In future if you want science… Read the Sun, not the Mail

The Daily Mail isn’t known for its science coverage, in fact when it’s not scaring us into thinking CERNs Large Hadron Collier is about to destroy the world including my favourite:

Two nightmare scenarios, two ends of the world. In the first, there is little warning. For maybe a month there would be no sign that life was about to come to an abrupt and nasty end for all living things on Earth.

Then, earthquakes would start unexpectedly, alerting geologists that something terrible, unimaginable, was amiss. After a few days, these seismic disturbances would reach catastrophic proportions. Cities would be leveled, the oceans would rise and wash in a series of mega-tsunamis that would attack the world’s coasts, killing millions.

Is the end of the world nigh? Doom-mongers fear the consequences of scientists replicating the Big Bang

The fact that the earthquakes were striking randomly, not along well-known geological faultlines, would be proof that something devastating was afoot.

Finally, the end would come, in a disaster of Biblical scale. The Earth would literally start to crack up.

Molten lava would wash over the land and the seas would start to boil.

Mega-hurricanes would level buildings and forests the world over. Eventually, mountains would crumble as the Earth’s crust continued to disintegrate.

The fabric of the planet itself would start to disappear, trillions of tonnes of rock, water, air and life sucked into a whirlpool of unimaginable force.

From space, our blue-and-white home would appear to vanish down a plughole in a flash of light.

At least in this scenario we would have a little time, perhaps, to come to terms with the end.

However, a second doomsday scenario is even more terrifying. There would be no warning at all.

In an instant – about one-twentieth of a second – the entire Earth would simply vanish from space.

Less than two seconds later, the Moon would follow suit. Eight minutes later, the Sun would be ripped apart, followed by the rest of the planets in the solar system and onwards, a wave of destruction caused by a rent in the fabric of space itself, spreading out from our world at the speed of light.

Any extra-terrestrials out there would die too, in due course. And there would be nothing technology could do about it.

But why should we now be worrying about such possible causes of Armageddon?

The answer is a gargantuan machine – the largest, most expensive scientific experiment in history, the ‘Large Hadron Collider’, to be turned on next Wednesday.

Infact the only time the Mail really mentions scientists and science in general is when they’re peddling their daily “<X> gives you cancer” article.

So imagine my shock when I noticed an article on Brian Cox.

Now I have said in the past but I’ll repeat. I quite like Brian Cox, I’m not one of those people who turn to jelly when he’s on. I admire his work and think that in an age of new age drivel, superstition and an unwillingness to trust scientists he is welcome relief.

However it would be nice to read an article that doesn’t make a massive deal over his pre CERN days, we all know he was in D:REAM and DARE, we get it, he’s the “rock star Physicist”… well two things.  In what multi-verse is D:ream “Rock” and surely Brian May PHd is the true “rock star physicist”

"I've written a new song on Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud"

The Article does briefly mention his work at CERN, but mainly on how he met his wife because of the CERN email address but mainly it’s rehashing of this article to the extent that the openings of that and the new one are as follows:

Old article

Physicists shouldn’t look like Professor Brian Cox. He doesn’t have clouds of wild grey hair, a crumpled lab coat or even ill-fitting beige slacks. Rather, he’s a vision of gleaming skin, artfully floppy hair and extremely good teeth. And he looks about 17.

New article

Scientists shouldn’t look like this. They should have wild hair like Einstein or wild eyes like Patrick Moore, not amble into the room looking as if they’ve just come off stage at Glastonbury.


When an article by Prof. Cox appeared in the Sun his Facebook page was filled with “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT THE SUN IS SHIT” comments to which his wife Gia Milinovich (sorry ladies, move on) remarked that it was the best way to communicate about science to a wide audience, which it is. They recently ran an excellent set of articles by Cox which opens complex scientific concepts in an easy to understand way, so those who aren’t scientists or science nerds can understand. But what in Sagan does talking to the Mail achieve. The Mail is skeptical, not in the good way.  They honest to god took the theory of the LHC sabotaging itself from the future and reported it as a likely scenario. Causality be dammed.

The final insult comes from the “Science” part of the article, while discussing his new show the article remarks that

“it also contains a hefty dose of science. ” Hmm does “Everything requires energy” count as hefty…

This may seem to be a shoddy hit piece on Professor Cox which is why I stated I’m a fan, infact it’s a hit piece on yet another shoddy article from the Mail, shoddy not just in the fact it’s a rehash from an article a few years ago but that it is trying hard to “love science” while doing everything to push an anti science agenda.

Science shouldn’t be dumbed down, Scientists shouldn’t be judged on how they look or what they did or do in their free time (Unless it’s Feynman and that’s because you could honestly say, he did it all) Carl Sagan who Cox has credited a number of times managed it, Feynman managed it, Marcus Chown manages it. Let Science be accessible for all, let it be fun, let it inspire and most of all, don’t let the mail crap on it.

In future if you want science… Read the Sun.


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