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PF'ers Against Bad Science In Journalism

  1. Oct 3, 2006 #1
    There was a thread like this a while ago, I think it deserves a second chance. This is devoted to hilarious and depressing examples of lazy journalism misrepresnting basic science to the public. Only reputable, established news sources may be entered - otherwise it's not much of a challenge, is it? :wink:

    I'll start off with this entry, a recent article from two AP writers:

    North Korea to conduct nuclear test (AP)

    I think this example is pretty illustrative of what this is all about. You see the lazy writers who don't check their research. You see the public being grossly misinformed, seeing yet another basic misconception ("radioactive materials means nuclear-weapons materials"), and probably becoming more fearful and ignorant as a result. "Treating cancer with radiation??! What if it blows up and levels the whole city!?"

    Shame on the AP writers, and the editors who released this nonsense to the trusting public! :grumpy:

    Yes, this is also a contest! The best entry will win a special award - five " :rofl: " smilies from me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2006 #2
    You read too much.

    Just because Pengwuino is gone does not mean you have to make pointless threads.
  4. Oct 4, 2006 #3


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    Not to mention their grammar. Seems a bit redundant, don't it?
  5. Oct 4, 2006 #4
    I hate it when I see stuff like that. I also dislike the use of ambiguous metaphors to explain amounts of something like the common use of "could fill a football stadium" etc.
  6. Oct 4, 2006 #5
    I've been out of the loop lately. Pengwuino's gone? What happened?
  7. Oct 4, 2006 #6
    Drug Overdose, tragic.
  8. Oct 4, 2006 #7
    You need a better name. PFABSJ just doesn't ring.

    Are you serious about pengwuino?
  9. Oct 4, 2006 #8


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  10. Oct 4, 2006 #9


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    Not science, but I heard a report on the Lancaster school shooting today that went something like 'one of the worst school mass murders in lancaster county history'.... as if it has happened before.
  11. Oct 4, 2006 #10
    Are you calling me a liar?
  12. Oct 4, 2006 #11


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    :uhh: Makes you wonder...only "one" of the worst, and not "the" worst? Are they reserving the title for someone still planning their massacre? :eek:
  13. Oct 4, 2006 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    That reminds me of a radio news blooper about a terrible multi-car accident on the I-5 in which three people were killed; two seriously!

    Better yet was the special report on the local news that cited the price of energy and how much money can be saved by insulating and such, in $/Kilowatt.

    A local investigative reporter did a special series in which he busted auto repair shops taking advantage of their customers. In one example, a fuse for the fuel system was replaced with a blown fuse and the car towed to repair facilities. When one mechanic tried to charge for additional investigation as to why the fuse blew and didn't just replace it as other mechanics had, the reporter labeled this a scam. The problem: Fuses usually blow for reason. The correct course of action was to check things out. And for doing this the guy was labeld a crook on the evening news.
  14. Oct 4, 2006 #13
    I don't know where else to post this: apparently, global warming will cause increased stress on air conditioners in ~100 years, resulting in increased energy consumption and possibly blackouts:


    :rofl: Defintely one of the more speculative assessments of global warming...
  15. Oct 5, 2006 #14


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    We've already had that in NY - two summers ago, we had temperatures hotter than the south, and we had a warm winter with very little snow. We've also had a significant period of drought followed by a significant period of precipitation, and the past summer the area was under mandatory energy conservation so as to prevent blackouts.

    We do notice considerable 'variability' in the weather, and we seem to have more extreme weather events - i.e. strong storms.

    I think that article on GW is rather lame. There is nothing new and it seems to be written for an elementary school audience.

    In general, I am often disappointed with scientific articles in the major newspapers and magazines. That's why I prefer scientific and technical journals and websites. I prefer to go to the source.
  16. Oct 6, 2006 #15
    The point is that they think they're predicting energy consumption at a timescale of a century...
  17. Oct 6, 2006 #16
    Another capuchin monkey at the editor's keyboard: (emphasis mine)

    NASA Completes Survey of Nearby Supermassive Black Holes

    Wow, a billion tons! What an unimaginably large astrophysical number... comparable to our annual production of iron ore.

  18. Oct 6, 2006 #17


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    You hear something like this almost every other day on some news station or the other:

    (paraphrase)The Dow suffered a 100 point fall today, while the NASDAQ closed lower by only 60 points.

  19. Oct 6, 2006 #18


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    I think the Associated Press delievers some of the worst science articles.
  20. Oct 22, 2006 #19
    Here's a bizarre rebuttal to criticism that rf wireless credit cards are, unsuprisingly, extremely insecure:


  21. Oct 25, 2006 #20

    When this kind of fallacious nonsense passes as "mathematical proof", it's no wonder the general public has no respect for math.

    (I'm not arguing with the conclusion, mind, I'm ashamed that it's passing as a "mathematical proof", when it's nothing more than a simple model that makes some major assumptions without discussion.)
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