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Research, that thing of the past.

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    Research, that thing of the past.

    I told you so.

    The NIH scientists, who have been treated like stepchildren are feeling vindicated. Mike Griffin, NASA Administrator, has just told Congress that NASA plans to give up research and just try to get the space station built. What kind of research was even envisioned in the first place? According to NASA, the research was "materials, fluid physics and other basic microgravity phenomena". Even a two year old can see this was all spin. Fluid physics? That is NASA speak for "watch the globs of liquid whatevers move around in zero grav." Not to mention that the European Space Agency already has the Foton 2 FluidPac module which can do all the same stuff in unmanned spacecraft.

    Congress, which has never been very bright on what science actually is, is upset. They thought, delusionally, that all the hype about space research was actually true. Now that the truth is out that it is all about the symbolic finishing of a hunk of junk out in space, they are begging for research to be put back into the equation. Here is one example: "Cutting science programs would suggest that it is merely a joy ride to the moon," said Katie Boyd, spokeswoman for Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby. "It would mean that we as a nation have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars." Duh!!! Does she realize what she is saying?

    Here is a tip. If you want research, you have to hire scientists who DO research, not engineers who merely want jobs. Real researchers publish articles in real journals. You can find an entire group of authentic researchers over at the National Institutes of Health, who actually pay attention to what is likely to benefit mankind. In particular, the six million per year devoted to PAIN RESEARCH is looking downright miserly compared to NASA's 1.3 billion attempt to build an albatross 300 miles up to study "fluid physics". Next time the pain has really got you on the mat, and you cannot think of a single reason to endure any more, just pick up a book on fluid physics. What is that, you never heard of fluid physics??? That is because even the college bookstore here does not have a text on that topic. No problem, you can order one at The topics are fascinating, thermal flow, plasmas, incompressibility, etc. Fluid physics is you would have thought a few years ago, worth all the money we can beg or borrow, EXCEPT it has no practical benefit for mankind. No, Plasma TV's are something different than what they were going to do on the space station.

    Vaccines, pain treatments, cures for cancer, what is that next to incompressibility? When Congressmen get their cancer, their bad backs, or whatever, they can just hustle on over to NASA, which has already announced that they are not into research any more, but since all the money is there, it will do them as much good as heading for the National Institutes of Health, which didn't get enough in the first place. It is true that NIH gets nearly as much money on paper as NASA, but more than 70% of NIH money goes to AIDS treatments, which doesn't leave much for every other illness in the world. Is anyone running the show in Washington. NASA giving up research??? Then, what was all the hoopla about in the first place. Shut NASA down. Who would miss them. Ship the money over to NIH. They will never give up research.

    I suggest PAIN as a good place to start for research. It is also the most humanitarian and would be one of the few reasons for the Almighty not to allow this stupid planet to blow itself up, for its sheer stupidity.

    "Space is our new Tower of Babel", from a speech by an NIH researcher. Walter Cronkite said sixty percent of Americans should not be allowed to vote because they are too stupid. Now if he would just give similar data on how many congressmen are qualified to allocate scarce research funds. Pain first, Cancer second, Heart Attacks third, Stroke fourth, Infectious Diseases fifth. Although only one in five Americans will contract a chronic pain state, more money is spent on pain than ANY OTHER MEDICAL PROBLEM. So that is how I justify some research on the topic. The fluid physics devotees can go suck an egg.
    Last edited by dejerine; 30 Jul 2006, 3:34 AM.

    In case you thought I was kidding that NASA is out of the research business, her is another news report:

    Tariq Malik
    Staff Writer
    Sat Jul 29, 10:15 AM ET

    "NASA managers are considering suspending U.S. research aboard the International Space Station (ISS) next year in order to save money for the orbital laboratory's construction, a top program manager said Thursday.

    Kirk Shireman, deputy director of NASA's ISS program at Johnson Space Center (JSC), said dropping science research during the 2007 fiscal year is one of several options on the table to make up for a funding shortfall "

    The American Pain Society has now pointed out that only 1% of the NIH budget goes to pain. Altogether this is actually quite a bit of money. The problem is that nearly all the money goes to CLINICAL expenditures. NIH is where we send people that other hospitals just don't know what to do with. The medical doctors at NIH and the guys in the labs may never see each other. Take away the clinical expenditures which exceed one hundred milllion (pain is a big deal) and you still wind up with a pittance for BASIC pain research. So if what you want for your money is combinations and permutations of Lyrica, Tegretol, Oxycontin, Neurontin, Pregabalin, Cymbalta, etc. etc. etc. then you have got a big operation, but if what you want is an actualy solution to pain, the PhD's are starved for funds. The American Pain Society has been targeting areas where pain is underfunded, and as you can guess, it is in basic research. If someone goes to NIH with insurance, they should have no trouble funding their one hundred million for dinking around with wishful thinking and minimal improvement. If you are after a cure however, you need big bucks for BASIC research.

    Somehow, since NASA has given up on research, I find their efforts wasteful, and doubt that the three bedroom house with solar power they are trying to build 300 miles up to be odd. WHY do it? They are going to be hauling up solar panels and finding ways to use a robotic arm to make sure their heat shield is okay for a trip back to earth, but what is the point? Its like going up into space so you can study yourself. If the tiles aren't okay, what do they plan to do about it? Ask Congress for two billion more to go up and rescue people?

    How about rescuing people with central pain. You won't need two billion. Those PhD's work for peanuts, but what they do is ALL research ALL the time, which is more than you can say for the high priced construction crew hauling up the space station parts built here on earth for NASA.

    They will probably finish just about when it is time to tear it down. Then, EXTREME MAKOVER can rush up there and make it good again, even better. That will probably be expensive also. Currently the crew of the ISS consists of two people but thanks to all the money they will be able to make it three. What are three people going to do up there? Play soduku?

    NIH, especially Ron Dubner, is getting pretty outspoken about the need for more money for pain research since more is spent on pain than any other medical problem. Billions and billions and billions are spent on pain. Do we have our research priorities straight? Since NASA is making clear it is not in the research business any more, the answer should be obvious.