Monday, March 23, 2009

Turning Universities Into Trade Schools

Times are tough. Money is short. States all over the country are cutting the budget for higher education, and the result is often the loss of faculty, classes, and even entire departments. The University of Florida has been forced to accept a 10% cut in state funding, and part of their response is to discontinue their geology department. This is insane. Geology is one of the most basic of the natural sciences; biology, paleontology, meterology, and oceanography all depend on it. Who's at fault? P.Z. Myers has the answer:
...part of the problem is…you. Why do you keep electing cretins to your legislatures who despise the "intellectual elite", who think being smart is a sin, who are so short-sighted that they care nothing for investing in strengthening the country in ways that take ten or more years to pay off? Stop it! Your representatives should be people who value education enough to commit to at least maintaining the current meager level of funding, but instead we get chains of ignoramuses who want to demolish the universities…and simultaneously want to control them to support their favorite ideological nonsense, via "academic freedom" bills.

Read Myers' excellent rant here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Wouldn't Say the New Prez is Perfect...

...but damn if he ain't good. Today, Obama moved to reverse Dubya's gutting of the Endangered Species Act. Obama's taken the responsibility for determining whether or not a species is in peril out of the hands of political appointees and buearucrats, and put it back where it belongs--into the hands of scientists. We have a president now who appreciates and trusts the work of scientists. It's a nice change.