December 03, 2012

#Arsenicgate part deaux from NASA on #Curiosity?

In line with NASA's bullshitty non-annoucement of anything new on Mars, and with the "fiscal cliff" ahead, is every US federal government agency going to have similar PR in days ahead?

Background for that rhetorical question?

When the actual "Arsenicgate" press conference was held, I said NASA had "good" reasons for it's PR fluffery, namely that budget talks were ongoing, and NASA was looking at the possibility of some serious cuts.

In fact, I got into a spat with over-serious science blogger Greg Laden, who both strenuously insisted that the researchers had found something real and significant (wrong, Greg, as they've been refuted on everything from the actual findings the the quality of their work and in between, and are now too lazy to even want to put in the effort to try to replicate their own earlier research) and that NASA wouldn't do something like that (also wrong, as scientists are just as much human beings as anybody else).

Indeed, Laden eventually threatened to "ban me from the Internet," revealing (even before his Freethought Blogs issues) just how over-the-top he is.

But, back to today.

Given that NASA said something incredibly breathless about three weeks ago about a finding by Curiosity, and then, when that went more viral, took more than a week to start walking that back, good skeptics should once again rightfully be suspicious of the agency, in my opinion.

And, while my opening paragraph was halfway snarky, it's not totally so. If the Pentagon suddenly says something rosy about Afghanistan, hold on to your wallets.

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