John is Ars Technica's science editor. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. John has done over a decade's worth of research in genetics and developmental biology at places like Co...
Most of what you read was wrong: how press releases rewrote scientific history
Early this year, a British tabloid ran a hyperbolic article on climate change, claiming that world leaders had been "duped" by climate data that had been manipulated. It wasn't unusual for the outlet or the article's author to make badly misleading claims about climate research, and our own investigation into the underlying disagreement showed that the piece actually boiled down to a dispute about how best to archive data. These sorts of misrepresentations happen dozens of times a year.
Does it make sense to build something that will almost certainly end up wrecked before its useful lifetime is over? In most contexts, the answer is clearly "no," since doing so is a waste of money and resources. But lots of people seem to have a blind spot when it comes to planning ahead for climate change. North Carolina, for example, went through a protracted debate over whether it should allow people to build on sites that were likely to be under water.
For most of my adult life, I've lived in dense urban environments where elevators are a part of daily existence. During that entire time, I've had an elevator get stuck a grand total of once. Someone opened a small panel, pulled out what looked like a handset from an old rotary phone, and managed to get people dispatched to get us out. I was a little too distracted to ponder the technology involved then, and I haven't had cause to think about it since.
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