Another confirmation of the existence of dark energy.

Boud Roukema boud w
Pon, 25 Mar 2002, 16:41:53 CET

Hi again Andrzej,

: Yes, it's on and this is IMO
: absolutely OK (whoever stands behind RAS). This is IMHO *not* making
: propaganda - I'm sure that there are members of RAS among those 27 people
: listed in the masthead of the MNRAS article so RAS has a right to "be
: proud" of them and their publication in RAS's own journal and so RAS has a
: right to issue a press release on *their* website. By the same token we
: we have a right prepare press releases on ours.

I agree that it's more or less OK and that the RAS certainly has a
right to publicise the results from MNRAS articles.

However, although they do not *state* that they have the first
non-SNe-Ia evidence for a non-zero cosmo constant, their omission of
any reference to totally independent results, such as our own, but
also others (e.g. weak grav lensing), makes it easy for the non-expert
(and/or non-alert) reader to falsely conclude that it *is* the first.

Instead of:

> ... and many
> have been reluctant to accept the
> results of the supernovae teams.
> Now, a team of 27 astronomers led by
> Professor George Efstathiou of the
> University of Cambridge has published
> strong evidence for the existence of
> dark energy using an entirely different
> technique. They used the clustering...

there should have been something like

< ... and many
< have been reluctant to accept the
< results of the supernovae teams.
< However, several teams from around the world
< have published strong evidence for the
< existence of dark energy using entirely different techniques.
< One of these is a team of 27 astronomers led by
< Professor George Efstathiou of the
< University of Cambridge. They used the clustering...

Wouldn't this have been more honest?

: This is IMHO *not* making
: propaganda

Edward Bernays is to the public relations industry something like what
Einstein, de Sitter, Friedmann, Lemaitre, et al are to modern
cosmology. Bernays' basic 1928 book on the subject was called "Propaganda".

> When Edward Bernays, proclaimed by many as the father of public
> relations, published his book Propaganda in 1928, few people realized
> the far reaching influence that the new discipline of public relations
> would have on society. Propaganda, Bernays claims, is not something
> pernicious that one government or group inflicts on another, but is
> rather an integral part of democracy itself.

> Of course, one could easily say that we in the west are better off
> than people living in communist countries or under dictatorships,
> because their propaganda is far more rigid and insidious than our
> own. This argument is a misleading one, however, for the simple reason
> that their propaganda is more visible and easier to perceive than our
> own. By its very nature, a democratic society offers so many choices
> to its citizens that we would have neither the time nor the energy to
> narrow them down without a whole industry of communications
> professionals dedicated to just that. Our propagandists do not use
> rope, barbed wire, mental hospitals, and the militia to make their
> point; no-they use the latest communication techniques disseminated
> through the print and electronic media in the guise of ?giving us what
> we really want.?
> What is truly pernicious about much of the propaganda that surrounds
> us in the west is the very ?reasonableness? of it-the way in which we
> are taught to believe that it somehow represents our real needs. For
> the goal of a propagandist-no matter what his or her stripe-is to make
> a sale of some kind by seeking to convince us that they understand our
> inner or outer needs and goals and are responding to them. In this
> regard, a newspaper editor or TV anchorman trying to tell the news in
> a way that will attract readers or watchers is no better or worse than
> a public relations professional attempting to improve the public?s
> perception of a company or product.

And here are google's favorite sites on the keywords "advertising

> Advertising is propaganda whose purpose is to develop allegiance to a
> product or corporation instead of a government.

> The word propaganda refers to any technique that attempts to influence
> the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of a group, in order to
> benefit the sponsor. The purpose of propaganda is to persuade. That
> pretty much takes in the entire advertising community, since that is
> their job.

You had some other comments:

> Why reposts RAS PRs? - is a good question.

Ah well, I think that's way beyond the scope of what I have time to
study quantitatively. But my guess is that it's related to
propaganda/advertising in the West in general:

> Would repost TCfA PRs? - is even a better question. :-)

Well, I don't know about in particular, but since
our research work does not directly threaten any large authoritarian
corporations or authoritarian governments or democratic governments,
except indirectly because it shows that people in a non-US/UK country
do good science, I think that if one or more people were willing to
spend the time talking to journalists and explaining stuff to them,
e.g. via cosmo-media, then there's actually a fairly good chance they
would publish stuff.

E.g., you would be most welcome to use cosmo-media to prepare a press
release on your young radio galaxy results. You could prepare a draft
on the list - and do both po polsku and English versions, but ask
journalists to wait until the article is accepted before they use the
press release. But it would be a good idea to ask a journalist to
work through it with you - and IMHO it would require work... It takes
time and thought to explain things to non-astronomers - or even to
astronomers ;) ...

One idea for reducing the amount of work and making sure the article
is easily understandable - and for getting publicity to people who
really *do* want to know what we're doing, who do *not* just want to
blindly learn how to repeat words and sentences which are useful for
making polite conversation and sounding educated - would be to invite
readers of the Usenet group:

to comment and criticise and draft versions of the press release.

A question to be debated would be whether we want Usenet readers to
subscribe and/or post to cosmo-media or to keep the discussion to
pl.sci.kosmos. My preference would be the latter.



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