09 January 2009

I try to stay out of politics, but politicians don't stay out of science

Former presidential candidate John McCain takes a swipe at lobster research.
On Wednesday, McCain himself grabbed for the fruit-fly swatter at a press conference to unveil his new anti-earmark legislation.

After a long takedown of research into lobsters by the University of Maine that involves a "Lobster Cam," McCain, a Senator from Arizona, turned on the fruit flies, saying, "also, there's one in Paris that -- yes -- $212,000 for Olive Fruit Fly research in Paris, France."

I'll wager that's something related to the Lobster Institute. It used to have a lobster cam (picture from it is part of this post), but it's down now.

The article continues to make much about fruit fly research, was discussed at length during the presidential election.

I'm reminded of something Ira Flatow said during his talk at SICB, which was to point out that science is always the first thing to get cut. He was talking in particular about the closing of reporting in the media, like CNN's cut of its entire science division, but I think this is another example of the same mentality.

I appreciate the Senator's efforts to reduce government expenditures, but going after a couple of hundred thousand dollars for science projects seems to be a poor way of saving.

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