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Political correctness spreads through the Universe

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#1 BGazing

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:11 AM

 

 

NASA to Reexamine Nicknames for Cosmic Objects
Distant cosmic objects such as planets, galaxies, and nebulae are sometimes referred to by the scientific community with unofficial nicknames. As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful. NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As an initial step, NASA will no longer refer to planetary nebula NGC 2392, the glowing remains of a Sun-like star that is blowing off its outer layers at the end of its life, as the “Eskimo Nebula.” “Eskimo” is widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the indigenous people of Arctic regions. Most official documents have moved away from its use. NASA will also no longer use the term “Siamese Twins Galaxy” to refer to NGC 4567 and NGC 4568, a pair of spiral galaxies found in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Moving forward, NASA will use only the official, International Astronomical Union designations in cases where nicknames are inappropriate.

“I support our ongoing reevaluation of the names by which we refer to astronomical objects,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters, Washington. “Our goal is that all names are aligned with our values of diversity and inclusion, and we’ll proactively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value.”

Nicknames are often more approachable and public-friendly than official names for cosmic objects, such as Barnard 33, whose nickname "the Horsehead Nebula" invokes its appearance. But often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science.

The Agency will be working with diversity, inclusion, and equity experts in the astronomical and physical sciences to provide guidance and recommendations for other nicknames and terms for review.

"These nicknames and terms may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them," said Stephen T. Shih, Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters. "Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so this means we must make it inclusive.”

I think we should first rename the planets as they all refer to deities of European (Roman) origin and, in addition, there's no equal representation of female and non-binary deities.


 

#2 rhart426

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:17 AM

I suppose that is a take.


 

#3 OneGear

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:35 AM

Saw this whine coming a mile away :(  

 

We don't get to define the world we live in and the sooner we acknowledge and make peace with that the happier our lives.  Many of us figured this out in kindegarten or first grade.  Some take longer.  Whining doesn't change history.


 

#4 Redbetter

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:54 AM

The Eskimo nebula is a particularly confusing one, considering that "Eskimo" has not been a pejorative in the U.S.  A lot of these things leave a person scratching their head, because there is no denigration implied or intended.  I worked in Alaska for a time and it was a better generic than Inuit or Aleut back then.  Anyway, the nebula looks like the traditional Eskimo rendering, so I won't be changing my terminology for it no matter whose knickers end up in a stupid twist.

 

The Siamese twins name comes from a particular pair of conjoined twins from the 1800's.  While it is an unfortunate congenital condition, and the nationality reference is historical, I don't see how it is actually offensive.  Cats, they are coming for you next...

 

A lot of this outrage is so artificial. I guess the good news is that eventually they will figure out that Pluto has been mistreated by calling it a dwarf planet...that is somehow not a planet, just like dwarf people are not...hey, wait a minute, Houston...there might be a problem here.


 

#5 wrnchhead

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 05:55 AM

Easy to not be offended when the offensive thing isn’t about you. Refusing to accept that someone else may be offended Is at best, being a jerk, and at worst, actively putting your boot on someone else’s neck.

Also. There’s already a thread about this.
 

#6 Sandy Swede

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:06 AM

When I see or hear the word 'systemic' in the context of anything political, I tune out.  Those who let the perfect become the enemy of the good (Voltaire?) are unhappy and seek resolution in the destruction of others (the 'cancel culture') and society at large.  This will not end well.

 

For extra credit:

1. The Crucible

2. McCarthyism

3. Moa's Cultural Revolution

 

Just my opinion.  Am I still free to express such?


 

#7 Eeqmcsq

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:06 AM

Reevaluating nicknames for the purposes of diversity and inclusion, eh? I'm a flat earth believer for the duration of this reply. And I find the nickname The Blue Marble offensive. I believe the Earth is flat, and "Marble" is contradictory and offensive to my beliefs. Since NASA wants to be inclusive of all groups of people, I propose renaming this image to The Blue Disk, or The Blue Circle, or to really be inclusive of all beliefs, The Blue. OK???

 

sigh2.gif  Sometimes I wonder if I was born on the wrong planet.


 

#8 BGazing

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:09 AM

Easy to not be offended when the offensive thing isn’t about you. Refusing to accept that someone else may be offended Is at best, being a jerk, and at worst, actively putting your boot on someone else’s neck.

Also. There’s already a thread about this.

I could not find the topic so I started this one. Hope moderators will merge.

I am a Slav by ethnicity. English word 'slave' came to be because the Slavs were enslaved en masse during the middle ages and used as cheap labor in the south. Should we change the English word so as not to offend ca 350 million Slavs? Every planet is named after the deities of the empire based on slavery. Where do we stop?


 

#9 havasman

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:23 AM

Catalog designations have always been the best way to refer to an object. 


 

#10 rhart426

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:24 AM

The Eskimo nebula is a particularly confusing one, considering that "Eskimo" has not been a pejorative in the U.S.  A lot of these things leave a person scratching their head, because there is no denigration implied or intended.  I worked in Alaska for a time and it was a better generic than Inuit or Aleut back then.  Anyway, the nebula looks like the traditional Eskimo rendering, so I won't be changing my terminology for it no matter whose knickers end up in a stupid twist.

 

The Siamese twins name comes from a particular pair of conjoined twins from the 1800's.  While it is an unfortunate congenital condition, and the nationality reference is historical, I don't see how it is actually offensive.  Cats, they are coming for you next...

 

A lot of this outrage is so artificial. I guess the good news is that eventually they will figure out that Pluto has been mistreated by calling it a dwarf planet...that is somehow not a planet, just like dwarf people are not...hey, wait a minute, Houston...there might be a problem here.

We judge ourselves on our intentions, but others judge us on our actions.  If you use a word to describe a people, and those people find that word offensive, it is offensive, full stop.  Your intent is irrelevant.  You will be judged accordingly, and you don't get to be mad when they do.


 

#11 Mark SW

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:26 AM

Is this Astronomy or Political forum?

 

Post political  grip maybe here 

The Off Topic Observatory


Edited by Mark SW, 09 August 2020 - 06:43 AM.

 

#12 Redbetter

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:44 AM

We judge ourselves on our intentions, but others judge us on our actions.  If you use a word to describe a people, and those people find that word offensive, it is offensive, full stop.  Your intent is irrelevant.  You will be judged accordingly, and you don't get to be mad when they do.

I have yet to see them mad.  Other than some unrelated blowhards, like yourself.  I don't see a problem.  I really don't care if you are offended.  Full stop.


 

#13 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:47 AM

We judge ourselves on our intentions, but others judge us on our actions.  If you use a word to describe a people, and those people find that word offensive, it is offensive, full stop.  Your intent is irrelevant.  You will be judged accordingly, and you don't get to be mad when they do.

I agree. 


 

#14 Andrew Brown

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:50 AM

Is this Astronomy or Political forum?

 

Post political  grip maybe here 

The Off Topic Observatory

Creeping in isn't it.


 

#15 zohsix

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 07:06 AM

Yawn... I hope we have clear skies tonight.


 

#16 spereira

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 07:07 AM

This is a duplicate topic with a previous one here:

https://www.cloudyni...cosmic-objects/

 

So, :lock:

 

smp


 


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