Friday, January 8, 2010

So-Called Science "Reporters"

No, I am not about to complain that the media is biased, that's something I've no interest in discussing. What I'm pissed off about is this piece on Science Daily's website.
The North American Space Agency (NASA) defines life as a "self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution." The scientific theories on the origin of life revolve around two main ideas: one focuses on genetics -- with RNA or DNA replication as an essential condition for Darwinian evolution to take place -- and the other focuses on metabolism.
It should be screamingly obvious as to what's wrong with that paragraph.

I know people often complain that reporters get the facts wrong about technical/scientific matters, and that what seems like an "easy to understand" is actually pretty difficult for someone to grasp if they haven't had 4+ years and X number of years working in the field, but this is not one of those instances. This is a case of someone being a fucking idiot. They could be bothered to look up NASA's definition of what life is, but couldn't spare a second or two to check and see what NASA stands for while they were on the site? Even worse, none of the editors who reviewed the piece noticed the mistake.

How the fuck can we expect to have a society which can intelligently discuss important scientific issues of the day, when the reporters, who are supposed to serve as a conduit between various groups (the public, scientists, government, etc.) can't get the simplest facts right? This is on par with CNN's crawl which claimed that "Columbia was traveling 18 times the speed of light" when it broke apart. I hope someone takes those involved with that story and literally beats the crap out of them. At the very least, that's the kind of mistake which indicates a person has such a fundamental lacking of what the job entails that it would be better for all parties if they were simply fired and told to find a new career. Like asking people if they "want fries with that."

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