Broadcast 1266 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

29 Nov 2009 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest: Open Lines. Topics: Due diligence, science peer review, individual accountability. Today's program was a two hour Open Lines program with each segment running about an hour. As the themes were the same throughout the discussion, I've not broken this description down by segment. We started the program with my brief comments reminding listeners that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. My comments were largely directed at recent SSP claims made to me in emails as well on the show, plus a few books I have previewed for authors. Our first caller was Markus from German who told us about his interesting podcasts at I recommend adding this website to your source information for space and science matters. In addition to learning about his podcasts, I asked him about space advocacy and the interest of Germans in space development, even space tourism. I suspect many of you will be surprised by what he said so I urge you to listen to his comments. The next caller, John from Montana, brought up the issue of science funding, selective agenda driven project funding, NSF funding and more. This became the basis for the primary theme of today's program which was how do we know what is real, objective, etc? In the scope of discussing this issue and individual accountability for doing due diligence, at least on a few issues that a person cares about from politics, health care to space development issues, many listeners participated in the discussion. Andrew in Tucson suggested following the source code to the origin and more but his suggestions require people to have skills, expertise, knowledge, and time that most of us do not have. How many of us for example can follow computer source code to its origin and verify it? As you will hear in our discussion throughout this entire show, we need effective methods to be sure we are not being mislead, lied to, given inaccurate information, or unduly influenced on policy in this or that direction. The risk in all this as we discussed was that policy gets made on bad science, bad engineering, and we often don't know the facts, only what is told to us or reported to us by agenda driven media, ill-informed media and others. We discussed the media and not relying on it, the recent leaks of the U.K's Climate Research Unit's "cooked" computer code and climate models used for predicting Earth warming and global warming trends, and the difficulty in getting funding for grants and research if the project seeking funding is not among the accepted approach to study and research. Later in the show Marshall called in to discuss ethics and engineering and then Stephen called in from Canada to talk about the downside of using the term cheap access to space when in fact the use of the word "cheap" implied too many negatives and should not be used. Instead, low cost space access or affordable space access were preferred. We then talked about the use of other cultural based terms such as the frontier and colonization versus settlement. If you want to send a comment or question to any of those that called the show today, send it to me at and I will forward it to the person you designate. I also welcome your feedback to me. The next Open Lines program is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 27, 12-1:30 PM PST. Remember, Open Lines programs unfold on air based on the input, calls, and topics coming from the listeners. Any and all topics are welcome and as you will hear on this show, any and all topics come up for discussion.



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