Author Topic: Bad Science Headlines  (Read 4558 times)

Offline scikopas

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Bad Science Headlines
« on: May 01, 2013, 04:12:51 PM »
I saw this headline the other day:
"One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution to climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy" 

( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/one-giant-leap-for-mankind-13bn-iter-project-makes-breakthrough-in-the-quest-for-nuclear-fusion-a-solution-to-climate-change-and-an-age-of-clean-cheap-energy-8590480.html )

My goodness that's quite a claim. Once I read the article, I see hat its about ITER (its almost hidden in the headline), and that its not even scheduled to be done for ~10 years!   I don't mean to take away from how cool ITER and tokamak fusion reactors are, and maybe i'm being a little too pedantic, but I'm confused as to how anyone could come up with that headline... Whats the leap for mankind? (that we started the project 20 years ago?) What breakthrough did they make? How will this solve climate change?  Even if the editor writes the headline, the author should have noticed something was strange and fought it.
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Offline darkfizzikcowboy

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 06:18:52 PM »
I saw that one the other day too. Got excited until I read the article. Then left stupid for falling for the headline
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Offline bn

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 06:29:05 PM »
i'm impressed. as i understand it, most tokamak reactors generate fusion at an energy deficit: it takes more energy than it generates. If this this works, maybe fusion will be feasible as a power source. that would be great.
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Offline darkfizzikcowboy

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2013, 03:34:53 PM »
Yes it is impressive but I thought the headline wording was a bit premature and a bit more misleading.
Hopefully we can see a sustained energy positive fusion reaction within our lifetimes.
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Offline CthulhuKid

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 07:21:27 AM »
I'm not sure how much the headline is at fault, but this article just...I don't know.  I'll let ya'll decide.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-ice-age-language-ancestor-superfamily-eurasia-20130507,0,1515430.story

Offline Lynx Cat

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 10:58:41 AM »
When I first saw it I thought "eh, they're going to try and rehash that Proto-World BS (as in a single ancestor to all the world's languages) again... leave the dead horse alone!" Then I read the article and it essentially talks about what linguists have been doing since the 1800's with Proto-Indo-European (PIE). I'm not even sure what are the supposed "news" in this article - it may have been news 100 years ago, but today? I don't know, maybe they found more PIE words (the article doesn't quite make it clear what exactly is new), but that isn't any sort of breakthrough, just incremental improvement. So yeah, I guess it falls squarely into the "misleading headline" category.
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Offline scikopas

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 11:42:18 PM »
I'd say that whole article is terrible! It doesn't say anything much, except give a list of words.

my favorite lines are:

Quote
Consider the word "fart." Fart, while it did not appear to pass muster in this paper, comes from a highly respectable linguistic lineage

and

Quote
So if you ever have the unusual opportunity to say this to someone from the Ice Age — "Black ashes? Who is this old man? Mother, I hear fire!" — there’s a fair chance they’d get the gist of things.
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Offline bn

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 11:40:51 AM »
it just goes to show,
all those years a mime-school WEREN'T a waste!

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Offline scikopas

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 09:27:46 AM »
I found another fun headline! 
"Higgs Boson Will Destroy The Universe Eventually"
with the first line:
Quote
Astonishing news about the end of the universe--and this is NO joke--were announced today, saying as much that the Higgs boson particles are unstable and will one day cause the destruction of our whole universe by swallowing it.

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/5038/20130219/higgs-boson-instability-will-destroy-universe-eventually.htm

needless to say, I immediately clicked on the story to read it, so the headline certainly worked.
PhD student in Materials Science at Arizona State University currently working on high-temperature superconductors and quantum computers or something.
my (materials) science podcast: LASER (Let's Agree Science and Engineering are Rad!) twitter @scikopas

Offline CthulhuKid

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 01:21:17 PM »
I found another fun headline! 
"Higgs Boson Will Destroy The Universe Eventually"

Isn't that kind of like saying "Someday Time will kill us all!"?

Offline CthulhuKid

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Re: Bad Science Headlines
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 06:33:15 AM »
Thread Necromancy!   ARISE!

Just happened to stumble upon this blog which seems to be exactly about this subject.  Check it out, it's brand spankin' new, so there's only 3 posts as of today, but they're knowledgeable and funny:

http://lostclause.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/inaugural-post-couvade-syndrome/