Tag Archives: News

Science Exaggeration in the Media

Recently, new scientific data showed that the Sun is rounder than previously thought. As readers of this blog probably know, I am a very fact-oriented person and I dislike exaggeration, especially regarding scientific data.

Let’s see how the media decided to label this discovery, just looking at the titles of a few articles…

Doing it right:

  • Huffington Post –  “Sun’s Shape: NASA Data Show Our Star More Round Than Previously Thought”
  • Complex Tech - “Scientists Discover the Sun is Rounder, Flatter Than Previously Thought”
  • Gizmodo (UK) – “Turns Out The Sun Is Rounder And Flatter Than We Thought”

Doing it wrong:

  • Gizmodo (US) – “We Were Totally Wrong About the Sun’s Shape Until Yesterday”
  • Yahoo! – “Astronomers continue to be baffled by Sun’s nearly perfect shape”
  • The Independent – “Sun is too round, say scientists”
  • Herald – “Mystery of our too-round sun”
  • The Christian Science Monitor – “Mystery continues: Why is the sun ‘too round’? New measurements show the shape of our sun is ‘too round’ to match the theories about the forces at work on the sun.”

Want to know the really interesting part?

The article in the Huffington Post link and The Christian Science Monitor link are the exact same article by Charles Q. Choi, frequent contributor to Scientific American. Funny how different news agencies manage to spin the same story with a different title.

The Norway Spiral Mystery

The Internet, along with other sources of news, reveal a spiral phenomenon that appeared over the skies of Norway earlier today. Simply type “Norway spiral” in Google. You’ll get sites referring to this oddity:

The Norway spiral phenomenon on December 9, 2009. Image courtesy of The Sun

Explanations?

Most likely, it was a rocket test. According to several Internet sources, rocket simulations have shown similar spiral patterns when the force exerted by the rocket is not directed straight behind it. Then who launched it? The Russian government denies such action.

Other theories are given. A number of UFO enthusiasts claim this phenomenon was caused by aliens. Maybe, a wormhole spontaneously opened up in the sky, possibly (and ridiculously) caused by the Large Hadron Collider. Still, others hypothesize that it was an interference pattern in the sky caused by high-intensity lasers.

Could there possibly be any connection between this phenomenon and President Obama’s Nobel Prize reception and speech, tomorrow, at Norway?

This mysterious event has been referred to as the “Norway spiral” and also “Star Gate.” The Wikipedia article covering it right now labels it the “Norwegian spiral anomaly of 2009.”