Reporters like drama, But scientists know better.

Suicidal planet seems on death spiral into star – Yahoo! News

Hellier’s report on the suicidal planet is in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

“It’s causing its own destruction by creating these tides,” Hellier said.

Suicidal? Hopefully that is just a reporter’s word. A piece of rock, even a big one, cannot be suicidal.

But then it is Dr. Hellier who gave this piece of rock a will of its own. It’s “causing” its own destruction? Sure, the basic laws of physics are interacting to pull its orbit lower and lower toward the star. But it is those interactions, inevitable and predictable, that are “causing” the “death” of this planet, not the planet itself.

Maybe I am quibbling here, but I guess I am a little tired of the pervasive victim language in the popular press today. When it starts showing up in science reports, I get a little irked.

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