The Teabagger War on Science: Important

I’m fine with this. But first, remove all politicization of science funding. All of it. Stem cells anyone?

Comments

  1. #1 itzac
    December 1, 2010

    It’s a good idea in principle, but it’ll likely turn into an exercise in ideological short-sightedness. Consider that the soccer research he mentions probably has implications in the development of AI, which is important given the growing role robots are playing in the US military.

  2. #2 Anastasia
    December 1, 2010

    Um, lots of basic research ends up being really pratical even if it didn’t seem like it at first. This disturbs me. Non scientists shouldn’t be deciding what topics are worthy of funding.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    December 1, 2010

    The republicans do this thing again and again. Some years ago, the NSF created a new rule: NSF admins will name your project. Previously, it had become fashionable, just for fun, for scientists to sometimes use cute phraseology in their project names (at least in some fields) and these were easily picked out by Repubs who wanted to damage science.

    The last round of this happened during the election, when Sarah Palin and John McCain attacked some projects. Oh, and Jindal on “volcanic monitoring … what the heck is that” as well.

    Unfortunately, a good amount of effort is spent by NSF admins and others dealing with this unnecessary garbage.

    There is a very very high probability that the information provided in this video about the NSF grants is simply bogus, or very poorly represented to be, essentially, lies. We shall find out soon enough, I’m sure.

  4. #4 John Moeller
    December 1, 2010

    I’ll second what itzac said, and add that computational research which analyzes human behavior has a good chance of being cited in research on monitoring crowds. Security, anyone?

    Note also the dog whistle term “university academics.”

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    December 1, 2010

    Note also the dog whistle term “university academics.”

    Yes, I cringed. Well spotted.

  6. #6 g724
    December 1, 2010

    I’m for taking the war into attack mode rather than playing defense.

    Any time a politician shows up at a public forum, someone in the audience should be prepared to ask *science questions,* of the type that any undergrad should be able to answer.

    Bottom line is, getting these obscurantist arseholes to squirm while demonstrating that they don’t know jack squat about science, would be a good thing. And following up with an appropriate rhetorical zinger as a complete putdown would be icing on the cake.

    Beyond that, we should insist that candidates for public office take public science quizzes where they are asked randomly-chosen questions and answer out loud, live on TV. And we should apply major ridicule to those who try to duck out.

    The way to deal with obscurantism is to make it totally socially unacceptable, like nose-picking at the dinner table.

  7. #7 MadScientist
    December 2, 2010

    This is yet another area where I don’t believe more laws will fix things. If grants are funding bullshit then there is a problem with the institutions giving out the money and the chiefs of those institutions should be responsible for cleaning up.

  8. #8 MadScientist
    December 2, 2010

    @John Moeller: How about the additional dog whistles: “founding fathers” and “constitution”. There are legitimate uses for those words, but Retardicans parrot them incessantly in their war on the constitution.

    @itzac: The British beat us to it. They have a robot which goes “exterminate! exterminate!” – and that’s really all you need of a robot.

  9. #9 MacTurk
    December 2, 2010

    In the context of the US deficit, this is a form of populist gesture politics which is a complete waste of time….but it really plays to the base’s dislike of “elites”(as in anyone who has an education/can read without using the index finger). As does the idea that grants “…which you don’t think is a good use of taxpayer dollars” should be reported. So the thickoes of Nebraska get the rights of oversight and veto re scientific research budgets? That will really help the Knowledge Economy. Next up, unbalanced pyromaniacs to be put in charge of all ammunition dumps and explosive factories.

    $750,000 or $1.2million, it is tiny, unimportant money. and those were the only examples he could come up with? In terms of basic research who knows what applications will arise? This is one reason why it is called “basic rersearch”. If we already know the outcome, why waste time and money on research?

    Now if he was serious about cutting waste, start with Defence….naw, NEVER happen.

    Is soccer some kind of dog whistle? A dangerous un-American sport, foriegn import, etc?

  10. #10 MacTurk
    December 2, 2010

    My apologies for the spelling errors, etc. It should have read “And those were the only examples he could come up with? In terms of basic research who knows what applications will arise? This is one reason why it is called “basic research””.

    I abase myself.

  11. #11 Birger Johansson
    December 2, 2010

    (OT)-Biological control of pests? You Americans need to vote one of these into congress if you want to stand up to the Republicans.

    A critter meaner than honey badgers and mongooses:
    “The hardest bat in the world” http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19791-zoologger-the-hardest-bat-in-the-world.html
    “…When a bat landed on a scorpion, it immediately tried to bite the scorpion’s head. The scorpion fought back by stinging the bat in the face, and on one occasion under the eyelid. The bat didn’t try to avoid it, or to break the stinger, and showed no ill effects whatsoever”

  12. #12 Jim Thomerson
    December 2, 2010

    Is it possible these folks are in the pay of unnamed nations who wish to see the USA fall behind in science and technology? That strikes me as a reasonable hypothesis.

  13. #13 Enoch
    December 2, 2010

    They should be investigated.

  14. #14 Equisetum
    December 2, 2010

    I think the investigation of the sound of objects breaking for use by the video game industry is abhorrent. It should be investigated for use by law enforcement and the military. Think it would pass the Tea Party Test then?

    (If so, I’m going to look into a career writing grant proposals.)

  15. #15 Eric Lund
    December 2, 2010

    Is soccer some kind of dog whistle? A dangerous un-American sport, foriegn import, etc?

    Remember that most of the rest of the world operates under the delusion that soccer is football, as opposed to real Murkin football (or the minor variations thereof that are found in Canada and Australia). Besides which, we didn’t get past the round of 16 in the World Cup–it’s not a real sport if we can’t make an even halfway plausible claim that we’re #1.

  16. #16 Don Smith
    December 3, 2010

    Gee, 75 families worked all year to fund this research? out 110,000,000 families? Or perhaps in more scientific terms, 0.7 ppm? Seems like a deal to me.

    BTW, I’d bet you could find 75 families that would be perfectly happy having their tax money spent this way.

    I think this guy is on to something!

  17. #17 Jim Thomerson
    December 5, 2010

    Because my taxes will be what they will be regardless, I have decided that my tax dollars go to pay for things I support, such as NSF. I feel better, knowing that I am not supporting the military-industrial complex. A little self delusion is not necessarily a bad thing!

Current ye@r *