Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

DNAlien

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJune 17, 2008 6:05 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Hey, it's only Tuesday and we already have what I can call as the worst headline of the week! I posted the story the other day about organic matter found on a meteorite. Some compounds necessary for life were already known to be in the rock, but it was conclusively shown that they were native to the meteorite and did not seep in after it hit the Earth. This means that perhaps the first basic building blocks of life fell from space (though I was careful to point out that they also could have been made here on Earth as well). So yesterday Popular Science posted an article on this topic. Their headline? "Genetic Material Found on Meteorite" Ouch! When I read something like that, I'm thinking DNA, not the basic molecules DNA uses. That's a poor choice of words. It doesn't get better with the subtitle, either: "A meteorite in Australia has been found to contain component molecules of DNA ". That's clearer, a bit, but still murky; the letters DNA kinda leap out, and squash the component molecules part. The article itself is fine; I'll note that usually headlines for papers and magazines are not written by the authors (though I insisted that part of my contract here at BA is that I do all my own stunts and headlines). Tip o' the Whipple Shield to BABloggee Jelle Kouwenhoven, whom I suspect sent me that article not for the headline but for the content. Bonus!

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In