Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do It Yourself - Science

Hands Across Takapuna
Originally uploaded by toastfloats
I am not impressed with our global, political leadership. Actually, I am not particularly impressed with their economic leadership, their intellectual capacity, or really any important aspect of their personalities, politics, choices, or methods. In fact, I am becoming That Guy when it comes to politics. Cranky.

Basically, every single one of them appears to spend their day figuring out new ways to make me cranky.

Fortunately, my good friends in the computer world introduced me to ways of thinking that I find sufficiently utopian and anarchist to salve my bruised spirits. The open source movement gives me a nice tingly feeling every time I prowl around and download software or read a well-written blog. When I hear bits of news about progress driven by an X prize, learn of software bazillionaires funding private expeditions to mine asteroids, or monitor the progress of Diaspora, a wee bit of optimism returns.

Kickstarter rocks my world.

Now I have another in my list of reasons to not despair: the #SciFund Challenge. From their web site:

The #SciFund Challenge brings scientists together on RocketHub to raise money directly from people like you. The goal: To fund research in new ways and to connect everyone to the excitement of doing science.

Yeah! You want science to move forward, and you don't think your pet interest is getting enough love and attention in the form of public funding? Fine. Pay for it yourself. I like this idea at so many levels. As a serious skeptic, I'd like to see a lot of nonsense debunked with nice, double-blind, ultra-well constructed tests. While there will always be those who choose to ignore the results, having them in hand to argue with is certainly a starting point. Or maybe I would just like to see more SETI research or help some high school students do serious science or help someone design a better hospital gown.

See, it really doesn't matter, right? I can throw my $10, $20, $100 at whatever toots my horn, yanks my chain, drives my curiosity.

Actually, it's all a bit nepotistic on Don Quixote since I confess that we chose this year to fund a friend doing evolution research. One of those things that routinely has us banging heads on the desk is political leaders who think the world is only 6000 years old. Or 3000. Or ending in 2012. Anything that supports evolution science is yummy tasty to both DrC and myself. Siouxsie's project is a nicely blended mix of "support evolution science" and "figure out how to deal with the super bugs evolving to kill us" dripped liberally with flossies. I'm a cruiser. Small bits that float around and phoesforesce is near and dear. For our pledge, she says she will draw a few words of our choice in glowing bacteria. Be still my beating heart. DrC would like her to write "Fiat Lux" while I am rather partial to the completely self-aggrandizing Toast Floats.

Your opinion matters! Tell me... what should we have Siouxsie write in bug lights?

And PS, go fund science. Now.


Michael Robertson said...

Hey Toast. Please excuse my compulsion, but I have to point out that "well writen" isn't well spelled. And if I used emoticons, there would be one of the winking ones here. Adios! Michael

Toast said...

Ugh. It actually was riddled with spelling errors. DrC wanted to go swimming.*sigh*