2016's Worst Junk Science
In 2016, the year of "Post-Truth," it's no surprise that there was a fair amount of junk science being tossed around. Like we do every year, we strived to debunk as much of it as we could. We also called out its most prominent purveyors. Now, we count down the worst of the worst. So here it is: our annual list of the biggest junk science of 2016. Click the red arrows to the right of Jean Luc Picard (pictured above) to begin. And gird yourself, this will get ugly.
Afterwards, we encourage you to peruse our past lists from 2013, 2014, and 2015 (if you haven't knocked yourself out from excessive facepalming, that is).
#8. NASA Accused of Changing Astrological Signs
In a year noted for its lack of truth, it's no wonder that a number of utterly misleading or false stories went viral online. One of them, which was widely reprinted, described in detail how NASA messed with everyone's horoscopes.
"We don’t want to be dramatic, but NASA just ruined our lives. For the first time in 3,000 years, they’ve decided to update the astrological signs. This means that the majority of us are about to experience a total identity crisis," Erin Nicole lamented for the Zoe Report.
NASA does a lot of things, but altering astrological signs is not one of them. The space agency deals with genuine science, and astrology falls well outside that realm.
What NASA did do, however, is take a look at the sky and note that the positions of constellations have moved in the 3,000 years since the Babylonians first invented the twelve signs of the zodiac. This happens because the Earth's axis shifts over time. Early this year, on an educational page meant for children, NASA educators drew attention to this fact, noting that as constellations shift, the zodiac's signs have technically changed with them.
Opportunistic writers stumbled upon the page and saw an opportunity to pen clickbait at NASA's expense. Thus, the Internet craze began. But as NASA corrected, "...we didn’t change any zodiac signs…we just did the math."
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