Hmmm. Estimates of the cost of the war in Iraq range from $4.4 to 7.1 billion per month. If I assume about $5 billion, it looks like we’re throwing away about $7 million per hour in that effort; so it looks like a little bit more than a half-hours worth of bloody war costs us $4 million. So let’s just stop for about 40 minutes, OK?
What was the point of that calculation? The government is threatening to shut down the Arecibo Observatory unless they can cough up $4 million dollars for its operating budget for the next three years. Wow.
The National Science Foundation, which has long funded the dish, has told the Cornell University-operated facility that it will have to close if it cannot find outside sources for half of its already reduced $8 million budget in the next three years — an ultimatum that has sent ripples of despair through the scientific community.
Shall we trade three years of science for less than an hour’s worth of war? That sounds like a no-brainer to me. The observatory doesn’t even kill anybody in normal operation. Or is that considered a strike against it?