22 thoughts on “Which one of these recent science headlines is incorrect?

  1. Since the third choice has nothing to do with science, this could be labeled a trick question. But, since you ask: the third one, the third one, is once again false (don’t we see this type of story every couple years?)

  2. Dean, the only question I have is this: Is it the same ark they find every few years, or a new one?

    Dave Mabus: You see, here’s the thing. Your comments are very often way too close to literal death threats for people to really want to listen. You need to take it down a notch.

    Of course the boobies had an efffect. The atheists got out their boobies and caused a major earth quake.

    Be careful. We have the boobies. And we know how to use them.

  3. How do we know it is not Utnapishtim’s Ark? And the original story said they were evangelical archeaologists. It caused me to wonder just where the church of the archaeology is.

  4. Is it the same ark or a new one? Hmm, hadn’t thought of that: perhaps there is a science theory here, the “many arks” theory of the bible.

    “Of course the boobies had an efffect…”

    I know they moved me.

  5. I’m voting for #2. I saw a photograph of a worm with the NYT article on this subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/science/earth/28earthworm.html. This earthworm looks to me to be the plain old, large but not gigantic earthworm of my Eastern Washington childhood, which we dug up for fishing bait. I remember that the aim was to get them to scrunch up and be fat when trying to get them on a hook and not all stretched out and wiggly and dangling, in which case they were really hard to hang on to. I think they could stretch out at least 8 inches. We called them night crawlers. They were fairly common. Sometimes they were out on the lawn after a rain, in which case we moved them into the garden. They were too big for the robins to pick up whole. The article makes me want to go back to my old hometown and start digging holes to make sure they are ok.

    I still want to believe in the really big ones.

  6. Hmm, has someone told Jen that she’s now getting included DM’s incoherent rantings? I mean, she got on CNN and mentioned by name on the Colbert report. But you know you really are a symbol of rationality and clear thinking when David Mabus includes you with PZ and James Randi as one of his people to rant about in his spam.

  7. Greg, why do you put up with Mabus’ noise? He contributes nothing. Deleting him wouldn’t be censoring, just taking out the trash. Please?

  8. MrPeach, most of his posts are not allowed through. Normally, none. But lately I’ve decided to let a sample through.

    The reason? Well, while everyone in the atheist and skeptics community are busy telling each other that their voices are too strong or too weak, I thought it would be nice to have some perspective. Mabus represents one end of the spectrum. If he is always deleted and no one ever sees his drek, then it will be easy to forget how broad this spectrum is. By remembering how broad the spectrum is, it will be easy to see that our diverse voices should not be as offensive to each other as they sometimes become.

  9. Hmm….the first headline is just made up for this blog, the third represents a misinterpretation of some kind of wooden structure.
    I suppose you could say they are both related since the fictional Loch Ness monster and the Flood myth resonate with a part of our brain that likes extraordinary tales. In terms of rationality, “Nessie” wins since the myth got started by logs floating against the wind direction (due to currents induced by density differences). Someone actually saw an object moving in a way suggesting it was self-propelled, and assumed it was a big marine animal. No one has ever witnessed a world-drenching flood. ­čÖé

  10. The first headline is certainly not made up for this blog! It is a quote from an actual headline. Trimmed a bit, yes, but that is not the same thing as made up.

    Your suggestion as who why people think there is a LN Monster is interesting but why is it true? Plausible alternative explanations are no more true than the primary explanation just because they are plausible. Or is there some reason to believe that the initial sightings, photographs, films, whatever, are what you are suggesting here?

  11. Greg, pardon my curiosity, but considering the “broad spectrum”, do you ever experience nutters freaking out over your name?
    Those who have travelled a bit knows names mutates randomly so two separate languages may occasionally produce similar sounding words, or names. For instance “Jan” is a common name in both Polish and Swedish, but have evolved independently. “Laden” has evolved independently in (presumably) German and Arabic.
    Unfortunately, anglocentric people are unlikely to understand this -do you ever get threatening messages from idi…persons who think you must be related to the other “Laden” ?
    (not that it would matter, for all I know it is the local analogue to “Smith”. ­čÖé

  12. @ 11 Sorry, I did not mean headline 1 is literally “true”, just that the beginning of the underlying myth is more rational than the underlying myth of headline 3.
    Before the bogus photos, there was a pre-existing Loch Ness myth.

    In regard to the meaning of headline 3, it is obviously incorrect. However the bloke who found the wood pieces may not deliberately have set out to lie (even though the interpretation of the items as remains of a vessel carrying several millions of species is delusional). It is a bit sad that modern newspapers would want to sell copies by perpetuating this story.

  13. “It is a bit sad that modern newspapers would want to sell copies by perpetuating this story.”

    Sorry, I did not read the source. I should have known it was Fox….but the earthworms are still cool.

  14. “Laden” has evolved independently in (presumably) German and Arabic.

    And, as it turns out, Irish. Laden/Leyden/Layden is an Irish name. And, amazingly I get very little crap about it.

  15. Birger Johansson [13] … well, you have definitely caught on to the meaning of my post. The monster is not real, but the worm is, but the headline is not about a real connection. The ark is clearly not real but there is a news story (about delusional people as you point out).

  16. The Palouse region of Idaho and Washington is very heavily cultivated (wheat and lentils)and its almost sand dune like loess hills have also been heavily eroded. The loss of earthworms would mean that the mechanisms for rejuvenation of topsoil also are threatened. Earthworms are unlikely to care for either plows or herbicides. If they are going the way of the frogs and fireflies that would be a tragedy.

    Stories of arks on Mt Ararat were common in the 1970’s, at which time it was remembered that centuries before ark shrines were constructed which were a popular “tourist trap”. I assume that one of these shrines is being “recycled” yet again.

  17. @18 As a child, I always figured that the next worm I found would be at least as big as your Giant Gippsland one. It is not clear to me why the researchers reported on in headlines 1 and 2 above think that their adult sample is of maximum size.

    But then, not too far north from the Palouse, nearer to the Canadian border (and forested) there are people who think they’ve seen the Sasquatch (or Bigfoot). The sasquatch, in case you don’t “have” those in Australia, is supposed to be a giant hairy ape. Now that’s just silly!

  18. I loved Colbert’s story on the worm. The giant worm was discovered – except it wasn’t so giant. And it didn’t smell like lillies, it smelled more like a worm. And it didn’t spit. He then condemned the scientists for spoiling the story.

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