$2 million “for the promotion of astronomy” in Hawaii - because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy.Cosmic Variance is the blog you can find on the Discover web site. Some people follow celebrities; I follow science. Anyway - the scientists are discussing the Us and Them stance many Americans have toward scientists in general in Scientists are not You and Me.
Given that we're only talking about two million out of trillions of dollars and Hawaii, being pretty dark and all, is a good place to look at stars - this project seemed pretty reasonable to me. Curious about the criteria for Porky Projects, I followed the links and wound up at John McCain's twitter account page and have discovered that he pooh poohs all sorts of projects that are good for wild life, the environment, the Earth and everyone's quality of life in general. No surprise. And it's no surprise he's very tacky, too. Another example from Mr. McCain's page:
$900,000 for fish management - how does one manage a fish...It seems deliberately ignorant to mock this idea when people make money off raising fish. The very fish my own mother sometimes buys for dinner at Costco. You don't get any more Middle America than what my mother buys at Costco. So what's John McCain's problem?
That's a rhetorical question since it leads right to that damn Sarah Palin. And Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay and all those people who would reduce greenhouse gasses if they'd just STFU.
Apparently McCain is all bent out of shape about earmarks, and Maureen Dowd quotes McCain's twittering in an Op-Ed piece on March 3. She's more concerned about Obama not doing more to live up to his promise to cut earmarks, I think.
Frankly this kind of argufying bores me into a coma since it all falls under the category: Things I Cannot Do Anything About. The Summer Boyfriend Reality Show, however, is something I can get behind -- just like finding a cure for the chronic headache associated with Buzz Kill and the Where's My Damn Money question. The thing about science, though, is that discoveries really do trickle down to benefit everyone.
In my classroom, we don't even separate Science into a different part of the curriculum because when you get down to it, science is all about making sense of our world. When a little kid is watching glue drip from a Popsicle stick into a bottle cap on a scrap of cardboard from a box it's just as much science as art even though "junk collages" fall into the Art category of the curriculum books. Comparing the way glue drips slowly (unless there's an awful lot of glue) and water spills all over the place in a hurry is also science - if a teacher will take a minute to look at the lesson that just poured out all over the floor.
If kids don't get time to explore the world through play and experimentation because we're force feeding them academics in Early Childhood - that's giving too much control to politicians who think reading is about the ABC song instead of understanding sound/symbol correlation. Which brings us to those damn standardized tests that have dominated education ever since Ronald Regan got elected and told white people to forget the sixties, go back to the suburbs and shop.
At Cosmic Variance, the scientists think nobody likes to fund their work because folks can't imagine having jobs as researchers, but they can imagine working construction. Ergo: people support funding construction projects but not scientific or environmental ones. Makes sense - and if you ask me, that's because for the last several years, too many teachers were caught in the trap of having to teach the test - so kids didn't have the opportunity to make sense of their worlds through experimentation and exploration. Those kids may have passed all their tests and become part of today's adult work force, but there is a big, fat hole in their education where their analytical thinking skills should be.
I know who I like to blame:
Conservative Christian, Right Wing Republican, Straight White American Males
Todd Snider (Peace Loving, Tree Hugging, Pot Smoking, Porn Watching, Lazy Assed Hippy)