Off Topic: You Should be Reading Phys.org

For a very long time now, and I don’t recall how long, I have been reading a website called phys.org. I don’t care what the subject you are curious about but these people aggregate the actual scientific papers, with references, for you to read. Their article is the story about the article, and then it tells you the University or organization it is from, and it gives you a link to the journal that the article is published in.

Often I am dismayed by the fact that my opinions on many scientific issues of the day are not popular. Reporters often, if not usually, get important facts wrong. Other times, like in the Express, they just sensationalize the truth to get click-bait and a good headline. The problem is that you only read the real story way down in the article.

Here is a link to the Express about the Yellowstone Super-volcano. The article is titled, “Yellowstone volcano WARNING: How MASSIVE eruption could occur ‘within TWO weeks'”. You have to read far down into the article to find out that, “THE Yellowstone supervolcano could fully erupt within two weeks of a triggering event, it was revealed in a BBC documentary.” That makes it sound like the thing could blow any day.

I happen to be a person who is very interested in volcanoes. I used to ask my mother to take me to the library when I was little so that I could read books on it. I have kept up on Yellowstone. In the case of that volcano, it erupts about every 600,000 years or so. I say every, but there are only 3 eruptions. We know Yellowstone is live, we see the geysers, but there is a large variation in those eruptions. We don’t know when the triggering event will happen, nor what it would take to make it happen. It’s just bad reporting.

Now I know Express is a pretty extreme case, but the truth is that all the trusted media sites, and I know that depending on your political persuasion you list of trusted sites may differ. Still, I find they are all sometimes to often wrong. This is why I suggest phys.org. This is why I am encouraging everyone to read it.

Phys.org will show you the real papers. Those papers will expose you to the caveats that the scientists put into their papers that reporters gloss over. Its those caveats that I read, and why for instance the next great battery may not be hitting the market as soon as you think. Why, because of the caveats that the scientists referred to in their article. Often, it’s a case of these next technical or technological or other hurdles need to be overcome next.

So my plea here is to please, as often as you can, to read the real science. It’s far more nuanced and more interesting.

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