Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sometimes the system didn't work

Back in 2002, after the Jan-Hendrik Schon / Bell Labs fraud was exposed, a number of scientists proclaimed that the manner of exposure proved the "system worked."

For example, David Goodstein wrote in Physics World:

In this case, the system worked. Science is self-correcting, as it’s supposed to be. But we
must not be complacent. If this kind of misconduct were to become commonplace,
science would cease to be self correcting and would be no better than any other belief
system. Rooting out scientific misconduct in a sensible way will always be a grave
responsibility for all of us.

Of course, the system didn't work. The fraud, which would have been self-evident had anyone
bothered to look, was uncovered because an insider at Bell Labs spoon fed someone (then) at
Princeton details of "where" to look in published papers, with the fraud "hiding in plain sight."
Three years later, the fraud of Hwang Woo Suk was tipped off through similar means.
Of Schon, see also Schon again

Fast forward to the Jan. 3, 2010 "Face the Nation," and note first Jan Crawford, and then Bob Schieffer, ripped Janet Napolitano's
"the system worked."
Schieffer really got into the issues with public officials making self-serving
statements that do not pass the straight-face test. Goodstein's assertions should have fared no better.

In passing, Jan (UofC Law, '93) also predicted a UAlabama win over UTexas, with which LBE concurs. Schieffer
predicted TCU over Boise State.


Cross-reference the security disaster at Newark Liberty airport on 3 January 2010.

Also, in passing on the "inventive" aspect of the underwear bomb, Bob Park wrote:

The guy that invented the shoe bomb that failed to go off for Richard Reid on Winter Solstice 2001 must have invented the underwear bomb that didn't go off for Umar Abdulmutallab on Christmas 2009. Let's hope they keep this guy.

Of course, the problem is sometimes the technological approach is altered, as one remembers that 9/11 was the second attack on the World Trade Center.


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