DailyDirt: Basic Science Deserves Some Respect

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The National Science Foundation, which funds a lot of basic research at American colleges and universities, is facing a budget cut of $283 million this year, eliminating (up to) ~1,000 research grants. It's a shame because over the years many NSF-funded projects have resulted in discoveries that have turned into commercial products with significant benefits to society. Unfortunately, for people outside the scientific community, it's easy to overlook these impacts when trying to decide where to cut spending. Here are a few examples of why basic science deserves some respect. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.


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  1.  
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    Rabbit80, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    Religion

    Basic science isn't necessary when you teach religion in the science lessons.. God has provided all the answers you in a 2000 year old book!

    /s

     

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  2.  
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    Rabbit80, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Religion

    **you need**

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 5:30pm

    need more shark and laser research

    for one meee-llion dollars. muwahahahaa

     

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  4.  
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    Bri (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    Funding Woes

    The National Observatory on Kitt Peak is losing almost all funding, and the National Solar Observatory at Sunspot, NM is as well. This are huge, active sites for astronomy that are heavily used, but they are being shut down due to the budget cuts. Almost every school I applied to for Grad School as bought in to the telescopes there which is one of the reasons I applied to them, but it is likely they won't be running 2 years from now due to the cuts. It's also likely there will be less jobs for astronomers as well due to the cuts, since many positions are funded by grants.

    I love my field of research. Astronomy discovers so many mind blowing things every day, things people can't even BEGIN to make up on their own, but the government thinks it's not worth funding. Astronomy is one of the most inspirational and motivational fields that gets people interested in science at a young age, despite very few people becoming astronomers. I know everyone is hurting for money, but I wish there was some other way then taking it from the sciences where it actually does good.

     

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  5.  
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    CK20XX, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Religion

    I'm rather tired of the whole science vs. religion thing. Who says the two have to be mutually exclusive? Both have their share of hypocritical asshats, but both parties don't have to be in a battle to the death. Science is the vehicle through which we control and master the planet, unearthing the laws by which the universe operates and using them to create countless wonders, while religion polices us and teaches us how to respect our fellow man and not go overboard with our vices. And who is it who often comes to the rescue of the victims of tragedies and disasters? It's the churches, not the laboratories.

     

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  6.  
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    verifine (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 6:04pm

    Wailing

    All I hear is wailing and moaning about funding being cut. Does anyone care that as a nation we're actually spending MORE than last year? My salary didn't go up, did yours?

    Somebody somewhere is doing their best (worst?) to see to it that any "cuts" are made where it's going to hurt the most. Want to tour the White House, you know, that building that belongs to us? No chance.

    I just read that Kitt Peak is losing funding. I hate that, but who is cutting it? Some cold, calculating bean counter saw that this would personally impact the most people. How shameful, yet in the current government, the blame is never reflected on those who actually made the cuts. No, it's someone else's (fill in the blank here) fault!

    It's time to wake up and see that if your ox is being gored, it's an intentional act by the people currently in power. How does it feel to be a bargaining chip? How does it feel to be blatantly used?

     

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  7.  
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    Mike Soja, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 6:27pm

    Woe

    --*Sad fact: Funding for basic science research makes up less than 1% of the federal budget.*--

    I wonder why it should make up even that much.

     

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  8.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 6:36pm

    Oh, boohoo, for "scientists": just another welfare niche.

    College these days is mostly about how to apply for research grants so can live in luxury off laborers.

    "It's a shame because over the years many NSF-funded projects have resulted in discoveries that have turned into commercial products with significant benefits to society." -- Name three. Or three wonders that NASA has produced. -- Meanwhile, I can find a hundred to one gov't projects that resulted in better ways to kill, surveil, or control people.

    There were NO gov't grants in the old days for science or industry: you looked for private funding, and HOPED to get your invention protected by patent so that you could recover those "sunk (or fixed) costs". It made for wonderful focus of mind, rather than idle "studies" that always reveal the need for more studies. -- As Michael Rivero pointed out, now that they've allegedly found the "god particle", they're already saying may be six more: needz more moneyz.

     

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  9.  
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    Wolfy, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re: Religion

    Religion is the problem. Religion tries to assert knowledge that it does not posses. Then along comes science, doing it's discovery thing, and we find out religion does not have this knowledge that it claimed. All of a sudden, religion loudly proclaims there is a war on religion, by the minions of science.

    "Science is all lies from the pit of hell!" according to the ranking Republican Senator on the Senate Science Committee.

     

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  10.  
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    Wolfy, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 7:04pm

    I'm especially amused by people that say cut science funding, and use the interwebs to say it.

     

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  11.  
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    CK20XX, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Religion

    That's merely the stereotype. In reality, most people do not attend the Westboro Baptish Church, so to speak, just like how not all lawyers and politicians are pure evil.

     

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  12.  
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    CK20XX, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Religion

    You might be surprised to learn that about half the scientists in the world are some flavor of deist. This has included big names like Nikola Tesla, Kurt Godel, Francis Collins, Donald Knuth, and (maybe) Albert Einstein. William Ockham deserves an ironic mention as well; he was a friar, and today we see people using the razor he invented to practically slit their own wrists, such as by claiming that public shootings are caused by either lax gun control laws or violent video games. Society loves Ockham's razors like that, as they allow people to shut their minds and live with an overly simplistic view of the world, such as the idea that all internet piracy is evil.

    It's probably safe to conclude that either half the scientists in the world are enormously stupid, or that modern science is fully compatible with both theism and atheism.

     

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  13.  
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    Sacredjunk, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Oh, boohoo, for "scientists": just another welfare niche.

     

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  14.  
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    Digitari, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Oh, boohoo, for "scientists": just another welfare niche.

    the laser has already been mentioned OOTB, so I will give you 3 more. the LED, the transistor and the micro processor.

    2 of which you most likely used to put up your current post, funny that huh?


    OOTB is a fucking freetard and ADMITS it

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111208/12500917012/riaa-doesnt-apologize-year-long-blog-cen sorship-just-stands-its-claim-that-site-broke-law.shtml

     

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  15.  
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    Wally (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Religion

    "Religion is the problem. Religion tries to assert knowledge that it does not posses. Then along comes science, doing it's discovery thing, and we find out religion does not have this knowledge that it claimed. All of a sudden, religion loudly proclaims there is a war on religion, by the minions of science.

    "Science is all lies from the pit of hell!" according to the ranking Republican Senator on the Senate Science Committee."

    Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilee, Marie Curie...all Christians that made significant scientific discoveries we take for granted....Math and Physics, Astronomy, and nuclear physics.

    The problem isn't religion, it's ignorance towards those who have made discoveries.

     

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  16.  
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    Wally (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:29pm

    "Sad fact: Funding for basic science research makes up less than 1% of the federal budget. Even sadder is that cutting the small amount the government spends on basic science will have little impact on short-term fiscal goals, but its negative effects on the economy will be felt for decades to come, potentially costing the U.S. billions of dollars in missed future opportunities."

    Anyone who ever complained about "Reganomics", guess what, the US is now running on Obamanomics.

    Politics aside, NASA now mostly relies on private contractors rather than the US government.

     

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  17.  
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    Wally (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Re: Oh, boohoo, for "scientists": just another welfare niche.

    So you antagonize out_of_the_blue when he is right?

     

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  18.  
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    Wally (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:36pm

    You can use lasers to produce nearly absolute zero temperatures. Freezing helium :-) now that's cool :-)

     

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  19.  
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    Wally (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Oh, boohoo, for "scientists": just another welfare niche.

    The Higs-Bozen particle has been discovered and congruently confirmed with the 2 Large Harding Colliders.

     

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  20.  
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    Wally (profile), Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:49pm

    Re: Woe

    Hardon Coliders use a massive amount of electricity...

     

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  21.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Mar 20th, 2013 @ 2:57am

    Re: Oh, boohoo, for "scientists": just another welfare niche.

    The government has a moral duty to fund science, and not taking on that moral duty is a form of educational oppression.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2013 @ 4:50am

    Budget cuts abound - but thank god we are still able to wage multiple wars across the globe, it is after all most important to kill, maim, pollute and pillage.

     

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