Field of Science

Adrian Smith and Eric Cantor don't understand science, but know it ain't good

Here is a House Committee on Science and Technology member who along with Eric Cantor are enlisting your help (well, not you because you're reading a blog post at Field of Science not Answers in Genesis) to legislatively cut NSF funded grants.

This is being done in order to trim wasteful spending by those socialist bastards in Washington. For the record:

NSFs 2010 budget was                            6.9 billion
2010 costs for the war in Afghanistan      105 billion
DARPA budget was                                3.4 billion
Dept. Homeland Security 2011 budget    43.6 billion
     TNA TSA 2011 budget (see above)   8.2 billion

Interestingly, the DHS was founded in 2003; the NSF was founded in 1950. So, the NSF with its modest budget that has ever so slowly increased is probably wasting your money, unlike the DHS which had money thrown at it left and right and is certainly spending it wisely.

However, recently NSF has funded some grants Smith isn't happy with (unlike every other year when some halfwit legislator tries culling specific grants usually on evolution or birth control not to mention the dreaded stem cell). Thankfully, Smith tells us which ones are problematic by vaguely telling us what the grants are about. Of course, I expect he is misinforming us and he is not clear on the grants in question since he doesn't tell us a grant number, specific title, or PI name. You can find proposals that might be the ones Smith is worried about, but if you read the abstracts they don't say what he says they say.

Since the average family spends $10,000 in federal taxes (note he didn't say income tax, does the 10k  include FICA, I bet it does....douche), "should 75 families work all year to support soccer research?" Notice how he changes the focus? First the research was on computer models to understand the contributions of soccer players, not soccer research. I am not familiar with this work, but can see the implications, for example this may aid in the development of computer models to determine appropriate tactics in police or military teams going into a building, you know without the loss of life, or even to understand hunting behavior in animals (this is the basic research douchebag previously thought was good). I wonder if all the high school graduates in his district had any of those thoughts. Also, if we break it down the numbers, there are ~ 100 million families (I used # households from here) so multiply that by $10,000 and we get $1,000,000,000,000 ($1 trillion). This # is slightly less than the income tax revenue from 2010, so I expect my # of families is reasonable. Of that $1,000,000,000,000, $750,000 is going to fund soccer research says Smith. Except that isn't true (big fucking surprise). The $750,000 is the total for the grant, which is likely funded for 3 years, which is $250,000 of $1,000,000,000,000 or 0.0000025% of the federal income tax money. If we defund NSF entirely it will save 0.69% of the entire budget.

Way to go Adrian, you helped a lot a whole 1/100th of 1/100th of 25/1000ths of 1%!!!

Now the non-sequitur, before it was "what do you think" about some grants Im not really going to tell you about. Now its, go ahead and find grants you don't think support the hard sciences (who thinks Smith knows what the fuck that even means?) or you don't think are a good use of tax payer dollars. There! With that last clause Smith has told every Tom Dick and Harriet that all grants are fair game to be culled. This is despite the fact that most grants are not funded because the applicants couldn't convince experts (ie university academics) this was the best research to be done. I mean its all well and good if scientists that have trained in these areas for decades (you know those Noble Prize winners Smith seemed to think highly of) think this is a good use of tax payer money. What we really need to know is what the cashier at Target thinks about this research. I expect Smith will very soon be recruiting important constituent feedback for the DOD DOE FDA and TSA among others.

To guide his flock constituents, Smith provides some search terms to identify those grants you may not like. Evil words like "museum" and "success." It's almost as if Smith has identified grants he doesn't like and is helping to guide you to find them on your own and then tell him you don't like them. I suggest some different terms to identify grants, how about "Nebraska" or "North Platte" I saw one grant that wanted to renovate the toilets at a University recreational facility (using Smith's framing). I expect Smith will want to move quickly on all the wasteful tax payer money NSF is spending in his district. Other important search terms include "Virginia" and "Richmond" and you may find some grants funding Pakistan, which is where Bin Laden is hiding (again using the framing of Smith and cronies).

Just say it Smith, you don't like those smart fucking kids who got good grades in school and made you feel insecure. It does suck that these 'university academics' are trying to learn something about the universe we live in, which may actually amount to some important new breakthroughs or insights (but may not as well). I wish you had the balls to say you don't like the NSF or at least research that 1. you don't understand; 2. doesn't benefit the industries that fund your elections; 3. you still don't understand. Nope, instead like the coward you seem to be, you try to mobilize the masses to do the dirty work for you, then you can do what you wanted to do and plead that you are just following orders.