on the Hubble 25th Anniversary

Last Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope turned 25. That’s an incredible achievement, exceeded only (off the top of my head) by the Voyager space probes for longevity of space vehicle. Hubble is now probably older than some of the people using it. Aside from being very long-lived and renowned the world over for its stunning…

in which I am befuddled

Scientists have a long and amusing relationship with articles that describe them as baffled, bemused, astonished, shocked, etc etc… Scientists Surprised by Milky Way Dust Discs that Survive UV Radiation. Hubble Finds Unidentified Object in Space, Scientists Puzzled. NASA, Scientists Surprised To Learn Saturn’s 6th Largest Moon Enceladus May Have Warm Ocean. Scientists surprised to…

on How to Spot Responsible Science News

There’s a lot of reporting going on about scientific studies. A lot of it is good, some of it is a little too superficial, but some of it is just plain bad, and meant to mislead people. I stumbled across this one recently: IFLscience.org. First off, whomever’s responsible for this seems to be one of…

on Retractions

Sometimes the results of scientific research projects are just wrong. There was an accident, the data was flawed or insufficient, the methods were flawed, or conclusions improperly drawn. That happens, and subsequent studies will generally recognize that something went wrong, and correct it. It’s not malicious, it’s accidental, and that’s just the way that science…