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NASA Astronaut Ron Garan on How Open Source and Data Sharing Will Tear Down the Walls that Separate Us
Many organizations are reluctant to share important information across national borders. Astronaut Ron Garan, whose time in space helped him see the world in a whole new way, argues that these apprehensions fail to take into account the big picture: We're all in this together.
Ronald Garan, Jr. is a retired NASA astronaut who has traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet during more than 178 days in space and 27 hours and 3 minutes of EVA during four spacewalks. He flew on both the US Space Shuttle and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Ron is also an aquanaut and participated in the joint NASA-NOAA, NEEMO-9 mission, an exploration research mission held in Aquarius, the world's only undersea research laboratory. During this mission he and the crew spent 18 continuous days living and working on the ocean floor. Garan is a highly decorated fighter pilot and test pilot, explorer, entrepreneur and humanitarian.
Ron Garan: The global society, the landscape of our global community is really changing rapidly and there are trends that are developing that, I think, embraced and accelerated could have a profound positive effect on the trajectory of our global society. And I think the open-source movement, data sharing I think is a very, very big part of that. It’s important for organizations to have all the pieces of the puzzle, especially if these are development organizations, these are crisis-response organizations. But we have not to date really had a sufficient, effective means to share data. And by that I don’t mean we have technical barriers to sharing data. We have cultural barriers to sharing data. There are a lot of organizations around the world including crisis-response and development and humanitarian organizations that are reluctant to share the real data that enables true collaboration and I think that’s a mindset we need to get around. The other thing is there’s a difference between providing data and providing data in a usable, user-friendly way that people could actually use for good. And so there are a lot of efforts around the world to be able to take, particularly, big data and to put that into bite-size bits, to put that in something that can be used by the public, used by citizen scientists, used by governments to create good. And I think there’s a strong movement in that direction, but we’ve got a long way to go.
One of the things that I think is really going to affect our global society is — and one of the things that I think is going to propel open source and transparency and data sharing is — I believe that true open collaboration, which requires all those things, is going to be a tremendous economic engine. And I think that those organizations and those people and those governments that deal in corruption and deal in secretive dealing — those organizations that take an exclusively proprietary mindset are going to see themselves being left behind. And they’re going to have to adapt and evolve and take on a much more collaborative and cooperative mindset to be able to keep up with the economic growth that true open collaboration will bring. And I think this is a really significant trend. You know there’s many problems that we face as a global society. Corruption for instance. I don’t think — we’ve had corruption probably since the first transaction and I don’t think we’re going to be able to tackle that head on. But we can potentially make corruption obsolete by making it irrelevant, by making it be an ineffective way to do business.
Many organizations are reluctant to share important information across national borders. Astronaut Ron Garan, whose time in space helped him see the world in a whole new way, argues that these apprehensions fail to take into account the big picture: We're all in this together. We need to get into the habit of promoting information transparency and working toward international collaboration, says Garan. Prioritizing these things will reap myriad economic, infrastructural, and innovation rewards.
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The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
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Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.
- Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
- "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
- In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.