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How! Not! To! Be! Taken! Seriously! (and, correlation vs causality)

16 Oct 2009, 11:27 UTC
How! Not! To! Be! Taken! Seriously! (and, correlation vs causality)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

There is a newspaper here in Johannesburg called the Daily Sun. Or perhaps I should say that it tries to pass itself off as a newspaper. It’s a daily paper, so every day there are new headlines advertised on street poles about the latest “news”. Stuff like “Santana gets Fired!”, “Accosted by Horny Shadow!”, and even once something like “Tokoloshe stole my baby!” The paper has been around a number of years and I swear I have yet to see a single headline without an exclamation mark.
Now, I’m pretty sure that at least some of the headlines are real, actual, newsworthy type of stuff. The thing is… I cannot bring myself to take the paper seriously. With all those exclamation marks all over the place it feels more like a tabloid than a proper paper (not to mention the other ridiculous headlines). I mean, is that really necessary? There are obviously people out there buying this paper and eating up everything it publishes, since the thing is still going. I just wonder what on earth is going through those peoples’ minds.
In a somewhat related issue, the other day the New York Times had an article about a scientific ...

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