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Re: “An Inside Job

My colleagues have expressed already their view of what is good about this article. I have to take Ms. Swan (or perhaps her editor) to task for for the general tone of the article and what was written about me in particular.

Apparently my colleagues have been so beaten down by the "get a load of this" derisiveness of the mainstream media that someone who doesn't hit them as hard seems like a friend. To be called "an odd bunch" and for evidence at the level of high school physics to be described as "blindingly complex" are unsympathetic characterizations, to say the least. I cannot deny the accuracy of the first of those characterizations, but the media has played a clear role in keeping us from reaching more mainstream people.

"Wednesday night wound up being the cool, hip-hoppy half of the festival and Thursday the nerdy, academic half"? WHO CARES? Such an observation reads like a high school student's personal blog. I and the others you interviewed gave you evidence of high treason, evidence that shows our country has gone to war on a false pretext, and you're treating it all like various cliques anticipating the prom. Your conception of your job as a journalist and your responsibilities as a citizen do not exactly shine here.

Several of your statements about me were incorrect. I was not "hawking" the nanothermite paper, I was showing it to you -- borrowed from the table of someone else who was selling it (for no conceivable profit, by the way, considering how little she was asking for a color copy). I did not edit the paper for, but rather for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the Open Chemical Physics Journal, which was of course printed right there on the paper, and which I thought you took a note of when I said it. I never said nanothermite was a "combustible" compound; it is explosive as the paper and its references make clear. Your use of the word "belief" rather than "conclude," and everything else about your description of the paper -- which was written written mostly by scientists, not just an "out-of-work technical writer" -- made it sound like some crank screed that I cobbled together by myself in my Ted Kaczynski cabin in the woods.

Posted by Gregg Roberts on 09/16/2009 at 12:08 PM

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