Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Astronomer Phil Plait has found a great niche for himself - debunking bad science, specifically Bad Astronomy. He's been at it on the web for years, and it came as no surprise to me when I found out there was a book deal in the works.
Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" is exactly what it sounds like. For 260ish pages Phil takes a look at many of the common misconceptions that have plagued astronomy for years.
The first half of the book is interesting reading, but it's more of a science book. Phil looks at many of the commonly misunderstood concepts in astronomy and sets the record straight. I'd like to think I know a little about astronomy, so I was pretty surprised to learn I was misinformed about many aspects of the basics: tides, meteors, gravity.
It's in the second half of the book where Plait really hits his stride as he examines some of the "bad astronomy" hatched more recently: Apollo moon landing hoaxes, UFOs etc. Because the culprits are still spinning out the bad science, Phil firmly debunks their "theories". I especially enjoyed the Top Ten Examples of Bad Astronomy in Hollywood.
If I had a complaint, it's that Phil spends a little too much time explaining how to balance an egg in any season (a whole chapter!, but I guess he was trying to make a point). Seriously, though, it's a great book, not Bad Astronomy at all.
(cited from : source)
Bad Astronomy : Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax"