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  Astronauts ask NASA to alter climate stance (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Astronauts ask NASA to alter climate stance
Murph
Member

Posts: 108
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 04-13-2012 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Murph   Click Here to Email Murph     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A scientist who is a public servant has no greater rights than any other public servant, and indeed is bound by the rules of his employer as is any other public servant.

A public servant may have to give up certain rights as a condition of his employment.

A recent example is the young Marine who is being court-martialed for his anti-Obama postings on his Facebook page. When I served we knew our public political statements were not to be disrespectful to the "Boss". Yes, it was a limitation on our free speech, but such limits are part of the job, and are part of maintaining "good order".

Hansen does not have a right to say anything he wants while in NASA employ. His superiors have rightfully brought this to his attention. This is not a first amendment issue, it is well settled law.

arjuna
unregistered
posted 04-14-2012 07:18 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Surely you know there is a big difference between civilians and the military.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-14-2012 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have some familiarity (retired Active duty military and now Federal Civil Service). Fewer differences then you might imagine - both positions required I take an oath of office and while participation in political activities (and affiliated speech) in the military is regulated by the UCMJ, federal employees are bound by the provisions of the 1939 Hatch act.

Murph
Member

Posts: 108
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 04-14-2012 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Murph   Click Here to Email Murph     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by arjuna:
Surely you know there is a big difference between civilians and the military.
Yes I do.

I know that NASA policy is similar to:

...any other federal agency, corporation or news organization" in requiring any NASA employee to "coordinate (any statements) with the Office of Public Affairs. No exceptions."
That's a NASA quote.

If you want to work in an organization, you have to play by the rules. If he wants to speak out publicly, he should resign. The astronauts are civilians; they are not similarly restrained.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-14-2012 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per NASA's policy on the release of information to news and information media:
NASA, as an Agency, does not take a position on any scientific conclusions. That is the role of the broad scientific community and the nature of the scientific process. NASA scientists may draw conclusions and may, consistent with this policy, communicate those conclusions to the media.

However, NASA employees who present personal views outside their official area of expertise or responsibility must make clear that they are presenting their individual views – not the views of the Agency – and ask that they be sourced as such.

The same policy establishes that all NASA employees are required "to coordinate, in a timely manner, with the appropriate public affairs officers prior to releasing information that has the potential to generate significant media, or public interest or inquiry."

Assuming Hansen did not contact public affairs ahead of releasing his personal views, then he may have been at fault (as one could argue that he should have expected at least the potential for media and public interest or inquiry). But the policy also makes it clear that as a NASA scientist, he was allowed to publicly share his personal views.

And per NASA, in the event of any conflict between this policy and any other NASA policy, directive, or regulation, this policy shall govern and supersede any previous issuance or directive (with regards to the policy quoted by Murph).

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1490
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 04-15-2012 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's no use quoting chunks of NASA policy unless one places it against the background and uses some common sense.

This is a civil matter where the burden of proof is only that the offence is likely to have happened. Having recognised this, one has to weigh the facts.

  1. Hansen is an astronomer, NOT a meteorologist.
  2. He is a leading advocate for one side of the climate change arguement.
  3. He has a history of using his position in NASA to forward his views on climate change.
Further to this last, I quote this extract from an article by Christopher Horner entitled 'Summary of James E. Hansen's NASA Ethics File', published on 19 November 2011.
....records produced by the Department of Justice to resolve litigation against the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the required financial disclosures Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

These records are his applications for outside employment or other activity (form 17-60), approvals and accompanying documents, and public financial disclosure (form SF 278).

As detailed in the American Tradition Institute’s lawsuit which yielded these records, Hansen suddenly became the recipient of many, often lucrative offers of outside employment and awards after he escalated his political activism — using his NASA position as a platform, and springboard.

This, as explained above, is enough to make it likely that Hansen was in breach of the NASA code and that if he wants to continue his activiy in the climate change field he should resign from NASA.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-17-2012 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by arjuna:
And thus it would be pretty hard to argue that the case for Helium-3 isn't diminished.
We may be like ships passing in the night. But your logic is only valid if Schmitt believes that there is a CO2 problem, which he doesn't. Read his book; don't just quote the title. His logic behind pursuing He3 is all about fossil fuels running out, and not anthropogenic global warming. Regardless of him being right or wrong, his and my logic are sound.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1705
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 04-18-2012 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This entire thread perplexes me. Here is the request made in the letter:
We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject.
Is this really an unreasonable request?

I think I'll just stay out of it from here on out. I'll let y'all have the last word.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 04-18-2012 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I spoke with Dick Gordon, Walt Cunningham, and Gene Cernan about the letter at the Apollo 16 40th anniversary event last Saturday. None of them denied that is was a political letter. Walt doubted that any action would be taken by NASA. Regardless of what I and you believe, it was fun talking to three of my favorite heroes.

cjh5801
Member

Posts: 180
From: Tumwater
Registered: Jun 2009

posted 04-19-2012 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cjh5801   Click Here to Email cjh5801     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting rebuttal of the open letter by Shawn Lawrence Otto.

I'd also note that I can find nothing on NASA's website describing human-caused CC as an established fact. They merely report that the IPCC has concluded that there's a more than 90% probability that human activities have warmed the Earth. This seems to be an accurate summary of the IPCC's conclusion.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1490
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 04-20-2012 01:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shawn Otto's rebuttal of the letter is an interesting read. However, there is very little about the letter and an awful lot about some very dodgey science.

It makes a good example of why NASA is quite right to try to distance itself from the raw data it gathers and how it is interpretted by those with a political agenda.

cjh5801
Member

Posts: 180
From: Tumwater
Registered: Jun 2009

posted 04-20-2012 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cjh5801   Click Here to Email cjh5801     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dodgy how, exactly? And isn't it amazing how so much of science has become a "political" issue. In the US, evolution, climatology, and microbiology, to name a few, have all become "political" issues; though usually only to those on one side of the political spectrum. The other side calls them "science".

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-20-2012 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think we're straying into a topic of discussion best suited for other forums.

And with little other "news" coming forth from what made this topic relevant to collectSPACE, thread closed.


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