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Incredibly bad science journalism!

  1. Jun 2, 2006 #1
    I've been inadvertently running into some truly abysmal science writing recently. The purpose of this thread is to highlight the most egregious, or hilarious, examples. A "wall of shame". Anyone can contribute! Let's try to enjoy this as much as possible... and not dwell on the depressing reprecussions this has on the public's awareness of science...

    Here's exhibit A: an excerpt from an article about biotech at Harvard.

    http://today.reuters.com/news/newsA...145110Z_01_N31211645_RTRUKOC_0_US-HARVARD.xml
     
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  3. Jun 2, 2006 #2

    Pengwuino

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    I feel like im going to laugh at the wrong things....
     
  4. Jun 2, 2006 #3
    Great idea for a post, and I do agree that science coverage in the media is abysmal (and I say that being ex-media) but it is also abysmal in everything not featuring a movie star or "musician".
     
  5. Jun 2, 2006 #4

    LURCH

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    "The human cell"? Is he reffering to the planet on which we are imprisoned?!

    Gives me a whole new image of NASA and the ESA;

    - "Yeah, me n' Mugsy, we're goin' over da wall, see?"
     
  6. Jun 2, 2006 #5

    DaveC426913

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    On my local TV station, they reported about Global Warming and the Arctic Ice Sheets.

    According to them, snow - being white - reflects sunlight, while open water - being dark ... apparently "attracts" sunlight.


    (Yes, I remember going to the ocean when I was a boy, standing on the beach and watching all the sunlight bend away from land toward the water...)
     
  7. Jun 2, 2006 #6

    Evo

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    You too? :biggrin:
     
  8. Jun 3, 2006 #7
    From a feel-good AP article about ethanol:
     
  9. Jun 3, 2006 #8

    Moonbear

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    I've heard a number of reports about ethanol as a fuel for vehicles that have similarly come across as if the reporter was clueless that ethanol is the drinkable alcohol, because of course we don't have other ethanol production facilities in the US, right? :rofl: They also have come across sounding like nobody has ever thought of using ethanol as a fuel before, that it's something brand new. I guess they get confused because the idea was originally presented to the consumer market as "gasohol" and now it's called "ethanol." Gosh, and I thought the lesson on alcohols was the one chemistry class everyone actually paid attention to. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Jun 4, 2006 #9
    This one isn't science writing as much as statistics, oh well. A US General tries to look on the bright side of the Haditha killings:

    (AP)

    I have no idea what that's supposed to mean... :confused:
     
  11. Jun 4, 2006 #10
    I'm a bit late on this one - here's an atrocity from the New York Times last August, by Kenneth Chang. In which a very lazy science writer does his version of a "balanced" presentation of Intelligent Design, balanced in the moronic sense of throwing together equal numbers of quotes from either side, and letting the reader choose:

    In Explaining Life's Complexity, Darwinists and Doubters Clash

    Note the use of the word "Darwinists" in the title. :bugeye: Here's an illustrative excerpt from page 4:
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    (uncovered by Sean Carroll at Cosmic Variance)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2006
  12. Jun 4, 2006 #11
    These things are much funnier when it's the New York Times screwing up, rather than some two-bit local station. It's understandable that small-town writers are often illiterate dolts. But when the editors at the NYTimes or BBC let something like pass, it's totally bizzare and inexucsable. I find it amusing. Others prefer to cry.
     
  13. Jun 4, 2006 #12

    siddharth

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    About a year ago, this article was published in the Educational Express, a supplement of the Indian Express newspaper

    (India Daily)

    They even put a picture with the article.
    [​IMG]

    Can't get worse than that :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2006
  14. Jun 4, 2006 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Sorry, not two-bit local. CTV News - Toronto's main news station.
     
  15. Jun 4, 2006 #14
    siddharth - That's not journalism, that's crackpottery!
     
  16. Jun 4, 2006 #15
    Yes, that's what "local" means.
     
  17. Jun 4, 2006 #16

    DaveC426913

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    I see the technical writers for Star Trek have found new jobs...

    Did the article mention the Crimson Force Field too? :rofl:
     
  18. Jun 4, 2006 #17

    siddharth

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    It's crackpottery, but it was published in a national newspaper!
     
  19. Jun 4, 2006 #18

    I truly feel dumber having read that. I'm pretty sure they just drew words out of a hat and hoped for the best. I need advil now. :grumpy:
     
  20. Jun 4, 2006 #19

    Pengwuino

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    I wonder who these "scientists" are and what does htis "technology team" smoke?
     
  21. Jun 4, 2006 #20

    Gokul43201

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    From post#10 by Rach:

    With this one, I hope it's just bad science journalism. If that line is the journalist's addition, then it's okay that a mistake in assuming that the underlying probability distribution be uniform is made. However, if he was merely repeating something said by Dr. Axe, that line becomes truly criminal.
     
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