Checking in with Chat

It’s that time again. Time to see what entertainment Chat has for us this week. I knew it was going to be a good one when I saw this on the front cover….

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False a-llama?! Amazing. So let’s start at the beginning. Page 8 is the ‘Chat to us’ page. People send in photos, which tend to be stuff like ‘This is me on holiday.’ Stuff that is of no interest to anyone apart from the people in the photo. Here is one example…

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The caption basically says, this is my mum at M&M’s World in London. Great.

There’s also an old photo section, which tends to contain a black and white photo of someone – again, no interest to anyone but the sender of the photo.

Next we get a few stories of the sex-pervert and strange-disease variety. The health pages this week contain a puzzling ‘fact’.

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Apparently women with gum disease take two months longer to conceive than other women. You’ve got to be kidding me! This seems like one of those odd things from years ago, that dentists used to say to make people take better care of their teeth. Like when you’re parents tell you to eat your broccoli because it will make you run faster.

“It will, honest. You’ll get loads of babies if you brush your teeth!”

How on earth did they come up with this fact? Ok, let’s find a focus group of fifty women trying to get pregnant, and as a prerequisite, we’ll have half with gum disease and half without. It’s ridiculous. Some scientific researcher must have been super bored at home to have thought up that experiment to do.

Then, a few pages later, comes the best story, in my opinion. A woman, 42, living in England has fallen in love with a man she messaged on Facebook. He is Indian, living in Delhi, and 29. Here’s how it all started.

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She stumbled across someone’s page, who has Brad Pitt as his profile picture. She says she ‘followed her instinct’ and messaged him.

WHAT INSTINCT? Seriously… What instinct? What instinct can you possibly have about a profile picture of Brad Pitt? She even says that he doesn’t have any pictures or personal info on his Facebook profile. So what possible instinct could she mean? That they both like Brad Pitt and, as a result, could be a match made in virtual heaven?

Anyway, married English lady messages. Young Indian man messages back, “He’s such a great actor.” And from there, it goes from strength to strength. A quick text conversation with hubby whilst in the supermarket ends her 11 year marriage, so now she’s free. Free to be with the love of her life… O wait, apart from all those miles between them… But never fear, she is a woman on a mission! She is going to go and see him next Easter. Phew, because for a minute there I thought it was getting ridiculous. But no, she’ll be with him any day now (by now, I mean next year). She says she’s going to buy a one way ticket and stay there with him forever. Good luck to her.

Next we get a few weight loss stories, then the TV guide. A programme called Obese And Expecting promises to be interesting watching.

Lastly, we have the Facebook Photo Of The Week.

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How is that a photo of the week? There are no unusual camera angles, no beautiful light beams breaking through, no high speed cheetah hunt, no nothing actually. Nothing of interest. The caption basically says, ‘This is my daughter, Georgia, smiling.’ How utterly ridiculous is that? If that deserves to be photo of the week then journalism as we know it has gone much further downhill than I’d realised.

P.S. The llama story from the front cover turns out to be a peice about a llama who’s not psychic and can’t predict football scores. Amazing.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. 1. Wonder why people use the expression “fall” pregnant? Why not “get” or “become”?

    2. Another interesting thing is that very rarely do these kind of surveys tell you how many people were involved in the headline area. You have to read through the text to find that figure but of course by then you’ve already half or even fully accepted what the headline said and you just read over it. I saw a recent one in the papers which made some startling claim about the population at large from a sample of just 200 people in the survey. So how can you possibly make an inference about a population of 60 million by asking 200 people or testing a new (say hair) product on them. Well of course you can’t! But it makes a good headline and what do good headlines mean? Headlines like these are often used in TV adverts and so people may buy it to find out what it’s all about. It’s about sales not necessarily information. What none of these surveys do is actually give you what statisticians call a “confidence interval”. This is a measure of how accurate a figure could be with a certain level of confidence – so it might be say the result “X” is an amount plus or minus another figure which they say gives 90% or 95% confidence. (It may say the result 53 is + or – 6 to be 90% confident or + or – 2 to be 95% confident.) There is a whole area of maths dedicated to fine tuning results but newspapers and mags publishing these surveys are not interested. That’s because they want to sell papers & mags not to be statistically sound in the results they publish. QED I think!

    Reply

  2. […] first stop off today is on the photo page. I’ve talked about this before, about how people just send photos of themselves or people they know, doing mundane stuff, which is […]

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