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Malkin’s stupidity is seeping into Iowa soil!

Once again, ignorant people are whining about science. Michelle Malkin’s outrage that the NSF funded research into snail sex is now the subject of a poll in Iowa newspapers.

Is spending $877,000 to help fund a UI study using snails to study the advantages of sexual vs. asexual reproduction a waste of federal money?

Yes. Federal research dollars are becoming more scarce and should be used for more valuable work. 25%

No. I agree with the researchers who say, even though research involves snails, this study has broad implications for humans. 70%

I don’t know. 4%

I detest all of the answers. A) Who are the readers to judge whether this work is valuable or not? Do they have the biology background to understand the significance of the question, have they read the proposal? B) Why is it being framed in terms of “implications for humans”? It’s human self-centeredness that insists everything has to revolve around us…maybe it’s just a really cool question.

But I don’t think $877,000 is at all an unreasonable sum.

Comments

  1. w00dview says

    The MY TAX DOLLARS!!1!1! rage over this is American anti intellectualism at its finest. Because you don’t understand it, it must be a waste of money, amirite? Also $877,000? Wingnuts are losing their shit over this? Because obviously research into snails is what is going to bankrupt America. It is a drop in the ocean compared to military spending and oil subsidies. Wouldn’t ACTUAL fiscal conservatives be far more outraged at the amount of spending going in on those latter options? Hypocritical arsefaces, the whole lot of them.

  2. anteprepro says

    Wouldn’t ACTUAL fiscal conservatives be far more outraged at the amount of spending going in on those latter options?

    I think they view military spending as a necessary expense. Like a nation’s food and water. They are completely ignorant of exactly how much, how ridiculously excessive, our military bill actually is. Or they simply justify it, because they worship at the altar of the AMURKKA. So obviously they will flip their shit over far lesser expenses. Like the head of household that keeps far too much food in their pantry, often letting 80% of it rot, but freaks out when someone buys a new pair of shoes. YOU DIDN’T NEED THOSE SHOES, THE OTHER ONES WERE ONLY HALF WORN OUT! Yes, actual fiscal conservatives would probably object to the military budget. But the fiscal conservatives we actually have are jingoistic, theocratic morons who just want to play backseat driver and micromanager, pretending that all their handwringing is actually helping when really they are throwing a fit over a small fraction of our expenses. Fiscal conservatism in practice is just rage-wanking, getting apoplectic over tiny expenses that they don’t agree with or don’t understand and pretending that if they are appeased that they have actually helped balance the budget. I guess it should be no surprise that science is a popular target. It seems to be their biggest fucking blindspot. And they have plenty of blindspots, so that is saying something.

  3. jesse says

    Stuart, do you know what the QUEERS are doing to the SOIL?

    Sorry, I had to get that Dead Milkmen song reference in after that headline. And anyone who wants a very, very funny take on redneck conservatism should listen to the Dead Milkmen. :-)

    Maybe that would be the kind of research Malkin would like us to do.

  4. says

    Some years ago, law professor and legal historian Eric Muller wrote a series of devastating critiques of Malkin’s defense of internment.

    Unfortunately, when I try to link to his website, IS THAT LEGAL?, what comes up now is a legal question-and-answer page, so perhaps he has stopped blogging.

    If anyone here can find his anti-Malkin postings, I suggest that you:

    1) take the time to read them; they’re meticulously damning;
    2) please post their web address, so that others can find them.

  5. says

    Who are the readers to judge whether this work is valuable or not?

    Sounds a lot like the Brendan O’Neill thing.

    When conservatives appeal to populism, it is usually for the purpose of harnessing ignorance.

  6. w00dview says

    Fiscal conservatism in practice is just rage-wanking, getting apoplectic over tiny expenses that they don’t agree with or don’t understand and pretending that if they are appeased that they have actually helped balance the budget.

    This is spot on. When it is a tiny amount spent on something they disagree with, it is government waste. But if it is a stupidly large amount on what they like then that is just smart, sensible “small” government. And to them the budget will only truly be balanced if stuff like basic research and social security is flushed down the toilet.

    I notice that you see this same control freak tendency when conservatives whine about the “liberal” media. It is not the case that liberal bias is prevalent in the MSM, it is just that they simply hate it when the MSM challenges them occasionally. They certainly don’t care about balance because if there was absolutely no mention of left wing viewpoints at all in the media you can be damn sure they would not be concerned about hearing all viewpoints. A compliant media which never challenges their authority would be their wet dream. There is a huge nasty authoritarian streak in the modern conservative and it is hilarious when they try to project that authoritarianism onto the left. There is just no comparison.

  7. WharGarbl says

    @w00dview
    #10

    When it is a tiny amount spent on something they disagree with, it is government waste. But if it is a stupidly large amount on what they like then that is just smart, sensible “small” government.

    It’s economy, you see! Our economy is in a funk, we need a good war or two to jump start it!
    Is it just me, or is the modern Republican party getting more and more like fictional villains (heck, just give someone like Rand Paul some nanomachines and we got ourselves Senator Armstrong).

  8. w00dview says

    @WharGarbl
    #11

    Is it just me, or is the modern Republican party getting more and more like fictional villains

    Well when you do things like vote against VAWA because it gives lesbians and minorities too much protection, keep women from aborting because they would destroy evidence of a rapist’s crimes and want children to quit school and go back to labouring for their corporate masters then it is safe to say that yeah, they are quickly becoming the type of comic book villains that seem to do evil shit just for the hell of it. But that happens when they base their governing based on fiction that often glorifies hate and evil(Bible and Atlas Shrugged).

  9. slatham says

    I like answer C. I agree that A is out, B is stupidly anthropocentric. But I have to go with C, “I don’t know”. I haven’t read the proposal and don’t know if all of that money will be well-spent. I also haven’t read all of the other proposals to see if there are more worthy projects.

  10. Caveat Imperator says

    Think of all the transvaginal ultrasounds that money would buy!

    Fuck, they actually believe that shit is small, unintrusive government…

  11. tmscott says

    Anytime someone decries the use of tax money to fund pure research, I like to bring up the honeyguide story.
    Once upon a time, the government provided funds for a graduate student study of the life history of a bird that could apparently digest wax from honey combs. Another researcher found that study and spent more money investigating the bird’s unique digestive system. Still another researcher spent still more money to apply that knowledge to a method for digesting the wax capsid surrounding the tuberculosis bacterium, and eventually to developing a cure for the disease.
    If the government hadn’t funded a graduate student’s trip to Africa to study birds, we might not have a cure for tuberculosis.

  12. says

    Yes, actual fiscal conservatives would probably object to the military budget

    This is because actual fiscal conservatives are called progressives: People who want to see the government spend money usefully and effectively.

  13. loopyj says

    Research science funding means that the research can happen, the labs can exist and have proper equipment, the students and fellows can get their training, sharing of ideas can happen at conferences, rent gets paid and researcher’s children get fed and these usually poorly-paid students and fellows can contribute to their local economies and stay in not-for-profit research.

  14. unclefrogy says

    many conservatives seem to have a problem with reality and struggle to make reality conform to the simple ideas they were first taught when they were children. They do not appreciate very many questions of there assumptions.
    they will happily ignore errors when the conclusions support there desires and unconvinced opinions.
    I got this yesterday and it works as an example.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-herndon-michael-ash-and-robert-pollin-on-reinhart-and-rogoff-2013-4

    >”This error is needed to get the results they published, and it would go a long way to explaining why it has been impossible for others to replicate these results. If this error turns out to be an actual mistake Reinhart-Rogoff made, well, all I can hope is that future historians note that one of the core empirical points providing the intellectual foundation for the global move to austerity in the early 2010s was based on someone accidentally not updating a row formula in Excel.

    So what do Herndon-Ash-Pollin conclude? They find “the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is actually 2.2 percent, not -0.1 percent as [Reinhart-Rogoff claim].” Going further into the data, they are unable to find a breakpoint where growth falls quickly and significantly.<"

    uncle frogy

  15. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    These clown-shoes don’t realize that half of the evaluation of NSF review panels is directed toward “Broader Impacts”. A successful proposal presents a detailed plan for how funding will be used to contribute to society at large, through educational outreach, useful applications, scientific training, etc. I’ve sat on several of these panels, and reviewers and program officers take broader impacts very seriously.

    Given that most NSF programs are funding at 8%* or lower (or sometimes much lower), chances are good that the broader impacts of this snail grant were pretty strong.

    Also *adopts stentorian tone of voice*, their are fewer investments that I can think of with a better pay-off than hiring a graduate student or post-doctoral researcher. These junior scientists work ridiculous hours for little pay (with wack benefits), and most often contribute significantly to the success of a project. And do so happily.

    *I’m including pre-proposals as submissions.

  16. says

    What? What? $877000?!?!?! Don’t you realize that that money would almost be enough to keep a single extra soldier in Afghanistan for one year, according to the Pentagon’s figures? Why should we spend that kind of money on expanding knowledge when we could use it to have one more pair of boots on the ground in an insanely useless military campaign which we literally can’t even imagine winning? (That is, nobody has ever said what conditions would be necessary to declare victory.) I’m shocked that anyone would question the wisdom of withdrawing these funds!

  17. sugarfrosted says

    Don’t tell her about the pure math research they fund. Seriously it’s like knowledge isn’t on it’s own worth anything to some people. Kind of saddens me.

  18. Usernames are smart says

    They are completely ignorant of exactly how much, how ridiculously excessive, our military bill actually is.anteprepro #5

    Look, if we don’t spend 54-6% of the Federal Budget on War, then there will be MUSHROOM CLOUDS over all of our cities. And Sharia law! Derp!

    Want to cry? I mean REALLY cry? Go to CostOfWar.com’s tradeoffs page and put in your state/city.

    Taxpayers in the city of Houston, Texas will pay $724.6 million for Afghanistan war spending for FY2012 Enacted. For the same amount of money, the following could be provided:

    347,386 Annual Energy Costs for a Household for One Year OR
    391,490 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
    11,347 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
    76,343 Fair Market Rent for One Bedroom Apartment for One Year OR
    98,956 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
    254,476 Households Converted to All Solar Energy for One Year OR
    534,401 Households Converted to All Wind Energy for One Year OR
    97,689 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
    346,224 One Year Worth of Groceries for an Individual OR
    191,655 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
    11,493 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year OR
    81,147 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
    130,567 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550

    The scholarships alone would’ve been worth it. 80k+ educated students that don’t have to deal with crippling loans?

    Or nearly 350k people who won’t go hungry/malnourished?

    Or helping nearly 100k kids who need a little boost getting their schooling off to a good start so they don’t end up flailing out and later becoming a drain on society?

    Sigh.

  19. sundiver says

    I guess Michelle Shit-For-Brains Malkin would have snivelled over hiring Albert Einstein to do fundamental, undirected research. I love pointing out to soi-disant fiscal conservatives that lasers are ubiquitous these days, they’re used in more places than you can shake a stick at, and the concept was in a paper Einsein published in 1919, when he was working in a government funded institution. Granted, it was a German one; the German gov’t understood back in the early 20th century that the technological prowess they were enjoying had been the result of basic research. Something early 21st century dipshits can’t seem to comprehend. Then again, I think rethuglicans DO understand the value of education and therefore want to keep anyone from getting enough smarts to vote against them.

  20. Ichthyic says

    I think they view military spending as a necessary expense.

    why is it in all these discussions that miltiary spending ends up being the issue?

    What about the Dept. of Homeland Security?

    largest single domestic government institution EVER created, period, in all of human history.

    why isn’t THAT ever the focus of discussion for cutting the budget?

    I find that fascinating.

    It’s like there has been deliberate effort to make it just slip the minds of the average american.

  21. says

    @Ichthyic, #20:

    Two reasons:

    1. People usually say “the military” when they mean “the Pentagon plus the various ‘Security’ apparatus which are part of DHS”, because when it’s dumb guys in uniforms who are a waste of government funds and are armed, there’s no need to be too specific.

    2. Most of what makes DHS so large is that it incorporates various preëxisting government agencies, like FEMA, or at least their functions. Very few people want to see all of DHS cut, only select portions.

  22. David Marjanović says

    Yes. Federal research dollars are becoming more scarce and should be used for more valuable work. 18%
    No. I agree with the researchers who say, even though research involves snails, this study has broad implications for humans. 78%
    I don’t know. 2%