Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bye, Bye Blondie

The World Health Organization (WHO) bureaucrats, having successfully halted the epidemics of AIDS and Bird Flu, have directed their efforts today toward the release of a study suggesting that natural blondes will be extinct by the year 2202. It doesn't take a scientist like our friend Sisyphus to debunk this story, so here goes. Either the study is incredibly flawed or, more likely, the MSM reporting on the study is inaccurate.

Blond hair is caused by a recessive gene, meaning both parents must contribute the blond hair gene in order to have a blond child. In order for blondes to be extinct, all people with the recessive gene will have to die out. None of the stories I searched pose a scenario where blonde geneholders die out, nor do they give any suggestion that this is even possible.

The study probably said (or should have said) that naturally blonde hair will become extremely rare, as cross-cultural breeding limits the percentage of humans who receive recessive genes from both of their parents (remember that just one blonde gene will not produce a blonde.) Therefore, in 200 years, it is possible that natural blondes will be extremely rare. However, the genes required to create a blonde will still exist in a significant percentage of humans, (for the most part) paired with a dominant brunette (or sometimes red) hair gene, leaving the world a little less blonde. On the other hand, there will be many occasions where two brunettes who each have one recessive blonde gene mate to produce a blonde child.

On the other hand, millions of Brokeback Mountain loving hairdressers will gladly work to increase the supply of blondes via chemical means.

UPDATE: Laura Billings wrote on the same subject today. I feel shame in touching subject matter that she considers within her limited realm. Especially since she is paid union scale for her drivel. If blondes really are dumb, then she must be a natural.


Blogger Douglas said...

I was going to send you an email, but I couldn't find any addresses. This goes for all the NIGP contributors.


I'm writing to ask for your assistance. I'm presently writing a paper that will be submitted to the International Workshop on Weblog Ecosystems, which will be in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK in May of this year. I'm writing a paper on the Minnesota Organization of Blogs, and I would like to take a survey of members of the MOB to see how the MOB compares with other profiles of bloggers, and the general public.

All of this data will be kept strictly confidential.


The reason I'm asking about age is because there was a recent journal article that said three out of four LiveJournal bloggers were between 16 and 24 years of age. I know we have a much wider spread, but I'd still like to be able to compare it.

Marital Status:

The reason I ask this is because Nick Coleman said that bloggers were the lonely guys listening to police scanners. I know this is not the case, but I want to compare it with the general population

Level of Education:

Nick inspired me to this one as well, when he compared journalists to astronomers. I believe we are significantly more educated than the general public, but I want to confirm this.

How do you read the blogs you read regularly? Do you surf a blogroll, use an RSS aggregator, use the favorites menu in your browser, etc.

The reason I ask is because other papers haven't discussed this, and I was curious.

How many of your regularly read blogs are other MOB blogs? How many of your regularly read blogs are outside the MOB?

The reason I ask this is because I'm curious as to how many of the visits to MOB blogs are from other MOBsters, and how many are from outside the MOB.

What was your traffic for the month of January? (Be honest, now! If you can give both visits and page views, that would be great)

The reason I ask this is because I plan to say "The MOB received x visits and y page views in January." Your number will just get added together with all the rest. I get less traffic than most members of the MOB, so I'm definitely not interested in comparing individual stats.

If I can get this information from you by this Thursday, that would be great.

Best wishes,

Dr. Douglas Bass

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was in the Best of the Web (WSJ) yesterday...

Great Moments in Journalism
Yesterday we made fun of the New York Times for picking up on Sunday a "report" that the World Health Organization had concluded blondes would go extinct--a claim that had been exposed as a hoax in October 2002. It turns out that among the organizations that reported on the hoax back then--a day earlier than we did--was the Times itself:

Apparently it fell into the category "too good to check."

Last Friday, several British newspapers reported that the World Health Organization had found in a study that blonds would become extinct within 200 years, because blondness was caused by a recessive gene that was dying out. The reports were repeated on Friday by anchors for the ABC News program "Good Morning America," and on Saturday by CNN.

There was only one problem, the health organization said in a statement yesterday that it never reported that blonds would become extinct, and it had never done a study on the subject.

I love your blog and hope to never put you in the same category as Laura Billings again!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Chad The Elder said...

Laura was probably just worried about her husband's wandering eyes. Less blondes means she can stay in the saddle a few years longer.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Luke said...

A cursory search indicates that this is an urban legend.

WHO: Clarification of erroneous news reports indicating WHO genetic research on hair colour

"In response to recent media reports citing an alleged World Health Organization (WHO) study predicting the extinction of the naturally blonde hair gene, WHO wishes to clarify that it has never conducted research on this subject. Nor, to the best of its knowledge, has WHO issued a report predicting that "natural blondes are likely to be extinct by 2202". WHO has no knowledge of how these news reports originated but would like to stress that we have no opinion on the future existence of blondes."

11:14 AM  

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