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The Engineer
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The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/26/2011 2:03 PM

Astronomy getting squeezed

Astronomy is facing a lean decade. That was the message handed down by senior representatives of the federal agencies that fund much of the field's research in the U.S. during "town halls" with scientists here at the semiannual meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Science agencies are facing flat or declining budgets, and in that environment new astronomy initiatives will often be possible only at the expense of existing ones. "We can turn off the old to enable the new," NASA Astrophysics Division director Jon Morse said in a May 23 town hall discussion. "That's where we are from a budgetary standpoint." NASA funds space-based projects in the U.S., whereas the National Science Foundation funds terrestrial telescope projects. (Continued Here)

Golden Age of Astronomy

This is especially sad since we are essentially in a golden age of astronomy.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/gamma/groot.html

NOVA: People say we're in the golden age of astronomy. Do you agree?

Groot: Absolutely. It could become even more golden, but if you compare to, say, 50 years ago, the opening up of different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum has been very, very important in developing astronomy in the last few decades. [For a self-guided tour of the electromagnetic spectrum, see Tour the Spectrum.] We used to be able to see only optical light using normal, ground-based telescopes. Then radio telescopes became available, allowing us to look at the universe in radio waves. After that it was X-rays and submillimeter and infrared. Now basically the whole electromagnetic spectrum has begun to open up. Soon we may even be able to work with gravitational waves, which would be completely different from anything that we do at the moment.

Tragic

So here we are. Once again squeezing a billion here and there out of science. Is it worth it? I don't think so, but then I'm a scientist.

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The Engineer
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#246
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 2:03 PM

The federal government only had to start borrowing from social security after cutting income taxes significantly.

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#247
In reply to #246

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 5:31 PM

Just say'n.

If you were a magician at my kids party I would ask you to leave. See through and boring to the hilt. You are not, so I'll leave you to it and hope that you get out of were you are in a real rush. (That grand master thing)

This animal is by now so dead it beggars belief. Is it maybe something to do with your diet that makes you so inflexible and stubborn? And then your style!?!?. Imagine any of us or all of us meeting in some bar or in the woods. I think I could even manage a film crew.

What do your peers say? You must be like this all the time and possibly even with more vigor. Maybe there are many like you? I don't know but if ....wow, what a party... and all those clever followers.

The only reason I still follow this thread is to find out what drives you, what you goal is, how you plan to get there. I mean finding finance for research is a nagging part of the challenge but not The Problem. If you want to have a few more bucks on your side to live your dream go for it, good luck finding it.

Do you actually have a subject or idea you would like to spend these funds on? Or is it just that you would like to have the big toys and see what triggers your interest then, next. If you have a plan then you will have to execute it. If not, well, leave the club.

Welcome to the real world, Yk.

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#250
In reply to #247

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 6:39 PM

What are you even talking about? I work for a private company and have for the last 10 years. I don't own a home so aside from standard deduction I get no tax breaks. I'm one of the few people that pays the taxes here in the U.S..

You don't even live in the U.S. I have the right to have an opinion as to what my tax dollars are spent on, just like everyone else. God knows I pay more taxes than most and receive nothing back. I'm not funded by the federal government, I do my research on my own dime.

Also, I don't appreciate the personal attacks.

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#260
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 11:15 PM

KY,

Why the ad hominen attack on Roger? I'll admit that he chose an unpersuasive, even offensive argument for a worthy cause but this does not grant you or anyone the right to denigrate him. I'm certain that Roger never meant to offend with his philosophic perspective, but you clearly intended to emotionally harm. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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#248
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 5:32 PM

Umm, ok. So you are just confirming the budgetary item shown is actually just to repay the debt the government owes to the social security progam. Are you suggesting they default on the loans? Cutting taxes isn't related to the social security program, the subsequent action that had to be taken was the governemnt took loans from social security. Now it appears you are suggesting they not make their payments on their loans in order to support programs that will likely contribute nothing in the near future (our life times) to help the government repay those loans.

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#251
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 6:47 PM

How in the world did you get that as the conclusion I made? You guys truly just make things up.

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#257
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 8:21 PM

Conclusion fairly straight forward. You stated earlier "In fact we'd have to cut spending by about 45% "Across the board" in order to just stop adding to our national debt next year. That would mean unemployment checks half of what they are now. Social Security checks halved. Medicaid and Medicare coverage halved. Defense budget halved. Even doing that we would still have our 13 trillion dollar debt, we'd just not be adding to it." Thus you have been talking about across the board including social security also, which is actually part of the public debt of the country to the social security program, or even selected reductions to the largest programs. The only way to cut the debt payments to social security is to stop or reduce some of the payments. There is a reason it is a mandatory debt much like bond repayment. Whenever someone talks about reducing social security, all they are relly talking about is reducing the pay outs for retirements, so the fund can remain solvent with less debt service from the government. This would be directly equivalent to the government reducing bond repayments to reduce its debt service, except the whole bond process isn't buried somewhere inside the government.

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#259
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 9:23 PM

This has been another very long and interesting thread. Bottom line.........................................we elect people that are addicted to spending money....................money that they have not earned.................money that is earned by others...................money that pays their salaries and very generous benefits that they vote themselves................on the side they set up lucrative deals for themselves when they leave public office.

This is not f**king rocket science. We live under a corrupt, one party system.

Only the people that earn the money to pay for it, can change it....................before they change us.

Wake up!!!

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#262
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 5:27 AM

Sorry for the little rant roger. I had just heard a blurb that every US household currently owes over $500,000 on our current debt, and they are clamoring to borrow more. The "wake up" was for all of us.

I think there is an us and them, The ones that run the country and their close friends and associates............................and the rest of us. I don't think any of us can afford to vote for any of "them" that doesn't promise to stop this hemorrhaging of money.

Think of the science funding that the interest alone could cover.

rant off

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#263
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 11:32 AM

Well now you can not solely blame politicians, some one has to vote for them or at least refuse to vote for an opposition candidate. Those people who elected the "corrupt" representatives are the rest of us.

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#264
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 11:47 AM

Correct. I can't help but wonder if they are all in the same club, and their arguments are nothing but smoke that's conjured up to convince us that there are two parties.

If that's the case, our votes don't mean much.

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#265
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 11:53 AM

A problem arises when the only choice is corrupt candidate A or corrupt candidate B. Which, too often, seems to be the choice; two sides of the same coin. Republicrat or Demican.

Elephants and Asses leading the masses.

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#266
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 12:05 PM

Yeah, and every 4 years we get to listen to them tell us what a mess the country's in and that they will fix it.

In the meantime "we" as in "us", had nothing to do with getting the country in the mess, except for voting for one of "them".

It's getting very old...........................or maybe I'm just getting old and I've heard it too many times.

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#267
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 12:40 PM

Every four years?!? Well there's your problem. Its the politicians that are closest you that have the most dramatic influence on you and your community. If you only get interested in politics and vote when there's a president running for office then you deserve the local misery you get.

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#268
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 12:48 PM

I look into the people/issues and vote every time the opportunity comes up. I can't stand it when people whine, that haven't voted.

I'd vote once a week if I could. The people we are voting in to represent us, aren't doing a very good job.

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#269
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 1:38 PM

You do realize you could seek to have them recalled or impeached if they aren't doing the job or are corrupt. If you can make a compelling argument and gain public support it would happen. The Governor of California was impeached just about 8 years ago for making bad contract deal with public services unions (the rallying cry was particularly oriented regarding the contract with the prison guards union). Nearly every governor in California since the 1960s has had to go through some form of recall process. If your representative in congress is corrupt start generating a ground swell of public support for an impeachment. Alternately, if it isn't worth the effort wait until next election and do not vote for that guy, vote for a third party guy. Unusually high voter turn out for third parties is disconcerting to the major candidates (and in some cases, such as Teddy Roosevelt, a third party guy actually beat one of the major candidates though he lost to the other, the winning candidate was a digression from standard politics just to address the popular threat of winning that Roosevelt posed).

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#270
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 2:09 PM

Only California has California's constitutional laws. In most states the state legislature is the only one with the vested legal authority to impeach the state executive.

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#271
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 4:08 PM

Recall differs form impeachment. 18 States currently have public recall processes for State officials, with Illinois amending their State constitution to include it (mostly in the western US). It just happens that it doesn't occur very frequently,and when it does, the recall usually fails. Only one other governor has ever been successfully recalled, in the Dakotas I believe. All States allow for recall elections for local officials. Federal government doesn't allow for recall, though it has been proposed a number of times in the past. So there are a number of corrupt officials you do have the capacity to recall, and recall of those officials can have a substantial impact on future decision-making of others (some who you may not be able to recall, but probably see the writing on the wall to change or lose the next election).

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#272
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 4:31 PM

Yeah, I guess the next step would be some sort of political activism. Paying attention and voting for the people that I think have the country's, (not my), best interests at heart, isn't cutting it.

I think, despite the fact that we are broke, most of them are still trapped in a , "bring home the bacon", mentality. That, and maintaining their own power. It's disgusting. This is far beyond getting rid of a few bad apples.

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#273
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 5:59 PM

Apples only go bad if you don't manage them properly, and allow an infestation to take hold and/or allow them to sit there and rot. Though I guess apples could start out bad, if you also consider taste that is, but again i guess that could be attributed to farmersfor not planting the correct type of apple tree for the use he intended.

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#275
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/09/2011 7:06 PM

I thought I was a talker.

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#278
In reply to #273

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/10/2011 1:01 AM

I think you are getting closer to the root failure

elections are popularity contests, we vote for candidates, more than ideas

governance by sound bite

the current arrangement is such, I still want the bring home the Bacon guy

otherwise I am in effect subsidizing all the other districts in the country

Kramarat mentioned, he would vote every week if he could

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/14391

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#279
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/10/2011 2:51 AM

Those were the days. Sparky was still at his best. I find it very brittle around here (this thread) at times. Just not an American enough to be able to understand I suppose.

Thanks for the reminder, Ky.

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#280
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/10/2011 5:59 AM

All of us need to get off bacon. Through our elected representatives, we've become dependent on it...........................and it's killing us.

The sooner we get started, the sooner and less painful the withdrawal symptoms will be.

The states, over time, have become so beholden to Washington, that they have effectively lost the ability to make decisions on their own.

I, for one, am very happy to see states refusing high speed rail money from Washington. It's a start.

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#281
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/10/2011 7:24 AM

I, for one, am very happy to see states refusing high speed rail money from Washington. It's a start.
Me too it's good for our economy here in California

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#286
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/10/2011 2:43 PM

Let me know when you guys have railroaded yourselves into the black.

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#283
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/10/2011 1:34 PM

This like world politics or local politics is both wrong and right. For smaller, poorer States that maybe are a little slower to modernize, they may become beholden to the US government. While some larger more economically advanced States tend to drive federal activities. Obviously some States have also made efforts to skew their influence by the way they handle some of their Federal electoral processes. There are many cases in which the Federal Government follows the lead of some States, and the change that occurs in federal regualtions follows State regulations.

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#23
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 2:37 AM

Dear Mr. Roger Pink you are wrong.

If you ain't got bread, water, shelter for you and your dependants, would you use your last $/£/€ to redecorate your house (assuming you have one).

Get real and organise your priorities

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#252
In reply to #23

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 6:50 PM

Dr. Roger Pink you mean. Or I don't deserve the title that I worked 8 years for, putting myself through graduate school while working full time?

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#258
In reply to #252

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 9:00 PM

It's Dr. Evil, I didn't spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called "mister," thank you very much.

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#8

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/26/2011 5:50 PM

http://www.spatialsource.com.au/2011/05/10/article/Australia-and-South-Africa-vie-for-massive-radio-telescope-project/MXEWXTHPSZ.html

Have a look. Maybe a move is on the cards for you .. ah..em...in the stars for you. The project seems to be going ahead just a matter of where.

Happy gazing, Ky.

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#9
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/26/2011 5:58 PM

No offense, but I'd rather spend the rest of my life fighting for what I think is right in my own country than move to a place with as many venomous animals as you guys got, no matter how admirable the science investments are there. :)

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#10

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/26/2011 6:20 PM

I'm a middle of the road guy on this.

On one hand I'll have to agree with you that whenever cuts are made science programs take a hard hit (and with minimal research you can generally find they're asking for what amounts to 0.00003% of the military budget). On the other I'd agree with USB that we as a nation do need to spend less.

If there's one thing I've learned about budgets though, it's that they're never the "absolute minimum" to accomplish the task (far from it). There are managers who always ask for more than they need so they have some padding. There are wants and needs. Every budget has room to trim. In my experience as an engineer, I've found that with a little help, a little insight, and a little ingenuity, the price of a project can be brought down significantly with minimal or no sacrifice in quality.

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#11
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/26/2011 6:27 PM

You Wrote:"a little insight, and a little ingenuity, the price of a project can be brought down significantly with minimal or no sacrifice in quality."

If that were true by now we'd be able to make things for free without any sacrifice in quality. In other words, there has to be a point where what your saying no doesn't hold.

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#45
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 10:46 AM

How many projects out there are 100% optimal in terms of cost, efficiency, and effectiveness? How many power plants, manufacturing plants, refineries, water treatment plants, etc, etc have NO modifications made to them after the initial commissioning? Talk to anyone in nearly any industry and they will have a "why did the engineer do it that way" story that describes an improvement made on the original design.

What I've come to understand is that engineering isn't about finding the absolute best solution, it's about finding a good solution in a time effective manner. Is it possible for a non-engineer to come up with a better solution? Absolutely. Given days and weeks to think about it, discuss it with others, do some research a better solution is often found. Unfortunately, most engineers don't have the luxury of time to over analyze a situation.

I think there is point though, as you say, where the price can't be brought down any further without sacrificing something. However, I have yet to see a project built that doesn't have some way that could have reduced the overall cost.

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#46
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 10:56 AM

I agree that no project anywhere is done with 100% efficiency (or even close to it). Where I disagree is that if you give the project less money it will become more efficient. I have never personally seen that happen.

However, our disagreement with regard to ways of generating efficiency aside, let us for a second pretend I agree that cutting costs will improve efficiency...

What should we cut and by how much in order to fix our debt?

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#57
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 12:32 PM

Perhaps I misstated what I was trying to say. I didn't mean to say they could do more with less, I simply meant that most projects have room for improvements to accomplish the same purpose with less funding.

As to the national debt directly... my solution is to first overhaul the accounting and spending practices.

A quick example that I've personally witnessed was this... One program by it's own actions had a budget surplus nearing the end of its financing period. The surplus was used to buy a $10,000 TV. As it turns out, the surplus was planned in order to make the purchase. In science project terms, this is "I need $30M to do this project (insert funding)... oh, look, it only cost $24M so I have an extra $6M to spend on bells and whistles... or (insert other wasteful spending items here)".

To me this is a completely unacceptable practice, but follows all the rules. So, the rules need changing. The mentality of "use it or lose it" needs to go away.

I have no data or references to predict how much of an impact putting EVERY program on a realistic budget would have, but I would tend to believe it would be significant.

Secondly, I want a true account of exactly what money our government is holding. I heard a man (a governmental accountant) on the radio talking about our government's accounts, where what money is, and how it is all tracked. He said if we did a simple sum of all the accounts, the total is mind boggling high. As I recall, he said if we took a look at only the accounts that are "trusts", we would end up with a total somewhere near 30 trillion. It seemed a little outrageous to me and I tried to just do some research to find a reference, but couldn't find anything. So I'd then take a close look at what these trusts (if they even exist) are set up for and how much of it could be spent under the new accounting paradigm.

So I don't know where we'd end up exactly at this point. But it brings me to my final thoughts (and note I am purposely avoiding looking at raising taxes as solution until the issues with wasteful spending has been addressed). There is room in ALL programs for cuts and it should be done. Finally, and probably one point many will argue against, is to intentionally devalue the debt. As I recall from my economics course, it has historically worked as long as it is controlled.

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#59
In reply to #57

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 12:48 PM

I agree that every government project is not 100% efficient. I also agree that accounting changes could be made to make them more efficient. I pointed out earlier that we'd have to cut everything by 45% across-the-board in order to eliminate the deficit next year. This still leaves us 14 trillion in debt.

So the question becomes, do we actually believe that we can basically cut all funding by 45% through efficiency improvements? My personal opinion is no.

Also, people are imperfect, so any organization they are involved in will be imperfect. I'm not saying we shouldn't try for better efficiency, but I am pointing out that perfect efficiency is impossible.

So if we wait for perfect efficiency before we consider other approaches, we are basically waiting for the impossible to happen. If not, if instead we wait for a certain level of efficiency, how will we know when we've obtained it? How would we measure efficiency? What would be the threshold where we could then consider other approaches too to close out the rest of the debt.

My point, is that although I agree with what your saying, I don't see how it could be practically implemented. If we don't have something we can practically implement, I don't see how we can solve the debt crisis with it.

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#62
In reply to #59

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 1:08 PM

I'm going to get shredded for this...

I think we need to stop depending on the government to help us. We need to take back control of our lives and put the responsibility for it back in OUR hands. This means when I need a doctor, I don't depend on medicare, I go and work for it or I don't go. Same goes for medication. We need to take care of our families. If they are too old to work, the kids need to step up.... not draw additional income from the government.

I'm going to pre-qualify this next statement by saying I am ex-military and I SERVED. I don't know how much of our budget is military pay, but I almost get red in the face when I hear how our soldiers are "living below the poverty line" and how unacceptable that is. I was there, I know... and it is BS. Soldiers draw a huge salary when all the benefits are taken into account. It isn't uncommon for a active military persons to pull thousands a month AFTER all the bills are covered. I'm not saying they aren't worth what they do, but I'm saying that most 18-22 year olds in the civilian world do not have thousands in play money each month. These are your tax dollars.

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#27

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 7:51 AM

I'm guessing that this is stemming from the constant drum beat that we hear, that, "Only the government can get it done."

Don't buy into this Roger................it's a lie.

During this recession we've seen industry after industry, company after company, and even individuals, prove that productivity can be increased with fewer people.................only the government insists that only by expanding, can they get things done. This is a fallacy that needs to be thrown out the window.

Don't fret. We can drastically shrink the size and cost of government, across the board, and things, (including research), will continue.

Here's some interesting reading. It's particularly amazing, that for the most part, the entire industrial revolution was ushered in without government involvement. How could that be?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funding_of_science

Scientific research is going on around the globe, with unprecedented collaboration happening between different countries and institutiions.

A budget cut is not an attack on science................it's our new reality if we don't want to completely drown ourselves in debt. If we end up with a country that's mired in debt, and a population that is slipping into a third world standard of living, it's not going to be much to brag about that we can see distant planets.

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#28

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 8:24 AM

Apparently the 'fate of the masses' is less worthy than your own.

"Pragmatically" - a word America invented - the US is now 2nd tier (at best) in astronomy, so pragmatically not deserving of government 'exemption' (read subsidy) - unless you wish to invoke a 'socialist perspective'.

Personally I find it hilarious how laissez-faire suddenly becomes "save me" when the forces go against the advocates who wish the rich not to be taxed, in case they in turn become rich.

But this is the endemic fantasy of the "American Way"

Can I think of 1 single reason you, or US science, should be exempt from the forces you hold above compassion for the 'fellow American"?

No

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#29

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 8:39 AM

What is extraordinary to me is I've read many responses this morning, and not one was in response to my posts showing the math.

Are any of you willing to respond to the fact that we must cut spending "across the board" by 45% just to stop adding to the debt and that still leaves us with a 13 trillion dollar debt?

I guess what I'm asking is, how serious are we about getting rid of the deficit? You all seem very serious judging by your responses. So how would you do it? I think I've shown that regardless how you or I feel about the "correctness" of across the board cuts, which we could argue all day, it's a pointless argument because it isn't even practical (unless you believe a 45% cut to everything is possible).

Please explain what I'm missing in your arguments.

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#35
In reply to #29

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 9:06 AM

To make it as simple as possible, the math is, that there are thousands of agencies, organizations, special interests, defense contractors, countries, non-profits...........................on and on, that feel the same way you do. Cut everything else, but not the stuff that we feel is important.

All of them have arguments that contain valid points.

We are simply out of money. We are also getting dangerously close to losing our ability to borrow more.

We could start an entire new online forum for people to argue why cuts shouldn't be made to the things they feel passionate about. I'm not sure that this is the place to do it. In fact, I'm checking out of this thread................maybe someone else can make it more clear.

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#38
In reply to #29

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 9:28 AM

I didn't read all the posts here but I think you are right in saying that it isn't practical. I believe a politician recently made a push for trillions in spending cuts only to get shot down (heard something about this but never got the full details).

"So how would you do it?"

If I was in a position to manage the budget, the first thing I would do is get a list of spending on each line item and prioritize everything.

This may sound harsh but I believe the government should operate the same way any family would. If you're poor, you cut all spending except on necessities. There's a lot in our budget that we can live without (including the new health care bill but that's not a discussion for here). Everything that we can live without would be 100% cut.

After that, I would cut a percentage of spending on everything that is needed but not fully needed.

But without going through the budget in detail and looking at what's absolutely needed, I can't give you details on what I would cut. Of course that's not my job either.

By the way, did you hide a political debate inside of a science discussion on purpose? Lol.

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#40
In reply to #29

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 9:33 AM

It is downright scary if not depressing. Things are only predicted to get worse and it just hammers the point in that we need to change our spending and the size of government.

This isn't going to be easy and cutbacks will also ripple back into our economy. So, whatever plan we implement it is going to require a lot careful planing and a resolve to execute. Your example is simplistic and probably fraught with issues, but does a great job of illustrating the expanse of the problem.

It is much like becoming 150 pounds overweight. You didn't get to be 150 pounds overnight and there is no reason one should expect to loose 150 pounds in a week, let alone a year.

Here is an interesting graph that shows just where this train(wreck) is heading with respect to spending versus GDP. Notice that it is going to be the interest on our debt that is going to kill us.

The problem with this graph is that we will ever reach the predicted end because the path there is unsustainable - we will collapse as a society. So drastic cuts are going to be needed, which will most likely include government funding for science. Indirectly, I think your latest argument supports the probability of more cuts in science. That is not a conspiracy, but simple reality.

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#71
In reply to #40

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 5:47 PM

Interesting. Though it is ambiguous in regards to social security. Social security is a program separated from the government budget. What the governments involvement in social security, beside managing the program, is as a debtor to the program. The federal governemtn has a debt service to repay the loans it has taken against the social security program. So my question is, is that the debt service the government has to repay their obligations to social security or the social security program itself.

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#66

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 2:20 PM

Through this entire thread nobody has suggested that you find new revenue sources.

Legalize drugs!

This will illiminate all the costs associated with your unmentioned third war. Release from prison all those being held strictly on possession or trafficing charges, another huge savings. Tax the drug industry as you tax tobacco and alcohol.

Now do the same with prostitution.

Remove all tax breaks and exemptions given to religions.

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 2:24 PM

Remember what happened to China after the British forced drugs onto China.

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 2:39 PM

Nobody said anything about force. People who want drugs are going to get drugs. Doesn't matter to them if they buy them from the Mafia, Al Queda or the USDA. Remember what happened when the USA lifted prohibition? Oh ya nothing. In fact alcohol use declined slightly once the allure of the illegal speak-easy was gone. There was also a steep decline in related medical problems once the quality of the product was improved and people stopped drinking wood alcohol.

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#249
In reply to #68

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/08/2011 5:57 PM

Well actually they didn't force the drugs on China. Britain had a trade agreement originally to open china to the opium trade this was to offset some of the trade deficit Britain had with China over Tea. They did force the trade agreement through political manuevers. The opium wars came decades later when the trade deficit had shifted, and China was suffering from a huge opium problem. China wanted to ban the opium trade within its borders and Some British agents manuevered to maintain it, to a point of open warfare with the Chinese. Now in ending each opium war the British negotiated better trade deals and private ports for their agents, diplomatic benefits, forced the chinese to open the country to foreign traders, gained slave labor agreements for chinese laborers, and maintained the opium trade. Really didn't have to force opium on the chinese, just had to keep them from being able to ban it after it had proven to be a serious detriment to their society.

BTW the US also had to ban opium, there was a huge opium addiction problem casuing many problems across the country. Fortunately we were strong enough to dissuade the British profiteers from considering any force as a means of keeping the markets open (plus it might have been a harder sell to get sufficient british public support which without which the government could not have supported such efforts).

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#69
In reply to #66

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 5:17 PM

with all the bureaucracy for enforcement and taxation of tobacco with the associated cost to society of related health problems it has actually been a net loss, and alcohol still has a trade in illegal alcohol. Part of the changes in prohibition may be more strongly correlated with the financial circumstance at the end of prohibition relative to that during the midst of prohibition (or peoples perceptions of the circumstances the lived in). Even then we have a huge bureaucracy built around enforcement and taxation of alcohol alone, and without it we'd have never had stock car racing. Plus look at what has been happening in Fresno California with the medical marijaubnua growers assassinating each other and destroying or stealing each others crops, the crops were legal and regulated, but the major crime actually increased with regard to the marijauna trade. Fresno is considering banning medical marijauna now that they are seeing some of the problems. Very seldomly do such industries pay for themselves let alone offset other costs incurred by the government. This is where they went wrong trying to legalize marijauna in California, they claimed it would pay for itself and some of the State Debt, but the analysis actually showed it would increase the bureaucracy and pay almost nothing in taxes as there would be eseentially sales to tax, and trying to tax individuals growing would be extremley hard for the governemnt to enforce. Now other drugs such as Meth would not be so hard to tax, if there was motivation. Of course there are the social consequences of legalizing Meth.

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#70
In reply to #69

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 5:44 PM

I hadn't heard about the problems in Fresno. My guess is that by passing the marijuana laws for medical use, they knocked a lot of the profit out, but left in place the profit motive. The medicinal use law is not the work of a caring government, it's the work of a government that wants a piece of the action in the form of taxes.

They fail to realize that complete decriminalization across the board would save them millions in prison, enforcement, and court system money. People that wanted to use marijuana would simply grow it themselves, the bottom would drop out of the price, and the criminal elements would quickly lose interest.

I'm not prepared to say the same for meth. That is one brain rotting, insidious drug. Although I don't think simple possession should result in court or jail............for any drug. It just gums up the justice system with idiots and wastes a lot of time and money. Money that could be used for science.

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#72
In reply to #70

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 6:00 PM

Actually, Fresno, just kind of made it legal, they didn't change any motivations. You must have a prescription for medicinal marijauna use. What they did is allow people to cultivate marijauna legal for medical dispensories. Apparently, the growers have become entangled in a kind of drug war of who controls the medical marijauna cultivation markets, something like the cattle wars or land wars of the late 1800s. some growers are trying to drive other growers out of the market and gain greater market shares and control of the markets, and new growers are trying to open up opportunities for themselves to get in at the ground floor and get some control of the markets. The difference is the people who have a primary interst in these businesses typically have gang affiliations and have a different understanding of dispute resolutions in legal businesses. Rather than using legal or financial means they use murder, theft and arson as a primary tool in the business. Think cattle wars in New Mexico in the 1880s between the established large cattlemen and the immigrant Irish, except instead of cattle they are using marijauna. In truth all it would take would be one moderate sized California farmer to replace his Strawberry or Alfalfa crop with Marijauna and the legal market would be flooded and crash (of course that is not worth it for the grower to change crops). So there is a very small limited market size, unless they get more users involved and increase the market size, much like Pershing helped do during WWI.

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#202
In reply to #70

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

06/03/2011 5:45 PM

For those who still believe the war on drugs is necessary should read this very timely study. A very impressive list of commissioners with a very important message that will no doubt fall on deaf ears.

Even if there is no new income source found by decriminalizing narcotics the cost cutting alone will make a noticable difference.

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#86

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/27/2011 10:45 PM

Thanks to Roger for posting this in General

& not on your blog

Further thanks to OBO for not shutting it down

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#90
In reply to #86

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 12:21 AM

I always admire the mental gymnastics of when people mischaracterize me and then act surprised or grateful when my actions don't support those mischaracterizations, as if I've acquiesced to something rather than just continued to be who I am.

In other words, there is no need to thank me for being who I've always been.

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#91
In reply to #86

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 12:33 AM

Hi Garth

I just got back from the hardware store and on the way there I couldn't remember if this The Antiscience Strikes Again! was a blog or a "normal" thread. Lucky it's the latter because other wise thin air would be the result.

I too think that this is a very relevant subject but there are other more pressing matters to be resolved as this discussion has shown. First things first. No, not Roger last, nor anyone else but some priorities have to come into play at one stage.

Legislating these changes? Only a dictatorship can do that so we have to find another way. The trusted old dictatorship of Mammon has failed, again and again. Please, not again!

True Democracy?

Churches not paying tax?

Diplomacy not winning over war?

What is this place? Maybe stuck in the 1800rds? We are in the twenty first century for whatshisnames sake and bloody still believe in printed pieces of paper? " But they were printed such a long time ago and by such and such". Is it me that is old fashioned? The world has changed and will keep doing so. It's just a Punch and Judy show for rich people (But I am richer) and that must (yes please) change.

I mean who are we kidding? I think it would be a good idea if some, if not most, should start spending on surviving rather than living. Think of it as a human disease which had to come at one stage of our evolution. We know how to avoid the pest and so we should avoid living a lifestyle which beggars belief and runs us all into the ground.

I think we have seen nothing yet. It will take a huge effort to get out of this and sacrifices will be made, some more some less, it makes the world go round.

The Good news:

As always and with everything; It comes in waves.

Have one on me and cuddle a pony for me too, Ky.

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#92

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 12:47 AM

I'm late to this debate but there are a few things I want to say.

I agree with you Roger, it is a tragedy that Astronomy will likely stagnate for the next decade. Astronomy and all public Scientific work will have great difficulty finding ways to fund their research. But in an era where America's rich get tax refunds and America launches not one but two wars paid for on credit, something eventually has to go. Unfortunately for all of us the military industrial complex has their hooks deep into Congress. The military budget will be one of the last things considered for cutting by Congress. As proof, in February the F35 second engine program was supposedly killed, but now it might come back. Why do we need this boondoggle? We still spend more money on defense than the entire rest of the planet for Christ's sake. Some claim that we need two engine manufacturers to promote competition in making the F35 more cost effective. This sounds like a good idea since the F35 is supposed to be the frugal bird in our newest aerial arsenal of the F22 and F35. But lets look at the numbers. http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2010/05/benchmark-contest-f-35-cost-vs.html At the end of this fiscal year the F22 and F35 programs will have cost us about $67 billion dollars each. For the F22 this money has given us 188 combat aircraft. For the F35 we have 14 test aircraft. The military industrial complex needs a lesson in math. In contrast the entire NASA budget (including shuttle launches and all R&D projects) for 2010 was $18 billion. Now I am mixing time periods here but I'm also mixing goals. The goal of NASA is to gain knowledge for all of humanity and to improve life here on Earth by studying Earth from space and to study space itself. A complicated, difficult task that we are finally able to do. The goal of the F35 is to be the most fierce killing machine of other humans and their machines. We will hide as many secrets as we can about these machines even though we will be selling them to many of our Allies, just like the F14s we sold to Iran.

For millennia humanity has found many fierce methods to kill others outside and inside our tribes. We've also looked up at the night sky and wondered what was out there. Now that we can finally answer this question we won't because somebody wants to be able to kill people. Sigh.

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#96
In reply to #92

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 1:10 AM

Unfortunately I agree about the complex, though I also think the fact that we have 25 restaurants per square mile, our national sport is shopping, and a lot of people are medicated is not helping us. I just feel like as a nation we are desperately trying to distract ourselves from the fact that maybe we aren't happy the way things are.

The solution to the debt problem in my opinion is a combination of tax increases and entitlement cuts. I would be surprised if anyone here was surprised that's what I believe.

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#95

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 1:09 AM

As it has been asked;

The problem is not dissimilar to dealing with maxed out plastic (credit card) 'morally'

The choices are; 'stop spending', or, 'find more income'.

The complication for a government is every dollar spent is a job*

So the outcome of spending cuts, is greater unemployment and a larger unproductive sector - which is the antithesis of 'find more income'.

You can find more income by;

Eliminate waste - improve productivity i.e. get more work for the same money.
Eliminates rorts - tax avoidance schemes, tax exemption provisions and the multitude of tax loopholes.
Raise tax

You can find pseudo income - presuming the debt is offshore - by devaluing the currency (in hand)

An upside of this is the price of imports rise, so duty and tax revenue rise.

This, in combination with the cut in 'real income' (via more work and higher tax), may make local industry competitive again.

[an important fundamental is; dollars buy labor - everything else is in effect free]

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#97
In reply to #95

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 1:14 AM

Isn't it funny?

Raise taxes and you lose jobs.
Cut spending and we lose jobs.

So our only option is to make things more "efficient". That's what we've been saying for 20 years now. Apparently "make things more efficient" is code for "borrow like hell".

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#98
In reply to #97

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 2:01 AM

Raise taxes is not necessarily lose jobs.

And often, tax systems, and governments, get corrupted by this employer mantra.

But yes, if you regard 'efficient' as meaning; everybody contributes more/pays more/demands less, until the country is living sufficiently within its means to make inroads on the debt.

(Effectively) Taxing those with 'adequate income' a little more, to create more jobs, is ultimately to everyone's benefit.

[I shall now brace myself for the "damn communist" retorts]

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#108
In reply to #98

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 9:51 AM

I agree. I think both of the statements I made are political boogie men to prevent us from doing the obviously right thing to get our debt in order.

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#99
In reply to #95

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 2:36 AM


You can find pseudo income - presuming the debt is offshore - by devaluing the currency (in hand)

An upside of this is the price of imports rise, so duty and tax revenue rise.

which also lowers the price of exports, encouraging manufacturing to in source

manufacturing has grown for how many months?

of course we can greatly increase the efficiency of government, there has yet to be a serious effort [unlike what MPH would lead us to believe]

this doesn't mean form yet another commission to suck down untold billions only to conclude the status quo is doing a fine job

we need decisions based on more informed opinion & less sound bite/talking point

we can't just reduce spending at the federal level by passing the buck back to the states, which is what happens if the [party of no] succeeds in reducing taxes yet again/breaking Medicare/ SS/ increasing military spending............

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#100

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 6:31 AM

Default is not a viable option.

It's embarrassing enough that we have gotten into this mess, largely because of government meddling in markets where they have no business. Always under the guise of helping the disadvantaged, cleaning up the air, etc.

How do we get out of it? Well, we damned sure don't have time to do a ten year government funded study to figure it out.

We need people in Washington that have the guts to sit down and make the list, and the cuts simultaneously................and I mean cut deep!!!!

I'd rather see a decade of across the board suffering and cutbacks to get back on track, then our ultimate self destruction.

Whoever it is, can start here on the A's, and cut, slash, and eliminate, until they get to Z. That would be a good start.

At the same time, we need to pare down the role of government in our daily lives, and get them back to what they should be doing. Among those, national defense..................and yes, helping to fund scientific research.

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#101
In reply to #100

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 6:50 AM

Here's another giant waste of borrowed money. Unless the jobs are government jobs, I don't see any way they can attribute the jobs to the money with any degree of accuracy. Here in NC, a large portion of recovery money went to pay DOT workers to plant flowers and trees along desolate stretches of highway. Recovery?.........................................I don't think so.

http://www.recovery.gov/Transparency/RecipientReportedData/Pages/StateTotalsByAgency.aspx

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#102
In reply to #101

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 7:17 AM

Darn it! It pains me to say it, but the more poking around I do, and the more I continue to see vast amounts of money being squandered on meaningless crap, (even as we speak), I'm finding myself agreeing with Roger.

Science funding, (within reason), should be toward the bottom of the list.

I still can't justify the building of a giant super collider though.

At least not now.

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#103
In reply to #102

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 8:13 AM

I agree, except for the last bit of course ;)

You Wrote:"I still can't justify the building of a giant super collider though"

It's just that the science it would have uncovered would have been breath taking. At this point there are 4 cutting edge kinds of sciences: The big (cosmology, dark matter, etc.), The small (particle physics, quantum mechanics, etc), The precarious (chaos theory, nonlinear physics, phase transitions), and The complicated (networks, bayesian inference, computer modeling etc.). The supercollider would have really advanced our understanding of "the small".

In the past 100 years "The Small" has given us Atomic bombs, Lasers, Spectroscopy, X-rays and a ton of other stuff. It's hard to know what wonders we'll have as a result of better understanding "The Small". Unfortunately though, just like The Big can't be studied with tiny telescopes, The Small also needs massive tools to be studied.

10 billion dollars is a lot of money to be spent on anything, but I think it would have paid for itself many times over with the new technology that developed as a result. More importantly to me though, I would have understood that much more of how the universe worked. Well, it's too late now, but it seems like we're doing the same thing with "The Big" now. No Space Shuttle. More cuts.

There's Always Hope

Afterall, we're just doing with this debt thing the thing we always do:

"The Americans Will Always Do the Right Thing…After They Have Exhausted All the Alternatives."- Winston Churchill

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#105
In reply to #103

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 9:20 AM

The problem is, (and I think this is a big one), that the new technologies, and the cool products that stem from them, that we spend so much money developing, end up being exploited and manufactured overseas, only to be sold back to us.

We need to work on, ( and this ties into the government helping to make our business climate a globally attractive one), making any patents, technologies, etc., that are funded or partially funded with government money, keeping them in the US.

This would include the incentives to entice startups and manufacturing to stay here as well. Anybody else that wanted the things that are derived from our technology can buy them from us.

I know astronomy is another big one for you. There is a huge amount of data coming in, with amateurs around the globe helping to decipher it. That's a good thing.

Discoveries in space are interesting, but we also have many pressing issues here on earth where science is needed. Science funding, like everything else, needs to be prioritized. Unfortunately, in our current situation, some things, even things that may lead to important discoveries, are going to have to be temporarily shelved, or put on the back burner.

Did you look at that list of agencies?

I had posted that on another thread a while ago. It's mind numbing. Coming up with places to make cuts is easy......................................we just need people with the stones to do it.

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#107
In reply to #105

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 9:49 AM

I hear what you're saying, and agree there needs to be a tightening of international intellectual property laws and practices, but I think there are other factors that are making things rough on people.

Keep in mind that after WWII Europe and Asia lay in ruins and the only industrialized nation standing was the U.S. That's how we got so wealthy from 1945 till now. We literally had a monopoly on factories. Those days aren't coming back.

Of course if we could instigate a conflict where the Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Indians, and European Union beat each other to a pulp while we remained neutral, till the last second when we jump in and win it. Then help them all rebuild. That would bring back factory jobs. That might be difficult to pull off.

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#104
In reply to #102

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 8:13 AM

With the waste, it difficult to choose on the cuts. Whether with science or other productive spending the needs to be cut, which would you cut without cutting a program that would actually help the economic recovery.

It is the unproductive spending that needs to be address. As an individual program. It can be said, oh thats nothing. but adding cuts in programs as a whole and cumulatively, the cuts will have an impact.

One of the items, is our prison system. I feel that one has to look at what is cruel and unusual punishment is. I am for chain gangs to do some of the infrastructure work such as improving our highways and road systems.

As far as the costs it incurs with keeping the prisoners under control. Make it known, they are repaying the debt to society, Guards are armed, if prisoners get out of line. crack down on the group as a whole.

Just have to evaluate the guards psychological profile, to much sure these are not people who had issues growing up that passed on into their adult life.

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#106
In reply to #104

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 9:33 AM

Just have to evaluate the guards psychological profile, to much sure these are not people who had issues growing up that passed on into their adult life.

you've just excluded 99% of the present prison guards

I wonder how much more it would cost to build roads, bridges & sewers by hand?

would it even be possible to get the quality required?

of course maybe the whole thing could be privatized

kind of like Toll roads oh wait wrong thread

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#109
In reply to #104

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 11:03 AM

Oh boy............the prison system! I do a lot of talking about that outside of CR4.

I don't think chain gangs are the answer. I do think that prisoners should be working 8 hours a day 6 days a week on something productive, and that affords them a degree of self respect.

My thought was farming...............................raising food animals, growing crops, processing and canning the food, baking bread, etc. This food would be distributed to people that recieve food stamps, within a certain perimeter of the prison. The food stamps, in turn, would be reduced in a manner that was directly proportional to the food that was being supplied by the prisons.

Another thing that could be done at prisons, is running animal shelters. Working with animals has been shown to help with prisoner outlook and attitude.

Needless to say, these ideas would apply to the non violent offenders, which I'm pretty sure are the majority.

On the spending.....................when you stop to look at it, the majority of government spending is not productive, it results in a net loss.

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#110
In reply to #109

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 12:27 PM

You've touched on one of my pet peeves. The complaint that government is not productive / efficient. Business must be productive not government. Judging any government to business standards will guarantee that government will look inefficient in comparison for many reasons. Similarly businesses that are inefficient will eventually fail and collapse. This happens all the time usually in a peaceful manner as various forms of corporate bankruptcy. Governments also fail but rarely peacefully.

Oranges make lousy apples.

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#111
In reply to #110

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 1:30 PM

I do not think the peeve is just that the government is inefficient, it's that its bloated.

And the issue at hand, businesses and/or productive workers can no longer afford to keep the government going at it's pace. The ratio is just too great bad choice of words too close to even between the government worker and its programs (such as it's welfare) and productive worker.

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#112
In reply to #111

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 3:37 PM

You misunderstand, or more than likely I was not clear. My pet peeve is not whether or not there are too many or few people on the government payroll or if a particular program meets my idea of a good program. The problem that I was trying to point out is when people try to apply the business metric of productivity or efficiency to the non-business realm of government and government programs. Certainly one needs metrics in government and their programs but they should not be the same metrics that business needs to apply to stay profitable. I also find it absurd the pedantic mantra that commercial programs are always more efficient than public programs. An inefficient commercial program provider typically dies and leave more marketing ground for those who work more efficiently at making a profit. When you only examine the survivors, of course commercial providers will be more efficient. If you include both successes and failures, I'm not too sure. But not everything that need to be done can or should turn a profit.

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#113
In reply to #112

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 4:03 PM

I understand, I like to see a better or healthier ratio of numbers of a Taxpayer who produces something over a government employee

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#114
In reply to #113

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 5:27 PM

This is another Can-O- Worms, but, since the government makes the rules, from minimum wage to safety, why do government workers need to be unionized?

Unions were brought about to protect workers from corrupt corporations. Since the government, by it's very nature, is there to protect us from ourselves and others, why in the world would they need unions?

Can anyone answer this?....................................Honestly.

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#115
In reply to #114

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 7:30 PM

tell that to wisconsin union workers. In the private sector we been taking across the board wage cuts, reduced benefits and 401k corporate match since 1990. And now it finally reached wisconsin state union workers just this past few months......then they cry unfair. I have to hand it to wisconsin governor waker. He did what he said he was going to do.

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#116
In reply to #114

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 8:11 PM

I believe the real reason that unions came about was not solely corrupt corporations, but corporations that held a monopoly on that type of work. Frequently when management knew that they were the only game in town, they then became corrupt. (Too much power.) A miner in a one corporation mining town could not go down another mine shaft if he didn't like how things were done. This is the source of the corruption that lead to unions. By necessity there is one and only one government that hires government workers for each strata of government. Does anybody here think that government officials don't get corrupted by their power? This is why there are public employee unions.

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#117
In reply to #114

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 8:20 PM

"why in the world would they need unions?"

This and a number of comments on the 'metrics' that apply to government verses 'private venture', are related.

The role of government is to acquire goods and services for use of the 'people'.

It is, in a marketing model, the 'consumer' - not the 'seller'.

Government analogous to any parent purchasing for the 'use and welfare of their family'.

It should be looking for the best value for its income dollar.

The 'sellers' to government are looking for the best profit margin they can get.

So things like troops and tanks and roads and medical care, the judicial system, are bought from people who seek profit.

The more cumbersome it is to 'make a sale' the higher the overheads are for profit seeker to recover. This cumbersomeness is a straight out function of a 'committee', and one subject to 'competing wishes, fads' of its children at Christmas, and still meeting their basic needs.

So why a Union?

As said; the government purchases labor

Government does not purchase a road, or a tank, it purchases the labor from quarrying though to laying in place, or driving to war.

That labor purchase contains a profit, and ironically, all the cost of tax levied.

In that supply, a government union is the same as a 'private enterprise' seeking profit, by obtaining and 'exclusive supply agreement' with its customer.

Much like a lease, or ADSL contract, or any of the ways the private sector uses to secure its consumer base.

Well that's the 'metrics' - the rightness or wrongness or fairness, I'll leave to Americans.

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#118
In reply to #117

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/28/2011 8:32 PM

Well done 99.

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#121
In reply to #117

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/29/2011 7:58 AM

You make iut sound like the government likes to have it both ways.

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#123
In reply to #121

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/29/2011 8:39 PM

How so?

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#124
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Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 8:59 AM

I am not going to go into details of events or situations, so briefly put.

Sure the government looks for the cheapest most effective way of doing it. Just like private industry, and there is nothing wrong with that.

And like with private industry, the government employees are not held accountable.

but unlike businesses in private industry.

The business or firm is, where they can be sued, whether if its from incompetent employees or employees that do not give a $hit.

While in government the government or the government agents. are not responsible or accountable for their mistakes.

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#125
In reply to #124

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 9:26 AM

You Wrote:"The business or firm is, where they can be sued, whether if its from incompetent employees or employees that do not give a $hit.

While in government the government or the government agents. are not responsible or accountable for their mistakes."

Do you mean that the Government can't be sued? Because the government can be sued. Am I misunderstanding your point above?

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#127
In reply to #125

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:00 AM

There are departments in the government that is written in their by-law that the employees (Which is understandable) and department are not held responsible for the decisions they make. Of course these are their by-laws but they are also the statues as well.

I came across it about 3-4 years ago, did a quick search for an example. I recall it was total be accident when I found it. And looking for it it would be difficult.

So sure you can try and sue, some maybe you can even win, if your the attorney fees don't bankrupt you first.

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#129
In reply to #127

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:15 AM

You Wrote:"So sure you can try and sue, some maybe you can even win, if your the attorney fees don't bankrupt you first."

That sounds the same as suing a private company.

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#131
In reply to #129

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:22 AM

thats true, the only difference. in private industry that does carry insurance an attorney may waive the fee for a commission?

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#126
In reply to #124

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 9:27 AM

Really? Huh, did not know that. http://www.georgiainjurylawyerblog.com/2010/11/suing_state_government_in_geor.html

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#128
In reply to #126

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:08 AM

There are 49 other soverign states I do not know all the laws that abide by it. And as you can see, a tort reform act that that was initiated in 1992, there is a reason for that.

As far as Wisconsin our state is running behind that type of legistration. Last January we did just passed a tort reform, But it does not exstend to the state its self.

http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20110128/NEWS/110129911

And all what that is, is a cap.

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#130
In reply to #128

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:20 AM

I'm a little lost here. Tort reform is about capping the amount you can get in damages when suing certain businesses (hospitals for instance). That is a different thing altogether as to whether or not you can sue your government. Wisconsin like all states can be sued. If there are exceptions to this rule, and there may be, I haven't seen them:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_you_sue_state_government

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#134
In reply to #130

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 11:54 AM

A state can be suerd, but that State can refuse your right to sue them because. I believe it was Rhode Island or New Hampshire that refused one of the Indian tribes the right to sue over a casino plan, and since the agreement with the Tribe predated the US, The federal government wouldn't step in. The limited sovereignty of States, means they can refuse a law suit, they just have to make a reasonable sounding argument (which you must then challenge for the right to sue them). Any State can decide you can not sue it, and unless it violated a federal law in so doing, there is nothing that can be done but to keep fighting for the right to sue. States don't use this power all that often. This would not be an exception to your wiki, simply, your wiki states that it is possible to sue a State, but not that States can refuse the rights of some to sue them.

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#138
In reply to #134

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 2:33 PM

making an appeal of the decision, which the appeal is nothing legal or even falls under the judicial branch. its an internal review process withing the department.

What happens if stonewalled long enough, is the plaintiff loses interest or money and gives up and goes on with his life.....or what evers left of it

I am looking for the statues that reinforces what I said in an earlier post.

As far as the right to sue someone, one can sue anyone about anything.

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#132

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:39 AM

What happens to these numbers when the economy improves and tax revenue increases without higher tax rates? We enjoyed an amazing surplus from 2002 through 2007 that was squandered instead of being used for debt repayment. This surplus was also influenced by a hot economy.

The economy won't be in the toilet forever. When it improves we will move toward increased tax revenues again. Let's hope we don't blow it again but pay down debt instead.

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#133
In reply to #132

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 10:57 AM

I agree that when our economy turns around we should reduce our debt with most of the added revenue. This will provide a virtual emergency fund source that can be reduced in future hard times. But let me add a little bit of real trivia here folks. Does anyone here know when was the last time the Federal Government was not in debt and how long did it last? The first and only time was in 1835 under President Andrew Jackson and it did not last two years.

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#135
In reply to #132

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 11:58 AM

That's a good point. Give me a GDP growth percentage per year (reasonable please) and I'll make the calculation.

Of course I could turn around and ask you "what happens if we have a double dip recession?"

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Anonymous Poster #2
#136

Re: The Antiscience Strikes Again!

05/31/2011 1:51 PM

I'm usually late to the party, too. Here are some thoughts... not necessarily in the best order.

From a dreamers perspective, I think I would tend towards lighthasmass's suggestion of just starting over. But just like the space shuttle disaster, until you identify what went wrong and why, you can't guarantee the same results won't happen again.

So, from a practical point of view, the first thing is to analyze.

I posted this link in another thread, but it is germane here, too. The first step toward the Road to Perdition, is the pursuit of selfish motives via untruthful means. People mistrust politicians (and therefore government) for good reason.

This (study) leads one to think that the best leaders would be people who really DON'T want to serve as public servants. People who have no personal desire (except experiencing the joy that comes from being altruistic) that is going to be fulfilled by serving in government. I have posted a few times (not in so many words) that I think the best public servants would be engineering types. REAL analysis would be applied, hopefully, with the least amount of personal motives. No one is without motives.

To me, this also, obviously means removing money from politics as much as possible. It's one reason we have lifelong politicians. Being a public servant shouldn't become a career. (To my way of thinking, a public servant's standard of living should match the poorest people he represents. He should live in that part of his district when not in Washington. When in Washington, he should live in the equivalent to military barracks. I am NOT saying he has to live that way permanently, either. This, of course, could be a whole other discussion. It's the old saw, "Walk a mile in my shoes.") It should be a public trust that is passed on from one citizen to another, without regard to any personal gain. I think any of the posters here could write a good list of the criteria of the way "society" ought to work. Government is an expression of society -- not the other way around.

From that perspective, I would think, you, Roger would make a good public servant. (And I am NOT being facetious or patronizing!) I may be wrong, but I think the thought of being a politician (as currently practiced) would make you want to run the other way. Why? Because you DO abhor dishonesty and obfuscation, and seemingly value knowledge and altruism. I think the first thing you would want to do (which is somewhat what you are asking when you say you want to see numbers) is to really see true and honest numbers -- not "accounting" numbers. They are too easily subject to obfuscation.

I know this sounds too idealistic. But I think it is the root of the problem of government and society, too. If we want better government, then we need better leaders. And in light of the study cited (which actually appeals to common sense and casual observation), that means removing incentives from serving in government that would encourage those who seek to dominate others from running for office. The most obvious incentives are money and power. There are a few who care, but how often are they given the spotlight in the media? Media is also corrupted. It is owned by the powerful and serves the powerful, for the most part. (Another reason, starting over is the best dream.)

I think it is clear that we all would like to see the pursuit of scientific knowledge. There is PLENTY of waste in government. Only, who really wants to get it out. Usually, someone's political "career" depends on keeping the status quo. So it isn't easy.

Just as an example: Find someone you know who's been in the hospital recently (or even decades ago) and see if you can review their bill. It isn't uncommon for a week's stay to cost from $50,000-$100,000 depending on the procedures performed. You'll also see boxes of facial tissue for $20 a pop. Scissors (that will be thrown away) for $90. This is equivalent to the infamous "military" hammers and toilet seats that can cost thousands of dollars. Anyone who doesn't find this incredulous is someone who wishes they could be reaping the same rewards. But most of us aren't. It isn't the IDEA of entitlement programs that are defective, it's letting them be abused that is wrong. Speaking of Medicare, there is the big increase in Medicare fraud. Now, there are those who say this kind of waste doesn't amount to the great debt we have actually run up. That is correct. It is the MINDSET of people who are like ticks on the system, that are the problem, who over our history have always bilked the government "kitty" for all they could get out of it. Suddenly, we are back to where we started. The problems all come about because of the individuals who run our government. Government is inert. Kind of similar to the saying, "Guns don't kill people..."

I say, run Roger, run...

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#137
In reply to #136

Precedent regarding Presidents Agarn!

05/31/2011 2:16 PM

That worked well in '28. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Hoover

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Anonymous Poster #2
#144
In reply to #137

Re: Precedent regarding Presidents Agarn!

05/31/2011 4:20 PM

packrat561,

I will take a more detailed look at the Hoover example and learn what I can. I've heard that criticism for a long time but never really studied the period in detail. You could have also cited Jimmy Carter. There were probably still too many foxes guarding the hen house. Seldom are things starkly black and white. To me, your example just lends more support to the implications of the cited study. MOST people who seek positions of power are after the name and fame and/or the financial rewards that can accrue. Serving in government, especially at the Congressional level, is where corruption is most likely to happen. It's almost always private money that is at stake. There are a few industries that have enough power so as to control the agenda for society. Oil is one. Insurance is another.

I would counter your example with T. Roosevelt. While not a hard science guy, as a naturalist, he probably had somewhat of a scientific thought process. And his "Square Deal" policy approach is better than some other President's who were almost totally for business.

Your implied logic is to do what? Never let people who are trained to view things scientifically to govern? I can't believe the majority whose careers are based on thinking logically and who value truth, would say that kind of thinking can't be successfully applied to governing. Unfortunately, human nature IS susceptible to corruption. This is supposedly why the framers of the Constitution devised the governmental system we have -- to try to contain that possibility as much as possible. Bribery is probably as old as the oldest profession. But the Red Light district shouldn't be the halls of government.

I don't think you can cite 1 example (or 2 if you want to include Carter) and subsequently rule out the possibility of a scientist or engineer being able to be a successful public servant. It's more a case of throwing a cat into a room full of dogs. The cat isn't going to win. Most Congressmen are lawyers. Interestingly, of the other occupations cited there are "three chemists, three physicists, a biomedical engineer, and a microbiologist." (I can't help but wonder if any of these pursued an MBA later on, for being more "electable.") Now, I'm interested to see who the scientists are.

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