Monthly Archives: September 2009

Just say no to media hysteria

Once in a while a story comes along that makes you wonder what the reporters were smoking. Here is a prime example:

BBC NEWS | Health | Taking showers ‘can make you ill’

Quoting from the story…

Tests revealed nearly a third of devices harbour significant levels of a bug that causes lung disease… M. avium forms a biofilm that clings to the inside of the shower head, reports the National Academy of Science.

Water spurting from shower heads can distribute bacteria-filled droplets that suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs, say the scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy” Researcher Professor Norman Pace

A couple of points come to mind.

  • The bacterium is a naturally-occurring one, which is essentially harmless at low levels.
  • What is a “biofilm”? It sounds like something like a soap-bubble made of bacteria.

But here’s the kicker, and the point that the reporter utterly failed to make. Most of us run the shower for a few seconds to let it warm up. And those who prefer cold showers don’t usually start with “a faceful of water”.

I’m no expert, but wouldn’t that simple and common practice flush the “biofilm” straight down the drain where it belongs?

This seems to me a classic case of press-release regurgitation with the absolute minimum of thought or critical thinking. Irresponsible reporting at it’s best… which is probably why this particular story did not invite comments.

For some reason, I expected better from the BBC.

Sound familar?

I stumbled across this quote recently. My left-leanings friends should find it comforting.

We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living.

The activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the community, but must take place within its confines and be for the good of all. Therefore, we demand: … an end to the power of the financial interests.

We demand profit sharing in big business.

We demand a broad extension of care for the aged.

We demand … the greatest possible consideration of small business in the purchases of national, state, and municipal governments.

In order to make possible to every capable and industrious [citizen] the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education …

We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents…

The government must undertake the improvement of public health – by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor … by the greatest possible support for all clubs concerned with the physical education of youth.

We combat the … materialistic spirit within and without us, and are convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only proceed from within on the foundation of the common good before the individual good.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

There is only one problem: It was written on February 24, 1920 in Munich, is part of the political program of the Nazi Party.

Happy Labor Day

I get to stay home today… and I get paid.

What fun!

Only in America do we celebrate a day by giving everyone the day off work. And what do we call it?

Labor Day


Now Reading: The Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller