|Jeff Whisenant's M-27 Awards and Bad Astronomy Page
of Astronomical Stupidity, Ignorance, Faux Pas, Bad Astronomy, and General
BS Culled from the Tabloids, Government, Media, and the General Public
M-27 is Messier Object
number 27, a Planetary Nebula found in Vulpecula and commonly referred
to as the Dumbbell Nebula. We present these
awards to all deserving individuals and organizations when they act like
dumbbells when it comes to astronomy, science, and the related politics. If you know of any acts of astronomical
idiocy, please send your submissions to the link below and they will be included on this page.
Remember: only you
can stamp out astronomical illiteracy.
E-mail Me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not associated with Lucile Miller Observatory, or the Catawba County School System
Don't like what you read here? That's fine, but read my disclaimer before you write.
Coming Soon! Pictures of telescopes pointed at the ground or backwards!
Quotes from Dan Quayle on Space and NASA
"Mars is essentially in the same orbit . . . Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
"[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."
"...Buzz Lukens took that fateful step..." -- Vice President Dan Quayle confusing the sexual assaulter/Congressman with Astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Hey, teacher, why does this picture of a silicon crystal doped with an arsenic impurity look like Linda Ronstadt?!
So, you think what they taught you about science in school is accurate? Check out
Final Report, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Grant #1998-4248, Review of Middle School Physical Science Texts, John L. Hubisz, Ph.D.
This is a rather lengthy and technical report about errors in science textbooks used in your tax supported school systems (and in private and home schools too). Garbage On = Garbage Out, we see it every day.
Hey, Where did the road go?!
From the Darwin Awards - August 11, 1999 Germany - A 42-year-old man killed himself watching
a solar eclipse while driving near Kaiserslautern, Germany. A witness driving behind him
stated that the man was weaving back and forth as he concentrated on the partially secluded sun,
when he suddenly accelerated and hit the bridge pier. He had apparently just donned his solar viewers,
which are dark enough to totally obscure everything except the sun.
And now, something good about Daylight Savings Time...
From the Darwin Awards - September 5, 1999, Jerusalem - The switch away from daylight savings time caused consternation
among terrorist groups this year. At precisely 5:30 Israel time on Sunday, two coordinated car bombs
exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs.
It was initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by klutzy amateurs.
A closer look revealed the truth behind the untimely explosions. Three days before, Israel had made a premature
switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time in order to accommodate a week of Slihot, involving pre-sunrise prayers.
Palestinians refused to "live on Zionist time. "Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued.
The bombs had been prepared in a Palestine-controlled area, and set on Daylight Savings Time.
The confused drivers had already switched to Standard Time. As a result, the cars were still en-route when the
explosives detonated, delivering to the terrorists their well-deserved demise.
What We Have Here Is...Failure to Communicate!
We present this
award to NASA and JPL, and everybody else who was responsible directly
or indirectly for crashing the Mars
Climate Orbiter. One group was using miles and the other was
using kilometers.; Somehow, an orbit of 60 miles was interpreted as
60 kilometers, turning the Orbiter in to a $125 million meteorite.;
Putting your tax dollars to work.
GASP! Evolution?! Don't you mean 'change over time?'
What's the scariest
word in education today?; Not gun, not bomb, but of all things Evolution!
Many states have taken giant steps backwards to appease some very vocal groups
who seem to have closed their mind concerning science.; These folks refuse
to consider the responsible scientific views on the origin of the universe;
favoring creation stories as absolute fact. To them, there can be no other views.; Kentucky
has not dropped the teaching and testing of evolution, they now call it
"change over time" . A school district in Kentucky confiscated all the science books and glued
together the pages discussing the Big Bang Theory. On balance, the state of Kansas has a more moderate school board and has restored scientific discussion to the classroom.
This is an ongoing story, stay tuned.
Get You for This
We recently heard
a story from our friends in South Carolina concerning a recent Lunar eclipse.;
It seems the eclipse was to occur on a Wednesday night.; Now, on Wednesday
nights here in the Old South, one can not schedule anything because most
of the people will be at a church meeting. When a local astronomy group publicized
a Lunar Eclipse gaze for the Wednesday evening, an obviously uninformed
person called and admonished: "How
dare you schedule a Lunar Eclipse on a church night!" As purveyors
of science, it is our duty to inform the public that WE do not schedule
eclipses.; If anyone has a problem with the scheduling of an eclipse,
they should go to church and pray to have it changed, because man does
not control the Heavens.
know the difference
Presented to WBTV
Channel 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina for their coverage on Friday, October
10 of the bright meteor fall in the Southwest. In the tease before the
story ran, they showed a graphic with a good picture of Comet Hale-Bopp
with the caption "meteor". This legitimate media source knows better. Most of the time these
folks do a fine job of covering the sky.
What's an Ecliptic?
Presented to Exploring
Outer Space by Gerald E. Duncan, Coles Publishing Co. Toronto, 1976,
page 47. In talking about the constellation Orion, Duncan states, "Orion
is just off the road of the Zodiac, but it is difficult to see how it escaped
becoming one of the signs, as it is so outstandingly magnificent." Do you
think the fact that the Sun does not pass through Orion has anything
to do with it not being in the Zodiac?
Time is 1,000,000,000 miles
Just before Christmas
1997, a television ad ran on the music video channels for Swatch Watches.
The focus of the ad was How Long is a Lifetime? They showed people
in various situations such as a woman in labor who said that a lifetime
was nine months, and so forth. They showed Armstrong walking on the moon
indicating that a lifetime was 1000 years. Then they screwed up the whole
thing when they showed a girl looking through a telescope (dime store variety)
and said that a lifetime was 1000 LIGHT YEARS! duh! We all know
that a light year is a measure of DISTANCE not TIME. Maybe Swatch
is making odometers now.
Save Yourself the
Trouble of Reporting stuff from the Weekly
World News. The whole thing is a giant M27 Award.
Philip Plait's Bad Astronomy Web Site An LMO 4-BOB Supersite!!
Professor William C. Keel's "Astronomy students say the strangest things!
Search for Bad Astronomy from Google.com
Bad Astronomy Perpetuates Ignorance
bad astronomy.; Don't tolerate bad astronomy.
Stay tuned for more stupid stuff........
OK, now that I have your attention, please read this...
This page is entirely funded, maintained and hosted by me.
Since no tax dollars, individual or corporate donations, or other outside money is used, I will use this page to vent my spleen about things that bug me.
Opinions expressed on this page represent only my views and absolutely do not represent the views of
Lucile Miller Observatory, or The Catawba County School System. Don't complain to them about what you see here.
The Websites of Philip Plait, Jack Horkheimer, and Professor Keel have my blessings and I recommend everyone visit them. Other websites linked in are for your convenience and I do not necessarily endorse them or their content.
It is not my intent to offend any person, group, business, or institution, but I don't mind ruffling some feathers.
There are several reasons why items are listed on this page.
First, I have found that advertisements often misuse artistic license to the point where facts and terms are just flat out wrong.
If an advertisement contains incorrect information, it does not matter what the writer intended - wrong is wrong.
Second, I have a very low tolerance for politically correct thinking and statements.
Case and point, look what happened to poor Jack Horkheimer and how he had to change the name of his TV show and it's wording.
Third, when I talk about encounters with religious groups, it is usually because of a misunderstanding between the intent of the
group and the intent of astronomy. However, I will not sit still when any individual or group questions my personal faith in God (which is quite strong, thank you),
or those of my astronomy friends, or our organizations. As an astronomy educator, I present a view which is based on scientific principles. There is room in
our science for your faith. Please find room in your faith for our science.
Fourth, many school systems across the country are making irrational choices concerning the teaching of astronomy, science, and evolution.
Educators and administrators have replaced common sense with PC thinking to accommodate groups and individuals who want facts replaced with beliefs and conspiracy theory.
Every day I encounter some people who have been fed misinformation by their schools - public, private, and home schooled. I encourage teachers and administrators
to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
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