Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stars

It always amuses to watch the spread of news. The first story drops into the dirty pond that we like to the internet. Ripples spread out, bounce off of the banks and become more ripples.

Case in point:
http://science.slashdot.org/story/15/02/17/1922227/another-star-passed-through-our-oort-cloud-70000-years-ago?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed

It's fairly well agreed that stars pass by all the time, sometimes pretty closely. Scholz' star was discovered fairly recently, and the study that determined its path only came out within the last few months, true.

But this is not really news. At least not in the sense of "Tokyo Is On Fire; Giant Reptile Suspected."

It's news-ish. Fascinating stuff and it's new information to add to the dust-bin of interesting information in the back of your head. Astronomy is full of stuff like that--stuff that's fun to know but not terribly important on a day-to-day basis...but the articles tend to attract all sorts of fun attention, since it collides with pop culture.

This one's great in that sense.

Relatively sober article hits Astronomy magazine. Check.

Slashdot picks it up because their contributors are colossal nerds. Check.

The other sites pick it up, start the not-so-slow process of sensationalizing the headlines. Each round of releases makes the headline and lead more ridiculous.

I fully expect the headlines next week to say that the star in question is going to loop back and fry Moscow. Or maybe unnamed experts will come out, saying that it's just hanging at the edge of the solar system, lobbing comets at us until we're all doomed.

Or more likely, the supports of Sitchin will collectively wet themselves and claim that it's Marduk, assuming they're not already.

Which reminds me, it's been nearly a year since I've read my annual dose of awesome whoo.

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