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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-05 14:52
Subject: BBC Bad Science strikes again
Security: Public
From the BBC report Plan for quake 'warning system', a quite-confusing paragraph: According to their theory, the charge carriers consist of a specific type of electron, called a phole, which can travel large distances in laboratory experiments..

Now, anyone who knows what an electron is will be confused by that. How can it be special? An electron is a subatomic particle, and those are (from memory) distinguished by charge, spin and mass. The only thing that can possibly distinguish one electron from another is its time-space vector: i.e. where it is, and how fast it's moving in what direction.

(It turns out that a phole is not a specific type of electron. In fact, it's the exact opposite of any type of electron, in that it's the complete absence of an electron where one ought to be. In semi-conductor physics, it's a positive charge carrier, as in P-type semiconductors.)
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User: silly_swordsman
Date: 2008-06-05 13:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A "p-hole" rather than "fole" as the fule reporter appeared to suggest.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-05 14:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed. I can forgive the p-hole contracting to phole (though it causes extra puzzlement), but not the wildly inaccurate explanation.

If I, who took physics only to S-level, and that some 30+ years ago, was going WTF, then I can only wonder what the education of the reporter actually is. I would have hoped that a science reporter would have reached graduate level, and would be keeping up to date.
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Simes
User: bslsimes
Date: 2008-06-05 14:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The default assumption now seems to be that the audience is stupid and needs to be talked down to, rather than educated. I'm sure that makes for cheaper journalists too, of course.
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Tony Finch
User: fanf
Date: 2008-06-05 14:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
But holes are usually just called holes....
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-05 15:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
But these are special ...
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