Brainy Quote of the Day

Monday, May 22, 2017


Image Source: CBS News - Collateral Damage, Bill Whitaker
Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, Women in Science

Realizing espionage is the focus of our current national angst in the last election, this is more than a bit over-the-top and would have occurred in the last administration. Vetting as well as protecting our intellectual property is important, but the motivation for this comes from an ethnic nationalism birthed in bigotry, an ugliness that has always existed, but we've never fully admitted about our national selves.

A nation of immigrants is becoming what almost doomed us in WWII: isolationists. The "good old days" many want to magically return to they forget is when the US became a part of and major driver of the world order. That also entailed the embrace of immigrants like Professor Einstein et al.

Going forward for our continued success, it still does.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

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Last August a headline in this media-analysis venue charged, “Journalists scant scientists’ ethnic-profiling accusation against the federal government.” With exceptions, reporters and editors were generally overlooking injustices perpetrated against scientists, including National Weather Service hydrologist Xiafen “Sherry” Chen and Xiaoxing Xi, who is a fellow of the American Physical Society and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Physics at Temple University. The piece criticized media inattention to unfounded, abortive criminal prosecutions that devastated the US citizens’ lives.

As of 12 May 2017, that media criticism from August still stands. Xi and Chen are still struggling, and although new information has arisen in their cases, most journalists continue scanting it. Again, with a few exceptions, there’s been little coverage of the March administrative hearing in which Chen sought to get her job back or of Xi’s May lawsuit against an FBI agent.

Among the silent so far in 2017 has been CBS. But in May 2016, the network introduced a 60 Minutes segment by recalling an earlier report that illuminated the source of the harmful federal zeal. The Justice Department, CBS reported, saw a “national security emergency” costing hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese espionage intended to “rip off American trade secrets and intellectual property.” CBS described a government effort to fight back aggressively with a dragnet strategy that wasn’t “just catching Chinese spies” but was “ensnaring a growing number of Americans who aren’t spies at all.”

Steven T. Corneliussen

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