PATH: BS | Dubious Research

Fox News' Republican Debate In-A-Nutshell

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[Beating Dead Horses]
[Polls]
For those of you who missed the latest GOP debate hosted by Fox News, we have a recap for you.

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Bush Administration Fakes Iraqi Violence Stats

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[Dubious Research]
U.S. officials who say there has been a dramatic drop in sectarian violence in Iraq since President Bush began sending more American troops into Baghdad aren't counting one of the main killers of Iraqi civilians: Car bombs.

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Behold: The Power of Prayer (To Make Things Worse?)

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[Dubious Research]
In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

Researchers emphasized that their work can't address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another's behalf. The study can only look for an effect from prayers offered as part of the research, they said.

They also said they had no explanation for the higher complication rate in patients who knew they were being prayed for, in comparison to patients who only knew it was possible prayers were being said for them.

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Study Aims To Prove "Gay Gene" Can Withstand Evolution

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[Dubious Research]
[Sex]
A new study asks an interesting genetics question: if there was a gene that controlled homosexuality—and hence limited reproduction—how could it be favored to exist? If there is a gene that causes one to not reproduce, natural selection would dictate that it cannot survive long in a population, since it is not being passed on to future generations. A new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society is using population-genetics modeling to try and answer why a theoretical gene predisposing an individual to homosexuality could spread in a population.

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Study Shows Mentally Ill People Prefer George Bush

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[Dubious Research]
Christopher Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-01-08 21:39:49 | Comment on this Article

Key To Bush's Approval Rating? Gas

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[Polls]
When it comes to President Bush's approval rating — the number that measures his political health — one factor seems more powerful than any Oval Office address or legislative initiative.

It's the price of a gallon of gas.

Statisticians who have compared changes in gas prices and Bush's ratings through his presidency have found a steady relationship: As gas prices rise, his ratings fall. As gas prices fall, his ratings rise.

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Report Claims Shaving Less Increases Risk of Stroke

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[Dubious Research]
Shaving less than once a day could increase a man's risk of having a stroke by around 70%, researchers have found.

The link between needing to shave infrequently and stroke risk emerged from a 20-year study of over 2,000 men aged 45-59 in Caerphilly, south Wales.

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The Freaky World of Peoples' Revealed Search Results

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[Dubious Research]
By now most know about AOL's "mistake" of releasing a portion of their search data to the public for research purposes. Even a cursory glance at the so called "anonymous" data (where users were identified with a number), it became obvious people reveal quite a bit about themselves and their social network when using search engines, and this data, in almost any form, could be considered a substantive privacy invasion.

Nonetheless, the data was put online and undoubtedly never to be easily removed, and has prompted many sites to sift through the torrid search queries to reveal a veritable cornucopia of weird and bizarre people... How bizarre? Well, read more if you're brave...

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Half of Americans Believe Iraq Had WMDs

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[Polls]
A recent Harris Poll reports found that while "the U.S. and other countries have not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, surprisingly more U.S. adults (50%) think that Iraq had such weapons when the U.S. invaded Iraq. This is an increase from 36 percent in February 2005."

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Industry Researchers On Drugs

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[Dubious Research]
The American Journal of Psychiatry analyzed every publicly available trial funded by the pharmaceutical industry pitting five new antipsychotic drugs against one another. Not surprisingly, nine in 10 trials claimed that the best drug was the one made by the company funding the study.

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. recently funded five studies that compared its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa with Risperdal, a competing drug made by Janssen. All five showed Zyprexa was superior in treating schizophrenia.

But when Janssen sponsored its own studies comparing the two drugs, Risperdal came out ahead in three out of four.

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Think Tanks For Sale

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[Dubious Research]
Slate.com has kicked off their new Hot Documents feature with a series of emails between disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Amy Ridenour, Executive Director of the right-wing National Center for Public Policy Research. In their gushing exchange, it is clear that Ridenour can't do enough to make sure that Abramoff's clients are pleased with their investments.

National Center for Public Policy Research... ooh that sounds so official and non-partisian doesn't it? Just like the CATO institute and all those other total BS organizations that are basically whores for select corporate interests. Slate has a cool article which shows some of the insider e-mail dialogue between these think tanks and their pimps.

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Atheists Identified As America's Least-Trusted Minority

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[Polls]
American's increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn't extend to those who don't believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota's department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society." Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

READ MORE | 8 comments since 2011-06-12 19:11:25 | Comment on this Article

Congressman Sanitizes His Wikipedia Page

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[Pubic Relations]
[Dubious Research]
The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on a Web site that bills itself as the "world's largest encyclopedia," Wikipedia.

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Scientific Researcher Paid To Keep Quiet

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[Dubious Research]
Earlier this month, Sheffield University in Britain offered $252,000 to one of its senior medical professors, Aubrey Blumsohn. According to a copy of a proposed settlement released by Blumsohn, the university promised to pay him if he would agree to leave his post and not make "any detrimental or derogatory statements" about Sheffield or its employees. For several years, Blumsohn had been complaining of scientific misconduct. His concerns primarily revolved around a $250,000 research contract between Sheffield and the Ohio-based Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.

Well, now we know why drug costs are so high. It costs a lot of money to pay scientists to keep quiet when the research results are not favorable.

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M.I.T. Study Exposes Truth About Tin-Foil Hats

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[Dubious Research]
[Humor]
A study at MIT has found that aluminum foil headwear ("Among a fringe community of paranoids..the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals") actually amplifies certain frequency bands allocated to the US government, as well as a mobile phone range, and is largely ineffective through the rest of the radio spectrum. But we can we trust the study, or are They controlling the researchers?

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2005-11-11 13:10:18 | Comment on this Article

Trying the Patience of the United States Postal Service

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[Dubious Research]
Have you ever wondered whether you could mail a brick, or maybe a pair of un-packaged tennis shoes, coconut, hammer, $20 bill in a clear plastic case? Well this group of people with as much curiosity as idle time, decided to test the limits of the USPS and report their findings.

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2005-08-21 17:36:57 | Comment on this Article

Study Shows One Third Of All Medical Studies Are BS

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[Dubious Research]
An analysis of medical journal studies shows that a significant percentage of such studies on the effect of treatment are far from accurate, if not downright useless.

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Researchers Say Spam Is Good For You

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[Dubious Research]
[Spam]
According to a report published at LiveScience, A steady diet of spam -- the electronic variety -- can be good for you. Researchers split a group of more than 2,100 Canadians into two groups. One group got emails that promoted healthy lifestyles, the other got none. Those who were 'spammed' apparently saw their body mass go down..

Unfortunately, these boneheads sent out daily affirmations, not a barrage of teen sex, mortgage and stock scams, and cheap medications. It's quite a stretch for these people to call their research on "spam" as most of us define it.

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Can't Sleep? You're Not Alone. Take a Pill.

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[Polls]
This spring, a poll that found half of adult Americans have frequent sleeping problems was reported on "by virtually all of the country's major newspapers and television networks," as well as international media. "Lost in the somber warnings and survey results, however, was that the poll, the proclamations and the press kits that spread the information were paid for by sleeping pill manufacturers," reports the Sacramento Bee. Although the group that released the poll, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), receives more than half of its income from drug companies, only 17 of 84 newspaper stories "mentioned the foundation's pharmaceutical sponsors." And while the New York public relations firm Zeno Group was touting the NSF poll, it was also hyping the launch of a new sleeping pill, Lunesta. Zeno Group included "a pitch for coverage of the release of the Lunesta sleeping pill" in the NSF press packets announcing the poll results.

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Boffins Create Zombie Dogs!

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[Dubious Research]
SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.

READ MORE | 4 comments since 2005-12-27 11:02:55 | Comment on this Article

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