Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2)

Forums General Discussion Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2)

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 41 total)
  • Author
  • #573048

    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 23:31 on 2011 Feb 02

    Anyone see the BBC2 programme "Do We Really Need The Moon?" at 9pm on Tuesday 1st Feb? If so, did you notice that the presenter seems to think that the moon orbits the earth in the opposite sense to the earth’s rotation and thus exerts a braking effect on it?? Oh dear. That wasn’t the only factual error of course, just the most laughable!Come on BBC, if you’re determined to dumb down at least make an effort to get your basic facts right.


    Posted by Andrea Tasselli at 00:00 on 2011 Feb 03

    Wasn’t she purportedly a scientist of some sort? At any rate when I heard that sentence I switched channel.Andrea T.


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 00:06 on 2011 Feb 03

    I believe it was said she "designs satellites" (of the human-built type!). Wikipedia tells us she actually now works for Astrium. Let’s hope the various errors were down to the script-writer(s) rather than herself, else I shan’t be watching anything else she presents!Anyone care to start a list of the mistakes made?


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 10:59 on 2011 Feb 03

    I heard the phrase "The Moon is a lump of rock in space" and thought…here we go again! Total bilge!Gary


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 11:49 on 2011 Feb 03

    I’ve just looked at the programme again (I had it on video as I was out that night) and listed an entire A4 page of errors. Apart from the astounding claim mentioned in my first email, another good one was that the earth’s rotational axis was stable because of its spin speed. She then went on to describe how Mars was not stable but didn’t mention that its rotational speed is almost exactly the same as that of the earth! And of course Venus spins almost upright despite having a day which is considerably longer than its year! Again – oh dear.The real problem is that those without the knowledge to assess this nonsense for what it is will just believe it (well – it’s on the BBC, so it must be true). No wonder educational standards are dropping if this is what is taught in schools as well – apparently the presenter does a lot of work with children (which certainly showed in her presentational style!)What is to be done?


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 12:33 on 2011 Feb 03

    Well I think you deserve a medal or a large pot of cash for watching it a second time. To hear that the presenter works with kids is worrying!Gary


    Posted by at 15:43 on 2011 Feb 03

    I missed the broadcast and recorded it for later. Reading the posts in this thread made me go and watch my recording. I was as horrified as all the other contributors. Even the ‘graphic’ showed the moon orbiting the wrong way. And was/is RNA really made in tidal pools?? I never knew it was so simple! Even without the prompting from the posts, I wondered why earth should ‘fall over’ when it has slowed enough. And she didn’t even consider the complete absence of the moon. I was half hoping she’d say the tides would disappear!! But she never got that far. She did say that it was the moon’s rotation around the earth that dragged the tides around. No mention of the earth rotating under the tidal bulge. I had intended to keep the recording for my grandchildren to watch – but not now. I’ve deleted it. If she wrote the script…………Even if she didn’t write it, didn’t she read it before presenting it? Doesn’t the BBC have any knowledgable advisors? She was listed in the programme blurb as having a doctorate. I wonder what in.


    Posted by TonyAngel at 10:00 on 2011 Feb 04

    I watched it as well. It gripped me so strongly that I had to see it to the end because I realised that I must have been reading all the wrong books and gone to the wrong lectures. I feel the need to write to the BBC to tell them to ask for a Parliamentary Bill for the BBC to take over all Science institutes in the UK so that these so learned bodies can be brought into line. I cannot wait for the next in the series.On a more serious note ,perhaps the BAA along with the RAS an the SPA could write a joint open letter to the BBC via either the Guardian or the Independent, (the only papers the BBC recognise), on this subject.


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 12:23 on 2011 Feb 04

    Even if it had no immediate effect, at least an "official" protest of the sort suggested would show that the adverse comments this programme is attracting were not just down to the lunatic fringe (pun not intended!). Mind you, if the BBC programme makers monitor their own message-boards they can hardly fail to be aware that "DWRNTM" was not one of their most successful offerings! The reverse-orbiting moon was picked up pretty quickly by Joe Public, as was the fact that it’s actually the rotation of the earth under the "water bulge" that causes the tides, not the bulge being dragged over the earth’s surface by the moon’s orbital movement. (as already noted by J M Aucken)Given the desirability of an official approach, what should be the next step? Is the Council of the BAA willing to take a lead?


    Posted by TonyAngel at 14:51 on 2011 Feb 04

    I had a quick look through a number of forums and found it worrying where quite a few made comments like:I have learnt a lot about the moonandDr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a fantastic presenter and will make a good replacement for Patrick when he retires!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I see that her Phd is in mechanical engineering (not that there is anything wrong in that) and she has an MBE (I can think of lots of scientists who deserve one and still waiting)


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 15:41 on 2011 Feb 04

    Yes – worrying, isn’t it? One contributor to the BBC messageboard said, quite rightly, that people would have thought they were being informed whereas they were actually being (seriously) misinformed. There were also several comments that her style was more appropriate to CBBC than BBC2! I did see the comment about replacing Sir Patrick – it did have a couple of "smileys" after it though, so perhaps the contributor was just engaging in irony!Incidentally, her MBE was for services to science and education – the "popularisation of" [some sort of] science, we must assume, rather than the dissemination of scientifically accurate facts!


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 13:15 on 2011 Feb 06

    Readers of this thread might like to know that I finally decided to send an official complaint about this programme to the BBC. The full text is a bit long to include here but made the points that the programme was more likely to mislead than inform; that some of the errors were distinctly "schoolboy" so should have been noticed if the presenter knew her stuff; that programmes of this low quality reflect badly on all science teaching, and that much more cross-checking should have been going on to catch the errors before transmission.I don’t expect a speedy reply, but I will update this thread when one arrives.


    Posted by Gary Poyner at 14:33 on 2011 Feb 06

    That reply will be most interesting to read. I’m looking forward to it. Well done!Perhaps you should have asked the BBC to let Shaun the Sheep present the next one. Much more entertaining and probably more factually accurate.Gary


    Posted by Marlyn Smith at 09:54 on 2011 Feb 08

    That’s been an amusing read guys. I’m sorry I missed the programme!


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 23:30 on 2011 Feb 23

    I have now received a reply from the BBC to my complaint, but I’m afraid it’s decidedly underwhelming (no surprise there!). They freely admit to the cock-up over the moon’s orbit but seem surprised that a viewer could come to the conclusion that the programme implied that the tides are caused by the moon dragging the "water bulge" over the earth’s surface.Given the unsatisfactory nature of the response I shall be composing a further riposte, pointing out the extent of the mis-information contained within the programme and suggesting that before it is repeated (for that seems to be the intention) it should not just have the lunar orbit graphic corrected but be subject to a root-and-branch revision.I tried to attach my complaint and the response as a text file, using the "attach image" facility, but it didn’t seem to work: anybody know how to achieve this?


    Posted by Andrea Tasselli at 08:29 on 2011 Feb 24

    Can’t you simply cut and past in the message body?Andrea T.


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 11:41 on 2011 Feb 24

    I certainly could do that but it’s rather long (the text file is 5.5Kbytes) so the resultant post would be excessively large. I was hoping to find a way that any interested reader could access the text without inconveniencing the casual browser.


    Posted by TonyAngel at 17:54 on 2011 Feb 24

    Compared with the size of images it is quite small. I think that it would be worthwhile pasting it.


    Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 11:44 on 2011 Feb 25

    I wasn’t so much concerned about the "physical" size of the file as on the number of words that size represents and therefore the amount of page-space the full text would take up. Images are quite different in that the page-space of even a huge image file can be quite small, depending on how they are encoded. MSWord tells me it’s 950 words long, 13 times as long as this post!


    Posted by TonyAngel at 12:00 on 2011 Feb 25

    Go for it 🙂 The only other option would be to ask Callum if he could put it into the Blog Spot or the News section.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 41 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.