Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ceding the Future

I am a nerdy guy- I am a firm believer that evidence-based, peer-reviewed science is the key to understanding the universe, to the extent that I made a decision to recap the monthly Secret Science Club lectures. I even took a vacation day to participate in the NYC March for Science. Needless to say, I was really bummed out to read that the Science Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology now has zero staffers. It's bad enough that the current PotUS is obsessed with revitalizing an obsolete, polluting technology and has a Secretary of Education who wants to dismantle our secular education system, but letting the office which should employ the makers of science policy just wither and die really hammers home the point that our current administration is ceding future technological dominance to foreign governments, whether China, the European Union, or New Zealand.

The president is an ignoramus and, like most ignoramuses, has an inflated view of his own cognitive abilities. The fact that he doesn't even seem to care that there is no-one guiding a coherent science policy is rather depressing to me, though at least he isn't putting fundamentalist loons in charge of science policy... yet.

1 comment:

mikey said...

I frankly can't get worked up over the White House OS&T. I mean, sure, I'd prefer our president have a grasp on why basic science and R&D is important (internet, lasers, modern electrical storage etc etc etc), but the key thing to watch is government R&D spending as a percentage of the Discretionary Budget, especially including NSF Grants, NASA R&D and NIH. A lot of DOE R&D is nuclear weapons, but the rest is pretty important too. If the fucking idiot doesn't cut the research budget too extensively, and the agencies are permitted to define the areas they consider important, it will be ok. If he decides to send the basic science R&D programs to industry and cut public spending, we won't get basic science, we'll get APPLIED science which is what industry does anyway.

At least until they run out of basic science to exploit...