In the past, we learned from people we respected how to do refraction surveys. Now we have committees to tell us what to do.
When it came to writing the account of the voyage of the Uranie, Louis de Freycinet could not give any credit to his wife Rose, because she was not supposed to have been on board, But did she make any contribution to what he wrote?
Ayn Rand’s well-documented contempt for newspaper owners and the people who worked for them was not logical. If successful, these were people living out her dream. They were in business, and businesses, in her philosophy, should not be subject to regulation.
Peer review comes in for a lot of criticism, and University College London is trialling a different system. But historical precedents, going back to the early days of the Royal Society, suggest that it is unlikely to work.
Ayn Rand despised most educators, but at least she thought that children should be educated. Some of her erstwhile followers went much further. For Murray Rothbard, education was something that prevented children from fulfilling their proper roles, as productive economic units.
Despite its remote location on the island of Rawak north of Waigeo, which is in turn north of the Bird’s Head of New Guinea, the place Louis de Freycinet chose for his ‘equatorial’ pendulum observations was, for the time and area, already remarkably well mapped. It was also known to have a good source of water nearby.