Wednesday, January 05, 2005

OSC and the Science Fair

OSC tackles the big question of a final-term Bush science project. I like this sort of thinking:

One huge help to science would be to break the stranglehold of the printed scientific journals. Right now, university libraries are crippled by the necessity of paying thousands of dollars a year for each single subscription to the leading scientific journals.

There is simply no excuse for this. Peer review is not that expensive, and the internet would allow virtually free dissemination of scientific journals without them ever needing to incur the expense of printing.

The government could transform the situation by declaring that no federal grant money could be used to pay for subscriptions to any scientific journal that is not made available in cheap -- i.e., nearly free -- electronic form.

There will be screaming: "This is an attack on the core of scientific research!" but you have to ignore this. It is the death cry of the disease that you're hearing. There is no excuse whatsoever for access to scientific journals to be limited by money. Every college student in the world should have nearly-free access to any journal in any field, and the internet makes it possible, and our government can make it happen. It should be done, and done now.

Sounds a bit like breaking the stranglehold of MSM on the news, doesn't it?

Later on, OSC goes into what he thinks Bush's science project should be, and surprise surprise, it's Energy!
The massive project we need right now -- one that is far more important than the space program -- is energy research.

The reason is simple and clear. There is only so much extractable oil in the earth, and nobody's making any more. And oil is so useful for constructive purposes that it is criminal for us to have burnt so much of it already.

That's a way of putting it that I haven't heard, and he's right. Unfortunately, those constructive uses are also a part of the problem. How are we going to make petrochemical products when all of the petrochemicals are gone? We absolutely depend upon plastics in this day and age, and recycling only goes so far.

Looks like there are quite a few of us with bees in our bonnets about energy research (I'm not on about conservation, which is pissing on a bonfire IMAO). My prediction: if something is going to solve this problem, it's going to be with a technology nobody's thought of yet. We need to get to thinking of things as soon as we can.