Actuallied up

Normally the press release or abstract of a serious scientific article is better than the article. University publicity departments have some excellent writers. They capture the essence of the dry article and spice it up into an attractive story.

Here’s an exception. It’s a study of engraved rocks in a cave, made 15000 years ago in northern France. The press release says that the heat damage on the stones results from artists working by firelight, and then tells an attractive story about the artistic benefits of firelight.

I got all Actuallied up and started to write my usual PURPOSE-based objections. If there’s heat damage, the stones weren’t just in the cave, they were specifically heated to accomplish a TASK. What might the task be?

….And then I read the real article, which goes into solid detail on all of the known purposes, from bedwarmer to foodwarmer to medicine. It wasn’t about firelight and art.

So I’ll just say Read The Whole Thing. It’s a fine piece of detective work, based on real human PURPOSES, and in this case the press release is poor.