Ep. 712: How Peer Review Fails

You’ve probably heard that the best kind of science is peer-reviewed research published in a prestigious journal. But peer review has problems of its own. We’ll talk about that today.


(This is an automatically generated transcript)

Fraser Cain [00:01:34] Astronomy Cast episode 712. How peer review fails. Welcome to Astronomy Cast, a weekly facts based journey through the cosmos. We help you understand not only what we know, but how we know what we know. I’m Fraser Cain and the publisher of Universe Today. With me, as always, is Doctor Pamela Galea, senior scientist for the Planetary Science Institute and the director of Cosmic Quest. Hey, Pamela. How are you doing? 

Pamela Gay [00:01:57] I am doing well. We’ve talked in the last few weeks about the signs of spring. And as you and your your wife record them based on things coming on outside. I’m not sure if last week was either first, daffodil or first stunting. Right. But I’m afraid it was first Skunk King two months earlier than normal. And and yeah, the skunks are out of torpor and I has a sad. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:27] Oh, is that because your dogs are going to get into skunk trouble? 

Pamela Gay [00:02:34] Oh, we already have. That’s the thing. The the Stella ran out the back door, made it all of about six feet away from the house. Got skunked, which meant the house also got skunked, right? And ran back in foaming, as they do when they take it straight in the mouth. And, yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:02:54] Do you think they’ll learn this lesson? 

Pamela Gay [00:02:55] No, no. Well, honestly, it was after dark and she didn’t even make it all the way down the dog ramp, so I don’t think she had a chance to see the skunk before she got blasted. 

Fraser Cain [00:03:07] Right, right. This guy was just there. Yeah, yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:03:12] Not the dog’s fault, right. That time. 

Fraser Cain [00:03:15] Yeah. Well, what’s the recent one that we have? Mallards arrived at our ponds is a thing that. Like that? Yeah, it’s pretty cool. And herring season, I guess is the big one, which I mentioned this before the show that we have this, the Pacific herring spawn, which is the largest biomass migration on planet Earth. And so we see whales and eagles and sea lions and seals and it’s it’s mayhem. 

Pamela Gay [00:03:48] It’s amazing. 

Fraser Cain [00:03:49] Thousands of seagulls on the side of the beach for flying in these giant spheres. Bait balls where they’re, above where the herring are spawning. It’s it’s amazing. It’s incredible. So, yeah, it’s a pretty dramatic one, I would say, like, probably the biggest nature based event of the entire year is happening right now here. I think. 

Pamela Gay [00:04:10] Wild. 

Fraser Cain [00:04:12] You have probably heard the the best kind of science is peer reviewed research published in a prestigious journal. But peer review has problems of its own. So let’s talk about that today. All right. What is peer review? 

Pamela Gay [00:04:26] It is the process by which a scientist submits a paper to a journal that has references and research and describes their methods and describes their observations, and comes to some conclusions or describes their theoretical modeling and their conclusions. And then the journal that they submitted it to sends the paper out to one or more other PhD researchers to go over the paper and to assess whether or not the conclusions they reach and the way they took their data is sufficient and valid, that the paper can be published such that other people should trust the results are a logical conclusion based on what occurred. 

Fraser Cain [00:05:17] Right. So it’s like a double checking that what you’re saying in the paper is supported by the evidence. Yes. Right. And I think when we have, when we think about peer review. As a as a journalist and was spent some time being an editor. I think of it as roughly analogous that that somebody submits their article to me. I go through the article line by line, sentence by sentence. I fix the grammar. I also note places where I think it could be tightened up, where they are making claims, they are providing quotes there and then if you’re like a like next tier, if you’ve got more resources, if the New York Times, then you have a fact checker who goes in, confirms that that somebody actually said this quote, right, that it is a comprehensive and exhaustive process to make sure that in my case, the article is well-reported and grammatically correct, and Ben fulfills all this journalistic requirement. And if you take that analogy, move it over to research. You’re you’re like. It’s like a professor grading a paper. Where they’re they’re reading it line by line, making sure everything’s fine. Checking to make sure that the math has been done correctly. Catching any mistakes. It’s a 1 to 1, but it’s not that at all, is it? 

Pamela Gay [00:06:47] No. It is rife with problems at all sorts of different levels. And in this episode, we’re going to hit on a lot of the different places. Full disclosure, this episode was completely inspired by John Hopkins University press release that caused both Beth and I to giggle at our inboxes. The title of this press release is Interstellar Signal Linked to aliens was actually just a truck, right? 

Fraser Cain [00:07:20] Yes. Yeah, we’re reporting on that. We’re working on the story for that right now. 

Pamela Gay [00:07:23] Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s one of these things where we have seen two different things going on through peer review. We have seen papers that should get published through peer review, not making it through. And scientists basically flinging up their hands and saying, what’s going on here? Why won’t you publish my results? On the other side, we have things going through and getting published where it’s just like, all right, I, I don’t want to live in the universe that’s described in this paper, and I’m pretty sure I don’t. 

Fraser Cain [00:08:00] Right. Yeah. I think about the rat genitalia I image that was made it through peer review recently. I don’t know if you saw this story. 

Pamela Gay [00:08:09] No. 

Fraser Cain [00:08:10] So someone had had, I don’t know, gone and asked ChatGPT to make an image, a scientific image to go along with their paper. And it was hilariously, you know, with, with gibberish letters on it and a rat with a gigantic, enlarged genitalia as big as the rat. I think it was ridiculous. And it got it appalled by the it somehow went through peer review. So I guess I want to sort of shatter that, that expectation that people have that, that peer review is this careful, laborious process to make sure that the work that’s in the paper, like if you are a peer reviewer, let’s say there is a paper and you are a, you know, someone who has a PhD in the same field and you’ve been sent the paper, what is the expectation of the work that you’re going to do to fulfill your peer review requirements for that paper? 

Pamela Gay [00:09:06] So the general expectation is you will go through, you will read the paper, and you will make sure that the logic flows sensibly and that things that are referenced, are reference correctly and that the analysis that is done is sufficiently complete to actually prove what they’re trying to say. The running joke is there is usually a reviewer, number two, who sends you back a essay on all the things that are wrong with your paper, why you’re a terrible human being, why your mother failed the universe by giving birth to you, and how, in order for your paper to actually get published, you need to start from scratch, do a complete dissertation level analysis and also make your paper shorter. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:00] And accept their work. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:02] Yes, yes, yes, you have to cite their work rates is usually part of that. Yes. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:06] But but the point is like like how much time? Like let’s imagine that that somebody has given the paper to peer review. How much time are they expected to take doing their job? 

Pamela Gay [00:10:18] A few hours. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:19] A few hours, so the paper could have taken hundreds of hours of observation. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:25] Yes. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:26] 100 hours to write. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:28] Yes. 

Fraser Cain [00:10:29] And could include table after table after table containing data. There are mathematical equations that could run on for a page that there are conclusions. And you you’re you’re in a couple of hours on a 40 page paper. The best you can be expected to do is to skim it. 

Pamela Gay [00:10:52] It is hoped that the amount of time that you put into reading the paper is proportional to the length of the paper. I have to say that that hasn’t been my experience. Most cases. What I have found is the longer the paper, the morning, the the reactions you get. And this is true across all levels of academia. So like I, I will turn in a 20 page grant proposal that getting or not getting that grant proposal determines whether or not I get to keep all of my my staff and pay my own salary. And someone might spend 30 minutes reading and then critiquing my 20 page proposal. 

Fraser Cain [00:11:39] Right. 

Pamela Gay [00:11:39] That determines my life for the next four years. 

Fraser Cain [00:11:44] So, I mean, what do you get compensated if you’re a peer reviewer and you have agreed to peer review a chunk of research which, you know, it’s a it’s a multi-hour commitment. What kind of compensation does a peer reviewers get? 

Pamela Gay [00:11:58] You don’t. 

Fraser Cain [00:12:00] None. Zero. 

Pamela Gay [00:12:03] So the idea is I, as a researcher, will across my career submit a certain number of papers. I, as a researcher, will review a certain number of papers. And if the system works out, the number of papers is roughly the same. So if my goal is to publish 1 to 5 papers a year, and I should then expect to be reviewing 1 to 5 papers a year, and across my career, I suspect it’s almost balanced out. I’ve probably reviewed more papers than I’ve written because I’m lazy, it turns out in retrospect. But. But it is considered a community thing where everyone pitches and everyone does it. When you’re reviewing grants, there is compensation, but it’s usually like a couple of hundred dollars and you’ll put in several days of effort. So it’s it’s a token gesture designed to cover like child care or whatever for the period of time that you’re doing it right. 

Fraser Cain [00:13:20] And so. I mean, this is crazy. 

Pamela Gay [00:13:27] Right? 

Fraser Cain [00:13:27] Like. Like like what? You imagine. We imagine. And I felt this way, like going in before I understood this deeply. My expectation was that it was this. It was this robust system designed to catch mistakes, to improve science, to make sure that the good science folks, the top, the bad science gets, gets rejected or someone has to go back and reevaluate the results. The reality is that a paper that’s in archive. That’s been in a preprint. He then is sent out to somebody. Maybe. Maybe two people. 

Pamela Gay [00:14:05] It’s generally two. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:07] Two people. They’re expected to spend a couple of whatever time they’ve got in an uncompensated way. To provide feedback on the paper, like the incentives are mind blowing. That. That they’re not they’re not incentivized in a way that is aligned with the best possible science. I mean. 

Pamela Gay [00:14:30] But that’s academia. That’s that’s like a different show. But that’s across the board because we’re expected to volunteer our time to service positions. Yeah, we’re expected to volunteer our time for committee work. We’re expected to volunteer our time for peer review. Right. If you look at all the things that you’re expected to do in order to keep your job. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:52] Yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:14:53] It’s it’s like one day a week of unpaid labor. 

Fraser Cain [00:14:57] Right. And, and and I guess the point being that it doesn’t actually put very much, it doesn’t improve the, the process dramatically is, is the is the perception that I’m, that I’m getting and it’s inconsistent. It is inconsistent. And like in the past like we would report on stuff on archive, that stuff that is in the preprint, stuff that has not been included as a peer reviewed journal. And I would get my wrist slapped when I would do this and be like, we, we publish a story. And because someone goes, well, you know, that’s not in a peer reviewed journal, that’s just in archive. Now that I know the truth, I don’t care. They are indistinguishable to me that that a that a like I’m going to use my judgment it to go like who is the quality of the people who are doing this work. What is the research institution? How dramatic a claim are they making? How dissimilar is it from other stuff? And I will I will react accordingly and carefully and cautiously, but I do not hold back now and go, oh, I’m going to wait only for this to be in a peer reviewed journal. No. If it’s interesting research and someone’s posting it on the internet and it passes all of my BS detectors, we’re going to report it. So, yeah, I’ve, I’ve, I wouldn’t have lost faith in I’ve lost faith in the peer reviewed journal process. 

Pamela Gay [00:16:29] So for sure there’s there’s three general outcomes of peer review. The, the what I think is actually most common is it does nothing to change the conclusions of the paper, but it improves the writing of a paper. So it forces people to be more concise. It sometimes asks them to do insane amounts of statistics to just demonstrate, yes, we are absolutely sure. So the ability of other community members to well, actually their paper is lowered by peer review. But peer review as far as I have seen, does not change the conclusions of things that get published. Now, the other two outcomes are, you have papers rejected and those fall into two categories. The majority are things where they just didn’t actually prove what they thought they were proving, or they proved things that the people peer reviewing them didn’t think they needed to be published. Which is super frustrating, because a lot of really good things will get rejected by peer review because the readers didn’t like the outcomes. 

Fraser Cain [00:17:41] And especially and sorry, I just want to put a fine point, is that, yeah, that those people, those peer reviewers, they are probably all, yeah, geeky, but they’re almost certainly in the same field. They are experts in the exact same thing and, and probably hold competitive, positions on some of the topics that are being proposed in the paper. 

Pamela Gay [00:18:07] And this also happens in grants. Just to be clear, grants are peer reviewed as well. So it’s publications and grants. 

Fraser Cain [00:18:14] Right. And so you can you can write a paper and take one in and say that the evidence is leading to a to a conclusion. And then your paper can then go to two peer reviewers. And especially if what you’re holding is a, you know, maybe an against the mainstream perspective. What you’re doing is you’re at the beginnings of this new phase, and you’re attempting to overturn the existing perspective. Your paper is going to get sent to two peer reviewers, and they could very well be established mainstream scientists who are doing who who want to continue the narrative that they’re. Yeah, that they’re proposing. And of course, they’re going to block, what you’re doing because they see it as a threat. 

Pamela Gay [00:19:07] Or someone’s just had a really bad day. I think that most reviewer number two, if they had like a fresh cup of coffee and some cookies, they’d probably do a better job reviewing, right? 

Fraser Cain [00:19:19] They’re sick of seeing this again and again and again or solving these same problems. And they just overall really. 

Pamela Gay [00:19:25] Just had a bad day. 

Fraser Cain [00:19:26] Yeah, yeah. Or they would react. 

Pamela Gay [00:19:28] Yeah. And and so sometimes you read things and it’s just sort of like, this is just so badly written. And instead of giving them the feedback that will rescue a badly written paper is just sort of like rejected. Submit it again. If you do a complete rewrite in analysis and it’s just exhaustion at the end of the day, leading to papers getting rejected. 

Fraser Cain [00:19:56] And I think the other thing is that you’ve got this rise. And I had a chat with Paul Sutter about this. Many of you talked about it with his new book. 

Pamela Gay [00:20:03] No, not. 

Fraser Cain [00:20:04] Yet, but but there is this publish or perish that. 

Pamela Gay [00:20:07] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:20:07] The only way to succeed in academia is to publish more papers. Whether or not the science you’re doing is a dramatic, incremental or, you know, improvement in the science. But that creates a downstream, effort required by everybody involved. And so everybody’s exhausted. The the people who are doing the peer review, like, again, okay, I need some time to work on my own grants, some time to peer review this because everybody is just published, publish faster weekends as much as we can that your publish perish that if you’re not publishing as quickly as possible, then you’re going to fall behind your colleagues. And so the brutal out there on both the people who are publishing, as well as the peer reviewers and even the journals. 

Pamela Gay [00:20:55] And this is where I am somewhat grateful that people are starting to look at how often papers are cited versus how many papers are written. So if someone has one paper with 100 citations versus five papers with 20 citations, they’re seen equal where the one person is doing more influential work because their paper hit more people. But that’s not across the board. At the end of the day, you are somewhat judged by the weight of your CV versus the weightiness of your ideas. And but but now we’re wandering off topic. So so the way things get rejected is very much a combination of self-preservation on the part of peer reviewers who are evil a good scientist won’t reject for those reasons. They’ll instead use it to improve their own research. You occasionally will see people cite things that aren’t published yet because they were the ones peer reviewing it. That’s very rare, but it does happen. You will periodically see papers that say thank you for the, reviewers work. It greatly improved this paper. So it can be beneficial when everyone is fully caffeinated, well-fed, and not in a grouchy mood. But the problem is because we’re all exhausted. Whether or not you recently ate lunch is going to affect whether or not someone’s papers published, and it should never work that way. But this is also consistent with how the criminal justice system works in the U.S. they find that sentences given before lunch are much worse than sandwiches given after lunch. So altogether, always review things. After eating. People always review things after eating. Right. 

Fraser Cain [00:22:52] That’s interesting. So I want to continue this conversation. But but you know, do you think we got through the what’s wrong. Because I wouldn’t mind sort of shifting over to the how can we make it better. 

Pamela Gay [00:23:02] So so we’ve hit rejection, but we haven’t hit the papers that get accepted and maybe shouldn’t. 

Fraser Cain [00:23:11] How do they pass through peer review. 

Pamela Gay [00:23:13] Right. Right. And. The the trickster. Ribbit. Can be. Sometimes you’re looking at a paper and you’re an honest reviewer, and every single logical thing that occurred in the paper is linear and makes sense. And we saw this with like the phosphine result for Venus a few years ago. Everything in the paper, it logically flows. The analysis looks good based on what is written in the paper, or the conclusions based on the analysis. Make sense based on what is presented within the paper and. Because you’re not the one with the raw data, because you’re not the one doing all this ancillary stuff. You’re judging the paper based on what’s within the paper. And sometimes you get to the end and it’s just like, I’m not sure I believe this, but I don’t see a reason to reject it. And. And there’s a few people who have particularly interesting pasts when it comes to this kind of paper. Available at Harvard is one of these people where his stuff keeps going through peer review and then gets published, and then other scientists write papers basically saying, okay, here’s another analysis of this. He was wrong. Right. And and it’s that dialog. But the problem is that means that you have to keep up with all the papers coming out. And if you write a science, sensationalistic paper that gets all the press initially, everyone’s going to remember that. And they may not remember those those papers that came later. And we’re like, okay, so so we reanalyzed this and just to be clear, everyone, we found a bug in the the data processing that was provided. And and so that analysis was wrong. Those later papers very rarely get the same publicity. 

Fraser Cain [00:25:28] Right. So I think that and it’s interesting. Right. Because I think, like making a bold claim is wonderful. And you really want that. You want people to go and come up with you want people to stretch and try to go for big things, but they are they are going to obviously generate a response. If what you’re making is a bold claim that’s going against the mainstream, then you’re going to get, yeah, bold responses to that. And right now, because that paper has gotten published in the journal, went through peer review and published, now the responses all have to go through that same process when this whole conversation should have been had during peer review, like they’re doing peer review, they just weren’t given an opportunity to peer review. And so, it’s like you need to have less papers, less publishing, more peer review. 

Pamela Gay [00:26:30] More thoughtfulness. 

Fraser Cain [00:26:31] Yeah. Which sounds like the, the right way to go is to have more, more thoughtfulness early on in the process. So. So now can we talk about how we solve the problem? 

Pamela Gay [00:26:45] Yes, please. And I have one stupid thing I want to contribute first. Sure. There has been a major problem found in bio biologically related sciences, with images getting reused with just contrast changes and also with, basically falsifying data. And, and we really need to have, the same kind of, of technology that is rapidly finding what they perceive to be copyright infringements on YouTube. Yeah. Employed to find graph duplication and falsification in published papers. Yes. So yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:27:27] Yeah. Imagine if people put that same kind of energy to to solve. 

Pamela Gay [00:27:33] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:27:33] What kinds of problems if weirdly, I think artificial intelligence for all its hallucination, this sounds like the kind of thing that it might actually get really good at. When you think about what the new version of Gemini 1.5 that Google is in beta testing right now, that it can look through a million tokens and find needle in a haystack issues. And so you can imagine taking one paper and having it double check every single reference that has been referenced in the paper and find any issues. So my guess is that we’re not going to be able to make meaningful progress on this problem until artificial intelligence is able to step up and provide useful valuable. Yeah. Comprehensive non hallucinogenic. I guess assistance in studying these, these papers. But it, it blows my mind that peer reviewers aren’t compensated that and they have the journals charge thousands of dollars to publish in the journal. 

Pamela Gay [00:28:39] And then to read the journals. It’s their charge and money out both sides. 

Fraser Cain [00:28:43] That’s right. And yet and yet the the the team of people who are who they rely on are to make sure that the science is accurate or volunteers and that’s and and if you have volunteers, then you get perverse incentives. Yeah. And we see this across the, you know, the volunteers who want to work on various projects, volunteers who want to be, you know, a lot of times if, if, if a, if you’re expecting person to do something for free and there’s all these along, you can go for just the goodness of their heart before certain kinds of people float to the surface, who are, who have, who have figured out a way to extract some other kind of value from this volunteer opportunity. I mean, play volunteers who do things for for nothing but the purest motives. And they’re wonderful, but they’re also people who will, as you say, allow science to get through, will push their own agenda, the block side. So it seems like there’s got to be a way that the journals have to spend money. To pay for the people who are making sure that the science that’s going into their journals is good. 

Pamela Gay [00:29:58] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:29:59] And that just doesn’t happen. 

Pamela Gay [00:30:01] That’s ridiculous. Put it straight into the the way science is funded. When I was at the university, the expectation was one day a week was spent on service. So committees, peer review, all that sort of stuff. And I’m now in a completely soft money position, and there’s no one day a week of funding that randomly is provided for committee assignments and peer review. So if when I put in proposals, the expectation was 20% of time goes to supporting the entire community. But. The entire funding model right now is is designed to essentially leverage tuition money to pay for a whole lot of everything else going on. Yeah. And. 

Fraser Cain [00:31:02] Yeah, yeah. And like from my perspective as a journalist, I use journals as a filter, as a like if it came out in a journal that it’s safe to report on its peer, reviewed it then then let’s do it. And then if it’s, if it’s not in a journal but it’s in archive, then you pays your money, you take your chances. But if it’s not because but you know that an archive only people with who are established educational institutions can actually post documents into them, like some random person off the street can’t. 

Pamela Gay [00:31:38] They don’t view what goes, and. 

Fraser Cain [00:31:40] They review what goes into archive into a random person. So so that’s a level of filter that I can trust. Yeah. But there are plenty of, holding a records journals that are, that have no review and they’re predatory. 

Pamela Gay [00:31:54] They sometimes say that they have review. Right. Really. They just want your money. They just want your money. Yeah. I had a paper go up and archive. I’m not the first author. I’m like. And of many, earlier this week for full disclosure. So try to use my work as an archive. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:10] Right. Yeah. You can make it or I can’t. Yeah, right. I couldn’t publish a paper into archive. I’m sure I could figure out a way to collaborate with someone like you or whatever, but I could figure out a way to do it. But. But I’m not. Universe today is not the kind of organization that can get accreditation to be able to post stuff into archive. I couldn’t even get a membership at archives so that I can, get the email addresses of people so that I can. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:36] Go. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:37] In and request interviews and stuff. Yeah, yeah. 

Pamela Gay [00:32:41] That didn’t used to be a thing. 

Fraser Cain [00:32:42] Yeah, yeah, you have to. I’ve tried sort of a bunch of times to see if I can even just get into archives so that I can get more information about, about papers and people and things like that, and I can’t. So yeah. So I always have to do other searches to find out people’s information if it’s not in the paper. So, transparency is that’s a solution to like it’s like right now everything is so closed, but a lot of papers are moving to a more open method. But does that mean that there’s going to be less revenue in the journal? 

Pamela Gay [00:33:14] Structure. So the the Open Journal model actually increases the price of publication in most cases. Yeah. So a lot of the open access journals have higher page charges because, they aren’t getting as much subscription revenue. Right? There’s been times where I’ve gone to publish papers, and I had the option to pay extra to make it open access. 

Fraser Cain [00:33:41] Right. Do you want to make this so? So the American taxpayer, for example, funds your work? Yeah. You you then want to make that research available to the American taxpayer. But in order to do that, the journal is going to ask you to spend more money. Yeah. In addition and like, you’re going to spend thousands to just get it into the paper. Yeah. Into the journal. And then you’re going to spend another more thousand to make it open access. So that other so that anyone can read the paper and not have to have a membership to the journal. 

Pamela Gay [00:34:18] And costs before you at us vary greatly. So like publishing in the monthly notices, the Royal Astronomical Society doesn’t have page charges unless you want it to be open access. So so costs vary greatly, but yes, you’re going to pay extra for it to be open access. They have to get their money somewhere. It’s basically the philosophy. 

Fraser Cain [00:34:39] Yeah, exactly. So, I don’t know what the solution is. I think we we have no solution, but and we’ve sort of reached the end of the show, so, there’s a bunch of problems. It’s complicated. If anyone has any solutions, let us know. Good luck. Thank you. Pamela. 

Pamela Gay [00:34:58] Thank you Fraser, and thank you. Audience. I just want to say we read out and I mispronounce names every week, and we’ve had a couple of people comment, hey, why don’t you read my name? And as I apparently don’t say clearly enough, it’s only certain tiers that get their names read. So you have to be in those tiers. It’s not how many years you’ve been in a given tier. It’s it’s just being in that tier that month gets your name ready. 

Fraser Cain [00:35:27] You can go up to that tier and then go back down if you want. 

Pamela Gay [00:35:31] Yeah. 

Fraser Cain [00:35:32] So, you know, if you want a way to hack the system, just go up and just, you know, go from a $5 tier to the $10 and then go back down to five or. 

Pamela Gay [00:35:40] Go to Zactly, go. 

Fraser Cain [00:35:41] To three. Or like I think it’s really important to understand. If you’re a patron, you’re supporting us because you think the work that we do is important. And if you can’t afford it, if it’s not financially working for you, please, please, please don’t be a patron. 

Pamela Gay [00:35:59] Exactly. 

Fraser Cain [00:36:00] We, the patrons, want you to get this content for free. And? And that’s what makes them proud to do this. And if and and if you’re like, oh, I really enjoy Astronomy Cast, but I can’t afford to be a patron. Great. Like, I’m sorry you can’t afford to be a patron. Like, that means. 

Pamela Gay [00:36:20] You give everything away. For what? 

Fraser Cain [00:36:21] We want you to have this content. We want you to have this content for free. We want you to be able to educate yourself on space and astronomy and science, and not feel one moment of guilt that you’re not supporting the work that we do. It is makes us, and I know it makes her patrons glad in their hearts to be able to do this for you. And this is how the whole system works. And we’re so grateful that this is like there is no paywall. You get this content free 712 episodes of Astronomy Cast, plus all the other work that we do across all those fields. It is yours to use and do with as you want for free. We love you. Now those patron names. 

Pamela Gay [00:37:03] Yes, you. You allow us to pay our humans. And this week’s names I will attempt to pronounce. I’m so sorry, everyone. This week’s names I will attempt to pronounce are Gordon Yang, Boogie Knight, Stephen White, Jeanette Wenk, borrow, Andre Lovell, Ziggy Kemmler, Andrew Plasterer, Brian Cagle, David Pogue, Ed David, Gerald Schweitzer, buzz parsec, zero. Chill, Laura. Kelson, Robert. Plasma, Joe. Holstein, Richard. Drum, les. Howard. Gordon. Does. Adam and these. Brown. Alexis. Felix. Good wonder and 101 club Bud throb loves science Kim Barron Astros that’s William Andrews gold Jeff Collins masa hello. Simon parton, Jeremy kerwin, Kellyanne and David Parker. Slug herald, Baden Hagen, Alex Cohen, Claudia mastroianni. Concepcion Franco, MH w 1961 super symmetrical. Thank you all so very much. 

Fraser Cain [00:38:15] Thanks, everyone. 

Pamela Gay [00:38:16] Goodbye. Astronomy cast is a joint product of the Universe Today and the Planetary Science Institute. Astronomy cast is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license. So love it, share it, and remix it, but please credit it to our hosts, Fraser Cain and Doctor Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today’s show topic on our website. Astronomy. Cars.com. This episode was brought to you thanks to our generous patrons on Patreon. If you want to help keep the show going, please consider joining our community at Patreon.com Slash Astronomy Cast. Not only do you help us pay our producers a fair wage, you will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites to online events. We are so grateful to all of you who have joined our Patreon community already. Anyways, keep looking up. This has been Astronomy Cast.