S3 E11: Scientific Studies, Trump & North Korea: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

S3 E11: Scientific Studies, Trump & North Korea: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

US Presidential Election

Rodrigo Duterte

  • Rodrigo Duterte, the presidential front-runner in the Philippines, is known for his controversial remarks, including offering himself as a gift to young brides and suggesting he would kill five criminals every week.
  • Despite his admission of involvement in extrajudicial killings and his recent speech where he made disturbing comments about a murdered Australian missionary, Duterte's popularity remains high.

North Korea

  • North Korea held its first Gathering of the Communist Party Elites in 36 years, inviting foreign journalists to witness the event.
  • The journalists were given a highly choreographed tour, including visits to a model farm, a nursery school, and a gun factory turned museum.
  • Despite the elaborate preparations, the journalists were not allowed to attend Kim Jong-un's speech and were instead shown an old black and white Korean military drama on state TV.
  • Kim Jong-un is set to receive a new, more grandiose title, with suggestions ranging from "Supreme Leader Triple Supreme Leader" to "Kim Ley Mother of Dragons."

Scientific Studies

  • The segment criticizes the overabundance of scientific studies and their often sensationalized presentation in the media, including misleading headlines and clickbait articles.
  • Not all scientific studies are equal, some may appear in less than legitimate scientific journals or be subtly biased due to pressure to publish positive results.
  • Scientists can manipulate their studies to find statistically significant but meaningless correlations.
  • Replication studies are underfunded, underappreciated, and rarely published, leading to many unconfirmed scientific findings being taken as facts.
  • Scientific findings can be distorted when presented to the public, such as a study on the effects of chocolate during pregnancy being misrepresented as "eating chocolate during pregnancy is beneficial for the baby."
  • The media often sensationalizes scientific findings, such as a study on sulfide compounds being misinterpreted as a link between farts and cancer.
  • Studies performed on animals may not be applicable to humans, as the majority of treatments that work on lab animals fail in human trials.
  • Researchers themselves can oversimplify the science, such as a Ted Talk claiming that oxytocin is the "moral molecule" and prescribing eight hugs a day for happiness, while the actual science is more complex and suggests oxytocin can also enhance negative emotions.
  • A study claiming that driving while dehydrated is as dangerous as driving drunk was criticized for its methodology, as drivers who drank just 1 ounce of water per hour made the same number of mistakes as those over the legal alcohol limit.
  • The media often misreports scientific studies, which can lead to people drawing incorrect conclusions about the causes of cancer and other health issues.
  • Misreporting of scientific studies can also lead to people losing faith in science, which can have dangerous consequences, such as people believing that man-made climate change isn't real or that vaccines cause autism.
  • The media should provide more context and sourcing when reporting on scientific studies, or not mention them at all.

Todd Talks

  • The YouTube channel "Todd Talks" satirizes the way that the media often misreports scientific studies, by presenting exaggerated and ridiculous claims as if they were legitimate scientific findings.
  • The channel's goal is to entertain people while also highlighting the importance of accurate reporting of scientific information.

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