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Space Science

Bill Gates and Microsoft Fund Telescope 171

coondoggie writes "Bill Gates and the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences this week donated $30 million to an ambitious telescope that researchers say will be able to survey the entire sky every three nights — something never done before. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project got $20 million from the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences and $10 million from Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates. Expected to see its "first light" in 2014, the 8.4-meter LSST will survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its 3 billion-pixel digital camera, probing the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy and opening a movie-like window on objects that change or move. With the telescope scientists will be able to quickly find Earth-threatening asteroids and exploding stars called supernovas and will be able to map out 100 billion galaxies, according to researchers."
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Bill Gates and Microsoft Fund Telescope

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  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @11:23AM (#21922912)
    As opposed to the bridge to nowhere or the Woodstock memorial.
  • by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @11:28AM (#21922966)
    It might be arguable that it should, but the reality is that it never will.

    One more argument for keeping money in the pocket of the people who earn it, rather than the government's....
  • The founders of the U.S. had a problem with taxation without representation, not taxation in general. As long as elected representatives have overseen taxation and government expenditure, all is running as intended. This Slashdot mentality of "This money is mine, and the government is just stealing it!" is just elitist dismissal of democracy, because you think you know better how money should be spent than your community. Plus, it's crazy to claim that the money is yours alone when, hey, there wouldn't be coinage without the government and they can determine what to do with it. If you don't like it, start bartering.
  • by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @11:58AM (#21923248)
    It is in no way an "elitist dismissal of democracy". Is it so bad to think for ourselves instead of expecting big brother to do it for us?

    Your mentality is nothing more than you can't do it yourself, you have to have the government. Just another way to destroy individualism.

    Moderate taxation isn't a problem, heavy taxation to support social programs is.
  • Insightful?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GradiusCVK ( 1017360 ) <(originalcvk) (at) (> on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:19PM (#21923440)
    Sorry buddy, I think you're pigeonholing all the founders into a category of men who only cared about taxation without representation and nothing more... but lets ignore the fact that the majority of the founding fathers were individualists and against large government in ADDITION to disagreeing with taxation without representation, and take on your argument as if all your premises were true. Sorry, but when you take MY money, apply it to YOUR favorite pet programs that I feel are not worth the money or a detriment to myself and the country, then guess what... I am not being represented in government adequately for the taxes I pay. Dumbass.

    Incidentally, a democracy is not what we have, and thank God. Before I let you go, ever hear of the tyranny of the majority? 51% of the people who are mildly in support of something can screw over 49% of the people who are vehemently against it. Just because you and your like-minded friends in the community think it'd be nice to build a $10 billion Museum of Rainbows and Sunshine doesn't make it right to tax me and my friends all our money to do it. Talk about elitism.
  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:24PM (#21923498)
    Only $30 million to look for planet-destroying rocks from outer space? Is that really all it takes to saveguard our species and world from such threats? If so, why aren't there half a dozen of these things already scanning the heavens every second of the day?

    Gee, *humans*...

  • by brusk ( 135896 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:40PM (#21923716)
    No roads, then? No schools?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:44PM (#21923764)
    I for one would much rather see a billionaire donating money to charity out of free will, rather than a coercive model which forces the individual to support the program irrespective of his beliefs (and also pay a cut to the middleman: the people in the business of government). What Bill Gates is doing here is true charity, quite unlike what goverment does.

    If I was him, I'd do the same thing. I'd do everything in my power to keep my fortune out of the hands of those who employ coercion as a means, and everything in my power to distribute my fortune to those charities and projects which rely on true free will, not coercion -- whether commercial or not.

    In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion he's doing exactly that. ;)
  • by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @12:55PM (#21923882) Journal
    Try to put those tasks on paper in an algorithmic form, the founding fathers did and this is where the US ended up. It's not that they had a bad idea, its simply that in terms of humanity there is rarely a condition with only a binary set of solutions or "valid" reactions (no matter how much media groups and marketers wants you to think this way, and by "valid" i mean the kind where you hear the why's of what someone did and you say "i can see that.."). Subjectivity is the root reason for governments to exists, and is also the root reason that any government can have its influence subverted or diverted given powerful enough interest groups.

  • Re:Waste of Money? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomz16 ( 992375 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @01:40PM (#21924326)
    ..and what fuels this wonderful "rate" of technology, if not people investing millions into multi-year (i.e. DIFFICULT) projects.

    If we stopped investing millions into projects like these, your cell phone in 2014 would look exactly the same as it does today.

  • Re:I bet... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moondo ( 177508 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @01:50PM (#21924426)
    The guy put $30 mln of his own money. Let him do what he wants with it... and if we benefit in the process, let's be grateful. Maybe we can learn a lesson on business.
  • by thexray ( 1000044 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @02:30PM (#21924812)
    What good this technology will be if we found ome tomorrow? I think we need invest into both areas at the same time.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @04:03PM (#21925756) Homepage
    As opposed to the bridge to nowhere or the Woodstock memorial.

    Bridges and memorials don't pose a challenge to religious dogma.

    You seem philosophically akin to the ignorant bible thumper who takes the mistranslated English version of the bible literally in every way, you seem to merely be the mirror image that thinks science means anti-religion. The truth is that science and religion are compatible. The Vatican operates a telescope and funds research:
    Dark Matter and Energy in the Cosmos
    The Acceleration of the Universe
    Globular Clusters
    A Supernova Discovery []

    History is full of religious people who are also scientists. One example is psychics professor and atronomer, and Roman Catholic Priest, Georges Lemaître. The guy who proposed the big bang theory. []

    You should note that some scientists were closed minded and dismissed Lemaître's theory because he was a priest, not on merit. I guess for some science becomes a religion and their minds close. I prefer the approach of Hawking and other scientists throughout history, that scientists are exploring the mechanics of the universe and that proving/disproving the existence of God is outside of their work.
  • by robbiedo ( 553308 ) on Saturday January 05, 2008 @05:41PM (#21926634)
    heavy taxation to pay for Republican deficit interest payments and war mongering. There, I fixed that for you.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.