26 May 2009

Science by press release sucks!

Just a quick thought while I try to get myself to focus again after lunch - this will mostly be links to other, better writers:

Many of you, I'm sure, have heard about the new fossil "Ida." This fossil was supposed to be so hugely important that it was kept under tight wraps until the simulateneous publication of the paper and press fiasco.

Not only did the media reports grossly misstate Ida's significance, but even the contract signed by the researchers forced them to directly contradict their analysis of the fossil.

This happens a lot, but fortunately there is a large online army of irritating science bloggers working hard to set the record straight. The problem in general is that science doesn't progress by thrilling leaps and bounds. It takes two steps forward and one step back as information is reanalyzed and reinterpreted.

Beware of science by press release - the first conclusions are rarely the same as the last.


Anonymous said...


Jackie said...

i enjoy all the messages that you leave when i hold my mouse over your hyperlinks.