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?

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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

More Thoughtful Debate on Theory of Evolution

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[Dubious Research]
A creative online user has posted an interesting letter to the Kansas School Board, regarding their decision to teach evolution as one of many possible "theories" on creation of the species.

Our pundit finds himself with a very plausible argument on other possible theories that are worth consideration. This is a good read.

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BSA Publishes Fantasy Figures on Software Piracy

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[Dubious Research]
The Business Software Alliance, a group dedicated towards controlling software piracy, has come under fire for releasing a report claiming that 35% of software installed on computers is pirated and costs companies more than $33 Billion a year in lost revenue.

The Economist and others have blown the lid off the BSA's research methodology, which is apparently based on the illogical premise that any program someone would pirate, they would otherwise pay for.

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Abstinence Makes The Salary Grow Larger?

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[Dubious Research]
[Sex]
A new study from the Christian group Focus on the Family claims that kids who stay virgins longer are apt to stay in school longer, make 20% more money and have a lower divorce rate.

READ MORE | 6 comments since 2005-10-07 01:54:23 | Comment on this Article

Moonie's Paper Claims Oil Is Endless Resource

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[Dubious Research]
Reverend Sun Young Moon, owner of the Washington times and self-proclaimed reincarnation of Christ has published an interesting editorial in his paper that speculates that oil does not come from organic matter, but deep inside the earth and is a virtually unlimited resource.

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Microsoft Funds Research Claiming It's More Secure Than Linux

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[Dubious Research]
Two researchers surprised the audience at a computer-security convention last month with their finding that a version of Microsoft Windows was more secure than a competing Linux operating system. This week, the researchers released their finished report, and it included another surprise: Microsoft was funding the project all along.

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CNN Publishes Misleading Poll Results

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[News Media]
[Polls]
As usual, the editors at CNN seem to think that the American people are idiots. Maybe they are -- as reflected in this latest attempt to demonize democrats.

In presenting the results of a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, CNN.com used a visually distorted graph that falsely conveys the impression that Democrats far outnumber Republicans and Independents in thinking the Florida state court was right to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed. In fact, a majority of all three groups agrees with the court's decision, and the gap between Democrats on one hand and Republicans and Independents on the other is within the poll's margin of error.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2005-03-24 11:27:56 | Comment on this Article

Anti-Vegan Professor Likes to Take It From Cattlemen

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[Dubious Research]
Strike One: UC Davis professor Lindsay Allen found herself amid international press coverage and the target of wrath from vegans around the globe for comments she made at a scientific conference that vegan diets for children are "unethical."

Strike Two: The basis for her "research" was on already malnurished children in Kenya according to other scientists.

Strike Three: Her efforts were funded by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and its publication supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization, Land O'Lakes, and Heifer International.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-08-29 14:11:07 | Comment on this Article

How Aggressive Are You? Talk to the Hand!

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[Dubious Research]
[Mean People]
According to Canadian scientists, the length of a man's finger in proportion to other fingers is an indicator of his aggressive tendency. Personally, I think the extent to which a certain finger is prominently displayed may also indicate this. Now where's MY grant? I'll be happy to demonstrate my research.

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Smart People More Prone To Choke Under Pressure

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[Dubious Research]
[Sociology]
A group at the University of Michigan has released the results of a study that claims smart people are more likely to choke under pressure. Apparently undergrad students in Michigan are the perfect control group to represent smart people and their limitations.

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Associated Press Falls for GI-Joe Hostage in Iraq

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[News Media]
[Dubious Research]
The Associated Press's Fact-Checking-Monkeys apparently let this one slip through: Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners.

It's a good thing we can get our news from reliable sources like the AP. We don't want our GI-Joes to be abused.

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Students say media should get Government approval for stories

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[Polls]
[Newspapers]
A Connecticut organization polled thousands of high school students and found that 36% believe newspapers should get "government approval" of stories before publishing; 13% have no opinion, and 32% feel the media has "too much freedom."

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Online University That Gave Cat Diploma Sued For Fraud

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[Edumakashun]
[Dubious Research]
An online university that supposedly granted a graduate degree in business to a pet cat was sued Monday for consumer fraud by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. Rumor has it the cat immediately got a job with Arthur Anderson.

Obviously, the tip-off was a cat with an MBA. They should have limited their student body to dogs and hamsters and nobody would have been the wiser.

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"Biodegradable" cell phone which turns into a flower?

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[Dubious Research]
Researchers at the University of Warwick have prounounced with pride that they have created a "biodegradable" cell phone that can be planted and grows flowers. Of course, they're quite liberally assuming that if the plastic cover of the phone is biodegradable, then that gives them the hubris to claim the entire phone is environmentally sound.

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Internet porn worse than crack?

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[Dubious Research]
Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee Thursday.

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2004-11-24 04:02:21 | Comment on this Article

How journalists kill science

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[Dubious Research]
[News Media]
The Columbia Journalism Review has an insightful story on how the mainstream media, in their effort to pander to certain profitable demographic groups have shown an increasing tendency to ignore facts and overwhelming scientific evidence when deciding which stories to run and what to say.

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To the victor goes the spoilage

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[Polls]
Some in the media are claiming Kerry won the election. The exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?"

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Rent-an-expert... any flavor you want

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[Dubious Research]
[Media]
New York Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent has critiqued the practice by his newspaper and others of relying on information from "expert analysts" without informing readers that many of the experts represent the interests of their financial sponsors. "Bad reporters find experts by calling up university press relations officials or brokerage research departments and saying, in effect, 'Gimme an expert,'" he writes. "Really bad reporters, paradoxically, work a little harder: knowing the conclusions they want to arrive at, they seek out experts who just happen to agree with them.

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Are YOU a "Likely Voter" ??

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[Polls]
If you pay attention, you'll see in almost all polls shown in the media today, in fine print or on television it will say something like "in a poll of likely voters". This is an interesting statistical "gimmick" used by the polling companies that allows them to fudge the stats. Depending upon which polling organization the definition of "likely voters" varies dramatically. Read on for more details.

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ABC "news" claims Republicans have better sex lives

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[Dubious Research]

ABC news is reporting a story that Republicans have better sex than Democrats based on some telephone poll they conducted. Does this really prove Republicans have better sex or are they just better at lying? Regardless, do we really care which partisian group has generally better sex lives? What kind of a poll was this? Good afternoon sir, are you a Democrat or a Republican, and can you tell me are you happy with your sex life?

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2004-10-18 15:24:35 | Comment on this Article

Polls show US-International relations getting worse

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[Sociology]
[Polls]
Newsday has an article comprising the results of polls taken in Canada, France, Britain, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Israel and Russia.

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How to scare people with statistics

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[Dubious Research]
With the election closing in around us, we're going to hear a lot of statistics. One creative blogger has written an informative article on how to manipulate and scare people with statistics. You can even make positive statistics seem negative and ominous.

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CNN dances around Gallup poll controversy

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[Dubious Research]
Polls. Polls. Polls. Are you sick of them yet? Are you sick of being told what you think and who you're voting for? And who are these people whom these polls claim to represent?

If you've ever questioned the dubious nature of how these Gallup and other polls are created, you're not alone. Moveon.org recently took out a full page ad in the NY Times calling into serious doubt the methods and intent of the Gallup organization. They're specifically claiming the Bush-Kerry polls are deliberately skewed to make it appear that Bush is in the lead when in reality, things are not this way.

CNN, being one of Gallup's customers, apparently didn't take this too well, and instead of legitimately reporting the story, launched a spinfest dismissing critics' claims on the legitimacy of Gallup's polling methods with no opposing commentary and an ultimate "trust us - we know what we're doing"-type explanation.

USA Today is also another customer of Gallup who uses the polls. Will they not appropriately report on the issue either? We'll see. In the meantime, as if you really needed more incentive, the smart money says the Gallup polls are...BS!

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2012-10-13 08:18:41 | Comment on this Article

Research shows having children makes you more stupid?

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[Dubious Research]
[Psychology]
A five-year study run by Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction proves what many in the scientific community have always suspected: having children significantly lowers the IQ of both male and female parents.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-18 07:47:58 | Comment on this Article

Christina Aguilera enchants the world!

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[Travel]
[Dubious Research]
The new look in Japan is to imitate the various styles that Christina has made popular in shopping malls across the USA!

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2004-09-22 07:00:47 | Comment on this Article

The trouble with celebrity transgendered meter maids!

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[Dubious Research]
[Travel]
Don't Let This Happen To You! A friend of mine has just started a Blog about his London-based band called the City Farmers. Who would have guessed that transgendered celebrity parking meter attendants could prove so hazardous to hard-working musicians?

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Census Working Overtime

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[Dubious Research]
[Pubic Relations]
"The press loves to bury us in public opinion polls, but something about these pie charts tastes funny to me." Daniel Price of AbusedByTheNews.com has published an interesting report on the state of statistics and polling methodology. Trust me, four out of five irate cows would rate this story as worth reading.

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