Jul 22 2017

What Is “Trendy Science”?

The news right now is filled with reports of different companies, in all kinds of fields, announcing new technical marvels that will change the way we live! Hyperloops, Solar Roadways, self filling water bottles and more get thrown in our faces in much the same way that the next big weight loss cure is pushed out on late night infomercials. We have Facebook pages that talk nonstop about the latest and greatest breakthrough being pushed out, with actors and even government officials buying the claims hook, line, and sinker.

Things like this are what I call “Trendy Science.” What do I mean by this? Time to explain.

First off, I do not mean these things are inherently a fad. That’s something the phrase could easily mean, but that’s not the way I use it.

What I do mean with “Trendy Science” is any kind of scientific endeavor that, for whatever reason, is popular among the masses by virtue of being presented to them, regardless of what it actually is, what stage of development it is in, or its practicality in reality – not in the proposal, but how viable it actually could ever be given the limitations of actual science and actual reality.

Trendy Science is a side effect of leading the cart before the horse. Normally with any kind of scientific endeavor that requires new research, the research is done and then a practical application of this is done. In trendy science you get the opposite; you have companies who promise an exact product, with some kind of far off goal that never seems to be reached – often times, the groups behind trendy science projects, and their fans, laugh at those who critical of the proposal, only to have an end result of the very criticisms that are brought up being the exact problems that the projects run into as they progress. Solar Roadways and the Fontus Water Bottle are prime examples of this.

It’s almost like these companies want to re-invent the wheel the way they do things! Acting like they have to do research that’s already been done and is well known.

The Launch of Sputnik was a logical idea – take an already developed rocket, used to deliver a nuclear warhead, and fly it in such a way that it would instead send something into orbit! It’s a proper application of science!

It isn’t just in what the companies or groups behind these projects do, though, it’s also in the fanbase these projects will gain. “Trendy Science” marketed towards more average people who aren’t as knowledgeable about these subjects  – they buy the bold claims that these groups make and, much like a sports team, align with them as a rule. Any comment against these groups is automatically bad, and you’re a bad person for daring to talk poorly about this project.

I hope what I’m saying makes sense. It’s hard to describe, but perhaps my future articles discussing such will make sense.

SpaceX Landing rockets makes sense. Their other proposals are a little more iffy.

I don’t have a problem with projects that promise potential, but I do have an issue with the end goal being something wild that just isn’t going to happen, at least not in the way these groups claim, yet people who don’t know any better not only eat the idea up, but are so enchanted by the idea that they don’t dare want to hear the flaws in the proposal.

Still, thankfully, there are people out there, like EEVBlog and Thunderf00t on YouTube, for example, ripping these ideas apart and showing why they are fundamentally flawed.

Expect to see more of them here soon.

 

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