Posts Tagged telegraph

Bad News: When Is A Hoax Not A Hoax?

This might well be a little bit of old news by now (given that I covered this story on our second anniversary Skeptics With A K show) but I can still confidently say that anyone who s watching the live stream within an internet explorer 6 browser is an idiot.

Now you might think that’s because there was a recent hoax survey which claimed that a psychometric testing company had analysed the IQ of users of different browsers, and had determined that users of internet explorer 6 are most likely to be flat-out dumb, but that’s not actually why I’m calling you idiots. It just a shit browser, massively outdated and an all-round piece of trash, and if you’re using it, you’re objectively an idiot.

That aside, there is something interesting about this hoax survey story. For those that haven’t heard of it, last month the media was all over this story, and not just the usual suspects. The short version is that AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting Company published a press release claiming that after surveying 101,326 people for their IQ and broswer of choice, and mapping this into a good solid graph, they were able to establish that internet explorer users had a ludicrously low IQ, around the 80 mark. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bad PR: How To Be A Modern Journalist

Have you ever wanted to be a journalist in today’s fast-moving, exciting, cutting-edge, new-media, buzzwordy-buzzword age? I bet you have! You can’t fool me – I know you used to watch the New Adventures Of Superman as a kid and quite fancied the Lois Lane lifestyle: hunting out bad guys, tracking down sources, breaking big stories (admittedly while usually ending up somehow embroiled in those stories to a depth that only a super-powered alien could extricate). It’s OK, you’re not alone, we all wanted to be Lois Lane, myself included. I had the shoes and everything.

Usually, to achieve this lofty ambition I’d suggest that your options were fairly limited – either plug away at blogs and other self-funded and often-largely-unread outlets, and hope to get picked out of the crowd Little-Orphan-Annie-style by some benevolent throwback of a newspaper magnate (good luck in finding one); or you work your way through the tried-and-tested system: take a journalism course costing thousands of pounds, hope it’s one that the newspaper you’re applying to actually respects/recognises, secure a bottom-rung position and begin covering ‘man bites dog’ stories for the ‘Weird News’ section of your local rag until the will to delve has been so beaten out of you that you’re as unwilling to achieve real depth as an asthmatic scuba diver, and then return to the office to file 300 words of copy only to spend the day watching it getting trimmed back and pruned until your day’s work is a 20-word stub just before the classifieds. I’m joking of course, this doesn’t really happen – you’d not have left the office to do any of that: that’s why phones were invented.

Still, that’s what I’d usually offer as advice (not that I’ve been a journalist myself, you understand, so my advice is purely pithy conjecture and semi-satirical commentary). However, today I’m feeling a little more generous, so I’m going to let you into a little secret: there are simpler solutions, easier paths to tread. In short, there are shortcuts. And I’m going to share those shortcuts with you right now: Read the rest of this entry »

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Newspapers Wake Up From A Coma Speaking Fluent Bullshit

This is a story that recently popped up in both the Daily Fail and the Telegraph (from now on referred to as the BellyLaugh).

Apparently, Croatian doctors are baffled after a teenage girl who fell into a mysterious coma woke up speaking fluent German. The teenager has been unable to speak Croatian – although can understand it when it is spoken to her – and now communicates only in German.

Pretty off-the-wall I think you’ll agree. This is the kind of thing that would have steadfast believers in past lives screaming “Proof!” in very loud voices, particularly if this unfortunate teenager didn’t speak German beforehand. Going by the tone of the article, you would think that this is what had actually happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Real Cost Of Psychic Tipsters

In a news item that made it into the papers pretty much across the board, a police force has admitted following-up leads provided by psychic mediums in their investigations into a man’s death. The revelation, which has led to wide scale derision and outcry, came from constabulary in the Dyfed-Powys Police force, regarding the investigation into the death of 32 year old Welshman Carlos Assaf. Whe he was found hangd in his home in March, the immediate assumption was suicide – but when the police were presented by the claims of self-proclaimed psychics, a wider investigation was launched. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cosmic Ordering: Real Or No Real?

Noel Edmonds, host of Deal or No Deal

Noel Edmonds, host of Deal or No Deal

This week it’s emerged that bearded box-opener Noel Edmonds of the granny-pleasing game show ‘Deal or No Deal‘ has something other than dumb luck and a penchant for stripey jumpers on his side. Noel, who’s career was saved by the quiz show after his popularity plummeted with the demise of his long-running 90s show ‘Noel’s House Party‘, has pinned his recent success firmly on ‘Cosmic Ordering‘.

For the uninitiated of our listeners, Cosmic Ordering is the mystical self-help movement whereby followers are encouraged to write down a wish list of things they want to come true and submit it to the cosmos and wait for it to happen. In that way it’s a lot like the Oprah-tastic self-help piddle ‘The Law of Atraction‘, essentially telling people that if you wish hard enough, anything you want will come to you.

In Noel’s case he was turned on to the power of the cosmos by that sure-fire source of life expertise – his reflexologist. Because, obviously, anyone who spends their day magically rubbing the feet of strangers clearly has the secret to getting ahead in life… but enough of the ad hominems. Instead lets look at this from a professional, respectable angle. Oh, sorry, mistake – let’s look at this in the Daily Mail. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Angels Believe In The Telegraph?

Specialized Angel by KWC on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwc/127795364/)I thought I’d read it all when it comes to the Telegraph. Homeopathy to cure cancer? Sure. UFOs that are really really not Chinese lanterns? Uh-huh. The moon landing was hoaxed? Gotcha. Telegraph, thy mysteries bore me and thy secrets hold no shock.

Except, I was wrong. That’s fine though, I’m always happy to admit when I’m wrong (I am! What do you know, anyway?!). So it was with equal parts incredulity and glee I allowed my love/hate affair with the Telegraph to take me in its warm and scientifically-bereft arms with the headline ‘Do you believe in angels?

No, I don’t. Nor should you. Silly Telegraph.

Still, it’s been a while since we wrote about them, and it’s rude of me to deny the Telegraph their fun, so let’s see what it’s all about. Read the rest of this entry »

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