There are a lot of sensational headlines being tossed around in the name of “science”: Farts can cure cancer! Coffee leads to miscarriages! Hugging makes you a better person! Last night, John Oliver picked apart the popular science we so love to share on Facebook, explaining why there’s so much bunk being passed off as real research—and why a lot of that information seems contradictory. “Coffee today is like God in the Old Testament,” said Oliver. “It will either save you or kill you, depending on how much you believe in its magic powers.”
So what accounts for such wild differences between the actual results of scientific studies and the way that they’re reported? The problem, says Oliver in this smart breakdown of the issue, is that those results aren’t always sexy and that the media prefers the easy, eye-catching headline to the nuanced, possibly flawed findings of a professional. Of course, if you actually prefer your science with a little less—well, science—Oliver has a solution for that too.