Sunday, March 14, 2010

And speaking of disaster myths ...

How the conventional wisdom gets to be so conventional:

An article last Sunday about the morality of dealing with looting in times of disaster incorrectly stated that a blackout in 1965, which did not bring disorder to New York, resulted instead in a baby boom nine months later. There was no baby boom. A widespread belief that there had been one originated with a New York Times article, nine months after the blackout, reporting that some New York hospitals were experiencing higher than normal numbers of births; later scientific studies, however, found no evidence of a statistically significant spike in the birth rate.

Because, well, nudge-nudge, Study Says, how many words does your tribe have for "heuristic editing" -- why fact-check it if it makes such perfectly good sense the way it is?


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