Bandwagon latest: ‘Science news’ with tenuous World Cup relevance doing the rounds right now

1. Analyzing John Brooks’ Dream About Scoring the Winning Goal

Source:, ‘HEALTH’ section (17 June)

One-line summary:  A US soccer player scored a goal and then says he previously had a dream about doing so. So then, can your dreams predict or influence your future? Scientists say maybe or maybe not. By which they mean: ‘Actually not.’

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say:So while it’s not exactly ‘scientific’…

World Cup relevance: 4/5

Science relevance: 2/5


2. The Story Behind the Foam That World Cup Refs Use To Stop Cheating

Source: (17 June)

One-line summary: That vanishing spray, invented in 2002, is now on TV a lot. So without actually explaining how it works, here’s what a ‘free kick’ is.

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say: How long before we end up watching robots play soccer?

World Cup relevance: 5/5

Science relevance: 2/5



3. Could World Cup football be played on other planets?

Source: The Guardian (11 June)

One-line summary: The FIFA President made a joke about having inter-planetary competitions in the future. Let’s pretend he wasn’t joking, and on that basis give ourselves 800 words to reveal exactly why this wouldn’t be very practical any time soon.

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say: However, not even David Beckham could send a football into orbit around the moon. He is listed, along with several others, as being able to kick a football at around 100mph. To escape the moon’s gravity requires a speed of 5,369mph…

World Cup relevance: 1/5

Science relevance: 5/5

Other planets (Source: The Guardian)
Exhibit ‘A’ (Source: The Guardian)


4. Pandas will not predict World Cup, says China

Source: BBC News (13 June)

One-line summary: Remember the octopus who ‘predicted’ World Cup results in 2010? Well now it’s being claimed that a bunch of pandas were doing the same. So much so, in fact, that the zoo authorities in Chengdu had to step in to prevent people from harassing the pandas (who ordinarily find human contact stressful).

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say: “Panda cubs at an enclosure in China have been forbidden from predicting the scores at the football World Cup.”

World Cup relevance: 3/5

Science relevance: 1/5


5. The Aerodynamics Of The World Cup Soccer Ball, In GIFs

Source: Popular Science (13 June)

One-line summary: The new World Cup football has internal stitching and so keeps airflow close to its surface, thus ensuring a smoother and more predictable trajectory when struck. And lovely magic GIFs!!!

We know it’s on the bandwagon because they say:NASA stuck a World Cup soccer ball into some of its aerodynamics testing chambers because why not.”

World Cup relevance: 5/5

Science relevance: 5/5

Said GIF featuring the new WC football. Click to go to and see how old balls fare (Source: Popular Science/NASA)
Said GIF featuring the new WC football. Click to go to and see how crappy old balls were (Source: Popular Science/NASA)


More to follow (all too predictably)…

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