Friday, January 19, 2007

Beagle 2: A Fortunate Failure

A friend at work sent me this link to a 2004 article by Jeff Bell (Univ of Hawaii) on why it's a good thing that the Beagle 2 crashed. Did I say article? Rant is probably a better term, but it's a highly entertaining rant. I particularly enjoyed his description of MetSoc meetings...
Year after year, distinguished scientists with impeccable records of measuring obscure isotope ratios would step up to the podium and give 10-minute slide talks about how their particular pet isotope PROVES BEYOND A SHADOW OF DOUBT that (e.g.) tektites are actually volcanic glass bombs ejected from Io!!! Other isotope scientists in the audience would roll their eyes uncontrollably, and then in the question time methodically demolish this insane model with an assumed air of seriousness, bringing up dozens of other isotopic ratios that totally disproved it. The speaker would smilingly admit that he knew nothing about those other isotopes, having spent the last 30 years in his lab measuring his own pet isotope with no spare time to read the Journal of Obscure Isotopes.

Ahhh, good times.

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