McCain hates science
So I kind of missed the presidential debate earlier in the week, but it’s generated a lot of comment from science blogs because of the criticism about Obama supporting a “$3 million overhead projector.” Andrew Kravtsov from the University of Chicago sums it up beautifully in this comment to a New York Times article on the story. Quoted because I’m not sure if that’s a perm. link.
I am an Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Chicago (the University that today has added yet another Nobel Prize winner in the sciences for the US). I would like to comment on Sen. McCain’s statement during the today’s debate that Sen. Obama has earmarked “$3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Ill. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?”
The way Sen. McCain has phrased it suggests that Sen. Obama approved spending $3 million on an old-fashioned piece of office equipment (overhead projector).
The 3 million is actually for an upgrade of the SkyTheater – a full dome projection system, which is probably the main attraction of the Adler Planetarium and is quite sophisticated and impressive piece of equipment.
I find it appalling that Sen. McCain would call a science education tool for public (largely children) for
a historic planetarium with millions of visitors a year a wasteful earmark. The planetarium’s focus, as stated on their website (http://adlerplanetarium.org) is “on inspiring young people, particularly women and minorities, to pursue careers in science.” Is an investment in such public facility at the time when US
competitiveness in math and sciences is a constant source of alarm a waste?
“American’s ability to compete in a 21st Century economy rests on our continued investments in math and science education,” said Rep. Brian Baird, Chairman of the Research and Science Education Subcommittee in Congress, after the passage of The 21st Century Competitiveness Act of 2007.
Considering such investments “wasteful earmarks” today, even in the face of the financial crisis, will severely cripple US economic competitiveness in the increasingly high-tech world down the road.
— Andrey Kravtsov, Chicago, IL
The other thing worth briefly mentioning is that there are oranges out there with THC in them. I’m not sure how you get your hands on them, but it’s pretty interesting anyway. The story of why the scientist in question developed them is even cooler (check the link 🙂 )