Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Science cashes in

I'll be the first to admit that this whole "financial apocalypse" thing hasn't been a big bouquet of roses. Further disappointing matters is the fact that we're stuck in this annoying middle ground where we aren't recovering and we aren't devolving into a hobo ruled, agrarian barter economy. But there are some positives. Just think of all the assholes in finance that were bankrupted and now work at the local Pizza Hut. Plus, the stimulus resulted in billions being invested in science! And not "abstinence education" and "handing out bibles in lieu of science textbooks" science funding. Actual science funding.
More than $20 billion in stimulus money has poured into the nation’s universities, according to a new collection of data gathered by a trio of research consortia.
“This is the largest investment in science and research probably since Sputnik,” said Bill Andresen, a vice president at the University of Pennsylvania in charge of Federal affairs and president of The Science Coalition. “We think it’s really important to tell this story in a thoughtful, useful way so that the public and policymakers can understand how it’s being spent.”
The information is posted to a new website, ScienceWorksforUS.org, which was unveiled today at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Wired Science assembled the state-by-state data into a Google document that includes the total number of grants and money.
And if you visit ScienceWorksforUS you'll find all the various things that money was spent on. Like my home state, Pennsylvania, got 773 grants totaling $390,109,039. The rotten bastards at Carnegie-Mellon who spawned Sean got money to develop tools to monitor the power grid, while the benevolent masters at Pitt that spawned myself were given money to do medical research and buy up the last two remaining building in Oakland that they don't own. Meanwhile Penn got science stimulus money to.....build a website...devoted to tracking....science stimulus money. Well, they can't all be winners. Most importantly the Science Department at WVU received a grant too, so we might finally have a cure for moonshine related blindness in Appalachia within our lifetimes.

Now I know what you're saying, "Isn't all of this money better spent on the desert fortresses and cool looking armoured cars that those of us who survive the next economic Ragnarok will need to wage our post-apocalyptic battles with?" Yes, yes it is. After society finally collapses, fire and gunpowder will be our only science. But this does give people that veneer of hope that everything will be better and that a bright, shiny future of science and knowledge is on the horizon. Why key everyone else in to the fact that the future is just going to be hardship, murdering others for tins of beans, and Garret Dillahunt trying to eat your offspring? No, it's better this way.

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