Feeds

Nature pulls ‘North Korean radioactivity’ story

Streisand Effect anyone?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Prestigious science journal Nature has had to scramble to kill a story that it says turned out to be mistaken.

The piece – posted as “news” rather than peer-reviewed science – made the claim that measurements of Xenon-133 provided further evidence, if that was needed, that North Korea had indeed detonated a nuclear device as it had claimed last week.

Google Capture of Nature Story

Google's view of the now-spiked Nature story

Nature spiked the story within hours, with the URL now returning a 404 error. Its sole announcement of the retraction was on Twitter:

How did this come about? Perhaps CBTO – the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation – called Nature but at the time of writing, it had issued no public statement on its Website.

Right now, the only remnant of the story remaining at Nature is this image (but who knows how long it will last):

The map provided by the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna

However, the original publication hasn’t been pulled. The work was carried out by the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna, here.

Its claims seem modest. Rather than a positive “this was the test”, it states (translated):

“A backwards simulation of radionucleotides in the atmostphere (backtracking) shows that the isotope [Xenon-133] could have come from the place of the seismic event." (Emphasis added)

“Backtracking shows as released date of 15th February 2012 [with] North Korea as a possible source location,” the story states, with the suggestion that the explosion was well-contained underground.”

Whether or not the story was in error, mere deletion rather than a correction alongside the original would seem more sensible than offering the world a chance to scour up copies of the original story to see what the fuss was all about. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.