Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rate your own carbonado news story

Nitrogen defects in diamond. a. is type Ib, b. is type IaA, c. is type IaB. We use FTIR to determine nitrogen aggregation state becasue our eyes aren't sharp enough to make out the balls and sticks unaided.

I had someone else come up to me and ask about my opinion of the carbonado news today. Strangely, they didn’t offer to plot any data or fight the Bruker for me (the software for our IR scope runs in the OS/2 operating system, and the most advanced portable media reader on that computer is a 3.5 inch diskette drive). So, for those of you who want to know how reliable the coverage is in your medium of choice, here is a simple formula to rate the coverage:

They simply rephrase the press release to remove any big words: 0
They say that diamond is usually made by compressing coal: -5
They make any other basic geologic error by trying to over simplify: -1
They use, and explain, the term carbonado: 1 (the scientific community doesn’t even have a rigorous definition, so we can’t really complain about the quality of the press’s descriptions)
They interview an author: 1
They interview an independent “expert,” whose comments show that he doesn’t have a clue about the subject matter and is simply trying not to say anything that might make him look silly: 1
They interview an independent expert who can actually contribute meaningfully: 3
They do their own independent reading and explanation: 5
They interview one of the authors of any of the papers referenced by Garai et al.: 5
They interview a referenced author who speaks knowledgably: 10
They get their independent source to talk about experimental design, and pitfalls therein: 15
They get an author and an independent source to debate methods and data, instead of interpretations and models: 20
They get all interviewees to discuss the ramifications of the paper without anyone flapping their arms: 25

So far, the biggest score I’ve seen is about a 5.

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