3 comments


  • I love this post; it’s a good cautionary tale for the “don’t believe everything you read” category. Your trail through the (lack of) evidence reminded me of a wonderful term paper a student wrote for one of my sociology courses in the 1980s. The student tried to follow a commonly cited and oft-repeated bit of data about homelessness and mental illness back through a trail of citations to its source. The source turned out to be a throw-away remark that someone made in a Congressional hearing and that then found its way into the Congressional Record, with absolutely no data to back it up!

    May 10, 2012
    • Meleah

      Hi Jean,

      Thanks very much for your comment. Some people have asked me how I could stand clawing back through all that research to get to the bottom of things but, like you, I found it fascinating and really enjoyed it. Now I’m on the lookout for something else to trace back through time. I’m sure there’s no shortage of this sort of thing. Take good care.

      May 22, 2012
  • Suzanne

    “Weeds are wild and resilient,” he says, “so it’s hard to know if the weeds you’re seeing are there because of the soil or for some other reason, like birds pooping as they flew over.”

    That is probably the least helpful observation about why a particular plant is growing where it happens to be growing. It grew there because its seed was there? No sh!t.

    September 10, 2014

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