March 11, 2010

The Sun, Star, Mail, Express, Telegraph and even the Times have all run with a ‘story’ about red hair being caused by ‘weather’, chiefly Scottish weather because you can stick a picture of a Scottish celeb into your page leaving less room for embarrassingly inept journalism.  This inane story originated in a genetics student’s musings in the Edinburgh University science magazine. I’m not sure how to express in words how stupid and lazy it is for a newspaper to publish this story. For most of the British press to publish it is weird.

The Mail ‘reveals’

The 26-year-old came up with the theory, ‘genetic mutation + bad weather = red heads’, in an article about her sister’s red hair for a University of Edinburgh magazine.

Ms Pritchard conceded her weather-based theory ‘was speculation rather than scientific study, but it is plausible’.

If it was speculation then why publish it?
The Telegraph has this moronic juxtaposition: the sub-heading contains “new research has claimed” before opening the first paragraph with “The non scientific research found”.
Not only is the story based on a non scientific article, it is obvious to fucking anyone why Africans are black and Europeans are white, even if we have to wait for geneticists to find proof. And it is a theory which has been around for tens if not hundreds of years. Can the national readership be this stupid?

Kill yourself, professor Jones

February 7, 2010

It seems that nothing gets a counter-enlightenment lunatic more exercised than climate change science.

The Sunday Times has an exclusive interview with professor Phil Jones where he reveals that he contemplated suicide after the CRU emails went public.

Unsurprisingly the article has attracted hundreds of nutcases, conspiracy theorists and maniacal religious cretins to add their splenetic wisdom to the ‘debate’. Accepting that a selection bias inheres in any internet comment thread, it is wise not to see them as representative of anything. But sometimes the vitriol is startling. Here’s a selection of comments whose haughty authors lament that professor Jones didn’t act on his suicidal thoughts. All selected from the first 60 comments alone.

mark Heath wrote:
I have two choices for the prof! I can lend him my 9MM or I can give him a rope. One less communist radical on earth to destroy our economy and our lives. We just had 20″ of snow in the mid atlantic. Is this global warming? These radicals are all nuts and need to be shut down. Suicide is an option!!!!
February 7, 2010 4:58 PM GMT on
Recommend? (94)

joe pane wrote:
It’s time Professor Jones for you to finish your plan.
February 7, 2010 2:31 PM GMT on
Recommend? (39)

RJ VC wrote:
Professor Jones,
May I quote from the late Tom Lantos: “Well at least Admiral Bourda had the honor to commit suicide.”
February 7, 2010 2:03 PM GMT on
Recommend? (21)

Michael Lee wrote:
I do hope that before he does the honorable thing, he’ll advise Al Gore to do the same, and perhaps provide him the means.

The sad but unmistakable fact of the matter is that any enterprise associated with politicians and given access to tax money is going to become utterly corrupt and lead to death and destruction.

In my view this can only be corrected by destroying more politicians, and their hirelings. Fortunately at least in the U.S. we have a few that destroy themselves — but not nearly enough.
February 7, 2010 2:04 PM GMT on
Recommend? (31)

Up1 Up wrote:
I thought of killing myself, says climate scandal professor Phil Jones

Why didn’t you?
Because you are a coward!
Just like the rest of your free loading, elitist,socialist hack buddies living off free money from socialist governments to which you sell your soul and junk science!!!
Go to hell and take your ilk with you!
Miserable lowlife scum!
February 7, 2010 2:05 PM GMT on
Recommend? (65)

It’s not too late, Phil. You say you are a scientist? Perhaps you were.
February 7, 2010 1:54 PM GMT on
Recommend? (21)

Some of the best media critique around

January 7, 2010

Tabloid Watch is a relatively young blog doing exactly what it says on the tin, exceptionally well.

Violence against children is OK; it must be true, it’s in the newspapers

January 4, 2010

It always starts with a study. Marjorie Gunnoe, professor of psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has carried out research demonstrating that children who get a bit of a smacking fare better than their un-smacked counterparts in adulthood.

Keyword of the last paragraph: Calvin. He’s the man who created Calvinism. For the enlightenment of the uninitiated, that’s a variant of Christianity.

Ms Gunnoe is a professor of psychology at a Christian college. Their mission statement contains this nugget: ‘We pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ’. This in itself doesn’t discredit the research, rather it behoves the journalist who cites the ‘study’ to disclose the potentially biased background in which the research was conducted. Neither The Times, The Daily Express, The Telegraph nor The Daily Mail did this when they lazily, bovinely and uncritically published the conclusions of the research. But the damage is done. This story has gone viral and there’s no stopping it.

This could be a brilliant and rigorous study but the trouble is you won’t find it anywhere. At least I didn’t. No link to it appeared in the above articles and I couldn’t find it anywhere in a search engine, despite a frenzied array of search-term permutations. It never appeared. Nor did the biggest newpapers in the land reveal to the dupable reader the name of the prestigious journal in which the study appeared. Absolutely nothing. The British nationals simply gulped it down without a grimace, when they should have gagged on it.

It is quite possible that the only thing this study proves is that national newspapers don’t give a cuddly cudgel about checking their facts, and that a substantial tranche of the national press practically exults in stories which surreptitiously advocate violence against children.

It’s a wet dream for family advocacy groups, authoritarians and tabloid readers everywhere. Proof that the loony-left have spared the rod and spoiled the children with their progressive pacifism. None of your PC-gone-mad/yuman rights, just a good leathering like what we used to do when we won the war. Obviously children need a smack every once in a while to safeguard against them becoming undisciplined chavs or godless homos.

These ‘studies’ seem thin on study but conspicuously good at absolving you of the guilt you’re suffering from being physically aggressive to your children.  Sorry, I meant smacking. Because there is an important distinction. Apparently.