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Old 05-20-2010, 09:18 PM   #1
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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The Six most important experiments in the World

An article by one of my favorite science writers Carl Zimmer:

http://discovermagazine.com/2007/dec...tart:int=0&-C=


Ran across it because #6 is the creation of Artificial life which a big step was taken today. http://carlzimmer.com/articles/2007....from=&ucat=10&
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:28 AM   #2
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My Biggest Experiment

Finishing off this year's Federal income tax form!

Then I can tackle life's more important problems, such as discovering anti-matter, confirming the existence of the Higgs boson, etc.

But, seriously, I'd rather someone discover or invent a clean, alternative form of energy that did not require drilling more than a mile beneath mean sea level. For once, physicists, engineers, and technologists should focus on a problem whose solution would immediately benefit all mankind. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is a luxury we cannot afford, when humanity has such pressing needs as clean air, water, food, shelter, healthcare, and energy. But, who am I to argue with the status quo, i.e., research labs, universities, and government funded science projects? Other than a great world war or the race to the moon, scientists are not really motivated to solve problems using a straight line approach. We tend to get sidetracked. And boy, are we good at reducing the scope of a problem!
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:55 AM   #3
WT Sharpe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
An article by one of my favorite science writers Carl Zimmer:

http://discovermagazine.com/2007/dec...tart:int=0&-C=


Ran across it because #6 is the creation of Artificial life which a big step was taken today. http://carlzimmer.com/articles/2007....from=&ucat=10&
Thanks again, Kenny, for another great science link! That was interesting reading!
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:59 AM   #4
kennyc
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Finishing off this year's Federal income tax form!

Then I can tackle life's more important problems, such as discovering anti-matter, confirming the existence of the Higgs boson, etc.

But, seriously, I'd rather someone discover or invent a clean, alternative form of energy that did not require drilling more than a mile beneath mean sea level. For once, physicists, engineers, and technologists should focus on a problem whose solution would immediately benefit all mankind. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is a luxury we cannot afford, when humanity has such pressing needs as clean air, water, food, shelter, healthcare, and energy. But, who am I to argue with the status quo, i.e., research labs, universities, and government funded science projects? Other than a great world war or the race to the moon, scientists are not really motivated to solve problems using a straight line approach. We tend to get sidetracked. And boy, are we good at reducing the scope of a problem!
Ah but who is to decide? I agree there are issues but I disagree with you getting to choose. Many maligned the space program saying it had no use, no benefit to humanity but look around you now at all that resulted from it -- the computer you are typing on, teflon and probably a million more things that slip my mind.

Basic research is important and must be funded. The issues we face with healthcare, food, energy, environment are primarily a result of over-population. If that one issue were addressed we'd all be better off.

We are killing ourselves with our pro-creation just as bacterial colony or lemmings do....
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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Ah but who is to decide? I agree there are issues but I disagree with you getting to choose. Many maligned the space program saying it had no use, no benefit to humanity but look around you now at all that resulted from it -- the computer you are typing on, teflon and probably a million more things that slip my mind.

Basic research is important and must be funded. The issues we face with healthcare, food, energy, environment are primarily a result of over-population. If that one issue were addressed we'd all be better off.

We are killing ourselves with our pro-creation just as bacterial colony or lemmings do....
I agree 100%, Kenny. There's never been a time in human history where "knowledge for the sake of knowledge" couldn't have been put on the back burner for more pressing needs and there never will be. The quest to understand the world of the unseen is a prime example. Why should anyone attempt to understand the basic building blocks of matter? What good could possibly come out of it? Unless, of course, you include all of modern electronics, communications, satellite and computer technology, all which we wouldn't have today had not a few dreamers toiled to discover the laws governing Quantum Mechanics. That's the thing about the quest for knowledge for its own sake; one can never predict where it will lead.

No doubt the first person who attempted to make fire and the first person to invent the wheel were told by their colleagues to stop screwing around and get on with the hunting and gathering because food was a more pressing concern.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:11 PM   #6
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Basic research is important and must be funded. The issues we face with healthcare, food, energy, environment are primarily a result of over-population. If that one issue were addressed we'd all be better off.
Death penalty for parking violations!!!


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I agree 100%, Kenny.
Seconded!!

Also, even if you could get everyone to drop what they were doing and focus on one thing, how much redundant research would be done? I'm saying there isn't now, but there would be significantly more if someone were to start dictating the focus of global research efforts.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say it wouldn't work at all. You have to consider people likes and interests as well, that is why the variety and options present today allow more people to focus on the things that interest them instead of being forced to study something that they don't care about.
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