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Cellphones It's funny.  Laugh. Math United Kingdom Science

Exposing the Link Between Cell Phones and Fertility 112

ApharmdB writes "We frequently gripe about the poor quality of science reporting by the media. A Guardian blogger from the mathematics department at Queen Mary, University of London has made a honeypot press release to see how bad it can get. (Or maybe to have some fun trolling the media?) The statistic used is the strong link between the number of mobile phone masts in an area and the number of live births. Of course, there is no causal link because they are both instead based on a 3rd variable, the local population size. Slashdot readers can keep on eye on news sources over the weekend to see just how much traction the story gets and watch the train wreck in real-time!"
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Exposing the Link Between Cell Phones and Fertility

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  • ruined (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:33PM (#34600628)

    why would you post this, you are throwing off his experiment

  • Re:ruined (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbolger ( 161340 ) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:37PM (#34600660) Homepage

    Not really. If journalists don't even bother to look the topic up on Google and find this story, it proves the point.

  • by CyberBill ( 526285 ) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:40PM (#34600698)

    This guy should have let the "honeypot" article sit around and see what happens first, rather than having the explanation article AND have it be posted on slashdot. Doing this interferes with the experiment by making it less likely to be picked up - anyone who reads the slashdot article (or the article it links to) first will not believe and propagate the honeypot article.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:12PM (#34600968)

    He doesn't want to make something that is difficult to check sources on. The biggest problem isn't journalists reporting on things that are hard to properly check. I mean you also walk a line between being extremely late in bringing things to people's attention or not bringing up an important story because there just inst' enough confirmation, and reporting something that isn't true. I agree in general that journalists today fall way too far on the side of just report everything you can't disprove.

    However this is targeting a bigger problem: Journalists that don't even TRY. They find a story and just run it, they don't do any checking at ALL. This will expose people like that because it isn't as though this one will be hard to check up on, you can even find out what is going on on Slashdot (and probably other places). So any who get snagged by this are as lazy as it comes, and just publish whatever they find with zero additional checking.

    That, I think, would be valuable to see.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker