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NASA Politics

Bill Nye 'the Science Guy' Urges Letters To Obama To Restore NASA Budget Cuts 259

MarkWhittington writes "Bill Nye, once known as 'The Science Guy' for his 1990s PBS educational television show, has cut a YouTube video in his current capacity of CEO of the Planetary Society urging people to write to President Obama to restore cuts to planetary science. The budget cuts were enacted by the president last February, causing consternation in the scientific community. Nye writes, 'If that proposal continues the steep decline in funding to NASA's planetary program it will gravely endanger the unique capabilities and outstanding people that have delivered U.S. leadership in space. We will lose a capability that took decades to develop and may never be replaced.'"

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Bill Nye 'the Science Guy' Urges Letters To Obama To Restore NASA Budget Cuts

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  • Romney too. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xzvf ( 924443 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:00PM (#41645087)
    Write them both, either could be president in January, and maybe they'll bring up NASA funding around job creation during the election.
    • by morcego ( 260031 )

      Write them both, either could be president in January, and maybe they'll bring up NASA funding around job creation during the election.

      I wish people would take your (great) advice and just do it, instead of discussing the flaws and merits of their pet politician.

      Wake up, guys. As Bill Nye said, write even if you don't like him (Obama or Romney). Afterwards we can discuss it. But don't waste time NOW.

  • You could wait until January.

  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:23PM (#41645247) Journal

    The House is the body responsible for spending authorizations. If you want an increase in NASA's budget, write to your local congressman/woman first. The nice thing about the House is that with 435 members, it's theoretically possible that you might get some sort of response if there is enough constituent interest on the issue.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You should check out the FAQ about this:

      The point is that Congress is not working on a budget right now, and won't be until 2013. They put some money back into this area within NASA, but since they never passed the budget, NASA has to assume that the President's proposed budget is all they have to work with.

      The Office of Management and Budget is the agency that allocates money and long-term spending w

      • The Office of Management and Budget is the agency that allocates money and long-term spending within federal agencies.

        No they aren't. OMB is part of the executive branch. The executive branch is constrained by Congress, they cannot spend money on anything they want nor can they shuffle money around willy-nilly. Yes, the President submits a proposal to Congress and that proposal is developed at the OMB. But if Congress doesn't adopt that proposal then the President's budget is meaningless.

    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      We're spending trillions on legally mandatory spending (aka "entitlement" programs), Defense and bailouts, all the while borrowing many hundreds of billions from China/Japan/etc.

      Eliminate some (or a lot) of that mandatory spending, and *then* increase NASA spending.

      Why not raise taxes? "Eventually you run out of other people's money."

  • It has been decided that we will be staying here. We will pray to our Gods for nice weather and the forbearance of asteroids.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:39PM (#41645357)

    He was "Bill Nye the Science Guy" back when he was a role player on "Almost Live!", which was a Seattle-area comic sketch show in the 80s and 90s.

    Most of the time he was just a stock player, but occasionally he'd do a science-comedy mashup []; and for each year's New Year's special episode he'd rig up some Rube Goldberg sciency contraption that'd be used to count down to the new year.

    Although I think I liked him best as Speed Walker [], who fought crime while adhering to the conventions of the International Speed Walking Association.

    • Correct - he's not a scientist, he has played one on TV.

      (And I miss "Almost Live!'.)

      • by edelbrp ( 62429 )

        While, true, he is best known as an entertainer of sorts, he's an engineer that's worked in a number of fields (I won't bother posting links to various bios; you can google for those.)

        I grew up watching Almost Live! Loved that show. I loved the Billy Quan segments... "Be Like Billy!" It was a sort of extreme spoof of fake looking staged martial arts fighting movies taken to the extreme.

  • Though the Air force is used for military means rather than exploratory means, it's pretty clear that most of the prototypes in the AF pipeline are space and air...not just air. So many of the advances of shuttles etc that NASA has been pushing toward are being propagated into the Air force portfolio, NASA should just become a sub-arm of the Air force...basically. Then it can get military money (which we know is massive and won't be cut.) It just makes sense. NASA can deal with the interplanetary means of t
    • Problem with that is the Air Force likes to classify everything, so we'd never see most of their scientific advances.
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:47PM (#41645409) Homepage

    Bill Nye 'the Science Guy' Urges Letters To Obama To Restore NASA Budget Cuts

    "Restoring cuts" sounds like NASA getting less money.

  • by danbuter ( 2019760 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:58PM (#41645485)
    Unlike just about every other branch of government, NASA routinely either broke even or even made money, thanks to all of the stuff they invented. Heck, if they had patented all of it, the government would have a huge cash cow in NASA.
  • Which departments are funded and how much funding they get is up to congress and not the president.

    The president is not king or emperor and people need to stop treating the position this way. It is very dangerous because if we do this for too long the president will become emperor.

    The majority of power must always reside in the legislature. They make the laws, they set policy, they debate the issues, they cut the deals. The president just runs the show after he's been given the rules.

    • You might read the US Constitution, and read up on the principle of separation of powers. Not only do you not understand how the current system works, you don't seem to understand that what you propose requires significant amendments to the Constitution.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @08:36PM (#41645763) Homepage Journal

    Wait until you see who wins the election. Then write that person. No need to write the loser as he is packing his bags.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @10:24PM (#41646317)

    Except for the couple of years immediately after the president insisted we needed to go to the moon, where NASA consumed more than 4% of the national budget (but still wasn't very much), it has almost never accounted for a significant part of the budget in any way. For the entire life of the agency, the average budget (in 2007's dollars) has been something like $17,000,000,000/yr.

    Hell, since 9/11, we have spent TWICE as much conducting war in the middle east as NASA has spent in its entire fifty-five year live time, in which it developed rocket technology. Developed shuttle technology. Helped improve countless other technologies (including those for the military). Helped generate entire new private industries. Shot a man into space. Shot around the moon. Landed men on the moon several times. Built space-suit-jets for men in space. Conducted space walks. Built a space car. Built and deployed a telescope to see to the beginning of time. Built and manned a space station. Built one (wait, two?) little RC cars that we landed on the surface of Mars. Then built an SUV that we landed on Mars. Not to mention the satellites above our heads. The satellites far out in space, exploring the universe for decades, now. . .

    All of that is in *today's* dollars.

    So, let's not fool ourselves into believing NASA has ever had a "ton of funding". But, just think what we could accomplish if we blew up a few less brown people or facilitated a few fewer corporate (Haliburtin, KDR, etc) contracts in Afghanistan or Iraq with government resources and just funneled that little bit of money to NASA. Maybe push 5% of that "searchin' for WMDs" money over to NASA. Who knows what fucking amazing shit we could do?

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Private industry yadda yadda. That'd be fine, if we apply that consistently. But if we're going to be debating what's worth funding, how the fuck is pursuing one of the most primitive needs of mankind not near the top of the list?

    Instead, we have to bank the whole of our space exploration on the guy who ships books and kindles to your doorstep, the guy behind Doom and Rage, and the guy behind PayPal. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but . . .

  • Apparently they couldn't afford a tripod to film this. That, or they were trying to go for a in-the-action style film to liven up a boring speech.
  • Save the budget cuts! NASA is a dead corporation, so why are we wasting money on them? I am partially kidding.
  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock.poetic@com> on Sunday October 14, 2012 @01:28AM (#41647107)

    I'm very confused as to why it is desirable to restore cuts.
    Or even possible.
    If cuts exist, how can they be restored?
    Perhaps he wants to increase cuts?

    Or perhaps everyone at /. failed English as well as Logic.
    I'm pretty sure that most of you want FUNDING restored, not CUTS.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"