Friday, 6 May 2011

Pouring cold water on cancerous hot meals

Trusting well

It is commonly reported that Ronald Reagan said regarding the nuclear treaties signed with the USSR, “Trust, but verify.”

Considering what I am about to write, I probably should trust that this quote was from Ronald Reagan but verify that it really was spoken by the Gipper; however, I would rather the quote was not attributed to anyone else because I need the authority of Ronald Reagan to press this quote to the widest audience of those who will trust but NEVER verify.

Only recently, a posting on Facebook [1] at the news of the death of Osama bin Laden which belonged to the writer and was followed by a quote by Martin Luther King suddenly lost its punctuation and before you knew it, MLK’s quote had been dropped and the musings of the writer became MLK’s quote and it was round the Internet on Facebook and Twitter like a wild fire.

Inadvertent trust

I never gave it much attention mostly because I was not passing the quote on because I know it would have looked unfamiliar to me and I would have dug in to find out the context of the quote before sharing that wisdom of the day with my friends.

There is a need for people to develop a sense of curiosity, a sixth sense about issues, a need to wonder if, find out why, understand what, appreciate how – I could go on.

As I rolled off my sleeping mat this morning the first thing I saw on Facebook was this title, “Drinking Cold water after a meal = Cancer!”

Now, it was on my Facebook timeline because I to an extent trust the person who posted it, yes, a Facebook friend is a trust exchange; what they post becomes part of your Facebook experience just as much as what you post becomes a part of their Facebook experience.

Twitter is however asynchronous, you only see what comes from those you Follow, things reTweeted by those you follow or those things that have your Twitter nickname attached to the message by others, you do not by default see in your Twitter stream the tweets of people who are just following you.

I don’t have itching ears

Now, I rarely ever take anything at face value on the Internet, I have this source, attribution, verification complex, even those who claim to be authorities in their fields of expertise in my view need to provide research and incontrovertible evidence to support their claims – it applies to professionals as doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants and most especially preachers, I just do not have itching ears, I have an annoyingly inquisitive mind.

I find it so irksome when people publish news stories without the authoritative link, it means I have to go find out where they got the information from or condemn it as a rumour or urban legend. So this is how I addressed my friend on Facebook.

Some Friday mirth?

I don't know if this is a joke, I hope it is because if it is not, I will be mightily disappointed in you.

Why? I expect people who become I become friends with on Facebook to learn a few things from me, like research anything thrown your way before publication and then publish such only with references - in this case, the medical research that corroborates this urban legend.

I had never heard of this before so the first thing I did was do a search on Google and immediately it was clear that this was no science it was mumbo-jumbo.

http://www.snopes.com/ Is the Google of urban legends, usually within days of any story, issue or myth breaking they do the research and clear it up.

The second reference went to http://urbanlegends.about.com/ I suppose that speaks for itself.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/coldwater.asp

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_drinking_cold_water.htm

Like I said in the beginning, I do hope you were creating some Friday mirth and it was all a joke. It looked like one. :D

Trust, but verify

It was necessary that I convey my displeasure with a modicum of jest just to ensure my views are not thrown in the waste-bin and in response my friend has erred on the side of this being confused science, fine with me.

In any case, I felt I should share this before it spreads like wild fire, an urban legend with no medical basis that was first posted in an email in February 2006 and carried on the wave of the trusting but incurious until it found a solid footprint on the Internet that I had not gotten halfway through the search terms before Google threw up suggestions that proved once again that you can always trust, but VERIFY.

The first link within my sources shows how you can avoid being caught out.

As for the Trust, but Verify [2] quote attributed to Ronald Reagan, it was originally Russian and said to be a frequently used phrase by Vladimir Lenin – next I expect someone to suggest Ronald Reagan was a communist, you saw it on my blog first.

Sources

[1] How to Identify and Avoid Spreading Misinformation, Myths, and Urban Legends on the Internet - Lifehacker

[2] Trust, but verify - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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