Today I read this Boston Globe article effectively debunking Punxsutawny Phil’s rodent brethren. The writer, Michael Levenson, really went for blood, showing how the track records of the country’s various furry Nostradamuses aren’t much to brag about. Phil himself may hit 70% accuracy (in one statistician’s estimation), but Boston’s version should really just give up and find other work, possibly in the adult entertainment industry. (Fun fact: groundhogs are also known as land beavers.)
Considering that last week I ripped the Globe a new one for advertising pet acupuncturists under the guise of journalism, I figured this week I’d highlight a slightly more rational article. Thus ends my praise, and begins my rant.
Dear Boston Globe:
Why are you debunking groundhogs instead of con artists? Why? WHY? WHHHHYYYYYYY? Can we please take Mr. Levenson off the beaver beat and put him on the possible-con beat? Please? I mean, look at the sidebar on that article, where there’s a close-up of the little bastard’s eyes with a subhead reading “Punxsutawney Phil: Sage or fraud?” Can’t you just picture that with Sylvia Browne?
So to recap:
skepticism about fun, goofy things = good
skepticism about serious & potentially harmful things = better