On Friday, I wrote about some really poor science writing from Yahoo. While most of the garbage was stuff that an obviously clueless writer on Yahoo's part tossed in, but the base of it came from this article. It claimed solar scientists were worried about the upcoming solar cycle being the worst in 100 years and that trillions of dollars in damage could be the result.
I left a comment pointing out the gross misrepresentation of the position of scientists and the likelihood of such an event and the author, David Reneke, responded by shoving his foot even further down his throat.
Go take a look at it and see if you can figure out all the problems with his response before my reply makes it through the moderation queue. (HINT: There's not a single paragraph that didn't have major problems!)
PS: Does anyone know where this guy teaches? His personal website notes that he teaches at a college level, but doesn't mention where. Given the shoddy grasp of what people are saying and the sloppy sensationalism, I'm of a strong mind to write the head of his department.
UPDATE: Three days later and my reply still hasn't made it through the moderation queue. So I'll outline the problems here:
1) The author doesn't understand the English language. He claims he said "'could be' not 'will be'". But let's look at what he really said:
"Huge Solar Storms to Impact Earth", "the Earth will be hit", "solar storms that will cause the Sun".... Where's that uncertainty?
The only place a "could" pops up is when the author talks about the effects. In other words, he's saying the storm will happen, but the effects of it are where the uncertainty lies.
2) The author quote mines and conflates arguments. The quotes he has are universally in regards to the effects of a massive outburst. Yet he takes them out of context and presents them as if they're talking about this solar cycle. They're not.
3) The author provides no sources for the main point of the article. He names "space weather conference in Washington DC attended by Nasa [sic] scientists, policy-makers, researchers and government officials", but what is that really talking about? It's not whether or not it may or may not happen, but rather, every source he cites is in regards to the worst-case-scenario planning.
4) The author ignores contrary sources. I provided two sources from NASA's solar science department that show the main tracers of solar activity are predicting the next solar cycle's activity is going to be lower than the last solar cycle which flatly contradicts his premise. Yet he still asks "where’s the reference source?". Herp derp.
5) The author engages in baseless sensationalism. Since the above points show that the author has no basis for saying this storm will occur, the entire point of bringing it up is nothing but alarmism. It's bad journalism.
Conclusion: This guy doesn't understand basic astronomy or journalistic standards. I'm still looking for contact information on some of his supervisors to try to make sure this guy doesn't continue to get a national platform for his gibberish.