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The image of GA in the media: Commuting by plane causes media hype

aart wrote:

Are you a scientist and therefore have special insight in how it all works?

I used to be a professional scientist for several years. Now I’m only part time lecturer at the university, working in the industry most of my time. There are all kinds of projects of course. But the “climate research” project is no small flee. It’s an entire global institution on it’s own, of biblical proportions. The gravy train is humongous.


aart wrote:

You make it sound as if the scientific community is just a herd of free-lancers each individually scouring for money

This is a great description of how it is!

I don’t think the bulk of scientific research is organised that way. It is done in institutions with salaried personnel and of course an overall budget and a program that needs to be approved.

And those salaried personal want to increase their salaries by getting promoted to full professor, which is dictated by research output, which is directly related to research income.

EIWT, Ireland

zuutroy wrote:

And those salaried personal want to increase their salaries by getting promoted to full professor, which is dictated by research output, which is directly related to research income.

Plus you want/need the multiplicative effects of having doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. Which you pay out of grants. You use grants to “buy back” your teaching duties so that you can do research. In some fields you need expensive machinery, so you need grants to buy/rent/build it.


Sorry guys, I’m not buying into your cynical way of describing the scientific effort that is going on in our world
Checking out of this discussion and maybe my fault to get the topic off the rails.

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

I recognise the LeSving and Silvaire models of how science works. In the U.K. at least, the Aart model disappeared 30 years ago. These descriptions are all broad generalisations of course.

EGCJ, United Kingdom

It depends on where one is talking about.

At one end you might have a “typical” university, with staff scratching around for the next round of research funding. A lot of cynical stuff going on e.g. much more likely to get an EU grant if the project is in collaboration with some university very far away.

At the other end you might have a nuclear fusion research project which is funded entirely differently, at the € BN level, and with 1000 people working there, on salaries.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

At my University in the UK about 30 years ago they used to “buy” some expensive research equipment from a University in Germany to “use up” their Annual budget.

The equipment never moved of course and the transaction was reversed after the year end. It was done so their budget was not cut as nothing worse in the public sector than an under spend. No doubt the favour was mutual. This was happily revealed by one of the Accountants in a lecture attended by over 30 people. – So to keep this post on topic – you don’t even need a plane for “collaboration”

United Kingdom

Practicing climate scientist here :wave:

Three small points:

  • Like most pilots, I tell people about my flying every chance I get. Not once have I been attacked for this by any of my colleagues. (Trying to increase my first-world carbon footprint by epsilon in an SR22 would take more free time than I have, anyway.) Don’t know how a random tabloid article and the scientific enterprise got conflated in this thread.
  • “What the UN preaches” (the World Climate Research Program assessment reports) is just a synthesis of published peer-reviewed research. The study @Michael_J linked to will be cited in the next report. It won’t be given much weight because of its flaws. Uncertainty cuts both ways, and cherry-picking one study that happens to support your favored outcome is not very… scientific.
  • If we were interested in hopping aboard a gravy train, then we would be pretty stupid to be working for peanuts for the government when we could find much more deep-pocketed sponsors by coming to the opposite conclusions. Oh wait, no, we can’t do that because we’re fundamentalists or something.

Of course, if you find the competition among scientists for funding to be demeaning, I won’t protest if you ask your elected representatives to increase our budget.

Last Edited by jmuelmen at 01 Apr 14:59

ArcticChiller wrote:

On Watson the comments were rather positive and in support of flying as a hobby.

You are right and that is encouraging indeed. Also the two tabloids who printed this story in the expectation of a shitstorm had to note that the huge majority of comments were between “so what” and “What the heck is wrong with you guys, no fun allowed at all anymore?” I liked that, I have to admit.

Even more so the helpless reaction of the school as well as the guy himself is infuriating. In all fairness though I suppose he did not count on such a consequence of his post.

ArcticChiller wrote:

On the other hand, it made me think about the PR work that the GA community should invest in (


Silvaire wrote:

In the real world if they were to get out on the Swiss passes and see how much gasoline is being burned on the weekends, it might put this into context.

In fact, most people are totally surprised if I tell them what mpg or rather gas use by 100km as it’s common here my airplane has. 150 kts @ 8 GPH is not something most cars can do and it does translate into rather low consumption if you take into account that a normal point to point drive is usually between 30 and 50% longer in distance than the same thing done in an airplane, particularly in our mountain areas.

jmuelmen wrote:

Don’t know how a random tabloid article and the scientific enterprise got conflated in this thread.

Actually that was not my intention at all. This guy is not a climatologists and I know some of the better ones around here, who are anything but against aviation. So much the more the way that school reacted to this ridiculous overstating was very disappointing. Personally it concerns me a lot more how the press is using climate change as a topic to sell papers by turning it into horror scenarios and putting people up for stoning because they “sin” against climate…

Looking at the comments I hope the journalists behind this mud throwing may have learnt that they bark up a tree where some birds might react unfavorably to their hot air.

As for hopping on gravy trains, there are such folks and not few, but I’d say they are more overseas than here in Europe, as European research is mostly government funded. But obviously it is only human to notice the huge interest and therefore researching in the “right” way is quite tempting.

Where it does get worrisome is that dissenting opinions are often quite violently attacked instead of discussed in a civil environment. Science is supposed to be open minded but it can at times and with the right topics get really religious about things.

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 01 Apr 18:43
LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver wrote:

But so much the more, it is important that scientific research does exactly that and is not influenced by the political interest groups or religious frevour.

But that is exactly what has happened in climate research. Surely you don’t mean that some politicians decided that we want a climate crisis and then set up funding schemes so that 99% of climate scientists would arrive at the same conclusion!? On the contrary, climate scientists fought for decades before their findings were generally accepted. And still even though most politicians pay lip service to accepting those findings, they are unwilling to draw the necessary political conclusions!

Galilei was not the last guy to renounce his findings because he knew it to be better for his health…

This argument basically says that you are right because you are a lone dissenter. If you give it a moment’s thought it will be clear that argument is untenable. Also, Galileo wasn’t in opposition to scientific consensus – he was in opposition to the church.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 01 Apr 18:52
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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