Hi, Steve Mirsky here with the previously promised part two of this week’s podcast, namely TOTALLY BOGUS. Here are four science stories, but only three true. See if you know which story is TOTALLY BOGUS.
Story 1, a study of the views of men who were regular consumers of pornography found that they did indeed have poorer eyesight on average than nonconsumers.
Story 2, photos from the Tiger Woods crash scene revealed a physics book in the back seat of the vehicle.
Story 3, a specific type of anxiety has been linked to the likelihood of becoming depressed—and that anxiety is anxiety about having anxiety.
And story 4, the genome of corn has been sequenced and published.
Story 4 is true, the sequence of the genome of corn was published in the November 20th issue of the journal Science. It’s the biggest and most complex plant genome sequenced so far. Corn was a $47-billion crop in the U.S. in 2008. Sequencing will reveal connections between genes and traits, lead to new varieties with desirable characteristics, as both food and biofuel, and the new info may also solve the longstanding puzzle of why corn grows vertically but is eaten horizontally. Corn has more genes than people do, by the way. Well, probably not you. You’re special.
Story 3 is true, researchers have found that people who worry about the possibility of developing anxiety are more likely to be depressed. The research is published in the December issue of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders. One great fear of the worriers was that their anxiety would be obvious to others. So they get anxious about that. It’s fun to be a human, ain’t it? For more, check out the December 1st episode of the 60-Second-Psych podcast, called "Fear of Fear Itself".
And story 2 is true, photos of the Tiger Woods crash scene did indeed reveal that John Gribbon’s book Get A Grip On Physics was in the vehicle. And that revelation was enough to lift the book’s Amazon sales rank from position number 396,224 all the way up to 2,268th place. Call it conservation of luck.
All of which means that story 1, about men who consume pornography having poor eyesight, is TOTALLY BOGUS. But what is true is that researchers at the University of Montreal wanted to study the views of men in their 20s who were regular porn consumers versus those who had never seen porn. But they couldn’t find any men in their 20s who had never seen porn. That’s according to a story in the British paper the Telegraph. The study was revamped to look at the habits of just, ya know, men.
Well, that’s it for this special bogus add-on to our podcast with John Rennie on global warming contrarians. Check out David Biello’s coverage of the Friday press conference with some of the researchers whose e-mail was hacked, stolen, cherry-picked and reported out of context at www.scientificamerican.com. I’m Steve Mirsky, thanks for clicking on us.