Return to Website

Number Watch Web Forum

This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

Number Watch Web Forum
Start a New Topic 
Author
Comment
View Entire Thread
Re: Scary Science Stories Indistinguishable from Satire

There is a website that has been publishing spoof environmental news stories for quite a few years now that are sometimes indistinguishable from real environmental news stories, namely the ecoEnquirer website:

ecoEnquirer

The ecoEnquirer website started up in 2006, and is a personal project of prominent AGW sceptic climate scientist Roy Spencer, as described in this old news article:

news_article

The site is still going, but from a quick inspection it seems to have been last updated in 2013.

One problem with spoof stories about climate change is that there is a small possibility that they could inadvertently end up on JEB's Global Warming List. [JEB has announced in Sept 2015 that he is no longer updating the list.] There is definitely at least one ecoEnquirer story, the one about global warming increasing the risk of asteroid impact on Earth (due to the warming expanding the atmosphere and presenting a bigger target to passing asteroids) that managed to get on to JEB's list.

Re: Scary Science Stories Indistinguishable from Satire

I always suspected that there were some of those in there. Trouble is, it is no dafter than many of the genuine ones. If you don’t mind I will leave it there. That page gets many more hits than any other I have produced; every day! It is the only thing I am known all over the world. I now understand why Conan Doyle decided to kill off Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls.

Re: Scary Science Stories Indistinguishable from Satire

Pardon the garbled sentence. I was making a pedantic grammar correction and somehow did not make the final insertion. As the proprietor I can delete the message but not edit it after the regulatory hour.

Re: Scary Science Stories Indistinguishable from Satire

Many a "true" word spoken in jest......

In today's Telegraph:

"Invasion of giant house spiders after Britain's wet summer"

"Wet" means "Climate Change" a.k.a. AGW and thus giant (Giant? Notthe normal size? Is there a radiation scare or did they become giant because of AGW?) spiders changing habitat is a reality.
Just the sort of story that makes the spoofs so believable and if believable someone somewhere will not simply believe but defend that belief if it costs them their life.

Re: Scary Science Stories Indistinguishable from Satire

On the subject of scary science stories indistinguishable from satire, the vast majority of these are environmentally-related. But on rare occasion you do a get a story which isn't environmentally-related in this category, and there was a good one last year about the universe being destroyed by the act of studying it.

link1

The problem supposedly comes from measuring "dark energy" [not to be confused with the dark energy they sometimes talk about in ghost-hunting TV shows]. The reason this story might be confused with satire is that modern physics does entertain the notion that observing something can change its behaviour, and it is conceivable that some satirist might extend that idea to the whole universe.

However the physicists behind the story appear to be legitimate. Lawrence Krauss appears to be this person:

link2

Krauss was apparently a science policy adviser to Obama at one time, and is also strongly connected with the "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists", a group of panicky, left wing scientists that predate the Union of Concerned Scientists, and who are most well known for organising an annual stunt where they arbitrarily decide how close the world is to oblivion in the form of a clock which is set at some number of minutes to midnight. Krauss also wrote a book called "The Physics of Star Trek".

Presumably Krauss wants some areas of cosmology research shut down to avoid the risk of destroying the universe. However I can see a problem - if we are not alone in the universe, then alien civilisations might also be carrying out similar studies and contributing to the destruction of the universe, and there would be no way of warning them.