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[23 Dec 12: 13:20]
Inbox zero! I don't even remember the last time I could say that!

[06 Aug 12: 14:21]
Phew! Done with nine 20min oral exams, three more to go. To be continued tomorrow...

[14 Oct 11: 11:45]
Just received an email from a computer science student - with an AOL email address?

[03 Jul 11: 22:26]
Google citation alerts suck: I just found out by accident I rolled over h-index of 13 and 500 citations

[21 May 11: 18:14]
6.15pm: Does god have Alzheimer? No #rapture in Europe...

[01 May 11: 11:31]
w00t! Just been invited to present at OKCon 2011! #OKCon2011


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Now that we all know that the specific research Sarah Palin was referring to was about a different genus of Dipterans, Tephritidae, and not Drosophila. Apparently, these fruit flies are an important pest threatening Californian crops and the farmers who depend on them for their livelyhoods. The Republican vice-presidential candidate referred to this research as having "little or nothing to do with the public good". So apparently Californian farmers do not count as "public" worth spending research dollars on?
Appart from the lapse of not specifying her remarks clearly enough (which can be forgiven if one can assume that her audience knew what she was talking about), how can such very applied funding not be "for the public good"? The general implications of this sort of research probably can provide insights for the control of many other agricultural pests and any genetic results will clearly be generally relevant. I think it is fair to assume that this sort of research was being referenced, together with the research on bear DNA and the Republican mantra of the quintessential planetarium experience, only as examples for all the other "things like" these 'earmarks' not worth funding. In their words: "My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?"
The answer, my friends, is of course a resounding 'YES'! Science and research is never simply an earmark. Science education and research are investments into the future. Science education/research is the only thing that explains why we are not living in caves anymore. Science is what accounts for living 70-80 healthy years instead of 30 sick ones. Science is what keeps most babies alive today, instead of just a few out of hundreds. It's the only thing that allows you guys to drop bombs on foreign countries as if it was 4th of July confetti. Don't try to tell me that Sarah Palin was just referring to very specific, single incidents. Are you seriously trying to convince me that a few million here or there are going to balance a trillion dollar deficit? That's 4-6 orders of magnitude, no way sirree. No, what Sarah Palin was revealing with her fruit fly remark was that there is something she as a creationist doesn't understand and doesn't value: spending for an understanding of the world we live in is actually essential for the public good.
Let me ask you, Ms. Palin, since you have attacked my work and my profession: Do you know what earmarks are? It's a war in Iraq that only benefits the war profiteers of Halliburton. It's the tax cuts for the richest people in your country. It's spending money on desaster recovery efforts without fighting global warming as well. It's drill, baby, drill. That's what pork barrel funding is. With your wars, my friends, you are pork barrel spending not only billions of US dollars, but also the lives of your soldiers and of those on whose houses you drop the bombs! Do you really need to spend that kind of money?

Oh, and I almost forgot that two good fruit fly colleagues from the University of North Carolina have decided to also contribute to Sarah Palin's science education recently:

Posted on Monday 27 October 2008 - 09:16:10 comment: 0
fruit flies   Drosophila   Palin   research   science   politics   earmarks   pork barrel   

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