Notes on “South Pole Station” by Ashley Shelby

I am blogging my notes on books in order to participate in a reading challenge called When Are You Reading 2018. This is not a book review. My “notes” on books usually are more like rambling thoughts. I wrote this in my journal on May 17, 2018:

South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
Finished reading: May 16, 2018
South Pole Station
I hate extreme cold weather and therefore am sort of fascinated by the kind of people who would choose to work in Antarctica, when even in the summer, the temperature hovers around -40°F. I wrote some notes, (POSSIBLE SPOILERS) most of which are quotes:

p. 121 “Metaphorically, all research is a long walk.”

p. 122 “The urge to jump affirms the urge to live.” This is called the high-place phenomenon, when we experience a strange urge to jump overboard or off a high place when we look down. It is the brain’s misinterpretation of the instinctual safety signal.

p. 179 Sal gets upset when Cooper asks how the universe started. Sal’s answer concludes with “That may work in art, Cooper, but that doesn’t work in the real world.”
This is an insult; although she didn’t take it as such, I did. It’s this attitude by scientists, politicians and others who see art as outside the real world. Of course, the imagination figures into the creation of art, but what art is IS part of the real world.

p. 298 (Chapter narrated by Frank Pavano) “Democrats…would…dig into my past and reveal the plagiarism charges…It was part of the narrative, and that the mainstream media’s refusal to allow me, a man of faith, to be “born again” would only increase the public’s support. Again and again, the media underestimated the importance of the lost lamb to the churchgoing American.” (Emphasis mine.)

At first, I agreed with the idea that “intelligent design” scientists should have equal opportunity to research funding – why not? If they’re wrong, the research will show it. But in the chapter on Pavano (pp. 282-300), in which manipulation invades the scientific method, part of the “Plan” was to manipulate the data if it didn’t support their hypotheses (and their political agenda). So perhaps the South Pole scientists were right to refuse to cooperate with a researcher supposedly sent in the name of science to the South Pole to do research to support the conclusion that “intelligent design” (i.e. a universe created by God) is correct.

At the end of the book, I was surprised to find out that Sal’s hypothesis about the universe being made up of membranes which occasionally run into each other and create new universes, was proven wrong; he did not believe in the Big Bang theory. Yet ultimately his research supports the “inflationary” theory of most other scientists. He, as a ethical scientist, owned up to this and did not try to manipulate the data. Anyway, I was surprised because his hypothesis sounded plausible to me and I thought perhaps in the last 15 years or so, when I have not kept up with prevailing scientific theories about the origin of the universe, this idea of “branes” might be correct. Isn’t that like string theory?

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