(updated January 2, 2009)
Of all the bloggers on line, I have never met a group like UCF. This is a group of apparently primarily ex-Navy technical people (and a lawyer, a scientist and others) who have a uniquely vulgar and aggressive culture and act somewhat like Internet information police. I became aware of this group when they posted attacks against the character of scientists I respect.
A goal of this group is apparently to silence scientists and citizens who are concerned that global scientific safety management may be inadequate and that more regulation may be needed. My polite attempts to defend the character and arguments of scientists like Walter Wager were generally responded to with profanity and personal attacks.
The group calls themselves UCF (Union of Collaborating Founders). Reading through some of their historical blogs provides some interesting insight to this group, and what might motivate and bring together this unique group of talent.
This is a group of primarily ex-Navy technical personal including a lawyer (Eric), scientist (John) and other technical people lead by Nathan according to Janiece Murphy who lists herself second under Nathan in the list of members. Many of the members blogs started in 2007 and some of these widely geographically dispersed members have also met in person according to their public blogs.
The group has their own aggressive and vulgar culture, as if they all attended the same course of instruction on how to be vulgar and aggressive on-line. While it may not seem unexpected for Navy enlisted personnel to be vulgar, it is a bit disturbing for a lawyer to suddenly release a torrent of profanity for apparently no other reason than to show he is capable of being vulgar.
Interestingly the group engaged in an on-line apparently counter-intelligence type exercise (International Hijack Day).
I would not have any interest in this group except for the fact that several of the members appear to be on a mission to “debunk” anyone who questions the management of safety concerns related to Europe’s Large Hadron Collider experiment. I think it is counter productive to attempt to discredit honest scientists and concerned citizens who are trying to blow a safety whistle and bring some accountability to a global safety issue.
Ex-Navy Warrent Officer Jim Wright provides an example of aggression and threats this group is apparently capable of. Jim writes: “I’ll warn you once, and once only: You’re going to want to be real careful with that kind of bullshit, Wagner. I am a highly decorated combat veteran, who served honorably, who served in Iraq and elsewhere… and a number of folks that served with me, and that I got home alive, read my site every day, many come here to laugh at you – some, Walter, live in Hawaii. Don’t ever try that type of insinuation again.“
Mr. Wright also states “I’m exceedingly familiar with the history of computer science and engineering and the associated names in the field, and hold a couple of advanced degrees in that field myself“. Jim Wright did not state if these are accredited advanced engineering degrees or if he accomplished this while serving in the Navy, but he did recently retract statements against Walter Wagner only after threat of a libel suit. (Contractors are responsible for their own legal defense).
Mr. Wright further states “I agree that there are legitimate concerns about safety. Those concerns have been addressed by actual qualified scientists. Neither Wagner nor Tankersley are qualified in any way to challenge those issues. Neither are scientists, neither are physicists…” Unfortunately Mr Wright fails to realize that legitimate safety concerns were addressed precicely because of Walter Wagner’s concern and brilliant discovery of fundamental flaws with CERN’s safety arguments.
But the comment that finally provoked me to respond with this article was from Janiece Murphy who yesterday called me Walter Wagner’s “butt monkey“. (For the record, I strongly support Walter Wagner, I think he is a brilliant and selfless scientist and we are all indebted to him for discovering flaws with safety arguments that CERN was not even aware of, but I have never met Walter Wagner in person, I’m happily married and I have no interest in being anyone’s “butt monkey”, not that there is anything wrong with that as comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously said.)
No one knows what the LHC will produce but it is interesting that LHC safety theories are based in part on a quantum model of nature that Dr. Albert Einstein himself did not find credible. Interesting discussion with one physics PHD who wrote an article including the statement “Was Einstein wrong? About quantum mechanics, yes. Yes he was.” But after some discussion his final comment is a less decisive “hopefully someday we will be able to discriminate” [if Einstein was correct or not]. (http://startswithabang.com/?p=1304#comment-62654)
Minority opinions are important, sometimes they prove to be valid and CERN and UCF should not focus on trying to silence or unfairly discredit them.
Administrator LHC Facts
Assistant Coordinator for Global Risk Reduction (a Special Interest Group of American Mensa)
 John the Scientist, UCF member, http://refugeesfromthecity.blogspot.com/2008/10/delusional.html
 Janiece Murphy, UCF Blog http://hotchicksdigsmartmen.blogspot.com/2008/06/im-geek-your-geek-everywhere-geek-geek.html
 Nathan, UCF Leader, International Hijack™ Day, Polybloggimous “Ideas get in but they don’t get out” (2008) http://polybloggimous.com/2008/01/announcing-international-hijack-day.html
 Jim Wright, UCF Response (2008) http://refugeesfromthecity.blogspot.com/2008/10/response.html
 Jim Wright UCF Blog, Walter L. Wagner is Pitifully Insane (2008) http://stonekettlestation.blogspot.com/2008/10/walter-l-wagner-pitifully-insane.html
 Janiece Murphy, Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men (December 29, 2008), http://hotchicksdigsmartmen.blogspot.com/2008/12/suing-scientific-method.html
 NewScientist, Quantum randomness may not be random (22 March 2008) http://space.newscientist.com/article/mg19726485.700