The Sequester, NASA, and BRAIN

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Sequestration is having a horrific effect on Americans from one coast to another (except, of course, for those that enacted it) and it’s only going to get worse as time goes by. We’re watching it unfold before our eyes – cuts in funding for schools, airport towers shutting down, federal employees and contractors being furloughed, and some rather horrible cuts to NASA.

But the news is decidedly mixed.

The Bad News is that NASA has had to suspend its Education and Public Outreach funding, which is funding that the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop depended on for some time, followed by National Science Foundation funding, which also has been sequestered. There is much I could write about this, but the folks over at Sci Show have done a great job summing it up for me very nicely:

Ironically, there is some good news here. Despite the cutbacks to its EPO programs, NASA’s budget actually got an increase of $200 million to develop planetary exploration – including a possible mission to Europa!

Not mentioned in the video is an exciting new BRAIN Initiative announced by the White House today. This could bear some very beneficial fruit in understanding just how we’re wried and how we can treat traumatic brain injuries and possibly psychological disorders.

Such as who the hell thought sequestration was a good idea?

Update

Lest I get too snarky, I have to say that the BRAIN program is exactly what government should be doing to promote science. If it can benefit all of us and/or no private enterprise can justify investing in it, government funding should get it started. Just ask any company that uses technology pioneered by NASA, for example.

I should also point out that my Launch Pad partner Mike Brotherton offers his take on the sequester as well.

2 Replies to “The Sequester, NASA, and BRAIN”

  1. Nice video.
    I’m under the impression that more could have been done to prevent all this or at least fight it more efficiently: large scale outreach initiatives could have been organized as a last occasion to go “all-in”.
    It might not be too late but the scientific community has to cut through the noise.
    The rest of my take on sequester is here: http://wp.me/p3gBgY-1Z

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