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notageek
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:35 pm    Post subject: Parasite from pet cats makes you ambitious businessman Reply with quote

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5989699/Parasite-pet-cats-makes-people-likely-start-business-risks-finds-study.html

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The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is thought to affect 350,000 Brits every year

It can change its host's behaviour to make them ambitious and likely to take risks

People infected with the parasite are 1.4 times more likely to study business

Researchers led by the University of Colorado tested 1,495 students for T. gondii, finding those positive for the parasite were 1.4 times more likely to study business as their main subject.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like cats, happen to be friends with a few from over the back and the odd one that I bump into on the street.

The only thing I've got is hair loss.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I figured this had to be The Onion.

It's just proof how full of shit Academics, some Scyentists, and most "journalists" are.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bones McCracker wrote:
It's just proof how full of shit Academics, some Scyentists, and most "journalists" are.

Well, that's why it's called strong independent woman …
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This makes sense. Cats have the right idea, lazy FFFUUU animals but being lazy FFFUUU animals does not feed them. By infecting their pet humans to encourage them to bring home the £££ it helps sustain their lifestyle
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bones McCracker wrote:
I figured this had to be The Onion.

It's just proof how full of shit Academics, some Scyentists, and most "journalists" are.

Not as bone-headed and sensational as you might think; parasites that alter the host's behaviour to aid their own spread are not news. Here's a fungus that infects insects (commonly ants) and turns them into "zombies". Having the parasite alter you behaviour to take more risks would result in the host getting killed and eaten by the predator, thus spreading to another host; this is, after all, how cats get infected: the mice take more risks, hence make the job easier for the cat. The best part about toxoplasmosis is that it's not often treated, unless you're a pregnant woman or other risk person, so people can't tell most of the time.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marcih wrote:
Bones McCracker wrote:
I figured this had to be The Onion.

It's just proof how full of shit Academics, some Scyentists, and most "journalists" are.

Not as bone-headed and sensational as you might think; parasites that alter the host's behaviour to aid their own spread are not news. Here's a fungus that infects insects (commonly ants) and turns them into "zombies". Having the parasite alter you behaviour to take more risks would result in the host getting killed and eaten by the predator, thus spreading to another host; this is, after all, how cats get infected: the mice take more risks, hence make the job easier for the cat. The best part about toxoplasmosis is that it's not often treated, unless you're a pregnant woman or other risk person, so people can't tell most of the time.

Agreed. There are parasites that alter behavior. We've even known about the parasite in question, and how it causes rodents to not fear cats. There are not, however, parasites that make you major in business. It's another example of otherwise educated people having a dangerously sophomoric understanding of statistics.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've met enough parasites and I think I've got a handle on it. The parasite is majoring in business and dragging you along to class with it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The parasite might cause you to take risks at College, such as smoking a lot of dope or drinking yourself silly when you should be studying. So, indirectly it could cause you to drop out of your major in engineering or computer science or whatever and end up as a business major and therefore in business. But, that's what we call covariance, which is what you're supposed to conduct specific analysis to identify when you are searching for the causes of phenomena. What you don't do is what at least the journalist, and possibly the so-called scientist, has done here, which is looking a correlation at a very simple level and saying "Eureka!" A & B happened together therefore A causes B, and and then announce it to the press or heaven forbid, publish. the correlation alone is merely enough to posit a hypothesis, not draw a conclusion. One must follow up with rigorous testing including analysis of variance to identify the true causal relationship.
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notageek
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, they're software to deciding on correlations between data points. Software is probably from IBM such as this SPSS.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

notageek wrote:
Actually, they're software to deciding on correlations between data points. Software is probably from IBM such as this SPSS.

Correlation is not the issue. What's missing analysis of variance (ANOVA) and similar causal analysis. Any good statistical package can "do" this too, but that doesn't help if you don't even know what it is, when it's called for, or how to use it. And, sadly, that includes almost everybody, so we're at the mercy of our own stupidity and, moreover, of the stupidity of authority figures like journalists and, yes, even many scientists who don't know what they don't know.
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