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98% of drug addicts started off drinking milk. Why is this dangerous gateway beverage still legal?

From the great Scenes from the Multiverse, via Boing Boing.

This is a wonderful way of encapsulating how some in the general public misinterpret science stories. i.e. correlation and causation is not the same thing.

An Intelligent Designer on the Cow

By DAVID NG

Today, I feel like doing a plant – no, an animal. Yes, today, I am going to make an animal. And it will be a masterpiece. I shall call it the…. No wait! Maybe I should think of the name later. Yes, you should always name your pieces after you have completed them. Better that way.

OK then. An animal it is. More specifically, a vertebrate. Large body, four legs, one tail, one head, usual stuff on the head – i.e., let’s just follow the standard animalia rubric. Nothing exciting there. Not yet anyway. So let’s give it an armored tail, with poisonous tendrils and a stink that can kill. Oooh, I like that – but maybe it’s too much. Why such a fancy tail? Maybe the tendrils can come out of its nostrils (note to self: Have I designed nostrils yet?). And the stink can come from the body itself.

But it doesn’t quite feel right. Feels forced. No matter, I suppose I can simply start over. Besides, I did the poisonous tendrils last week. But keep the stink? Yes, let’s keep that.

I know. How about we give it three, no eleven, no four stomachs! Four stomachs! For the efficient eating, of the grass. I am truly inspired! Don’t stop there. How’s this? This animal should urinate milk. From its groin, no less. From little appendages which I will humbly call teats that collectively, communally, reside on a mound of tissue I will call a brother.

Now I am on a roll. Milk will flow from the teats of this animal’s brother.

No wait, I cannot call it a brother. This animal has no lips – don’t want it to have lips – too common a thing for a masterpiece. Seen that, done that, yesterday’s news. But you can’t say the word “brother” without lips. Poor animal, that would be cruel. Instead, let’s call it an udder. Yes, an udder – that’s much better.

Now, of course, I need to work in a clown somehow. I love clowns. In truth, clowns are my all-time favorite design. How will I do this? Perhaps give the animal a raucous and overt sense of humor? Make it wear funny shoes? Make it scare the shit out of young children? No, not subtle enough – I want this animal to be so much deeper than that.

What if, and I’m just saying things as they come to me, this animal-can-be-ground-and-shaped-into-a-meat-patty- which-can-be-mass-produced-and-fried-on-heating-elements, and-then-sold-by-a-corporate-entity-bent-on-feeding-the-obesity-line-to-young-children -by-using-as-their-public-representation-and-symbol, a-clown, whom-we-shall-call-Jesus (no-wait,-let’s-save-that-one-for-later), whom-we-shall-call-Ronald-McDonald, and-these-meat-patties, which-will-be-inexplicably-and-mysteriously-called-hamburgers -after-a-completely-different-animal-I-haven’t-created-yet, will-also-be-considered-sacrilegious-by-fully-one-sixth-of-the-world’s-population, and-oh-oh-why-is-it-that-the-numbers-0157-cry-out-to-me? because-OH-MY-GOODNESS-I-can’t-believe-it, but-this-stuff-is-just-so-brilliant!

Take a breath. WHheeeew-hooooooo. Calm down. That’s pretty good. But maybe just think about some of the simple things now. Like color. Yes, color is good. And easy – let’s go with the rustic look, plus spots. Et voilà. We have finished yet another creation, which for some reason, I feel inclined to call a cow. Hold on, one last thing. It shall go “moo” when it speaks. Yes, that’s a nice touch, even if I do say so myself. People are sure to talk about that one, maybe even create a song or two.

Originally published at Inkling Magazine.

(Flawed) Solar Heat rebuttal. Great example of how intuitive data interpretation can get it wrong.

Great example of how intuitive data interpretation can get it wrong.

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