Home | About | Donate

Stepping Away from Microscopes, Thousands Protest War on Science


#1

Stepping Away from Microscopes, Thousands Protest War on Science

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Responding to the troubling suppression of science under the Trump administration, thousands of scientists, allies, and frontline communities are holding a rally in Boston's Copley Square on Sunday.


#2

We've been pushed to the point, where it's gotten to this.


#3

How many of these scientists are involved in academic research labs, doing BASIC research but funded by CORPORATE money that has CONTRACTUAL CLAIM to ANY BASIC RESEARCH RESULTS that have APPLIED, TECHNOLOGICAL potential? 80 -99 % of them? Why is this not a question?

Corporate "philanthropy" has been tightening its noose while basic science for the public good has been losing its grip. Combined with corporate tax loopholes, foreign out-sourcing of labor to suck the life out of peoples the world over; "austerity" forced on entire innocent peoples of nations undermined by a criminal giant vampire squid banking system coupled with monopolization, can you tell me with a straight face that we are not being subjected to a globalized fascist coup in slow motion?

The heck with drumph, he's just the latest bobble-head ken puppet with a barbie-doll look alike on his arm. Advertising and marketing are coming full circle and drawing chalk circles in the oval office. The thing about the magic power of chalk circles is that 'toeing the line' means multiple things: you have to constantly rub openings in the chalk circle so that the truth comes out so that the line being toed is legitimate, dignified and healthy.


#4

Zapatistas tell us the murdering conquerors came armed with swords and the cross.

Swords have been modernized and the cross has been replaced by worship of money.

Now the book burner's idea of heresy is science that threatens money.


#5

We live in a nation where enough people were dumb enough, or desperate enough, to vote for Donald Trump and a Republican Party to control nearly every corner of the US government. A sizable portion of them believe that the earth is seven thousand years old. And all too many of them don't believe the earth is warming up. Or if it is, Jeebus will come and save them.
We face a daunting task.


#6

Trump's attempt to stifle science is part of his overall war on the truth. The other main parts are discrediting of the press and the courts. The overall aim is that in the end for his followers what Trump says becomes the truth since there will be nothing left to contradict him. In a modern civilized culture scientists should not have to take to the streets to defend science but in effect the barbarians have taken over the executive branch of government and to a large extent the legislative branch. They now aim to conquer what remains of the intellectual aspects of the country.


#7

What a travesty! We are truly in an Orwellian age: climate devastation is a "Chinese hoax", no matter how many highly respected climate scientists say otherwise? 2+2= 5; because my climate denying..president says so!

Reminds me of a long time ago when the scientists, of that time, were burnt at the stake for claiming the earth was not flat and not the center of the universe.


#8

" Science threatens $$$$$$".

That is it in a nutshell. Any science that threatens the greed and hypocrisy of the oligarchy is fake news.


#9

What do we want? Science!
When do we want it? After peer review!

What human civilization really needs right now (or else our world's food supply will drop quite a bit, for starters) is renewables technology advances. Newtonian physics is well-known, thank you.

So, go to your local university and ask, "who in particular is working on renewables technology advances?" Crickets. There's no profit motive for them.

Next go to your big foundation and ask the same question. Crickets. Big foundations have vast amounts of money for cancer research, where almost 100% of cancer is caused by environmental toxins and so near-elimination of cancer should have been easy enough decades ago. Add to that list heart disease, diabetes, autism and a few others. Meanwhile, some millions of future people are going to die of climate change, and if it happens to be your descendants, that's life.

Here are some easy-to-solve technology fields:

  1. Better solar tracking mirrors are needed to bring the sun down to tree-shaded houses.

  2. Better heat storage, probably using rock beds, stores heat for use on cold winter nights. Even low temperature solar heat storage, say, 60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures or better, enables us to beat natural gas with modern mini split heat pumps. What's in your house?

  3. We need storage for electricity after dark and when the wind isn't blowing. Top contenders are solar thermal storage, flywheels and city-sized hydrogen fuel cells.

  4. We need Arctic remediation. Localized and automated snow making machines can often restore the tundra's original albedo in early fall and in late spring.

  5. We also need to cool parts of the Arctic Ocean in front of ice rivers, probably by transferring ocean heat into the Arctic winter. If this works, we can cool the entire Arctic Ocean.

  6. We need automated above-grade transit to replace cars. It should save 90% of all lifetime energy use over clogged freeways.

  7. I'm tired. Finish your own list.

In sum, it appears that we have many universities and foundations, and every last one of them has a serious in-house deficit of academic integrity. Negotiate with our adversaries in a Kingian manner, please.


#10

Yes but there are many more of us to become the brakes on this insane and ignorant machine.


#11

Corporations actually fund very little university research and it is completely dwarfed by federal government research funding - so the answer is more like less than 5% rather than the 80-99% you imagine. Here are the top ten research universities in terms of dollars
1. Johns Hopkins. Federal government funding: 1.86 billion. Corporate funding: 47 million
2. University of Michigan. Federal government funding: 790 million. Corporate funding: 42 million
3. University of Wisconsin. Federal government funding: 580 million. Corporate funding: 23 million
4. University of Washington. Federal government funding: 910 million. Corporate funding: 20 million
5. University of California, San Diego. Federal government funding: 660 million. Corporate funding: 73 million
6. University of California, SanFrancisco. Federal government funding: 560 million. Corporate funding: 60 million
7. Duke University. Federal government funding: 590 million. Corporate funding: 226 million
8. University of California, Los Angeles. Federal government funding: 540 million. Corporate funding: 51 million
9. Stanford University. Federal government funding: 340 million. Corporate funding: 92 million
10. Columbia University. Federal government funding: 650 million. Corporate funding: 37 million


#12

Is this what Trump meant when he said he was giving the country back to the people?


#13

Read the definition and discussion of Newspeak in Orwell's 1984.
;-})


#14

Thank you very much dpearl for the 'top ten' comparative listing. But the question, at least in my mind, still remains. The reason I struggle with this is that it is not simply a quantitative, but also a qualitative and stage specific contractual agreement with very real consequences for academia, the practices of science, the public enjoyment of the fruits of research funded by the public purse and potentially aspects I can't even imagine.
Any further insights?


#15

I think the key here is that Corporations are perfectly happy to let the Federal Government pay for the nation's basic research. They can then exploit that research by turning it into products/profits (since the results of federally funded research become public).

Researchers who lose their objectivity to corporate contracts pretty much gain zero respect in academia.

What you say about the public not really receiving the fruits of the basic research they pay for is definitely an issue I'd agree with. University research discovers a new molecular target for curing a disease. NIH sponsors early clinical trials to test the feasibility of using that mechanism to fight the disease. Pharmaceutical company then completes the research and produces the product that exploits the research paid for with public dollars. Then all of the profits from that drug go to the private company - they even get a patent that gives them 100% exclusive profits. At a minimum, I think the FDA should assess the percentage of the product development that was the result of public funding and the government should be able to purchase the resulting product at a steep discount until that investment is recouped with interest.


#16

Seems we need to lay bare an aspect of "identity politics" eg: status identification with the private automobile rather than the civilization of which one is a part. Problem being that its wrapped in 'party' politics cloaked in industry lobbies and rationalized according to predatory fractional banking to such an extent that the biblical satan begins to look like a de-horned pedestrian. As to the latter, even beelzebub started out as an angel and ended up with a serious and contagious identity problem.

I have ever greater respect for Quaker, Buddhist, Sufic and any other notions of living and practicing a way that dissolves self except as a clear nexus spot for integration of direct experience in love


#17

Eisenhower tried to warn us of the dangers of federal involvement in science in his farewell speech where he also warned of the MIC.

As pointed out, 80-90% of basic science is funded by the government. Corporations direct most of their money to development of products using the science paid for by Federal dollars.

http://www.bu.edu/research/articles/funding-for-scientific-research/

The problem here is government can control science. Want research dollars to study how vaccines cause autism? Want money to prove a theory that CO2 is a minor player in AGW? Want to research free energy like Tesla? Want to research a cure for cancer so people will live to 100? Good luck. Government does not want any of that in the public domain.

We are at the mercy of the scientific elite Eisonhower warned about . They determine what science we may have, and some of what we get is Fake Science for political purposes and to support neo-Malthusian policies


#18

Pharmaceuticals is an excellent example AND talking point for activists in recess visits to legislators. Makes me wonder about virtually every other agency.


#19

Yep - it was just an example. I do feel that a mechanism for recovering the fruits of federal research for the public good needs to be established. Currently universities are trying to patent more of their discoveries and then seek royalty agreements with corporations. I dislike that mechanism - and it certainly doesn't have the desired effect on public benefits.


#20

We have to fight smart to overcome the disconnect (which I do not think accidental) between public knowledge and legitimate government administration of scientific research. In that so much research is under the academic umbrella, and the administration in private universities can remain so, it would seem that public universities could provide a MAJOR public good by engaging proactive education of the public.

The last data year was 2014 according to the NSF.

Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development