Author Topic: Science Blunders  (Read 21713 times)

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Offline chionactis

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2011, 01:00:23 AM »
There are the calculations made by Lord Kelvin which caused him to mistakenly believe that the sun hadn't existed long enough to allow for the gradual process of evolution. I think I might have first heard about that in an SGU episode, actually.
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2011, 03:02:36 AM »
- The nuclear accident at SL-1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1). If you do include this, I *highly* recommend the first paragraph on it from the book, which is the most awesome paragraph ever written in the history of mankind.

From what book?
The Levay book mentioned above. It's not always purely sciencey but man, that is a great read. I lent it to my brother a couple years ago; otherwise I'd quote the passage here.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline seaotter

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2011, 11:37:14 AM »
Titantic may 31st 2011 was the hundred year anniversary of the launching of the unsinkable ship!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 11:39:58 AM by seaotter »
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Offline Beleth

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2011, 07:06:05 PM »
Chionactis mentioning Kelvin above reminded me of Fahrenheit's temperature scale.  It was supposed to have 0 degrees being defined as the freezing point of sea water (which IIRC he got pretty well), but 100 degrees was supposed to be the body temperature of a healthy person... except he based it on the temperature of someone who had a slight fever instead.
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Offline Calinthalus

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2011, 08:22:50 AM »
Nature publishing the ex.Dr. Wakefields nonsense.
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Offline Moloch

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2011, 08:35:03 AM »
Nature publishing the ex.Dr. Wakefields nonsense.

I wasn't aware nature did, wasn't it the Lancet or are you referring to a different paper?

Offline Calinthalus

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2011, 10:55:32 AM »
Completely my bad.  You are correct.
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Offline JPM

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2011, 12:00:23 PM »
Thomas Midgley Jr should get a mention for his part in leaded gasoline and CFCs.
The lesson to be learned is how important testing becomes when a product can be released into the atmosphere.

Offline Chew

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2011, 08:27:29 PM »
Superseded scientific theories - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

found that page while reading about the Dust Bowl which mentioned the Rain follows the plow theory.
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Offline Silly Llama

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2011, 03:11:12 PM »
How about that famous cognitive dissonance work that turned out to be wrong because of the Monty Hall problem.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/science/08tier.html

Offline Kessdawg

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2011, 03:33:56 PM »
What about the cold fusion blunder? Fleischmann–Pons experiment.
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2011, 04:34:31 PM »
I think that's been mentioned, but was Pons-Fleischmann really a "blunder" in the classic sense? I was under the impression that they insisted for years they really did cold fusion and that the whole incident, while residing in the grey area between bad science and hoax, was closer to the latter than the former.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline filip

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2011, 05:18:04 PM »
I don't know if its fair to classify nuclear disasters as scientific blunders. These accidents seam far removed from the scientific process.  Fukashima was caused by inadequate defenses against environmental catastrophes. Chernobyl was a result of human error toe-to-toe with inadequate design and irresponsible government. At what point is science responsible?


I don't think we can blame science for the majority of blunders in Moloch's top twenty.

Challenger Disaster: bad O ring
Piltdown chicken: hasty journalism


Offline migopod

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2011, 06:07:19 PM »
I seem to recall as well that concerns about the bad o-ring were brought to the attention of higher-ups by engineers prior to the incident and that those concerns were dismissed.

Offline Unlimited

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Re: Science Blunders
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2011, 07:29:51 PM »
Don't forget evolution...
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