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FW: New Fossil Protection Regulations in China
OOOOOUUUCH !!! That $.02 of your's was actually 2 well placed gold bars. I'm
very uncomfortable with what
you just said ..... because it has a ring of authenticity about it. I'm
reminded of "DENT" in the "DARK
KNIGHT" ...... "die young and be a hero ..... live long enough, and see
yourself become the villian". This
also goes true for organizations as well. What I am proposing IS dangerous. All
organizations are political
in Nature. Science organizations are certainly not devoid of internal politics
either [but I have a lot more
trust in them because they tend to be far more self-correcting than most.] And
dammit! We certainly DO need
You have me at a loss for words.
It is by far a latent weekness that could inevitably hurt any science. I was
just thinking of this recently.
Perhaps David was right afterall. There is always a latent risk in anything
human that is implemented in the
hands of a few ..... no matter the good intentions.
> Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 22:02:14 +0000
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: FW: New Fossil Protection Regulations in China
> I'm not sure that coherence of focus is *always* a good thing. Without
> actually saying it you seem to be advocating something analogous to a PAC
> (political action committee) for paleontologists.
> Loose cannons, rouge researchers, and media-hogs all have their place in
> science. But they are not always welcomed with open arms in "organizations".
> Robert Bakker may not be universally popular with his fellow paleontologists,
> but no one can argue that he didn't help the discipline when it was
> languishing and collecting dust back in the 1970s-80s. Paleos such as Bakker
> will likely not be keen on "organizing", particularly for the purpose of
> deciding how best to get funding.
> A lot of Bakker's funding didn't come from NSF. Much of it came from the
> media or from other private sources. In response to your suggestion for
> better organization and "coherence" in purpose amongst paleontologists,
> particularly when it comes to funding, I suspect that he would say, "Thank
> you, but I can get my own funding my own way."
> Sometimes, chaos, disorganization, and rogue research leads to major
> discoveries. And besides, I don't think that paleontologists are, as a group,
> particularly interested in organizing in that way. It's just one more damn
> organization to join.
> I would also be very concerned that a common methodology/drive in how the
> discipline attracts funding might unwittingly lead to a form of Group-Think,
> which would be very bad for the science. "This is the best way to get
> funding, so please back us up on this."
> An analogy is standardized testing for school children by the Federal
> Government. Although standardized testing was noble in its goal of
> encouraging a standard of excellence in public schools across the U.S., it
> also had the undesirable side effect of encouraging teachers to only "teach
> for the test", rather than educating their students more broadly. What
> usually gets pushed aside when one "teaches for the test" are critical
> thinking skills.
> Well-organized, "coherent", fund raising groups always are headed by a
> media-savy or policy-wonk personality. If I were an academic paleontologist,
> I would NOT want such a "union rep" talking on my behalf regarding what is
> the best way get research funds. If I am worth my salt, I should be able to
> represent myself in any funding request.
> Bureaucracy schmirocracy!
> Just my $0.02 US,
> ---------- Original Message ----------
> From: dale mcinnes
> To: DML
> Subject: FW: New Fossil Protection Regulations in China
> Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 20:59:24 -0600
> Hi Dave. Here we go again.
> But funding is a pretty damn hard window to open on this science.
> How many have tried over the last 100 years?? Everybody seems to be
> doing their own thing when it comes to this. Everybody scattering
> in a 100 different directions. No coherence.
>> Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2010 12:02:43 +0200
>> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
>> To: email@example.com
>> Subject: Re: FW: New Fossil Protection Regulations in China
>> On Sept. 14, 03:03 CEST, dale mcinnes wrote:
>>> WhOOOAA ....... David. I meant what I said. I'm talking about Natural
>>> Selection. It's in everything we do. Currently our science is being
>>> selected against acquiring massive funding.
> [You're conflating several distinct meanings of the word "selected".]
> Agreed. There are many meanings here. It's just the way we compete for funding
> that we find ourselves scraping the ground. When I use the word "selected"
> I mean the way we do our fund raising. If We do the same thing every day,
> month, year, we will always end up with the same result. In doing so, we are
> selecting for the same results ...... against recieving adequate funding
> of what we continually fail to do. We fail to change our strategy. This of
> begs the question. What new strategy??
>>> Why?? We have been fairly
>>> unsuccessful competitors for [$$$$$$] and are being "weeded out/
>>> ignored". Damn right it's Natural Selection. You either play the game
>>> for everything it's worth or lose the competitive edge. Lose the
>>> competitive edge and you better start tightening your belt.
>> I'm talking about raising awareness to the fact that basic research _in
>> general_ should be funded well. That's, after all, where most
>> discoveries and almost all unexpected discoveries come from. Are you
>> saying vertebrate paleontology should compete against other sciences for
> Oh good heavens no. I've seen this happen way too often in my lifetime, where
> a politician shifts funding from one science into another. The reasons are
> purely political and certainly show a misunderstanding of how real science
> works. In the political world, its every man for himself. Its disaster when
> they touch science funding. There's lots of people out their trying to raise
> awareness to the idea of supporting basic research.
>>> The soviet people come to mind.
>> Because that's suuuuch a good analogy to a science.
> Well, actually, it is. Ask anyone in science. More than once I've heard it
> expressed by scientists that one science is getting the "lions" share of
> The arguement is that it should go back into basic research. Hard to argue
> that. We live in a political world. We don't bang our pots loud enough, some
> sciences don't get seen or heard. Of course, we can bitch that it isn't right,
> but it happens. Not being competitive can not only hurt a science but an
> nation as well.
>>> Natural Selection is very much a part of Darwinism
>> What do you mean by "Darwinism"? Because that's a rarely used term. I've
>> only encountered it from the following groups of people:
>> - Unmentionable Ones who want to pretend that a scientific theory is a
>> political (or even religious) ideology, and an evil one at that;
>> - Historians of science who want to distinguish the theory of evolution
>> by natural selection (Darwinism) from, most commonly, the theory of
>> evolution by acquisition of new characteristics (Lamarckism);
>> - Historians of science who want to distinguish the old version(s) of
>> the theory of evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) from the modern
>> theory of evolution by mutation, selection, and drift (Modern Synthesis
>> or neodarwinism).
>> You don't seem to fit into any of those categories, so what do you mean?
>>> and has been used in many instances other than biological.
>>> I probably shouldn't have been so liberal in my terms. And yes. We
>>> "ought" to practise it ..... better than we have.
>> Natural selection is something the environment does, not something
>> living beings (or genes) do. They are the passive part.
> WHAAAAAAAT???? I'm not really sure I understand you here. Natural Selection
> is something the environment does. Correct. Living beings are NOT passive and
> certainly DO select those genes that better express phenotypes that are more
> sexually attractive to name one example [albeit .... indirectly]. Humans also
> are a product of their environment and are well known to conciously select
> breeding stock for their own well being. This also includes other species bred
> for suitable companions, drugs and so on. It's our species I'm really talking
> about. We actively select. Isn't the environment the result of that natural
> Hmmmmmmm ..... I guess it depends on which end you're approaching.
>>> Now. As for being short sighted ..... hmmmmmmm ......
>>> Working on the "political will????" Lobbyists and politicians???
>>> Working on them?? Isn't that what we have been doing for 100 years??
>> Frankly, no. By far not enough. Billions per year are spent on wars and
>> (other) prestige projects, while university budgets are slashed and
>> universities are told "nope, we can't afford to leave you one more million".
> Do I hear someone complaining about funding being spent in other fields of
> science ??
> By [prestige projects], I take it you mean military weaponry?? Still takes a
> lot of
> sub fields [specialties] to make these things work. Those fields take back a
> wealth of knowledge with them that is sooner or later applied to the civilian
> We spend billions on weapons for our very survival. But I'll be the first to
> its sad but inevitable that we have to constantly go through this stage to
> get a
> drivel of funding. Perhaps we don't compete for funding very well?? Perhaps
> we don't
> take into account that we live in a very political world??
>>> They have no interest in our field. What we really need David is to
>>> stop looking in all the wrong places. This is what I mean by
>>> changing strategy. Why would you keep approaching the same type of
>>> people for funding??
>> What other types are there? And do we really want their influence on our
> Now you've come to a very interesting question. There actually is only one
> type. There has never been any other. Its the one place where no one looks.
> That's within our very own science. The only people that should be in full
> funding control of this science ... are palaeontologists themselves. That
> means of course, that all funding should be internally generated. If it comes
> from anywhere else, our science will be influenced by the origins of that
> funding. [I giveith .... I takeith away]. Happens a lot in our science.
> [Boy. Do I know how that sounds. It's almost laughable when you're viewing
> only the surface of this.]
>>> Before you can even begin to use politics David, you have to
>>> understand politics. And you don't. Our field does not have
>>> "political value". You can attain it. Yes. And it only takes a very
>>> small number of individuals to do so. They have to be gifted or have
>>> spent a reasonable amount of time working in this arena AND have a
>>> fairly fanatical drive towards papaeontology. That small number, even
>>> one individual is ALL it takes to pull the rest of us through.
>>> Don't believe me?? I'll demonstrate it to you.
>> How? By being that "even one individual [that] is ALL it takes to pull
>> the rest of us through"? In that case, more power to you, but what have
>> you been waiting for for all those decades? (The 1949 in your e-mail
>> address, is that your year of birth?)
> No ...no .... no ..... I just realised how that came out. That certainly
> sounded arrogant and I wasn't referring to me [actually others who have
> already accomplished in their chosen vocations what I discovered in this
> field, oh so many years ago]. I'm looking to see if this can really be
> applied here.
> However. You could be right about one thing. I have been way too timid.
> Perhaps lack in the aggression needed and you've pegged me personally as
> ...... way, way too old. [Just a minute. My teeth fell out when I bent
> down over my walker. Excuse me] Now where was I?? Oh yes. The vast majority
> of people usually reach their peak production between 25-35 yrs. of age. I
> am all too well aware of that. I am also very well aware of the odds stacked
> against my succeeding. [After all, wouldn't I have succeeded by now??] In
> very poor defence ....I bit off far, far more than I could chew ...... My near
> total isolation doesn't help either. But my approach is unique, fed largely by
> my isolation. I do feel the pressures.
>>> If we continue taking your approach to funding, we certainly WILL
>>> leave even MORE people "in the dust" as it were.
>> You've just misunderstood what I want to do. I'm into big-picture thinking.
> I certainly hope I misunderstood you. We're on the same side after all [albeit
> polar opposites and everything in between]. But that's O.K. Guard your ideas
> be aggressive when you finally decide to let loose. All that really counts is
> palaeontology be the happy recipient of any success. The best to you David.
>>> As a side note. This is what science is all about. You and me.
>>> Throwing ideas around. Then testing them out in the real world. Uuuh.
>>> You first. dale
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