Reliable Sources

A few minutes ago, a friend sent me a short article on “metabolic syndrome” by Nicholas Bakalar (as, I believe, it appeared in the New York Times) asking “what do you think?” Being familiar with Sandy’s take on it, I shot back “I think it’s a load of crap.” My friend replied “If you Google “metabolic syndrome” + “diet soda” you find thousands of hits. Most discuss this “finding” or earlier reports. Disbelieve what you will, but NIH, while calling for further research, does not dismiss the findings out-of-hand” and provided a link to the NIH article about it.

I pointed out that he had asked for my opinion and that I wasn’t going to debate the issue, but I was really taken aback by the number of Google hits’ being used as support for the argument. Google “jews greedy” (a completely offensive stereotype) and you get just shy of a million hits. Google “cell phone cancer” and you get almost 2 million hits, that doesn’t actually mean that cell phones cause cancer. (“EMF cancer” garners thousands as well, even though that has been fairly thoroughly debinked.) “Weight loss diet exercise” gets over a million hits, but if all it took to lose weight were diet and exercise, most of us would be slender.

As for it’s being touted by NIH, so is bariatric surgery for teens. They also buy into the whole “childhood obesity” mania. That pretty much loses them any credibility as far as I’m concerned.

Off the Reservation

I was watching The McLaughlin Group yesterday and one of the group commented that one of the candidates tended to “go off the reservation.” I don’t know about you, but I find that phrase highly offensive on many levels. Primarily, it implies that people have defined places in which they must remain. I find that very concept objectionable, but when one adds the historical reality of “reservations,” it’s not only unconscionably racist framing, it’s also classist.

In this context, the commenter was talking about veering from the political party’s platform and saying stupid crap while on the campaign trail. Now, I’m no happier than anyone when a politician opens his/her mouth before engaging his/her brain, but surely she could have found a less vile term with which to make her point.