News flash! The experts might be wrong.
Never mind which experts. Take your pick. We're overrun with the pests these days.
It doesn't matter the topic because experts are swarming over all of them. Shake a stick at it and you're bound to swat three or four experts while still in your backhand.
This brings up an important question -- what is the collective name for a group of experts? Each animal group has its own designation: a herd of cows; a brood of hens; a flock of seagulls; a murder of crows; a crash of rhinoceroses; a pungent of sasquatches; etc.
Perhaps a gaggle of experts. No, I think that's geese. A bother of experts? Ah, a meddlesome of experts.
Anyway, according to Newsweek, we are being invaded by a meddlesome of experts who are here to tell you that whatever it is you're doing, they know better.
David H. Freedman, author of the book "Wrong: How Experts Keep Failing Us -- And How to Know When Not to Trust Them," wrote in Newsweek, "Medical, economic and business-management researchers themselves have studied the reliability of published research and concluded that most of it is flawed, exaggerated or just plain wrong."
Kind of gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling about that hot tip you followed last week, huh?
What is an expert, anyway? Let's break it down: An "ex" is a has-been. A "spurt" is that teeny, tiny burst before a useful thing goes dry.
Therefore, an expert is someone no longer in the field whose one molecule of knowledge dried up a long time ago.
So why, if the information is so questionable, do experts keep giving it? Duh. So we know they're experts, of course.
Talk shows, magazine quizzes, how-to books, governmental reports, scientific research, anyone who's ever had a kid, car or cough... a whole meddlesome of experts is foisting its advice on you even though you neglected to ask for it.
Once, butter was good for you. Then the experts said use margarine instead. Then the experts said, no, butter is better.
Just in the last year, one meddlesome of experts -- the Faculty of Public Health -- called for a ban on trans fats such as are found in margarines to cut obesity and heart disease. At the same time, a heart expert from University College London hospital called for a ban on butter to reduce artery damage like in the victims of heart disease.
Meanwhile, the federal Food Standards Agency said ban neither butter nor margarine. Instead, take a look at milk and meat.
Then there's sunscreen. For years, the experts told us to slather on the sunscreen, the higher the SPF, the better. Now another meddlesome claims some sunscreens both promote cancer and rob the body of the vitamin D it was engineered to soak in from the sun.
And let's not even get into experts who tell us how invest our money -- if there's any left after following their advice.
So what should you do when faced with expert opinion? I'm glad you asked. My sure-fire advice: Take a nap. By the time you wake up, new studies will have changed all the information you didn't like. Keep napping until you hit a spot you like.
Trust me. I'm an expert.
--- Send advice to firstname.lastname@example.org