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It would be very useful to have a list of great posts to showcase our site to prominent skeptics. The idea is to get our site endorsed by influential skeptical bloggers and tweeters.

Without considering the number of views, can you select our most authoritative, interesting posts? The posts that showcase the best of Skeptics.SE?

What I am looking for are great, great questions with a great, great answer.


Instructions for posting

  • One post per answer
  • Include a URL to the question
  • Include a reason for nomination

Up vote the answers that you agree with, and down vote the ones you disagree with.

Once a sizable number or posts and a consensus has been reached I will proceed to contact the bloggers and tweeps to try and get us mentioned!

Of course, feel free to do the same. :-)

  • 2
    Wait, doesn't the normal voting system on questions accomplish exactly the same goal as this topic? Why not just visit skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes – Christian Oudard Apr 7 '11 at 14:39
  • 2
    Not really - I am looking for exemplary questions to showcase the site. The sort by votes is heavily influenced by the number of views. – Sklivvz Apr 7 '11 at 14:59
  • 1
    I'd vote for one of the countless question that shuts down homeopathy. – Alain Oct 21 '11 at 19:51

14 Answers 14

14

Is popping your knuckles bad for you?

A surprisingly fresh question with a great answer - including a hilarious reference to the IgNobel prize.

  • +1 I never expected I would ask a question that would be in this sort of list. – Peter Olson Apr 10 '11 at 1:31
12

Was Einstein a poor student?

Often said, but the first time I saw it questioned. Proved to be extremely popular.

11

Does being cold increase your chances of catching the common cold?

The question is about a very well known idea, but questioning it skeptically is fresh and novel. Also the answer is well researched and good quality

10

Does a car with a hybrid engine and Lithium batteries pollute more than a car with conventional technology?

The answer shows in-depth research on a complex topic. The result is a very complete and authoritative answer.

8

Does having late or heavy dinner make you fat?

A surprising debunking of a popular claim. The accepted answer is particularly good and well-referenced, and the outcome not obvious.

5

Demonstrable and repeatable examples of evolution

A perfect example how you need to answer broad questions in order to attract more people and keep existing users.

5

Do cats always land on their feet?

I often use this as an attention grabbing example of a question how, at Skeptics.SE, you don't see answers that say:

  • 'I reckon it is true, coz my cat landed on her feet when she fell off the shelf'.

Instead you get answers that say:

  • After experimentally dropping a cat 700 times, he landed on his feet only if the height was greater than one foot... Yes, the same cat.
  • Cats get different injuries after they reach terminal velocities. Here's an observational study.
  • Here is a high-speed footage of the cat turning, and some analysis of the physics involved
  • Here is a discussion of the experimental results of microgravity on blindfolded kittens and how it affects their falling reflexes.

  • ...and here are the references.

4

Did Winston Churchill say that proof of alien spacecraft would threaten the Church?

Great answer to a commonly accepted myth, excellent research and references to what one would expect to be relatively arcane knowledge

3

Does torture work well as an interrogation technique?

Okay, so Larian is a persona friend of mine, but this is absolutely a tour de force answer to a question that has haunted human progress for milenia.

  • 1
    I actually feel sorta bad about that answer because it's so long! – Larian LeQuella Nov 30 '11 at 2:54
2

What is the most realistic estimate for how far the Vikings could have explored the western hemisphere?

The question offers a number of theories with links to sources describing those theories in more detail.

The single submitted answer does an admirable job of addressing the question. Although it does not provide any 'educated guesses' for the extant of Viking travel in the western hemisphere, it explains why any 'educated guesses' would be nothing more than speculation--there is no authenticated proof south of the L'Anse aux Meadows site on the northern tip of Newfoundland. Additional points are also raised concerning popular red herrings in the debate.

2

Has man walked on the Moon?

Our first "hit" question, has a very popular answer with a very high upvote-to-visit ratio.

  • 3
    C'mon! Really? It's probably one of the last questions I'd want to show. – Borror0 Apr 9 '11 at 14:49
  • Statistically speaking, it's a shining question - even accounting for the number of visits. – Sklivvz Apr 9 '11 at 15:37
  • 2
    @Sklivvz: Don't confuse popularity for quality. – Borror0 Apr 15 '11 at 1:24
  • @Borror: that's taken into account (votes divided by log visits)... in any case the other 2 quetions I selected via this method are higher in this list. – Sklivvz Apr 15 '11 at 5:31
  • 3000 views/41 upvotes = 73 views/upvote – Mateen Ulhaq Apr 26 '11 at 1:57
  • @mun it's actually 128 upvotes (OP+first answer). – Sklivvz Apr 26 '11 at 8:12
  • 3
    I'm with @Borror0 on this one. This is the last question I'd showcase. It would more likely be met with sideways glances of "Really? That's what you guys talk about?" – Robert Cartaino Apr 27 '11 at 3:40
  • @Robert: agreed. I put here mainly for voting and seeding the OP. – Sklivvz Apr 27 '11 at 7:19
  • @Sklivvz: Neither of those are a good reasons to showcase this question. It's terribad. – Borror0 Apr 27 '11 at 10:14
  • @Borror0: I disagree. The question+first answer has net +128 score. It's definitely worth voting on. – Sklivvz Apr 27 '11 at 10:51
2

Is it impossible to fold a sheet of paper in half more than seven times?

The post disproves the "factoid" that a paper can't be folded after the 7th fold.

0

Is some level of radiation "good for you"?

Well researched and surprising answers to a claim that may be be less hyperbole than they first appear.

-2

Is anti-malware software effective?

Shows how geeky we are. ...Oh, and it's interesting... for geeks.

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