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Talk:Study suggests Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years


@Robertinventor: I think this is right up your alley. So we need a corroborating source yet and we have yet another unusual situation with the "when": The paper is scheduled for in-paper publication on November 15 but is available online now, with no other dates given. Its' certainly hitting the infosphere only just now. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:53, 24 September 2018 (UTC)

Oh that's fine, I'd link to the original of the press release on the Brown University site here rather than in Eureka Alert: Ancient Mars had right conditions for underground life, new research suggests It's a pre-publication press release on the university's own website, published today, and no embargo until publication so it's surely fine to publish it.Robertinventor (talk) 20:22, 24 September 2018 (UTC)
There is one extra point in the press reelase that may be worth highlighting, the idea of ice as lid increasing the amount of subsurface hydrogen available for energy during extremely cold climate:

The findings held up even when the researchers modeled a variety of different climate scenarios — some on the warmer side, others on the colder side. Interestingly, Tarnas says, the amount of subsurface hydrogen available for energy actually goes up under the extremely cold climate scenarios. That’s because a thicker layer of ice above the habitable zone serves as a lid that helps to keep hydrogen from escaping the subsurface.
Robertinventor (talk) 20:46, 24 September 2018 (UTC)
Neat. You're probably right about which press release to use. I'll be busy for a little bit. Feel free to make these changes yourself if you get the time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:55, 25 September 2018 (UTC)

Review of revision 4434636 [Passed]Edit

Took a look. No questions. Just that some of the stuff you changed was from the paper itself. As for the "when," it's a matter of which when. You know my view that the research itself is the important event. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:46, 26 September 2018 (UTC)

  • Um. When you say "some of the stuff you changed was from the paper itself", do you mean what was there before I changed it was from the paper, or do you mean what I changed it to was from the paper?
  • It really does sound —and this isn't the first time I've thought so— as if you're missing the point of the when. If I understood just what you were missing I would, of course, explain it straight out, but I haven't figured that out yet so I tend to take a shotgun approach (so far, apparently, without success, but I do keep trying). There are of course a variety of facts of the story that may be worthy of provision to readers, some of which fall under "when", but one when that has a much more specific, and formally technical, motivation is the when that pins down the focal event and thus establishes freshness. Without it you haven't got a newsworthy article. Your emphasis is... somehow... off. You're getting bogged down over "what's important" when you should be attending to the related, but subtly(!) distinct, question of "what can be pinned down as a focus". In this regard I didn't leave out any information that you provided, but you failed to provide information sufficient to justify a claim of freshness.
--Pi zero (talk) 14:01, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
Like when you say you didn't find something, it's because I took the information from the paper and translated its science-ese into English, not because it wasn't there. No big deal.
This "when" is unusual. The important event is the research itself, but for most science articles we've been using the date of publication as a proxy, to shoehorn it into Wikinews' system, which was built for other types of news articles. This time, we couldn't use the date of publication as a proxy because it's in the future. So this content was clearly new enough to be news but didn't fit either of the molds.
The "what can be pinned down as a focus" seems ...unnecessary, like it's being done out of habit rather than to serve a practical purpose. For scientific findings, the date of publication or date of announcement is nowhere near as important as the date of an event is for other types of news. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:29, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Did you use something that is not part of the available sources of the article? This needs to be clarified, because if that's what happened, it's a huge deal. As a reviewer, if I'm trying to do an in-depth source check on an article, each time a fact in the article is not in the sources it entails much time, effort, and stress to find-check-and-address (think of it as a body-blow to the reviewer; something one should not do to another person intentionally, nor accidentally if one can avoid it).
  • To be clear: Pay-to-read sources are strictly prohibited on Wikinews. That isn't an arbitrary rule, it follows necessarily from the volunteer nature of the project. I allowed the link to the paper, but afaict the paper itself is not freely available at that url; only the abstract and a bit of peripheral info such as the author affiliations (which were crucial in verifying the assertion about being led by scientists, plural, from Brown). If there was info there that was in the abstract and I missed it, I'd like to know that so I can try to do better in some similar future situation; if there was info from the body of the paper and a way to get it freely that I missed, again I'd like to know so I can do better in future; if there as info from the body of the paper and it wasn't freely available, you need to know so you can do better in future.
  • In any case I'd really like to know which facts we're talking about. Not all the verification problems were simply not-found, after all (for example, I knew enough chemical science to recognize that millimole could not be the right unit).
  • No, there really isn't anything all that unusual about this when-of-focus. You're thinking too much of "shoehorning", as if there's something pretend about what we're doing. I haven't found the words to explain to you where you're going wrong in that, but you are. And, even if you just don't see why we have to do things as we do, you should be long aware by now that by not providing the right sort of when in the lede you're submitting an article for review that fails a basic criterion, and thereby you're abusing the review system. When you submit an article for review you're saying you believe it satisfies the basic criteria, and when it doesn't that is another body-blow to the reviewer.
--Pi zero (talk) 15:48, 26 September 2018 (UTC)
@Pi zero: @Darkfrog24: I may be able to help with a couple of things here. First, the date of the story. For science research stories like this it's usually straightforward enough - the news story is normally embargoed until their institution issues a press release, or for some of the major breaking stories (e.g. from NASA), a video conference. So the embargo date is the "when".In this case, 24th September, date of the Brown university press release. Interested scientists and major news outlets often know the story beforehand, but do not release it until that date.
It is normal for the article itself to be behind a paywall (with some exceptions). It is for reasons of cost, science journals typically charge several thousands of dollars extra per article to release them for open publication (the scientists themselves would prefer open publication). The press materials summarize the main points needed for the news stories, along with the abstract, and any supplementary information from the authors of the study (e.g. in interviews).
I can understand your point that we should not use information that is only available in materials behind the paywall. I didn't notice anything in this article of that nature (I don't have access to the article, only its abstract).
I think I may also be abel to help on a couple of content issues here.
# Mention of uranium. The press release does mention this. They say that they mapped out abundances of potassium and thorium and from that deduced the abundance of uranium, and then "The decay of those three elements provides the radiation that drives the radiolytic breakdown of water". From the press release News from Brown

They mapped out abundances of the radioactive elements thorium and potassium in the Martian crust. Based on those abundances, they could infer the abundance of a third radioactive element, uranium. The decay of those three elements provides the radiation that drives the radiolytic breakdown of water.

# The surface ice lid idea - a minor correction to the article. The relevance of the ice is not that it keeps the ground warm - there always will be a layer that is the right temperature for habitability because of increasing temperature with depth. It's significance is that it would act as a lid to hold in the hydrogen, with the result that when the climate is colder, the amount of hydrogen is actually increased in these subsurface layers, leading to greater potential for habitability.

Interestingly, Tarnas says, the amount of subsurface hydrogen available for energy actually goes up under the extremely cold climate scenarios. That’s because a thicker layer of ice above the habitable zone serves as a lid that helps to keep hydrogen from escaping the subsurface.
Hope this helps! Sorry I got caught up with other things and didn't have time to help work on this article. Does this answer the main points? Robertinventor (talk) 01:55, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
"Did I use something not listed in the sources?" Of course not. I just took information directly from the bit of the actual paper, which is listed as a source, and rewrote it in plain English. It was the same information but it would have looked different. That might be why you can't always find things in the sources when I write about science. I don't even remember what it was this time, only that the change or deletion or whatever you did wasn't big enough that I had to go in and alter or undo it. You changed the article from one acceptable version to a different, also acceptable version.
"Pay to read" I used the available part of the study, the abstract, which is visible through the link in the "sources" section.
"which facts we're talking about" I don't remember.
I am absolutely not abusing the review system and it is inappropriate of you to say so. That scientific studies don't fit neatly into Wikinews' "when" criterion is established. And yes, a paper being available before its publication date is unusual. You and I have different ideas about what Wikinews should do about it—we disagree about what "the right sort of 'when'" is—and that does not mean that I am disrespecting the reviewers or the system. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:41, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
Re "it is inappropriate of you to say so": I did not say so. I suspect your bad experiences with the en.wp administration may have conditioned you to read accusations into what's said to you.

I'm glad to hear your reassurance that you stuck to the accessible part of the paper; I'd figured you were okay on that point based on my experiences during the review, but then was uncomfortable when I wasn't sure how to read your comment here.

My checks of various factual points against the available sources, including the accessible fragment of the paper, were not cursory. Going back over my factual edits:

  • The term eon refers to time intervals generally more like a billion years, so this wouldn't qualify as "eons".
  • By my reading, the material indicates colder surface temperatures produce ice that helps hold the hydrogen in, but does not say that those colder conditions always applied. My edit was to avoid suggesting that those conditions always applied.
  • Millimoles measure quanity of a substance; millimolars measure concentration of a substance.
  • The materials indicate that by studying the data, they read off rather directly how much of two radioactive substances were present; deduced from that how much of a third, uranium, was present; and deduced from all of those things how much of all three radioactive substances would have been present during the Noachian. It seemed to me we oughtn't imply that uranium was the only one that mattered.
  • My conclusion during the review was that the sources indicate the recommendation about the rover was made by Mustard, and they indicate it was also made by Tarnas, but they did not ascribe the recommendation to anyone but those two. The accessible part of the paper does not, afaik, mention the rover at all. I therefore judged there was no evidence to support ascribing the recommendation to all the coauthors.
--Pi zero (talk) 04:24, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
"thereby you're abusing the review system." It is inappropriate for you to say this. Disagreeing with you is not wronging you. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:51, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
My statement was hedged with conditions that may have gone unnoticed. Suppose an article wouldn't be acceptable without certain information; the reporter is aware that the article wouldn't be acceptable without the information; the reporter possesses the information, and it would be easy to add; the reporter submits the article without the information; and the reporter is aware of omitting the information. That's a lot of conditions, although notably there is no requirement that the reporter approve of the engaged review criterion. If all those conditions hold, then most likely (barring extenuating circumstances) the submission is an abuse of the review system. --Pi zero (talk) 20:45, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
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