Pharyngula

World-wide weirdness

Lest Phelps and the Texas Supreme Court leave the unfortunate impression that the US is the sole repository of lunacy in the world, Ben Goldacre’s latest column is about linking mobile phone signals to suicides — there’s a bit of hysteria in one of the British newspapers about it. I like his approach; he called the source of the frightening information, a Dr Roger Coghill, to get the data that led to his conclusion.

I contacted Dr Coghill, since his work is now a matter of great public concern, and it is vital his evidence can be properly assessed. He was unable to give me the data. No paper has been published. He himself would not describe the work as a “study”. There are no statistics presented on it, and I cannot see the raw figures. In fact Dr Coghill tells me he has lost the figures. Despite its potentially massive public health importance, Dr Coghill is sadly unable to make his material assessable.

Makes you go “Hmmmm,” doesn’t it? Too bad it didn’t make the reporting journalist ask a few pointed questions before putting it in screaming headlines. It’s also too bad they didn’t check his website, which is nothing but a catalog of quackery. Don’t buy anything!

Comments

  1. #1 Paper Hand
    June 28, 2008

    He “lost” the data? How convenient …

  2. #2 Wes
    June 28, 2008

    Maybe they should put that intrepid investigator Andy Schlafly on the case. He’ll find the data and get to the bottom of this! And I’m sure he’ll manage to find a liberal bias in it somewhere, too.

  3. #3 SC
    June 28, 2008

    Just like that fraud Lenski – excuses and evasions.

  4. #4 PatrickHenry
    June 28, 2008

    Ah yes, the old “The dog ate my data” excuse.

  5. #5 SC
    June 28, 2008

    Had to sneak that in there ahead of me, didn’t ya, Wes?

  6. #6 oriole
    June 28, 2008

    Nice try, SC, but there’s no comparison to Lenski. Lenski has published a professional peer-reviewed paper, has made all his data available, and has even offered to provide actual E. Coli samples to qualified scientists with proper lab facilities. Obviously, public health concerns do not allow him to give E Coli samples to half-wits like Andy Schlafly so he can play scientist with them in his kitchen sink and infect his home-school student/victims, who have surely already suffered enough. Better luck on your next trolling attempt, SC.

  7. #7 RamblinDude
    June 28, 2008

    Dang, the one thing I wanted and Dr Coghill’s website doesn’t seem to carry it. I guess I’ll just have to watch the commercials on the Science Channel for those amazing foot-sole pads that remove toxins while you sleep. (Right after I get me some more Miracle Spring Water!)

  8. #8 Jason Dick
    June 28, 2008

    I love how his sight appears to be a combination of products that use electromagnetic waves to soothe and heal, and those designed to scare the hell out of people about all the stray EM radiation around. Which is it? Does EM radiation hurt us or help us, doctor?

  9. #9 Sam
    June 28, 2008

    I just read this article this evening in the Grauniad. It is said that there is a newspaper for every political shade in the UK. When I first arrived here I read through every paper available until I found one I liked three issues in a row. Not that I agreed with it, but one that carried stories I was interested in.

    The Times (of a historically good reputation) is now a Rupert Murdoch organ, and seems to care little for the level of journalism demonstrated here, I am completely unsurprised that a modicum or reasearch/intellectual effort on the grauniad’s part has uncovered this lack of fact by a purveyor of (as Randi would call it) woo.

    It reinforces the position that I am slowly developing which states:

    There is no left wing media bias. Any example of left wing media bias is, in fact, what used to be called fact checking.

  10. #10 Bride of Shrek
    June 28, 2008

    Fantastic, I can’t tell you how long I’ve been looking for an “electro-smog detector” and there it is, easily available on his website. It just as good as the magnetic cat bed to “help your cat sleep better”. If anyone out there can tell me of a cat that’s EVER had problems sleeping I’ll stand corrected but until then I say Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit. With a big capital B.

  11. #11 LisaJ
    June 28, 2008

    Wow, that sounds like some good Science. Too bad he lost his data, you know I hate when that happens to me.

    I think the more important consideration here is why the female modeling the arm band on his website needs to have her shirt off. Everyone knows that real Scientists aren’t into girls and stuff… that’s the dead giveaway of his quackery!

  12. #12 Jon H
    June 28, 2008

    Heh. One of the woo products advertised on the web site:

    Can help with impotency without the use of powerful drugs. The Mood Maker will gently and gradually increase circulation in the pelvic area. The small unit discreetly attaches to your underwear.

    I believe the whole problem is a small unit in the underwear, so I don’t see how this will help.

  13. #13 b_sharp
    June 28, 2008

    RamblinDude:
    “(Right after I get me some more Miracle Spring Water!)”

    Don’t waste your money buying that obvious scam, miracles simply do not exist. You need to rely (and spend money) solely on scientifically researched and approved solutions to medical problems, such as ‘living water’. It really is much more effective and better for you.

    Our ancestors drank nothing but living water and as we all know, their health was much better than ours.

    You might also try a coffee enema.
    (That one is for you PH)

  14. #14 John Marley
    June 28, 2008

    Off topic, but very important:

    Do not (Do Not!) waste your time or money on M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening.”

  15. #15 Sam
    June 28, 2008

    here, I am completely unsurprised that a modicum or reasearch/intellectual

    Should read

    here. I am completely unsurprised that a modicum of research/intellectual

    Mea culpa. Today is my birthday – there has been wine.

  16. #16 LisaJ
    June 28, 2008

    #14 – I totally agree! That movie was tragically terrible. So awful! At least it was good for a few (unintended) laughs.

  17. #17 SC
    June 28, 2008

    oriole – I was joking. I thought that would be obvious.

  18. #18 SC
    June 28, 2008

    Speaking of woo, yesterday’s YFDoW over at Respectful Insolence was particularly entertaining.

  19. #19 PatrickHenry
    June 28, 2008

    Posted by: b_sharp:

    You might also try a coffee enema.
    (That one is for you PH)

    Your concern for my colonic health is much appreciated.

  20. #20 Meeee
    June 28, 2008

    Coming from the UK (dunno how many other commenters are but I’ll say what I was gonna anyway), I can tell you that mobile phone masts are an annoyingly big issue over here.

    Whenever one goes up anywhere there’s usually a protest, papers like the Daily Mail (the daily mail is… well I’ll let you research it for yourself, suffice to say it is not exactly known for talented reporting) throw up headlines like “MOBILE MASTS KNOWN TO CAUSE CANCER” etc etc…

    The overall effect of such a headline will be people saying “I knew it” over their breakfast, spouting nonsense to their family and friends (“you know I’ve been feeling more and more depressed since that mast went up…”) but in 1-2 weeks it’ll be completely forgotten.

  21. #21 Jonathan Rothwell
    June 28, 2008

    Well, it’s in the Sunday Express, so hopefully no-one will take it seriously.

    It also claimed a few days ago that when a (albeit ridiculous) ‘positive discrimination’ (i.e. allowing employers to discriminate in favour of women and ethnic minorities) law was proposed that “WHITE MEN [were] TO GET JOBS BAN”. And its stories are ridiculous: it stuck with the ‘Princess Diana was murdered’ tack until the very end, was seemingly schizophrenic with respect to the Madeleine McCann story, and also has a reputation for being a bit racist. So forgive me if I’m somewhat sceptical of this mobile phones story.

  22. #22 RHM
    June 28, 2008

    Scanning “Dr.” Coghill’s product list made me down-right nostalgic for a return of the Foil Hat.
    But, I did garner some helpful information:
    “Given the choice your pet will always choose to drink magnetic water, they can tell the difference. Magnetic water is more natural.”
    That must be why my cat was always knocking the magnets off the fridge. Who knew?

  23. #23 Longtime Lurker
    June 28, 2008

    EMF protection?

    Unbelievable!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpPR9pN_49s

  24. #24 Pandora Neurospora
    June 28, 2008

    The exact reason why I hate journalism. Don’t bother to find out the facts, just print it and create hysteria. If its got anything to do with race, science or anything that is controversial well you better make something up real fast to cause a fuss.

  25. #25 DavidCT
    June 28, 2008

    Print media has its faults but it certainly is second to none when it comes to lining the bottom of the bird cage. My bird will accept the science stories if there is no picture of our current president available.

  26. #26 Benjamin Franklin
    June 28, 2008

    There is one item on Mr Coghill’s site that I really do want to get –

    EMF protector net
    Price: 11.75 Pounds Sterling (Price Includes VAT)
    Please State Length Required

    A protective net that blocks electro-magnetic radiation. Available in various lengths. Sold by linear meter.

    Perhaps I can make it into a nice hat to protect me from all the electro magnetic spectrum bullshit that keeps flowing into my head. I will also let PZ borrow it so he is not chapeau deficient at his next meeting with Neil “The Dude” DeGrasse Tyson, and Maureen “Hey Sailor!” Downey.

    On a side note (Attention ERV!) Mr. Coghill states-

    “The idea that Aids is caused by a virus is a well-protected fiction.” Is there another cause? “The possibility that immune deficits … can be acquired through over-exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic fields is, however, real, and proven in the laboratory.”

    Ay caramba! Somebody get me a hat!

  27. #27 RT NZ
    June 28, 2008

    BEN, get tinfoil from the supermarket ,its cheaper and works better and is more of a fashion statement.

  28. #28 decrepitoldfool
    June 28, 2008

    Not long ago I saw a medical advice show on Fox where their resident doctor went on at some length about the possibility that talking on a cell phone during a thunderstorm might attract lightning. His evidence was several incidents where people have been struck by lightning while talking on cell phones.

    Given the way people walk around talking on cell phones all the time it would be weird if no one ever had been struck by lightning while using one, but that didn’t seem to occur to him.

  29. #29 Lightnin
    June 28, 2008

    Off topic, but very important:

    Do not (Do Not!) waste your time or money on M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening.”

    Haha, I was actualy about to suggest we shouldn’t let M. Night get a hold of this story, lest he confound us with more unscientific woo.

    Sigh…I actually enjoy Shaymalan’s stuff, I think he is quite a strong director in many ways. The level of tension that he builds in movies like “Signs” and “The Village” is almost unbearable at times, those movies really scared the bejesus out of me. This combined with intimate characterisation, and a great score (especially The Village), makes me ignore (and I mean really turn my brain off) the actual silliness of the plot (which is used to deliver the nuanced themes).

    I haven’t seen “The Happening” yet, but I’m kind of looking forward to it-I honestly expect Shaymalan to do great things with Marky Mark. I’ll just remember to leave my cerebral cortex at the door, and just bring in my primitive reptile brain.

  30. #30 grinch
    June 28, 2008

    There is likely to be a correlation with mobile phone usage and suicide among young people from the shock of seeing how many dollars they have racked up.

  31. #31 andyo
    June 28, 2008

    I love Goldacre’s articles, he’s also got a particular style of writing.

    So PZ, still waiting to hear about your (mis)adventures with the Gold-man at TAM. Don’t leave us hangin’ please.

    This EM hysteria has been covered at length in the tech sites. It’s yet another pseudoscience that’s taking time and public resources chasing ghosts. I think it was in the U.K. where they wanted to ban WiFi from schools (correct me if I’m wrong about the place). And there are people who suffer from a “condition” that makes them sick whenever they are around a WiFi connection and they call it “EM Sensitivity.” It seems if not religion, there is always something else.

  32. #32 Steve
    June 28, 2008

    This sounds like that really bad book by Stephen King. (Oh, which one?) His recent novel ‘Cell’ is about dehumanizing viral signals sent by cell phones.

  33. #33 Crudely Wrott
    June 28, 2008

    I followed the link to Dr. Coghill’s catalog of wonders. Holy Mutthead, mackerel! I think I’ll just get one of everything!

  34. #35 NelC
    June 28, 2008

    Grinch @30: Nah, kids don’t care about that stuff. Paying the bills is what parents are for.

  35. #36 Cujo359
    June 28, 2008

    I just know that alien death beams and Larry Silverstein are involved in this somehow.

  36. #37 AJ Milne
    June 28, 2008

    Re the ‘tinfoil hat from the supermarket’, thank you so much for helping me out with my next halloween costume.

    I’m picturing a tinfoil fedora, a cable modem hanging ’round my neck, and a pair of flippers…

    It’s a concept costume. I’m going as an internet loon.

  37. #38 Scrofulum
    June 28, 2008

    We never had none of that elasticmagnetism in my day. We had to make do with cables and wires, and we was ‘appy!

  38. #39 The Chemist
    June 28, 2008

    I find that premise incredibly insulting to people who are suicidal. It’s one thing if this had legitimate research behind it, but who knows if this will harm someone. What if a suicidal teen has his phone taken away from well meaning parents and finds himself alone somewhere without a lifeline?

  39. #40 Nerull
    June 29, 2008

    From what I’ve heard from my English friends, Sunday Express is currently competing with the Daily Mail for the far-right nutters award.

  40. #41 oriole
    June 29, 2008

    SC: Ouch! I was just in high dudgeon mode after doing some excoriating on another site, and my irony detector was at a low setting. Sorry!

  41. #42 Monado
    June 29, 2008

    Bride of Shrek wrote of

    the magnetic cat bed to “help your cat sleep better”. If anyone out there can tell me of a cat that’s EVER had problems sleeping I’ll stand corrected but until then I say Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit. With a big capital B.

    One of my cats — the one who’s so delicate she won’t let anyone brush her — used to sleep draped over a rock in the garden.

  42. #43 SC
    June 29, 2008

    oriole – No worries. Smiley face mandatory for me in the future!

  43. #44 John Phillips, FCD
    June 29, 2008

    Sadly, it’s not only this yellow rag on the ‘mobile phones will kill you kick’. For about a year or so ago a BBC consumer program was hauled over the coals by the BBC board for doing an uncritical program about mobile phones and their dangers. Using as their sources mainly anti-mobile phone campaigners including another ‘Dr’ Coghill type character who, surprise, surprise, also runs a company specialising in anti-emf garbage products, including what is effectively a tin foil hat made out of wire mesh as a wearable Faraday cage. Surprisingly, NOT, the conclusion left was that mobile phones and phone masts were dangerous.

    Ben (badscience.net) had a field day with that one and was, IIRC, the one who got the BBC to properly investigate the lack of impartiality and the rubbish ‘science’ behind the program. Though initially the beeb editorial staff responsible didn’t want to know until it was pushed far enough up the chain and taken out of their hands to investigate.

    In some ways, at one level the UK is as anti-science and anti-intellectual as the US. The only difference is that in the UK it isn’t a religiously based anti-science/anti-intellectual stance, though we have a few of them as well. But in both, a root cause is the very poor quality of science education in general.

  44. #45 Barry Pearson
    June 29, 2008

    Sam #9 said:
    “It is said that there is a newspaper for every political shade in the UK. When I first arrived here I read through every paper available until I found one I liked three issues in a row. Not that I agreed with it, but one that carried stories I was interested in.”

    No paper in the UK is consistently good and comprehensive. Everyday I open the online versions of BBC, Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Times, and also Google News, then go from there. Anything important I read in 2 or 3 sites.

  45. #46 MH
    June 29, 2008

    Monado (#42) wrote “One of my cats — the one who’s so delicate she won’t let anyone brush her — used to sleep draped over a rock in the garden.”

    I bet it was a magnetic rock ;-)

  46. #47 JM
    June 29, 2008

    Obligatory mention of PM Jim Hacker’s roundup of the British Press from an episode of “Yes, Prime Minster” – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes%2C_Prime_Minister – though now I read that it’s a reworking of a Dave Allen joke.

    Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
    Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
    Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

  47. #48 Nick Gotts
    June 29, 2008

    JM@47,

    A rather different version, from some lefty source or other:
    the Telegraph prints what the ruling class want the middle class to think, the Times prints what they want foreigners to think [this was pre-Murdoch], the Financial Times prints what they think themselves.

  48. #49 Bob Dowling
    June 29, 2008

    In some ways, at one level the UK is as anti-science and anti-intellectual as the US.

    The biggest anti-scientific movement in the UK is in our own media!

    Ben Goldacre first came to my attention when he wrote in the Guardian proposing that every science story should have a by-line listing the journalist’s relevant qualifications to write on this topic. I would make that mandatory across the board.

    The mainstream media in the UK is utterly ignorant of science. I routinely lay into the BBC for their incompetent scientific and mathematical work, but the truth is that they’re just the ones I come across on-line. The paper press is just as ignorant.

  49. #50 386sx
    June 29, 2008

    Maybe they should put that intrepid investigator Andy Schlafly on the case. He’ll find the data and get to the bottom of this! And I’m sure he’ll manage to find a liberal bias in it somewhere, too.

    He won’t find any data because there isn’t any.

    If there were any data, he still wouldn’t find it!

    Cell phones are caused by demons!!

  50. #51 386sx
    June 29, 2008

    Maybe they should put that intrepid investigator Andy Schlafly on the case. He’ll find the data and get to the bottom of this!

    Yeah right, he couldn’t find any data if you stuck it on a tree and called it Jesus. Get real!

  51. #52 J
    June 29, 2008

    Ben Goldacre first came to my attention when he wrote in the Guardian proposing that every science story should have a by-line listing the journalist’s relevant qualifications to write on this topic. I would make that mandatory across the board.
    That would certainly reduce abuse of scientific concepts, though unfortunately it might also stunt people’s enthusiasm. I’m not sure that drawing such a degree of attention to qualifications is a good idea. Let’s face it: science is so big nowadays that none of us can be qualified in more than a few specialized fields. It’ll be considerably harder to have stimulating conversations about science if the prevalent assumption comes to be that you can’t open your mouth about a scientific subject unless you’re qualified in it.

  52. #53 NRT
    June 29, 2008

    Protective tin foil head wear is an absolute must! Otherwise you will be totally defenseless against mind-control by the shape shifting reptilian humanoids such as George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson, and Boxcar Willie!

    “David Vaughan Icke,…a British writer and public speaker who has devoted himself since 1990 to researching “who and what is really controlling the world.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke#Reptilian_humanoids

  53. #54 negentropyeater
    June 29, 2008

    The biggest anti-scientific movement in the UK is in our own media!
    The mainstream media in the UK is utterly ignorant of science.

    And why should they care ?
    I mean is it written in any of the key objectives of the private media that they should me a good medium of education and that they should report fairly on scientific matters ?
    The only thing they care about is to increase shareholder value and that means selling more shitty newspapers, more shitty advertisements, reducing costs and publishing more sensational articles that drive all of this.

    I mean we’ve got a completely perveted system of free markets that when applied to the media has allowed this to happen, journalism is one of the professions with the lowest entry requirements, they’ve been hiring incompetent people for decades now, this Lucy Johnston who wrote this article in the Sunday Express is just one more example, what does she care, she’s not been hired to write something that is well researched and documented, she’s not been selected to have qualities of critical reasoning and such, she’s only looking to write an article that can have the most sensational title and drive more sales and advertisments.

    So what can be done about all of this ? If governments intervene in the media, it’s censorship with all its disastrous effects, and at the other extreme, it’s complete free market capitalism like in Britain and it also ends up having disastrous effects.

    I think it’s time people realise that the media is more than just a simple commercial business to sell newspapers and advertisments, that it does have a key role to play in the education of the people and that a minimum of check and balances, monitoring and requirements need to be implemented in the profession of journalism.

    Let’s face it: science is so big nowadays that none of us can be qualified in more than a few specialized fields.

    It wouldn’t have taken a PhD in Physics for this reporter Lucy Johnston, who wrote the article, if she had the basic critical reasoning abilities and at least a basic scientific education to ask herself the question as to whether this Dr Coghill had any data to back up his claims.

  54. #55 negentropyeater
    June 29, 2008

    Look it’s very simple, almost the entire british press is owned and controlled by 3 individuals, Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, and Richard Desmond.

    Murdoch controls both the market leaders in the daily market and the Sunday market – the Sun and the News of the World. He also owns the Times and the Sunday Times. Associated Newspapers, controlled by Lord Rothermere, owns the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, the Evening Standard in London and the fast growing free paper, Metro.The other player in the market is Richard Desmond, whose Express Newspapers owns the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Sunday Express.

    Now, does anybody think that any of these three individuals gives a fucking shit about good scientific education ?

  55. #56 CosmicTeapot
    June 29, 2008

    57.57 for an eloctromagnetic cat bed!!!!

    Do it cheaper, just put your mobile ‘phone under the cats cushion.

  56. #57 J
    June 29, 2008

    Now, does anybody think that any of these three individuals gives a fucking shit about good scientific education ?
    Or alternatively, let’s blame the public for being more interested in celebrity gossip than getting a good scientific education.

  57. #58 BobbyEarle
    June 29, 2008

    He does sell a very attractive Leather Bracelet, which will help your body cure all sorts of icky maladies. It even comes in five, count ‘em, five festive colors:

    Red.
    Black.
    Green.
    And French Blue.

    Okay, lesse…1,2,3,4,…..uh, say doc, what gives with the missing fifth color?

    Credulous Orange?
    Con-man muave?
    Asshat plaid?

    One riddle solved, another one takes its’ place.

  58. #59 Matt Heath
    June 29, 2008

    #55: You forgot about the Bond-villain Barclay brothers who control the Torygraph from their private island.

    Ben Goldacre rocks and at least a quarter of the BBC’s news coverage should consist of him explaining how everything they said about health or statistics is bollocks.

  59. #60 negentropyeater
    June 29, 2008

    #59 I am sure they are also very concerned about the very poor level of quality and validity of most articles published in their newspapers related to science, technology, nature ;-)

  60. #61 Matt Heath
    June 29, 2008

    The Barclay brothers should be concerned. If their papers keep damaging science literacy there will be no-one qualified to build their super gun and they won’t be able to wipe Sark off the map.

  61. #62 shyster
    June 29, 2008

    I was impressed by the pet water bowl that ensures that Fido or Fluffy gets the needed amount of magnetic water.
    I don’t have a pet but can’t see any reason why I can’t drink out of it. I need magnetic water, too.
    Every morning I plan on adding one of those healthy food pads from the night before. It will add that oh-so-special taste treat.
    If you are worried that I might be ingesting toxins, remember: they are my toxins, I recycle, and magnetic water is a known “detoxifier.” You people don’t understand science. I expected more out of this blog.

  62. #63 negentropyeater
    June 29, 2008

    If their papers keep damaging science literacy there will be no-one qualified to build their super gun and they won’t be able to wipe Sark off the map.

    Well no, why ? There’s always a few who escape, who don’t absord any of this, so I wouldn’t say that it automatically reduces litteracy, but more that it acts as a break. It ensures that a significant proportion of people remain illeterate and irrational, which these people believe is a situation which is more profitable in the long run.

  63. #64 Nick Gotts
    June 29, 2008

    Matt Heath@55 – Careful Matt, the Barclays are a litigious pair of… twin brothers.

  64. #65 CDV
    June 29, 2008

    I think it is obvious what has happened here. The cell phone tower conspiracy has taken drastic action by focusing their powerful energy rays on poor Dr. Coghill, causing him to forget where he kept the data. This explains why he is unwilling or unable to recreate the data, even though it covers just 22 individials, and could probably be done ever a week.

    It would not surprise me if the Evil Towerlords were to increase their power output directed at Dr. Coghill to the extent of causing his death, by the very mechanism he had the misfortune to describe.

    Since I have revealed this, I now live in fear of my cell phone tower. I need a powerful magnetic protector TODAY. Now that you too know, I would advise anyone who reads this to take similar protection.

  65. #66 mandrake
    June 29, 2008

    was seemingly schizophrenic with respect to the Madeleine McCann story,
    I apologize but I can’t help it.
    Schizophrenia does mean “split mind” but what that refers to is the split between the mind and reality, and not the splitting of the mind into two (or more) personalities. That would count as Dissociative Personality Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder.)
    It’s misused more than it’s used correctly, but there’s enough confusion in the public mind about schizophrenia to begin with. Makes it harder for the mentally ill & those who care about them.
    /rant

  66. #67 Doctor Spurt
    June 29, 2008

    I’ve tried to join in the fun, by emailing the on-line store to ask for more information about “The Coghill Supermagnet”. I’ve blagged step 1 here:

    http://effortlessincitement.blogspot.com/2008/06/coghill-supermagnet.html

  67. #68 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    June 29, 2008

    Saw an add somewhere online for an insulating material promoted as much better that aluminum foil for hat linings.

  68. #69 guthrie
    June 29, 2008

    Are Matt heath and Negentropyeater aware of previous newspaper owning work the Barclay brothers have had, namely “The Scotsman”?
    They bought it in 1995, gave it into the tender hands of Andrew Neil, and circulation plummeted, articles became more and more hackish and uninformative, and it has now reached the stage where space is filled by copying press releases almost verbatim. Although the Barclays did sell it in 2005, under their reign it sank to lows which it has not yet managed to get out of.
    They also let Andrew Neil run “The business”, which failed to get enough sales to stay afloat.

  69. #70 Doctor Spurt
    June 29, 2008

    So there’s also a “Coghill challenge” where he offers GBP2000/USD3000 for a power utility employee to have a human infant sleep in conditions he (Roger Coghill) is pretty sure will kill or harm the baby. It’s a bet, so he only pays if the baby gets it. Check it out:

    http://www.cogreslab.co.uk/cog_chall.asp

    I’ve emailed Coghill to ask him about the ethics of the challenge. No reply yet.

  70. #71 Matti
    June 29, 2008

    So let’s just say for arguments sake that suicides are a constant percentage of the human populace.

    Large populations of people now days require a larger amount of cellular phone carriers ad stronger signals.

    Large populations would also have to have a greater number of suicides by the logic of percentages. So… more cellphone signals = more suicides…

    However as we have all learned correlation does not equal causation.

    /100% of all inmates have ingested Di-Hydrogen Monoxide.

  71. #72 chibi curmudgeon
    June 30, 2008

    Magnetic water is more natural.

    Which is why all the water that comes out of natural lakes and streams is magnetic. No one has ever been able to shoot video footage underwater in the ocean, because the water’s magnetic field erases the tape. What they do is collect a boatload of fish, coral, sand, and whatnot, and dump it into a large pool full of demagnetized city water. I’m onto your little hoax, Nova…

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