CHRIS COOPER'S BLOG - infrequent forays into fun, freedom, fysics and filosophy...

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Blogosophical Investigations
Friday, May 31, 2002  

Clean out those old factoids

I've instituted a new group of links at the left: Data Hygiene, for sites providing useful clutter therapy for the brain.

The Statistical Assessment Service in Washington puts out a newsletter (print and online) that assesses the statistical basis for the latest media flaps. One snippet from the latest issue:

… While previous studies have claimed to find a connection between violent images on TV and violent behavior, this study claims a direct connection between watching TV and violence no matter the content…
… [But if] watching less TV is a by-product of greater involvement in civil society, then such involvement would cause an unusually low rate of violence, rather than TV causing a higher rate. If so, then this study has looked at things the wrong way round. …

The AFU and Urban Legends Archive is a treasure-house of mad modern myth. And some that's motivated rather than mad. This item from the Politics section could save a few of my gun-fan friends from embarrassment:

Hitler Gun Control

"This year* will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"

--falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler …

Damn. Another smear opportunity lost.

Steven Milloy at has this story in his FoxPop column currently:

Anti-fun food activists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest just delivered another junk science-fueled scare.

Pizza is the new laugh-out-loud hazard, an act of dietary terrorism apparently perpetrated to sell CSPI's new anti-restaurant book.

[… generous portions of nourishing information and then …]

… What would be more useful to consumers is something called "CSPI Confidential." Such a book might describe CSPI's 30-year history of fomenting bogus food scares including attacks on Chinese, Mexican and Italian foods, movie popcorn, caffeine, the fat-substitute Olestra, meat, fast foods, and snack foods to gain publicity for purposes of fundraising tens of millions of dollars.

Keep visiting all these sites for regular inoculations against gullibility.


If you're sure your intellectual antibodies are up to strength, then visit:

Loony Site of the Day: The vanishing of Vera


The Research and Writings of Donna Higbee

In the summer of 1994, I became aware of a very strange phenomenon, human spontaneous involuntary invisibility, which was apparently happening to people in the U.S.

… Vera in Ventura, California, who tried to get assistance in a post office, only to be completely ignored by other customers and the postal clerk. I have kept in touch with Vera and she has had other apparent invisibility experiences in stores and other public places. Sheila in Roanoke, Texas, continues to have invisibility experiences, some of which have occurred in restaurants and at the airport.

… Jean in Tucson, Arizona, wrote me of her experiences. She has had them occur in the library when she attempted to check out books and in clothing stores. … "You wouldn't think a tall woman with red hair, high heels in a purple dress and dangle earrings would be invisible, would you?"

Then there is the case of Melanie in Ventura, California, who became invisible while sitting on her own living room sofa and staring at the wall, lost in her own thoughts. Her husband was walking around the house looking for her but could not see her sitting there, only several feet away from where he was walking.

But Donna, any wife will tell you that husbands are like that when it comes to finding things that are right under their nose ....

8:18 AM

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