There's no doubt that science has made all of our lives much better, as evidenced by the fact that we wrote this article entirely from the men's room of our neighborhood Chipotle. (We'll be living here for the rest of the week, if you need us.)
But that's science, dude -- scientists, on the other hand, are just normal people who get up every morning, drive to work, and occasionally fuck up in excruciatingly highfalutin' ways. What are we talking about?
6Scientists Love Leaving Dumbass Notes In Their Papers
When you're a little kid writing a school assignment, there's no greater thrill than typing a sentiment like "Mrs. Johnson farts butt-balls from her butt-booby. PS: 420 Dole/Kemp '98" and then quickly deleting it, as your body surges with adrenaline and the secret knowledge that you've created poetry.
Well, a group of grown adults recently did something similar in their scientific paper, only without the "quickly deleting it" part. The very serious paper in question was about whether some gal fish prefer to bang dude fish with particular pigmentations. Tucked neatly in the paragraphs about the sexual proclivities and median racism of female fish was this comment about the quality of a colleague's work:
Setting aside the apparent social hierarchy among racist fish sex researchers, this thoughtless comment managed to sneak its way past the authors and their dozens of drafts, the other scientists who reviewed the paper, and the editors of the journal. The authors and journal quickly acted to remove it and apologize, but not before it was picked up by dozens of news websites. And hey, that's not the first time this happened!
2011 saw another science paper slip-up. A group of biologists published a paper with the supremely helpful citation "insert statistical method here" -- revealing that the actual sciencing in their science paper was only an afterthought. At least they worded that better than this genius:
"Oh, and delete this while you're at it. It would be horribly embarrassing if you didn't."
The lesson is clear: Always remember to pay your proofreaders, for they have the power to expose you as a lazy slob in front of the whole world.
5Sloppy Lab Work Accidentally Creates A Nonexistent Serial Killer
In 2007, German police had a real humdinger on their hands: A woman was tear-assing around the southern town of Heilbronn like a sophomore on spring break -- only instead of flashing her boobs and getting hammered, she was robbing shit, breaking into places, and murdering people. The case of the "Phantom of Heilbronn" had DNA linking her to over 40 different crimes; some from as far back as 1993. But other than her admirable work ethic, officials didn't know much about her.
"If you connect the dots between the crimes, it reveals her supervillain theme: random lines."
The police put a half-million dollar reward on her head, brought in criminal profilers from all over Europe and TNT, and even consulted psychics, which is good way of saying "we don't know what the fuck to do now." Due to the lack of evidence, all of them were at a loss to figure out how this woman was spraying bodily fluids all over her crime scenes like an ejaculatory calling card and getting away with it (except for the psychics; they were at a loss because they're useless sacks of crap). But then, right when all hope seemed lost, the culprit was finally found:
"You're getting the chair for this, you monster."
Yep, it turns out that the DNA belonged to a woman in Austria who worked at a factory that made swabs. The swabs were sterilized before packaging, which killed bacteria, viruses, and fungi ... but not DNA, which is why the company that made them had not certified them for taking DNA samples. It took two years for someone to double-check whether the samples were contaminated and realize this. Perhaps the cops should have seen this coming a bit earlier, though, since the witness descriptions they were getting seemed to indicate that the mysterious Phantom was several ages, heights, and genders at the same time.
Heilbronn Police Department
The German government has issued a public apology to Mystique from X-Men.
The authorities at Heilbronn probably shared a hearty laugh about this comical mix-up, then realized they had 40 freaking criminals on the loose and went back to work.