31 March 2012

The 1% at Play - Part II


Posted as a contrast to this.

Image from QuickMeme.  A video clip from a National Geographic program is available via The Telegraph.

13 comments:

  1. I love this blog, and according to the political poll Stan posted a link to a while back, line up exactly with his political views. But I am feeling contrarian today.

    Remember that historically, science was pretty much always a rich guy's hobby. Or, at least driven by business interests. Even in the U.S., which now has more public science funding than any other country in the world, there is still more science done in the name of private R&D than public interest.

    As for the Trumps, remember that this sort of exotic adventurism is what filled our museums. The great natural history museums of the world are basically just full of stuff shot or stolen by aristocrats like them. It just seems more romantic 100 years after the fact.

    -Chuck

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    1. Contrarianism welcomed - that's why so many readers say they read the comments on this blog.

      And I don't disagree with your comment. Rich people were the scientists (or funded the scientists) at the beginning of science.

      btw - you do understand I am applauding Cameron, not dissing him...

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    2. As for the Trumps, remember that this sort of exotic adventurism is what filled our museums. The great natural history museums of the world are basically just full of stuff shot or stolen by aristocrats like them. It just seems more romantic 100 years after the fact.

      This is a bizarre apology for the weird kicks those spoiled brats get from killing animals in these canned hunts. Why not apply this same logic to the way antiquities were once looted by the wealthy/colonists/occupying armies etc. After all that's the Western museums got most of their treasures....

      Even in the U.S., which now has more public science funding than any other country in the world, there is still more science done in the name of private R&D than public interest

      I didn't think this passed the smell test and a little googling shows it doesn't. For share of GDP, the US isn't even in the top 20 for government *or* business funding of research.

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    3. No surprise, a Scandinavian country is number one: Sweden.

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    4. Why is 'private R&D' not in the public interest? Countless inventions and discoveries have been performed in the private interest that have led to great improvements to the world.

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  2. Rick from LouisvilleMarch 31, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Can anyone tell me what science Cameron actually accomplished? Or was his trip a rich man looking for exciting ways to spend his money?

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    1. I agree. If he were going to be doing "Science" then he'd have sent a scientist down there, not gone himself.

      This is a very rich man spending money to have a very expensive toy. Nothing more--nothing less.

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    2. Well its exploration isnt it? An intent on finding new things and learning from them about the earth? How is that not science? If not Cameron's actual actions, but what it will lead to.

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    3. I agree with Evan, exploration is science whoever does it, it need not be a scientist.

      What has been accomplished here is the creation of a manned submarine capable of reaching the deepest point of the ocean. If that doesn't impress you, well too bad. It impresses me as an engineer.

      Whatever humans do in order to reach goals that were previously unattainable is beneficial to the advancement of technology.

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  3. Stan: Yes, I understand you are applauding Cameron. I too think his sub dive was cool, and eagerly sought out some of his footage as soon as I could. I also think he makes tremendously entertaining movies that justify a movie theater ticket.

    Steve: I actually DID apply the same logic to museums. Please re-read my third paragraph again. But on reflection, I think it's maybe not such a good analogy. The Trumps weren't collecting stuff for study or public display. They were just shooting animals for their own amusement. Assuming that none of the animals were endangered, and noting that the meat was supposedly put to good use, however, I am not going to condemn their amusement any more than I'm going to condemn anyone else's. Personally, I worry more about what the widespread popularity of Jersey Shore and People magazine says about our society. At least these guys got rich making buildings.

    As for science funding: Yes, I know that the U.S. is not in the top ranks for funding science *as a percentage of GDP*. Just like it's not in at the top of the list for military spending *as a percentage of GDP*. In absolute dollars, however, the U.S. is way in the lead, just like it is for military spending, and lots of other spending. Even despite flat budgets the last few years, the U.S. Government outspends the entire European Union on R&D. And that doesn't even count what U.S. businesses spend, and U.S. businesses tend to spend a lot on R&D. That's why there's so much high-tech & biomedical stuff developed here. Should the U.S. spend more on science and less on the military? I (like you, Steve) happen to think so. But I understand the opposing points of view.

    -Chuck

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    1. Just as a point of interest, that leopard is endangered. Via: http://www.earthsendangered.com/list.asp

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    2. "At least these guys got rich making buildings."

      Donald Trump keeps saying that he is a self-made man. He wasn't, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. So, they didn't get rich making buildings, they got RICHER. And really that only applies to the Donald, and not his sons.

      DaBris

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  4. I think the rich guys who shot the animals in days of yore were not driven around in Jeeps or Land Rovers. For sure they didn't have the weapons available today. At least there was some hunting involved, and even personal peril. They were not analogous to the Trump boys in any way other than wealth. IMHO. Even the early plunderers of other countries' archeological treasures were motivated by curiosity, quest for knowledge, and were at some personal risk.

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