Monthly Archives: May 2010

I don’t understand the point of this, therefore it’s stupid

That might as well have been the headline to this piece in the National Post, entitled: Fat kids get picked on–and other things you didn’t need a study to tell you

There are no doubt countless important studies that discover things that help the public better understand ourselves and the world in which we live. There are also a lot of studies that tell us things we already know. Or didn’t need a costly study to tell us. … A cynic would suggest that studies such as these are conducted by researchers who could be making better use of their time by not re-examining widely accepted conclusions.

Oooh, so when we “know” something already we should just accept that as truth and not bother to prove that there’s actually something to X perception, as opposed to it being some sort of confirmation bias. Wow, I’ve been doing this science thing all wrong.

What is a “widely-accepted conclusion”? Like that we lose the most heat from our heads and that’s why we should wear hats (bullshit). Like that?

[T]he researchers found “that obese children had higher odds of being bullied” regardless of a number of socio-economic factors. The authors “conclude that being obese … increases the likelihood of being a victim of bullying.”

Apparently this research is useless. But only if you accept the conclusion before having the data to support it. Maybe rich fat kids didn’t get picked on. Who knows? Without a study, no one – at least not for sure. And if the NP author’s issue is that he doesn’t consider the research question interesting, well that raises the question: Why does individual specific interest determine what scientific studies ought to be done?

The author provides several more examples of research that he finds unimportant, yet provides no analysis for why this is a problem (other than to suggest that money ought to be spend elsewhere, but then it’s turtles all the way down again – based on what? why is this a problem? etc).

Is this how the public perceives science research? If so, we have our work cut out for us to change that perception lest we end up just accepting “common knowledge” as the objective truth regardless of evidence just because Joe Sciencepack thinks that’s how it’s done.

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Movie Writer/Director Whitewashes Rape

The Runaways is a movie about the life of Joan Jett and her band. Apparently movie bosses felt that telling the real story would make one of the characters lose her innocence – because she was raped.

Cherie Curry’s teenage rape ordeal was axed from the storyline of the new The Runaways biopic – because writer/director Floria Sigismondi didn’t want the Cherry Bomb singer to lose her innocence at the beginning of the movie. Currie, who is portrayed by Dakota Fanning in the new film, admits there was a sexual assault that inspired her whole look, but Sigismondi didn’t want to dwell on an incident before the rocker formed the band with Joan Jett.

She didn’t want to “dwell” on a significant event in this woman’s life that was part of making her the person she is. Ok…

The rock star reveals, “There were particular reasons why I cut my hair into a (David) Bowie haircut. That was because when my twin sister’s boyfriend found out I was a virgin, he decided to take my virginity at force. I cut my hair kind of in retaliation of that. But the filmmakers felt that I would be losing my innocence too early in the film.”

Seems like a pretty significant and horrifying event for a person to live through. Now she has to live through it being erased, with the implication that her rape was not important to the story of the movie and might be too much of a downer.

Currie admits it’s one of the only things about the new biopic she takes issue with: “I thought, ‘Why is she (Dakota Fanning’s Currie) just cutting her hair?’ It didn’t make sense going from this surfer girl to this tough chick without an explanation.”

No, it doesn’t make sense. If only she’d been raped at a more convenient point in the time line.