Political and Business Cautions
As a final note, I wish to reinforce the reader's commonsense as regards sociopolitical and business matters.
If you hear others speak negatively of a particular individual, company or institution, I strongly suggest you not dismiss the target of the remarks based totally on negative "intelligence", but consider it as just one person's or entity's thrust. Information of all kinds is usually useful and appreciated, but countless times I have found people's perspectives and information to be biased, self-serving, distorted, one sided and/or grossly incomplete. Verify information, especially before you repeat it to others.
In fact, I've found a number of people with the same opinion, apparently all based on one faulty source. Consider the biases or interests of the source(s). Sometimes a statement tells more about the source than the target.
The scientific and technical community tends to be more positive, balanced, and objective. Some political players within the space advocacy community, on the other hand, often have an agenda which makes them a bit self-aggrandizing. It would be a big mistake to think that the space resources advocacy community were all united. It's amazing how competitive some people and organizations have been with each other.
Even in purely scientific and technical circles, with practically no political or business agenda, I've had to revise a lot of information in this book due to helpful and highly competent professionals innocently being mistaken in their technical or historical facts. There is also a lot of disagreement between professionals, but the best of them will be humble and not authoritarian or overconfident in their speech and e-mail statements on debatable issues. Sources who are not overconfident in demeanor are often the most objective and reliable.
In a generally different realm, that of political and business matters, the misinformation and one-sided statements which I have encountered has been disconcerting at times. There are many honest and fair-hearted people in this business, but there are also some schemers. Sometimes, schemers believe their own bull, i.e., believe what they want to believe, and are egotistically defensive. I guess you can't call that dishonest, but I would call it misleading.
The vast majority of scientific researchers and business leaders I have known in the space resources field have been highly developed individuals who have rarely, if ever, exhibited these traits. The space advocacy organizations also appear to have flushed out most of the self-aggrandizing and arrogant people of yesteryears and replaced them with respectful and respected individuals.
Nevertheless, human nature being as it is, there are always people around who can mislead. If history is indicative of the future, there will always be activists and middle level professionals (for the most part) passing along information that is biased, incomplete, or outright false, and questionable information will often be repeated far and wide.
In the end, you have to judge and think for yourself what's right and what's not.
Generally, I speak openly with others who I trust or who seem to have common sense and experience, and listen carefully. Exchanging information is valuable and important.
When a story is sensitive and should be verified or corroborated or another opinion ventured, I usually don't identify the source, one reason being that revealing the source to others can just add to problems and issues. Gossip gets around. There are methods of handling and corroborating information which can avoid potentially making matters worse. Making mountains out of molehills doesn't serve our shared greater interests.
Everybody is human, nobody is perfect, and there are ways to correct and coach people. Many people admit and learn from their mistakes, though it sometimes takes a while for them to think about it.
There is no avoiding politics and human nature with some members in any community.
Newcomers can be more vulnerable, especially if they depend upon one main person or "in" allies with their own special interests.
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