Broadcast 2918 Open Lines

21 May 2017 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston;  Topics:  Multiple space & science topics, policy issues, and peer review problems.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com.   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

Welcome to our Open Lines discussion program which covered multiple space and science topics over 2 hours 26 minutes.  During the first segment, I started out by suggesting various topics for discussion.  I also threw out an idea I am thinking about for TSS which would be for subscribers only and would involve a designated chat time each week with me, articles and op-eds written by me as well as guest authors.  Comments would be available at the end of each article.  Please listen to the description of the program I suggested both at the beginning of the show and at the end.  Your feedback on this idea would certainly be welcome.

Next, Rick called to talk about the Maker Faire 2017 event in the Bay Area.  We covered Maker Faire themes, events, crowds, technology, and more.  Our next caller was Michael Listner who updated us on the Outer Space Treaty issues, the Senate hearings organized by Senator Cruz to start Tuesday, May 23 and more.  He talked about being an invited guest to testify at the hearings and how to watch it live on the internet or the archived version.  In addition, Michael suggested an excellent article for us to read on the subject by a previous Space Show guest, Mark Sundahl.  You can read his article in SpaceNews at http://spacenews.com/author/mark-sundahl.  I have invited Mark back to The Space Show as a guest to discuss these topics and the Senate hearing.  Watch our newsletter for when Mark might return to TSS.

One additional caller got in before our break.  Scott from Las Vegas called to update us on his orbital speed calculator, his app for the Android platform and his YouTube video, www.youtube.com/watch?v=PawEvdE-Lwc.  He also provided us with his website:  http://www.scott.teee.tv

We started the second segment with a call from Ft. Worth John.  John wanted to talk about Dr. Zubrin's article regarding what he considered was a bad space policy plan, this building an orbiting lunar space station.  John suggested this was probably the best we could given tight budgets, a lack of a lunar lander and a short timeline.  John talked about their being no support for big space programs, especially during times of tight budgets.  He mentioned rebuilding the military as a reason why budgets were tight and this somehow took us to the subject of N. Korea and China.  John expressed his view of what might happen due to N. Korean actions, suggesting we would strongly retaliate to an attack.  Then the question came up about an EMP attack.  John was not so sure such an attack would be as destructive as the media has reported but Dr. Jurist started sending in emails disagreeing with John.  Ft. Worth John mentioned people taking all this extremely seriously and putting their computer and electronic equipment in small Faraday cages to protect them.  While Jurist and Ft. Worth John were exchanging notes on EMPs, I looked up Faraday cages for sale on Amazon.  I reported my findings in total disbelief, with sarcasm and some degree of humor.  As Ft. Worth John pointed out, one might protect their smartphone but there would be no network or service for the protected smartphone when you took it out of the Amazon Faraday cage.  If you decide to buy one, please be sure to use TSS/OGLF Amazon portal on hour home page as Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase price to TSS.

Kim from Mexico was our next caller.  She was more positive about the orbiting lunar space station .  She talked about skyhook possibilities, tethers and more.  Don't miss Kim's comments. 

The last topic for the day was peer review.  Briefly, two authors, one an assistant professor at Portland State University and another holding an advanced math degree plus a physics PhD, pulled of a hoax of huge proportions with a sociology peer reviewed publication with a totally worthless, nonsense and absurd paper.  You can read their paper on the peer reviewed journal here:  www.cogentoa.com/article/10.1080/23311886.2017.1330439.pdf.  Once you pull up the peer reviewed paper, do a Google search for the name of the paper and you will find multiple websites providing the backstory on this hoax, including author statements as to how they did it and why.  My purpose in bringing this up had nothing to do with the subject of their hoaxed paper but everything to do with illustrating the problems with peer review.  Peer review is important in the space community (and other areas as well).  It is often dismissed as unnecessary, especially by those presenting papers at conferences offering no or very limited review for facts and scholarship.  It is presented as the essential BIBLE to those hanging their hat on it. As you will hear from comments by Dr. Jurist plus a reference article Kim sent us (she posted the link to the article on our blog), peer review today often has its problems.  Because peer review is important to our community, I decided to run with this story, not because of the topics our hoax authors used but to drive home points about peer review.  Near the end of the discussion, I asked Jurist what a person was to do because most of us, myself included, have no way to validate or fact check a peer reviewed paper applicable to space topics or any other topic.  Listen to what Jurist suggested but for the most part, he said apply common sense and logic.  I suggested due diligence, discernment, and realize that just because the authors put forth a peer reviewed article in a quality journal or other publication, it does not mean it is free of bias, free of an agenda, factually correct, that the assumptions are spot on, etc.  I concluded the segment with the comment "buyer beware."   As an aside, we know there are many politically and ideologically charged subject in science that can easily skew peer review.  Stem cell research, especially with infant stem cells is one such topic. Climate issues are totally skewed by the warring sides on this issue.  Sometimes we see conflicting peer reviewed studies on radiation and risk problems with human spaceflight.  I believe the authors of the hoax paper showed us the extreme of the political review issue.  That said, until there is something better that comes along, peer review is still one of the best protections we have to make sure data and conclusions are sound on various topics and issue.  Just remember, being published and being peer reviewed does not always mean the paper is of quality or correct.

Let us know what you think about peer review and this hoax by commenting on the blog.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show.  You can contact any of the callers or those sending in emails by going through me.

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