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Importante: 4 consejos de un consejero de la Casa Blanca a otros científicos (en inglés)

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Importante: 4 consejos de un consejero de la Casa Blanca a otros científicos (en inglés)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Junio 21st 2014, 22:51


Importante: 4 consejos de un consejero de la Casa Blanca a otros ciéntificos (en inglés)


Remembered Lessons

1. Exaggerations do not void basic truths

Books, like plays or movies, succeed best when they exaggerate the truth. In communicating scientific fact to the nonspecialist, there is a huge difference between simplifying for effect and misleading. The issues that scientists must explain to society—then DDT contamination, today global warming or stem cell technology; say—require far too many years of training for most people to take hold of them in all their nuances. Scientists will necessarily exaggerate but are ethically obliged to society to exaggerate responsibly. In writing my textbooks I realized that emphasizing exceptions to simple truths was counterproductive and that use of qualifying terms such as probably or possibly was not the way to get ideas across initially. So while some of Rachel Carson’s facts have proved less solidly grounded than she first believed, the truth is that man-made pesticides were spreading through the food chains so fast that they were very likely to reach levels dangerous to humans. No good purpose other than the bottom line of the chemical industry would have been served hedging that fact.



2. The military is interested in what scientists know, not what they think


PSAC’s briefing by Fort Detrick’s staff focused on whether proposed biological warfare agents would be effective if deployed by either our military or the Soviets’. Whether these weapons should be deployed was not open for discussion. And so the question as to whether VEE should then be seen as a tactical or strategic weapon was never brought before us. I naively assumed that no one would seriously consider using it in any capacity in the near future, but what may seem absurd to a civilian can be perfectly plausible in a world where options are rarely taken entirely off the table. It is hardly surprising we were never told that the VEE was almost ready for military 1’eployment. We would have gone instantly to McGeorge Bundy, if not the president, to let him know of our opposition to its use at any time. Whether either Bundy or JFK knew how advanced the nation’s VEE program was I still don’t know. My guess is that they knew no more than our PSAC panel. Top-secret clearance should never be confused with “need to know’ I was granted the former but only through my natural curiosity about a building with no apparent function did I learn that one of Fort Detrick’s better-funded missions was to advance CIA assassination possibilities.


3. Don’t back schemes that demand miracles

Ridding our southern states of the boll weevil by exposing female weevil irradiated sterile males was a proposal that instantly smelled of nonsense to us experts. No one who briefed us was prepared to say how much it might cost. Even worse, almost all the small pilot tests done to date had failed, with their proponents now saying more search was needed. The sterile male project had an interest in preserving the congressional perception that the Boll Weevil Research Lab was on the verge of something big. Congressman Jamie Whitten could then bask in its supposed glory. Those reading our report knew that we thought the local research was going nowhere, but ultimately it is possible to ignore what even the government’s own scientific advisers think. Never mind that producing enough sterile male blanket the nation’s cotton-growing regions might cost more than the profit from an average year’s crop.


4. Important: Controversial recommendations require political backing

Our PSAC panel’s conclusion that pesticides pose a threat to the environment reached the public only through its release by President Kennedy. If he had owed a major debt to the chemical industry his staff might have seen to it that passages damaging to those interests were toned down, leaving open the question of whether Silent Spring’s argument had merit, and dampening the demand for corrective action. Happily, JFK owed no such political debt, and no White House pressure ever came to bear on us. In contrast, President Johnson’s saw political harm in a White House report that said the nation’s cotton farmers needed more than heavy pesticide spraying to keep their fields financially viable. When our badly gutted cotton insect report came out, most panel members realized we had toiled to no useful end.

Artículo sacado del Libro : ”Avoid boring people: lessons from a life in science” Capítulo 9:”Manners noticed as a dispensable White House adviser” Páginas 171-173


[Tienes que estar registrado y conectado para ver esa imagen]Watson, James D.,”Avoid boring people: lessons from a life in science” , Primera edición,prólogo de Hanna H. Gray, Estados Unidos, Editorial Vintage, 2010,[341 p]

No lo inclui en el otro porque pensé que merecia su tema aparte.

. The military is interested in what scientists know, not what they think
Este en particular me parece importantisimo....me gustaria que alguien se lo hubiera dicho a einstein o a santos dumont, o...bueno, ustedes me entienden. Ahora cientifico puede sacarse la responsabilidad de la pepa diciendo que no previó las consecuencias....

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"No hay mas diferencia entre los hombres que el vicio o la virtud" Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.

No hay raza inferior; solo hay sujetos inferiores
Bendita se la muerte, porque a nadie le concede lo que no les da a todos los demas;alabada sea la muerte que se yergue piadosa ante el hombre que ha cumplido su deber.
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