Phobos-Grunt demise shows BBC’s (and Daily Mail’s) bad science tendency

Google Earth image by Anthony

OK, The “Grunt heard round the world” is no more, apparently burning up over the Pacific. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the probe and what fragments made it through the atmosphere fell about 775 miles west of Wellington Island.

In looking at Google News, I found this was the highlighted story from the BBC. While it is factually correct in words, it has a visual lie, probably due to the correspondent and/or editors inability to understand that radar imaging does not see color. Note the “fiery” red image.

click for the full story

Now here is the fun part, not only is the false color radar image visually misleading (it is of the intact spacecraft, not the fiery re-entry), it is also a FIVE DAY OLD image. Observe, from the source:

click for the full story

BBC apparently couldn’t be bothered to check their own photo source.

And, per the BBC caption “The German TIRA (Tracking and Imaging Radar) facility caught this image of Phobos-Grunt”  the image  wasn’t “caught” (implied with the re-entry), it was a planned photo though careful tracking.

If the radar image looked like this, without the false color added….

…do you think the BBC (or the Daily Mail, see update below) would have used it with the re-entry story?

UPDATE: WUWT gets results, BBC has changed the image!

My error. They’ve changed the position of the radar image, moving it further down and substituting a new one in the original position. Thanks to reader JJ for noticing.

They did change the caption though to:

“The German Tira (Tracking and Imaging Radar) facility saw Phobos-Grunt during its last days”.

This implies they realized the original image and caption was misleading.

Plus, there are other material changes  to the article. Note that the time stamp for “last updated” has not changed from the original story (13:31). Seems pointless to have a “last updated” time stamp if you don’t use it to advise readers of changes. – Anthony

UPDATE: Monday: 9AM PST The Daily Mail gets it even wronger than the BBC. It seems that my concern about reporters misinterpreting and using a “fiery” radar false color image with the re-entry story isn’t an exclusive misstep of the BBC. If readers see any other misuse/miscaption of the radar image, please point it out in comments. – Anthony

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2085869/Russian-Phobos-Grunt-Mars-probe-expected-hit-Earth-hours.html

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103 Responses to Phobos-Grunt demise shows BBC’s (and Daily Mail’s) bad science tendency

  1. LearDog says:

    Thanks for the explanation….I missed it too. Another testament to your careful work, Anthony…. ;-D

  2. Former Forecaster says:

    Yet another case of the media’s take on accuracy and truth: they are irrelevant to ‘news’.

  3. Laziness as regards the facts. Evidence of intellectual decay and hog-trough arrogance, in an unassailable bastion of propaganda-generation. It’s all about what looks good. National broadcast systems served their purpose in simpler times, but with the advent of technology (read ), actual research has fallen by the wayside. The radar image is instantly recognizable as the intact craft for those who, not swallowing the company line, went elsewhere to find out the facts. Regarding those who presented this report, they are probably sitting at their desk, shrugging, as they know nobody will censure them for laziness.

  4. morgo says:

    don,t worry the abc in australia is just as bad

  5. errata:
    the above phrase “but with the advent of technology (read )” should be “but with the advent of technology (read ctrl-C, ctrl-V )”.

  6. R. Shearer says:

    Photoshop. The first course of journalism students these days.

  7. CinbadtheSailor says:

    The British public paid approx.£3.3B in 2008 for the BBC.
    Why does the public put up with this?
    It is about time the licence fee was substantially cut!

  8. I had just told my wife yesterday night not to bother looking for news about this at the BBC website. They lie about everithing, not just global warming. It’s in their blood.

  9. Interstellar Bill says:

    Not to excuse the Beeb,
    but this is a public who never cares
    that not a single movie set in space
    ever shows constellations or the Milky Way,
    nothing but tiny paint splats.
    Why would such info-slobs care what the BBC does?

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    Well, if you don’t know what is, what is where, or what is going on, just fake it.

    Here be dragons

  11. Paul says:

    How about this report from Austrailia claiming that the probe was loaded with 11000 tonnes of toxic fuel, just a 3 orders of magnitude error.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/phobos-grunt-probe-to-crash-to-earth-within-hours/story-fn5fsgyc-1226244927093

    Paul

  12. Paul says:

    Oops “Austrailia” clearly I am not as literate as I am numerate,

    Paul

  13. Monique says:

    So not only is the orbiter not on fire in the photo, it’s not even crashing at that point!

    Good catch, Anthony! That’s a pretty substantial photographic fib.

  14. H Oliver says:

    BBC News and science – load of rubbish – uninformed ‘correspondents’ thinking they know more than they really do – no doubt approved if by clueless bosses.

  15. General P.Malaise says:

    well a few now know this truth while many many more only know the BBC “truth”

  16. MIke (UK) says:

    To be fair to the BBC (not that I am a fan of them) that image has been on their Science site for quite a few days and was certainly up there before it fell to earth.

  17. John B says:

    But nowhere does the BB article say the image was of the re-entry. And “catching” an image does not imply that, not to me, a Brit, at least.

    Why so desparate to catch out the BBC? OK, no need to answer that.

  18. Dave Salt says:

    Ten days ago the BBC made an even bigger goof when they reported that a USAF spaceplane (X-37B) may be spying on the Chinese space station (Tiangong 1)…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16423881

    Had they done some basic checks on the orbital parameters (e.g. using freely available tools like STK), they would have seen that this was essentially impossible…
    http://www.zarya.info/Gallimaufry/TG1-OTV2.php
    …and the fact that X-37B was launched about six months before Tiangong 1 should have also raised alarm bells.

    Although I may have missed it, I’m still waiting to read an official correction/retraction of this story.

  19. Tony Hooper says:

    You are talking rubbish, the BBC used that as a standard image when talking about the spacecraft, they made no claims to it being of its re-entry, in fact to quote the real caption from the BBC website:

    “The German Tira (Tracking and Imaging Radar) facility saw Phobos-Grunt during its last days”

    I think it is YOU who needs to check your facts before making wild allegations.

  20. Charlie says:

    Meanwhile, over at the BBC’s print wing, The Guardian, the story is here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jan/15/phobos-grunt-mars-probe-pacific

    The headline is: ‘Phobos-Grunt Mars probe falls into Pacific Ocean’ The subheadline says condemningly: ‘Russian space agency had previously said that the stricken planetary rocket was most likely to fall into the Atlantic’.

    I think that the Russians would still say that. It was most likely, and even after the event, it remains the outcoime that was the most probable.

  21. MrX says:

    The BBC doesn’t understand the point of this blog. They would say it’s standard practice and nothing unusual to see here. Note that there is no mention that the probe was on fire or that it was taken on its descent. So no foul play. If a reader made a connection between the photo and the title “falls over Pacific”, then that’s their problem.

    That’s the BBC for ya.

  22. u.k.(us) says:

    Just how well understood is our atmosphere, when an orbiting object interacting with same, is given a re-entry window measured in days ?
    I thought everything was settled !

  23. John B says:

    Charlie says:
    January 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Meanwhile, over at the BBC’s print wing, The Guardian, the story is here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jan/15/phobos-grunt-mars-probe-pacific

    The headline is: ‘Phobos-Grunt Mars probe falls into Pacific Ocean’ The subheadline says condemningly: ‘Russian space agency had previously said that the stricken planetary rocket was most likely to fall into the Atlantic’.

    I think that the Russians would still say that. It was most likely, and even after the event, it remains the outcoime that was the most probable.

    ————–

    More rubbish! That’s not condemning at all. The Russians HAD PREVIOUSLY said it would most likely fall in the Atlantic. It didn’t. So what?

  24. DaveR says:

    Typical BBC nonsense. Of course, this sort of reporting ‘error’ isn’t just confined to space science, but rampant throughout its articles, many of which are unabashedly leftist politicized. Here’s another case of redundant data dressed up as ‘fact’ to serve their political agenda:

    Scotland’s hospitals top European infections league
    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/4047-bbc-scotlands-new-year-part-1

    Quite the willing partner. Hey, BBC – we’re watching you, watching us – watching you ;-)

  25. polistra says:

    Not bad science, just ordinary sloppy journalism. Happens in every publication, no matter how truthful or false. It’s not the sort of thing that deserves attention in a science context.

    BBC has serious problems with truth, which are an entirely different matter.

  26. Marc says:

    I am a fan overall of the substantive discussions here. I understand the juxtaposition of the headline and the image makes an inference that is misleading and modestly sensationalizing, perhaps one believed by the journalist. I also understand that such sloppiness is epidemic in he BBC and most other media. However, pointing this out as an isolated incident looks looks a little petty and lacking proportion, and may detract from your credibility when there are more egregious trespasses that duly need singling out. Just a thought from a supporter of the blog.

  27. nc says:

    Not quite off topic media reporting wise, but the first story the Canadian CBC had about the Italian cruise ship sinking is that 4000 people jumped into the water to escape. Some people did but the CBC story went against all the other information being released.

  28. Mark McDonald says:

    Whaleoil, a blog in good old New Zealand, has an excellent moniker for these lazy journalists that just repeat whatever’s put in front of them……..Churnalists. Seems entirely appropriate for most of what I see through most (not all) mainstream media, particulary when it comes to climate.

  29. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Cor blimey, that was close! It nearly it England!

  30. jorgekafkazar says:

    u.k.(us) says: “Just how well understood is our atmosphere, when an orbiting object interacting with same, is given a re-entry window measured in days ? I thought everything was settled !”

    This object had a rather peculiar shape, and determining the ballistic path may have required estimating the time-to-failure of panel structural components during reentry, not a simple calculation. The Russians aren’t amateurs at this. In fact, about 1959, using Russian tables, I was able to predict the time in orbit of an early US satellite within 2 days; NASA underestimated the reentry date by two weeks.

  31. SMC says:

    This is not what I expect of WUWT. The caption on the photo says: “The German Tira (Tracking and Imaging Radar) facility saw Phobos-Grunt during its last days”.

    it says nothing about being an image from reentry. I hope WUWT is not falling into the trap of the CAWG group by condemning everything that does not fit into thier worldview.

  32. Thierry Copie says:

    Sir,
    I am usually a big fan of yours because of your courage at uncovering and making public the never-ending examples of dishonesty and pathological science in the climate debate. But I must agree with John B and Tony Hooper, and I find your mistrust of the BBC very much misplaced in this case. I have 20+ years of professional experience analyzing radar images; the use of a wide range of “false” color scales to represent the levels of reflected radar energy from any scene or object, what we call Radar Cross-Section or RCS, is a common, widely accepted and useful procedure. The Black-Red-Orange-Yellow-White color mapping of RCS shown by the BBC in their Phobos-Grunt article is one of a handful of tools routinely used to visualize many forms of radar derived information (and not just radar images BTW). To call the BBC to the mat on this one, for what you perceive is an implicit reference to a fiery reentry, strikes me as very naive, and ultimately a battle for the low ground. You are so much more on target when you call the BBC (and others) for their use of edited/manufactured images of floods, drowning polar bears, and other shenanigans.

  33. jorgekafkazar says:

    False or simulated colorization of images should always be noted in the caption.

  34. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    First two major earthquakes
    Mag 6.2 2012/01/15 14:21:32 -60.852 -55.886 14.2 SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS
    Mag 6.6 2012/01/15 13:40:18 -60.765 -55.858 10.0 SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Maps/10/300_-60.gif

    then just up the road (shipping lane) the Grunt hits at 1745 GMT http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/phobos-grunt-splash.jpg?w=300&h=278
    or did Russians got time and place of the impact wrong, either way not a good day to be cruising of the Chile’s southern tip (smiley face).

  35. kbray in california says:

    “Cor blimey, that was close! It nearly it England!”

    Check your roofs in the UK for incidental damage, maybe you can get the BBC to “cover” it.

  36. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Here is a better link for the map (possible to navigate), Falklands are not far off.
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Maps/10/300_-60.php

  37. el gordo says:

    Phobos will be a great place to set up camp, I expect to see a Chinese flag there within a decade.

  38. Echo Alpha says:

    @Marc: However, pointing this out as an isolated incident looks looks a little petty and lacking proportion, and may detract from your credibility when there are more egregious trespasses that duly need singling out.

    Marc, I think it bears pointing out that this is not an isolated incident- bad, sensationalistic reporting is endemic. This is merely a particularly egregious example of the general laziness and/or stupidity of science reportage.

  39. Frederick Davies says:

    Oh, come on! What do you expect from a bunch of £$%&*s who waste millions on articles about invisible telepathic parrots?

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004665.html

    As if anyone cared what appeared on the BBC anymore.

    FD

  40. “UPDATE: WUWT gets results, BBC has changed the image!”
    ————————————————–
    WUWT is increasingly influential. Maybe BBC will start listening to Anthony re: climate.

    Well, one can hope, no?

  41. pat says:

    13 Jan: Bishop Hill: A difference of opinion
    According to an article in the University of Virginia newspaper, Michael Mann returns to his old haunting grounds next week, lecturing at a student-run environment week…
    COMMENT by Pharos: Mann’s keynote speech is due to be livestreamed on Tuesday 17 Jan 2012 at 1.45 pm EST…via this site or an alternative also linked on it …
    https://sites.google.com/site/enviroday2012/keynote/keynote-live-stream
    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/1/15/a-difference-of-opinion.html

  42. Jim Cornelius says:

    No Sir.

    This image, as you indeed state is several days old and was also being used by the BBC to illustrate this story yesterday BEFORE it plunged to Earth. It appears that the perception that this image was being used to illustrate the spacecraft’s “fiery re-entry” was your interpretation and not that of the BBC.

  43. Merovign says:

    Why, was there something they don’t lie about?

  44. rpercifield says:

    Unfortunately, many in the media and information business make editorial, and errant decisions often, to the determent of their credibility. Sometimes it is the flipping of a scene as a mirror reflection to make it look better, reversal of a filmed piece to increase the length (often times involving flames), changing the color or hue of a visual to add emphasis, and many other tricks. How you edit something and the camera angles utilized will set the tone for an entire segment. I am to the point of not trusting any media unless it is verified across multiple independent organizations. Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder to do so with all of the consolidation going on.

  45. dp says:

    This rubbish from the beeb is by itself not a big deal. That it is one link in a long chain of similar no big deal but wrong anyway episodes makes it part of a very big deal – it is a trend of simple but sometimes influential errors. As the saying goes – if they can’t get the little stuff right why should anyone expect them to get the big stuff right?

  46. DirkH says:

    Paul says:
    January 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm
    “How about this report from Austrailia claiming that the probe was loaded with 11000 tonnes of toxic fuel, just a 3 orders of magnitude error.”

    They’re using Greenpeace Tons.

  47. Andrew Harding says:

    Anthony, the BBC is a national embarrassment for those of us who bother to question whatever governments and/or broadcasters choose to tell us. The content and opinion of current affair programmes is politically left of centre and political correctness prevails at the expense of factual accuracy, except where money is concerned. A case in point is the series “Frozen Planet”; fantastic documentary, until the final episode where AGW is the dominant theme. In the USA you will be able to buy the DVD/BluRay documentary, MINUS the AGW final episode. The BBC seem to think that their leftist leanings will be tolerated by us Brits, but are cagey about these leanings with the rest of the world. On the other hand “Top Gear” (best TV show ever) which is probably the worlds most politically incorrect programme and has managed to upset the citizens of Mexico and India, is about to launch a new series with Jeremy Clarksons salary doubled. The BBC are typical leftists, it is OK for them to make money from whatever hypocritical way they can, but that is not allowed for the rest of us.

  48. Ric Werme says:

    Charlie says:
    January 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Meanwhile, over at the BBC’s print wing, The Guardian, the story is here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jan/15/phobos-grunt-mars-probe-pacific

    The headline is: ‘Phobos-Grunt Mars probe falls into Pacific Ocean’ The subheadline says condemningly: ‘Russian space agency had previously said that the stricken planetary rocket was most likely to fall into the Atlantic’.

    I think that the Russians would still say that. It was most likely, and even after the event, it remains the outcome that was the most probable.

    Missed it by what? 1,000 miles? At 18,000 mph, that’s 300 miles per minute, so off by less than 5 minutes. Even if that prediction was only one orbit old, it’s not too bad. Certainly better than anything the press could have come up with.

  49. Jim Cornelius said:
    January 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    No Sir.
    This image, as you indeed state is several days old and was also being used by the BBC to illustrate this story yesterday BEFORE it plunged to Earth. It appears that the perception that this image was being used to illustrate the spacecraft’s “fiery re-entry” was your interpretation and not that of the BBC.
    —————————
    Then why did BBC change the picture?

  50. Mike D. says:

    Tabloid journalism. Nature abhors an empty septic tank.

  51. pat says:

    paraphrasing:

    australian open tennis has begun and john mcenroe just commented that MMGW seemed to have some credibility, but he’s been surprised by how cold it is in australia’s summer…

    an aussie commentator jumped in quickly with an explanation: ‘we are having el nino here, john’…

    and so it goes in the media…

  52. I agree with Mark and his 2 cats !
    undoubtedly this blog is the leading light for the dissemination of climate science.
    do I notice an increased number of warmists commenting ? well get on board warmists, your ship is sinking. even rats have a right to life.
    ever smelt a dead rat ? not good ! I’m sure even Mark’s cat’s would turn up their noses !

  53. Larry Fields says:

    The moral of the story is that NASA and the European Space agency should paint all of their satellites orange and yellow.

  54. JJ says:

    Wow. Talk about a trumped up load of crap.

    The BBC is certainly the author of a lot of very, very bad science reporting, but this ain’t it. The image presented was not claimed to be a photograph, nor was it claimed that it was an image of the SV at re-entry. You came up with that from within the depths of your imagination.

    Also, the image is from radar. Unless your mutant eyes are capable of seeing in the radio spectrum, ANY image presented to you must be false color. Choosing a red gradient color scale to present invisible radio waves is not any more or less accurate a depiction of the radar signal than a gray scale. Given that the radio spectrum is off the red end of the visible light spectrum, it is in some sense more appropriate to use that color. Further, nothing outside of the space betweeen your ears suggests that the image was intended to depict fire of any sort. Finally, the red scaling of the image was present in the original, which is clearly shown in the material that you present above.

    Oh, and despite the claim of your “UPDATE”, the image has not been changed. It is still presented in the BBC article, and it is still red.

    Having an off day, Anthony?

    REPLY: I just checked the link again, and the updated image appears:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16491457

    - Anthony

  55. Kath says:

    There was a period, a long time ago, when the BBC World Service on shortwave was the main source of unbiased news in third world countries. These days, because of their known biases (Google for articles), I no longer believe what is being broadcast by the BBC. So much so, that I have terminated my subscription to BBC World on cable and tend not to visit their web site. However, in this Grunt case, I tend to believe that it was simply sloppy journalism.

  56. Jim Cornelius says:

    Mark and two Cats says:
    —————————–
    January 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm
    Jim Cornelius said:
    January 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    No Sir.
    This image, as you indeed state is several days old and was also being used by the
    BBC to illustrate this story yesterday BEFORE it plunged to Earth. It appears that the
    perception that this image was being used to illustrate the spacecraft’s “fiery re-entry”
    was your interpretation and not that of the BBC.
    —————————
    Then why did BBC change the picture?


    They didn’t.

    The illustration of the updated page above is incomplete. It shows only the top of the page.When the story was updated the original image was moved further down the page as this capture of the page in it’s current form shows – http://www.freezepage.com/1326681365FPNCHRJVDY.

  57. Mike McMillan says:

    I’ll go with the Beeb on this one.

    Since they borrowed the color image from the Fraunhofer Institute, not putting it up in color would have been an alteration. Russians don’t waste money doing aerodynamic studies on space probes (can’t speak for NASA), so for predicting drag they’d have to use a generic value. The probe is in an unplanned orbit, and the difference between an Atlantic or Pacific crash is measured in minutes. And anyway, the Beeb staff is all political activists and journalism majors.

    For an object that would fit in my garage viewed from hundreds of miles away, I’d say that radar image is impressively detailed.

    Watched a Russian booster re-enter one night on a long ago flight from Houston to Minneapolis. Very stately procession of fireballs flying in formation.

  58. TomO says:

    Jonathan Amos does /seem/ to try and get stuff right.

    Having said that – the torrent of wholly dishonest AGW activist bilge emanating from our state broadcaster makes one twitchy and I don’t recommend prolonged exposure .- it extends down to even the local news.

    The ghastly scaremongering fact lite AGW coverage spouted by the ignorant and activist editorial teams and parroted (non telepathically one hopes) by the talking heads is simply appalling. These idiots treat the science around climate as a political issue and anybody asking err… how does that work then? is either edited out or treated to attempted highly contrived ridicule and accused of being a right wing nut job – as if the “right ” of politics had an absolute monopoly of nut jobs.

    It’s not good enough, it’s in clear breach of their published principles and it’s got to stop.

  59. Smokey says:

    JJ,

    Don’t be naive. Coloring images a scary red is standard practice for alarmist image manipulators:

    http://www.john-daly.com/USGCRP/USGCRP_Animate.gif

  60. JJ says:

    Anthony:

    REPLY: I just checked the link again, and the updated image appears:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16491457

    Check it again. There is no updated image. There is a new photo that has been added, but the radar based image of the Grunt is still there. And it is still red, just as is was in the original that the BBC obtained from the Fraunhofer Institute. Which you show above.

    The next time the BBC (or some other cog in the CAGW machine) actually alters an image, or makes claims that aren’t true, or uses a misleading color scheme … whatever complaint you make about it will be muted by recognition of the times like this when you choose to make up a story though they have done none of those things. There is a cautionary tale about boys who cry “wolf” that is applicable here.

    REPLY: Ah, I see now, they’ve moved it down from its original position. Yes that is my mistake for not seeing it, and I’ll note this in the update. As for your claims of “making up” a story, the simple indisputable fact is that radar doesn’t see color, and the original juxtaposition implied they had a picture of re-entry. My point is that if false color had not been added, BBC probably would not have made that juxtaposition and all it implied.

    They did change the caption though to:

    “The German Tira (Tracking and Imaging Radar) facility saw Phobos-Grunt during its last days”.

    This implies they realized the original image and caption was misleading.

    Note also that BBC made changes to the article, but did not change their update timestamp.

    As for my part, be as upset as you wish. – Anthony

  61. u.k.(us) says:

    jorgekafkazar says:
    January 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm
    =============
    Thanks for the insight.
    Lesson learned.

  62. DirkH says:

    Jim Cornelius says:
    January 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    “The illustration of the updated page above is incomplete. It shows only the top of the page.When the story was updated the original image was moved further down the page as this capture of the page in it’s current form shows –”

    But they did change the sentence under the radar picture, it says now
    “The German Tira (Tracking and Imaging Radar) facility saw Phobos-Grunt during its last days”.

    So, we can say, the BBC gives a little way as long as it’s not about their core value of CAGW.

  63. Smokey says:

    JJ,

    “Crying wolf” is what those coloring the maps and images do. Please don’t turn the situation on its head. That reeks of psychological projection. It is the catastrophic AGW narrative pushers who use ‘misleading color schemes.’ They are the disinformation alarmists.

  64. Annabelle says:

    The BBC loves a doomsday scenario. I suppose they think it makes “good television”. Their Horizon series is an absolute joke – take some highly improbable event which may (or may not) happen sometime in the next 100 thousand years, play spooky music in the background and try to scare the pants off everyone. My son and I used to watch it religiously a few years ago for the sheer entertainment value, it was so preposterous.

  65. William Martin said:
    January 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I agree with Mark and his 2 cats !
    undoubtedly this blog is the leading light for the dissemination of climate science.
    do I notice an increased number of warmists commenting ? well get on board warmists, your ship is sinking. even rats have a right to life.
    ever smelt a dead rat ? not good ! I’m sure even Mark’s cat’s would turn up their noses !
    ————————————————————
    I read your comments to my cats; they were well pleased :)

  66. Neil Jones says:

    Clearly the BBC reads WUWT. There’s hope for the world yet.

  67. Jim Cornelius said:
    January 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Mark and two Cats says:
    —————————–
    January 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm
    Jim Cornelius said:
    January 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    No Sir.
    This image, as you indeed state is several days old and was also being used by the
    BBC to illustrate this story yesterday BEFORE it plunged to Earth. It appears that the
    perception that this image was being used to illustrate the spacecraft’s “fiery re-entry”
    was your interpretation and not that of the BBC.
    —————————
    Then why did BBC change the picture?


    They didn’t.

    The illustration of the updated page above is incomplete. It shows only the top of the page.When the story was updated the original image was moved further down the page as this capture of the page in it’s current form shows – http://www.freezepage.com/1326681365FPNCHRJVDY.
    ————————————————
    I see what you mean. Those dirty rats at BBC aren’t to be trusted!

  68. JJ says:

    Anthony,

    The WUWT headline continues to claim “… BBC’s bad science tendencies …” on the basis of something (the red shaded radar image) that is not an example of bad science, and that does not originate with BBC.

    The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques created that image, and chose the color scheme. I was not aware that they were on the list of “bad science” organizations, and it seems unlikely that they were trying to mislead anyone into thinking that that radar image was a photo of “fiery reentry”, given when they published it. And their choice does not seem to have caused any significant unintentional misunderstanding, WUWT notwithstanding. That image has been used by many, many news organizations and blog sites around the globe, such as MSNBC, Scientific American, Space.com, and Gizmodo. Your interpretation of the Fraunhofer radar image as as intended to represent reentry of the SV does is not supported by the content of the BBC article, or of any of those other media.

    It does, however, appear explicitly stated here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2085869/Russian-Phobos-Grunt-Mars-probe-expected-hit-Earth-hours.html

    The FHR radar image is presented in this article about the reentry of PGMP, with this caption:

    Re-entry: The probe burns red hot as it approaches earth’s atmosphere in this image captured by the German Tracking and Imaging Radar facility

    I dont have any love for the BBC, as their behaviour on the “global warming” issue is criminally biased. This is evident in their programming as well as their “ho, ho” ing in the Climategate emails. But with respect to their use of the FHR radar image – like Space.com and the rest, they used the FHR radar image correctly. They do not deserve this post.

    By the criteria for “bad science” that you set out above, the Daily Mail does deserve a post like this. Consistency demands that either you rake the Daily Mail over the fiery red coals for their “bad science tendencies” … or you apologize to BBC and drop the silly notion that use of the FHR image consitutes proof of such.

    I recommend the latter. It avoids having to discomfit the home of beloved Dellingpole, and puts your own narrative back on firm ground. You will need to be standing there when BBC (or NASA or some other entrenched CAGW advocate) decides to do something actually egregious (and actually related to CAGW, unlike this sideshow).

  69. While it does seem that the TIRA system is indeed a radar tracking system, are you sure it not a optical system that only targeted by radar? There are lots of such systems (anti air craft guns, the radar points the guns).

    Same goes for these optical systems – it is too hard to humans to aim the optical imaging system, so you use radar.
    Eg:
    http://esdradar.com/eo_203.aspx

    So just because this is a radar tracking system would not “instantly” preclude that the imaging system is not optical. However, in this a case a quick bingoogle does suggest this is a radar only system.

    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  70. SandyInDerby says:

    They can’t do metric imperial coversion at BBC Science either!!

    The journey of about 400km (150 miles) involved crossing a mix of deep snow and rock-hard ice and took three days.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16538129

  71. brad says:

    It is the image TIRA released. Thus I doubt you arr correct.

    http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/research-topics/safety-security/protecting-infrastructures/phobos-grunt.html

    REPLY: Dated January 10th. 5 days before re-entry – Anthony

  72. I must add my comment to those that have said this post is overdone. I see nothing in the image above of the original article that would make me think that the BBC sensationalized anything in that story. The only nitpick I could make would be to say that the BBC should have stated that the radar image was a false-color image, if they knew that it was. Still, there’s nothing in the text of the article or the caption that implies in any way that the satellite was imaged while re-entering the atmosphere. I think you’re looking a little too hard for something to criticize when there are likely many more legitimate targets to be had.

  73. brad says:

    Here is the press release, dated yesterday.

    http://www.messagetoeagle.com/index.php/space/37-solarsystem/1020-first-radar-image-of-the-falling-phobos-grunt-probe

    Apology from you or is.there something I missed?

    REPLY: Yes, you missed it….it is a blog repost of the image/story, dated January 10th from FRH.

    http://www.fhr.fraunhofer.de/fhr/fhr_c753_en.html

    -Anthony

  74. Carla says:

    And now the Group W, would like to know where the body is?
    http://www.spaceweather.com reports this morning,
    PHOBOS-GRUNT DESTROYED: According to the Russian space agency and the U.S. Space Command, the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Jan. 15th shortly before 1 p.m. EST. So far, no photographs of the fireball or other debris have been submitted to spaceweather.com. Initial estimates of the final ground track suggest a re-entry in the south Pacific in the broad vicinity of Australia and New Zealand..

    So did it come down..near south America or near Australia and New Zealand? Oh yeah we are really on top of this one..lol

  75. Jim Cornelius says:

    Mr Watts.

    The “correction” to your update now correctly indicates the original image was moved and the caption changed. The change of caption was of no consequence. You have not acknowledged that (as I pointed out in my previous post) the image had been used to illustrate Phobos-Grunt story for at least 24 hours before the spacecraft plunged to Earth. Again the interpretation that this was intended to illustrate the “fiery re-entry” was on your part, and not that of Jonathan Amos of the BBC staff who put together the webpage.

    REPLY: Yet, they changed the image from above the fold position of prominence and changed the caption when it was pointed out that it was misleading. When they have a timestamp of 13:31 (GMT/UTC), and that’s within the re-entry window. (Space-track.org’s current estimate of the reentry window is 15JAN12 1326Z-15JAN12 2302Z) and they have a title that says “Phobos-Grunt: Failed probe ‘falls over Pacific’” with a picture of what looks like a fiery re-entry with no caveat of any kind, I’m quite comfortable with my criticism. – Anthony

  76. Wiglaf says:

    @ Interstellar Bill says: January 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm
    “Not to excuse the Beeb, but this is a public who never cares that not a single movie set in space ever shows constellations or the Milky Way, nothing but tiny paint splats. Why would such info-slobs care what the BBC does?”

    In addition to the fact that space is a vacuum. You wouldn’t hear laser blasts and ships exploding because there is nothing to carry the sound.

  77. TomO says:

    Well – it’s the new science correspondent’s first day on the job….
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16538129

    Scroll down to the clean room… not like any clean room I’ve ever come across…..

    The devil is in the detail – it is not nerdism or anorakery – they didn’t have to say clean room – just equipment being prepared or somesuch – but nope – that’s a clean room… sigh….

  78. Rob Crawford says:

    “You have not acknowledged that (as I pointed out in my previous post) the image had been used to illustrate Phobos-Grunt story for at least 24 hours before the spacecraft plunged to Earth.”

    Why does that matter? It was used on OTHER stories; its use on THIS story is the question. Do you think people are more likely to look at the most recent story, or the previous stories?

  79. Eimear says:

    What really bothers me about Amos is that he is always bashing the Russians, he seems to love it when something goes wrong with a manned or unmanned craft. At least the Russians have the balls to take on space, not like the Brits that seem to pussyfoot around space.

  80. JJ says:

    Rob Crawford:

    Why does that matter?

    It undercuts the already poorly supported assertion that the use of the image was intended to decieve. The actual progression seems to be: BBC publishes story on the impending fall of PGMP, uses FHR radar image like everybody else. PGMP crashes. BBC updates story to report that PGMP has crashed, keeping previously used images (including FHR radar image). Anthony Watts views BBC story thru global warming colored glasses, has a cow, accuses BBC of telling “visual lie”.

    Meanwhile, the Daily Mail uses the same image to illustrate the same story, and (unlike the BBC) they actually do what Anthony falsely accuses the BBC of. The Daily Mail uses that radar image, and adds a caption stating that it is a picture of the SV burning red hot. See here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2085869/Russian-Phobos-Grunt-Mars-probe-expected-hit-Earth-hours.html

    BBC does not do what Anthony complains about, gets slammed. Daily Mail does do what Anthony complains about … and thus far gets a free pass.

    BBC is certainly biased in their “global warming” reporting. WUWT appears to be similarly biased in its BBC reporting.

    REPLY:
    Oh please. JJ you posted the note about Daily Mail at 12:14AM PST – I happened to be sleeping then. I’ve added it to the post this morning when I became aware of it.

    I’m not allowed to sleep? I have to be on 24/7 and respond immediately to any criticism or update and if I don’t that makes me biased?

    The fact that the Daily Mail reporter made the same mistake that I suggested the BBC made strengthens my argument – these science reporters don’t know what a radar image is and that it has no intrinsic color. The image in grey scales would likely never have risen to media attention to use with the re-entry story.

    -Anthony

  81. Jim Cornelius says:

    “Why does that matter? It was used on OTHER stories; its use on THIS story is the question. Do you think people are more likely to look at the most recent story, or the previous stories?”

    Mr Watt’s posting states “While it is factually correct in words, it has a visual lie, probably due to the correspondent and/or editors inability to understand that radar imaging does not see color. Note the “fiery” red image.”

    The accusation of Mr Watts’ posting is that the BBC (and Amos in particular) thought this image showed the “fiery re-entry” of the spacecraft. Given that this story, not another story, but this story i.e. the imminent re-entry of the spacecraft at least 24 hours prior to the actual re-entry was illustrated by the same image this cannot be the case.

    REPLY: So you are saying it is impossible for anyone to be mislead by the juxtaposition of the headline and the image and the 13:31 timestamp within the window of re-entry? Seems as if the Daily Mail reporter made the same dumb mistake. See the update. I’m sure thousands of readers of the BBC couldn’t make the distinction either after being lead on by media.

    Had BBC not changed the position of image and the caption after I made my criticism, you might have a point. – Anthony

  82. Billy Liar says:

    TomO says:
    January 16, 2012 at 7:30 am

    What’s the betting Shukman’s DNA is evidence for life in Lake Ellsworth? :-)

  83. Jim Cornelius says:

    Mr Watts replied to me –

    “Yet, they changed the image from above the fold position of prominence and changed the caption when it was pointed out that it was misleading.”

    Pointed out by whom? Did someone email Jonathan Amos to point out this alleged error? Or are you suggesting that Amos or other BBC staffers cruise these pages ready to correct “errors” on the BBC website pointed out here? If such an “error” was pointed out would it not have been better to have removed the image entirely as you initially though they had done? I see no reason to assume that this is not simply a case of shuffling the images about as news comes in on a developing story.

    The timeline of event are as JJ pointed out above:

    1. BBC publishes story on the impending fall of PGMP, uses FHR radar image like everybody else.
    2. PGMP crashes. BBC updates story to report that PGMP has crashed, keeping previously used images (including FHR radar image).
    3. Anthony Watts views BBC story and accuses BBC of telling “visual lie”.
    4. BBC update the story further with more information and a timeline box. They add a new image showing what the spacecraft looked like and shuffle the previously highlighted image to further down the page.

    “When they have a timestamp of 13:31 (GMT/UTC), and that’s within the re-entry window. (Space-track.org’s current estimate of the reentry window is 15JAN12 1326Z-15JAN12 2302Z) and they have a title that says “Phobos-Grunt: Failed probe ‘falls over Pacific’” with a picture of what looks like a fiery re-entry with no caveat of any kind, I’m quite comfortable with my criticism. – Anthony”

    Looks like a fiery re-entry to whom? Clearly you suspected that it could be interpreted as a fiery re-entry and you implied that it was either intentionally (as a deception) or mistakenly (as a misunderstanding of false colour on radar images) intended to be interpreted as a fiery re-entry. But as the BBC were using the same image on the same page before any actual re-entry (fiery or otherwise) this could not possibly be the case.

    Jim

    REPLY: And of course, no reader visiting the BBC story for the first time, after re-entry, looking for news of Phobo-Grunt, such as the Google News highlight, could possibly know all this looking at it, unless they did detailed research as you and I have done. BBC doesn’t show the previous incarnation of the story.

    So on the face of it, the presentation was seriously misleading, BBC recognized this (perhaps after reading my criticism, BBC writers and thousands of people in the UK read WUWT) and made a change.

    Meanwhile, the Daily Mail makes an even worse mistake, misinterpreting the image exactly as I argue, perhaps following BBC’s lead (having worked in a newsroom 25 years, I can tell you with certainty that reporters routinely look at other news outlets, then play follow the leader), and somehow I’m the bad guy for pointing all this out?

    My point remains – its a false color image, it was misinterpreted and placed next to headlines on the re-entry, poorly and misleadingly captioned, and reporters very likely have no clue that radar echoes don’t see color.

    Tough noogies if you don’t like my report, but that’s the way it is.

    -Anthony

  84. Ben of Houston says:

    While the Daily Mail’s caption is unforgivable, I can believe the BBC’s was an honest mistake, Mr Watts. The author probably didn’t realize the implications of the picture when it was used and the editors misinterpreted what they were seeing.

    You have to allow for some error as long as it is corrected later.

  85. JJ says:

    Anthony,

    REPLY: Oh please. JJ posted the note about Daily Mail at 12:14AM PST – I happened to be sleeping then. I’ve added it to the post this morning when I became aware of it.

    That is why I said “thus far” – I figured that you would eventually respond in some manner, but you had not as of that time. And as of that time, you had already updated today’s WUWT with a fresh Mann climategate post, and had already replied to a comment on this thread that was made after my comment about the Daily Mail. I did not jump on you for sleeping.

    “The fact that the Daily Mail reporter made the same mistake that I suggested the BBC made strengthens my argument – these science reporters don’t know what a radar image is and that it has no color.”

    Well, it strengthens your argument against the Daily Mail, now that you are making that argument.

    The fact remains however, that the BBC did not make the same mistake. They made no claim that the radar image was of the SV on reentry. The fact that they made no such claim and were using that same image the day before the crash to illustrate the same story indicates that they knew that the image was not of the reentry. So they did not try to deceive anyone with their use of that image, and they were not themselves confused by it. You should retract this post, and apologize to BBC for misleading your readers into thinking those things about the BBC.

    REPLY: So now you are taking issue with my priority of updates in the morning.

    Post stands. As I said earlier, if the BBC hadn’t moved the image out of prominence, and changed the caption to reflect it was a days old image not relevant to the re-entry title, you’d have a point. But they did, they reacted, either from my post or from self-realization of the error. No way of getting around that, especially when the Daily Mail made an error of interpretation also, exactly as I described the issue of interpretation. Having worked in newsrooms, I’ve seen many errors propagate from “follow the leader” reporting. The Daily Mail story emerged almost two hours after the BBC, at 15:15 UTC. It seems likely that DM repeated the error based on the misleading juxtaposition from the BBC story. Note no American media (at least none I’ve found) seem to have made this mistake. If I had not seen this sort of sloppy science reporting myself in my own experience, and watched it propagate from one single bad news source, I wouldn’t suggest it.

    If the BBC had moved the image down when they changed the story the first time (rather than the second), and given some notice, then I’d have no leg to stand on. The issue presented itself due to the sloppy way BBC was updating the story. They failed to notice until later (either by notice from WUWT or self realization), just how misleading the fiery red radar image was. I’m still waiting for DM to fix theirs. I’ve sent a comment, but they have not published it. If you were really interested in truth in reporting, rather than bashing me for pointing it out, you’d notify them too.

    That’s the way it is, sorry you don’t like it, I’m not going to waste any more time on your objections. – Anthony

  86. Jim Cornelius says:

    “My point remains – its a false color image, it was misinterpreted and placed next to headlines on the re-entry, poorly and misleadingly captioned, and reporters very likely have no clue that radar echoes don’t see color.”

    It was misinterpreted by whom? If you are implying that it was misinterpreted by the BBC staff member (Jonathan Amos’s name appears on the story) who edited the page you cannot possible be right as the image was being used at least 24 hours before re-entry. Incidentally I did not do any detailed research, I simply happened to read the story on the website (illustrated by the same image) on Saturday lunchtime UK time.

    The headline to this posting “Phobos-Grunt demise shows BBC’s (and Daily Mail’s) bad science tendency” does not align with the facts (let’s leave aside the Daily Mail). I am bemused by your reluctance to accept this.

    REPLY: As I said earlier, if the BBC hadn’t moved the image out of prominence, and changed the caption to reflect it was a days old image, you’d have a point. But they did, they reacted, either from my post or from self-realization of the error. I am bemused by your reluctance to accept this. – Anthony

  87. Tom L says:

    the supposed “landing” area is attributed to an official Russian agency (Zolotukhin said the deserted ocean area is where Russia guides its discarded space cargo ships serving the International Space Station.) implying they had some sort of control over the spacecraft but it seems there are others (RIA Novosti news agency) who beg to differ with where it hit…
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/russian-space-probe-crash-earth-hours-15364707

  88. Carla says:

    So in Tom L’s link to the article, “Russian Space Probe Crashes Into Pacific,” they are saying the remains should be over S. America? And they guide them there?
    OK So then why does the spaceweather.com this morning tell us over around New Zealand ,Austrialia region?

    I did save that page this morning over at the spaceweather.com, before the headline, “PHOBOS-GRUNT DESTROYED: According to the Russian space agency and the U.S. Space Command..” got bumped by an incoming aurora and a CME alert for Venus today over at the spaceweather.com.

    Tom L says:
    January 16, 2012 at 11:02 am
    the supposed “landing” area is attributed to an official Russian agency (Zolotukhin said the deserted ocean area is where Russia guides its discarded space cargo ships serving the International Space Station.) implying they had some sort of control over the spacecraft but it seems there are others (RIA Novosti news agency) who beg to differ with where it hit…
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/russian-space-probe-crash-earth-hours-15364707
    Carla says:
    January 16, 2012 at 5:11 am
    And now the Group W, would like to know where the body is?
    http://www.spaceweather.com reports this morning,
    PHOBOS-GRUNT DESTROYED: According to the Russian space agency and the U.S. Space Command, the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Jan. 15th shortly before 1 p.m. EST. So far, no photographs of the fireball or other debris have been submitted to spaceweather.com. Initial estimates of the final ground track suggest a re-entry in the south Pacific in the broad vicinity of Australia and New Zealand..

    Our slavic Russian brothers can be so much fun. Why didn’t they just bring er down right north of Japan. Some capsule supposed to survive reentry. Group W says, “bravo..bravo..good show..”

  89. Jim Cornelius says:

    This is my probably pointless final word on this subject.

    You say – “But they did, they reacted, either from my post or from self-realization of the error. ”

    The initial assertion was that the BBC’s article contained a “visual lie”. To whit your implication was that an image was used in order to deliberately suggest an a “fiery re-entry” by using a red coloured image. As the image was posted to the page before re-entry your accusation is unequivocally false. The use of the word lie rather than mistake here implied deliberate act.

    You now appear to be suggesting when someone updated that page after the spacecraft fell to earth in that they didn’t remove the image or make the caption clear enough that the image was not of a “fiery re-entry”. Your also saying that a later change to the page confirms that a “mistake” was noted and someone at the BBC changed the page because they were either informed or thought for themselves that the image might suggest a “fiery re-entry” to the uninformed. If that is the case, what of it? How does this qualify as “bad science”? It doesn’t.

    To sum up – Your post is based upon a mistake made by you and not the BBC. You thought an image was being used to illustrate a “fiery re-entry” when it wasn’t. It was an image sourced and used by the BBC some days before the re-entry.

    Jim.

    REPLY: Sorry, wrong again. I said the image was misleading in juxtaposition with the title, and it obviously was. Combined they constitute a “visual lie”. Otherwise, they wouldn’t need to change it now would they? They are just as inept by not changing the image after updating the page (with no notice mind you) as they would be using the image firsthand with the re-entry story without any update.

    Bottom line, no matter how you slice it, before/after the juxtaposition of the headline with the image is misleading. Clearly the BBC recognized fixed the issue, brought on by their update. If there was no issue, there would be no need to update it and change the caption now would there?

    The bad science comes from the fact that they didn’t inform the reader of the meaning of the radar image, of the intact spacecraft from days ago, which clearly DOESN’T belong in a story after the spacecraft burned up. Obviously, the image was misleading enough for another media outlet to make the same mistake.

    We disagree, move on – Anthony

  90. john says:

    This is a story that appeared on a so called ‘progressive’ news blog that features Bill McKibben and his ilk.

    Russia’s Radioactive Phobos-Grunt Space Probe Fell to Earth Sunday
    by Karl Grossman

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/01/15-7

    excerpt:

    Russia’s Phobos-Grunt space probe, with 22 pounds of radioactive Cobalt-57 on board, fell to Earth Sunday.

    Note: it only had about 10 micrograms on board.

  91. Nick Kermode says:

    Lying with images, misusing information…This will bring a tear to Pat’s eyes ;)

  92. JJ says:

    Anthony,

    “Post stands”

    What exactly does it stand on? Or for? What was your point, and what is it now? Was (is?) it:

    1) That BBC was intentionally misleading its readers with that image? Or :

    2) That BBC misunderstood that image itself?

    Note that both cannot be true in this instance, and yet your readers have taken both messages away from your post – largely due to what you said an how you said it. In fact, the facts show that neither of these interpretations is accurate.

    The fact is, the BBC made no claim that the image was one of the SV on reentry. So, they weren’t trying to fool anyone. One wonders exactly what nefarious conclusion they would have been trying to foist on the unsuspecting public if they were trying to fool them …

    Nor was BBC misunderstanding the nature of the image itself. They had used that image for the 24 hours prior to the crash – clearly they understood that it wasnt an image of the reentry.

    The parsimonious explanation is that they simply carried over the images from the initial report of the pending reentry into the the update announcing the reentry. That is it.

    “As I said earlier, if the BBC hadn’t moved the image out of prominence, and changed the caption to reflect it was an days old image not relevant to the re-entry title, you’d have a point.”

    Absolute Nonsense. That they updated their article changes nothing with respect to the substance of the issue. Again, it is unclear exactly what your point was (is?) – so condsider both alternatives.

    1) If they were trying to fool people (again, to what end?) then why would they change the post? They had made no false claim for which they could be held accountable. If purposeful deception is your claim, then you are saying that BBC developed this cleverly constructed “juxtaposition ruse” to provide themselves plausible deniability, and then didn’t use it.

    2) How does updating the post negate the fact that they had used the same image for at least a day prior to the reetnry, and thus obviously understood that it was not an image of the reentry? Rhetorical question – of course it does not. If your claim is that BBC was ignorant of the nature of the image, you need to account for this.

    Returning to the parsimonious explanation, we find that it is consistent with all of the facts:

    They published a report on the pending reentry, more than a day before the event. They used an image provided by FHR, and did not alter it from the original. Later, they updated the post to announce the reentry event, carrying over the previous images, including . Later yet, they updated again. They updated the text of the article, they added a timeline of the Phobos Grunt program, and they added a snazzy photo of the intact SV. And again, they carried over the balance of the text and images from before the update. This included the original FHR image, with an updated caption.

    Why did they update the caption? One of two reasons:

    1) It was simply part of the update, much as they freshened the text, etc. or

    2) They realized, as a result of either their own internal review or by having been made aware by an external source such as WUWT, that some of their readers might misinterpret the content of the image, so they updated the caption to reduce the potential for confusion.

    Please note that 2) does not demonstrate either of the two points that your post seems to be making (and has made to your readers, intended or otherwise). Demonstrating that some of BBC’s readers might misinterpret the image does not demonstrate that BBC misinterpreted the image (and the fact of their prior use of that image does demonstrate the contrary). Too, if BBC was nefariously trying to deceive its readers, then upon learning of the fact that some readers had in fact been deceived, they would have clasped their hands and said “BUWAHAHAAHA, juuuuuust as we intended!” If anything, changing the caption at that point goes against the claim of deliberate decption – it certainly does nothing at all to establish it.

    The parimonious explanation, and the only one currently on the table that comports with all the facts, is that BBC understood the nature of the image that they were using, and presented it correctly. Over the course of updating the story, they inadvertantly created a circumstance that uninformed or … contrary …. individuals might misinterpret. They corrrected this situation, either equally inadvertantly as a consequence of the updating process, or intentionally or upon becoming aware of the problem.

    Nothing in that most likely course of events warrants this post. To the contrary, that is pretty good behaviour for a media outlet (and perhaps somewhat uncharacteristic of the “Ho ho” BBC).” You owe BBC an apology for this.

    That’s the way it is, sorry you don’t like it, I’m not going to waste any more time on your objections. – Anthony.

    Fingers-in-ears refusal to discuss is an aspect of the Team that you should be countering, not emulating. Please reconsider your position.

    REPLY: I haven’t got “fingers in ears” as I’ve engaged you, I simply don’t agree with your assertions. Post stands. Further discussions are indeed a waste of time. – Anthony

  93. Jim Cornelius says:

    Mr Watts. This display of an unwillingness to concede an error does not flatter you or your website. I find myself reminded of a dispute with Mr Andy Schlafly of Conservapedia.

    REPLY: There’s nothing to concede. My opinion is that the image used in conjunction with the headline was misleading, end of story. I’m not going to concede nor apologize for having an opinion on the matter rooted in my years of media experience, when in fact BBC made a correction after I pointed it out. And this isn’t Conservapedia, Wikipedia, or any pedia at all, so your comparison is moot. I’m sorry we disagree. – Anthony

  94. Peridot says:

    The BBC is seriously biased re AGW/Climate Change but the Daily Mail is not. It has been taking an increasingly sceptical line in recent years and positively blasts the windpower/solar power madness. When a pro-AGW article or paper is reported a dissenting reply is usually included at the end.

  95. JJ says:

    [snip. Enough with the nitpicking. The editorial decision has been made. ~dbs, mod.]

  96. Smokey says:

    Jim Cornelius,

    Maybe you haven’t been following the disingenuous fiddling with colors that has been going on with not only the BBC, but with government propagandists. Red is their favorite color, and the scarier the better.

    Here is an example of their work. Notice that the temperatures are exactly the same, only the color has changed – to red, of course.

    If you don’t see this as an attempt to manipulate the public’s perception, that’s simply being credulous. The BBC does this type of stuff all the time, so I am not inclined to give them them benefit of the doubt. Why would I? Why would anyone?

  97. Carla says:

    Around and around she goes, where it dropped, nobody knows???

    Details Of Phobos-Grunt Re-entry Uncertain
    Jan 17, 2012 By Amy Svitak svitak@aviationweek.com
    PARIS
    ..IADC member agencies include NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, European national agencies and the space agencies of Canada, China, India, Japan and Ukraine. The group used orbit data provided mainly by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network and the Russian Space Surveillance System to forecast Phobos-Grunt’s predicted path. European radars based in Germany and France also provided orbit calculations. But the predictions differed wildly due to the large number of uncertainties in the spacecraft’s orbit and the space environment affecting the satellite (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 16).
    Although details of Phobos-Grunt’s return to Earth may not be known for some time, IADC says it intends to use results from the re-entry campaign to improve prediction models and make future forecasts more accurate.
    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=AviationWeek.com&id=news/awx/2012/01/17/awx_01_17_2012_p0-415314.xml&headline=Details%20Of%20Phobos-Grunt%20Re-entry%20Uncertain

    Russia: we’re not sure where Phobos-Grunt crashed
    Dennis Bodzash, Space News Examiner
    January 17, 2012
    ..Now, two days later, Russia is declaring that it really doesn’t know with any certainty where Phobos-Grunt fell, stating that the earlier report was based on calculations and that there were no eyewitnesses to either the fireball or an impact.
    Yesterday, a day after the re-entry, one Russian source broadcast that the wayward space probe had actually crashed to Earth somewhere over Brazil, at least according to an unnamed ballistics expert. Later that same day, another report surfaced, this one coming from Russia’ Space Agency, Rocosmos, that Phobos-Grunt came down over the Pacific, as initially reported.
    So, two days after the fact, the world still doesn’t know where Phobos-Grunt really came down. However, sometime today, the European Space Agency (ESA), which tried in vain to raise Phobos-Grunt and that continued to track Russia’s wayward spacecraft, will hold its own press conference, which will hopefully shed light on just where Phobos-Grunt crashed to Earth..
    http://www.examiner.com/space-news-in-national/russia-we-re-not-sure-where-phobos-grunt-crashed

    H o u s t o n.. think there’s a problem?

  98. Carla says:

    And the plot thickens.. Now why would the the US military remove information about the Phobos Grunt reentry from their website? We don’t know where or if the Grunt landed and they don’t want us to know?

    Is the US Military Hiding Data on Dead Russian Mars Probe?
    SPACE.com StaffDate: 18 January 2012 Time: 05:58 PM ET

    In the latest twist in what has become an increasingly mysterious saga, the U.S. military appears to have removed links from a public website for tracking data on a dead Russian Mars probe ..
    ..Breaking with standard practice, the military removed links from the Space Track website, which is operated by U.S. Strategic Command, to information on the defunct Russian Phobos-Grunt spacecraft’s predicted re-entry, and did not publish any confirmation of the probe’s fall, reported Aviation Week.

    On Jan. 12, the Space Track website originally published information on the estimated re-entry track for Phobos-Grunt, a Russian probe that malfunctioned shortly after its November 2011 launch and was stuck in low-Earth orbit for more than two months.

    After routine updates and revised estimates over the course of the next two days, the military removed links to these re-entry predictions and did not publish final confirmation data on the spacecraft’s fall on Jan. 15, according to Aviation Week. .
    http://www.space.com/14281-russian-mars-probe-military-hiding-data.html

  99. Carla says:

    U.S. Program Tracking Orbiting Objects Mysteriously Missing Data on Russia’s Mars Probe
    January 18, 2012 at 8:25pm by Liz Klimas
    ..New Scientists has considered the feasibility of U.S. radar interfering with the probe but the expert it quotes says the likelihood of this happening is slim:
    According to Boris Smeds, a former radio engineer at the European Space Agency, it is highly unlikely. Deep space communications, such as those you would expect Phobos-Grunt to use, use different frequencies from those of space-observation radars, and spacecrafts’ receivers are built to filter out unwanted frequencies. It is just conceivable that a badly filtered radio receiver on Phobos-Grunt was damaged by a radar beam from the US military base, but it is extremely unclear how that damage could affect the power system of the spacecraft.
    Smeds conceded that it could interfere with radio reception, temporarily “deafening” a spacecraft. Still though, the firing of Phobos-Grunt’s upper stage was supposed to be automatic, pre-programmed into the spacecraft before launch, so would not have relied on receiving a radio signal.
    New Scientist reports that the findings from the Russian investigation are due to the public on Jan. 26. Perhaps there will be more answers to what really happened to the probe then.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/u-s-program-tracking-orbiting-objects-mysteriously-missing-data-on-russias-mars-probe/

    “”Still though, the firing of Phobos-Grunt’s upper stage was supposed to be automatic, pre-programmed into the spacecraft before launch, so would not have relied on receiving a radio signal.””

    With all the communication problems of late for the Russian satellites..
    Why wouldn’t they have “”pre-programed”” the whole thing .. With a “”pre-programmed” back up of same??? Now if someone is messing with our communications..NOBODY .. can communicate..lol

  100. Carla says:

    All’s well that ends well..

    Latest update, Russians site possibility of multiple issues in the demise? of Phobos Grunt.
    Possibly next Russian Mars mission will include a collaboration with European Space Agency. That sounds coool..

    “Engineering Flaws Cause Russia’s Mars Probe Failure ”
    2012-01-19 16:50:15 Xinhua Web Editor: Guo
    Engineering flaws were the main cause of a recent failure of Russia’s Mars probe Phobos-Grunt that crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said Thursday.
    Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin told Vesti FM radio station that earlier speculation that the crash was caused by a powerful electromagnetic emission from a US radar was “only one of the causes” for the failure.
    “The main causes were the errors during production and test works, as well as the engineering flaws,” Popovkin said.
    However, he added that Russia was also expected to test the influence of the U.S. radars on the Phobos-Grunt, which may involve NASA specialists.
    According to Popovkin, Roscosmos is preparing to send another interplanetary spacecraft to Mars in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA).
    “We are now negotiating with the European Space Agency to launch a mission (to Mars) once again by 2016-2018,” Popovkin said.
    Roscosmos confirmed in November that the Phobos-Grunt probe carrying China’s Yinghuo-1 satellite, which was launched on Nov. 9, failed to reach the intended orbit. The spacecraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.
    http://english.cri.cn/6966/2012/01/19/2743s677127.htm

    Group W says ok no body as in where is the Grunts parts pieces. Then no choice..cus no way that comet lovejoy rode the solar wave at 75,000 miles above the solar surface. They now think that maybe the Russians already know how to block such electromagnetic radiation pulses.. Did ya see the trajectories of that comet zinging and zagging its way through the solar coronas magnetic field loops. Then accelertate seeming le right off one of those magnetic field loops..
    OK..

  101. Carla says:

    Happy Friday..
    One final thought and article about the Russian Mars mission Phobos Grunt.

    Consolation Prize for Phobos-Grunt? Experts Consider Possibilities for Sending Spacecraft to Moon or Asteroid
    by David Warmflash on November 18, 2011
    If communication with Russia’s troubled Phobos-Grunt is not established by November 21, the window for a trajectory to the Martian moon Phobos, will close, experts say. But this would not mean that the spacecraft could not travel to a different destination. In a statement published earlier today by the news and information agency Ria Novosti, Russian space expert Igor Lisov suggested that Phobos-Grunt could be sent to orbit the Moon – Earth’s Moon, that is – or may be even an asteroid, if communication is restored at any point before the 13-ton probe re-enters Earth’s atmosphere..
    http://www.universetoday.com/91127/consolation-prize-for-phobos-grunt-experts-consider-possibilities-for-sending-spacecraft-to-moon-or-asteroid/

    “””Russian space expert Igor Lisov suggested that Phobos-Grunt could be sent to orbit the Moon – Earth’s Moon, that is – or may be even an asteroid, if communication ..”””..

  102. Carla says:

    ooops final thought..

    the fuel needed was there

    travelling upstream would require more fuel

    this would leave or make to appear as a brighter object

    or not

  103. Carla says:

    “”..As for the question of why a craft that merely is supposed to find the Sun while in safe mode fires thrusters in a direction that improves the orbit, perhaps it is just good luck, or perhaps it really is part of the safe mode. Until Roscosmos provides more information of what may have caused this, the reason for the orbital correction remains a mystery..””

    Phobos-Grunt’s Mysterious Thruster Activation: A Function of Safe Mode or Just Good Luck?
    by David Warmflash on November 16, 2011
    .. However, periodically the spacecraft experiences a mysterious slight boost in its orbit. Following the first episode where this occurred, commentators speculated as to the cause. The activation of the spacecraft’s thrusters – the small engines that are designed to steer the craft and make small adjustments – was an obvious answer.
    Is spacecraft trying to save itself?
    The spacecraft is not responding to any communications, and engineers at the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos have decided that the craft had reverted to a safe mode after the engine of the Fregat rocket stage that was to propel her from a low to a higher orbit around Earth failed to ignite. While in safe mode, the craft had oriented herself to the Sun, using the thrusters to adjust her roll, pitch, and yaw. But to change the parameters of the orbit, she’d need to accelerate, so there was speculation that the needed thrust had come from leaks and venting of gases in a direction favorable to increased orbital stability.
    After a second episode during which the altitude increased again, according to Ria Novosti editor-columnist of the journal “News of Cosmonautics” Igor Lisov has reported that a source in the space industry had explained that the probe “Corrects her orbit” every now and then.
    Corrects her orbit? Does this mean that the probe knows where she is?
    Probably not.
    With information coming from Roscosmos being so scarce, reporting on the mission that began was launched on November 9, 2011 has depended on a few official statements from the agency, augmented by speculation from various space experts. Being in safe mode, Grunt simply is waiting for instructions –instructions that controllers are having difficulty delivering, because initial communication was not supposed to take place with the probe at such a low orbit.
    If Grunt’s safe mode includes a program that fires thrusters every so often to keep the craft from entering the atmosphere in the event of a malfunction just after reaching low Earth orbit, no statements from Roscosmos have mentioned it, thus far. Whatever the reason, if it continues to occur, we can expect that the predicted date of atmospheric entry will be moved back again, just as it was moved from late December/early November to mid-January after the first orbital correction episode..
    http://www.universetoday.com/91037/phobos-grunts-mysterious-thruster-activation-a-function-of-safe-mode-or-just-good-luck/

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