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.

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