The other night I saw an article that led me to believe that SCIENCE had found evidence of extraterrestrial life. I posted about it here, and then set about wondering why this wasn't front page news.
I thank Leaguers Fantomenos and Horus Kemwer for chiming in and helping out a bit in the comments section.
In the past 20 years, America has turned on its scientists as those lab-coated jerks keep (a) telling us things that are personally inconvenient to our butter-soaked, gasoline chugging lifestyles (b) refuse to just say "because of magic" and (c) keep finding new and amazing ways to kill us. But I'd guess the number one reason we hate science is that it doesn't work in the way we were led to believe by the Professor on Gilligan's Island and cold remedy commercials.
While The News would lead you to believe that all scientists are equal, and that if they can find two scientists to disagree on front of cameras that it must mean that we just don't know, that's not really true either. It means that they managed to find a scientist who disagreed, but that may be one scientist in a field of thousands. Which is why SCIENCE relies upon peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, which basically give a few experts in the field a chance to review conclusions of a study before a scientist has a chance to make a jerk of himself and confuse the public.
This isn't to say that everyone who ignores the usual scientific channels is wrong, but its worth looking long and hard at the credentials of both the author and published journal before saying "these are facts".
Now, as Joe Public, I generally guess that when the usual news outlets report on "studies" in "research journals", they mean that they're looking at journals with a reputable peer-review and an actual research institute backing the journal. I do not assume that the news is just looking at some dude's website and declaring "Science!". However, that appears to be exactly what happened with the "hey, aliens!" story from the weekend.
It does occur to me that if we DID know of alien life, it might also be true that shadowy forces would try to cover up our knowledge of aliens.
|they're making another one of these dumb movies, btw|
I only read the trade collections, and the series just got canceled, but you know what book I loved from DC Comics? REBELS.
|I think in this issue are heroes are more "running away" than "saving the day"|
Our man Vril joins with a ragtag band of pirates and thugs (and Vril is no Dudley Do-right himself) in order to take back the galaxy and get back to making gobs of money.
Its a really well written and well-paced story, even to the point that a two-issue diversion tied in with Blackest Night fits neatly into the plot. It also manages to explore DC's oft-neglected outerspace cultures and characters in a away that feels natural, even if the interplanetary jumping feels a bit like people moving from town to town inside of a single state.
And as far as amoral anti-heroes go (who might still have some tiny, on-life-support bit of conscience left), Vril Dox makes for a pretty great central figure. The writers have to remain two or three steps ahead of the readership and the other characters. And, in fact, they manage to pull off pretty definite characterization for most characters, which is no small feat with a sprawling cast like you see in REBELS.
|No matter who he's dealing with, Vril is always one step a-head|
I have to say - I think DC would do well to get on the same printing schedule as Boom! and others, printing the trade collections of an arc within weeks of the release of the most recent issue (ex: issues 1-6 finish in March, the trade arrives in April). Frankly, they seemed to be on that schedule but recently backed off for reasons I can't begin to fathom.
The REBELS books read very well as trades, and the first three trades will actually bring you through a very satisfying story arc. I'm on the 4th trade right now, and I'm a little sad that I can only expect a couple more collections before we call it a day.