With one Twitter hashtag, the embarrassing underbelly of science has been revealed. No, not fraud: scientists are messing up when they leave the safety of their desks. The hashtag #fieldworkfail is trending as researchers report all of their most embarrassing moments, along with a few that totally weren't their fault, but are still pretty funny.
The hashtag has been around for several years, but late last week something caused it to take off, and now the stories are pouring out.
If you have a spare few hours you could do worse than reading the whole thing, but warning, by the time you are done, there will be plenty more. Alternatively, here are a few of our favorites.
Get dengue fever. Try following monkeys anyway. Hip feels broken. Become delirious. Write in elvish all over field pants. #fieldworkfail
— christopher schmitt (@fuzzyatelin) July 31, 2015
Accidentally glued myself to a crocodile while attaching a radio transmitter. #fieldworkfail
— Agata Staniewicz (@AgataStaniewicz) July 30, 2015
Then again, hasn't everyone?
Animals seem to be a common theme, reminding us of WC Fields' advice about not working with them or children. Sadly that is not an option for zoologists.
— CarnivoreScience (@CarnivoreSci) August 2, 2015
However, there are also some mistakes to which all of us can relate...
I thought I was deleting just 1 picture from the digital camera. Nope. Erased. All. The. Pictures #fieldworkfail
— Jessica Light (@je_light) July 30, 2015
Sometimes fieldwork fails can carry a heavy price for science.
— Tony Gamble (@tony_gamble1) July 31, 2015
Sometimes the problem IS the field.
1988: Went to Jamaica to collect insects. Hurricane Gilbert also went to Jamaica. Our insect traps probably went to Mexico #fieldworkfail
— Terry Wheeler (@ta_wheeler) July 31, 2015
And sometimes the problem is that your field is just not remote enough.
Decided to discreetly dissect mice right away in the "field", i.e. NYC park. Someone calls NYPD, cop points gun in my face #fieldworkfail
— Jason Munshi-South (@urbanevol) July 31, 2015
Some stories are metaphors for life.
See a salamander, while going to catch it see a different salamander, get distracted, catch zero salamanders #fieldworkfail
— Nick Caruso (@PlethodoNick) July 30, 2015
One researcher even managed to combine the new hashtag with one we've covered before.
— Anne Hilborn (@AnneWHilborn) July 30, 2015
And then there are the things that are really just no one's fault.
— Mark Siddall (@theleechguy) August 1, 2015
And sometimes the conversation is as good as the original tweet.
@AlistairDove Double tagging is very important to test the reliability of your tags. *keeps straight face*
— Bob O'Hara (@BobOHara) July 31, 2015