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Canada Government The Almighty Buck United Kingdom Science

Scientists Stage Funerals To Protest Against Cuts — a New Trend? 263

ananyo writes "Physicists, chemists and mathematicians in the UK are campaigning against their chief public funder (EPSRC) over reforms that they say threaten blue-skies research, kicking off their protest by toting a coffin to the Prime Minister in Downing Street. The reforms are a response to declining budgets and political pressure to focus science on areas that will produce economic benefits for the UK. Last month, over 2000 Canadian scientists marched to Parliament Hill with a coffin to protest against the Harper government's cuts to basic research and scientific facilities, which they believe undermine the quality of scientific evidence in government. With budget cuts to science expected in the U.S., is it time for scientists in U.S. — and perhaps elsewhere — to think about getting their retaliation in first and ready their coffins?"
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Scientists Stage Funerals To Protest Against Cuts — a New Trend?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @04:32PM (#40847801)

    We Canadians weren't protesting because of general science funding cuts. Budgets get rearranged. The economy is in shambles. We accept that.

    The "Death of evidence" protest formed because cuts were being very carefully targeted: If your research produced results that suggested the Harper Government (tm) might be making a dumb decision, your research was ignored, suppressed, and eventually canned.

    Statistics Canada has never lost control of any personal information. Never. So the long-form census gets scrapped, citing "privacy concerns". Now we have huge holes in the data that used to guide policy decisions.

    The Experimental Lakes Area costs nearly nothing (~$2m/yr). It taught us what damage various chemicals will do to aquatic ecosystems, how to clean that damage up, and how to prevent it from happening in the first place. So we're spending ~$50m, or 25 years of operating funding, to shut it down.

    We have thousands of scientists employed in federal labs. They are now required, apparently under threat of dismissal, to obtain political approval from the Prime Minister's Office before they can talk to the media or release their findings.

    There are many, many related examples from all over Canada.

    So it's not that funding is being "cut". It's that scientific results are being systematically ignored, dismissed and suppressed, so our policy-making is now based on pure ideology with no evidence to back up decisions. And the institutions that could provide that evidence are quietly being muzzled and gutted.

    (Posting AC for obvious reasons...)
    ps. Captcha = "Losers".

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @04:33PM (#40847807) Journal

    Oh Christ, would you fucking Ron Paulites shut the fuck up. Jesus, none of you know a fucking thing about economics, just mouthing "fiat currency is baaaaad" like semi-retarded sheep.

    The value of a fiat currency isn't based on nothing, it's based on a huge number of factors, including net economic output, GDP and so forth. Much more sensible than basing it on how much fucking gold the government is sitting on, which is utterly arbitrary and has little or nothing to do with the actual economic life of the country.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky