Skepchick Quickies, 7.9


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. I hereby predict that there will be no disasters in California on July 8th. Of course I made this prediction 2 days ago on July 7th, but I was unable to post about it until just now because of a crippling finger cramp. I bring it up now because it is the best evidence so far of my great powers of precognition and I didn’t want to let it slip by unnoticed by the unbelievers. This new evidence should get their panties in a twist! How do they explain this one? I’ve got them now…

  2. Hehehe… I love this bit in the pub swearing report:

    John Rudkn, 61, a regular for years, said: “Any swearing and you were barred. It was well over the top.”
    John’s wife, who did not wish to give her name, said she had been told off by Mrs Fleming for bad language.


  3. I noticed this bit of fear-mongering on CNN HLN the other day, too. I am getting really fed up with them lately. But FOX news pisses me off even more. I wish there was a good TV news channel I could watch while I get ready for work in the morning.

    Maybe I will just stop watching news on TV. I get all info about the biggest events through my Google news feeds anyway.

  4. Reading the article about HPV/CNN, I was reminded of a (US) stand-up comic on a (UK) radio show a few weeks ago doing a piece on how bad many US news programmes were.
    One of the major points was the spreading-fear-and-doubt question-asking headline like “Is your kid’s school bus driven being by a terrorist”, which is designed purely to suck people into keeping watching/listening/reading.

    Even if there was no editorial hostility to HPV vaccines, a headline like “HPV vaccine seems basically as safe as others” would tell people all they need to know, so few might bother paying more attention.

    I do wonder about the “15 deaths were reported, 10 were confirmed“.
    What happened to the other 5?
    As far as medical conditions go, I’d have thought that death was probably be one of the ones about which there wouldn’t be much doubt, at least once it had got to the point of paperwork being filled in.

    Presumably the death reports were followed up with at least average diligence?
    To find there was something that caused 1/3 of the reports to be dismissed on investigation would make me wonder more generally about the reliability of adverse-reaction reports for milder effects.

  5. This kind of thing reminds of a similar trend that occured many years ago, where the then only (and brand new) commercial TV station’s news would be much more “sensational” than that of the state-owned channels.

    One commedian made a joke about how different coverage of the same event might sound depending on what level of sensation and outrage you wanted to instill.

    State-owned channel:
    Today, an exhausted truckdriver momentarily swerved off the road and almost hit a funeral procession. Many people were shaken up, but there were no serious injuries. Police were called to the scene, but the driver was let off with a warning.

    Commercial channel:
    Today, a mad maniac tried to kill two dozen people using his 15 ton 18-wheeler to run them over. When the police finally arrived half an hour after the fact, they found at least one dead body among the victims.

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