QuickNotes: Movie Facts and Gondwana

Just a couple of little topics showing up in the New York Times than might be of interest.

First, we’ve already noted that movies including earth science often have a lot of rubbish in them. Is this just trivia, or do these blunders actively misinform?  A column in the Times argues that erroneous movie moments in historical movies tend to produce strong memories, even if you are aware that there are possible inaccuracies; one study found that asking students to identify inaccuracies actually made them more prone to assimilate the mistakes. The only thing that worked was for an expert to actually call out the errors as they appeared.  So GG looks forward to paleontologists crying out in theaters when Jurassic World is released… (Coincidentally(?), the BBC has a piece more or less arguing that movies don’t alter things that much and should be free to do so).

The other is an animated piece about Wegener and Pangea. Kind of unusual thing to find in the Times. The piece emphasizes that Wegener was an outsider and so was ignored for that reason, which seems too trite (if it was as simple as that, the different levels of acceptance of continental drift in different geoscience communities would be hard to explain). But it is nice to see something like this show up in a general audience publication.

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