Friday, April 1, 2022

PBS Eons reflects on Piltdown Man for April Fools Day, a Flashback Friday holiday special

Happy Flashback Friday on April Fools Day! For today's retrospective, I'm following through on the question I asked in the footnote to Stephen Colbert on missing Trump White House phone records and Ginni Thomas's texts updates the attempt to overturn the 2020 election, "Holidays, anyone?" I'll get to the top holiday posts of the eleventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News after I share a video about one of the great scientific hoaxes, The Missing Link That Wasn’t about Piltdown Man, from PBS Eons.

The myth of the Missing Link--the idea that there must be a specimen that partly resembles an ape but also partly resembles a modern human--is persistent. But the reality is that there is no missing link in our lineage, because that’s not how evolution works.
PBS Eons used Piltdown Man mostly to talk about its effect on the rest of paleoanthropology and how it took changes in evolutionary thinking and new technologies to finally discredit it so that the discipline could progress. It's an attention grabber that almost functions as a MacGuffin — almost, as its story is more or less resolved and its significance established. I say more or less because the likely perpetrators are strongly suspected, but not confirmed. PBS Eons returned to the subject in its most recent Mysteries of Deep Time podcast, The Case of the Most Famous Fake Human Fossil.
This episode is a mystery in the most classic literary sense of the word. It’s a whodunit detective story that spans more than a century - the saga of the Piltdown Man Hoax. From a gravel pit in Sussex, we follow the faked fossils through history, to what’s now the Natural History Museum in London, where scientists are using new technologies to try to unravel the identity of the fraudster, and explore how this hoax impacted the study of human origins.
The podcast episode focuses much more on the fake fossil and the people who likely created it than on its effect on the rest of science. It makes for a good unsolved mystery as well as a good hoax to examine on April Fools Day.

That's it for today's holiday. Follow over the jump for the some of the top holiday posts of the eleventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.

The most read entry about holidays, broadly defined, during the eleventh year of this blog was 'Murder hornets' return for World Honey Bee Day from August 21, 2021. While it didn't make the default top twenty, it earned 3,170 raw page views between my posting it and March 20, 2022, enough to rank eighth overall according to that criterion. Infidel753 shared the link at his blog in late August, which resulted in the spike in the page view graph above and enough page views for it to rank ninth according to default page views and seventeenth according to raw page views during August 2021. Even more people read it during September 2021, when it ranked second according to default page views and first according to raw page views. It ended the 2021 calendar year with 918 default and 2,417 raw page views, ranking it nineteenth according to the former and seventh according to the latter. As the numbers show, it has continued to gain page views since then, enough to rank 23rd in raw page views during January 2022. 'SNL' examines the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed it out of the annual top 20 by at 9 PM EST on 2/28/22.

I treat Daylight Saving Time as a holiday on my blog, so Colbert says 'Daylight Saving Time is not helpful and has no upside' from November 6, 2021 qualifies. With ~2,580 default and 3,093 raw page views between its posting and March 20, 2022, it was the sixth most read entry according to the former and the seventh most read according to the latter during the eleventh year of this blog. It earned its page views mostly by my sharing it at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page, which was enough to propel it to second place according to both default and raw page views during November 2022. It was the third most read entry during calendar year 2021 ~2,580 default and 2,763 raw page views.

It seems it wouldn't be one of my holiday retrospectives without Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween from October 28, 2017. In fact, this post about the pop band from Vigo, Galicia, Spain, headlined both last year's holiday retrospective and the one for the year before and was featured in two years ago. This past year, the entry earned "only" ~1,850 raw page views between March 21, 2021 and March 20, 2022, placing it fifteenth overall according to that measure. Those page views added to its cumulative total, raising it to ~9,560 raw page views since I posted it five years ago, raising it to ninth all-time according to raw page views. This year, it came all from web search. I did no Twitter promotion of the link during spooky season in 2021, but it still ranked fourteenth and thirteenth overall according to default and raw page views during October 2021 and ninth and eighth by those same measures during November 2021. It earned 1,898 raw page views during the 2021 calendar year, which ranked it eleventh by that measure.

Since I feel a bit guilty about this entry not being the number one holiday entry this year, I'm sharing Broken Peach - This Is Halloween (Halloween Special Live).

Song written by @Danny Elfman for "The Nightmare Before Christmas film" directed by Henry Selick!
I might be a good environmentalist and reuse this for Halloween 2022. Trick or treat!

The next post was this blogging year's most popular one for spooky season, Vox explains why the Victorian mansion is a horror icon for Halloween from October 28, 2021. Infidel753 and I both shared the link on Halloween itself, Infidel at his blog and me at the Coffee Party Facebook page, which helped it earn 998 default and 1,448 raw page views by March 20, 2022. Those were enough for it to rank twentieth according to default page views, nineteenth among entries posted during the eleventh year of this blog by raw views and twenty-second overall. Infidel's sharing contributed to the entry ranking twelfth according to default page views, sixteenth overall according to raw page views and thirteenth among entries posted during October 2021. My sharing the link added to its views during November 2021, which led to it being the fourth most read entry that month regardless of measure. The graph above shows both peaks in readership. It ended calendar year 2021 with 882 default and 1,439 raw page views, ranking it twentieth overall according to both default and raw page views and eighteenth among entries posted during 2021.

I have lots more holiday posts to recognize, but I've run out of spoons for today. Stay tuned for the rest tomorrow.

Previous posts in this series Previous retrospectives about holidays. Previous retrospectives about the back catalog.

No comments:

Post a Comment