Well, yeah. Still, funny.
And man. Those two women must really be tired of me. First the Moon Illusion in the park, and now this.
Sometimes, over the holidays, it’s easy to think there’s nothing to do. If you feel that way, Sci-ence! wants to have a word with you.
[Click to exnihiloenate.]
And why, yes, that comic does describe me as a child.
… and maybe as an adult, too.
Last week, I was checking my feed reader, catching up on all my favorite web comics. One of them is sci-ence, a comic you really should be reading. It’s drawn (in part) by artist and science afficianado Maki Naro, and (like xkcd and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) it’s both funny and scilicious.
I got a snicker out of the comic he had just posted, dealing with my pal Neil Tyson and the Moon. Go read it!
Back yet? OK.
Now, I know that just last night I was praising Neil, and today I have no cause to bury him. But I will nitpick a wee bit…
First, of course, who hasn’t wanted to chase Neil Tyson down the street while yelling incoherently at him? But that aside, I must point out that this explanation of the Moon Illusion, while very common, is not actually correct.
The Moon Illusion is when the rising (or setting) Moon looks huge and fat, squatting on the horizon, but appears far smaller when up high in the sky. But it’s not because you’re comparing it with foreground objects! I’ve seen this illusion when out in the open plain, with nothing between me and the horizon but Kansas farmland, which is like a geometric plane, except flatter.
Yesterday, I wrote about an embarrassingly bad OpEd piece published in the Wall Street Journal, the purpose of which was to try to sow doubt and confusion over the reality of climate change. One of the writer’s main points was that if we can doubt Einstein (due to the recent much-argued-over faster-than-light neutrino experiment) we can doubt global warming.
Needless to say, this analogy was such a howler that many, many people besides just me took fingers to keyboard to lambaste Robert Bryce, the author of that OpEd. I think my favorite is by cartoonist Maki Naro, the first panel of which is here (click it to see the rest, which is great). Andrew Revkin, from the somewhat more trustworthy Gotham paper The New York Times, also weighed in, making several fair points about the piece.
This nonsense also started a wonderful Twitter hashtag, #WSJscience, which I am quite enjoying perusing. So much so that I even submitted my own:
If serious scientists can question relativity, then a fatally flawed WSJ OpEd implies the written word doesn’t exist. #WSJscience
See? False equivalancies are fun!
Tip o’ the retreating glacier to JenLucPiquant.