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This Is a News Website Article About a Scientific Paper

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the turning-the-scientific-world-on-its-head-or-maybe-not dept.

The Media 193

jamie passes along a humorous article at The Guardian which pokes fun at the shallow and formulaic science journalism typical of many mainstream news outlets. Quoting: In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of 'scare quotes' to ensure that it's clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever. ... If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims. This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like 'the scientists say' to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist. ... 'Basically, this is a brief soundbite,' the scientist will say, from a department and university that I will give brief credit to. 'The existing science is a bit dodgy, whereas my conclusion seems bang on,' she or he will continue."

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This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skepticism (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 years ago | (#33715550)

The first of many identical to this one that will follow in these Slashdot comments.

First of all, who edited this article? This is where I viciously attack the Slashdot editor for punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc. Once we clear your elementary faux pas, we can move on.

I recall some of the very basics of this in college but I just skimmed the Wikipedia article on this research and now I'm an expert ready to rip this paper to shreds.

I'm also handy with Google and just found out that their quoted researcher is viewed as a charlatan by another camp of peers in his field. Character assassination and ad hominem attacks follow.

If there was a survey, I question the sample size, method of the survey and diversity. If this is correlation and not causation, I state the obvious and take potshots at my country's shitty educational system. If this is a classification I question the recall rate. If there's any political or monetary incentive for this research to be published then I state it and have immediately won the argument. At that point I can decide who lives and who dies. My comments have leveled whole cities!

The small part of this research that I cannot disprove was already known to me. My Google Fu provides you another link to an article here where this was preliminarily discussed in 2004. And I assure you I was already on top of that this whole time. At this point, I resubtitle Slashdot in a derogatory manner for having stale news. I might even threaten to move on to a superior news aggregator but in reality will spend the rest of my life on Slashdot.

I interpreted my standoffish attitude and tone as asserting my superiority when in actuality I'm a psychologist's wet dream. Done with my post I consider the final word spoken save for one thing. I spin a wheel on my desk and it lands on an internet meme somewhere between "In Soviet Russia" and "All Your Base." I modify a noun or verb to make it potentially funny and insert it at the end.

Since I'm the expert, I might come back and read your responses -- if you're lucky. But the odds are high that I said something incredibly stupid or shortsighted (what with me being outside of my fucking element and all) so I'll probably just ignore you.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | about 4 years ago | (#33715590)


I think your research is bogus. You didn't back it up with a single goatse or tubgirl link.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | about 4 years ago | (#33715658)

Not only that, but as a seasoned slashdotter he should know better than to bother with all this google and wikipedia junk and just go based off of the story summary, if not the title alone.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | about 4 years ago | (#33715868)

This is where I complain about how the previous comment was moderated, and hijack the thread for an off-topic discussion of /.'s moderation system while making broad assertions about the obvious biases of all readers of this site.

Let's do it! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716036)

I'm down with that, stupid mods (AC for a reason). I mean, insightful? How many contributors to /. are insightful?

Go back downstairs and get off my lawn!

Re:Let's do it! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716322)

The real failure of this /. thread is that it's remained remarkably on topic without the usual troll, flamebait or redundancy.

I would provide but alas, there's some words not even I can bring myself to say.

- Dan.

Re:Let's do it! (1)

Garridan (597129) | about 4 years ago | (#33716668)

Go back downstairs and get off my lawn!

In that order?

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716826)

This is where I post as an AC.
 
I take the obvious route of calling attention to your low user number and bash you for karma whoring.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33716070)

The external links at the end of the article do provide some interesting backup information, however.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716202)

This is the comment that is quite insightful, but because it comes from an Anonymous Coward, it gets filtered at 0, and nobody reads it or mods it.

This is a reply to fix your comment (4, Funny)

jpapon (1877296) | about 4 years ago | (#33715620)

I modify a noun or verb to make it almost certainly not funny and insert it at the end.

Re:This is a reply to fix your comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716290)

I pooped. I poo-poo. I poop.

Re:This is a reply to fix your comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716368)

FTFY

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

M8e (1008767) | about 4 years ago | (#33715730)

In Soviet Russia, all our base are belong to YOU!

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (5, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | about 4 years ago | (#33715752)

If there's any political or monetary incentive for this research to be published then I state it and have immediately won the argument.

Immediate attack on the parent poster's political affiliation... obviously the party that he belongs to (judging by this one issue, even though I don't know where he stands on others) is absolutely full of complete psychos and want to do all kinds of other bad things that will destroy civilization as we know it. And they completely fulfill the most extreme version of every stereotype about them.

So of course, my party is full of level-headed reasonable people--every single one of them. Everything that we say is perfect and correct, we're as innocent as a newborn baby's ass, and if only our candidate had been elected last time we lost, the world would be full of unicorns that fart rainbows and save children from horrible deaths.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#33715902)

I jump to the conclusion that based on your revealed party affiliation you must love nazis, leaving open to the child poster to invoke Godwin Moore's Law.

This Is A Comment Invoking Moore's Law (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | about 4 years ago | (#33716484)

This is the paragraph where I invoke Godwin's Law, even if the subject in question actually is Nazis. While contributing nothing to the discussion, I have proved my superiority to all other posters, and have therefore won an argument I did not actually participate in.

In this paragraph, I allude to a popular saying about arguing on the Internet, and the Special Olympics. I have once again justified my superior intellect by using a tired old Internet meme.

After that, I decide that merely poking fun at the previous poster is not fully satisfactory, and decide to argue with him anyway about Nazis.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 4 years ago | (#33715920)

This is where I attempt to be humorous by making a reference to double rainbows

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (4, Funny)

Canazza (1428553) | about 4 years ago | (#33716172)

This is where I type "DOUBLE RAINBOWS!" in a vain attempt to jump on a bandwagon I barely understand and am slightly fearful of

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (3, Funny)

ThreeGigs (239452) | about 4 years ago | (#33716342)

Here I insert a reference to the parent's 7-digit ID number, with obligatory "get off my lawn" parallelisms.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33716628)

Here I insert a reference to the parent's 6-digit ID number, with obligatory "get off my lawn" parallelisms.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716772)

Here I insert a reference to the parent's 5-digit ID number and insinuate that I'm actually an old-time user named Anonymous Coward, with the ID number "666", rather than some jackass who can't be arsed to log in.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | about 4 years ago | (#33716802)

Here I insert a reference to the parent's 5-digit ID number, with obligatory "get off my lawn" parallelisms.

...Then I recall my own ID number and imply that I read Slashdot for years before I ever started posting and would have had a lower digit had I simply bothered to register earlier.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

RepelHistory (1082491) | about 4 years ago | (#33716868)

Immediate attack on the parent poster's political affiliation... obviously the party that he belongs to (judging by this one issue, even though I don't know where he stands on others) is absolutely full of complete psychos and want to do all kinds of other bad things that will destroy civilization as we know it. And they completely fulfill the most extreme version of every stereotype about them.

Immediate attack on the two-party system. Accuse Democrats and Republicans of being exactly the same in every way. Baseless claim that Libertarians offer the only meaningful solutions stemming from my mistrust of the horrific lurching monstrosity called "government," whose true functions, in actuality, I only vaguely understand.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33715774)

I, thinking myself an actual expert in the field being discussed, read the subject line and decide to rebut, and maybe start to do so, but then I tell myself I have better things to do, so instead I make an immature joke (possibly about poop) or reference the simpsons.

The "better things to do" if you're wondering consists mostly of making other immature jokes on slashdot.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33715820)

Ramon Tomzer
Internet Sales Consultant
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Worcester, Ma 01606
Cell: 508.579.4415
Tel: 877.232.5241
Fax: 508.756.1305

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33715982)

Ramon Tomzer
Internet Sales Consultant
Gallo Mazda Volvo
70 Goldstar Blvd.
Worcester, Ma 01606

Ramon 'Señor Goatse' Tomzer
Internet Porn Sales Consultant
Gallo "Step into my Mazda" Volvo
70 Goldstar (if you're good) Blvd.
Worcester (not Bestester), Ma (ma mia!) 01606

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

somaTh (1154199) | about 4 years ago | (#33715836)

Best First Post ever.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33715882)

Bubba booey, bubba booey, Howard Stern, Howard Stern!

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

kidgenius (704962) | about 4 years ago | (#33715924)

You forgot to throw in the part where I argue that correlation != causation

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 4 years ago | (#33716100)

You mean this part?

If this is correlation and not causation, I state the obvious [...]

:D

Awesome! (0, Troll)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33715958)

I've never seen someone burnout on Slashdot before!

Fuck'n A!

Now I would love to see someone burn through years of karma Trolling and Flambating.

Got that Apple Fags! You too you FOSS Homos!

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (2)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | about 4 years ago | (#33715962)

How did you first post such a long comment? Did you see this in the hose, pre-write your comment and wait? Anyhow, best comment ever, thanks for the laugh.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716228)

How did you first post such a long comment? Did you see this in the hose, pre-write your comment and wait? Anyhow, best comment ever, thanks for the laugh.

Yeah, i wonder that too : /

and agreed. That had a lot of thought and was really fuckin' good.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (0, Flamebait)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | about 4 years ago | (#33716232)

That is Eldavojohn's schtick, he's a karma whore.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33716438)

Its a raid.

The cops are picking up k whores.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (2, Informative)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | about 4 years ago | (#33716258)

You see that asterisk next to eldavojohn's name?

The asterisk means that this user is a subscriber to Slashdot. They have shelled out some coin to help keep Slashdot running. They get assorted extra features for helping support the site, including the asterisk and the glorious bragging rights that go along with it. [Including seeing front-page posts sooner than us plebs.]

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (5, Funny)

JayJay.br (206867) | about 4 years ago | (#33716220)

This is where I back your assumptions with the oblig. xkcd [xkcd.com] .

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (5, Funny)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | about 4 years ago | (#33716760)

This meme is starting to sound like an Old Spice parody.

Look at this article. This is the article you could have written if you had known anything about science. Look at the article that you wrote, now back at this article. I'm holding a peer review, signed by several interesting scientists in the field that you know nothing about. Look at the article you wrote, now back at this article, the peer review is full of discussion and criticism, the likes which you could not understand unless you had the briefest notion of how the review process works. The kind of discussion your article could have had if your article was written with any actual knowledge of science. Now look again. I'm on the internet.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 4 years ago | (#33716796)

I prefer to read all sarcastic meta-articles as if they were narrated by Charlie Brooker. See this Newswipe sketch [youtube.com] for why.

Re:This Is a Comment Expressing New Found Skeptici (1)

quintessencesluglord (652360) | about 4 years ago | (#33716846)

Here is the thing though- Given were are at an age where war is waged under false pretenses, where we now find out ERT is crock but no one decided to verify until recently, where damn near every event and study has a multitude of spins and talking points: shouldn't we scrutinize everything we read?

And I don't mean in that contrary to be contrary sort of way (but even that sometimes yields useful results), but seriously consider what is being stated, why is it being stated, and who is stating it?

Many years ago, in my physics textbook, it stated that a tire's friction was the same regardless of contact patch. Now being somewhat of a gearhead, this struck me as contrary to everything I've seen. So I questioned my instructor about it with my rationales as to why this is probably incorrect. He hand waves it, and I'm left stumped as to why dragsters have such large rear tires, and a low resistance tire on a bicycle have such a small contact patch.

And you know where this is going, but that is exactly point: mistakes happen, something gets lost in translation, and some people don't give a damn enough to question an idea.

Personally, I blame poor science reporting to the poor knowledge of science by the general public, and the inevitable simplifying that is going to happen to explain what is a foreign country to most people.

Idle - NOT news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33715594)

This "joke" should be posted in Idle - this is NOT news.

Re:Idle - NOT news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33715624)

BAWWW

Let me guess, Journalism major from a "prestigious" school?

Re:Idle - NOT news (5, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | about 4 years ago | (#33715728)

I firmly believe that such a scathing indictment of the current state of scientific journalism deserves, no, nay, DEMANDS front-page presence!

You know, I'm not even sure if I'm joking. It's always nice to point out mainstream journalism's failings, but it's really only useful if it has a message attached. Some suggestion on how to fix the system, other wise it's simply mockery. The closest this comes to being satire is pointing out that journalists fail to take any sort of real stand in or credit for their pieces any more, and framing it as a bad thing. It'd be nice if it had some sort of analysis of where the problem lies. Is it that journalists just can't be bothered to put in some actual research on stories any more, so they just take what they're told and throw it in a standard framing device? Is it an editorial failing due to demanding stories that assist in SEO and are constrained by word count? Is it an audience failing in that people simply aren't interested in a deeper analysis, or lack the baseline knowledge required to fully grasp a story that was more indepth? Blame multiple sources? How can this be fixed? Piece doesn't say, so it's pretty much just mocking the status quo.

Re:Idle - NOT news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716270)

The answer you are looking for is very simple: legal protection. By never asserting anything controversial without a qualified source, journalists are able to avoid liability if the information turns out to be false. In journalism classes I was taught to make it very explicit who the speaker is, and to never say anything that could construed as libelous or dangerous without sourcing it to somebody else, e.g. "New York State Police say John hit Bob over the head," or "Nutrition Scientist Mary Smith from Bowdoin says eating live shrimp is healthy." The sensationalism is mostly salesmanship, but the responsibility game is about (avoiding) the law.

Re:Idle - NOT news (3, Interesting)

funkatron (912521) | about 4 years ago | (#33716376)

The article isn't even pointing out journalism's failings. It is mocking the very purpose of journalism; to simplify and misrepresent events so that they form an attention grabbing narrative.

This task is especially difficult for science journalism as the events they have to report on are usually small developments in quite narrow fields. These can be used to present a vague idea of progress but getting much else out the events requires some "creativity". In this situation most journalists fall back on familiar for and against template.

I'm not sure if much can be done to change the situation as journalism doesn't require accuracy. Instead, it thrives on emotion (sensation?) and narrative. Always has, always will.

Re:Idle - NOT news (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 4 years ago | (#33716026)

Snarky reply with "whoosh" in large caps, and then advising Francis to lighten up.

"a humorous article" (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 4 years ago | (#33715664)

No, it's not a humorous article, given that it's exactly how mainstream science reporting looks like [badscience.net] .

Re:"a humorous article" (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33715760)

No, it's not a humorous article, given that it's exactly how mainstream science reporting looks like.

No, it's sad and ironic (which will give rise to several more replies concerning the etymology of 'ironic', one of which will include the concept of an ironing board, which, ironically, no one on Slashdot has ever seen.

Then somebody is going to get upset about my use of commas. And short sentences.

This could get ugly.

Re:"a humorous article" (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 4 years ago | (#33715802)

Indignant response blasting your use of comma's and making short sentence's, and asserting myself as the expert on grammer.

Re:"a humorous article" (3, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about 4 years ago | (#33715864)

Reply noting the irony of making a grammar correction while making a grammar mistake.

Re:"a humorous article" (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33715930)

You both forgot about the ironing boards.

And I think it's either time to mention a singularity or at least Time Cube [timecube.com] .

Re:"a humorous article" (3, Funny)

Americano (920576) | about 4 years ago | (#33716256)

Is it too late for "I for one welcome our new Ironing Board-wielding overlords"?

Yes?

How about, "In Soviet Russia, ironing boards iron YOU!"

No?

"All your ironing boards are belong to us?"

Damn.

"I AM an ironing board, you insensitive clod!"

That's better.

Re:"a humorous article" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716136)

Ironing boards fall out of wall mounted cupboards and hit cartoon characters on the head, that is what they are for after all.

Re:"a humorous article" (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 4 years ago | (#33716410)

No, it's not a humorous article, given that it's exactly how mainstream science reporting looks like.

No, it's sad and ironic (which will give rise to several more replies concerning the etymology of 'ironic', one of which will include the concept of an ironing board, which, ironically, no one on Slashdot has ever seen.

You're both wrong: it's a template for all of the science articles he ever needs to write.

9/11 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33715688)

jews did 9/11

This Should Be Navel-Gazing (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 years ago | (#33715690)

Yet for some reason it doesn't seem to be. Slashdot posts a lot of links to news articles about published scientific articles, when they rightfully should be linking to the original articles instead.

Re:This Should Be Navel-Gazing (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33715952)

The original articles usually are PDFs without advertisements.

Re:This Should Be Navel-Gazing (4, Interesting)

Soulskill (1459) | about 4 years ago | (#33716504)

Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. I agree that we should do it more, but I don't think we should do it "instead," as you say. I prefer linking to both. The vast majority of people do not want to download a PDF and spend an hour reading through an academic paper when there's a (reasonably well-informed) news article available. But, for those who do, it should be an option.

The other big problem is that many of these scientific papers are paywalled -- and we're not talking about a mickey-mouse Rupert Murdoch paywall. A 1-year subscription to Nature, for example, is $200. Reading only an abstract doesn't tell you much about the quality of the research or potential applications.

As always, if you read something linked from here and think coverage is better elsewhere, you're more than welcome to hit us with an email saying so.

Not all criticism being equal (3, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#33715706)

There are plenty of reasons to mock news coverage of scientific papers; but how exactly do you have a complaint when a journalist clearly states that someone else (not the journalist) is making an assertion when that is, in fact, true?

Yeah, let's mock them for that until they start omitting the "according to so-and-so" qualifications, and then we can mock them for pretending to be in a position to make definitive claims about topics they don't understand.

Give me a break.

Re:Not all criticism being equal (4, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | about 4 years ago | (#33715816)

It's not that the journalist is making it clear that so-and-so is making the assertion, it's the complete lack of personal engagement in a piece, to the point where the article is taking a neutral stance to the detriment of the experts and researchers making the assertions. I don't know about you, but I, and most non-reporting uses I've seen, use "according to" as a means of saying "well, this really might not be true, but this one guy is saying it, totally." A reporter who is more engaged in the story, if he personally interviewed the subject, could say "So-and-so told me", and if it was second-hand, "So-and-so has found," which is much more engaging, active, and doesn't carry the self-distancing aspect of "according to."

Re:Not all criticism being equal (1)

mea37 (1201159) | about 4 years ago | (#33715944)

Let's test that... If I say "According to the dictionary, an ostrich is a flightless bird", do you suspect I'm disparaging the dictionary's authority on the subject?

Perhaps the problem is that you're blaming journalists for what you've brought to the conversation. Beyond that, it's a question of style. You may favor "so-and-so told me..."; but while bloggers and columnists may be comfortable using the first person, I think it's appropriate that reporters generally remove themselves from the story.

Re:Not all criticism being equal (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33716060)

Let's test that...

Yes, lets test that. I haven't watched the infotainment agitprop "news" in quite awhile. But lets test that.

"allegedly, according to the scoreboard, the red sox might have lost 0 to 6, although some fans disagree".

"According to the US Govt national weather service report, the local airport air traffic controller claims it is raining outside, although further research funding is necessary, and other scientists have a completely different conclusion about this 'water from the sky' phenomenon."

I'm not seeing/hearing it... except in science reporting.

Re:Not all criticism being equal (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about 4 years ago | (#33716206)

who says it's water

my research says it's Raspberry Schnapps

Re:Not all criticism being equal (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33716008)

it's the complete lack of personal engagement in a piece,

Its also a complete lack of judgment, to the point of appearing moronic, especially when giving equal coverage to all parties.

"According the geology professor Ms Blah, the earth might be round, although more study grants are necessary. However, Mr. SoAndSo, the president of the flat earth society, disagrees."

Second only to my favorite, trying to "middle school drama up" something professional or irrelevant.

Simpsons did it. (5, Informative)

MaggieL (10193) | about 4 years ago | (#33715712)

No, wait, it was actually http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1174 [phdcomics.com]

Re:Simpsons did it. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33716406)

Nooooo... that's not the same thing at all. That comic covers the entire life cycle of science reporting, from initial discovery, through to broadcast on the nightly news. This article, OTOH, is parody of a single stage in that cycle (the breathless science article).

Re:Simpsons did it. (1)

dcollins (135727) | about 4 years ago | (#33716896)

p = 0.56? Good grief, that means that there's some (very small) evidence that the exact opposite is true.

Oh Noes! The Interwebs are Getting Full (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | about 4 years ago | (#33715744)

"This paragraph contained useful information or context, but was removed by the sub-editor to keep the article within an arbitrary word limit in case the internet runs out of space." The snark is strong with this one.

Re:Oh Noes! The Interwebs are Getting Full (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | about 4 years ago | (#33716296)

Truly. He even put up a Rick Roll.

This is a slashdot post (3, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33715750)

Begins with unwarranted boast as to the timeliness of submitting comment before prior posters, claiming victory for failing to achieve first place. Follows a more or less to-the-point observation aided by unrelated metaphore substanciated with a red herring logical fallacy. Additional straw man fallacy regarding possible critical replies. Conclusion with attempted witty signature line cleverly "borrowed" from another more obscure forum user's better post.

Re:This is a slashdot post (1)

tool462 (677306) | about 4 years ago | (#33716334)

Car analogy.

Re:This is a slashdot post (1)

riskeetee (1039912) | about 4 years ago | (#33716448)

This is a question about the article that, if I had actually gone to the link and read the page, I could have answered myself.

This is a comment (1)

mathmatt (851301) | about 4 years ago | (#33715766)

This is a contentless comment on the re-posting of someone else's website's story about the contentlessness of scientific reporting.

Re:This is a comment (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | about 4 years ago | (#33716254)

This is a gratuitous riposte on the contentless comment, comparing the poster to a gnat.

Reminds me of the BBC exclusive: (1)

amliebsch (724858) | about 4 years ago | (#33715772)

How to Report The News [youtube.com]

Re:Reminds me of the BBC exclusive: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716300)

For further insight, check out Brass Eye.

Ever degrading accuracy (1)

zrbyte (1666979) | about 4 years ago | (#33715800)

If the lack of scientific rigor of certain science journalists isn't bad enough, the consistence and accuracy the material gets constantly degraded as the story gets picked up by the next blog/news outlet. I call it the deathspiral of knowledge. [phdcomics.com]

all mass media reporting (1)

stimpleton (732392) | about 4 years ago | (#33715872)

I think the reporting industry has changed. I am not experienced in that area, but I am seeing a glut of ex-reporters coming into my work. Junior manager positions are common, and the reason seems to be that employers like the fact these people have the ability to be their own integrated comms dept.

From discussions with these people, it seems reporting used to be almost a craft or trade. Today, a young person with a degree is likely a new reporter. These people seem to be at odds with each other, The older ones are bailing out as younger ones seem to get more (promotions, benefits) faster.

The "craft" seems to be suffering for it.

As an aside, I disagree with hiring ex reporters. They all seem to turn out to be hollowed husks of people. Their old industry strip mining them of any motivation, as they are forced to write articles like this story outlines.

Re:all mass media reporting (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#33716164)

You make it sound like working in I.T.. Its not that bad.

Same old story. (2)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 4 years ago | (#33715884)

This reminds me of how news networks, after bombarding the public with stories about unimportant or sensationalized garbage, will air a navel-gazing piece where they raise the question whether or not they went to far. Not that it keeps them from doing the same thing over and over again.

Garry Shandling anyone? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 years ago | (#33715988)

This is the theme to Garry's Show,
The theme to Garry's show.
Garry called me up and asked if I would right his theme song.
I'm almost halfway finished,
How do you like it so far,
How do you like the theme to Garry's Show.

This is the theme to Garry's Show,
The opening theme to Garry's show.
This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits.
We're almost to the part of where I start to whistle.
Then we'll watch "It's Garry Shandling's Show".

This was the theme to Garry Shandling's show.
---

It was sorta funny at first, but my god... I got the point in the first paragraph. To be clear, this form of humor is actually older than the lyrics of the song I pasted above. But that show is pretty freakin' old.

It's funny, but not when it's that freakin' long. I liked the picture though.

Re:Garry Shandling anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716328)

I didn't see you coming up with it.

Missed a paragraph (0, Flamebait)

sdo1 (213835) | about 4 years ago | (#33715994)

If ("journalist employer" == "Fox News")
  {
    Add Paragraph
    Hire wack job pseudo scientist to provide doomsday prediction
    Blame Obama
  }

Anyone have ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 years ago | (#33716010)

... the source code for spew handy?

HEY EURAKARTE (5, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 4 years ago | (#33716016)

INSULT

Re:HEY EURAKARTE (3, Insightful)

men0s (1413347) | about 4 years ago | (#33716726)

RETORT

this just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716188)

Just today I saw mention of a "powerful computer code" called a "worm" that has infected a country called "Iran". It's origin is "unknown", but "could" be from "a" rich and powerful "nation" or "something" like that!

It's those computer codes again!

GROLIES (0, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 4 years ago | (#33716218)

Nice to see the Party mouthpiece of the champagne hypocracy poking fun at itself... oh, no, it's another Grauniad, "This is what we're better than."

Sure, you're laughing now... (2, Insightful)

JackSpratts (660957) | about 4 years ago | (#33716236)

and so am I, it's a funny article and an easy target. But when the science being reported on turns out to be dodgy (sugar causes diabetes, salt causes high blood pressure, high fructose corn syrup causes etc), the write-by-numbers approach with its rote opposing opinions and seemingly spineless journalistic waffling can remind readers not to get too caught up in the latest theory du jour.

Sure, I love the exuberant decisiveness and manic clarity of the Weekly World News (who doesn't?) but all in all I think major us newspapers do a pretty good job in presenting this admittedly complicated and theoretical stuff, particularly when read with a bit of skepticism.

- js.

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer (1)

D Ninja (825055) | about 4 years ago | (#33716248)

This story reminds me of the Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer [youtube.com] that Cracked put out recently. Pretty well done and captures the same type of spirit as the Guardian article.

Re:Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33716394)

One of the best YouTube videos ever. Shit, they should win an award for that alone.

Only one important thing missing (2, Insightful)

osgeek (239988) | about 4 years ago | (#33716292)

They forgot to add that treatments/products/services using this fantastic discovery should be commercially available within 5 years.

He forgot the part at the end (1)

structural_biologist (1122693) | about 4 years ago | (#33716316)

where they leave a carefully hidden note that says they basically just copied the article verbatim from a university press release (e.g. see Science Daily and other related sites).

Bad science journalism: what it lacks (1)

forgoodmeasure (885419) | about 4 years ago | (#33716366)

Here is what's missing from a bad piece of science journalism. There will be no discussion of whether the study had a control. There will be no indication that some methodologies are more powerful than others -- the reader is assumed not to know or care about gold standards such as "Double blind" and the like. There's no attempt to recapitulate the scientific argument; the reporter need only lamely report the conclusion. Obvious questions arise from the reporting, but are left unaddressed.

The New York Times and The Economist magazine tend to do better than that. AP tends to be awful.

Gratuitous insults... (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 4 years ago | (#33716430)

...against "skeptics" and "deniers" who are obviously motivated by payments from "big industry" which will justly be impacted by the righteous and necessary political policy which the new scientific consensus demands.

I Don't Believe It (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 4 years ago | (#33716434)

That's not a humorous article at all. Someone has leaked the instruction manual that those cheesy word weasels use when they have to do something more than simply rewrite a press release.

I suspect there's an addendum that says "Get someone to chop out a chunk of your main point, add a title that makes it sound like the hypothetical being tested by the research has already been proven and then some. For instance, if a physicist posits a theory that the space-time continuum is comprised of many dimensions with at least one other time-like dimension besides ours, then give it a title like "Time Runs Both Directions At The Same Time". Then submit it to Slashdot."

It's a trap! (1)

Wacky_Wookie (683151) | about 4 years ago | (#33716696)

Not only is the article dead on, but the author managed to get a Rick-Roll link included in the official post-article link block.

Could these be a good argument for dedicated science journalists for big websites? And by dedicated, I mean *interested* in science.
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