Episode 354 – Solutions: Open Science

by | Mar 22, 2019 | Podcasts | 48 comments

In the face of the crisis of science, it is easy to throw our hands up and watch as the old guard of the scientific establishment circles the wagons and goes back to business as usual. But there are real solutions to these problems, and we all—scientists and non-scientists alike—have a part to play in implementing them. Today on The Corbett Report we explore Solutions: Open Science.

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / Odysee or Download the mp4

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).


Biostitutes selling dodgy data to to the highest bidder. Scientific frauds fudging figures to publish before they perish. Statistical charlatans p-hacking significant results in the confidence that no one will be checking their work.

Last time on The Corbett Report, we examined The Crisis of Science, or, more precisely, the crises of science: the Replication Crisis; the Crisis of Fraud; the Crisis of Publication; and the Crisis of Peer Review. We also explored the shared root of these problems in the rise of Big Science, where large-scale capital investments are increasingly a requirement for cutting edge research.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present—and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

SOURCE: Eisenhower Farewell Address

Big Science requires Big Money, either from Big Corporations or Big Government. But as we have already seen, when Big Corporations are funding the research, the “science” is invariably skewed in the interests of the company who is paying for it, and when Big Government is funding the research, the “science” is invariably skewed by political interests, lobbyists, and military contractors. Even worse, we sometimes get the admixture of the two, combining Eisenhower’s twin nightmare of a military-industrial complex with a scientific-technological elite.

This is the problem facing humanity at the crossroads of the 21st century, on the cusp of innovations in robotics, computing, genomics and other breakthrough sciences that have the potential to transform our world forever—for better or for worse.

In the face of such monumental challenges, it is easy to throw our hands up and watch as the old guard of the scientific establishment circles the wagons and goes back to business as usual. But there are real solutions to these problems, and we all—scientists and non-scientists alike—have a part to play in implementing them.

Today let’s explore Solutions: Open Science.

This is The Corbett Report.

Ever since the publication of John Ioannidis’ groundbreaking 2005 paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False,” the scientific community has been engaged in a debate about what this crisis of science signifies, what kinds of measures are needed to fix it, and even whether there is really a crisis at all.

But as the data continues to pour in from every field of study, the results are by now unquestionable: the scientific institutions that exist today are producing extremely untrustworthy results.

BRIAN NOSEK: […][I]s there actually a reproducibility crisis? And Nature went as far as to say “Let’s ask people and see if they agree that there is a crisis.” And so they surveyed 1,500 researchers and 90% of them agreed that there is a significant crisis or I don’t know what a slight crisis is but a slight crisis.

SOURCE: Professor Brian Nosek on the reproducibility crisis and open science in psychology

JEVIN WEST: In industry, CEOs and leaders in the field of in biotech and pharma are coming out and saying “Well, we’ve known this for a long time. We already know that, you know, probably fifty percent of the studies published in top-tier academic journals can’t be repeated. We know it. We can’t repeat it in our labs.” This should be unnerving because we depend on science to fly in those planes, to get that antibiotic that you need when you get sick and have an infection when you land in the emergency room. This is a big deal.

SOURCE: Calling Bullshit 7.4: A Replication Crisis

IOANNDIS: They could replicate only 6 of the 53 landmark studies for oncology drug target projects and the conclusion was that “the failure to win the war on cancer has been blamed on many factors but recently a new culprit has emerged: too many basic scientific discoveries are just wrong.” And we just need to do the whole job from scratch as if these papers did not even exist.

This is very worrisome. Hedge funds don’t trust science any longer. So this is from a business journal. They claimed that at least 50% of published studies, even those in higher academic journals, cannot be repeated with the same conclusions by an industrial lab. And the potential for not being able to reproduce academic data is a disincentive to early stage investors. At least one firm now is hiring CEOs to independently validate academic science prior to putting up serious money. What this means is that these companies, these hedge funds, they they say that the scientific literature it’s just for the scientists, it’s not serious. It’s more of a toy. And if you really want to be serious and not waste your money, you’d better try to do it from scratch and make sure that it works. Otherwise, you’re running a very large risk.

SOURCE: CLB | Dr. John Ioannidis on The Reliability of Biomedical Evidence and How to Improve It

It is getting harder for researchers to deny that there is a problem. But as with any such crisis, if the problem is defined narrowly enough then the “solution” to that problem can be limited to a few cosmetic alterations of the existing system.

If we take the crisis of science as merely a problem with shoddy statistical analysis, for example, then surely all that is needed is to put more time and effort into training scientists in the proper use of statistical tools. With an increased awareness of the problem of p-hacking or other statistical tricks, journal editors and reviewers could put extra time into scrutinizing the results of statistical analyses in research papers.

Or if the crisis is simply a problem of fraud, then an awareness campaign about the problem could pressure researchers to publish their raw data for scrutiny by the wider scientific community.

If the crisis is just a result of the publication pressures that modern academics are subjected to, then the creation of alternative journals that publish negative results or inconclusive findings could provide an outlet for researchers to earn publication credit while being forthcoming with their failures.

Indeed, all of these problems and many more have been identified and all sorts of solutions have been proposed or even implemented to help remedy them.

There are growing calls to raise the threshold for “statistical significance,” issuing guidelines for the use of p values in research, or even outright banning the use of p values in papers, as the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology did in 2015.

There are calls for more publications to require scientists to publish raw data, methodology and other relevant information along with their research so that their experiments can be more reliably replicated.

A number of journals dedicated to publishing negative and null results have been created in recent years, and in 2017 the Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine ceased publication after declaring that it had succeeded in its mission of convincing other, mainstream journals to publish more articles reporting negative or null results.

Sites like RetractionWatch keep an eye on the fraud, abuse, mistakes and misdeeds of scientists, publishers and institutions around the world, drawing attention to scandals and problems in the system rather than trying to sweep them under the rug.

All of these ideas, and many more, are important and necessary steps in fixing some of the problems that have come to plague modern institutional science. But they are not sufficient to solve the crisis of science. Because, as even the leaders of this movement to re-imagine science will readily admit, this crisis is not about p values or publishers or practices. It is about the nature of the scientific community itself.

IOANNIDIS: Who should take responsibility for the replication culture? Well, I think that one option is if you have the whole field coalescing—which is what’s happening in genetics—it could be the same investigators. If you have multiple investigators, each one of them kind of cross-checking each other, they can have multiple analytical teams look at the same data. Hopefully that would be pretty objective.

Someone might fear that this might be too much inbred so you need different investigators, and if you want different investigators then who is that going to be? If you have an all-inclusive consortium approach it’s difficult to find such people. Maybe you can find some who still belong to the same school and therefore you don’t have really independence in the replication process.

One option is to try to see if there’s investigators of competing theories and hypotheses. If they can be convinced, if they can look at the data—well, provided the data, the methods, the software, the script is available—if they can also repeat a study according to what they think is the best way to do it and they get the same results, I think this is very very strong evidence. But that model may not necessarily always be available.

You can have also combinations to the above, or you can open the process to the wide public. Now, the wide public could also be the wild public. Now lots of senior investigators will start saying, “I’m a senior scientist. I have trained for 500 years to become so experienced, and how can I have someone who’s clueless, who has never tried his hands on the field look at my research? We need to be careful, but we also need to be open. And there’s many research questions that indeed involving the wide public in some sort of citizen scientist model might be the way to go and to compare notes on what we get.

SOURCE: ESOF 2018 – Enhancing reproducible research – John Ioannidis

The idea that science should be opened to the wide public—even to the wild public—is one that produces a great deal of consternation among the defenders of the scientific status quo. What role do the unwashed masses have to play in the hallowed halls of the modern Church of Science? Aren’t these spaces reserved for the white-robed priests of this secular religion?

Thankfully, as more and more innovators step up to the plate to provide ideas for the wider public to access scientific knowledge and play an increasingly important role in developing, sharing and using that knowledge, the ideas of “citizen science” and “open science” are no longer something to be laughed at.

At the root of this revolutionary approach to the scientific process is the understanding that access to scientific knowledge is the key to enabling meaningful public participation. In the wake of the open everything ethos that the internet has helped to foster it may be difficult to remember, but the debate over whether or not scientific data and discoveries should be locked away behind paywalls and kept within the cloistered confines of academia was one that was raging just a few short years ago. And it was a debate that cost at least one activist his life.

ALYONA MINKOVSKI: Well, today we have news for you about Aaron Swartz. He’s the executive director of Demand Progress, a co-founder of Reddit, and he’s been a frequent guest on this show. But yesterday he was arrested and charged with violating federal hacking laws for downloading four million document documents from JSTOR from MIT’s network. Now, if convicted of the felony charges Swartz could face up to 35 years in prison and a 1 million dollar fine.

JSTOR is a company that provides digitized copies of academic journals. It’s used in universities all over the country, and they’ve already come out saying that they did not refer this case to the feds and that all the information has been returned. But the arrest is once again shone a light on the fight for open access to information.

SOURCE: Aaron Swartz Arrested: The Open Access Debate

AMY GOODMAN: Aaron Swartz committed suicide on Friday. He hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. He was 26 years old.

His death occurred just weeks before he was to go on trial for using computers at MIT—that’s the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—to download millions of copyrighted academic articles from JSTOR, a subscription database of scholarly papers. JSTOR declined to press charges but prosecutors moved the case forward. Aaron Swartz faced up to 35 years in prison and million dollars in fines for allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. When the case first came to light the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz said, quote, “stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars.”

SOURCE: “An Incredible Soul”: Lawrence Lessig on Aaron Swartz After Leading Cyberactivist’s Suicide. 1 of 2

In 2008, internet pioneer and cyber visionary Aaron Swartz penned the “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” laying out the basis for the Open Access Movement.

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it.

The document ended with a call to action:

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

As we now know, this document, innocuous as it may seem, led to tragedy, as Swartz’ own attempt to liberate the information from JSTOR—a digital library of academic journals—led to his arrest and, ultimately, his death. But the Open Access Movement did not die with Aaron Swartz. Today, an increasing number of researchers are committed to publishing in open access journals and in online spaces, like the Public Library of Science (PLoS) website, that are freely available to the public.

But the idea of open access is not about knowledge for its own sake. It is about the radical potential of such a movement to open the doors of academia’s ivory towers and to encourage a greater role for the public in the scientific process. Open access is just the first domino in a series of ideas that lead to a radically different view of science and its place in society.

The first level of public participation in the scientific process itself involves a “citizen scientist” model that is drawing increasing attention from the wider scientific community. In this model, interested amateurs help scientists to collect, store, process and even analyze data as part of a wider research project. The modern manifestation of this idea takes its cue from the life sciences, where outdoor enthusiasts have been called upon to help projects like the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, tracking the range and size of local butterfly populations, and the North American Bird Phenology Program, keeping tabs on the location and migration patterns of various bird populations.

With the advent of personal computing and the internet, these initiatives were extended to even more arcane fields of scientific research. Pioneered by projects like SETI@home, which uses spare computing resources of volunteers on the internet to analyze radio signals for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, citizen science portals such as Zooniverse have been created to allow non-specialists to participate in a wide array of research projects across nearly every conceivable discipline.

But this model of citizen science, heavily promoted on the Ted Talk circuit and in the mainstream scientific press, does not question the fundamental divide between scientists and the wider public. In these cases, volunteers are merely being used to collect data or to dedicate their spare computing power to analyzing data as part of a larger project directed by a team of scientists.

More radical still are ways that people are coming together to collaborate on solving problems themselves. In these projects, participation in every step of the process is encouraged and ideas are debated and discussed openly as a self-formed group discovers the answer to a question they themselves have asked.

MICHAEL NIELSEN: So my talk today is about open science, which sits in roughly the same relationship to science—basic scientific research, mostly academic research I’ll be talking about—as open source software does to the commercial software world. And so what I want to explore is the extent to which open-source principles or style principles can be applied to the practice of basic scientific research.

We’re going to start off with an example where this has been done successfully. So, the example starts with this man: Timothy Gowers. Gowers is a mathematician. He’s actually one of the world’s leading mathematicians. He’s, amongst other things, the recipient of the Fields Medal, which is often called the Nobel Prize in mathematics. Gowers, in addition to being a Fields Medal-winning mathematician is also a blogger. That’s not that uncommon actually amongst leading mathematicians. Of the 42 living Fields medalists, four of them in fact have started blogs. So that’s about one in ten, which I don’t know how that compares to the general population but it’s pretty good.

Anyway, in January of 2009, Gowers wrote this very interesting post with the title “Is massively collaborative mathematics possible?” And what he was proposing to do in this post was to use his blog as a medium to attack a difficult unsolved mathematical problem—a problem which he said he would “love to solve”—completely in the open using his blog as a way of posting his partial progress and his ideas. And what’s more, he issued an open invitation inviting anybody in the world who thought that they had an idea to contribute to post that idea in the comments section of the blog. So he called this experiment “the polymath project.”

Well, the polymath project got off to actually quite a slow start. In the first seven hours after he opened his blog up to comments, not a single person wrote in with any suggestions. But then a mathematician at the University of British Columbia named Jozsef Solymosi posted a suggestion—basically it’s a simplified variation of the original problem, which he was suggesting might be a bit easier to attack. And then 15 minutes after that, a high school teacher, in fact, from Arizona named Jason Dyer wrote a short suggestion. And just three minutes after that Terence Tao—also actually a Fields medalist, he’s a mathematician at UCLA—posted a suggestion. And so things were really off and running at this point.

Over the next 37 days, in fact, 27 different people would post 800 substantive mathematical comments containing 170,000 words. That’s a lot of mathematics done very quickly. It was hard actually . . . I was following along—I didn’t contribute substantively, but I was following along quite closely—and it was difficult simply to find the time just to read all the contributions. It was really going remarkably quickly. You’d see people you know they propose an idea in a very half-baked form and then often it will be very rapidly developed sometimes by other people. Sometimes of course it would be discarded, but other times it would then be incorporated into the canon of knowledge. Gowers described this process as being to normal research as driving is to pushing a car.

And at the end of the 37 days he used his blog to announce that the problem had most probably been solved. In fact, a generalization of the original problem which they were attacking. They still had to go back and check that they hadn’t made any silly mistakes. In fact, everything did indeed check out ultimately and they wrote two papers based on it. It took months more to do all the cleanup work, but the back of the problem had in fact been solved at this point.

Now of course the reason I’m talking about this polymath project is not really so much because of the particular mathematical problem. You know, it’s not important because it solved a particular mathematical problem; it’s, rather, important because of what it suggests. It suggests that we can use some of these sorts of tools as kind of cognitive tools to potentially speed up the solution, not of simple everyday problems but actually of problems which challenge some of the smartest people in the world. Yeah, that’s really exciting. These are problems right at the limit of human intellectual ability. And not just, you know, one particular problem, but perhaps broadly across many different fields.

SOURCE: Michael Nielsen: “Reinventing Discovery” | Talks at Google

The implications of this type of spontaneous, collaborative problem solving extend far beyond the field of mathematics. In a world that is increasingly being transformed by scientific pursuits—and where the cost of mistakes are correspondingly high—a public that is skeptical about scientific institutions, government regulators and other supposed “authorities” is increasingly taking responsibility for scientific fact-checking into their own hands.

One stark demonstration of this fact came in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdowns in March 2011. As we now know, Japanese officials withheld data from the government’s own “SPEEDI Network,”  a computer system that had been set up specifically to provide forecasts of nuclear radiation fallout in the event of an emergency. When the data was finally released months later, it was revealed that local officials, having been kept in the dark by government scientists, had evacuated residents directly into the path of the fallout.

The situation left residents and concerned citizens around the globe scrambling for accurate, up-to-date information about radiation readings, and distrustful of the government agencies who were interested in keeping that information from the public. The response was a spontaneous, volunteer-organized citizen science project called Safecast that designed a radiation measuring device that would be able to take radiation readings of an area every five seconds and upload that data to an open source database.

The product of this remarkable initiative has been the creation of the largest database of its kind in the world, one that has been independently verified as accurate. And it was started and continues to operate as an independent, decentralized, global volunteer project of concerned citizens, scientist and non-scientist alike.

SEAN BONNER: “[. . . ]And then [in] March 2011 in Fukushima, this earthquake tsunami and nuclear meltdown, like, triple thing happened, and everybody was very confused. We didn’t know what was going on and I had these connections in Tokyo, so I was reaching out to try to find out what’s going on.

Other people were scrambling around and nobody really knew what was happening, and the little bit of information that was starting to come out really made no sense. People would see a map like this would be published and, like, what does this even mean? I don’t even know. Nobody knew. And so I started talking to Joi again, and Joi introduced me to his friend Pieter, who lived in Tokyo and had lived in Tokyo for like 35 years and had family who was in one of the areas that got really severely impacted by the tsunami.

So we just started talking about how can we get some information together, because there’s no information available for people. Nobody knows what’s happening. And so we thought, “OK, let’s reach out to everybody we know. We’ve got to find somebody who knows something about this—the different pieces—and we can pull them together and, you know, continue this conversation somehow. So we all reached out to whoever we might know that might have some connection.

And so, for me that looked like my hacker friends at their crash base in Los Angeles and at Tokyo hackerspace. My friend Matt Alt, who I had done the Toei website with, who was now living in Tokyo, and he helped translate a lot of the Japanese stuff that was coming out from the official news sources on stuff. Bunny, who I knew from hacker conferences and who jumped in and started helping us build hardware. Haian, who was a designer that I knew from Ideo, and she was creating visualizations with the data we were putting together. And Paul, who I knew from the Metro blog in Dublin who jumped in and started helping us write the back-end software to manage it all. And Joi and Pieter had the same sort of thing. They found all these people and pulled them together. And so we all got together and created this thing that ended up being this organization called “Safecast.”

At first, we just duct taped some Geiger-counters to car windows and started driving around and tried to get an idea of what was happening. And [we] realized that those measurements were changing much faster and it was a little bit of a different story than kind of these big averages that were being published by any thing official . So we created a hardware and software platform and these little devices that have GPS on them and Geiger counters, and they take readings every five seconds and then upload it into this giant data-set. You could attach them to cars or bikes or anything and we could take them around. And so we started putting these maps together, and these circles are the evacuation zones.

So we started seeing this story where inside of the evacuation zones, maybe the levels weren’t necessarily that bad, but outside of the evacuation zones they were they were much worse. And this this was kind of conflicting because there were most certainly situations where people had been moved from areas with low radiation into areas with high radiation and we didn’t quite get what was going on.

So seven years on, this is what our data looks like in that area. We really mapped out every street and created this absolutely perfect picture of what’s happening. But an important piece of this is that we’re not going and measuring. Rather we created the tools and the platform so that the people there can measure on their own. So these areas are being measured by the people who live there and are impacted by it and this really gave them a chance to have a say in what was going on with it. They got to measure stuff, they weren’t getting answers from other places. But it also had some very interesting real-world impacts in that it forced the officials to do something.

They actually changed the evacuation zones after we published this data showing that these things were different. And we expanded this out and this is the data we have for Japan. It’s basically every single street in Japan. We’ve measured time and time and time again. But it turns out that the data that wasn’t available in Japan, also [it] wasn’t available anywhere else in the world. Nobody had this kind of stuff, so we started reaching out to other people, and people in other places are measuring.

So this is what we have in Europe and this is what we have in the US. And you can see these, they’re—you know, Sony attached a sensor to a car and went on a drive down a road, right? This is what we have around the world. And obviously there’s some major holes that we still need to help fill in, but it’s getting there and it’s already the largest data-set that’s ever existed of its kind in any way. Almost 100 million data points. And we put all of the data into the public domain. And it’s actually growing faster all the time, it’s not slowing down in any way.

So, if you remember, I said that maybe some people will kind of participate once something gets going. I’ve learned through this that sometimes some is all you need. You don’t need everybody to do it, you just need some people who are gonna be active with it. And with Safecast I tried to build in these things that that I noticed in all of these other things, where the people are independent on their own. We gave them the tools, we gave them the best practices, but they’re doing the thing on their own without any hindrance or control from outside on this.

There’s lots of different ways for people to help with the project. Some people are making visualizations, some people are collecting data, some people are building devices. All of these different things people can do with it and then again, it removes the reliance on some outside authority for the people in the areas that are measuring it.

But it’s not just about disaster and stuff. So this is Peter—who I mentioned before—and a few years ago we went to Washington DC to put on a workshop about Safecast and what we’re doing with this.

So if you wanted to see the publicly available radiation data for Washington, DC, the day before our event, it would have looked like this. There’s absolutely nothing available. So we had this two-day event where people came in and they built their own sensors, found out how they worked, understood it, got their sensors up and running, and then we sent them out [to] walk around Washington DC and just measure stuff and then come back and we’ll put everything together. And so this was the data that was available just after one day of people walking around. We mapped out the whole city and found some interesting stuff. There’s, like, the World War II memorial over here that was built with very radioactive granite and all these different things that you might not have known otherwise and that was really cool for people.

But a much more interesting thing happened shortly thereafter, in that the US government released their data-set of radiation in Washington, DC, right? So they had this data, but since they were the only people that had the data they kept it secret and then as soon as there was another comprehensive data-set available there was no reason for them to keep it secret anymore and so they released it.

And so it’s this kind of thing where releasing this open data actually creates even more public data than we had our hands in at all, which is where people start throwing around these kind of words like “revolution.” Which is cool, but the result of that is that, you know, this does in fact change the world in in all of these ways.

And so I’ve been talking a lot about radiation, but last year we actually started measuring air quality as well because that’s another thing that maybe if we’re putting sensors in it might be really useful to people. And so this is where we just put a bunch of them around Los Angeles last year and on the system right now you can see what’s happening right now, or five minutes ago, or historical over the last week, or over the last month. And you start seeing these trends, and where all this—and you start comparing the data from all the different sensors, and start kind of understanding what it is that people are breathing in the city.

So, to tie this back into the sort of citizen science idea right, I don’t really like separating this out like somehow “citizen science” is different than real science or something. Because if it’s valid science it’s valid science. It doesn’t matter who’s doing it as long as the results stand up.”

SOURCE: re:publica 2018 – Sean Bonner: Citizen Science and Environmental Data: Why Everybody beats Anybody

In some ways, Safecast is the fulfillment of the vision that Aaron Swartz laid out in the Guerilla Open Access  Manifesto. Open access, open source data, extended peer review and other such proposals for reforming the practice of science do not offer the public the chance to peek behind the curtain at the doings of the scientists; they help tear down that curtain, and the distinction between scientists and the wider public generally.

But the story of Safecast also provides a key insight into why citizen science is needed now more than ever. From nuclear energy to genetically modified foods to vaccines to gene editing to nanotechnology to autonomous weapons, the debate over scientific knowledge and discoveries is increasingly important, and political. The pace of science in the 21st century is dizzying, and as the abilities of science to transform our world accelerates, the debate over the proper place for these technologies in society is increasingly being handed over to the scientists themselves.

But this has the process exactly backwards. As philosophers of science like Andrea Saltelli and the co-authors of Science On The Verge point out, our naive conception of scientists as apolitical arbiters of truth is going to have to be adjusted to the reality of modern day science before the entire process of scientific knowledge production is undermined.

JAMES CORBETT: In this day and age, science has become specialized on models and statistics in a way that, I think, in the popular conception of “folk science,” is not the central pursuit of ultimate truth. In what could be termed “folk science” or the “Cartesian dream”—[which] are a couple of terms that are used in Science On The Verge—people tend to think of science in a certain mindset, but obviously that doesn’t apply to the way that science is conducted these days. What can you tell us about that difference between the popular conception of science and the way it is actually practiced in modern policy settings?

ANDREA SALTELLI: For me, this is a core problem of modernity. There is really a chasm between how science is perceived by the general public and by the scientists themselves for a large majority. A kind of positivistic vision of science as an offspring of the Enlightenment, which is concerned with the production of fact separate from values and emotion, and science as objective, and so on and so forth—and hence a science capable of informing policy with the production of disinterested and objective knowledge—and the reality of what science is, and the many uses to which science is put—from the construction of algorithms, to visual intelligence, to the production of various kinds of chemicals which may or may not be extremely dangerous, opioids, neonicotinoids for pesticide, and then the chapter of military technology and and so on and so forth. So we have a science today in the practice of the working scientist which is quite far from the vision of Enlightenment science, and I think this difference is a problem in the center and we should resolve it. Otherwise we risk having a very polarized discussion about science which can only have as a result a collapse of trust in science

CORBETT: And of course that is part and parcel of that “Crisis of Science” that I was gesturing towards recently on the podcast. And I did note a specific line jumped out at me from the preface of Science on the Verge which was written by Daniel Sarewitz. He wrote, “The use of science in guiding human affairs is always a political act.” Now that’s a bold statement because again I think that rubs up against the conception—the sort of folk science conception—that science is completely value neutral and we’re just looking at facts and evidence about the world. But the use of science and guiding human affairs is always a political act. What does that mean in the modern context, where we’re dealing with such incredibly important matters that have policy implications for everyone around the globe?

SALTELLI: Well there is a long chain of consideration which should be put down there. [The] first one is even when we are talking about a simple piece of datum—as Jerry Ravetz writes in one of his early books—before a single datum is collected, a lot of the work has already been done by way of framing the problem, defining what it is that needs to be tackled and how it can be measured and so on and so forth. So, when the social scientists say that data or evidence is a result of a social construction, this doesn’t mean that this is arbitrary. It’s simply what it means. It’s the result of a negotiation, a social construction but unfortunately there is—because of this postivism or neo-positivism very often found in natural sciences—this tendency to regard this as a dangerous intrusion of social sciences into natural sciences.

So that, for instance, typically—you may know that natural scientists strongly resent being the subject of study from the social sciences. When they go there as anthropologists and measure what science in action actually does, following the title of a famous book of Bruno Latour. So there is this kind of science war now always boiling in the underground, which makes this conversation a bit difficult because if it were not for that, the idea that the production of evidence for policy is a political affair, it would be a no-brainer! Of course! Because not only you have the datum, but then the datum becomes evidence, and then the evidence must be constructed as an argument. And this is not something which a policymaker does by himself, he does it with a scientist. So obviously it’s a high political affair.

SOURCE: Interview 1424 – Andrea Saltelli on The Crisis of Science

If science is always a political act, then drawing a line around scientific activity and preserving it as the special domain of an elite cadre of specialists is itself an act of disenfranchisement. By pushing the public away from the scientific field, those with a political or corporate agenda to push can use their money to subvert the scientific process behind the scenes, and hide behind the ivory tower walls when the public questions the pronouncements of the scientists.

This is why open access, open data, open science is so feared by the status quo establishment, which benefits from the symbiotic relationship between big business, big government and big science.

None of this is to say that the expertise of trained scientists will no longer be needed as radically decentralized scientific endeavours like Safecast rise to the fore. But it is a sign that the public no longer has to sit on its hands and watch helplessly as an unquestioned and unquestionable priest class hoards their data and their findings for the benefit of the corporations and governments who foot their bill.

Given the immensity of the challenges we face as humanity pushes the boundaries of the possible in ever bolder ways, it’s easy for those on the sidelines to throw their hands up and leave this all for the scientists to sort out. Or, worse yet, to turn their backs on science and the scientific method altogether. But these problems are bigger than the scientific community, and their solutions will involve all of us to engage in the process of redefining science and its place in society.

As concerned citizens, we either become part of the solution by engaging in the emergence of the open scientific community, or we become mere spectators as the big questions are increasingly asked and answered for us.


  1. This Corbett Science Series should be part of the college Freshmen Orientation process.

  2. Homey , new doors need to open as older doors are being closed. This is one of James’s predictions I hope doesn’t come true. He is Man-on-fire prolific in quantity content and quaility output lately. Tick-Tick-Tick. Burning daylight.?

  3. Hi James,
    This series should be an addendum to the Big Oil series as it ties in with Rockefeller snake-oil institute funding of research avenues which beyond this have come to a head with the Thanos media whitewash blitz which conveniently omits political $ backing and stacks burden on the 19 yr old cult of cultural elitism prodigy. The fake-it till you make it credo is creates a major avenue for investment shell games and the same goes for IT/tech industry/biometrics which all ties back into the global technocratic agenda. Just pepper MMT and stagflation into each state economy as an attribution leading to Demographic Crunch in which technoracy implementation becomes necessary to prop up to big to fail businesses and too big to fail economies that are beholden to the umbrella of central banks and the controlled demolition of individual state economic soverienty subsequently exposing the levels of incorporation/share-holders of each state, which are openly traded/bet upon.
    Another aspect to consider within this consolidation of power and planned destruction of istitution & celebrity as a product of stagflation which reminds me of the Wiemar shift to National Socialism, where large assets, art/media, & science/philosophy schools were gobbled up one at a time during this period. I was reading about German International lawer who wrote law during this period and how laws were molded to support agenda and how these same laws transferred after the fall and he faced no retribution. I see a parallels on a global scale to these trends, but the time-line seems to be on steroids. All that is needed now is the staged distraction of war theatre to fascilitate the official transfer of energy assets. Im curious to see how the BRICS will effect the reshuffle period though.

  4. On a fun note:
    I was talking to the AV Tech guy at my son’s school and he said he likes listening to podcasts during work and said, “have you ever heard of Corbett Report? James is my favorite” … his work is prescient! As a matter of fact I have. First person I have met whom I could talk to about fun James Corbett works.

    • – BUMP –

      Cool anecdote, Clint!

      • Great- I always give The Corbett Report as the first place to go for normies to learn new stuff …mostly his videos on climate…but I haven’t heard back from anyone. I give him much credit in awakening me.

      • Thanks! He just hooked me up with couple of bottles of oregano extract, 20% solution gratis.

  5. Open science

    Open source only works when there are no patents nor other IP protections.

    A good thing is that this often breaks the elitism within science.

    Yet there is also the problem that the science community
    behaves like a mafia-pact:
    only if you follow support the leader(s), you can get into the community.

    Who controls the science, controls the truth

    (Like: who controls the past, controls the future)
    Just like the press is mostly controlled, the same is true for science
    and science publications.

    Who do you think controls the science?
    (general question)

    My thoughts:
    – There are many elites in control, they own the journals.
    – There are the big companies, the very rich people,
    and different agencies of the government.
    – The CIA controls and keeps a lot of interesting research.
    Secret Weapons, poisons.
    – The NSA is very close to the computer industry and computer security.
    – The laboratories like MIT are controlled by the FBI (who are payed again by the US organized crime).

    What do people want to hide by manipulating science?

    9/11 truth – buildings don’t fall with free-fall speed by themselves.

    bad medicine – why cure, if you can earn more with endless “treatments”.

    bad astronomy – astronomy already has many errors with the first star.

    toxic pesticides or toxic medicine or toxic EM-radiation –
    This may damage profits. So better hide the laboratory results, and suppress any deep research into the real causes.
    (CIA reports show how non-ionizing EM-radiation can damage cells without even heating them. But almost no-one in science knows this fact).

    bad weather science – push a certain political agenda

    bad psychology – Push the idea that all people need to be controlled

    Questions most scientists do not want to answer

    There are many cases in which the scientists do not really want to
    go deeper into the truth of the matter. It is easier to use
    a straw-man and ignore the truth.
    This is usually because it breaks their belief or trust.
    And it breaks with their community.
    Yes, many scientists have a very strong bias.

    archeology – why are everywhere pyramids that are also much older?

    military & nasa – UFOs flying around nuclear bases and interacting with planes and rockets
    Example: Gordon Cooper – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvPR8T1o3Dc

    doctors – why is the psyche of patients determining their health? Why are their near-death-experiences so similar and life changing?

    physics – what the f* is a particle?

    • All relevant questions. I’m a doctor trained at prestigious schools, I had (still have) to unlearn most of what I spent years becoming an “expert”…in quotations because though society and my profession would say I’m an expert (true I have a lot if specialized experience) turns out much of the “science” in my field is bias, certainly in its interpretation and teaching to physicians in training, so this really does limit my “expertise”. Also doctors are not scientists, I can read the scientific literature and I’ve participated in clinical research (more than the average doctor) yet I would not call myself or my research colleagues scientists yet many do without hesitation!

    • Good medicines and prevention (also via vaccines) can have benefits.

      Here is data from the World Health Organization
      Vaccine preventable diseases: monitoring system

      It shows:
      1) how certain diseases do disappear or lessen with vaccines.
      2) 100% vaccination is not necessary for eradication.
      (Might depend on transport in country &disease)
      3) Even with 100% vaccinations diseases can spread.
      (Is this due to tourism, war or immigration?)

      So there is a good side.

      And a bad side:

      I think one problem is that the “autism” is actually a reaction to the mercury or lithium or some other component with a side-effect on the brain. The effect is called “vaccine-injury”.

      There should be more awareness about the hazards of vaccines.

      • EXCERPTS
        According to a study published in Monday’s peer-reviewed Nature Geoscience, however, the glacier began growing at about the same rate over the past two years. That said, the authors of the study swear it’s temporary.

        “At first we didn’t believe it,” said lead author Ala Khazendar who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last 20 years.”

        Co-author Josh Willis said that while this is “good news” on a temporary basis, it’s still “bad news” over the long term because it means that ocean temperatures are a larger factor in the growth and melting of glaciers than previously thought.

        “In the long run we’ll probably have to raise our predictions of sea level rise again,” says Willis, pointing to inevitable doom from man-made global warming…

        … Of course, what will they say if and when the sun enters a Maunder Minimum in 2020? The last time there was a prolonged solar minimum, it lead to a mini ice-age which was scientifically known as the Maunder minimum…

        …Both studies predicted sun activity similar to the Maunder Minimum of the mid-17th to early 18th centuries, which coincided to a time known as the Little Ice Age, during which temperatures were much lower than those of today.

        (4 minutes)
        NASA – Solar Minimum is Coming

  6. Science is already open.

    The idea that any scientific experiment should be repeatable implies that the details of how the experiment was conducted needs to be disclosed fully and freely.

    The mistake we have been making is letting private technological research be labeled as “science” in the first place.

  7. This episode fills me with hope. Much needed, I might add.

  8. Some Corbett members raise some important questions surrounding the implications of “Open Science”.

    I don’t think that Corbett, nor anyone else, see this type of model as a panacea (i.e. ‘a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases’).

    I would like to emphasize the last 5 paragraphs of “Episode 354 – Solutions: Open Science”.

    Just by the fact that Corbett has put forth this “Science Series”, just by the fact that Corbett Members and others are posing questions, problems and potential solutions, and also promoting these (which the MainStreamMedia does NOT do), we are participating in a better evolution of Scientific knowledge.

    • ‘Science’ is becoming a highlight of discussion…

      More and more often, I hear mention of this ‘Science dilemma’.
      One recent example:

      Carey Gillam
      On several occasions in past comments, I had mentioned Carey.

      QUEUED VIDEO interview (3 or more minutes) discussing the Science dilemma as it relates to Monsanto/Bayer.

      • In the above mentioned video, at the 1:16:28 mark…

        Robert F Kennedy, Jr. says:

        ”Everybody needs to understand, there is a huge difference between the “scientific establishment” and established science.”

        ”I’ve learned from my Dad, don’t trust people in authority. People in authority lie.”

        The full presentation and Press Conference by Robert F Kennedy is so cool to see, and very educating on vaccines/industry influence/CDC/FDA/ etc.

        EXCERPT of the page script…
        …Surprisingly or perhaps not, the other panelists on the “Science of Vaccines” forum (three Yale professors and one pediatrician) cancelled their appearances at 11:00 p.m. the night before the event.

        Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. appeared at a press conference and forum today (March 19) to debate the topic of vaccine mandates at the Connecticut state legislature. Speaking in a legislative meeting room and by audio to an overflow room—packed with hundreds of parents, vaccine safety advocates, the media, and CT state legislators—Mr. Kennedy educated the crowd on Pharma/government corruption that has led to the unprecedented epidemics now claiming the health of over half of our nation’s children.

        • Allergies – such as allergic reactions to peanuts, foods, or other environmental exposures.

          This is an interesting tidbit which Robert F. Kennedy mentions when talking about the aluminum in vaccines around the 41 minute mark.
          QUEUED VIDEO (2 minutes)

          Basically, the aluminum prompts the body’s immune system to go into hyperdrive. If at the time, a person is exposed to something like peanut oil or eggs (in the vaccines), or rag weed pollen or mite dust, then the body’s immune system targets that category as an “invader”. Thus allergies.

          It’s not to say that all allergies are caused that way, but certainly the aluminum mechanism might cause them in some people or animals.

          Celeste McGovern’s article (bottom of this thread – March 25 article) shows some of the growths which occur as a body’s immune system responds to the aluminum.
          “granulomas” – cyst-like nodules of white blood cells loaded with the neurotoxic metal aluminum.”

          Melissa Gallico, in her book, talks about cystic acne being caused by Fluoride.
          I personally believe that the mechanism is similar…that is,“granulomas” – cyst-like nodules of white blood cells loaded with the neurotoxic Fluoride.

          A personal anecdote:
          For much of my adult life, since the very early 1980’s, I have had some dime to nickel sized cysts on my back, like a big zit which wouldn’t really pop. About 6 or so years ago, I even went to an alternative Doctor to have her cut out one of these so-called “sebaceous cysts” which had started to get larger.

          After reading Melissa Gallico’s book, I started on the seaweed and/or Iodine protocol which she talks about. (helps remove fluoride)
          Dog gone!…these cysts have been fading away. Errh, uh…Well, one cyst exploded one day after taking lots of seaweed for the first few weeks. It surprised me. It had been there for a decade or two.

        • Homey: I thought this should be in the vax debate and as Del Bigtree says in his very powerful speech, ” you have to sue to get the truth in the United States now!”


          • Great 10 minute clip.
            That guy can sure swing the passion!

          • He got some heat for that speech in Austin, Texas, because he mentioned Jews. The media twisted what he said.

  9. Hi fieldmouse,

    Competition drives innovation. If a deficiency exists in the way science is practiced and results distributed, wouldn’t it be beneficial to improve that situation? Perhaps the established scientists will step up their game to produce more reliable and accurate science in the face of “free competition.” What is open source science or open source music other than human spontaneity and free will?

  10. Fieldmouse- good question, there are some examples emerging in the Vaccine arena using GoFund Me and Patreon type of platforms to supposed experienced scientists to conducted important research like the effect of injected aluminium which is otherwise not funded. I’m not not saying that’s the only way but it is happening. The bigger question is how to convince enough people to contribute.

  11. E-book Just published last month … more bad news for Science in crisis: “Death of a whistleblower” by Dr. Peter Goeztsche. He is a well respected physician and one of the well-known leaders of the Cochrane Collaboration, before being unceremoniously ejected by the now corporate leadership described as “power-hungry technocrats”.

    Cochrane Collaboration in medicine was the quintessential Open-source science. It appears the corporatist agenda is to subvert it and to possibly implode it from within. The US Cochrane centre voluntarily closed in 2018 after 25 years of functioning based on unpaid volunteer work by clinical researchers and statisticians because they could no longer tolerate the BS and bullying à la corporate style. Mission Accomplished for the technocrats!

    I just started reading it and I would recommend others to do so if interested in Medical literature. A free sample of first two chapters is available on Amazon for kindle.

  12. Lawsuits

    I think that lawsuits might be a tool to help bring to light better science.

    In case you missed the recent NEWS…
    Families, Lawyers, AE911Truth to File Lawsuit against FBI over ‘9/11 Review Commission Report’ on Mar. 25

    There are other, rather recent, examples of lawsuits used to flush out data and scientific knowledge…

    ~ The Monsanto/Bayer Trials

    ~ On March 19, 2019 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr publicly, before the Press, invites Merck to sue him… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yf4-P2qbHo&feature=youtu.be&t=1487
    By the way, as the video rolls on, Kennedy just tears apart the CDC for the sham it is, along with exposing the FDA. By the end, Merck looks like dog doo doo.

    ~ The Fluoride Action Network lawsuit against the EPA which potentially could end water fluoridation (coming this August)

    ~ The Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Lawsuit

    I’m sure that other Corbett members can think of examples when lawsuits helped to flush out the facts and science.
    While I grit my teeth regarding “law and the authorities which carve it”, I have no problem using it to our advantage.

  13. Applying science beneficially

    I think another method in which we can all participate in Open Science, is its application (or choice not to utilize).


    They sure breed good stock in Calgary…
    Urban Farmer Curtis Stone interviews Vanessa Hanel of “MicroYYC” about Biodegradable Packaging, Localization, etc.

  14. Previously, on several occasions at The Corbett Report, I had mentioned: “an excellent researcher/journalist, Celeste McGovern and her article ” “Ozone gas: reversing tooth decay” published at “What Doctors Don’t Tell You”.

    She covers many relevant topics, often offering potential solutions.

    For example, Celeste McGovern states “…Professor Exley himself drinks over 2 pints (1 liter) of a silicon-rich mineral water every day, “the only way that I know to help to protect my body from the possible toxicity of aluminum.” in her article “Poisoned in Slow Motion”.
    It is a very interesting article which covers different documented aspects of aluminum harming the body in humans and animals.

    Professor Exley, Aluminum and Silica are discussed at length, with many links, on the DallasForSaferWater.com NEWS webpage
    Celeste McGovern is also highlighted on that webpage.

    MARCH 25, 2019
    Anatomy of a Science Study Censorship by Celeste McGovern
    featured at Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s “Children’s Health Defense”

    While not a short read, Celeste captures the interest of the reader in the way she tells the story of how good science becomes the victim of a corrupt system.

    I admire writers like her. I support them.
    The “Celeste McGoverns” of the world are part of SOLUTIONS.

  15. More bad news for “peer-review” publishing:


    In the spirit of Open-Source solutions, at least when it comes to medical science, “open-journals” is the way to go including putting “anonymous peer-reviews” available to be seen and judged by all.

    Regarding the Cochrane fiasco with the central “leadership” ousting highly regarded board member and long-time scientific collaborator and medical-industry-complex critic, Peter Goeztche, at least 4 others board members resigned in protest. I think the solution is to start over, replicate a parallel organization as they were usurped because of their independent successful model and reviews of medical interventions. Try to starve the competitor. It’s hard work but I think the scientific community would see through the current shananigagans and support an authentic group freely and collaborating for the public good as once was their sole mission.

    • Doc says: “…I think the solution is to start over, replicate a parallel organization (Cochrane Review) as they were usurped because of their independent successful model and reviews of medical interventions….”

      Actually, that is a wonderful idea.
      There is an army of ‘alternative’, dedicated professionals out here.
      Eventually, it could end up being the “Go To” source for reliability.

      • Hi HomeRemedySupply

        Peter Goeztsche (http://www.deadlymedicines.dk) launched this year a GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/scientific-freedom)

        “The donations will be used to cover legal costs and to support a new Institute for Scientific Freedom in order to allow Peter to carry on with his work for the benefit of the patients.”

        I also donated to Prof. Chris Exley at Keele University – the world expert on aluminium and human health – as aluminium is in many vaccines, this is very important research (imho).


        GoFundMe have returned my donation. I suggest redirecting donations direct to Keele University. Apparently GoFundMe are now refusing to accept what they call ‘anti vaccine’ causes, although surely vaccine safety research is not anti vaccine, but about vaccine safety. There are alternatives to toxic mercury and aluminium.

  16. What’s up, Fieldmouse, My name is Robert Smith. Its so nice to meet ya. I also admire Pierre Joseph Proudhon, an amazing French Anarchist Philosopher who’s associated with Mutualism. Mutualism and Individualist Anarchism are my favourite anarchist schools of thought. There’s definitely a market for Open Source and Free Culture Projects, you can even make money off of Copyleft projects like selling copies of Free/Libre Open Source Software, Games, Art, Music, etc.
    Free as in FREEDOM, Markets NOT Capitalism, & Let The Free Market Eat The Rich!
    How does Mutual Cryptocredit sound to you? I think its really cool!

  17. Knowing what we know about propaganda use from the past, we shouldn’t be surprised by what we come to realize as the state of science today. William Stead, of the inner circle of Rhodes secrete elite, was adept at creating, steering and delivering a narrative devour, to the appointed time and place. Without the populace even knowing of its insidious plans. A preconceived notion injected into the social conciseness to support some well thought out agenda well into the future.
    As of today science has been corrupted, co-opted discredited. I submit by propaganda to nullify it being used as a weapon in the future as it was used in the past . A wonderful use of proper prior planning that positively prevents poor performance. The plan thereby denying experts of differing opinion the tools necessary, now considered invalid in the populaces mind, proof of any claims against the machinations of TPTSB.
    Very devious, very long in planning and implementation and as I said , planning for all contingencies. That is what the state of science is in today . Maybe it is time to scrape the present morass and start anew. Now where to begin?

  18. GeneralBottleWasher says:
    “A wonderful use of proper prior planning that positively prevents poor performance. “

    GBW, you have a high P Value there.


    pernicious – general definition:
    having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way. …harmful, damaging, destructive, injurious, hurtful, detrimental, deleterious, dangerous, adverse, inimical, unhealthy, unfavorable, bad, evil, baleful, wicked, malign….

    P VALUE link from Corbett’s video transcript…
    “…P values are supposed to help scientists decide whether an apparently meaningful experimental result is really just a fluke. But in fact, P values confuse more than they clarify. They are misused, misunderstood and misrepresented….”

    • ? Homey you should have been a scientist. TPTSB may have thought twice before sacrificing their cash cow tollbooth to the byway to hell.
      Perfidios would probably be my preferred pronounced pronoun. However, TPTSB will certainly know how to prevent slippage or shrinkage. Im referring to THE POST TRUTH WORLD topic of discussion at a recent Bilderburg gathering. How many resources were dedicated by the committees to counter humanities natural progression to Proudhonism one can only speculate. However Science is in crisis, and the tools we need from science have generally been thrown under the bus. So what other categories for the Post Truth World is being memoryholed as once trustible now despicably Perfidios? You see and I think you know ” we must be keep off balanced”.
      Corbett has it made, just to pick any one, dejour. Transfer of knowledge ie the internet, transfer of people, transportation, Trashumanism, the transfer of humanity to a machine, the climate, weather control, transfer of wealth and property , viola’ The Green New Deal, Food, medicine, water ect.ect. Any one of these can be sacrificed for maintaining the imbalance of humanity with little to no effect to TPTSB.
      Science Smience! You say Pernicious I say Perfidios that’s what its all about. What does MBP say?

  19. BigPhil- this the right place for good science. Thats a compelling article about Zellar and Nikolov . Numbers matter, especially when they add up gestalt like.

  20. Solution: Restoring the natural forests (Nature.com)

    Restoring natural forests is the best way to remove atmospheric carbon

    This is the solution that I can stand behind.
    It also gives more resources (and work) to locals.

    There is probably a technocratic catch somewhere.

  21. Solution for the small farmer/household up north in order to grow Oranges
    This codger was a ‘D’ student in school, but he liked general physics.

    Nebraska retiree uses earths’s heat to grow oranges in snow
    Winter temperatures in Alliance, Nebraska (just south of Rapid City, South Dakota) can drop to -20°F (the record low is -40°F/C), but retired mailman Russ Finch grows oranges in his backyard greenhouse without paying for heat. Instead, he draws on the earth’s stable temperature (around 52 degrees in his region) to grow warm weather produce- citrus, figs, pomegranates – in the snow.

    Finch first discovered geothermal heating in 1979 when he and his wife built it into their 4400-square-foot dream home to cut energy costs. Eighteen years later they decided to add a 16’x80′ greenhouse in the backyard. The greenhouse resembles a pit greenhouse (walipini) in that the floor is dug down 4 feet below the surface and the roof is slanted to catch the southern sun.

    To avoid using heaters for the cold Nebraska winter nights, Finch relies on the warm underground air fed into the greenhouse via plastic tubing under the yard and one fan.

    Finch sells a “Citrus in the Snow” report detailing his work with his “geo-air” greenhouses and says anyone can build a market-producing greenhouse for about $25,000 or “less than the cost of a heat system on a traditional greenhouse”.

    • Homey: that’s a great story. If I could do that for the next 25 years I’d die a happy man.

Submit a Comment


Become a Corbett Report member