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Mar 22nd 2016 at 2:04:33 PM •••

  • Utahraptor was originally what amounted to "a giant Deinonychus". Recent discoveries, though, made it anything but a giant Deinonychus; it not only had a stumpy tail (a trait commonly associated with oviraptorosaurs, not dromaeosaurines), but procombent teeth. That means the teeth of Utahraptor were something like those of Masiakasaurus, or that they curved out along the jaw.

I looked around, and I cannot find a good source for this. Should this be cut?

Mar 9th 2016 at 11:29:00 AM •••

Does the bit about laser corrective surgery really work? Even now, in modern day, there are many, many different types of vision problems it cannot treat.

Jan 16th 2013 at 10:43:01 AM •••

The "One quote is enough" rule. Could we break it if the reference is an in-universe event within the work?

Planet Master: Feel the strength of Jupiter, the speed of Mercury, the cold of Pluto!
Blue Beetle: News Flash: Pluto's not considered a Planet anymore.
Planet Master: Insolence!
Batman The Brave And The Bold, "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure"

Edited by Kohdok Hide/Show Replies
Telcontar MOD
Jan 17th 2013 at 3:30:30 AM •••

No, but you could add that and shift the current to the Quotes tab instead.

Aug 6th 2012 at 1:35:58 AM •••

Technically, science doesn't "march on," it advances in fits and starts. Scientists come up with theories and then hold on to them as if their lives depended on it even as evidence starts piling up that disproves them. Then eventually either the older generation dies out or the scientific community is forced to see that new theories are needed and the commonly held theories change.

It's a very nonlinear process and it is only after time has passed that we (and textbook authors) look back and tell the story as a history of scientific progress. (See Thomas Kuhn, paradigms, and philosophy of science.)

I can't tell whether or not this is reflected in the description of this trope since it doesn't explicitly state that paradigms were overturned and now seem absurd, but the title is a little misleading.

Feb 26th 2012 at 7:19:04 AM •••

I read someone saying on the main page that Oviraptorids did not steal or eat eggs at all. If they didn't steal eggs, what did they eat? If you say they were vegetarians and never ate meat, you are a fucking idiot. For those of you who don't know, a lizard was found in the body cavity of an Oviraptorid fossil and two Byronosaurus skulls were discovered in an Oviraptorid nest.

Edited by NateTheSnake Hide/Show Replies
Mar 10th 2013 at 8:46:23 AM •••

They ate meat. They did not eat eggs. Simple answer.

Oct 6th 2011 at 5:06:30 AM •••

Good heavens, someone was in a bad mood last night.

Sep 16th 2011 at 9:35:42 PM •••

In the Mass Effect blond hair example, the prequel novel Revelation mentions on page 15 that the various races and ethnic groups have become more heavily mixed by the time of the novel. (I remember the novel also mentioning blond hair dying out, but I don't remember what page.) I'm wondering if that sort of racial mixing could even theoretically have an impact on the frequency of people having blond hair, or if the whole idea of blond hair dying out is completely ridiculous.

Edited by dracosummoner
Apr 7th 2011 at 12:18:48 PM •••

Anybody else think science needs to stop marching for a second and get out the map and compass since it clearly has no idea where it's going?

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Apr 7th 2011 at 12:27:03 PM •••

I think you're stretching the metaphor beyond the point where it still makes sense.

Of course science doesn't know where it's going. If they knew where the end was, they wouldn't need to look for it.

Apr 30th 2011 at 7:18:00 PM •••

I guess what I mean is, right now it's statistically impossible to hope that anything currently 'known' will still be 'fact' in the future. Depending on field, it might be a year or a century.. but we keep on relying on whatever the current facts are, treating em like the truth.. holding ourselves so superior to our forebears..

Sep 16th 2011 at 9:32:39 PM •••

I see the point you're trying to make — that some people might be treating the science of our forefathers and ancestors as "primitive" and talking about how smart we are today, whereas our children and their children might say the same things about scientific ideas that are commonly taken for granted today?

Mar 10th 2013 at 8:53:02 AM •••

I know how old this post is but this needs saying.

No scientist ever claims that we know everything (no good one, anyway). But we do know a lot more than we did even 50 years ago.

We are superior to our fore-bearers when it comes to knowledge. The fact that scientific facts we think we know now may be disproven in the future doesn't change that. In fact, science is itself the process of coming up with theories based on experimentation and observation and trying to disprove them in the intrest of finding the truth.

Dec 17th 2010 at 1:58:48 PM •••

Pulled the following:

  • Soon after Sojourner began its geological surveys, a newspaper cartoon featured the following caption:
    One Martian to another: I threw a rock at it. It seems happy with the rock.

This is just being facetious, the author obviously didn't think there were Martians playing catch with robots.

  • Aldous Huxley; Brave New World: while he first postulated the idea of designer babies, he failed to predict the correct method. Huxley's designer babies are created and conditioned in a byzantine system where fetuses are exposed to specific chemicals and stimuli, instead of genetic engineering (the novel was written 30 years before the discovery of DNA).
    • Given that all they want to do is make people with varying degrees of stupidity/docility this could be done as easily with chemicals as with genes (though given that each person/set of 160 fetuses from one egg is different, you would ideally want to work with well characterised clones). He got the deleterious effects of alcohol on the developing fetus right.
  • Similarly, Larry Niven's 'Known Space' series describes a 20 Minutes into the Future Earth, where the medical establishment has become quite proficient at transplanting organs and the main character combats a thriving 'Organlegging' industry. At the time, the science for the more practical idea of simply cloning extra body parts hadn't been discovered.

These examples both rely on technologies—human genetic engineering and stem cell therapy—that aren't mature even now. More tellingly, the word “organlegger” has been De Fictionalized!

  • If The Velveteen Rabbit took place today, the boy's scarlet fever would have been easily treated with penicillin (not discovered yet when the story was written) and his toys would not have been burned (we now know scarlet fever is unlikely to spread through objects and we have better ways of disinfecting anyway).

This isn't the right trope, maybe… Technology Marches On? I'm not sure whether this falls into People Sit On Chairs or not.


Dec 1st 2010 at 7:17:23 AM •••

Why was the reference to atomic mass and atomic number linked to Completely Missing the Point? Those are perfect counterexamples, as is atomic physics and so forth. In fact, the change from "atomic" to "nuclear" is simply restoring the proper terminology — "atomic" is different from "nuclear" and the conflation of the former with the latter was rather jarring. Going from "nuclear" to "quantum" is a case of Not Doing The Research.

Aug 31st 2010 at 5:42:28 PM •••

Veganopia. In a setting before the advent of vitamin supplements, humans can't live on a vegan diet; vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin. But the trope was still very common before the 1950s (19th-century occultism describes the Atlanteans as vegetarians.) and remains with us to this day.

This is confusing vegan with Vegetarianism. while totally cutting out animal by products has only be possible fairly recently there have being plenty of pre-20th societies that have been vegetarian to one degrade or the other. Either because of for religious or simply economic reasons.

Jun 30th 2010 at 6:30:24 AM •••


  • You know, part of Venus is quite nice. The problem is that this part is the atmosphere. And not even the whole atmosphere, just the part above the death clouds.
  • Basically Venus is an Earth gone wrong - a runaway Greenhouse Effect which has poisoned the atmosphere. The scary thing is that we might be going the same way...
    • That is, closer to the Sun by one quarter of AU? As a result of Archimedes Plutonium's revenge?
      • The air pressure is also 90 times higher on the surface of Venus than it is on Earth. This exaggerates the insulating properties of the Venusian atmosphere far more than its chemical makeup. In fact, probes launched into the Venusian atmosphere have reported that, in the layer of the atmosphere that is at 1 standard Earth atmosphere of pressure, it's actually about 5-10C colder than Earth's surface, though this is probably because so much of the Sun's radiation is reflected by the sulfuric acid clouds high above this layer.
    • The distance from the Sun isn't relevant, Venus is still in the habitable zone. If it had an Earth-like atmosphere it would be perfectly capable of supporting life.

Discussion in the main page.

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Aug 23rd 2010 at 2:52:45 PM •••

Thanks for moving this here... The greenhouse effect is a highly politicized topic, and I felt it was better to have a discussion in the page than set off a very bitter edit war.

May 3rd 2010 at 12:03:11 PM •••

Removed this:

  • In the 1977 Doctor Who serial "The Robots of Death", a character dismisses the Doctor's explanation of what's going on as impossible, and the Doctor retorts that bumblebees fly even though that's also "impossible". The aerodynamics of bumblebee flight has now been well understood for a decade, so apparently there's at least one area of science we mere humans can do better than the mighty Time Lords.

The Doctor is pointing out that what's going on in front of you is by definition not impossible, it may just be beyond your theories to explain. Whether or not Time Lords understand bumblebee flight is irrelevant, what matters is that human science at the time didn't, and the Doctor is in a position to know that.

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May 3rd 2010 at 11:27:19 PM •••

It's an urban legend, and has been traced back to 1934, which is before 1977, so I'm putting it back. Edit: Probably should go in Hollywood Science instead.

Edited by arromdee
May 5th 2010 at 12:48:22 AM •••

The "human science at that time didn't" explanation doesn't work, anyway, because the serial is set in the future. If bumblebee flight is considered impossible at that time, it must be because they've forgotten stuff we know now.

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