Monday, March 30, 2009

Scientific Breakthroughs for March 30, 2009

I was reading the list of press releases on ScienceDaily Headlines and I thought you might be interested to learn about some of the most important discoveries in the past 24 hours. For the most part, these are press releases from universities and research institutes.

None of them are real breakthroughs. Some of them are interesting, incremental advances in our understanding of the natural world. Some of them are trivial results that have been elevated to importance by a press release and a headline. Some of them are silly. Some of them are probably wrong.


  1. Why should science journalism be good when newspapers can buy "breakthroughs" off the shelf from scientists' publicity departments?

    A quick rewrite, a 10-minute telephone interview with the P.I. (to make it sound like original reporting) and presto, you've filled another few inches between the adverts. You don't even have to phone around to other workers in the field to see if the "Breakthrough" is real. The P.I. is happy, the granting agency is happy, the university is happy, the news outlet is happy, and the public is none the wiser.

  2. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDMonday, March 30, 2009 2:18:00 PM

    I expect to read about a lot of breakthroughs two days from now.