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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Time Magazine's Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2008 Can Suck It [20081209|21:28]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |peevish]

Right. This made me so mad I had to make a sweary LJ post about it, and that means it was incredibly infuriating. No really.
What could upset the bouncy, smiling nanila, you might be wondering. Why, it’s the Time Magazine Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2008.
  1. The Large Hadron Collider. Uh, okay. As far as I can work out, they put it first because it didn’t destroy the world. On the other hand, I feel the need to point out that it didn’t fucking work either. It’s BROKEN. It’s going to take until NEXT JUNE to fix. And it broke before it actually, you know, made any scientific discoveries.

  2. The North Pole of Mars. Okay, this doesn’t piss me off. What pisses me off is that it should have been first, because Mars Phoenix discovered quite a lot about our dusty red neighbour, while the LHC didn’t do ANYTHING OTHER THAN BLOODY BREAK.

  3. Creating Life. This is about Craig Venter and his claim to have designed a functioning bacterium. Well, I’m sorry, but until it actually gets built, it’s what we call a “hypothesis” not a “scientific discovery”.

  4. China Soars Into Space. Excuse me? Are you trying to imply that the Chinese just discovered space? Wait, is this the Top Ten Discoveries of 2008 BC?

  5. More Gorillas in the Mist. I don’t mean to imply that it’s a bad thing that the wild gorilla population was larger than originally thought. I do, however, take offense at the notion that the fifth-best scientific discovery of 2008 was that scientists can fucking count.

  6. Brave New Worlds. Okay, discovering lots of exoplanets is pretty damn cool. However, it once again points to the seeming public perception that the thing scientists can do best is count.

  7. The Power of Invisibility. At last! Real science! All right, Time, you can have this one. But I still have to point out that by my reckoning, this is Scientific Discovery #2.

  8. Cenozoic Park. More genuine science, and amusing at that since it involves reconstructing the genome of a woolly mammoth from a hairball. Perhaps all is not lost.

  9. Can You Spell Science? Never mind. It is lost. Because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that most people haven’t got a fucking clue what constitutes “science”. Some of them might even work at Time.

  10. First Family. A last clutch at redemption. I’ll give it to you this Time, but don’t try to pull this kind of shit again.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: cataragon
2008-12-09 21:55 (UTC)
Wait? Scientists do things other than count?

I was under the impression, for example, that my husband's job was pretty much to make machinery to count ever larger numbers of things in ever smaller samples of air.....

:-P

C.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 16:16 (UTC)
Heh. It's true, a shockingly large percentage of a scientist's time is spent counting (or getting a computer or a minion to do the counting). But unless the results of the counting are analysed within the framework of a particular principle, they aren't terribly meaningful!
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[User Picture]From: ironed_orchid
2008-12-09 22:03 (UTC)
I think the working title was "Scientific junk from 2008 we have heard of" but the editor decided it didn't have the right ring to it.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:59 (UTC)
"We don't know the difference between science and engineering" would work too!
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From: secretsquirrel7
2008-12-09 23:50 (UTC)
No how many times I read it, I always think it says "Large Hardon Collider" for a split second before my brain recognizes it.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:49 (UTC)
Me too. Just like the way I continue to snigger when I hear "semi-latus rectum".
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[User Picture]From: wurlitzerprized
2008-12-10 00:40 (UTC)
you must write a letter to the editor!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:47 (UTC)
Wouldn't I have to tone it down? I must admit, I don't feel like being reasonable about this one.
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2008-12-10 06:48 (UTC)
the first family was scientifically engineered? i knew it! first genetically modified grains, now genetically modified politicians and their families...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:50 (UTC)
It would explain why so many of them seem to have gone hideously wrong. Clearly too few environmental factors were taken into consideration...
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2008-12-10 12:29 (UTC)
Remember that they became journalists because they weren't bright enough to do anything else.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:47 (UTC)
I'd be reluctant to tar all journalists with the same brush. With the exception of the ones that work for Time. GAH.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2008-12-11 15:53 (UTC)
Every time I have been intimately involved with a "story", the press coverage has been either maliciously or stupidly inaccurate. Usually the latter.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:37 (UTC)
Yeah, he's a bit too bombastic for my taste. Every time I've read an interview or seen him speak, I get the feeling he thinks of himself as The God of All Science.
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[User Picture]From: helpful_mammal
2008-12-10 17:47 (UTC)
Scientists can't necessarily count if they're microbiologists. I distinctly recall from uni that a perfectly valid result for a bacterial culture or fungal population count was 'too few to count' (translating readily to 'double the concentration and make a new batch, that's not a statistically significant number')

I loved 'too few to count'

'Pah, that's not enough to be worth it. I can't be bothered to try.'
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:43 (UTC)
It's funny how things go the opposite way in physics (& physical chemistry). I remember my Ph.D supervisor telling me about being on a committee for a particle physics thesis defense. The guy had taken almost six years to finish his doctorate. It took him that long to get six viable data points.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-12-11 15:40 (UTC)
I shall have to find an appropriately spiky, dripping font for said icon.
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