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Bunk science, bunk news April 17, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Marching in from the land of idiots is a never ending procession of bunk science, quacks, and downright anti-science musings from fools.

Add to this collection the news services offered up via Google and Yahoo! Both offer quick links to countless, legitimate news stories. But in addition they are blatant purveyors of misinformation and out and out falsehoods.

The latest gaffe was pointed out April 13, 2006 by fellow blogger and resident "Bad Astronomer" Phil Plait. The world needs more people like Phil, his website is brimming with brilliance, with topics ranging from debunking the Apollo moon hoax theories to debunking outspoken Face on Mars guru Richard Hoagland.

The latest gaffe I speak of is a news story, which isn't a news story (it's a press release—which is misleading in its own right) that turned up on Yahoo! News and Google News (Google took the story down sometime today) about a former French air traffic controller who claims that a fragment of the Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann, which will make a close approach to Earth in May, is destined to slam into Earth on May 25, 2006.

Story Links:

Via Google
Via Yahoo!

Phil goes into great detail debunking the bogus science that is used in the article (press release) so I won't focus on that. Instead I have to point out what Phil didn't and that isn't found in the release it is found in the original paper, by the Frenchman Eric Julien, found on the conspiracy-crazed website Exopolitics.org.

The paper is so incredibly off the wall that how any news service, even a collective one such as Yahoo! or Google could allow this nonsense to pass as a genuine, fact-based work of journalism is far beyond my feeble comprehension.

Julien paper Link (PDF)

The paper is based on lunacy. It holds its basis in sheer nonsense. Check out this quote I lifted directly from the text of Julien's paper (emphasis in original):

"You need to know that up to recently, before I discovered what you have just read on this fragmented comet, I received on April 7, 2006 a telepathic message from extraterrestrial friends. According to them, a méga-tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean I had experienced in a lucid dream three years ago, would occur around MAY 25, 2006. Perhaps two or three days before or after. I have two witnesses who will confirm the chronology of the facts that I describe here, but especially tens of readers on Internet and a deposit of copyright concerning my lucid dream three years earlier."

Lucid dreams? Telepathic messages from extraterrestrial friends? What the hell is this guy talking about?

Either way, this kind of misinformation being purported as fact is worrisome at best. After all they call themselves Yahoo! News not Yahoo! Press Releases.

The nonsense continues throughout the paper as Julien cites crop cirlcles, his personal visions and UFO "evidence" of this comet collision.

Again, from Julien's lies (emphasis in original):

"Currently, tens of underwater volcanoes lie largely dormant, ejecting very small quantities of magma emerging from gigantic chambers. They will break out, heating the sea water to a boiling point. It is the vision that I had approximately three years ago. It happened again on April 7 2006 at 10 pm while I meditated on the shores of the Pacific with two other people. I received information supplementing this vision: the date, MAY 25, 2006!"

I have to say I am not to big on visions of Armageddon. This guy, clearly, should have his head checked out. Crop circles have been shown time and again to be nothing more than the work of elaborate pranksters. Aliens are not visiting us. That doesn't even make any sense.

Anyway, don't worry, no comet is hitting Earth in May.

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