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Government The Almighty Buck United States Science

Computing a Winner, Fusion a Loser In US Science Budget 196

sciencehabit writes "President Barack Obama has released a $3.901 trillion budget request to Congress, including proposals for a host of federal research agencies. Science Magazine has the breakdown, including a big win for advanced computing, a big cut for fusion, and status quo for astronomy. 'In the proposed budget, advanced computing would see its funding soar 13.2% to $541 million. BES, the biggest DOE program, would get a boost of 5.5% to $1.807 billion. BER would get a 3% bump to $628 million, and nuclear physics would enjoy a 4.3% increase to $594 million. In contrast, the fusion program would take a 17.6% cut to $416 million—$88 million less than it's getting this year. Although far from final, the numbers suggest another big dip for a program that has enjoyed a roller coaster ride in recent years. In its proposed 2013 budget, DOE called for slashing spending on domestic fusion research to help pay for the increasing U.S. contribution to the international fusion experiment, ITER, in Cadarache, France.'" The Association of American Universities has issued a letter disapproving of the amount of research funding. The Planetary Society has broken down the proposed NASA budget.
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Computing a Winner, Fusion a Loser In US Science Budget

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  • by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:09AM (#46407473) Homepage

    > Maybe advanced computing can be used to simulate fusion reactors

    They've been doing that since the 1960s. The simulations say it all worked 25 years ago.

    I'm not convinced more simulations will help.

  • by NoImNotNineVolt ( 832851 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @12:04PM (#46408853) Homepage


    Who are "THEY"? The people running Medicare? No, that's not right.

    The point is not that "we're fine"; we're not.

    The point is that trotting out Social Security and Medicare as examples of why our budget is broken is misleading. These programs are funded through separate withholdings, withholdings that exceed the cost of said programs. Perhaps these programs are "too much", and we should decrease their scope along with their respective withholdings. Perhaps they're "not enough", and we should increase their scope along with their respective withholdings. Perhaps they're "just right", and we should leave them alone. In any case, these programs have very little to do with our current budget woes, as the funds to pay for them are being collected just fine.

    That the money collected specifically for these programs is instead misappropriated or borrowed against is no indictment of the programs themselves. Yes, the money has already been spent. No, the money has not already been spent on these programs. You can start pointing at social welfare programs as the primary drivers of deficit spending once you show me how gross tax receipts are sufficient to cover defense spending and all the other shit that's paid for out of the general fund. I say that as someone who works in the defense industry.

Think of your family tonight. Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.