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When Political Mapping Leaks Into Science Research

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the dashed-line-means-prison dept.

China 154

An anonymous reader writes "Political and territorial disputes have been leaking to scientific venues like Nature, Science and Climatic Change. Many recent scientific papers submitted to these journals promote the highly disputed Chinese U-shaped line. One of the authors refused to change her map after being requested by the journals, stating that that her published map was requested by the Chinese government. This practice was condemned by Nature in its latest editorial, which asserts that political maps that seek to advance disputed territorial claims have no place in scientific papers."

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Could be like Canadian Gov't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37778346)

and take away funding for any research that the government of the day disagrees with (aka climate research)

Re:Could be like Canadian Gov't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779314)

American right wingers and Chinese communists both hate free labor unions and settled law.

Re:Could be like Canadian Gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779576)

They also both hate AIDS, so AIDS for everyone then? Idiot.

Re:Could be like Canadian Gov't (0)

WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) | about 3 years ago | (#37781022)

Who said American right wingers hate AIDS? They love AIDS. It's another thing to blame teh gays for and use as evidence that God wants them and all the promiscuous heathens to die.

Re:Could be like Canadian Gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37782008)

Who said American right wingers hate AIDS? They love AIDS. It's another thing to blame teh gays for and use as evidence that God wants them and all the promiscuous heathens to die.

Here's one gay that's clearly to blame for the spread of AIDS. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Could be like Canadian Gov't, I agree (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | about 3 years ago | (#37782110)

Spread the hate with more lies .... Last I remember you can get AIDS from politicians and clerics by spilling the blood of innocents, swapping spit, and hugging a tree in any forest.

Save US and EU from AIDS by burning all politicians and clergy at the stake.

Well (think pumpkin-toss) politicians, clergy, C*O tossing across the widest and deepest part of the Grand Canyon would sell tickets, draw a large crowd, and help pay down the deficit and improve economies while helping save the environment.

Why should anyone trust the same gang of criminals that raped US and EU to fix anything?

Is territory relevant? (1, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37778496)

Is territory relevant to this research? Since it's climate-related I'd guess not, I doubt they're trying to calculate the average temperature increase per square mile of China's territory. So China and any other country that has a problem can fuck right off.

Re:Is territory relevant? (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#37780214)

> Is territory relevant to this research?

The problem is anyone working in China is required to assert Chinese territorial claims because to do otherwise would be an admission that there is a dispute, i.e. that the State might be wrong; and that idea is sedition to a police state.

The only solution is for the scientific journals in the Free World to accept papers as written and then add a editorial note on the order of this:

"Note: This paper was submitted by a prisoner of the Communist Chinese dictatorship and thus must promote Chinese foreign policy goals or be sent to a labor camp or killed. Because the science in this paper is otherwise sound we are publishing it as written, however this should not be taken as an endorsement of Chinese territorial claims by this journal." [Internationally accepted map inset goes here with differences highlighted.]

In other words, throw a passive aggressive turd in their faces and they will be shamed into backing down.

Re:Is territory relevant? (1, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about 3 years ago | (#37780706)

Actually rather than being "shamed into backing down" they're more likely to purchase your journal's publisher and have you canned. Nothing says that communists can't also use traditional "free enterprise" solutions.

Re:Is territory relevant? (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#37780852)

Probably wouldn't work. Who would take a scientific journal owned by the Chinese government seriously? All it would do is kill that journal off... as the staff quit in protest, crossed the street to some open office space and established a new one.

No, the problem is that the staff at most scientific journals are academic types who when push comes to shove are on the side of the Communists and thus do not want to censure them. So they have to speak out in extreme cases like this one to maintain credibility but will quietly accede to the demands once the hubbub dies out a bit.

Re:Is territory relevant? (2)

belmolis (702863) | about 3 years ago | (#37781484)

China is no longer a communist country. The ruling party has kept the name, but it renounced communist principles some time ago. China is now a largely capitalist dictatorship, albeit one in which the state, especially the army, owns a significant portion of businesses.

Re:Is territory relevant? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#37780940)

In other words, throw a passive aggressive turd in their faces and they will be shamed into backing down.

While I agree with the majority of your post, this is unrealistic. The Chinese - and their government specifically - takes geographical claims, very, very seriously. Why do you think they pitch a fit anytime anyone shakes the Dalai Lama's hands, or sells Taiwan anything more than a sling shot?

The only way to make China accept reduced geographical claims is by pointing a gun at its Army and making it crystal clear that China will not win this fight without enormous costs.

Re:Is territory relevant? (3, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about 3 years ago | (#37781578)

Pointing a U.S. gun at China, does two things:
1. It makes us look like exactly the same kind of thug as China, and that this is some kind of gang war.
2. It destroys any semblance of an attempt at peaceful resolution through international law.

Its hard for the U.S. to get all up in China's face when we own Islands throughout the Pacific that we took from Japan during WWII. We have our own history of land grabbing. That said, we don't lay claim on the ocean between Guam and the U.S., that would be patently absurd. We also have a strong presence on our islands and have maintained them as such since we claimed them. There is no Chinese parallel to the island claimed by China.

The U.N. needs to sit down with China, and make it clear that there will be no South Sea land grab. China's claim are groundless, arbitrary, and steps all over the rights of millions of people who have no intention of being Chinese citizens. This is another Tibet, now with global implications on shipping lanes and free navigation.

The U.N. needs to put its foot down and say that there are substantial sanctions that the entire world can take if China doesn't clean up its act. China can claim the entire pacific ocean if it wants, the rest of the world won't put up with an aggressive, bully, taking whatever it wants. What next, Australia? Indonesia? The days of land grabbing need to come to a halt for all nations (hear that Israel?) Use diplomacy, then international sanctions, only then does a large multinational force arrive and say, "We simply can't let you take what is not yours, step away."

Re:Is territory relevant? (1, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#37782024)

Very true. I wasn't arguing the US should do it now, but to be prepared for the fact that all the diplomatic efforts and sanctions won't amount to squat. It's either guns or economic sanctions so severe that they are worse than any benefit they can get from the mineral deposits at the bottom of the sea.

Re:Is territory relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37781072)

Handling it like that might result in a pointless and time-consuming shitstorm though.
If I were the editor of such a paper, I would simply use Photoshop to make all political borders invisible.
Unless you're dealing with history or the like, political borders have no place in a science article.

Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Board (3, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 3 years ago | (#37778534)

Why not nominate the Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Board. They are correct in that "political maps that seek to advance disputed territorial claims have no place in scientific papers".

Bravo!

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (4, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 3 years ago | (#37778952)

Why not nominate the Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Board. They are correct in that "political maps that seek to advance disputed territorial claims have no place in scientific papers".

Since the Nobel Peace Prize awards committee has turned the Peace Prize itself into a political and ideological advocacy/popularity contest (e.g. Obama's award for, as it turns out, not much at all), good luck with that. Thanks to the Nobel Peace Prize awards committee, the Prize now ranks right up there with a bowling trophy in prestige and gravitas.

Strat

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (4, Funny)

Belial6 (794905) | about 3 years ago | (#37779158)

That is not fair. Presumably, you have to do something to get a bowling award.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 3 years ago | (#37780144)

That is not fair. Presumably, you have to do something to get a bowling award.

I'm sorry if my comparison to an award for actual achievement inferred or implied in any way that the Nobel Peace Prize required doing or accomplishing anything. :)

Strat

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (4, Insightful)

AdamJS (2466928) | about 3 years ago | (#37779778)

It has always been a political affair and general popularity contest award.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#37780308)

> It has always been a political affair and general popularity contest award.

This. After they gave one to Arafat anyone who would still accept one was tainted as far as I was concerned. Personally I'd tell em to go perform an improbable act of self procreation because while the money would be super sweet I wouldn't want to be associated with most of the other 'winners' of the award. Obama isn't even close to the worst person to own one. Obama is just a SCoaMF, more stupid than evil.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | about 3 years ago | (#37780696)

That's what politics is sadly. Voting for the least evil candidate out of all choices because not a single one is, well, good.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (2)

cusco (717999) | about 3 years ago | (#37780884)

Arafat was small potatoes compared to Kissinger, who got the prize even earlier. Kissinger's body count is at least two orders of magnitude higher, although admittedly he never did any actual fighting like Arafat. His military experience was limited to being a translator for Operation Paperclip, IIRC.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (2)

Genda (560240) | about 3 years ago | (#37781720)

Really, I've long held that the prize is of little value... I almost lost it when Kissinger got the prize, shortly after going down to South America and orchestrating the assassination of the democratically elected President of Chile using CIA operatives, and beginning one of the ugliest, bloodiest, and most oppressive dictatorships in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Ultimately leading to the slaughter of between 50,000 and 70,000 innocent people, and the absolute gutting of all human rights.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779912)

, the Prize now ranks right up there with a bowling trophy in prestige and gravitas.

Maybe to you, but there have always been people who complain about the political implications of that award. I swear right wingers do nothing but whine, but then again they spend hours every day listening to angry men who do nothing but complain about liberals for a living. Lives wasted for sure, sad really.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

cusco (717999) | about 3 years ago | (#37780754)

Nobel Peace Prize has been meaningless since they gave it to international war criminal Henry Kissinger, a man who has to be careful what countries he travels through to avoid being arrested on genocide charges.

It's a mixed bag (1)

Quila (201335) | about 3 years ago | (#37781612)

My introduction (outside of history books) to "what the fuck were you thinking" started with the terrorist Yassir Arafat. He was followed by other non-deserving people such as Kofi Anan, Al Gore and Barack Obama.

But then there were very deserving people such as Carlos Belo and Muhammad Yunus. Extra credit for having the balls to give it to Liu Xiaobo over the opposition of a very irate Chinese government. That one reminds me of the awards to Aung San Suu Kyi and Lech Walesa, fighting for freedom in the face of an oppressive government.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

NonSequor (230139) | about 3 years ago | (#37779358)

Is there a neutral way to handle this? Won't showing either purported boundary result in advancing one side's cause?

There's no concept of consensus in this issue. My understanding is that neighboring geographical regions are expected to sort out political boundaries among themselves and if they can't the only fact in the matter is that the border is disputed.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#37781030)

> Is there a neutral way to handle this? Won't showing either purported boundary result in advancing one side's cause?

You seem to thing this is a hard problem, that there is some sort of thinking required here to sort out which map to use. There isn't. There is only one map to use unless there are active hostilities ongoing, what is the reality on the ground. For example: China claims Taiwan so let us use logic to solve this... does their flag fly there? Do their warships, planes, etc. call there as guests or as rulers? Do the Taiwanese have their own functioning government? Is China in a shooting war with Taiwan? Explain where the 'dispute' is? Do you have to make sure you print a special version of any manuals, etc. to be able to sell products in China? Yes but they should ONLY be distributed inside China.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37781518)

Unless the national boundaries are somehow relevant (and I doubt it, physical reality doesn't need a passport), just don't show them at all. The Chinese government is unlikely to agree to that though.

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (3, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about 3 years ago | (#37781960)

When Japan laid claim to huge sections of China just before WWII, it was to stoke the fire of their growing economy with raw materials and cheap slave labor from China. It was also a flagrant thumb at the rule of international law, and the rest of the world. How would you have handled that in a neutral way? China has been marching all over Tibet for years now, claiming its a long lost state come home. Nobody wanted to start WWIII over Tibet, and that's understandable, but it was still wrong on a thousand levels. Now they claim the entire South Sea, all its islands and inhabitants. Their claim would give them complete control over critical shipping lanes and vital resources that don't belong to them. How exactly would you handle a pit-bull in a neutral fashion?

I do agree this has to be a global response. The U. N. has to say "China, enough already with the sucking up the landscape. It was wrong when Germany did it. It was wrong when Japan did it to you. Its now wrong when you try to do it to others. Cease and desist, before things get out of hand and unhappiness ensues for all."

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779746)

-1 incredibly off-topic

What is this, the CNN comments section?

Put a spin on it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37781088)

Actually, the way I see is that the Science Editorial Board restricts the author's freedom of speech in her article. So, I don't think the board deserves Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, I suspect the board is filled with western people.

Seeing that the number of researchers in China is increasing. I have two words: Go China!

Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 years ago | (#37782144)

Why not nominate the Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Board. They are correct in that "political maps that seek to advance disputed territorial claims have no place in scientific papers".

Then why was the Science Editorial Board insisting that the map be changed to one that seeks to advance a disputed territorial claim? There's two sides to every dispute, and their preferred map is the one preferred by their 'side' - which in effect is every bit as political as the map preferred by the Chinese.

Puts me in mind of something else (1, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37778778)

Fisherman were bringing up amphorae in their nets off the coast of Brazil - remains of a mediterranean trading ship, from hundreds of years before discovery of the New World were found, but before an archaelogical expedition could get underway the Brazilian Navy encircled the site and covered it with dredgings. Allegedly to protect the site before an official study could be made of the site, but another reason appears to be behind the move - Brazil was discovered by Cabral, not somebody earlier and the government won't hear of any of it - so it's dead and buried.

Politics. :-\

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37778846)

Citation please.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779040)

Citation please.

http://www.nytimes.com/1985/06/25/science/underwater-exploring-is-banned-in-brazil.html

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (4, Interesting)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 3 years ago | (#37779134)

Underwater Exploring Is Banned In Brazil, New York Times (25 June 1985) [nytimes.com]

RIO DE JANEIRO— A DISPUTE between the Brazilian Navy and an American marine archeologist has led Brazil to bar the diver from entering the country and to place a ban on all underwater exploration.

The dispute involves Robert Marx, a Florida author and treasure hunter, who asserts that the Brazilian Navy dumped a thick layer of silt on the remains of a Roman vessel that he discovered inside Rio de Janeiro's bay.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 3 years ago | (#37779906)

That is fascinating. Beyond the pillars of Hercules, indeed. However none of the crew is likely to have survived, otherwise it would be extremely unlikely that the lack of wheels and/or ironworking would have persisted in the surrounding pre-Columbian inhabitants, though it is murky how advanced the indigenous people in that area were during that period.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (1)

cusco (717999) | about 3 years ago | (#37781058)

Actually wheeled toys are known from various sites of Mesoamerica, but for most of South America wheeled transport held no advantage before the introduction of the infernal combustion engine. The Andes are too steep, the rain forest too wet, the foothills too heavily forested, and the Argentinian pampas too desolate. Even the Spanish and Portuguese never bothered with them outside cities. The Inca smelted a small amount of iron, but since they didn't uses a bellows it was very labor intensive (teams of men blowing into tubes) and the ore was pretty low quality to start with. There were no iron deposits known in Brasil until the late 19th century, and they're far from the coast anyway.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 3 years ago | (#37781746)

Wheels were not particularly used outside of cities in the other hemisphere either until over generations infrastructure was built up to connect them. In fact if we split your sentence with mine we can arrive at the truth: "Even the Spanish and Portuguese never bothered with them outside cities" until over generations infrastructure was built up to connect them. And that was done in only a few centuries compared to the millennia of wheels upon roads in the Eastern Hemisphere. The argument that there were no wheels because there was no infrastructure is therefore quite weak (and 'too desolate'? please).

Iron is the sixth most common element in the universe, and Brazil is the third most prodigious extractor of iron ore in the world at present. Further, your statement that Brazil's iron deposits are far from the coast is a lie [mzweb.com.br] . Just because the natives weren't smart enough to know where to look for it or what to do with it will not erase these facts.

Quite likely if a lone Greek or Roman vessel's crew survived a transatlantic journey (doubtful in itself), the Tupi or Guarani would probably have eaten them.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 3 years ago | (#37781226)

The prosaic interpretation is that the amphorae were commissioned for decorative purposes by Américo Santarelli, a local diver, and placed in the bay in order to age them.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 3 years ago | (#37781968)

But if they were really simply modern reproductions any professional and scientific archaeological investigation would have demonstrated that very quickly. That they were covered up and legal action taken to prevent any legitimate investigation seems prima facie evidence that there is a more significant secret to hide than some local merchant's counterfeiting.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779618)

My apologies, but here I will refer to an explicit Marxist book, published by the University of California Press, "Archaeology as political action" by Randall H. McGuire.

www.ucpress.edu/content/pages/10636/10636.ch01.pdf

It discusses the political consequences of ignorant, oblivious, or malicious intent of archaeologists.

Politics is very much involved, as noted by the author who gives ample references from history.

Re:Puts me in mind of something else (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37780194)

Fisherman were bringing up amphorae in their nets off the coast of Brazil - remains of a mediterranean trading ship, from hundreds of years before discovery of the New World were found, but before an archaelogical expedition could get underway the Brazilian Navy encircled the site and covered it with dredgings. Allegedly to protect the site before an official study could be made of the site, but another reason appears to be behind the move - Brazil was discovered by Cabral, not somebody earlier and the government won't hear of any of it - so it's dead and buried.

Politics. :-\

Citations? All I can find is a Brazilian diatom. Not terribly surprised but I would be interested.

Screwed up Taiwan too (1)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | about 3 years ago | (#37778792)

Everyone knows its another Chinese province.

Re:Screwed up Taiwan too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37778914)

No, Taiwan is the legit China.

Re:Screwed up Taiwan too (1)

misosoup7 (1673306) | about 3 years ago | (#37779480)

No, Taiwan is the legit China.

No, the Taiwanese government (aka the Nationalists) lost the civil war against the communists. If anything, they have lost their legitimacy.

I don't think Taiwan can claim legitimacy anymore than PRC, I mean it started out from the Boxer Rebellion. How can one successful rebellion be more legitimate than another?

Now the question on whether or not Taiwan is part of PRC is how different ball game, a debate that I don't wish to get into.

Re:Screwed up Taiwan too (3, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about 3 years ago | (#37781160)

It's even more screwed up than that. The indigineous population of Taiwan has been disenfranchised and almost totally displaced by immigrant Chinese. For a long time they were prohibited from speaking their own language or practicing their traditional religion or holding their traditional festivals. Taiwan (aka Formosa) was independant of the mainland for a long time, it's inclusion in 'greater China' is fairly recent.

Re:Screwed up Taiwan too (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 3 years ago | (#37779568)

And there is a map to support it. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Screwed up Taiwan too (1)

happylight (600739) | about 3 years ago | (#37780094)

The funny thing is that map is Taiwan's claims, not PRC's.

This is nothing new. (3, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | about 3 years ago | (#37778920)

As long as governments are involved in the funding of scientific research this kind of crap will continue.

Powerful politicians stake their political lives on something scientific that they may or may not understand on any level, and suddenly opposing scientific views are damaging to their careers. Even if their side of the argument is correct, they muddy the water with dishonest tactics designed to discredit the opposition. Al Gore and climate change are of course the best examples of this.

Does that mean the government shouldn't be involved in funding research? Of course not. The money has to get into the right hands somehow. I guess it really just means we need better politicians, but since that isn't going to happen, we may have to just deal with things as they are.

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37778978)

Does that mean the government shouldn't be involved in funding research? Of course not. The money has to get into the right hands somehow.

If government is handing taxpayers' money to scientists, it will only get 'into the right hands' by chance, since funding decisions will always be driven by political agendas.

The solution is to get government out of the science business.

Re:This is nothing new. (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 3 years ago | (#37779120)

Conversely, we have businesses funding it, which will have the same issue.

At least, since their goals are not completely aligned, there will be a better cross section covered with both government and business funding. A good argument to keep BOTH in the science business.

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | about 3 years ago | (#37780904)

I think a purely business-funded scientific research system would be even more problematic - even counter-productive - than government-funded simply because all that would drive the outcome of the research would be profits - which would obviously skew the "results" of any findings.

Re:This is nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779478)

Are you trying to be funny?

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37780306)

If government is handing taxpayers' money to scientists, it will only get 'into the right hands' by chance, since funding decisions will always be driven by political agendas.

The solution is to get government out of the science business.

Where in the hell do you people come up with these insane ideas?

Government and 'private' interests / mechanisms / foibles / weaknesses and strength are much more alike than different. These are human issues - the actual organization of these bizarre creatures is of little significance. You need checks and balances no matter how you put together groups of more than six people.

That was the sole unique and important difference in the US Constitution. Not voting, not 'freedoms', not God. Checks and balances. Abuses ALWAYS happen. You want to minimize them. They won't go away.

Re:This is nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779298)

Al Gore isn't a good example, unless you are one of those people that believe in that kind of crap.

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | about 3 years ago | (#37779348)

What, global warming?

Re:This is nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779512)

Well, there's global warming, Global Warming, OMFG GLOBAL WARMING!, and Climate Change. Some of these things are not like the others...

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

misosoup7 (1673306) | about 3 years ago | (#37779502)

Agreed. Smoking and Cancer researches are funded by politics, so there will always be politics in science.

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 3 years ago | (#37780188)

how does it have much to do with government funding you or not? If you live in canada you use maps by the government of canada, and unless it's the specific focus of your research, you don't try and pick sides on political issues (like boundaries, for example the science of continental shelves and the like). If you need a map you pick something and role with it. That means if you're chinese, you use the chinese maps, if you're american you use american maps and so on. There's no 'correct' map, that's the point, if there was a single correct map of israel and palestine or china, or canada and denmark, or the falklands or the like there wouldn't be a dispute, but there are disputes and everyone who looks at a map with political boundaries knows full well that a number of areas are 'under discussion'.

There's no 'the government insisted I use this map because I'm a researcher!' it's 'the government believes these maps to be correct', so that's what you use. I suppose if you're in the PRC it's more heavy handed, but everyone knows that's what happens in authoritarian states.

Really, what's the alternative? Do we all have to use UK government maps, since Nature is a UK journal? I can find a few people in argentina and spain who might disagree with that. That's still biasing your maps to one particular ideology after all. You could try and mark territory as 'disputed' where applicable, but then very large blobs of the world become disputed quickly. Was US independence legal? How about the Louisiana purchase or the the treaty of guadalupe hidalgo that handed over california, nevada, arizona and a few other places? How about he European settlement of the americas? How about European notions of states at all, rather than religious or ethnic maps? Do you really want to mark all of china as 'disputed'? Depending on the government of the day in Taiwan they may or may not prefer that. (Some parties there still believe themselves the only legitimate government of all of china, whatever that means, while others seek an independent island, special administrative status etc.). Most of the world is disputed by somebody, you'd never be able to display anything useful if you tried to appeal to everyone.

Hell even antarctica, which should be the easiest to sort out, is disputed territory. No one visited there until the modern notions of territory and nation states existed, no one is settled there, there are legal agreements around who owns the place and who can (or more accurately cannot) claim any of it, and yet still Norway, the UK and a few others have large slices of the place claimed, in case we suddenly change our minds and allow them to keep past claims or something. (If it made any sense I'm sure it would be sorted out).

Remember, even deciding that an area is 'under dispute' is a political statement about the legitimacy of the claims made on it. There's no way to avoid being political about it, that's not government meddling, that's just the nature of law and politics at all.

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37780336)

Depends. For the most part this kind of crap , in the US, doesn't happen.

Re:This is nothing new. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 years ago | (#37782182)

Powerful politicians stake their political lives on something scientific that they may or may not understand on any level, and suddenly opposing scientific views are damaging to their careers. Even if their side of the argument is correct, they muddy the water with dishonest tactics designed to discredit the opposition. Al Gore and climate change are of course the best examples of this.

While your karma whoring rant is to be expected... It's not insightful, and it's pretty much irrelevant because scientific views play no part in this story.

Politics out of science or science out of politics (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 years ago | (#37778980)

It is important to keep politics out of science, but equally important to keep science in politics.

Think of it like a chain of command: Employees don't tell the boss what to do, the boss tells employees what to do.

Science is the boss and should tell politics what to do, not the other way around. We can't have politicians telling scientists what the laws of physics are, it has to be the other way around.

Specifically, that means that no scientist should ever be told which map to use by any country.

That said, a scientist should not use a politically controversial map unless it is essential to the research. Otherwise, you are just asking for trouble.

The quest is - was that line relevant to the study? Being a climate change study, I doubt it was. There should have been no line - not the 9 dash or the 11 dash.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#37779102)

Science is the boss and should tell politics what to do, not the other way around.

The danger in that position is that there are people who are anxious to use science as an excuse to take away liberty. Is sociology science? If so, should sociologists be telling politicians what the laws should be? You used the example of the law of gravity, but what about when we get into areas where the science is less clear cut?

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37780382)

Science is the boss and should tell politics what to do, not the other way around.

The danger in that position is that there are people who are anxious to use science as an excuse to take away liberty. Is sociology science? If so, should sociologists be telling politicians what the laws should be? You used the example of the law of gravity, but what about when we get into areas where the science is less clear cut?

As you are alluding to, Science can't 'tell politics what to do'. Science is rational. People are not. Science has limits, human issues don't seem to have any bearing on how much we actually know about things. Once you get over trying to run the world using Mr. Spock's guidelines, things get a little easier.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#37781810)

The danger in that position is that there are people who are anxious to use science as an excuse to take away liberty.

The thing is, when you're talking about sound research, the liberty is already gone. I don't have the liberty to fall upwards, no matter how much I want to.

Regarding social sciences, like other areas of study, some findings are indisputable and should probably have strong influence on public policy, while others are not. For instance, black defendants in the US get much harsher sentences than white defendants for the same crime, and that should probably affect public policy.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (2)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 3 years ago | (#37779200)

"Science is the boss and should tell politics what to do, not the other way around."

I going to nitpick here, as the distinction needs to occur.

Science cannot tell anyone what to do because science is valueless and goalless.

For example. Science can tell you global warming is happening (play along even if you don't believe. Replace global warming with gravity if it helps you)
.
But science cannot tell you what if anything you should do about it.
Science can be used to slaughter a billion people as easily as can be used to provide clean energy.

Science cannot tell you if you should just ignore global warming, have a carbon tax, fund research, build transit... all those require goals and weighing people's values.

Should that billion dollars go towards funding solar research or healthcare for the poor? Should we include a carbon tax and raise the cost of living on the poor? Should we just be happy with increasing temperatures and move to more suitable climates?

It's a careful distinction.
I'd rephrase it as.

"Science is the thermometer and should tell politics what the temperature is, not the other way around. We can't have politicians telling the thermometer what the temperature is outside"

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#37780384)

Science determines how nature works and what is happening around us; what you do with that information is up to you.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#37780600)

> Should that billion dollars go towards funding solar research or healthcare for the poor?

Not quite the right formulation. If (big IF) Climate Change (human caused or not) is happening there are some questions science can answer, but is currently forbidden from even asking... since the science is so settled we not only know climate change is happening, humans are the cause by releasing CO2 and a massive wealth redistribution scheme that just happens to be the same communism the same pinheads were pushing for fifty years is the only possible solution.

Question 1: If it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the climate is warming and is likely to continue doing so if nothing changes, the question is WHY? Is it CO2, the Sun, deforestation, something else?

Question 2: Once we know #1 we will likely know if it is man caused. But this question isn't really important. If the planet is on a long term warming trend it doesn't really matter if we are causing it, the result is the same.

Question 3: Finally we need to know what the economic costs of doing nothing are. That goes on the list of options. Then we should carefully list actions we could take that would cause temps to decrease, but not go below where they are now since colder is bad, really bad. Each option should be scored with costs, political (loss of freedom, etc.) and economic along with the best guess of how much it would reduce the economic losses by reduction of warming.

Only after we have a real list of options from science can the political process begin to pick from them. Doing nothing could very well be the best option. Just depends how much it costs vs the costs of the proposed solutions. I know I'd probably pick nothing over the current proposals.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37781060)

I think you should have replaced global warming with gravity, as scamper_22 suggested.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 3 years ago | (#37781766)

I full agree with your formulation as a general concept.

I just didn't want to have the conversation tilt towards the validity and conclusions of the science. It's besides the point of what science's place in society should be and would only distract the real political conversation.

That's why i said (assume I'm talking about gravity) :P

I leave it up to the scientific field to figure out 1 and 2. The rest of society only steps in during Q3...the actions and the politics.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 3 years ago | (#37782004)

I used GW because it illustrates so many of the problems well. The trick is for science to fully inform the political process and not become politics wearing the mask of and usurping the good name and reputation of science.

That means #3 should stay in the realm of science. Only after science fully informs the political actors of ALL of their options and properly accounts for their costs (accounting is also a hard science. or should be.... Enron/Worldcom/CBO/OMB accounting isn't accounting it is criminal.) can the politicians make informed choices. And very well might make a choice that isn't the mathematically optimal one since every variable can't be nailed down perfectly.

I objected to the "funding solar research or healthcare for the poor" because that is an example of what science can't answer. But it can answer (or at least give a best educated estimate) of whether a billion dollars invested in solar will payoff in pure economic terms, how much CO2 it can be estimated to avoid emitting in a given time frame,etc. It can offer an estimate of whether a billion dollars of our federal health budget spent on AIDS research is likely to save more lives than the same money spent on a line of research into heart disease or stem cell research. And again, the politicians are within their rights to sometimes overrule the pure math, and award the money to AIDS research because the gay lobby is a core voting block for the Democrats. And if we object our solution is the ballot box, not trying to establish Science as superior to elections.

As someone else in this thread put far more succinctly: Scientists are staff, not command.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37780028)

he quest is - was that line relevant to the study? Being a climate change study, I doubt it was. There should have been no line - not the 9 dash or the 11 dash.

Forget the line, was the map even relevant?
From the article:
"Scientists and citizens of surrounding countries are understandably peeved by the maps, which in most cases are completely unrelated to the subjects of the papers in which they are published"

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 years ago | (#37780146)

Science is the boss and should tell politics what to do, not the other way around.

100% of wrong. Science does not make value judgments and therefore cannot determine our goals. That is, and must be, the domain of politics. Science can then inform politics of the best way to get to those goals, but science is staff, not command.

Re:Politics out of science or science out of polit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37781590)

Hasn't worked well in the case of economics. Too many Fed-heads with formulae that prove taking money from the poor will make them richer.

So what? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 3 years ago | (#37779118)

Just because they draw a line there doesn't make the territory theirs. Why do so many intelligent people care about such a pity thing?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779292)

Because at some point someone will get shot because of that line. Many intelligent people like preventing such occurrences.

Re:So what? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 3 years ago | (#37779452)

It's not like they can do anything against it. Even if these journals manage to keep a Wikipedia-level neutrality, no country will give a fuck.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779428)

If one looks at some of the disputed territories, it may mean the difference in being able to mine some rare earths versus having to trade for it at a high cost.

People don't realize that China is still expansionistic. Every neighboring country has lands that have disputed territory claims with them.

Of course, we can take a look at Taiwan and place bets on how long until it gets overrun and becomes a part of the mainland. Only a matter of time.

Re:So what? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 3 years ago | (#37780064)

On the Taiwan, I hate to make duplicated posts, but there is really a map to support it. [wikipedia.org]

And PR of China has no territory dispute with Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea andPakistan.

If you argue that RO China, the defeated government at Taiwan is having dispute as shown in the map I post before, I don't have much to say.

Re:So what? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 years ago | (#37780844)

And PR of China has no territory dispute with Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea andPakistan.

You put Pakistan in twice.

That aside, they don't have a territorial dispute with any of these entities yet. The operational word is "yet"...

Re:So what? (2)

Korveck (1145695) | about 3 years ago | (#37779436)

You see. If scientific journals like Nature publishes the map supporting China's claim to that territory, it lends more legitimacy to their rather ridiculous claim of those islands. The Chinese officials can then argue that their claim is supported by these respected journals. It does not really change much, but China is happy to gain any tiny advantage. This is totally in line with their increasingly aggressive stance in the Pacific.

Re:So what? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 3 years ago | (#37780230)

Just because they draw a line there doesn't make the territory theirs. Why do so many intelligent people care about such a pity thing?

Because drawing the line is the first part of the process of making the territory theirs. And the more people they can get to accept that line, the closer they get to making the territory theirs. After all, what *is* "making the territory theirs"? It's getting everybody to accept the line that they drew.

Re:So what? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 3 years ago | (#37781806)

The Chinese have demonstrated many times that they do not care about the people's opinion whether they are their own people or the international community. The only people whose acceptance could matter in these debate are the countries whose territorial waters China wishes to take over, and I don't think their opinion will be changed by a map in a Nature article. Borders are drawn by guns, not by the masses. But even if people's acceptance meant anything, these journals have a very limited set of readers, it's not like they are going to brainwash the world population.

China trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779192)

Don't feed the troll

They have spoken; (1)

inquist (2489806) | about 3 years ago | (#37779486)

Nice of China to notify the world of its intent. Protesting their intent will be fruitless; as the (Wikipedia) article points out, it's not a legitimate territorial claim, only a rough designation of China's desire. Any bickering must be done over specific points of conflict that arise from these intentions.

Easy Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779596)

The only official map is the Windows 95 time zone map.

Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779736)

Since the Chinese government ordered the inclusion of this map, are they going to get upset when the editors re-label them?

I call shenanigans on the whole topic. (0)

TheCarp (96830) | about 3 years ago | (#37779786)

So basically the argument goes.... she shouldn't use the map that china wants her to use, for their own political reasons, and instead she should use other maps, that other people endorse for their own political reasons.

Well fuck.... this isn't a political map is it? Why are the political lines there except for illustration anyway? Why are they bickering over lines that only exist as an illustration?

The entire topic of where to place imaginary political boundaries on maps IS political. There is no way to remove political concerns from the topic without nixing the whole topic....because its a stupid topic that takes away from the real topic at hand....which is what the research is about.

This is a little like going to a panel discussion on economic issues, raising your hand, and asking the speaker why he bought the brand of shoes that he is wearing.

Re:I call shenanigans on the whole topic. (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about 3 years ago | (#37780010)

So basically the argument goes.... she shouldn't use the map that china wants her to use, for their own political reasons, and instead she should use other maps, that other people endorse for their own political reasons.

No, the argument is that she shouldn't use maps that include irrelevant political details. The maps used should not include political boundaries at all. It has nothing to do with the research, and just results in stupid controversies such as this.

This kind of like submitting research, but having an political ad saying "Vote for Obama" as one of the illustrations.

It doesn't belong there, and IMHO Nature should have denied the submission if she wasn't willing to change it.

Unfortunately, they appear to have taken the more common tactic of "let's stick our head in the sand and hope this issue goes away" to solve the problem.

Re:I call shenanigans on the whole topic. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 3 years ago | (#37781344)

I don't entirely disagree but, I don't see the "vote for obama" analogy. Boundaries ARE useful for orienting a map. They provide names that people know, and give markers that can be used to orient the map into its larger context, something thats much harder to do without some labels and lines in common. I will agree that there are other ways to do this, long/lat etc...but country names and boundaries are very easily recognizable and referable.

I don't really like it per se, and would like to see it changed overall. I would have to ask, would nature have complained if they used a map that still contained the boundaries, but used lines that others agreed with? If the answer is yes, then good for them but, I do think they need to give some thought about geographical context and how to provide it to people. If the answer is no...well... then they are just taking political sides, and no better than her.

Re:I call shenanigans on the whole topic. (1)

CycleMan (638982) | about 3 years ago | (#37781598)

In general boundaries are useful. In this case, I doubt that you have RTFA. These are not land mass boundaries; this is claiming the majority of the South China Sea (which is bordered by several countries) as exclusively Chinese territory. Such a boundary line conflicts with international law, and is completely unnecessary either to orienting the user in the region in question or to the science explored.

YOU FAIL iT!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37779822)

users aal over the

Beware this map (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 3 years ago | (#37779900)

Anyone who puts the Spratly Islands under Chinese territory is a commie stooge. Seriously, I'm not being ironic. The only place you should ever see that map is Xinhua news. China is very firm about it, publications get banned all the time for not including it. It's interesting that the scientists see a dark hand at work...shows what they're thinking. The simple truth is that anything that goes for approval from the government, which presumably includes scientific papers to be published internationally, must include that map. It's simple government policy, nothing more, nothing less. If the paper didn't include that map, it wouldn't be approved, and who wants to have their research canceled if you're not out to make a statement?

However, agreeing to publish this is quite another thing. It's despicable of Science, Nature and Climatic Change to let this pass without correction. Shit on them, anyone who cooperates with commie stooges is a commie stooge sympathizer.

Re:Beware this map (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 3 years ago | (#37780220)

I hope you realize those U-shaped line [wikipedia.org] were drawn by the then Kuomintang government of the Republic of China in 1947, two years before the commie took control of main land China.

Easy fix (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 3 years ago | (#37780644)

Reject the frikkin article.

Yes China, we remember Tibet is a soverign nation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37780876)

Somewhat naive, to think that politics and science, are separate.... Ask Galileo?

We remember Tibet is a sovereign nation, occupied by China.

GG

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