Ah, Nature!

Effusions from our readers

by Alice Kaswell, AIR staff

The following note arrived recently at the Annals of Improbable Research:

Dear AIR:

I am a managing editor . As such I have the pleasure of seeing many, many, many, many press releases. One recent item especially caught my eye. We cannot use it at my place, but perhaps you AIRheads will find it, um, useful.

The beginning and the ending are the best parts. I'll spare you the more standard stuff they put in between. Here it is

Louisiana State University

LSU physicists make major discovery, published in "Nature"

An article written by two LSU researchers about their breakthrough discovery in the field of physics was published
in the Jan. 11 issue of Nature magazine – one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals.
Published weekly in London, Nature contains only a handful of research articles and letters in each issue. It covers all areas of science, with only a couple of items dealing with physics and materials science each week. Several LSU researchers have been published in Nature in the past year.

The opening reminds me of a famous saying of the late Tom Landry, who was coach of our beloved Dallas Cowbos football team. Coach Landry always told his players: "When you score a touchdown and get to the end zone, act like you've been there before."

Now, also take a good look at the final paragraph of the press release. "Only a handful of research articles each week," huh? I think the key phrase here is not "only a handful" (pshaw!) but "each week."

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure these folks have good reason to be proud, but Lordy, I do find their style entertaining! I expect they'll get plenty of experience, and learn to tone it down. But the world will be a duller place for it.

Loretta Russert
Dallas Texas

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