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23 responses to “Quick Link: Martin Robbins’ science news story template”

  1. MH

    We don’t get to laugh, even ruefully, in university Arts faculties.

  2. Helen

    What about the bit where you batten on something on page 162 which suggests that x might be vaguely correlated with y and assert that it is now proven that x causes y and therefore, all humans are hard-wired to do whatever.

  3. moz

    Random supportive comment from an unqualified commentator on the internet.

  4. moz

    (oh, and the RickRoll is a fitting final touch). I laughed out loud, much to my workmate’s confusion.

  5. Incurious and Unread

    Good one.

    I imagine that similar templates exist for news stories in other fields.

  6. sublime cowgirl


  7. dj

    Comment pointing out that it’s all been said before and much more entertainingly than myself on my own blog which I handily provide a link to, oblivious to the fact that owing to my hectoring tone no one will follow it.

    Rant that no one will read about tangentially connected professional issue in the field of science librarianship.

  8. dj

    more seriously – as someone pointed out in the early comments on The Guardian site, there really is no excuse for not providing a doi link to the abstract. Lack of links to reports is also another annoyance.

  9. sg

    That’s an entertaining article and the comments are brilliant.

  10. wilful

    I too laughed at the rickroll.

  11. Pavlov's Cat


  12. Helen

    I have to point out that this is a direct plagiarism of, or (to be kinder) a riff on, Chris Clarke’s This is the Title of a typical Incendiary Blog Post, with “this sentence” changed to read “this paragraph”. It would have been nice if he had hat-tipped Clarke.

  13. PHodgson

    Helen #12: Don’t be ridiculous, suggesting that Martin Robbins is a plagiarist or that there is any debt he owes Chris Clarke. The Robbins item is about science journalism; the Clarke thing was about blogging pathology. Comments on the Robbins item are about science journalism and blogging pathology and, generally speaking, I find the Robbins item and associated comments far more illuminating, perceptive and witty than anything around the Clarke piece.
    Thanks Robert for posting this. A great read!
    Paul Hodgson

  14. Pavlov's Cat

    I have to point out that this is a direct plagiarism of, or (to be kinder) a riff on

    Helen, it may not be; he may never have seen it. It’s a lovely idea for a parody, but it’s entirely possible for Robbins to have come up with it independently.

  15. Stupot


    Do you get to rue laughably, instead?

  16. Stupot

    My Word for the Day:


  17. p.a.travers

    Cannot see the point of either blogs mentioned.There is some sort of assumption by both that they are providing an intelligent insight about something which couldn’t be normally construed as even academic.And I have a bias against the Brits who seem to think they invented criticism of English and within the use of English.So when it comes to science,is it the writing I mean, that humorous that it more than tickles!?Perhaps he also does impersonations of someone who has swallowed a Occam’s Razor.Thus the original rusty old bloody thing will finally get a replacement.Keep it quiet though.Forbes Magazine owner in Sydney!

  18. Chris Clarke

    Appreciate the hat-tip, but as I myself cribbed the basic idea from David Moser among others, I don’t find cause for allegations of plagiarism. Robbins’ piece is entertaining and addresses an important issue. Good for him for taking it on.

  19. Martin Robbins

    Yup, if you Google the punk album “go 2” from 1978 they did the same thing on there, and that was 32 years ago and long before the Internet, and it probably wasn’t original then, so I don’t think any of us bloggers can lay claim to it! We’ve had writing for several thousand years now, and I suspect any literary device anyone can think of will have been done somewhere before…

  20. Dave McRae

    Thanks Martin – I thought it was superb and a perfect parody of some our local rags eg The Australian’s war on climate science or the Sun Herald on evolutionary biology

  21. SRK
  22. steveh

    That article is fantastic.
    I used to get angry at such things until seeing a (lab) customer giggling so hard at one really poor question (phone interview) that she actually had to hang up and regain some some control!
    Only thing funnier is seeing a pollie in a lab photoshoot where the instrument behind them is obviously in some test mode to “show something happening” while everyone stands around looking important 🙂