Tag Archives: fake news

Fox News Contributor Steven Milloy Promotes Junk Climate Science On Twitter

Frequent contributor to Fox News Steven Milloy retweeted a Politico story about climate change to suggest that CO2 won’t kill Earth because Venus is made of CO2 — the only trouble is humans don’t live on Venus, as far as we know.

Milloy is no stranger to ignoring accurate and verified scientific truths. A lawyer and frequent commentator for Fox News, he refers to himself as a libertarian thinker and runs a twitter account called @JunkScience through which he ironically, but not facetiously, often peddles what mosts scientists would refer to as junk science. His close financial and organizational ties to tobacco and oil companies have been the subject of criticism from a number of sources going back to the early 2000s, as Milloy has consistently disputed the scientific consensus on climate change and the health risks of second-hand smoke. Having close ties to tobacco and oil, it’s not difficult to understand why.

Among the topics Milloy has addressed are what he believes to be false claims regarding DDT, global warming, Alar, breast implants, second-hand smoke, ozone depletion, and mad cow disease. This time, however, he attempts to equate planet Earth with planet Venus, saying that CO2 won’t destroy the Earth because Venus is largely made up of CO2.

The obvious problem to scientists (and most people with a high school science education) is that humans don’t live on Venus, and couldn’t since it is so darn hot, hailing an average temperature of 864 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s obvious that Milloy is being paid to promote bad science in an effort to persuade Fox News watchers into believing that climate change is a hoax. The trick he uses here is to make it seem like people who believe in man-induced global warming through greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide think the Earth will cease to exist with too much CO2. That isn’t what climate change scientists and activists think at all.

On the contrary, climate change scientists and activists are concerned about human and animal life will cease to exist — the way it doesn’t exist on Venus.

The danger in having to explain this to people is that it’s easier to look at things Milloy’s way. Despite it being wrong, lazy thinkers will read what he tweets and hear what he says on Fox News without doing anymore research or thinking on the matter. When people say convincing things with authority, it usually doesn’t matter if what they’re saying is true or not.

DEBUNKED: No, Cats Don’t See Spirits In Ultraviolet Light

A number of fake news websites dedicated to spiritual topics, holistic health and conspiracy theories push a fake but somewhat convincing narrative that cats and dogs can see spirits because they can see ultraviolet light

However, there is no data that suggests any animal can see beings made of light, and there’s a really easy way to prove it — with ultraviolet goggles.

The narrative of cats seeing spirits started after popular science sites like Live Science published articles discussing a research paper regarding ultraviolet light in mammals that suggest cats could see ultraviolet light. There’s just one problem: the study which Live Science mentions doesn’t say anything about proof of seeing light beings at all. That didn’t stop sites like The Mind Unleashed and Disclose TV from speculating about seeing spirits and running with it.

The study, published in 2014, concludes that some mammals can see UV light because of the way their lenses are shaped and structured.

We examined lenses of 38 mammalian species from 25 families in nine orders and observed large diversity in the degree of short-wavelength transmission. All species whose lenses removed short wavelengths had retinae specialized for high spatial resolution and relatively high cone numbers, suggesting that UV removal is primarily linked to increased acuity. Other mammals, however, such as hedgehogs, dogs, cats, ferrets and okapis had lenses transmitting significant amounts of UVA (315–400 nm), suggesting that they will be UV-sensitive even without a specific UV visual pigment.

A search through the study, however, does not suggest that it can see ghosts, or even any sort of light beings at all.

The simple truth is that if these UV light empowered mammals could see some sort of beings made of light that humans can’t, then all it would take for a human to confirm the existence of these beings would be to wear UV goggles or capture video with UV cameras. Alas, the fact that this hasn’t happened means these websites are simply pushing an exciting narrative to get you to click and make them some money.

UV Light In Mammals: The Actual Science

Just because there’s no evidence of cats seeing ghosts doesn’t mean the science isn’t still pretty cool! And it doesn’t mean cats don’t see things that we can’t. At least in terms of how much of a light range from the electromagnetic spectrum they can see versus that of humans, the research suggests that some mammals can in fact see UV light, which allows them to “see in the dark” despite having some trouble seeing in brighter daylight the way humans can.

As one paper from biologists R. H. Douglas and G. Jeffery at the Royal Society of Biological sciences says, although ultraviolet sensitivity is widespread among the animal kingdom, it is still considered very rare in mammals, being restricted to just a few species which have a visual pigment maximally sensitive below 400 nanometers. However, it also says that even animals without such a pigment will be UV-sensitive if they have ocular media that transmit these wavelengths, as all visual pigments absorb significant amounts of ultraviolet light if the energy level is sufficient enough to allow it.

The researchers also showed us that hooded seals native to the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic have eyes that are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet light. This allows the seals to actually spot polar bears hiding in the snow as UV is reflected by snow and ice but absorbed by the bears’ white fur.