Broadcast 1627 (Special Edition)

02 Oct 2011 Dr. David Whitehouse
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Guest: Dr. David Whitehouse. Topics: Science journalism, space and the UK, space policy, space journalism. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. David Whitehouse of the UK, the world's most cited science journalist, to the show to discuss science and space journalism, space policy in the UK, the U.S. and much more. Visit his website at for information about his work and publications. In our first segment, we discussed his recent article titled "More Science Journalists, Fewer Science Supporters." You can read the article at Dr. Whitehouse talked about science journalists being too friendly and not asking enough uncomfortable questions. Listen to this discussion & read his excellent article on the subject. Next, a listener brought up the issue of climate change reporting. Dr. Whitehouse said that reporting on this subject does not reflect the role of science & that science journalism must not be a cheerleader. Our guest had much to say on the issue of climate change, average world temperatures, and the reporting of data & fact. Also about the diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue. Unfortunately, what the public gets is not at all reflected by the peer reviewed literature. He later cited the IPCC as an example of the problem. He concluded this segment saying that science journalism does not reflect or ask the right question: What is the effect of greenhouse gasses in the real world with data feedback. In our second segment, John called about actual warming data & if there was a mitigation strategy that would make a difference. Dr. Whitehouse had much to say in response to John. The bottom line is that mitigation efforts cannot be more damaging or costly to the economies of the world than the problem itself. Marshall asked about the solar model & climate change & Ellen asked about the teaching methods for climate change from middle school through college which largely support the popular agenda. We then moved to space in the UK. Dr. Whitehouse said there were not very many space journalists in the UK. He also talked about the UK space policy being heavily influenced against human spaceflight (HSF) by the astronomy community. We talked about Reaction Engines & the Skylon air breathing rocket engine. Harriett asked about serendipity in science discoveries. Later in this long segment, Dr. Whitehouse was asked about the Obama space plan, commercial space, private launchers, & space tourism. He said it was an interesting experiment and the verdict was still out. He said that we should be focused on going back to the Moon. He also said going to a NEO or even an eventual Mars fly back in a few decades was not a worthy space program for the world's leading space nation. We talked about the complexities of the industry, engineering complex systems & safety issues. Here, our guest had much to say about accidents & extreme reporting that tends to try to doom the industry. At the end of the program, I asked about lessons learned from the UK not having an HSF program. Our guest talked about why we need HSF, what it means to kids and to everyone. He said we might just be lost without it. Don't miss his comments. Our final topic was the Chinese space program. He suggested they might just evolve as the world's leading space country if the U.S. drops the ball. Post your comments and questions on the blog URL above.



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