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9 Bizarre Mistakes That Keep Screwing Up Your Science News

Are you 100% sure you exist? Good news: we’re sure. But here’s a few TERRIFYING headlines saying otherwise: “The universe shouldn’t exist, according to science.” (New York Post) “The universe shouldn’t exist, scientists say after finding bizarre behaviour of anti-matter” (The Independent) “Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude.” (Cosmos Magazine) You might see those statements and think they sound increasingly convincing. First it was scientists saying stuff, then they brought anti-matter into it, and then holy cow here comes CERN. What a big official-looking acronym!

All those stories spring from one study, which Physics Today and Gizmodo covered in a professional way. The study explained a huge leap forward in how we measure antiproton magnetic movement. One press release about it contained a borderline joke about the universe. And from there, all hell broke loose. Specifically, the same hell that keeps happening with discovery after discovery.

On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Matt Kirshen (The Jim Jefferies Show) and Andy Wood (Bridgetown Comedy Festival) of “Probably Science” to plumb the depths of Internet science reporting. They’ll explore the food chain of scientists, universities, PR people, clickbait farms, and straight-up liars who turn good science into confusing Facebook junk. They’ll rolodex tales of alien octopuses, brown pandas, new Earths, and other actually-awesome things you’ve been lied to about. And they’ll send you out into the world with science literacy tools that will make your brain happier and your life a whole lot easier.

Footnotes:

Probably Science Podcast

Matt Kirshen on The Jim Jefferies Show

Does Octopus DNA Come from Space? (Snopes)

5 Science Headlines You Can Immediately Ignore (Cracked)

5 Dumb Science Problems That Are Causing Real Damage (Cracked)

5 Ways to Spot a B.S. Political Story in Under 10 Seconds (Cracked)

“All The Ways Your Microbes Make You YOU”, featuring excellent science journalist Ed Yong (The Cracked Podcast)

Episode 70 with Crystal Dilworth and Alexandra Lockwood! (Probably Science)

The Ig Nobel Prizes

Wikipedia entry for Knot Theory

Urban Dictionary entry for “boffin”

How a Calligraphy Pen Rewrote Steve Jobs’ Life (Hollywood Reporter)

“I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.” — Kurt Vonnegut in Palm Sunday

A creepy 15th century language experiment took place on this island (io9)

The Great Satirical-News Scam of 2014 (The New Republic)

Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why by Dean Burnett

Meet Kepler-186f, the most ‘Earth-like’ planet ever found (Los Angeles Times)

The Ethics of Sarcastic Science (The Atlantic)

Discovered a disease? WHO has new rules for avoiding offensive names (Science)

Part two: A virologist’s tale of Africa’s first encounter with Ebola (Science)

‘The Disease of the Century’: Reporting on the Origin of AIDS (The Atlantic)

Pokemon USA threat leads to gene name change (CNET)

Ten Myths About the 1918 Flu Pandemic (Smithsonian Magazine)

Scientist puts his dog on the editorial boards of seven predatory journals as proof of their negligence (Boing Boing)

…and then here is a separate section for:

RIDICULOUS SCIENCE & SCIENCE COVERAGE

‘He is slower but cuter!’ Meet the ‘world’s only BROWN panda’ Qizai as his keeper reveals funny details of the bear’s life (The Daily Mail)

Found! First Earth-Size Planet That Could Support Life (Space.com)

Battlestar Galactica fans eat your heart out: Earth-like planet discovered just a stone’s throw away in the galaxy (MetroUK)

Earth may soon have a second sun (io9)

Always Late to Work? Science Says You Can Blame Your Brain (Inc.)

Lying may be your brain’s fault, honestly (CNN)

If You Can’t Stand The Sound of People Chewing, Blame Your Brain (Science Alert)

Blame it on your brain: Researchers discover why we ignore PC security warnings (PC World)

If You Struggle With Authority, Science Says Blame Your Brain (Entrepreneur)

Did You Buy Bitcoins? Your Brain’s Anatomy Might Be to Blame (Scientific American)

Intercessory prayer for the alleviation of ill health [a joke paper]

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-bizarre-mistakes-that-keep-screwing-up-your-science-news

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