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Arecibo Observatory Loses Funding 185

An anonymous reader noted that "The Arecibo Observatory funding was slashed. Cut to $8 million from $10.5 million, which will decrease the amount of time that the telescope is operational. "A quarter of its staff was laid off last year," and Arecibo, which is located in Puerto Rico, could possibly be completely closed in four years, according to the "National Science Foundation (NSF), which pays for the operation of the telescope." This comes after "a review panel for the foundation's astronomy division two years ago" suggested cutting Arecibo's financing by 25 percent as a way to pay for new facilities. There has been "[a]n outcry" in response to the "decision, particularly from planetary scientists" who argued that the panel "overlooked Arecibo's role in cataloging potential dangers from asteroids." The Times notes that in Arecibo's favor is the fact that it "may be much cheaper to keep...open" than dismantle, which "could cost hundreds of millions of dollars."" I've been considering a vacation to PR for a few years, and seeing this thing is on my list of awesome things to try to see. Guess I should hurry ;)
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Arecibo Observatory Loses Funding

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  • Charity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2007 @02:15PM (#21437741) Homepage Journal
    I never thought that we would start needing charities to fund astronimcal science, but maybe it is time? It doesn't help that people think NASA is better funded than it is [slashdot.org]. Maybe there needs to be a campaign illustrating this, as a form of hitting people with the clue stick.
  • by Kildjean ( 871084 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2007 @02:15PM (#21437755) Homepage
    I am from Puerto Rico. And it has been my absolute favorite technological wonder mankind has ever built. I dont know how many of you have actually seen it. It is simply amazing. I used to go there since I was a kid around the age of 16... I started going with my father at least 1 weekend a month, then with my boyscout troop we would do a hike that would end in the forest next to the radar. I even had the opportunity once to go where the radar itself is, in that dwindling pendulum up above the Dish. A lot of people have had to see it from the "tourist trap" point of view from the top of the observatory road. But as a boyscout we found a way around that sits us right on the dish. The thing is huge, and the 3 towers that hold the antenna's are simply impressive.

    One of the most interesting things I admire about it, is that Puerto Rico has the worst hurricane season's ever, and that thing has hold several Cat 5 hurricanes without having a glitch damaged.

    Cmdr Taco should defenitely go see it before its shutdown and abandoned... In fact he should organize a slashdot tour and while the tour guide is explaining mumbo jumbo, someone should connect a linux terminal somewhere and use it to transmit some slashdot to outerspace... :) that or use the dish for some gnarly skatebording contest... ;)

    Jokes aside, I am really sad they are loosing funding. US Government should end their investment in the stupid war and drop some money in science for a change... I bet a whatever 1 month costs Congress the war, would put the observatory running for another 5 years or more.

    PS. There is a village about 5 miles behind the observartory where they make the meanest Skirt Steak you can eat and one of the meanest moonshines you could drink... :)
  • by logixoul ( 1046000 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2007 @06:03PM (#21440785)
    For anyone who hasn't seen it yet...
    Iraq Counter [nationalpriorities.org]
    I don't even know what to say; this is fucking insane

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan