This post stinks


Who pays for these studies?

I mean seriously, I’ve been seeing these posted all day on Facebook. Who funds these studies? And why was there a need to fund them?’

First, we find that when Grampa asks you to “pull my finger” he’s actually doing it for your health.

Study: Smelling farts may be good for your health [The Week]
A new study at the University of Exeter in England suggests that exposure to hydrogen sulfide — a.k.a. what your body produces as bacteria breaks down food, causing gas — could prevent mitochondria damage. Yep, the implication is what you’re thinking: People are taking the research to mean that smelling farts could prevent disease and even cancer.

Pass the broccoli, please.

Then we learn from yet another study that apparently we smell like our friends.

From USAToday, “A new study finds that friends share more genes than strangers do — not enough to make them like brothers and sisters, but enough to make them something like fourth cousins.”

What the study actually says is that there are similarities in the DNA of people who spend time together. That leads to the possibilites that smells bring together since “The researchers found genes controlling smell were among those most likely to match.”

This may all give some deeper meaning to the expression, “Keep your nose clean.”

Or not.

But seriously, why is this stuff being studied? Are there hopes that there may be some great medical breakthrough to find a cure for cancer or diabetes or any number of maladies?

Or did some grad student just need a basis for his thesis?

Not only that. Who does the research? Just…eewwww…

I’m not snarking at science. Just wondering if we’re spending time and money on the right things.

That’s not my decision. And, hopefully, not my money.

But no matter what information you seek, it’s important to do the proper research. That’s particularly true with writing.

In the early days of the web it was easy enough to fire off a rant about something and everyone would believe it, because, well, it was on the Internet, and more likely, no one was going to take the time to verify the facts.

We have lots of fact checkers these days. Some actually check the facts. Some make up their facts to “verify” their claims. A certain soon to be former Congressman’s campaign got caught doing that recently.

But, I digress.

Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Twain attributed that to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, although, if you’ve done your proper research, that hasn’t been verified.

Still, research and statistics and polls can show us lots of “facts.” I’m not saying the above studies don’t pass the smell test, so to speak, merely that if you work hard enough you can document just about anything.

So, it’s important to be careful on the Internet. There’s a lot of disinformation out there. I’ve talked about this before, and I won’t repeat the examples here.

If you see something that seems too good, or too horrific to be true, chances are that it is. Dig to the back story.

I’ve been burned by that before. I’ve either fired off a rant about something only to find out that the story was from The Onion, or just a clear distortion. I’m more careful about that these days. I never single source anything.

Okay, I single sourced the Disraeli reference to Wikipedia, but that only said it couldn’t be verified.

If I’m writing a story, I look for at least three references that tell me the same thing. If it’s a news story, I check the date because I frequently get “news” that’s a month old and waste my time looking for additional information on a story that’s over.

Still, that’s part of being credible as a writer.

When your credibility is questioned, that really does stink.

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