The Sciences

Methane culpa

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitMay 21, 2008 2:16 AM

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UPDATE: Paul McNamara at Network World has written a thoughtful piece based on this blog post. It's worth reading.

Well, I blew it, and I suppose I should make it official. In my second video answering questions from sixth graders, I said that Titan's atmosphere is mostly methane. Bzzzzzt. It's mostly nitrogen (specifically, N2, like in Earth's atmosphere). It's only about 1% methane. What kills me is I knew that, but somehow reading the question got me all bollixed up, and I said the wrong thing. Twice! It's like a persistent slip-of-the-tongue, but it's really just an idea that lodged in my brain when I answered the question. I can see now why people say wrong things when talking; it can just happen. However, they should also correct it when it's found. So here I am, saying I was wrong, and I apologize to the sixth graders at Saegert Sixth Grade Center. Even pros make mistakes. But that doesn't mean you won't get a bad grade when you make mistakes! I can't be used as an excuse to your teacher. :-)

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