Science

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

Artistic rendering by Todd Marshall. Open-mouthed is a typical depiction that makes the subject look more menacing.

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…

L’Acquital: Legal battle over for six Italian earthquake scientists

Laquila

In October of 2012, six Italian scientists and a government official were convicted of manslaughter for failing to give warning for the L’Aquila earthquake of 2009 that killed over 300 people. The verdict was terribly misguided and was overturned in November of last year. The judge justified his decision by saying they failed in characterizing the…

Megalodon teeth found along North Carolina beaches

megalodon tooth

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”)…

Turns out it was those giraffes making the noises!

sassy giraffes

UPDATED (2-Oct 2015) See below. The world is full of strange sounds. Back in August 2014, I linked to a news blip in the Strange Remains, about residents near a zoo in the UK who petitioned the Paignton zoo to soundproof the giraffe area. They complained about a humming or droning noise that kept them…

Giant hexagon feature of Saturn modeled

Hexagon_on_Saturn

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.…

Human evolution news: Announcement of Homo naledi

Artists rendition from Homo naledi fossils.

Exciting news of a surprising fossil collection found deep in a cave. Was this a burial site? A hiding place? Even the age is unclear. But it’s fascinating. A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in the journal eLife. Homo naledi, as they call it, appears…

Ceres’ spots in higher res still can’t solve the mystery

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

An update on the bright spots on Ceres. New photos show more detail. Source: Ceres’ Bright Spots Seen in Striking New Detail The brightest spots on the dwarf planet Ceres gleam with mystery in new views delivered by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. These closest-yet views of Occator crater, with a resolution of 450 feet (140 meters)…

Phenomenal view of Atlas V launch

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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,…

A solution to the information paradox? We need the information first.

Black Hole From Wikimedia Commons

News blip: Physicist Stephen Hawking made a splash this week when he announced that he had solved a vexing conundrum that had puzzled generations of leading physicists — including the 73-year-old scientific superstar himself — for the better part of a half-century. During an eight-minute speech at a scientific meeting in Sweden, Hawking said that…

Everyone loves oarfish

Photo: Annie MacAulay

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

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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…

Carl Sagan bio pic in development

carl-sagan

News tidbit: Warner Bros. is developing an untitled drama about the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan. Lynda Obst and Ann Druyan are producing the film, which will be written by “Deadfall” scripter Zach Dean. Plot details are currently under wraps. Source: Carl Sagan Movie in Works | Variety Good news! Looking forward to it. Dr. Sagan…

NJ is booming and shaking

Dette er utslaget jordskjelvet gjorde på målestasjonen på Blussuvoll i Trondheim. FOTO: UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN

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

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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

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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.…

‘Old Slave House’ legend demolished by archaeology

News driblet: Archeologists do a scientific and through investigation into a house legendarily know for slave smuggling. They find the house was not likely to have been used the way local legend tells. Even the notorious third floor that was supposedly to keep kidnapped slaves, now claimed to be haunted, was found to be decorated just like…

Propellantless thruster claimant presents paper at a conference. Hype ensues.

Newton Not Impressed

News headlines are buzzing with headlines such as “Scientists Confirm ‘Impossible’ EM Drive Propulsion” (Hacked) and “‘Impossible’ propellantless engine appears to work” (Sydney Morning Herald). Doubtful News readers may have followed this story from August 2014, as well as renewed claims of results earlier this May. At a July Propulsion and Energy Forum held by…

Bad science Writing Example A: Linking plesiosaurs to the Loch Ness Monster

1930s-nessie-2

An obviously inexperienced science journalist latches on to the mistaken and downright nonsensical idea that plesiosaurs = Loch Ness Monster. Then, media outlets propagate the silliness. The fossil remains of a giant marine reptile have just been discovered by a team of researchers from the University Of Alaska Museum Of The North. The remains were…

Pluto “Truthers” and Spacefaring Denialists Present Teachable Moment

Pluto. New Horizons Mission. Courtesy NASA/JPL.

NASA conspiracy theories are generally nothing new, especially as we celebrate the anniversary of our first steps on Earth’s moon (20 July 1969). But with NASA’s New Horizons Pluto flyby imagery released last week, some tired Moon Hoax conspiracy myths and misconceptions were recycled in the headlines. Inside the Pluto ‘Truther’ Movement, Which Claims Flyby Was…

‘Little ice age’ headlines are misleading

HDRI-waterglass-fire-and-ice default

At the National Astronomy Meeting, one study regarding a new model of the Sun’s interior is producing predictions that are suspected to have some serious consequences for Earth. Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University presented her results of the Sun’s interior dynamo at the recent event. Media outlets took it and twisted it just enough to…

New study from tainted author with conflicting interests on GMOs

mouse-lab-rat

Back in September of 2012, French scientists led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said that they did a study that showed rats fed on a diet containing a Roundup-resistant maize variety or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. The study…

“Life on comet” speculation undermines good science

Undated handout photo issued by the European Space Agency of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at a distance of 285 km, as comet lander Philae may be sitting on an object teeming with alien microbial life, according to two leading astronomers. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 6, 2015. Distinct features of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, such as its organic-rich black crust, are best explained by the presence of living organisms beneath an icy surface, they claim. See PA story SCIENCE Comet. Photo credit should read: ESA/PA WireNOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

This story came across my Google News page. Red flags flew and alarms sounded as I looked for the “scientists” making the claim. Evidence of alien life is ‘unequivocal’ on comet carrying the Philae probe through space, scientists say. Source: Alien life on Philae Comet, scientists say It would be rather important, I thought, to…