«So it’s hopeless?» asked Zhu Tao.
«Not hopeless,» Guo Ming corrected. «Just hard. If this becomes a negotiation by diplomats, it will never be resolved. We need to keep this among scientists. Space agency to space agency. I’ll get a translator and call NASA’s administrator. We’ll work out an agreement, then present it to our governments as a fait accompli.»
«The Martian» by Andy Weir
Given Russia’s ill-fated (for the world, not necessarily for Russia yet) invasion of Ukraine, yeah, I’m not a fan. But I’m even less a fan if the German ministry for education and research starts to asking research projects whether they have connections to Russia. When they are still importing Russian oil and gas. And let’s be honest — that incredible storage of energy does bring the big bucks. Not a measly science project.
Look, I get that the actions of Putin do raise concerns, but why should we punish Russian scientists for it? Why should we stop working within projects that involve Russian scientists?
Seriously, beside the initial quotation, one of the best lines I did ever hear in this context were something about keeping the lines of communication open. Among — not the top dogs — but the ones who are doing the actual work. Just people talking about the issue at hand.
And that is fucking valuable.
[Update: Ah, it was “The Sum of All Fears“, beautiful scene:
I mean, no shit. If a country is at war with another, almost NATO country, just having everyday people talking to each other in a scientific project, that is worth … a lot.
So, yeah, perhaps you [talking to those who want to limit communication] might rethink your approach. And yeah, I get it, you don’t do it if it is pointed out. Otherwise you look like an even worse idiot. But just think about it for a moment. How was it, if you commit a mistake, and you don’t correct it, you commit a second, yeah, just something to think about.