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Censorship at NASA, NOAA

  1. Jan 28, 2006 #1
    From the headline of today's New York Times:
    link
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2006 #2

    Bystander

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    Nerp. You work for "Uncle," you don't flush the toilet without an editorial review board's approval.
     
  4. Jan 29, 2006 #3

    SOS2008

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    If they suppress information long enough, they will accomplish their goal of destroying the world -- without spending a cent or firing a shot. :wink:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11079935/
     
  5. Jan 29, 2006 #4

    Gokul43201

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    Reminds me of the deal Saddam had for allowing UN inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2006 #5

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    "... many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone."

    Not just "can now do so," but for a loonnngggg time before Hoagland embarassed NASA with his Cydonia buffoonery. Terms of employment are that employees present nothing to the public that can be misconstrued as a governmental "position" on any topic without first clearing internal agency, bureau, center, department, division, institute, committee, branch, ta-da, ta-da, ta-da reviews. Experience has shown that media reporters can misrepresent any remark; therefore, the review process for all communications, written and oral, with the public, and particularly the press has long been in place.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2006 #6

    SOS2008

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    “James E. Hansen, longtime director…says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.”

    Legitimate reasons for government review were brought up, but Hansen disagreed, pointing to the over all Bush administration record of preventing the public from learning “recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.”
     
  8. Jan 30, 2006 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I'm sure this is just part of the conspiracy to perpetuate the myth of GCC. Besides, I don't see why anyone here would object to censorship of scientific information by federal officials. Why would anyone need to defend that one? This is probably part of the war on terror.
     
  9. Feb 8, 2006 #8
    Full article here http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/politics/08nasa.html?_r=1
     
  10. Feb 8, 2006 #9

    Nereid

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    The Bad Astronomer's blog on this (lots of details, and it seems Deutsch resigned, possibly because he was caught lying on his resume, a fact revealed to us all by a blogger).

    Some choice quotes (all totally out of context, of course!):
    Censorship is one thing; requiring NASA to toe a creationist line is quite another.
     
  11. Feb 10, 2006 #10
    You seem to be arguing that this is a good practice, then (ie, having to obtain clearance before revealing findings to the public/press). Just taking this reason into account does seem to make logical sense, but the policy seems to be implemented in a potentially very dangerous way... quoting the OP:
    This seems to be suppression of vital information that requires urgent action.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2006 #11

    Astronuc

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    It is one thing to provide "editorial review" in which the editorial staff assist one in communicating one's ideas or information to the public more effectively. It is quite another to interject contrary opinions into one's work, put another's words or conclusions into one's work, or delete or omit one's conclusions or opinions. It would seem the editorial board was doing the latter, and that is unacceptable!
     
  13. Feb 10, 2006 #12
    What? He is implying we get every moron's opinion on the matter then present them all to the public. F*** you, buddy. Scientists can make any conjectures they want, even if it contradicts religious beliefs, as long as they are using the scientific method and presenting as SCIENCE. If you don't want scientists to use the scientific method, fine, lets see how many satelites we get in orbit by praying and blessing the shuttle with holy water.

    I hate politics so much.
     
  14. Feb 10, 2006 #13

    Art

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    "He who pays the piper calls the tune"

    It may be wrong philisophically but it is an unpleasant fact of life.

    I am not saying it is right but it is a fact of life that scientists working for any corporation, gov't or whatever are expected to toe the party line.

    Would scientists working for tobacco companies be allowed by their employers to publish findings showing addiction or cancers linked to smoking?

    Would your company allow you to publish damaging information you unearthed in your job?

    The government relies on right wing support and has an energy policy based on denial of GW and so it stands to reason they will intervene to suppress information contrary to their interests.

    As I mentioned in another thread on this issue NASA prostituted itself to the gov't years ago with the U-2 spy plane incident and so their outrage now seems a little hollow.
     
  15. Feb 10, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

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    I am known to dissent, when the evidence supports my position, and I will not compromise on the 'truth'. I reserve the right to dissent. :biggrin:

    Not the entire government.

    That was then, this is now. NASA changes with the people, who change with the times.
     
  16. Feb 10, 2006 #15

    Art

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    Thats a politicians answer if I've ever seen one :biggrin:

    Legislative and executive branches then. :tongue2:

    Astronuc I'm sure you'd agree that in science particularly once one's reputation has been shredded it is nighon impossible to ever regain trust and respect. And to be honest their shuttle disasters have hardly enhanced their reputations in recent years.
     
  17. Feb 10, 2006 #16

    BobG

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    The American taxpayers "pay the piper" for NASA and NOAA. The government can cut the budget, increase the budget, but, however much we're paying, we're paying for science, not contributing to someone's political campaign.
     
  18. Feb 10, 2006 #17

    Astronuc

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    Nah, I just choose to do what is right, i.e. I stand my ground :grumpy:, and I tend to be contrarian by nature. :biggrin:

    Yes, once one's integrity is compromised it is virtually impossible to recover.

    With respect to the shuttle disasters, different people making bad decisions. That's why I prefer to limit the influence of political appointees and business managers when it comes to technical matters, particular in the case of technology that challenges the limits. I know a lot of great people in NASA. Unfortunately, it's the actions of a few inept or incompetent individuals which seems to overshadow the really excellent work done at NASA. Hopefully the current administrator will improve the environment.
     
  19. Feb 10, 2006 #18

    SOS2008

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    Hear! Hear!
    Good point. The decision to launch when weather was poor, for example, was made for political reasons.

    Time and again the thought of civilization and how far we’ve progressed reminds us that history repeats itself.

    http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cach...ientific+information&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1

    Could we ever learn something from our mistakes, just once?
     
  20. Feb 10, 2006 #19

    Art

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    It still goes back to what I said "Money talks",

    So long as there are scientists prepared to sell their ethics for fame or fortune then politicians and others will continue to own them.

    Perhaps the professional bodies for each science group should have the power and duty to strip members of their qualifications if they are found to have deliberately misrepresented science.

    Probably just wishful thinking but until there's pain involved in getting caught the equation is loaded in favour of taking the easy money.
     
  21. Feb 10, 2006 #20

    Bystander

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    Not "good." Necessary --- the hired help are not constitutionally empowered to make policy decisions (there are odd legislated regulatory functions, EPA, OSHA, et cetera). It isn't a matter of "clearance," but of approval by an editorial review board of the content and connotations. "Clearance" would be publishing the details of U-enrichment processes, details of the ignition circuits for nuclear weapons, specifications for the explosives to be used --- that sort of thing.

    "Information" is not suppressed --- speculations on information, or upon the uses of information are monitored and on occasion restricted.

    Let's put it this way: my experiences with editorial review boards, not journal editorial "staff," have been that introductions and conclusions are written (telepathically --- 'it's your work') by boards rather than first authors. That is, papers from Uncle's labs are best read as "abstract, theory and experimental, data, occasionally a discussion section," and that one should ignore intros and conclusions. Those are written for the purposes of quick excerption to executive summaries for bureau, lab, and center directors presentations to congressional budget hearings.
     
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