Dead Pig Coverup?

Breaking news from James Vasile:

Scientists going back to Galileo have secretly abused corpses in the pursuit of knowledge. Researchers studying the Atlantic Ocean garbage patch have been throwing dead pigs into the sea just to see what happens next. Yes, that’s shocking and gross, but just like in the Whitewater scandal, it’s the coverup that is the crime.

National Geographic originally (maybe accidentally?) revealed the dead pig experiment in an article at nationalgeographic.com. You can clearly see references to the dead pigs in Google’s search results (see attached screen shot). The National Geographic url, though, makes no mention of the pigs at all. They scrubbed the record.

Why the coverup, National Geographic? Who are you protecting?!

Naturally, we had the rants.org crack investigative team look into this. James is right — something does smell funny here, and it’s not just dead pigs.

Let’s start with the Google search results. As you can see, at some point in the past the National Geographic article did talk about scientists using dead pigs to measure something about a newly-discovered Atlantic Ocean garbage patch:

DPC Google results (annotated)
The Google search results; red highlights the key words. (Original image here.)

The exact words in the Google preview snippet are: “After dropping dead pigs into the sea and watching via Webcams, researchers were…”.

Uh. What?

But if you visit the article now, it no longer mentions anything about dead pigs — the red arrow points to a failed search for the word “dead” in the page:

DPC National Geographic article (annotated)
The National Geographic article; red arrow highlights the failed search for “dead”. (Original image here.)

The original article is no longer in Google’s cache, unfortunately; it’s been superseded by a revised version of the article. But the cached version does have a message at the top indicating that the word “pigs” appears only in links from other pages, not in the article itself, so obviously other people were on to this too:

DPC Google cache (annotated)
Google’s cache of the page has already lost the mention of dead pigs. (Original image here.)

(The word “dead” doesn’t appear in the cached text of the article either; it’s just in the title of an unrelated sidebar news item in the cache.)

I know National Geographic isn’t the New York Times (then again, neither is the New York Times… but I digress). Still, silently removing a substantial fact from an article, leaving no notice of the change? That’s just not kosher.

National Geographic, the people have a right to know: what’s behind the dead pig coverup?

5 Responses to “Dead Pig Coverup?”

  1. Hacker Visions - Dead Pig Conspiracy Says:

    […] in the pursuit of knowledge. Modern researchers are no different. Thanks to the vigilance of Karl Fogel, we now know that scientists studying the Atlantic Ocean garbage patch have been throwing dead pigs […]

  2. Rainer Müller Says:

    I guess this sentence comes from the description for this video:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/02/100226-sharks-attack-pig-video/

    Probably the video was linked with description in the sidebar at the time Google indexed the site. Therefore this sentence was incorrectly being associated with this news article although they are unrelated.

  3. Ron Says:

    Probably quivering in their Earth Shoes about those PETA wienies.

    Throw more dead pigs in the ocean, if it helps science! Heck, throw dead humans in the sea instead of burying them in “Potters fields” and prison cemeteries.

    They’re dead anyway, and won’t care; if there were any relatives who cared, the people wouldn’t be buried in Potter’s fields and prison cemeteries.

  4. Bert Huijben Says:

    After googling a bit.

    See
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:UYzn2JKQ6gsJ:news.nationalgeographic.co.in/news/2010/02/100301-atrazine-frogs-female-chemical/+%22dead+pigs%22+garbage+patch&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk

    And the link to
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2010/02/100226-sharks-attack-pig-video/

  5. Karl Fogel Says:

    Rainer, you ruined my scandal. But thanks for the information :-).

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