Spotting the stupid in science…

December 7, 2010

There’s a lot of complicated science news around, and I try to keep up with it so my readers don’t have to hurt their brains trying to understand. Here is some actual science stuff from recent days which may affect your life, so pay attention.

science secret dwarfs 260Let’s start with astronomy. How many stars would you say there are in the universe? A lot, right?

Hold on to your hats! According to our story, ”red dwarf stars are far more common than astronomers have believed – in fact, they may make up 80 percent of the star population, scientists said in a study…that triples the number of stars in the universe.”

Think about that. You had no clue how many stars there were before, but suddenly there are three times as many!  Bad news if you bought a bunch of stars as an investment, but good news if you are considering distant stars as vacation destinations.

As for these “red dwarf” things the story mentions, it wasn’t easy finding a photo of them but I managed,  so you can know them if you see them.

And there’s more science news:

Secret military mini-shuttle headed back to Earth

science secret shuttle 260A miniature robotic space shuttle launched from Cape Canaveral in April has completed a nine-month classified mission for the military and will be headed for a landing as early as Friday, Air Force officials said…

Huh?  Somebody needs to tell Air Force officials what “secret” means. Jeez, get me WikiLeaks on the phone!

But here’s my favorite science tidbit in recent days.

NHL/Nearly half of Britons believe in aliens and almost 80 percent say cancer is the disease which most needs a vaccine, a poll…showed on Tuesday.

Really? Cancer kills more than seven million people every year, and it turns out folks would like to have a way to prevent it? You could knock me over with a feather!

What is even more surprising is that the 50 percent who believe in aliens got to go ahead and vote for a cancer vaccine, too. I think I might have weeded them out, but maybe that’s just me.

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A worker moves a figurine of one of the Seven Dwarfs from the fairy tale Snow White, which is part of the decorations for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival, at Longtan Park in Beijing September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Grace Liang

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle in the encapsulation cell at the Astrotech facility in April 2010, in Titusville, Florida.  Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Handout

A man dressed as an alien cheers for the Calgary Flames during their NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings during Halloween night in Calgary, Alberta, October 31, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol

More stuff from Oddly Enough

18 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

High marks for “red dwarf”!

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Haven’t you heard? There are no more secrets. Just ask North Korea. Or Iran.

I always wondered what a red dwarf star (or is that a star red dwarf?) looked like. You are in serious danger of getting zapped BG….

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by George Chen and robert basler, Oddly Enough. Oddly Enough said: Spotting the stupid in science… http://dlvr.it/9vBLs [...]

Now now, BG; these aren’t necessarily stupid. The “secret” mission is just a way of getting people worried about what the Air Force *might* have done. Mission, apparently, accomplished.

As for the people who believe in aliens, well, I believe in aliens. I don’t know if any have visited Earth, but considering the universe now has three times as many stars as before, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that there are aliens out there, wondering about what their scientists are talking about discussing dwarf red stars (and starlets).

Posted by skeres | Report as abusive

I am going to give my zapper a rest for sometime Dave, you know.. with the festive season and all coming…
Also, this snow is not helping…
Can I get a red dwarf star for Xmas, BG? OR a pair of Jimmy Choos…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Dave – just a question. At Christmas do you get fake reindeer antlers and put them on your goats, and string up lights outside the goat cave, along with your inflatable Santa Bin Laden?

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

Those are supposed to be the seven dwarfs from Snow White? Is it the rendition where instead of Sleepy, Sneezy, and Dopey we get Creepy, Spooky, and Repugnant?

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Nosmo – not a bad idea.

Anybody have a Santa bin-Laden they can loan me?

Hey BG, that X-37B looks almost as slick as the BT-69….

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

Nearly half of Britons would have been expecting something else from a picture of “Red Dwarf Stars”

http://www.dan-dare.org/Dan%20FRD/Dan%20 FRD.htm

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

Wasn’t the computer in Red Dwarf called Holly?
Or should I just smeg off?

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

@Dave – sorry, I couldn’t find a specific Santa Bin Laden inflatable, but if you go here you can make your own:
http://www.ehow.com/how_7454953_make-wac ky-inflatable-tube-man.html
Scarily, in the process of researching, I discovered this:
http://www.walrusmagazine.com/blogs/2008  /10/18/political-sex-toys/

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

First off, those are the biggest dwarves I ever saw. Who is defining dwarfism these days?

Now, that Canalien, is he the guy standing up or the guy sitting down?

Posted by KWest | Report as abusive

I was certainly expecting….
Its cold outside, there’s no kind of atmosphere,
I’m all alone, more or less.
Let me fly far away from here,
Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun.

Holly was a man in the first two series, Nosmo.

Anyway, surveys have shown that 80% of British people don’t believe in surveys. Go figure.

Posted by knit_nurse | Report as abusive

Nosmo!!! Man, you just made me fall off my chair!!
Santa Bin Laden!!!

Man, i am gonna keep smirking the whole day… if I dont reply back, then know that i have been put into a straitjacket and am being fed meddies…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

So pretty much a normal day then, Shra?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

well no, BG.. see, these guys havent discovered just how goofy I am… so, yeah, me smirking at the screen all day with nothing on the screen to be smirked about, they would get a tad bit uncomfortable…
or maybe thats how I see it…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Shra, since ’tis the season, would you spare some meddies with us, the poor bureaucrats all tied up in Geneva snow?

Posted by justM | Report as abusive

Only becoz its the season, M… I am very tight-reined with my meddies and my taser otherwise… and no, you are NOT getting my taser… season or no season…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

@Knit_nurse – A recent EU study showed that 85% of all statistics are made-up. Including this one.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

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