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Thread: The Potential Impacts of Cronyism on Science

  1. #1
    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    The Potential Impacts of Cronyism on Science

    Below is the exchange from If They Found This Thing We Know Why The Aliens Haven't Shown Up showing what lead to this thread. This thread being the thread I think Shuny should have started himself instead of being a jerk in my thread. So, in the interest of fairness, I'm using my privilege as thread starter to prohibit myself from throwing Shuny out of this thread.

    I reserve the right to throw up my hands in disgust and leave, however.

    My thread was about the issues and social impact of cronyism, specifically as displayed in the Voyager Golden Record team creation. The OP is included if you want to see my reasoning. THIS THREAD is about whether or not cronyism has or may have an impact on the function and work of science. To that question, Shuny's question is actually relevant. To my original question, it is not.

    The Golden Record was intended to give aliens who potentially ran across the Voyager probes an insight into the world that launched them - the people of Earth, not just the culture of NASA. I think the idea that the material would not be in any way biased is absurd - it would naturally be from an American POV unless you worked very hard to get a team from all around the world, in the days well before internet. However, it was not supposed to be what it in fact is, a representation of the Earth as Carl Sagan and his friends saw it.

    Shuny wishes to know what else should have been included. Again, that is irrelevant to the original question but is relevant to whether or not cronyism had an impact.













    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    There's a link to a video below - it's interesting and what got me started on this topic but not essential for the discussion.

    Well, the good news is we're expecting the Sun to be the same color in 40,000 years and Johnny B Goode will still be around - even if only in other solar systems. I remember reading about the Voyager program in the Smithsonian and Omni (I think - pretty sure). I don't remember anything other than 'team of experts' being mentioned for the group that selected material for and encoded the record that was to be sent with the probes.

    Turns out, they were all friends and colleagues of Carl Sagan.

    It's fifty years too late to worry about it - can't exactly fix it now! But that's a pretty poor way to select a team for something that's supposed to represent us all. Yeah, they were short on time - but not that short.

    It bugs me because I was a kid when this was happening and it is another bite of cynicism into my childhood. I think it should be a cautionary lesson - a little cronyism now can cost you a lot of respect - or worse - later. And yeah, makes me wonder even more about Science! the profit* from on high (horse)! I really respected Sagan - and LOVED Cosmos!







    The Celestial Message in a Bottle





    *Not a spelling error.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    What would you expect be on it that was not?
    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    You really think a narrow cadre will choose well things to represent other cultures? Or even to fully represent their own?

    It's an incredibly narrow window into our world - it was bound to be American centric but by using a narrow group you only get narrower results.


    Of course, big committees are big headaches - but you have to wonder if we showed it to the other cultures back then, would they have been happy with it? Because it's not just a narrow window into our world - it's a narrow window to our past.
    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    Actually, I don't even think there are aliens to find it - but obstinately this was supposed to represent all of the Earth. Instead, it represents the Earth as Carl Sagan and his friends saw it.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    There was a very lited amount they could transmit at the time. Now they could put the complete history of the world, and cover all the cultures and religions of the world on a few computer chips.
    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    That wasn't at issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    But the idea was to make the message as easy to 'read' as possible. Aliens would not be able to read our "computer chips" - the chances they have developed the same technology as us is very unlikely, and reverse engineering a memory card is nearly impossible because you would have to destroy it to figure out how it works and would lose the data.

    The idea of the record, with instructions on how to build the player and supplying the needle was pretty brilliant.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    You still have not answered specifically what you would have put in the very limited space the technology of the time had.
    Quote Originally Posted by Teallaura View Post
    Not today, Shuny - the issue is cronyism and we aren't going down the rabbit hole. I gave you an answer that addressed the concern. Now, tell me why what was included didn't represent Earth as Sagan and his friends saw it.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Failed to answer the question.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    Why should she deal with your irrelevant question?
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    . . . because he strongly objected without specific reason what he would have made the message contain in the limited space available at the time.

    Actually the technologically advanced aliens on distant planets would learn far more from our radio, television, and other communication transmissions that preceded and transmitted since that the very limited brief greeting contents of the pioneer 10 space probe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    er what?

    The Pioneer 10 only had a metal plaque on it. Voyager 1 and 2 had the record with the data on it. Teal was talking about the Voyager probes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    Go reread her post, she had an objection unrelated to your rant here.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    The problem is the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    The problem is the same whether pioneer or voyager probes. No rant just the question that remains unanswered.
    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Will do, with the question remains unanswered.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    no. Her "problem" was that she thinks that Sagan and crew did not include enough variety of human culture.

    But I think they did a pretty good job.

    Here is a web site about the record and it's contents.

    https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-record/

  2. #2
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Did you check out my link for the contents of the record? As far as the cultural content, it looks like they tried pretty hard to give a wide variety of language, photos, and music from various cultures around the world.

    https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-...on-the-record/

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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Did you check out my link for the contents of the record? As far as the cultural content, it looks like they tried pretty hard to give a wide variety of language, photos, and music from various cultures around the world.

    https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-...on-the-record/
    Plan to this evening. That's why I didn't specifically address the question - I wanna double check first.


    As to the issue - cronyism doesn't always imply no good faith effort in the work. I wasn't assuming that - I assume inherent bias found in a social group.

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    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    There's a spectacular documentary on the Voyagers called The Farthest that goes into some detail about how the golden record came about. The whole thing's worth your time, so i recommend seeing it if you can find it on the streaming service of your choice.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

  5. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    There's a spectacular documentary on the Voyagers called The Farthest that goes into some detail about how the golden record came about. The whole thing's worth your time, so i recommend seeing it if you can find it on the streaming service of your choice.
    I'll check it out!

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