Punting on what will happen to the economy (and the world) in 2012 is everyone's favourite pastime. The problem is that the internet can't distinguish between the terrifying thoughts of some random blogger and a respected economist at Oxford University. Pierre Salinger Syndrome, named after President Kennedy's press secretary, occurs when we believe what we read on the net and - what's more - make decisions on the back of it. This can range from gossip about our favourite celebrity's sex life to reports of imminent terrorist threats. The next thing you know, stock market prices are crashing and we're all hiding under the bed. Sufferers include anyone who takes the virtual world more seriously than they do the real one. 'The internet speaks in a loud voice,' said Mike Godwin, the author who invented the syndrome. The solution is to be more careful about what you listen to.
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