200911052354 The recent news of Newsarama’s sale to TopTenReviews.com has kind of faded into the woodwork — the site seems to have just kept on going, the only change a new list of sister sites at the bottom of each page.

The change was probably for the best. It’s no secret that Newsarama’s previous owners, Imaginova, weren’t the best fit for a pop culture site. They specialize in science and space mostly, with sites like Space.com and LiveScience.com, which were also sold off. The latter is a kind of general clearinghouse for soft science stories that we long had bookmarked in our RSS feeds.

But perhaps LiveScience.com is a better stable mate for Newsarama than you might guess. Newsarama has long been known for its contentious message boards, and a random news story on Live Science we happened to read shows that animal aficianados can be just as cranky.

The story 10 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know about Animals sounds bland enough, with an assortment of factoids along the lines of the mole rat’s surprising ability to see. But commenters just weren’t satisfied. It starts with general complaints:

I love these pieces but am often distracted by the typos and grammatical errors. Would you consider using a spelling/grammar checker or basic editing services?

And then the continuity police show up:

My other problem is with the statement “[Parrots] can solve certain linguistic processing tasks as deftly as 4-6 year-old children.” Now, I completely agree that some parrots are able to do this…the key word here being “some.” But not all parrots possess the higher cognitive functioning that this article seems to imply they have. Level of cognitive function is dependent upon the species, and indeed, even upon individuals within the same species. Budgies do not have the same ability to learn the difference between “same” and “different” as say, African Greys. Further, only after years of intense training was Alex, the famous African Grey, able to understand the abstract concept of “none” or “zero.”


I will buy that the elephant has the largest brain of all land mammals today, but to say that it’s brain out weighs any land mammal ever to walk the earth one would have to contend with such mammals as the mastodon, the mammoth, the giant sloth and various other mammals of the past

The clincher, however, is a photo accompanying a slide on how beavers hibernate. Turns out…it wasn’t a beaver.

I can’t believe that the photograph displayed with the information on beaver behavior IS NOT EVEN A BEAVER. It looks more like a woodchuck- note that it does not have webbed feet! I am so dismayed I don’t know if I can even finish the slideshow.

This is definitely the animal-slideshow equivalent of giving up Spider-Man because he’s not married any more.

Finally a defender shows up, complete with typo:

If you don’t like what you see, don’t come to the sight.

Yes, we’d say LiveScience readers and Newsarama readers will get along just fine.


  1. If I recall correctly, Imaginova initially approached Newsarama after management, or moderators, noticed a growing number of comic-book discussions cropping up in the science forums.

  2. Makes me wonder if Newsarama will become a barren wasteland like Wizarduniverse and this is yet another omen in a long and unforgiving death spiral. Wizarduniverse used to updated a lot more until they let a lot of the online staff go.

  3. Hahaha, good thing I read below the fold before i jumped in to point out that it is, in fact, a marmot.

    But of COURSE science and comics go together, like chocolate and coffee. We’re all geeks… and insufferable nit-pickers and pedants. I say that as a science person. *hugs geekdom*