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Science Funding
« on: March 09, 2024, 04:44:50 PM »
Science is not popular with Populists who often seem to be automatic climate change deniers

As populism seems to be the way to go in Politics this year, with half the world having elections, we may see more of what is happening now in Argentina

‘Despair’: Argentinian researchers protest as president begins dismantling science

Javier Milei’s actions after taking office have research institutions facing shutdown.

Three months after Javier Milei took office as the new president of Argentina, scientists there say that their profession is in crisis. As Milei cuts government spending to bring down the country’s deficit and to lower inflation — now more than 250% annually — academics say that some areas of research are at risk. And they say that institutes supported by Argentina’s main science agency, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), might have to shut down. Researchers have been expressing their anger and discontent on social media and protesting in the streets.

‘Extremely worrying’: Argentinian researchers reel after election of anti-science president

The far-right Milei administration has decided that the federal budget will remain unchanged from that in 2023 — which means that, in real terms, funding levels are at least 50% lower this year because of increasing inflation. CONICET, which supports nearly 12,000 researchers at about 300 institutes, has had to reduce the number of graduate-student scholarships it awards from 1,300 to 600. It has also stopped hiring researchers and giving promotions, and it has laid off nearly 50 administrative staff members.

Yesterday, 68 Nobel prizewinners in chemistry, economics, medicine and physics delivered a letter to Milei expressing concerns about the devaluation of the budgets for Argentina’s national universities and for CONICET. “We watch as the Argentinian system of science and technology approaches a dangerous precipice, and despair at the consequences that this situation could have for both the Argentine people and the world,” it says.

“It is vital to increase the budget for CONICET,” says Nuria Giniger, an anthropologist at the CONICET-funded Center for Labor Studies and Research in Buenos Aires, who is also secretary of the union organizing the protests. She says that, if things don’t change in the next two months, some institutions will have to shut down. “We can’t afford basic things like paying for elevator maintenance, Internet services, vivariums [enclosures for animals and plants] and more.”

Some say that although Milei hasn’t outright shut down CONICET, as he pledged during his presidential campaign, he is keeping his promise by making it impossible for some laboratories to stay open. “By promoting budget cuts in science and technology, the government is dismantling the sector,” says Andrea Gamarnik, head of a molecular-virology lab at the Leloir Institute Foundation in Buenos Aires, which is supported by CONICET.

Daniel Salamone, the head of CONICET, who was appointed by Milei, contends that the government’s actions don’t signal a lack of support for science. “We gave raises and maintained CONICET’s entire staff of researchers and support professionals,” says Salamone, a veterinarian who specializes in cloning. He emphasizes that the country has severe economic problems. “It would seem unfair to assume a critical stance [by Milei towards science] without considering that the country is going through a deep crisis,” he adds, pointing out that more than 50% of the population is living in poverty.

Sending a message
CONICET isn’t the only science-based agency affected by Milei’s cuts. His administration has not yet appointed a president to the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation, which had a budget of about US$120 million in 2023 and which helps to finance the work of local researchers by channeling international funding to them. This means that the agency has not been operating since last year, putting the 8,000 projects it runs in jeopardy .

“The government is giving a message to society that science is not important” and is sending a negative message about scientists, Gamarnik says. For instance, Milei has liked and shared posts on the social-media platform X (formerly Twitter) suggesting that researchers funded by CONICET are lazy and don’t earn their pay.

Milei has also seemed to undermine science in other ways: on taking office, he dissolved the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, which oversaw agencies including CONICET, downgrading it to a secretariat with a smaller budget and less power. The head of the secretariat he appointed is Alejandro Cosentino, an entrepreneur and former bank manager who funded a financial-technology company but has no scientific background. “With so many areas under his control, there are no priorities set, nor coordination or planning,” says Lino Barañao, a biochemist who was the minister for science for 12 years under two previous administrations. “This is serious.”

Contacted by Nature, a spokesperson for the science secretariat denies that science is not a priority for the Milei administration. “CONICET is in the same budgetary situation as the rest of the national public administration,” that is, it is under the same budget as last year, just like the rest of the government, they said. Closing CONICET institutes is not the intention, they added. And counter to Milei’s comments during the campaign about shutting down or privatizing the agency, the government wants to “build and expand scientific policy” with a special focus on bringing back Argentinian scientists from abroad, they said.

But researchers worry that, instead, young scientists will be driven away from Argentina because of the new administration’s actions. “For the younger scientists, it is a great discouragement to continue,” says Gamarnik. “Our work requires motivation and a lot of commitment. If there are no scholarships and budget, people will start looking for other options.”

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Re: Science Funding
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2024, 06:08:06 PM »
Trump Allies Plan to Gut Climate Research if He Is Reelected

Former President Donald Trump’s second term could begin with a clear direction on climate policy: Trash it.

Trump has already said that boosting fossil fuels would be one of his top priorities. A proposed executive order in Project 2025 offers him a path for that goal, laying out a total restructuring of the U.S. Global Change Research Program to diminish its role across more than a dozen federal agencies.

Project 2025 also calls for replacing the White House climate adviser with an "energy/environment" adviser who would pivot to serving the needs of the fossil fuel industry.

... A top target of Project 2025 is the program’s National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report that is due again in late 2026 or early 2027. The proposed executive order would require a “critical analysis” of the assessment and a rejection of all related climate science work prepared by the Biden administration.

In Trump’s first term, his administration worked to bury and then remake the assessment. The report was quietly released the day after Thanksgiving, when the public is less likely to pay attention to news, and Trump said he didn’t “believe” it. In the waning days of the administration, Trump officials attempted to craft the next version of the report but ran out of time.

The Trump administration only “discovered” the Global Change Research Program in its final months and officials immediately tried tampering with it by promoting bad science, said Don Wuebbles, an emeritus professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois who worked on all five of the climate assessments.

In a Trump White House, he said, it won’t matter that there is overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are driving climate change and that it’s a crisis that needs to be addressed.

But a flawed National Climate Assessment, produced by partisan researchers loyal to Trump, might help the administration gut public health regulations on the fossil fuel industry, said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

“Environmental regulations rely on a scientific foundation,” Gerrard said. “Efforts to undermine that foundation could have serious negative effects on climate laws.”


Conservatives Gear Up for EPA Revamp In 2025

Dramatic shifts to EPA’s priorities and structure are central to plans for a GOP-led White House drawn up by Trump-era officials and right-leaning influencers.

Project 2025, organized by the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, lays out detailed proposals agency by agency for a Republican president if President Joe Biden loses his reelection bid. EPA would see a return to Trump administration policies that elevated deregulation and downsized the agency, which led to tumult among staff and questions over its future.

... “The EPA it envisions would be a pale imitation of an agency charged with protecting human health and the environment for all Americans,” Meiburg said.

... The plan envisions deep organizational shifts. It would eliminate the enforcement office, spreading its function to other offices; develop proposals to relocate the agency’s 10 regional offices; push the public engagement office into the public affairs shop; and split the children’s health office among other programs.

Science advisory boards would be reset, and grants would come under review. New hires in “low-value programs” would be terminated, while Senior Executive Service positions would be considered for relocation.

Among other moves, former President Donald Trump, considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, plans to pull back EPA’s latest tailpipe emissions limits for cars and light-duty trucks, projected to spur electric vehicles to account for about two-thirds of all auto sales by 2032, and the agency’s rule requiring polluters to clean up coal ash at inactive power plant and waste sites.

The America First Policy Institute, a Trump-aligned think tank, has targeted EPA too, seeking emails of its career staff and documents from the agency’s union negotiations via the Freedom of Information Act.

... While the agency has been central to Biden’s agenda in fighting climate change, the Project 2025 proposal would end that.

... Project 2025 also takes aim at EPA’s research and development office.

The next Republican president’s regulations freeze, which would come on the day of their inauguration, would halt the agency’s scientific assessments and guidance. Contracts worth more than $100,000 that focus on peer reviews and regulatory models would be paused.

Also, the proposal would end the research office’s use of the Title 42 hiring authority, which allows EPA to hire scientists above civil service pay levels, and put into motion plans to streamline EPA’s laboratories. Elsewhere in the Project 2025 chapter, it advises closing or consolidating the agency’s regional labs.

Liz Borkowski, the managing director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at George Washington University, said the plan’s call to cut staffing levels and suspend advisory boards threatens EPA’s capacity to use the best available science.

“I don’t want the quality of my air and water to be dependent on people without specialized scientific knowledge,” Borkowski said. “And I suspect that much of the ‘public’ input on EPA science would come from industries that care more about their ability to pollute freely than they do about public health.”

 ... “Employees are wondering whether a year from now, will working at EPA be intolerable — or even worse — will they be fired because they don’t embrace the Trump party line?” Cantello said. “Some won’t stick around to find out. Several employees have stated they will leave EPA rather than suffer through another Trump administration.”
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― anonymous

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late


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Re: Science Funding
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2024, 09:30:39 PM »
obvious solution Democrat......if Biden dies in office , the Vice President will take over


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Re: Science Funding
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2024, 10:33:44 PM »
So science funding is probably more politics then science, isn´t it?

Argentine is a bit of an extreme case. The US is slightly more worrying but at this point the real politics are much more important then the science. It is 2024. We are at a nice 1,51 C over the historical baseline for the a year by now. 2C is certain by 2030 or early mid 2040 so there is no more hiding behind end of century commitments.

We don´t need more science to convince politicians because they have ignored enough of it already.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.


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Re: Science Funding
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2024, 07:27:01 PM »
Against the Fall of Night ...

Science In Times of Crisis: Lessons from Fukushima and WWII

Collective memory is one way to ensure that past mistakes in the evolution of science systems are not repeated after a crisis, disaster or conflict according to a University of Tokyo historian who has contributed to the International Science Council's latest report: "Protecting Science in Times of Crisis."

The paper, released today, reflects on the current era of many and varied crises from violent conflicts to natural disasters, and suggests a way forward to develop support systems that will help to prevent the loss of scientists, their work and invaluable research archives and infrastructure.

Co-author of the International Science Council's "Protecting Science in Times of Crisis," Dr. Vivi Stavrou said as knowledge brokers, scientists were often the first to be affected, imprisoned and exiled in times of crises yet few people realize the impact the loss of science knowledge and infrastructure has on their country and future generations.

"There is currently no shared understanding of how the global scientific community can respond to crises that affect science and scientists, or of how it can coordinate the rebuilding of science systems affected by crises," Dr. Stavrou said.

... "In the immediate aftermath of a disaster it is difficult to have inclusive, comprehensive and reasoned discussions, so we had a real dilemma. A democratic society should have free discussion but in reality, especially for several days after an incident, it can be really difficult to have considered and consistent messaging. So that is when a single voice is needed, but at the same time it needs to be transparent and clear," Professor Oki explained.

The report recommends that in times of crises external collaborations can help to bridge the gap of instability and protect the integrity of research. Professor Oki says during WWII science and technology advances were a closely guarded secret but from 1947 a major shift (called "reverse course") occurred in response to the emerging global Cold War that saw the United States and its allies become more interested in promoting Japan's economic and technological development.

When it comes to advice on rebuilding science systems or collaborations, every case is different according to Professor Oki but the Japanese experience has shown that keeping the collective memory active can open pathways to new and more encompassing ways to protect scientists and research in times of crisis.

"Unfortunately, during times of conflict libraries and many data were destroyed. People do try to save this kind of infrastructure and memory and that's important to give people the motivation to rebuild their society," Professor Oki said. "For example, cities like Hiroshima and Nagasaki lost many important artifacts and archives and in the process of recovering from such a catastrophic incident, we have tried to unite memories, an effort that is ongoing even today."

Report: Protecting Science in Times of Crisis, International Science Council Regional Focal Point for Asia and the Pacific , (2024)


Preserving Scientists During Wars and Emergencies


A Canticle for Leibowitz summary

A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic social science fiction novel by American writer Walter M. Miller Jr., first published in 1959. Set in a Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the book spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz preserve the surviving remnants of man's scientific knowledge until the world is again ready for it.


Asimov's Foundation series

The premise of the stories is that in the waning days of a future Galactic Empire, the mathematician Hari Seldon spends his life developing a theory of psychohistory, a new and effective mathematics of sociology. Using statistical laws of mass action, it can predict the future of large populations. Seldon foresees the imminent fall of the Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a Dark Age lasting 30,000 years before a second empire arises. Although the momentum of the Empire's fall is too great to stop, Seldon devises a plan by which "the onrushing mass of events must be deflected just a little" to eventually limit this interregnum to just one thousand years.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― anonymous

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late


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Re: Science Funding
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2024, 05:05:58 PM »
Can't find a better place to put this.....

NOAA is one of those institutions that says to me there is still some hope for the USA, but.....
Trump will dismantle key US weather and science agency, climate experts fear

Plan to break up Noaa claims its research is ‘climate alarmism’ and calls for commercializing forecasts, weakening forecasts

Climate experts fear Donald Trump will follow a blueprint created by his allies to gut the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), disbanding its work on climate science and tailoring its operations to business interests.

Joe Biden’s presidency has increased the profile of the science-based federal agency but its future has been put in doubt if Trump wins a second term and at a time when climate impacts continue to worsen.

The plan to “break up Noaa is laid out in the Project 2025 document written by more than 350 rightwingers and helmed by the Heritage Foundation. Called the Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, it is meant to guide the first 180 days of presidency for an incoming Republican president.

The document bears the fingerprints of Trump allies, including Johnny McEntee, who was one of Trump’s closest aides and is a senior adviser to Project 2025. “The National Oceanographic [sic] and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) should be dismantled and many of its functions eliminated, sent to other agencies, privatized, or placed under the control of states and territories,” the proposal says.

That’s a sign that the far right has “no interest in climate truth”, said Chris Gloninger, who last year left his job as a meteorologist in Iowa after receiving death threats over his spotlighting of global warming.

The guidebook chapter detailing the strategy, which was recently spotlighted by E&E News, describes Noaa as a “colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future US prosperity”. It was written by Thomas Gilman, a former Chrysler executive who during Trump’s presidency was chief financial officer for Noaa’s parent body, the commerce department.

Gilman writes that one of Noaa’s six main offices, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, should be “disbanded” because it issues “theoretical” science and is “the source of much of Noaa’s climate alarmism”. Though he admits it serves “important public safety and business functions as well as academic functions”, Gilman says data from the National Hurricane Center must be “presented neutrally, without adjustments intended to support any one side in the climate debate”.

But Noaa’s research and data are “largely neutral right now”, said Andrew Rosenberg, a former Noaa official who is now a fellow at the University of New Hampshire. “It in fact basically reports the science as the scientific evidence accumulates and has been quite cautious about reporting climate effects,” he said. “It’s not pushing some agenda.”

The rhetoric harkens back to the Trump administration’s scrubbing of climate crisis-related webpages from government websites and stifling climate scientists, said Gloninger, who now works at an environmental consulting firm, the Woods Hole Group.

It’s one of those things where it seems like if you stop talking about climate change, I think that they truly believe it will just go away,” he said. “They say this term ‘climate alarmism’ … and well, the existential crisis of our lifetime is alarming.

Noaa also houses the National Weather Service (NWS), which provides weather and climate forecasts and warnings. Gilman calls for the service to “fully commercialize its forecasting operations”.

He goes on to say that Americans are already reliant on private weather forecasters, specifically naming AccuWeather and citing a PR release issued by the company to claim that “studies have found that the forecasts and warnings provided by the private companies are more reliable” than the public sector’s. (The mention is noteworthy as Trump once tapped the former CEO of AccuWeather to lead Noaa, though his nomination was soon withdrawn.)

The claims come amid years of attempts from US conservatives to help private companies enter the forecasting arena – proposals that are “nonsense”, said Rosenberg.

Right now, all people can access high-quality forecasts for free through the NWS. But if forecasts were conducted only by private companies that have a profit motive, crucial programming might no longer be available to those in whom business executives don’t see value, said Rosenberg.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)