Science

15 Credibility Street #19: Leaping to doubtful conclusions

News items: A news blast from the paleo world made top science headlines this week saying the great and powerful T. Rex is unfeathered. Read the study that caused the news headlines and controversy. Washington Post piece Fantastic feathers Some paleobiologists said “told ya”! Others not so much. Check out this video by Trey the…

No rocks for you! (Updated: Rock on)

Update (7 July 2017): Snelling has dropped the lawsuit because the Park Service reversed their decision. A young earth Creationist, Dr. Andrew Snelling, is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, in a civil rights action, stating that he was unlawfully restricted from doing geological work in the Grand Canyon national park…

15 Credibility Street #15: Bombs

Welcome to a satisfyingly synchronous episode of our podcast. One of us had cake. Then we got into the news of the week. Professor Sasquatch of Centralia Community College just gets weirder. The PR hazards of forcibly re-accommodating a passenger were not good but the rumor chaos that followed was bad for the poor passenger involved. Scorpions on…

A new continent of Zealandia? Wrong. Not new at all to scientists.

Heard the news about Zealandia, the lost continent? Then you probably heard it wrong. It’s not new, we’ve had the bathymetric data for a while. The submerged landmass was known as a microcontinent that included the surrounding land masses. The name “Zealandia” was first proposed in 1995 but it was also called “Tasmantis” (the “Tasmantis complex”…

Dead or alive psychic experiment results pulled from neuroscience journal

Some paranormal proponents are crying foul and “censorship” over the retraction of a paper claiming to support clairvoyance. The paper: Prediction of Mortality Based on Facial Characteristics by Delorme, A., Pierce, A., Michel, L., and Radin, D. (2016). Front. Hum. Neurosci. 10:173. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00173 was published in May of 2016 and officially retracted in early October. The…

Can’t discover a fossil ichthyosaur in Scotland without invoking a fictional monster?

Another “spectacular” sea monster fossil discovery is ruined by some ridiculous journalists who can’t rid themselves of the stupid pop culture habit of comparing every ancient sea predator to a mythical creature. This is really getting old. The recent news is of a nearly intact ichthyosaur skeleton discovered on Scotland’s Isle of Skye and announced in…

Megalodon teeth found along North Carolina beaches

Really huge shark teeth are washing up along North Carolina beaches in large amounts since the beginning of October from Surf City to North Topsail Beach. Beach-goers found the teeth that were washed free from offshore sediments after recent coastal storms and higher than normal tides. The teeth of the extinct shark Megalodon (which means “big tooth”)…

It’s got an “unusual” light profile: I’m not saying it’s aliens but…

The buzz is about KIC 8462852: Astronomers have spotted a strange mess of objects whirling around a distant star. Scientists who search for extraterrestrial civilizations are scrambling to get a closer look. Source: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy – The Atlantic “It looked like the kind of thing you might expect an alien civilization…

Giant hexagon feature of Saturn modeled

News smidgen: The strange hexagonal cloud pattern was modeled by scientists in order to find potential explanations. By manipulating variables in the model, they can see which scenario best fits the observations and possible account for why this occurs. Simulations suggest that Saturn’s north polar hexagon is shaped by shallow jets at the cloud level.…

Phenomenal view of Atlas V launch

News driblet: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V blasted into space Wednesday morning carrying a Navy communications satellite and creating a spectacular light show that had some people wrongly worried that the rocket had blown up. Source: Atlas V liftoff creates cloud of confusion across Florida – Orlando Sentinel The launch was very bright across Florida,…

Everyone loves oarfish

Every time one washes ashore, it makes the news. A dead oarfish with a belly full of krill washed up on Santa Catalina Island this week, marking a rare sighting of the deep-sea creature and the largest to appear on the island in years, experts say. Source: Biggest oarfish seen at Catalina Island in years…

September asteroid impact lie results in NASA statement

Many media sites as well as mystery mongering rubbish sites are hyping the prediction that an asteroid will hit earth in September prompting NASA to issue a statement. What good will that do? None. Crap news reigns on the internet. NASA has denied viral internet claims that an asteroid will strike Earth next month wreaking…

NJ is booming and shaking

Did you hear booming noises this AM in central New Jersey? There was a small, shallow earthquake about 3km north of Bernardsville. The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the small earthquake in Bernardsville rattled homes and businesses around 3:41 a.m. The Morris County Communications/911 center received calls from residents in Morristown, Morris Township, Randolph, Mendham Township,…

Vatican astronomer talks about extraterrestrial life, does not say UFOs are real

The Vatican’s official astronomer talks about life in the universe and drifts into intelligent life, like us. Headline writers went nuts. The remarks come after the finding of Kepler 452b, an earth-like planet that may be hospitable to life. Source: Vatican chief astronomer believes in UFOs and aliens – IrishCentral.com The Pope’s chief astronomer Father Jose Funes…

Hawaiians protest telescope at meeting of International Astronomical Union

The story of the protests over construction of a telescope in Hawaii continues. The demonstration occurred at the meeting of the International Astronomical Union in Honolulu. Demonstration over Thirty Meter Telescope comes after arrests near Mauna Kea construction site. Demonstrators carrying Hawaiian flags — some upside-down, as a sign of distress — held a press conference outside…

Parapsychology at the Fringe fest

News morsel: Caroline Watt is a real parapsychologist, and from all sources, a good one. Dr Watt insists she’s yet to come across any concrete evidence for the supernatural.“The Koestler Parapsychology Unit is trying to examine whether or not people have psychic ability – and also look at the normal explanations for paranormal experiences,” she says.…