[Coral-List] Insults to scientists

Dennis Hubbard dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Wed Mar 8 15:43:39 EST 2017

I've been lurking, but had to weight in...

I'd vote for the "Proxmire Award". Way back when, this was a senator from
(I think) Wisconsin who gave the "Golden Fleece Award" each year for what
he thought was the most rediculous waste of tax-payers' funds awarded to
the scientific community. His zll-time top honor went to a large grant for
fruit-fly research that was (eventually) pivotal in identifying Legionaires
Disease - I guess he lost the veterans' vote on that one. Anyway, when he
was eventually sued for slander, he argued that was protected from slander
suit regarding anything he said as a senator.... it turned out that this
protection only extended to things said on the floor of the Senate - and
the award disappeared soon after.

The lessons here are that: 1)  good science often looks like pork to those
without perspective, 2) pork-wise, Proxmire was the "pot" in "the pot
calling the kettle black" parable, and 3) "alternate facts" are the stuff
of raw amateurs when it come to what can be said in the well of Congress.

Good luck picking out an uglier fish!


On Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 11:59 AM, Matt Nolan <mpnolan at lbl.gov> wrote:

> We had the 8 ball award at boy scout camp.
> An award is useless with out an equally imaginative form.
> There must be some ugly, nasty, vile looking underwater critter we can
> adopt as the "mascot" for the award.
> On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 7:10 PM, Sheppard, Charles
> <Charles.Sheppard at warwick.ac.uk> wrote:
> > Sarah Frias-Torres says she has been called an ‘Environmental Nazi’ when
> she tells people what sort of things need to be done to help reefs (or
> indeed any of the oceans’ habitats).   Let us on Coral-List have a
> competition for the most imaginative insult.  I would like to offer two
> entries: I have been called in public:
> >
> > a ‘scientific fascist’ (by a lawyer representing a vested interest) for
> using data to demonstrate an unwelcome point – clearly a shocking thing to
> try and do!  Also, a ‘people killer’ when pointing out in a keynote at a
> sustainable development conference that the number of people already living
> on the island that the conference was held in was not sustainable.
> >
> > Our competition might award a ‘Virtual Coral’ prize to the recipient of
> the most absurd or imaginative insult.  Then, seriously, we should use the
> list in a well-placed article on this whole head-in-the-sand and denial
> problem.
> >
> > Best wishes
> > Charles Sheppard
> > Professor Emeritus
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> _______________________________________________
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Dennis Hubbard
Chair, Dept of Geology-Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074
(440) 775-8346

* "When you get on the wrong train.... every stop is the wrong stop"*
 Benjamin Stein: "*Ludes, A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream*"

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