Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Charles Seife, NASA & Angry Pandas

A week or so back, science writer Charles Seife wrote a piece wherein he compared NASA to a panda.
Of course, there was more to it than just that. The main thrust of his piece was how NASA's focus on human spaceflight was endangering its other programs, namely the science programs, and how in many ways the agency was its own worse enemy. 
The piece raised some valid points. However, Mr. Seife did, as expected, raise more than a few eyebrows with some of his statements, and also raised the ire of many NASA supporters, including the Planetary Society's Casey Dreier, who wrote a piece answering Mr. Seife point per point.
Within the realm of social media, a storm brewed, and soon a flurry of tweets and posts appeared supporting the pro-NASA position. To these, Mr. Seife decided to respond.
And made the mess even worse.
He dug his heels in, and shared some of the tweets on his blog. He seemed to revel in the brouhaha he created, and didn't budge or explain his position. Which is all well and good, except that in responding as he did, he seemed to have come across as childish. In other words, while we are often told that popular science writers need to write to eighth graders, it is not necessary to act as one.. While I initially felt that he raised many salient points in his original piece at Slate, I now feel that his behavior is rapidly becoming one of an opportunistic publicity seeker. 
With that, he lost. His arguments, no matter how valid they were, now seem like a cry for attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment