Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fortune Telling

I rarely watch the news but like many things, the news makes me angry. What's the deal with a weather report??? What exactly do you have to major in to qualify to be a weatherman? It's the only job I know where you can be consistenly wrong day after day and not be fired. A weatherman can easily give you a 7 day forecast and not even be close for seven of the seven days. "Tomorrow's forecast... 60% chance of rain..."

The next day comes... No rain... You turn on the news... "Well, it seems the rain has 'passed over' us and MAY fall somewhere in the Eastern townships." All the while they beguile us with cheesy cartoons of clouds with eyes and smiling suns. YOU WERE WRONG MOFO!!! Fess up!!! What are you paid for if you can't predict the weather? If I were to randomly guess what the weather is going to be like a few days from now I bet I would be right 50% of the time. Try me... Tomorrow, the forecast is going to be rainy... The day after that... No rain... It's going to be 38 degrees... Then on Friday there will be an earthquake and a volcanic eruption... And it will rain cats and dogs... And the rain will have cat-dog hybrid babies... and these mutants will maul the population... And if that doesn't happen, I'll collect my paycheque anyway! I'm sure there are some animals out there that are more reliable at forecasting the weather... They probably pee on the east side of a tree when the wind is going at a certain speed.. or something... Someone must have knowledge of how to predict rainfall by animals urinary habits.

Health reports are an insulting farce. Today's offering, a "report" about the benefits of a polyphenols in delaying neurological diseases. But if you watch it, there are very few scientists speaking. Just slack-jawed locals, "My dad is old... My dad drinks a lot of wine... My dad is not demented.. Therefore wine cures dementia." Cut to a scientist saying, "Wine contains polyphenols!!!" One woman even had the audacity to claim that her mother was LIVING PROOF that whatever fermented leaf, tiger urine or holy water her mother drank was what kept her mind so sharp throughout old age..

They did "interview" one scientist. They had a few shots of him using a pipette. He alluded to the fact that polyphenols may scavenge antioxidants and suggested they could make a polyphenol pill in the future.

Again... I could EASILY spout out a bunch of mumbo jumbo about anti-oxidants. But if I'm not accountable, what credibility do I have? I could say, KFC contains chicken, which contains fats. Fats are found in brain cells. Therefore KFC could cure alzheimers... I eat KFC and I don't have alzheimers. That's pretty strong evidence for my hypothesis.

You know what delays old age, in plain english: "Exercise and Eat properly." The equivalent information in a news report. "New studies reveal that GRAPES are good for you. They contain polyendoamenic acids that prevent old age."

Some hapless bumpkin: "WOW GRAPES!!! Good for you?? I'd better eat lots of grapes and I'd better eat them exclusively. And I'd better go to the pharmacy and see if they have grapes available in pill form. All the goodness of a bunch of grapes, in one convenient pill. For the on the go slob, who doesn't know any better."

The more things change the more they stay the same. The evening news portrays little more than a bunch of modern day fortune tellers and sorcerers getting paid to convince you that they know something that you don't. Sure there are a lot of facts in there, but they have such a bias slant that people are bound to misunderstand or come up with the wrong conclusions. Maybe the scientist in me makes me a little critical of these feeble reports, but what else could they show the general public? That being said, I WILL go and have a bunch of grapes right now. Grapes contain neuron "mightiers" like polyphenol.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

AM /EFF 'em!! Radio

Man, am I ever tired of random people calling me asking for survey information or trying to sell junk.... Normally I ask them if I could have their phone number so I could call them back. Of course they seldom allow incoming calls and after I'm informed of this, I generally decline doing business with them.

Today, I was called by someone who wanted to gather information for a survey about ratings on the radio. I was not pleased at all. I particularly hate it when they introduce themselves and ask a question right away, as if they're so fast I won't even notice the survey has already begun.

Survey Guy: "Hello, my name is Guy. We're a non-profit organization collecting information to evaluate the ratings that different radio stations are receiving-Are you over 18??"

Who said I wanted to participate in this survey anyway. I'll ask the questions if you don't mind. "Wait a minute... What interest does a non-profit organization have in getting information for a radio show?? Are you a volunteer??"

Survey Guy: "Well.. I'm an employee..."
Me: "So you are getting paid."
Survey Guy: "Well... we're part of a cooperative..."
Me: "That's irrelevant... Basically, you're asking me to do this survey, so you can collect information that has monetary value to you."
Survey Guy: "Yes..."

The guy then says that he will only take 3 minutes of my time by phone and eventually asks if he can send the survey to my house so I can fill it out and mail it back to them.

Me: "So you want me to fill out this survey for you, which will provide YOU with valuable data. What incentive do you provide for the time it will cost me to do all of this."
Survey Guy: "Well... you will be able to influence the quality of the radio programs you enjoy."
Me: "I don't listen to the radio... EVER!!!"
Survey Guy: "We need information from people who don't listen to the radio as well. Is your adress *****"
Me: "How do you have my adress???"
Survey Guy: "Phone book.. 411... ummm..."
Me: "I see... I ask you again... Why should I do this for you???"
Survey Guy: "Well, there may be a few dollars in the enveloppe if you complete the survey."
Me: ...
Survey Guy: ...
Survey Guy: "Can I count on you to complete the survey??"
Me: "Count on me??? I guess decide when I receive the survey after I've seen what kind of "incentives" you provide. Won't I??"
Survey Guy: "Thank you, you'll be receiving the package in a few weeks."

Jerk.... I feel he owes me money for calling my house. He's already indebted to me. Now he's going to send me some freaking survey. I refuse to do it for anything less than 5$ at this point. The most disturbing thing however, is that I took the time to even converse with this guy. I should have just said I wasn't interested, and hung up. At least once a week, someone tries to get something from me for free. They're stealing my time and money simply cuz they picked my name out of a phone book. I'm mad as hell and I won't stand for it anymore!!! Radio stations now??? I have to spend time telling them how I hate that song by Rihanna that they play every 10 seconds? You want better ratings, play music that doesn't suck.