I must admit I read tabloid headlines while in line at supermarkets.
Often the headlines and stories are true enough in a literal sense, but seriously misleading. In this regard they're not always that different from some cable or mainstream media stories.
In any case, here are five possible tabloid stories followed by five brief explanations. You might want to figure out your own explanations before reading the ones here.
1. Thousands to Die After Swine Flu Vaccination
Many public health authorities privately fear that there will be many heart attacks among older people and miscarriages among pregnant women occurring soon after these people are inoculated with the H1N1 vaccine.
In fact, they expect there to be thousands of cases of this sad combination of events. Autism activists may take this as further reason to skip not just the H1H1 vaccine, but other childhood immunizations.
2. New Birther Claims About Obama Well-Documented
A new birther group has come up with incontrovertible evidence that President Obama was, in fact, born overseas and not in the contiguous United States. The documentation this time is rock solid, and there are reports that Obama himself has privately acknowledged the group's claim.
3. Otherworldly Properties of Metal Found at Roswell
A new discovery was announced recently in Roswell, N.M., an area believed by many to have been the site where an alien spacecraft crashed in 1947. A strange piece of metal found there has been subjected to exactingly precise measurements and has been found to have a quite amazing property.
It exerts a minuscule physical attraction on every information-processing instrument so far tested, and, within experimental error, this attraction is nine times as strong 1 foot away from the metal as it is 1 yard away.
Many wonder what to make of the fragment's seeming resonance with our system of measurement, but it can't be easily denied.
4. Math Formula Links Your Social Security Number to Your Age
Mathematicians have devised a simple formula linking your social security number's first digit and your age, and the startling connection holds only for this year. The Social Security Administration has not commented on what looks to be yet another path to identity theft.
Check it out yourself by doing the following elementary calculations. a.) What is the first digit of your social security number. b.) Multiply this number by 2. c.) Add 5. d.) Multiply it by 50. e.) If you have already had your birthday this year add 1759, and if you haven't, add 1758. f.) Now subtract the four-digit year that you were born.
You should have a three-digit number whose first digit should be the first digit of your social security number, and whose next two digits are your age. And, as mentioned, 2009 is the only year this will ever work.
5. Roswell UFOs Foretold in Bible
Researchers have found that embedded in the Bible are equidistant letter sequences (ELSs) spelling out the words "Roswell" and "UFO." That is, within the Bible, there is a sequence of letters, each letter separated from the next letter in the sequence by a fixed number of other letters that spells out these words.
These sequences come from the second part of the following line of Genesis 31:28: "And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Thou hast now done foolishly in so doing."