I love it when mainstream periodicals publish junk. During a coffee break today I visited MSN and saw that they had a little article talking about life expectancy on their healthy living page. Now I know that much of what comes out of MSN when it comes to studies is just consumer garbage, but I decided to take a look anyways. The article in questrion was about what effects your life expectancy. Right off the bat I saw something that, if it had been in relation to women, would have never been published or met with a howl of rage.
The second slide shows that women who give to birth to a boy can expect up to a one year decrease in their life expectancy. I continued on to see if there was any mention on giving birth to girls, nope there was no mention. Anticipating that this was junk science, I quickly googled the term and came up with Yahoo article talking about a study saying that having boys could take months of your life. A study had indeed been done on the subject but here is the kicker. This little tid bit of information, that was being written about as if it were fact, was extremely circumspect. The study, by Dr. Samulii Helle was using data from pre-industrial Finland.
So here we have a mainstream periodical publishing a little infographic with information that is not only not pertinent in modern society, but also where even the researcher Dr. Smaulii cautions about reading too much into it. I don't expect the major periodicals to do a very good job of reporting science or geopolitical events, but you'd think some editor would see the first slide and go 'hmmm...that first slide is a pretty controversial claim. We should look into this.' Nope, it looks like that would be expecting too much.