December 3, 2007

Stupidity Supernova, Part IV

I am so sad that I had to split this into 4 parts. In conclusion, a more gentle tale.

The last two of these stories (Astronomers destroy universe, Surfer wins physics) were brought up in a recent conversation with a college friend of mine who majored in physics but works on Wall Street. I said some of the same stuff that I just wrote, and expressed a bit of disappointment that these were the things making it into mainstream coverage. He mentioned that he actually only heard about them because they showed up on the Drudge Report. Ah, that reputable Drudge Report, second only to the Proceedings of the Royal Society for rumor and innuendo about Democrats eating babies molecular ecology.

So both stories reached my friend through the trajectory:
arxiv → Telegraph/New ScientistDrudge Report. If that doesn't set off alarm bells...

After he had asked my opinion on a really amazing paper by someone who attributes global warming to cosmic rays I advised him to go elsewhere if he wanted to read about sciency stuff which is actually based in reality. But that Drudge is a cruel mistress, and wouldn't take no for an answer. And I shouldn't be surprised by this, but within the span of a week two piece of shit news articles managed to take the same path to that impressionable right-wing youngster. Raising the question of who is scanning the preprint server for papers to misrepresent? Is this a full-time job they give interns who come to work at New Scientist? And it appears that not only were both of these Telegraph articles written by the same guy, but he even wrote one about wireless electricity that I complained about last June. Roger Highfield, you're on the list.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the post title obviously refers to Type Ia Supernovae, since it is the accretion of this terrible reportage that has caused me to ignite in rage.

Part I - Gregg Easterbrook: The Second 'g' is for 'gigantic moron'
Part II - Astronomers: Universe Killers
Part III - Surfer Physics
Part IV - Inane Physics Story Trajectories


Anonymous said...

ooohh ryan, you're so clever and so quick off the mark!

No wonder you're friends with that skeleton.

(Ryan) said...

Roger, is that you?