they are not capable … Read More

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