Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for the ‘nonalienembargo’ Category

Another chink in the Ingelfinger armor? Arsenic life talk forces Science to release paper early, without embargo

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Rosie Redfield

As this post goes live, so too go live two Science papers refuting the heavily criticized “arsenic life” paper published in the journal in 2010. (If you’re not familiar with the findings, I’d recommend Carl Zimmer’s excellent work on this subject, which he gathers here. You can read about the various embargo issues involving NASA and Science here.)

Embargo Watch readers may realize there’s something unusual about that.
Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Ivan Oransky

July 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Posted in nonalienembargo

Did NASA follow its own code of conduct in announcing the arsenic bacteria study? (Hint: No)

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I’ve tried to stop writing about NASA’s non-alien arsenic bacteria, I really have. But as Michael Corleone said in The Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

This afternoon, Denise Graveline — who knows a thing or two about embargoes and media relations, having held leading communications and media roles at organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — pointed me to the “NASA Policy on the Release of Information to News and Information Media.”

Feel free to read that document at your leisure. When you do, you will find this section: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

An arsenic bacteria postmortem: NASA responds, tries to pit blogs vs. “credible media organizations”

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Last week, in the first of my posts on the NASA-Science-arsenic-non-alien-bacteria fiasco, AAAS director of public programs Ginger Pinholster left what I found to be an extremely thoughtful comment. In it, she reports on the findings of her team’s post-mortem (AAAS publishes Science). She concludes:  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Posted in nonalienembargo

Why “alien” life, aka arsenic-loving bacteria, embargo fiasco was deja vu for Sun Spaceman Paul Sutherland

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courtesy Paul Sutherland

Did you think I was done with posts on the arsenic-based bacteria embargo mess? I wouldn’t bet on it.

For Paul Sutherland, a freelancer The Sun calls Sun Spaceman, the episode is just deja vu. Sutherland, who broke the story this week and was accused by The Mail of breaking an embargo, has done this dance with Science before, for those of you who don’t know.

In January 2009, Sutherland scooped the rest of the world’s press outlets with news of methane on Mars. That didn’t sit well with Science, which was about to publish a still-embargoed paper on the find. As Sutherland recalled on his blog, the journal “rang The Sun’s newsdesk at 3am demanding the story be removed from the paper’s website.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Did you know you could have bet on the NASA arsenic-based bacteria find?

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Bookie at Sligo, by John Pickens via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/pickens

In yesterday’s post about the NASA astrobiology embargo fiasco, I cited one of my favorite scenes from Casablanca:

…in which Captain Renault is “shocked, shocked” to find out that gambling is going on at Rick’s, only to be handed his winnings by a croupier.

Turns out, unlike some of the speculation about what NASA was set to announce, I was much closer to the truth than I imagined. From an email sent out yesterday: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 3, 2010 at 9:30 am

Science gets it (mostly) wrong again: My take on the NASA astrobiology paper

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courtesy Science

They’re apparently getting rid of narcissistic personality disorder in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka DSM-V). Until that book comes out in 2013, however, I’m free to say that I was hitting all the criteria this week as loyal readers sent out Twitter versions of “Let’s Go Embargo Watch” chants.

You see, it was only natural for my legions of fans to shine the EmBATgo Signal. After all, all hell had broken loose over the news that NASA was about to report in Science that they had discovered extraterrestrial life.

Wait, that isn’t what they’re reporting? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

December 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm