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NASA Fan
2005-Mar-21, 04:38 AM
I just heard this one on the news and had to cringe.

They were getting a comment from a woman and she said something like "they should bury their heads in the sand like an ostrich."

I wonder how many people hear that and know that it is a bad statement--for me it took credibility away from what she was saying.

Rant over.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-21, 06:55 AM
Come on. It hardly takes your credibility away.

Though this topic is worth posting. We all need these reminders from time to time.

I open my classes on infectious disease with a short blurb on what is science and what happens when we don't use it to make decisions. Later on I use a Gary Larsen cartoon of the Lemmings headed for the drink (http://www.uvm.edu/~jdecher/LarsonLemmings.GIF) with one guy wearing an inner tube to illustrate peer pressure preventing safe behavior. I had been using it for a few years before I learned it was a myth. Now I point out the myth as an additional point about bad information being very common.

Grendl
2005-Mar-21, 11:15 AM
I still say things like, "He has his head buried in the sand about the conditions in Iraq," but I understand the origin and its myth, so I never include ostrich in it anymore. I think it's OK that people say that, because the phrase comes from the fact that an ostrich does look like its head is buried in the sand from a distance. It lays its head flat or somewhat curled up and it gets covered with sand, so it looks like it's in a pile of sand. As long as people understand that it doesn't put it's head in a hole as so many cartoons show, I don't see a problem with referencing a saying that we all know serves as an analogy, such as with "lemmings to the sea."

But I understand that you might be annoyed with the perpetuation of bad science.

One myth I dislike that I always hear is about pulling a gray hair and it causing even more gray hairs to grow in its place. That idea isn't even sensical to a layman. [-(