The Latest Scientific Studies! (after passing through the bowels of the media)

I read it in the paper! Or,
I saw it on TV!
As interpreted by journalists
Who sussed it out for me;
It’s the newest news from science—
What the latest studies show—
Though I only read the headline,
That’s enough: I’m in the know!

Have you seen the news on chocolate?
How it’s bad—or, maybe, good;
See, the story didn’t give us
All the details that is should:
What control groups were included,
What statistics were compiled,
Who provided major funding,
Had a protocol been filed?

Were they only going fishing
For a p of .05?
You must publish, or you’ll perish,
And they want to stay alive!
It’s too much for me to fathom
But I hope we can agree—
We can trust the word of science
If we saw it on TV!

Hmph. I wrote this days ago, and thought I had posted it, and now (the problems you face when you write topical verse) it is dated. Yesterday’s news (or later). I could link to John Oliver’s video that inspired it, or to PZ’s post, or Mano’s.

But hey, at least this is (or could be) an innocent, ignorant mistake (yeah, or not). There are those who are more motivated to promote that which ought not be promoted. Say, the equal and opposite scientist. But that may be the medium at work.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    Nice to read you Cuttlefish!
    but really, if it wasn’t for the Popular Press, how would I know how much red wine to drink every day?

  2. says

    That was settled ages ago, by Seithenyn ap Seithyn Saidi
    Gwyn o eur. … Wine is my medicine; and my quantity is a little more. A little more.”

  3. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    chigau (違う) @1:

    That would be Charles Beaudelaire.

    Get drunk
    One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters;
    that’s our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time’s
    horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows
    you down, you must get drunk without cease.
    But with what?
    With wine, poetry, or virtue
    as you choose.
    But get drunk.
    And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
    in the green grass of a ditch,
    in the bleak solitude of your room,
    you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
    ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
    all that which flees,
    all that which groans,
    all that which rolls,
    all that which sings,
    all that which speaks,
    ask them, what time it is;
    and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
    they will all reply:
    “It is time to get drunk!
    So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
    get drunk, get drunk,
    and never pause for rest!
    With wine, poetry, or virtue,
    as you choose!”

    Charles Baudelaire

    (Of course, the Digital Cuttlefish would probably have put it much better)

  4. jeffreylewis says

    But ‘hundredths’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘alive’. That’s actually one of the details I sweat when writing my own transcripts of videos for my own blog, especially because the normal rules actually make it more ambiguous. I mean, you’re supposed to write out numbers less than 100, like five. But in a quote, ‘5’ or ‘five’ would both be pronounced exactly the same way. It’s the bigger numbers where the problem comes in. Is ‘150’ the same as ‘one hundred fifty’, ‘one hundred and fifty’, ‘a hundred and fifty’… ?

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