The difference between a scientist and a policy analyst

A man in a hot-air balloon is floating along and gets lost in a cloud. When there is finally a break in the cloud he sees a person on the ground and decides to descend to ask for directions.

The balloonist descends and hovers over the man on the ground and asks him where he is. The man on the ground shouts back, “You are at 45 degrees, 25 minutes, 29 seconds north, and 75 degrees, 42 minutes, 20 seconds west. I am standing at 100 metres above sea level, so you must be at about 120 metres.”

The man in the balloon replies, “You must be a scientist. I ask you a simple question, and you give me too much information and I’m still lost.”

The man on the ground calls back to the man in the balloon,“You must be a policy analyst. You came out of nowhere with your questions, I give you the most accurate and precise answer I can, you’re still lost, and you blame me!”

Joke told by a Dialogue Event participant to illustrate differences in perception between the science and policy communities.