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October 20th, 2017

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Suspicions Confirmed

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published March 13, 2015

Suspicions Confirmed

(1) A January examination of New York City records through NYC Open Data found that the five most common first names of taxicab drivers licensed by the city are five variations in the spelling of the name "Mohammed." (2) The last McDonald's burger to be sold in Iceland before the chain abandoned the country in 2009 has been on open display at the National Museum of Iceland and was recently moved to the Bus Hostel in Reykjavik, "still in good condition," according to the hostel manager. "Some people have even stolen some of the fries." [Daily Mail (London), 1-14-2015] [Iceland Review, 1-28-2015]

Harvard University medical researcher Mark Shrime documented recently how easily made-up research can wind up in reputable-sounding academic journals -- by submitting an article composed by random-generating text software, supposedly about "the surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals" (and authored by "Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles"). Of 37 journals, 17 quickly accepted it, some feigning actually having read it, with the only catch being that Shrime would have to pay a standard $500 fee for publication. Shrime warned that some of the journals have titles dangerously close to highly respected journals and cautions journalist (and reader) skepticism. [Fast Company, 1-27-2015]

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