Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government The Almighty Buck United States Science

Accountability of the Scientific Stimulus Funding 242

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we-blew-it-on-bubblegum dept.
eldavojohn writes "A blog tipped me off to a government site that allows me to see where my tax dollars went when the nebulous 'scientific stimulus' was granted. You might be able to find this information in a bill, but you can click on your state in this interactive site to see what has happened locally to you. Perhaps it's a sign of more government transparency in regards to spending or just more propaganda."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Accountability of the Scientific Stimulus Funding

Comments Filter:
  • by AudioInfecktion (1088677) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:08PM (#30144684)
    Exclusive: Jobs 'Saved or Created' in Congressional Districts That Don't Exist http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jobs-saved-created-congressional-districts-exist/story?id=9097853 [go.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:26PM (#30144930)

    This isn't a gov site. from the about us page:

    ScienceWorksForUS is a joint effort of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and The Science Coalition (TSC) to demonstrate the impact of stimulus-funded university research activities across the country.

    These are trade/lobbying organizations, not government agencies.

  • DId you even read (Score:4, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:27PM (#30144960) Homepage Journal

    that story? it's about people not correctly reporting their district.

  • Stimulus Funding (Score:5, Informative)

    by cephalien (529516) <benjaminlungerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:32PM (#30145030)

    It's important to note that this stimulus funding (they're also called 'Recovery Act' grants) were under a very short submission cycle.

    Essentially, we only had a few months to prepare and submit a proposal to get funded, which isn't a lot of time -- unless you already had a proposal ready (or nearly ready) in the wings. What this means in a practical sense is that a lot of what the stimulus funds would have ended up going to is work that's in-progress, or stuff that larger labs want to do as pilot projects.

    Also: someone in here suggested shorter-term studies. That's not how real science is done. We try to encapsulate some specific aims in the grant time-frame, but what really happens fundamentally is that we end up using the grant funds to answer enough questions that we can go and apply for another grant.

    It's a much-less cohesive and efficient system than many people realize.

  • by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:39PM (#30145140) Homepage

    Such a convenient excuse (if true)... but still doesn't explain all of the fake jobs 'created or saved' in New Hampshire [hotair.com], Florida and Georgia [hotair.com], Ohio [hotair.com], Wisconsin [hotair.com], New Jersey [google.com], Virginia [nypost.com], Texas [dallasnews.com], Illinois [chicagotribune.com], Colorado [hotair.com], Washington [hotair.com], Massachusetts [hotair.com], Arkansas [hotair.com], Connecticut [clickability.com], or Michigan [hotair.com].

    Given the scope of the fakery going on... there are two options... even more errors, or a deliberate attempt to cook the books.

    Giving the amazing failure of the stimulus... the latter is far more likely given the continued delusional claims that it saved us from the brink... instead it is setting us up for a double dip and massive inflation.

  • by jhoegl (638955) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:47PM (#30145238)
    Yes it does... The jobs do exist and you can find them via Zip code instead of district. The reality was that there was no district fact checking and nothing more. You want to blame anyone, blame the people that wrote down the false districts.
  • Re:Stimulus Funding (Score:3, Informative)

    by pz (113803) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @12:59PM (#30145438) Journal

    It's important to note that this stimulus funding (they're also called 'Recovery Act' grants) were under a very short submission cycle.

    Essentially, we only had a few months to prepare and submit a proposal to get funded, which isn't a lot of time -- unless you already had a proposal ready (or nearly ready) in the wings.

    Was it even months? I recall it being less than that. It was an incredibly short cycle. Also, reading through the list of proposed areas of research was obviously reading through a list of project summaries that were culled out of program officers' piles of unfunded grant applications, making it seem like the decisions had already been made.

    The ironic thing about the ARRA funding was that new investigators are the best way to create jobs and economic stimulus. New investigators need to buy equipment and hire people. Established labs in contrast already have equipment and personnel, so additional money is likely to be spent on maintaining the status quo, rather than economic stimulation. But the way the ARRA grants were structured, there were strong disincentives for new investigators to apply for them. As a new investigator I was separately advised against applying for ARRA funding three times by people in the NIH.

  • by Bowling Moses (591924) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:05PM (#30145534) Journal
    "The real issue is that much of the funding is going to projects which aren't going to be completed before the funding runs out."

    That's not the way it works. For starters there's rarely, if ever, a definitive "end point" for a study. There's always something more that could be done; it's a piss-poor paper that doesn't bring out new issues to explore. Running out of money or key personnel moving on to a new position often times is the end where whatever you've got is bundled up into a publication(s). If it isn't at the level of a..."least publishable unit" then it might sit around for a year or three until the principal investigator can scrounge up time or more often the case money to get it to that LPU point.

    "Many if not most of those projects will then be scrambling for funding..."

    This is what academic scientists call "situation normal" or "Wednesday" it's how the game doesn't work for about the last 15 years or so, and getting worse every year. You are constantly scrambling for money, any money, to keep yourself and your staff employed and doing science.
  • Re:Stimulus Funding (Score:3, Informative)

    by cephalien (529516) <benjaminlungerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:50PM (#30146158)

    Was it even months? I recall it being less than that. It was an incredibly short cycle. Also, reading through the list of proposed areas of research was obviously reading through a list of project summaries that were culled out of program officers' piles of unfunded grant applications, making it seem like the decisions had already been made.

    That's absolutely true. In my particular example, we re-submitted a grant that had already been rejected (after making the requisite changes, of course). I expect that happened quite a lot, since the alternative was writing a whole new proposal in a very short span of time.

    That's not to say that none of the things proposed weren't fundable-quality, but more that the recovery act funds aren't going to say, make new jobs. Technicians who are already hired will stay hired, postdocs like myself will get another year or two of funding, and so on. One surge of extra funds into the research establishment isn't going to do anything in terms of increase our scientific output (but I get the feeling you know that).

  • Back in February (Score:2, Informative)

    by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @01:54PM (#30146224)

    Back in February after the Stimulus Bill was passed, I was flying from Washington DC to Raleigh Durham. Onboard the plane were two congressmen, one so myopic that he literally had to read things two inches from his nose. This is with glasses too. You couldn't help but overhear how proud they were of passing the legislation but what was funny is that both of them were commenting on specific parts of it and each passing back pages of the legislation back and forth.

    "Did you know that was in there?"

    "Hey, what about this? What's that for?"

    Mind you both of these idiots, er uhm, illustrious members of the house voted yes and they didn't read it through.

    Sad Really..

  • Re:Biased much? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:23PM (#30146640)

    I've yet to see anything logical or factual from the Obama haters.

    So you only are listening to the Obama haters and not the Obama disagree-rs? That could explain why you haven't heard much.

    He said he hasn't heard anything logical or factual from the Obama haters.He mentioned nothing about whether he has heard anything from people who simply disagree.

    You fail basic reading comprehension.

    In fact, I *have* heard things both logical and factual from people who simply disagree with particular aspects of what Obama is doing. Most of those people are centrist to liberal. It's the people on the far right wing that say "Obama is Hitler!" "He's Oba mao!" "He'll murder your grandmother by throwing her into a pit with wild, hungry kittens, and then mulch her corpse and use it on the White House lawn!" Seriously, there are problems with some of the stuff Obama is doing. But, if he were to single-handedly cure cancer tomorrow, you right wing nutjobs would find some way to make it sound bad.

  • Re:stifling progress (Score:2, Informative)

    by Disgruntled Goats (1635745) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:24PM (#30146652)

    Consider how little funding the Plasma Cosmologists have gotten, in comparison to the huge amount of money that has gone to astrophysicists who tell us that the universe is almost entirely invisible and virtually undetectable.

    You mean except for the fact that dark matter was observed 8 years ago? [space.com] Oh yeah and here too [stanford.edu]. Yeah other than these examples and others that can be shown that it's invisible and undetectable. *yawn*

    This is like the medieval Catholic church funding mathematicians to produce increasingly elegant papers on epicycles while ignoring the research of heliocentrists. I, for one, would like to see the government out of science and Natural Philosophy returned to the realm of dilettantes and other assorted rabble who actually base their theories on observed data instead of mathematical conjecture.

    Except for those people you berate against have their mathematical "conjecture" backed up by observed data.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:34PM (#30146808) Journal
    From the article linked to for NJ (which has nothing to do with NJ, btw -- are you trolling, assuming no one would click your links?) -- (emphasis mine)

    At Southwest Georgia Community Action Council in Moultrie, Ga., director Myrtis Mulkey-Ndawula said she followed the guidelines the Obama administration provided. She said she multiplied the 508 employees by 1.84 -- the percentage pay raise they received -- and came up with 935 jobs saved.

    You can't help idiocy. This idiot multiplied 508 by 1.84 instead of by 0.0184. People make stupid mistakes, and the failure here is that no one checked it.

  • by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:44PM (#30146952)
    Bush was an idiot. His cabinet was not.
  • by gpronger (1142181) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @03:12PM (#30147290) Journal
    I've been employed within the environmental industry, and there is a marked improvement in availability of information from the Federal government since Obama in terms of both what is available on their websites and the implementation of email updates on regulatory changes, proposals, research, etc.

    Just the improved information availability is a significant improvement.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...