A couple of weeks ago, I saw (via Facebook) an article in the Guardian headlined: “Classic gags discovered in Ancient Roman Jokebook.”  The article proved to be about Philogelus (discovered?!); it tried to keep up the pretense that the text had only just been discovered with the formulation: “Celebrated classics professor Mary Beard has brought to light a volume more than 1,600 years old…”  Presumably she “brought it to light” for Guardian readers, or the general public, who hadn’t really been thinking about it before.  But it seemed to me at the time a pretty misleading headline.

Today, again via Facebook, we are treated to “New Theory Released in Alexander the Great Burial Mystery!”  As you can see if you read the story, the “release” of this “new theory” amounts to a story a friend told a friend in random conversation about something that happened decades ago.

Are headlines about recent news in science this ridiculously misleading?

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