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User:KnightOfTL;DR/Crazy Things My Professors Believe

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Normally, I consider academia a bastion of reason amidst a growing anti-intellectual culture. I have many friends older than me who are professors, researchers, and other scholars. Some of them are quite distinguished. Seriously guys, professors throw the best new years' parties, and there is no lack of great, fascinating conversation. I really like teachers. It is wonderful to talk to a person who knows what they are talking about and I get no end of satisfaction from a good discussion. I've liked it ever since I was a kid; I used to get very angry when teachers didn't call on me in class, and I would feel like my hand was a lonely obelisk rising from a landscape of students doing their best to emulate grey, silent rocks. It would stay up all class, sometimes waving, "Pick me pick me!" until I had to put it down out of sheer muscle pain. Nobody else has a question! Why won't you pick me? I have so much to say! I can feel it pouring out; I can't hold it in! Please pick me!

(It should be fairly clear that I talk a lot. If that wasn't obvious from my moniker.)

However, beyond the obnoxious pleas of my teacher's-pet younger self, not all has been milk, honey, and nectar. I have unfortunately encountered Crackpot Professors, something I'd never seen before. Initially I was humiliated. These were not like the level-headed allies I enjoyed in the greater Boston area! Well, maybe a little like that one crazy guy who writes terrible fantasy and thinks that the economy is going to explode and we should all live on man-made islan-- NO. They were NOT like anything I had experienced before. They were a mockery, an outrage! When I encountered my first one, I honestly could not shut up about it, and his terrible ideas dominated my conversation for months. Not that I ever shut up about anything... but that's besides the point.

Woo-spitting educators are in a uniquely threatening and dangerous position. Perhaps they place themselves there on purpose, for it is a seat of power that none can deny and lends the credibility of their now 'expert' opinion to their absurd theories. When they walk into a classroom or lecture hall, they are expected to be reliable. They are expected to teach, to introduce ideas to the thoughts of others and thus shape those students' worldview and reasoning. They are an authority in every sense of the word: over the ideas they introduce, the ideas they might even simply author themselves with their power, and over the students whose academic futures they now control. Any student sitting in a classroom, without additional information, will not be able to distinguish truth from fiction. This is not insulting students or calling them mindless; the classroom is where most information is assumed to be true, because why would the professor possibly be teaching it if it was false?

Why indeed? Why were these people put in the position to serve their garbage to classes and classes of students, who leave less informed than they were when they enrolled? I didn't know, and I still don't know. But I am certain of one thing:

I now have a new eternal foe.

Miseducation.

And so let it be writ here in bit and byte: The misdeeds of professors I have had the displeasure of facing. Make merry of their folly, and despair. For they have tenure.

SPRING 2011[edit]

ENG225: Great Books: Asian Literature.[edit]

This man really loved Yoga. He really loved it. He also really liked to explain how we, as western society, are terrible and ignorant to the truths of eastern philosophy. This man was the reason why I found and lurked this wiki in the first place. He was so frustrating, I had all of this written out beforehand. He also liked to pretend that all of his crackpot spiritual philosophies were somehow grounded in science. Here are some of his most prominent insanities, along with my responses. Many of them are featured on the wiki already. But damn it if that didn't stop him.

Meteors and other phenomenon are getting more frequent, so in 2012 we're going to die as predicted by giant meteor.
How is the frequency of meteors somehow connected to an arbitrary date that the Mayan calendar ended on? Or did you take that date and look for anything going on that would somehow validate it? Working backwards from a conclusion is not the way this works and you should feel bad for saying this.
Vibrating your brain helps you reach a more enlightened mental state. This is because enlightened people chant 'ohm' and tap the back of their heads. Therefore the vibration must be a scientific factor to their enlightenment.
I am sure it has some sort of health benefit. Heck, you can use ohm and sound waves to make pretty pattens with sand. But if the vibration was some kind of scientific justification for ohm and other meditation practices, sitting on a bus for a few hours would enlighten us. Or getting a back massage from one of those chairs from a Brookstone catalog.
Pyramidal energy fields form around tall buildings, and some building such as the great pyramids of Egypt and churches were built tall on purpose to vibrate your frontal lobe and thus mind-control you into worshiping at them because of the feelings of enlightenment they give off.
And this is why I joined RationalWiki. Because this man makes my head hurt.
There is such a thing as 'western science.' There is no such thing as 'eastern science.' There is only 'eastern tradition' or 'eastern philosophy.'
No. Science is science. It doesn't matter where it happens. You can't lump western practices as 'science' and then eastern practices as something else. Especially if you use this as a platform to then make this comparison: "If the west is bad while the east is good, and science happens in the west while ancient wisdom happens in the east, then science is bad while ancient wisdom is good." No. No, no, no.
Science fully supports that the Voice of God coming from a Burning Bush-- via a plasma speaker.
Plasma speakers do exist. You can use a flame as a speaker for a radio or iPod, with the right equipment! And this is pretty cool. But before you go saying 'this explains the burning bush' you have to tell me how the information input got into the bush to use the fire plasma speaker output. And you can't say 'a miracle' because if you're so determined to justify one part of your argument with science, you need to do it for your whole argument. It's like explaining writing on a rock by saying that somebody wrote on the rock using a handy slate-and-chalk interface, and then when asked who wrote on the wall, and with which hand, the explainer says, 'A wizard. He was standing on the moon and he did it with his psychic powers."
Because L.Ron Hubbard once did a study that supposedly showed the electromagnetic field of plants freaked out if they were damaged, and supposedly freaked out even more in the presence of the damager, we can conclude that plants can sense and recognize electromagnetic fields. In return we can now also assume that humans can do the same thing and can sense each other's electromagnetic fields, including those of plants. This explains the phenomenon of auras and how they are totally legit, and as well as how some tribal herbalists can 'talk' to plants to discern their medical properties. It's science!
I... I uh... I don't even... how? What? Are you even serious? You are? Well damn. You are the crown prince of ridiculous.
Some western drugs people take a lot are only 8 percent better than a placebo, which according to my information is the same as some alternative medicine. This makes alternative medicine just as good as western medicine.
This logic is not even wrong. Use of nebulous terms such as 'some' are one sin. Another is claiming that non-evidence-based medicine somehow has shown evidence of working. Still another is trying to prove that 'western medicine' is bad by claiming it is just as bad as alternative medicine. Which you are trying to prove is good at the same time. Thinking about this logic too hard makes my brain hurt.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Science Administration) was named for Nazareth, because it is about space travel being all high and superior.
NASA is an acronym. It has nothing to do with Jesus.
Western medicine is the best 'quick medicine' in the world-- if you don't have time to take herbs over the course of months. Also, the things that western medicine is best at, if you aren't cured quick, it's probably a flesh eating disease and you're going to die.
This is so wrong I do not even know what to begin with. Western medicine is not 'quick.' Please learn about medicine before you talk about medicine. Flesh eating diseases are dangerous to both those who take western medicine and practice eastern folk remedies and treatments. Not to mention there are folk treatments that INVOLVE flesh-eating substances. And while overuse of antibiotics does create strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, being susceptible to them has nothing to do with taking more western medicine or not. I am not amused by your story of how 'there was this guy who took western medicine all the time and then he sniffed bread mold and it ate his face! This bread mold was totally mutated by western medicine in his body!'
If you eat an animal' brains, you ingest their RNA which gives you some of their knowledge.
... So all of the things I eat that contain cow RNA are giving me these cow memories of grazing and being milked? Wow! I must be the best at grazing and being milked! I drank milk every day for years, and I love me a steak!

(In truth, this in a nightmarish thing to think rather than just absurd. He used this in-class to justify cannibal cultures that eat human brains.)

If you get a heart transplant, the nervous cells in that donor heart are like a second brain and hold memories and personality, and will change the personality of the heart recipient.
There is no doubt that there are a lot of nervous cells in the heart. But that those nervous cells actually are capable of retaining memories is dubious. Shouldn't that nervous system be more concerned with keeping the heart going? Here's what snopers have to say about it. (heads up, it's a lot of 'no.')
Martial artists can project their brain waves twice as far as normal people.
OK, I'll assume you're correct for a second. But let's ask what separates martial arts from other physical and mental disciplines. Shouldn't a professional fencer have the same focus as a professional kendo player? Shouldn't a boxer or trained grappler have the same discipline as a karate specialist? Shouldn't an expert equestrian have the same willpower as an expert in jujitsu? Shouldn't a master gymnast have the same coordination of body as one who has mastered Tai Chi? Shouldn't a master swimmer have mastered breathing as a yoga expert has? This is more bullsh*t trying to pass off eastern practices as more mystical or better than western practices when in reality the principles that make martial arts possible-- focus, understanding of the body, muscle memory, quick-thinking, and discipline are universal. If a martial artist really can project their brain waves farther (whatever the heck that does) then wouldn't somebody who is the most utterly disciplined movie critic, or the most impeccably conditioned street busker have the same 'ability?'
People who meditate about an activity do twice as well at that actual activity compared to those who practice the activity.
If meditating was really a replacement for muscle memory, experience, and skill, then really we would have a cultural revolution. Or at least a lot of Jedi running around. I have seen one 'oh how about that, who would have thunk it' yahoo-news-style study that found this, and I seriously doubt its value.
Because acupuncture can be done with lasers, this means it's totally 100 percent a scientific procedure.
While I don't doubt that there is some medical benefit to acupuncture (it is one of the less absurd alternative medicine practices) saying that it can be done with lasers doesn't prove anything about it's validity as science. Lasers do not instantly equal science. In fact, if lasers work just as well as needles, that may point to that the actual needles may not matter-- and that it's the placebo effect at work. If you can do acupuncture with anything and receive the same result, then it's clear the actual procedure isn't the deciding factor here, huh?
Krishna is easier to understand if you liken him to Jesus Christ.
You are a scholar of this stuff, Mr. Professor. You should know this. They are not the same. Please stop comparing them. There is no universal one-religion conspiracy going on. We are not so stupid as to need a western approximation to understand Krishna. And please don't assume everybody in your class knows or identifies with Jesus Christ.
Some ancient Japanese man saw a UFO.
No he did not, please go back to your corner and think about what you've done.
Western drugs are bad because many people die by taking prescription drugs as prescribed.
No. Restart your brain and try again.

SPRING 2012[edit]

BIO 170: Human Biology[edit]

This man scares me because he is a molecular biologist, yet still manages to believe or at least teach some of the most baffling health woo possible. While he does have a few good points about the state of food production in the USA and the corruption involved, his commentary is sprinkled with falsehoods that the mostly-uninformed class would be hard-pressed to separate from the facts. He prescribes to homeopathy, diet woo, and uses the class as a springboard to try and prove to students that his ideas are right. His lecturing rhetoric is quite irritating— he brings up health scares and diseases and then links them to medicine and tries to frighten people into thinking his diet views are true... under the guise of 'I bet you didn't know that!' The awareness he has spread about High-fructose corn syrup, the corn industry, and bad agricultural practices has been in the guise of a conspiracy theory instead of a policy spotlight. While some things are hidden from public view, not all of it is a secret conspiracy; indeed, anyone who lives in Iowa would be painfully aware that Monsanto practically rules farmers with an iron fist. Furthermore, it's also impossible to tell if he actually fully believes some of the myths he talks about, because he has often inserted comments for 'interest' and he may even be trying to be funny... except he's not funny, and people honestly can't tell he's joking with all of the ridiculous things he says.

Eating out of aluminum cans, using aluminum pots, taking old antacid tablets will give you Alzheimers later in life because aluminum was found in Alzheimers brains and eating it is the only way it could have gotten there. Therefore aluminum causes Alzheimers.
Other than a classic 'correlation does not equal causation' error, this idea is completely false. What's more embarrassing is that a family member of mine was one of the individuals that performed the lab research that discovered the aluminum in the first place, and I only had to call him to learn that at no time did they actually hypothesize aluminum-based causation in that research. Way to not even know the research you are trying to turn into a food woo scare! It is possible he heard this information through word of mouth and is now blindly repeating it.
The full moon is really mysterious! More crime happens on a full moon, and it causes hair to grow faster. You know, because it causes tides and the human body is made of mostly water.
For one, the lunar effect has been repeatedly been tested and proved false. On the other point, the earth exerts far more gravity on humans than the moon does. By this logic, should we be growing hair out of the bottoms of our feet?
If stem cell research was made legal, fetuses would become in-demand. This would lead to little girls getting pregnant in order to have abortions to sell their unborn babies.
This is verbatim, and a pretty good try at scaring the class. The idea of 'little girls' becoming pregnant is a powerful repulsive image that actually has nothing to do with stem cell research. There's already a market in babies and even host mothers for them. Regardless of what the effect of legalizing stem cell research is, it's not right to try and scare people about it by trying to connect 'BUT THINK OF THE POOR CHILDREN" to it.
In winter, one's blood thickens, which warms the body. People who live in warm climates have thin blood, so when they go north it is harder for them to keep warm. Eating oranges or other fruits out of season will thin ones blood due to the acidity.
This is not how blood works; it has a uniform density throughout the year. Not to mention that the only reference for 'acid thins the blood' I can find is a holistic healing handbook from the 90's.
Cheap white wine grapes are sprayed with antihistamines in order to make them retain water. Because they are sold by weight, this profits the farmer. When you drink cheap white wine you will then stuff up after the fact because of the antihistamine wearing off.
First of all, this is humiliating to hear in a human biology class because this was taught alongside the lesson about antibodies. How could antihistamines effect grapes? They work by blocking the receptor sites on the cells that trigger production of antibodies. Antihistamines would have zero effect on grapes. It is possible he got this idea from the fact that some grapes contain a natural histamine that is the cause of what people call red wine headache.
Western medicine is allopathic medicine, which only treats the symptoms of illness. The opposite of that is homeopathic medicine, which treats the root causes.
Is this the same homeopathic medicine that thinks water has memory? Allopathy is a term for western medicine that was coined in the 19th century by a homeopath to make it look bad, and no actual doctor recognizes it as a valid term. Nor is homeopathic medicine an 'opposite' of it, and it certainly doesn't treat the 'root cause' besides.
85 percent of European doctors are homeopathic, and all they use in Germany are homeopathic doctors.
While alternative medicine is prevalent in Europe, this number is completely made-up. In reality, European countries are withdrawing their coverage of homeopathy under public health insurance. In 2012, United Kingdom universities dropped all alternative health programs. His rhetoric seems to try and invoke the 'America is bad, so other countries must be wiser than us' heartstrings-pull based on doubt and fear.
It is a fact that the reason for yawning is that it cools down the brain.
Um, no. One study found this and proposed it as a possible cause for yawning. It did not discover the meaning of the yawn for certain.
When the hearing of elderly people begins to go, they start hearing static. This is the electrical signals in their brain! They can hear their brains work.
I can't find a citation for this, and this is not how age-onset deafness works anyway. There's no receptor for electrical signal sounds inside the brain. How could they possibly get this auditory input?
Humans have dull canine teeth, almost like bicuspids. This means we weren't meant to eat a lot of meat and should be eating mostly if not all plant matter. We know this because carnivore species have huge canine teeth that help them rip meat. Ours are less developed, so we're not built for eating meat and it's wrong for us to eat it.
Long, daggerlike teeth are useful if you are a lion for chasing prey and biting it to death. Seeing as we have hands, and don't have to use our mouths to kill food... large powerful jaws to rip and tear flesh in order to kill and eat it aren't very useful. And if teeth are the only indication of recommended diet for primates, what does that say about The gorilla, which is primarily is a herbivore?
Coffee enemas and yogurt enemas are good.
The only case I know where anybody historically performed yogurt enemas is with John Harvey Kellogg. Yes, the guy who made Kellogg's cereal. He also thought that eating boring cereal and putting yogurt in your butt will reduce sexual passion and that he was at war with masturbation. Pretty much all people today who do yogurt enemas inadvertently are following his example, not actual health information on its benefits. Coffee enemas are popular now for 'detoxifying' (whatever that means), but actually are dangerous (they have resulted in deaths) and there is no scientific evidence supporting any useful effects.
People who refute my ideas are 'angry.'
Well, of course they are. If somebody said something to you that was not true, wouldn't you be angry at them when they won't stop condescending to you?
People shouldn't eat meat because it rots in the body.
I would really like to see anything rot in a PH of 2, not to mention that we have enzymes that effectively break down meat for digestion. Things like fiber and other parts of plants can't be broken down by the human digestive system; that's why we have a giant colony of bacteria in our gut to do it for us! And that's why beans make us fart.
Drinking urine is A-OK because it is sterile. In fact, it can be used to sterilize and cauterize wounds. There are even people in Greece who drink it every morning because it energizes them, and there was once a whole cult devoted to drinking urine!
While urine is sterile inside the body, it may not be sterile as it comes out. The genitals contain bacterial flora that may contaminate the substance, and as such if you must use pee for this purpose, there are specialized techniques for collecting it with minimal contamination. Historically, yes, people have used urine to clean wounds and in super-emergency situations it's better than nothing... but not better than boiled water, strong alcohol, sterilized vinegar, or other substances. On the front of drinking it, the Army Field Manual(PDF) lists urine on the list of things of DO NOT drink, and for good reason. While it may be 95 percent water and possibly useful for retention in a super-emergency, drinking it repeatedly over-time (such as in a survival situation or in a ritual manner) does more harm than good. Over time, the salts, potassium, and other waste products concentrate in the body and eventually lead to serious health problems and even death. So those alleged people in Greece I can't find had better be drinking other liquids too... or the reason why I can't find them might be because of death by kidney failure. Unless he's referring to the ancient Indian practice of urine therapy, which does include drinking of urine in the morning. The only note of pee-drinking cults I can find are not people who drink pee for its own sake, but those who consume the waste of people tripping on psilocybin mushrooms. It might be of note that there is actually a not-inconsiderable amount of woo concerning urine-drinking: extolling it as a health practice justified by the bible (Proverbs 5:15) and other sources like the aforementioned ancient Indian tradition. A former prime minister of India even went on 60 minutes to defend his habit. In conclusion, leave the piss-drinking to Bear Grylls and just get a nice cup of tea instead.
The major schools competing in psychology today are Freudian vs. Jungian.
You are a supposed molecular biologist. You are not an expert in psychology, and obviously so. Freud and Jung haven't been considered particularly important in decades.
Smell is cool because smell can recall repressed memories.
It is true that human beings strongly associate smell with memory, but 'repressed memories' have been considered pseudoscience for quite a long time now.
Cocaine has no ill effects on people, and it never has. Before the prohibition, people ate it in food!
Yes, and at one point people thought it was good to drink radium, too.
Multiple personality disorder is real and Sybil with her 16 personalities proves it.
Sybil was a movie and a book, and the case depicted within might not have been entirely truthful.
if nervous, eat. It makes the heart relax. Also vomiting makes the heart relax.
I better hope that your heart doesn't relax, because it needs to be pumping blood. I can't find any biological mechanism that would cause eating or vomiting to lower heart rate, lessen palpitations, or correct heart spasms unless there is some great journal or definitive paper that is behind a paywall I can't search through. I can see how nervous eating might be a psychological mechanism to calm the body: doing a comforting action in the face of discomforting thoughts. I can't find any mention of vomiting (or possible post-vomiting hormone or neurotransmitter release) calming heart rate, either. From personal experience (and therefore not really a debunk, just a thought), vomiting is often accompanied with panic and disgust, not relaxation.
Males have better hand-eye coordination than men, and are better at sports. Women have better fine motor control and can thread needles easily.
... Do I really have to touch this? It reeks of sexism. Although there is difference in how sexes perceive the world, whenever I try and search a definitive answer for what each sex is 'good' at, I always end up with sources contradicting other sources. It's generally accepted that males seem to be better at spacial visualization, and are more likely to be colorblind (genetics) than females. And that females are better with facial recognition and navigate more with landmarks. But other than that sort of stuff, every single source I come across seems at odds about hand-eye coordination, athleticism, and motor control. Not to mention there are a shocking amount of female inferiority/male supremacy sites when I search. I want to just call this one inconclusive and shame on him for teaching it as if it was fact.
The USA can produce enough food for 9 billion people without GMOs, yet it destroys a huge surplus of food each year by dumping it into the ocean in order to drive up food costs! Also they can't store all of it so they get rid of it instead of sending it abroad!
... Are you... serious? Yes, there is some food destroyed in the USA each year, but it's not dumped into the ocean, and it's usually because the food is no longer safe to distribute. The USA pours money into subsidizing agriculture such that farmers can produce corn, soy, and wheat below the cost of production... why would they then DESTROY that surplus of food to drive prices up? Food in the USA costs a tiny amount now than compared to what it used to cost. American rice, wheat, corn, soy, is so cheap now that it actually bankrupts foreign farmers because it goes for market price for less than locally grown crops. Also, how can you contradict yourself by first saying that the USA can produce and store food for 9 billion people, more than the population of the earth right now and more than the yield of vastly pesticide-soaked and genetically modified crops... and then say that food is destroyed because they can't store it? Our cash crops are selected specifically such that they are able to be stored for a long time. Corn, wheat, and soybeans can sit around far longer than fresh produce or root starch can.
If you eat meat, then you ingest antibiotics. This makes penicillin-resistant STDs.
OK, for this to be true, ingested antibiotic traces (traces! not doses!) have to somehow be absorbed into the body tissues rather than being broken down during digestion or simply passing through the human body. This doesn't seem to happen in any significant way (it may happen slightly, I am not entirely sure, I need to do more research and my findings right now are turning up 'no' but I could be slightly inaccurate) in an ingested antibiotic regimen, so there's little reason to believe it would happen by eating meat with trace antibiotics. The antibiotics that exist in meat (usually beef) are most often injected antibiotics, which are used to fatten cattle. Then we have to assume the antibiotics are the same penicillin (or one of the many varieties of penicillin antibiotics available) effective on the particular STD. Then we have to assume that somehow the antibiotics in the tissue so happen to migrate to genital tissue, where they kill off all of the non-resistant STD bacteria to create an environment where only the resistant survive. Unlikely things happen, but this seems like a stretch and a cheap linking of one woo to another.
HIV is a 'designer' disease and unique... it can mutate at will. Theorists suggest it escaped from a lab.
OK, but only if the 'theorists' you are referring to are conspiracy theorists. HIV does mutate rapidly, making a vaccine difficult to develop... but that's not enough evidence to suggest that it was developed in a lab.
Abortions first went into demand in the United States because of a morning sickness drug that caused birth defects.
OK, the drug you are referring to is wp:Thalidomide and yes it causes defects. But considering the first abortion laws appeared in the 1820s, I somehow doubt that a drug released in the 1950s was the first demand for abortions.
Americans will do anything for a fast and easy cure.
I would think any person would, actually. Are you somehow implying that hard and difficult cures are better than easier cures? Many treatments we have today ARE difficult and high-impact, and researchers work every day to discover less extreme alternatives.
Chemotherapy is not the answer for cancer! It kills! I have a friend who just got sicker and sicker from it until she died!
OK, I am sorry about your friend, and I agree that chemotherapy is an extreme, high-impact treatment that plays havoc with the human body in the course of trying to fix the problem. People are trying desperately to research alternatives or improvements to the technique to make it less harmful, yet also do not throw out all of the people whose lives have been saved because of it. One anecdote doesn't disqualify it, I am sorry.
Our method of treating cancer is so backward. Germany is more progressive with immunotherapy that boosts the body's natural healing ability to fight cancer all by itself.
OK, what do you mean 'our' method. immunotherapy research happens over here, too. Quit invoking America Bad/Europe Good false dichotomy. And while you didn't explicitly state this, this sounds suspiciously similar to the 'all doctors in germany are homeopathic' argument you made earlier this year. and wouldn't you know, not far down the google results (about 6th) for 'germany immunotherapy' is the 'Hufeland Klinik for Holistic Immunotherapy', supposedly undertaking 'the latest research in mind-body medicine.' How interesting...
'Big Cancer' is the second largest industry in the united states and it includes public health and environmental agencies, making tons of money per year. Wouldn't it make them even more money if they had a cure for cancer, but were just suppressing it?
Wouldn't it be nice if you would not tiptoe into full blown batshit crazy territory, sir?
The human body can 'handle' cancer.
Um, wow, no it can't?
If you go walking in Madison Square Garden, it's paved in granite. Uranium is found in granite, so granite is radioactive. Walking through Madison Square Garden is like getting a chest x-ray.
A while ago, the concern was actually about granite countertops emitting radon, not actual uranium present in anything more than traces within the counter. Actually, the fact that some granite countertops are radioactive is true, but most of it is very small, trace amounts not significantly more than the background radiation. However, some counters are substantially radioactive, leading to most granite for home use being inspected before being okayed to build with. However, even if the granite used in construction in Madison Square Garden has radioactivity to it, you sure aren't going to be as close proximity to it as you would be to a kitchen counter, and certainly not in the same routine way. Unless, you know, you like lying around on your back on top of a granite slab that's covered by concrete anyway. It is notable that the second google result for 'granite uranium' is a blatant scare story hosted at greenbuildingelements.com (complete with scary headline and a frightening anecdote right off the bat) that clashes with what was researched back when the urban legend was put to the test.
The fourth branch of the government is the media.
This phrase is the sound of a journalism student slamming the door in your face, forever. However the purpose has been corrupted, the original purpose of the media in this country was to promote a free market of ideas, and most importantly to enable criticism of the government. Yes, that is idealism, yes, the government does use the press. But it is not an intrinsic part of the media to be the government's lacky, nor should it. The day that happens is the day we lose a very important freedom. But his next, final statement is what makes everything fall into place.
If you take away anything from this class, I want it to be to question everything. Question authority. Be skeptical of what they tell you. Do not take anything at face value, look deeper.
This is the wisest thing you have said all semester, because if there's anything to take away from this class it was to question you because you as the authority were terrible and fallacious. And it's even clearer what you meant the statement to be. But I will be a skeptic, not a conspiracy theorist. Yes! Question the world around you! But when you seek answers, find facts. Don't find what makes your worldview seem more right. And most importantly, question yourself. If you can do that, and your ideas stand up to scrutiny, you're safe... otherwise, you have this class.
And nobody wants that.

The semester is over, but I haven't the heart to trim this expansive list of dreck down...