Two stories have come to my attention.
First, NASA, THE US Space Agency… the agency that did the impossible in the 60s and then was left to die by the legislature. The agency that inspired a generation of scientists, engineers, and test pilots. The agency that is directly responsible for a lot of the products that we use today.
NASA is immediately suspending ALL education and public outreach programs due to the budget crisis. They are talking about reviewing all of those programs.
What I want to know is how cutting NASA’s budget (almost 18 billion dollars last year) will help? For example, cutting the defense budget by 50% would still leave the US with one of the highest defense budgets in the world and give us nearly $400 billion in instant savings. But defense is obviously more important than education and science. I mean, we might need to invade North Korea next year or something.
Second, Cobrun, an Oklahoma Republican Senator, has managed to include an amendment to the Continuing Appropriations Act. That amendment tells the National Science Foundation that they can no longer support research into political science, democracy, and public policy UNLESS that research is directly applicable to national security or economic interests of the US.
What. The. Fuck?
The National Science Foundation is about providing funds to important research no matter what area it’s in. Some of my work involves NSF funded research into educational assessments.
I’m honestly stunned and am quite flabbergasted that anyone would try to further restrict science in the US.