This one comes directly from the pages of Ben Goldacre’s BadScience blog – an excellent example of why media reports on science need to be read (listened to?) carefully and with your critical thinking antennae twitching:
Here is a cautionary tale for anyone working in research. “Captain Cook and Lord Nelson seem unlikely figureheads in the fight against climate change alarmists,” said the Sun. “Lord Nelson and Captain Cook’s ship logs question climate change theories,” announced the Telegraph. Oh that’s handy. So perhaps we can just keep on burning oil regardless then? “The ships’ logs of great maritime figures such as Lord Nelson and Captain Cook have cast new light on climate change by suggesting that global warming may not be an entirely man-made phenomenon.”
So… data from past heroes suggest we don’t have to worry about global climate change, then?
Well, no – Ben goes on to talk with the researcher whose work was ‘quoted’ by these UK papers, & finds out that that’s not what was said at all. A cautionary tale for scientists and readers alike.