Something 'Not Quite Right'

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Q-reeus, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Where does one start? The article is full of nonsensical statements and non-sequiturs.

    The actual research seems to be about the dimerisation of H-CC-CH2 . to form benzene, e.g. as a precursor to cosmological PAH. These are interesting as they may lead to the formation of the heterocyclic organic bases that appear in molecules such as RNA - according to some.

    But the writer tangles this up with the cosmological origin of carbon, and somehow also suggests that this reaction forming benzene is a clue to the further reactions of benzene, in soot formation in IC engines - without explaining why this jump is justified.

    In the process, she seems to mistake "basic" in the sense of a base in chemistry (opposite of acid) with "basic" meaning fundamental, and talks as if you need benzene to form carbon!!?!

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    WTF??

    Appallingly, the author seems to be actually working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I can only think that the lab has employed a PR person to write articles trying to link its research to commercial utility, however tenuous the connection. She can't be a chemist and I doubt she knows much physics.
     
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  5. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    Agree with all the anomalous tripe you picked up on. But what about the article title? Carbon free via some marginal possibility of reducing diesel engine soot blowing? Ha ha ha ha. As anyone familiar with how refined the internal combustion engine has become, the margin for improving efficiency is small. Very far from any possibility of achieving 'carbon free'. You burn gasoline/petrol/diesel/LNG/alcohol blended etc. - any hydrocarbon based fuel - CO2 is the inevitable exhaust output. And it's understood by everyone that 'carbon free' in this context implies elimination of CO2 greenhouse gas exhaust emissions. Plus of course others like methane. The author needs a spanking no less.

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    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Yep. Theresa Duque, the author, is on Linkedin. Her profile describes her as an "experienced writer with expertise in science writing, feature writing, news releases, and content strategy. Strong science communications professional with a Master of Arts in English Literature from the University of Washington." English lit does not prepare one for understanding science. Although it also doesn't stop you; I know a few science writers with softer degrees who do a great job in both understanding and communicating about science.
     
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting, and rather as I suspected. But it's pretty dreadful that the lab let this go out without someone on the science side proof-reading it.

    What is is also depressing to see is that Phys Org simply reprints these press releases without any sort of editorial process.

    I have to say there seems to be a trend in research to overreach in trying to claim broader significance for their findings. I can only imagine it is a strategy to keep up their funding. But it has a bad smell. In effect we are seeing misleading advertising of scientific research. That must be a corrupting influence.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Good point. It's crap as well.

    The editor of Phys Org also needs to be hauled over the coals. It makes me wonder if there even is an editor, actually. From most of the articles I've seen from that outlet, the text of them is identical to that available from other sources. It looks to me as if a lot of these titles simply reprint research press releases uncritically, without even bothering to reading them.
     
  10. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed. Some good stuff among all the articles, but a lot of R & D funding competition driven hype that wastes time sifting through. Here's a Phys.org gem with impeccable source journal but very questionable relevance:
    https://phys.org/news/2021-06-global-weight-sars-cov-viruses-kilograms.html
    Priceless info - not.
     

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