The Mice of Outrageous Fortune

The Methuselah Foundation is a prize for the first science team to extend the average lifespan of a mouse from three years to five years. The hope is to eventually use the technology to extend human lifespan to 150 years and beyond. One of the teams is here in Phoenix. The website is at www.methuselahfoundation.org

One clue to whether or not a particular science project is legitimate or not is whether or not the process is boring (to the typical layperson). The process of scientific discovery can be absolutely, mindnumbingly boring, because it takes so long to get good data, check the data for errors, starting over if necessary, all for a result that may only be just one small step up a grand staircase of discovery (wow, I’m so poetic!) I imagine someone saying about this project “Who cares about some stupid mouse living an extra two years. Woopdy-Doo, you nerd!” They have no understanding of the scientific method. It is hard work and often starts with research that at first seems stupid and boring.

Whether or not anyone succeeds in the Methuselah Foundation’s goal, the teams’ approaches are legitimate. Now, an example of some truly bad (pseudo)science is the Enterprise Mission, run by Richard Hoagland.

You remember him as the “Face on Mars” guy, friend of Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke, lecturer, and, in my humble opinion, a really bad so-called “scientist”? He claims there is a huge government conspiracy regarding the existence of an ancient solar system-wide civilization, and that if we look closely enough we will find their artifacts all over the place, on the Moon, on Mars, etc. Mr. Hoaglund and his supports analyze images from various NASA missions. They claim to see alien artifacts and lifeforms. You might say “That sounds crazy…of course they are all crazy…who in their right mind would listen to such a guy,” but he has a following you would not believe!

A new article at Space.com discusses Philip Plait’s frustration with bad science and Mr. Hoagland in particular.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).