Everyone loves a clever science meme! When done well, they educate and make us laugh; they inspire us with a pithy quote by a celebrated researcher; or they give us information that encourages us to see the world in a new way.
The trouble with memes is that many of them are misinformed at best - see almost every quote about Einstein. Bad memes reproduce incorrect myths about science - for example, the idea that people only use 10% of their brains is wrong; we use 100% of our brains all the time. At worst science memes contribute to science illiteracy, by perpetuating the idea that science is just about "pretty pictures" and that the details don't matter. Memes give factoids that people love to share but don't always bother to check if they're true. They sound cool - but is it science?
Our Community is inundated with memes and we strive to correct them wherever possible. Have you seen the one with this "fact"?: "If an alien in a galaxy 65 million years away is looking at us through a telescope right now, then they are looking at dinosaurs."
Sounds fascinating, right? This has been shared to our Community many times, and it continues to be shared even though we keep correcting it. One of our Moderators, Astrophysics Professor corrected the information just the other day. He notes:
While it's an interesting idea, that isn't how things work. For one, resolving images at a distance takes timed exposures, and that would blur out any dinosaur motion. For another, the region of space between us and 65 million years isn't completely empty, so light from Earth would be distorted by interstellar media and such. Then there is the fact that the universe is expanding, so a telescope currently 65 million years away would be observing a region of time less than that now.
Basically the post takes a basic idea (that light travels at a finite speed), and draws a conclusion that simply isn't true. It is similar to the claim that since quantum mechanics is probabilistic, "anything is possible."
In short, no, it is not a fact.
At time of writing, there were dozens of comments beneath Brian's correction that continue to marvel about the incorrect science in the meme...
Have you seen other bad science memes? Share them with us in the comments and tell us why they're wrong. Our Community is striving to improve science education, so if there are some especially interesting corrections, we'll feature your writing on our Community and Page!
Image: Vector Belly: http://vectorbelly.com/electrical264.html
Type: • Local Universe : Galaxy
• Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Central Black Hole
• X - Galaxies Images
Distance: 11 million light years
NASA, ESA https://plus.google.com/101905948676786607277/posts/KQQ73ZdS5DH
Here's a fantastic article on the "massive engagement" on Google+ communities! Journalist has featured our community as one example of the dedicated discussions that take place on Google+, dispelling the myth still perpetuated by mainstream media that Google+ is a "ghost town."
Simon quotes Google product manager who says of G+ communities "People come up with really interesting ways of talking to each other that are community defined and make them really special."
Thank you to all our members who make our community one of the top 10 largest communities on Google+ as well as an amazing place for smart science discussion! Simon highlights some of our favourite posts by our community members. Take a look!
HT for the ping & for posting. #SoG+CuratorsChoice
A diagram of Earth’s location in the Universe starting with the Earth, moving to the Solar System, onto the Solar Interstellar Neighborhood, onto the Milky Way, onto the Local Galactic Group, onto the Virgo Supercluster, onto our local superclusters, and finishing at the observable Universe.
Created by Andrew Z. Colvin
#space #nasa #science #universe #cosmos #astronomy #galaxy #cluster #stars #esa #google #nature #life
- FirstsourceCustomer Insight Analyst, 2010 - present
YotaPhone launching in India today exclusively on Flipkart
The world's first smartphone with a e-paper + LCD dual screen on either side.
Total eclipse of Blood Moon on night of October 7-8 | EarthSky.org
The total lunar eclipse on the night of October 7-8, 2014 is the second of four eclipses in the ongoing lunar tetrad. It'll be called a Bloo
:: SHAALE :: School of traditioanal Indian arts & Literature
Shaale is a project to document, research & disseminate ancient Indian wisdom, culture through traditional arts & literature. This is done b
Free Video Converter | MP3 MP4 AVI 3GP MKV DVD | FREE Download
Convert video free between 300+ formats & 100+ devices with Freemake! Any video to MP3. Best free video converter by PCMag & PCWorld.
The Bhagavad Gita in Audio (Sanskrit) | The Bhagavad Gita with Commentar...
Now you can listen to the ancient sanskrit chants of Bhagavad Gita, sung in classical melodies by noted devotional singer Sri Vidyabhushana.
Sometimes It Is All About You | Influence, Power, & Politics | Big T...
Self-praise is a challenge for most of us. Women find it particularly uncomfortable and are inclined to give away more credit than is necess
'Under the Skin' review: you've never seen sci-fi like this
We’re in the midst of a science-fiction boom at the movies, and while that’s great for fans of fighting robots and futuristic dystopias, it’
Weekend poll: LG G Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - GSMArena Blog
We're writing an LG G Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 article, but before we are done we decided to get some input from you, our readers. Bo
Retrospect: How Train Stations In Mumbai Were Named
“It’s not so much what you learn about Mumbai, it’s… Read more ›
Google Announces An Online Data Interpretation Class For The General Pub...
Google has launched its own Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to teach the general public how to understand surveys, research, and data. Cal
The Sad, Perfect End of Kim Yu-na's Figure-Skating Reign
The 2010 Olympic champion from South Korea announced her retirement on Thursday after a virtually flawless, silver medal-winning skate—one t
This is Nokia X: Android and Windows Phone collide
It’s official, the Nokia X Android phone is here. Microsoft might be buying Nokia’s phone business shortly, but the Finnish smartphone maker