The Sciences

Media FAIL (or, Superstorm followup)

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitFeb 9, 2011 6:59 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

So this morning I posted a rather lengthy and hopefully thorough debunking of an execrable doomsday story trying to tie the Earth's magnetic field with big "superstorms" pummeling the US and Australia. I was pretty clear where I stand on this; I loathe it when people ramp up the pseudoscience to try to scare other people about an imagined doomsday scenario. You could probably point your finger anywhere in my post and find some stern words about how the Earth's magnetic field is unrelated to these storms. So why oh why did the Press-Enterprise website pull this quote from my article? Here's a screen grab:

Whaaaaa? That quote says:

The earth’s climate has been significantly affected by the planet’s magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming. Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth’s magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics.

In fact, that quote was not from me. It was from a pseudoscience website I was quoting and debunking! So Press-Enterprise managed to find, extract, and post just about the only thing in my entire article that is the opposite of the entire point of what I wrote. So in a blog post about media fail, I get a followup media fail. It may be a media fail, but at least it's an irony win.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2022 Kalmbach Media Co.