- The Washington Times - Friday, September 7, 2007

Memo to current and aging rock stars everywhere: Dudes, the time might be right for rethinking some clean living.

Turns out the band life — with its drinking, drugs, smoking, touring and access to nubile groupies — might not be good for you after all.

This shocking revelation comes from researchers at Liverpool John Moores University, who found that rock stars tend to die young because of their lifestyles, with American rockers faring far worse in later life than their British counterparts.

The professors released their far-reaching cautionary study on the rock-star life Tuesday — their keen sense of the obvious drawing laughs in a week where several studies of seemingly frivolous science also were announced.

Doors legend Jim Morrison, line one: “Um, HELLO. You’re kidding.”



On Monday, a cognitive scientist from Indiana University reported in a National Academy of Sciences publication that men tend to choose mates who are hot — not women who fit a list of criteria based on something more substantive.

This finding likely drew a sarcastic round of “duhs” around offices as did a report out Wednesday that found that men who don’t get enough sleep tend to lose interest in sex.

Who knew?

“What value does this have — none? And what can anybody do with any of this information?” asks Steven J. Milloy, a biostatistician and lawyer who has run the Web site JunkScience.com for more than 11 years, turning the screws on what he describes as bogus environmental and public health research.

“This is more than duh, it’s just stupid,” adds Mr. Milloy of recent research that had received considerable publicity. “There’s an awful lot of it and much of this foolishness is funded by taxpayer dollars.”

In the 1990s, says Mr. Milloy, odd and meaningless research peaked and then fell off. After September 11, 2001, it commenced again, picking up steam in recent years with issues like global warming, which has been flogged to considerable hype by Hollywood’s enviro-clerisy.

Mr. Milloy laughs as he recalls a study on beer bellies designed to determine whether they were caused more by beer drinking or by consuming hard liquor.

Another memorable research project was a federally funded study on condom use by prostitutes. It found, says Mr. Milloy, that the more prostitutes practice with condoms, the more likely they are to use them correctly.

Mr. Milloy, who works with a partner based in Australia to update his Web site every weekday, says he has plenty of new material to work with. He’s happy to refute studies with glee.

“I think we are getting back into the silly season of science again,” Mr. Milloy says, citing a University of Washington report that found that children who watch the popular “Baby Einstein” educational videos learn fewer words. That study, he claims, was done with an agenda against television viewing and funded by a federal agency that shares the same agenda.

While his own inquiry does not focus on social science, he says many universities tend to find a funding source that shares their views and then latch on to that cash stream to deliver findings that square with the agencies’ position.

Many federal agencies are involved in these partnerships that further the interests of both sides, he adds.

He dubs the circular relationships in the name of science a huge scam.

Many consumers and reporters tend to take research at face value — without really looking into how it was created.

“I think of lot of what goes on is not just silly, it’s fraud,” says Mr. Milloy. “I think a lot of it is done for publicity. Most of these studies are fairly easy to unravel.

“Does this mean we shouldn’t have rock stars?”

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