Doodles originally thought to be the work of Prime Minister Tony Blair have been reattributed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The doodles, retrieved from the Davos world economic forum last week, sent certain parts of the UK media wild with excitement as they quoted graphologists prepared to give psychological assessments of the doodler based on the sheet of paper. The Daily Mirror claimed they showed Mr Blair to be "a bit of a daydreamer hoping for the best", while The Times produced a second graphologist who said the jottings revealed "an aggressive, unstable man who is feeling under enormous pressure".
But over the weekend it emerged that the paper, containing phrases such as "taxes", "debt cancellation" and "vaccine fund" was actually the work of the Microsoft chairman, who had taken part in a press briefing at Davos with Blair and U2 lead singer Bono.
"We look forward with amusement to explanations by a variety of psychologists and graphologists of how various characteristics ascribed to the PM on the basis of the doodles, such as 'struggling to concentrate', 'not a natural leader', 'struggling to keep control of a confusing world' and 'an unstable man who is feeling under enormous pressure', equally apply to Mr Gates," a Downing Street spokesman told the media.
According to Robert Todd Carroll, writing in the Skeptics Dictionary, "...there is no useful theory as to how graphology might work [and] it is not surprising that there is no empirical evidence that any graphological characteristics significantly correlate with any interesting personality trait".
"Newspaper editors who resort to this sort of thing are frequently nervous about pleasing their proprietors, exhibit unstable circulations and are keen to pander to their diminishing readership", a media source said today, under conditions of anonymous unaccountability.
Last week the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $750m to a worldwide infant vaccination programme. During his time at Davos, Gates pushed the case for further investment in disease prevention, according to reports.