I seem to be answering a lot of questions about basic ideas in physics. I get the impression that a lot of these come from people with no physics background who may have seen something on a TV science show and want to know a bit more.

I'm happy to answer these as I'm keen to encourage interest in physics and likewise to avoid discouraging it. But I wonder how appropriate such questions are for this forum site, and if we need a tag to distinguish such questions.


Some random points that I came up with:

1) Usually TV shows proliferate misconceptions. They may not be saying wrong stuff, but lots of things are implied. Yes, it creates a nuisance but I feel that we should have a part in fixing it.

2) We should always encourage interest in physics.

3) Meta-tags are bad. So no , please.

Answer to the actual question:

I think they're OK. As long as we can give good conceptual answers, they fit our site. We don't want to be shunning the lower level questions--they surprisingly turn up good stuff.

Though obvious freaky questions should still be closed. I guess it's more on a per-question basis on what we do.

Here's an example: Relativity in Real Life

The post isn't exactly physics-related--it's a tad on the psychology side. But its gotten some great answers! And it does provide some nifty concepts.

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    $\begingroup$ It is also important that the TV folks come here to fact-check, and the level of TV science has improved greatly in the last decade, due to internet fact-checking. So we are doing the TV producers a favor. I wish they would return the favor by dropping their crackpot stuff, and try to shine a better light on the great neglected scientists of the last century, rather than the superstars everyone already heard about already. $\endgroup$ – Ron Maimon Apr 13 '12 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon: Yep, fortunately. The level of TV science still sicks, though :/ $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 14 '12 at 1:21

I am wathing science programmes on Discovery and such regularly and I see that translations to local language are often wrong! I tried to contact translation companies, to no avail. I would be prepeare to check translations for free, but nobody cares.

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    $\begingroup$ Unrelated to the question, but sadly true. The translations can be funny though ;-) $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 17 '12 at 4:15

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