What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 10, 2016

The Tribune-Review Editorial Board Embarrasses Itself. Again

From today's Tribune-Review:
Intrepid government watcher Elizabeth Harrington at The Washington Free Beacon reports that the National Science Foundation has spent more than $40,000 on a study about the “relationship between gender and glaciers.” We kid you not. From the paper: “Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.” Huh? [Bolding and italics in Original]
Let me first say that the Trib is (nominally) a news organization.  And as a news organization it has the obligation to get its facts right.

So let's take a look at Harrington's piece at the Washington Free Beacon.  Here's the first paragraph:
The National Science Foundation has spent more than $400,000 on a study that published scientific results on the “relationship between gender and glaciers.”
Notice something?  Somehow $360,000 went missing between the Free Beacon and the Trib Braintrust.

That's embarrassment number one.

Opinions aside on the validity of "feminist postcolonial science" that's just sloppy.

But what about the story itself?  DID the NSF actually do what the Free Beacon said it did?

According to Gawker, the answer is, well, no:
The Free Beacon seems to have grabbed its astonishing figure from a webpage documenting the National Science Foundation grant that funded the study. And it’s true, the figure is right there. Awarded amount to date: $412,930.00. But even as someone who’s inclined to see government glut around every corner, don’t you think that’s a little much to spend on a single academic paper?

According to the webpage, the grant was awarded under the NSF’s “Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program,” which is described as an award in support of “the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.” It is not, in other words, a paycheck for writing one paper about intersectional post-colonialism in arugula farming, or whatever.

The grant seems to have funded the professor Mark Carey’s entire body of research on glaciers. It was awarded in 2013, three years before the publication of the gender paper. Since then, his research has also focused on “the formation of glaciology and theories of ice dynamics,” “the establishment of theories about catastrophic glacial lake megafloods,” “glacier retreat and hydrology,” and a bunch of other stuff neither you nor I understand. [Emphases added.]
That's embarrassment number two.

Geez guys, if you're gonna be snarky, you're going to have to do your homework much much better than this.  If not, some guy sitting at his kitchen table doing 40 minutes of actual research is going to embarrass you yet again in front of the whole world (or at least in front of your friends in the Pittsburgh news media).

I'd like to say, "You're better than this" but after fact checking you for a few years, I am not so sure.



5 comments:

Omega Supreme said...

"If not, some guy sitting at his kitchen table doing 40 minutes of actual research is going to embarrass you yet again in front of the whole world"
By linking to Gawker?

I'll bet that the author of the paper Mark Carey is considered a leading climate scientist.
https://honors.uoregon.edu/faculty/mark-carey
Mark Carey specializes in environmental history and the history of science. He earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Davis, and held a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Geography department at the University of California, Berkeley.
All aboard the Climate Change grant gravy train.

Zeus0209 said...

Opinions are like A asshole

Zeus0209 said...

“Most existing glaciological research–and hence discourse and discussions about cryospheric change–stems from information produced by men, about men, with manly characteristics, and within masculinist discourses,” the paper said.

I thought that was an intriguing suggestion, but that's just my opinion.

Jim Moore said...

Hey, Omega, you're staying on topic! Glad to see the improvement. I have to ask, though, who told you Mark Carey is a climate scientist? Mark Carey didn't, Dave didn't. I think you pulled that conclusion out of your own arse after misreading the post or the titles of Carey's publications.

Omega Supreme said...

"...I have to ask, though, who told you Mark Carey is a climate scientist?"
Where did I state
Just a theory like Evolution, the Big Bang or String Physics.
"I'll bet that the author of the paper Mark Carey is considered a leading climate scientist."
I would check for his name in the The Cook et al.(2013) study of the 97% consensus of catastrophic anthropogenic global climate change among Climate scientists.
But that data is unavailable due to scientific/academic privacy.
OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE!!1!!
"Because the confidentiality of these communications among scientists is essential to frank discourse among scientists,”... “It is a long-standing practice in the scientific community to protect the confidentiality of deliberative scientific discussions.”