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Private Donor Saves Fermilab

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the do-particles-fight-terror dept.

United States 560

sciencehabit writes "In what has to be an embarrasment for the U.S. Department of Energy, an anonymous donor has ponied up $5 million to keep the country's only remaining particle physics laboratory operating efficiently."

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The sad thing... (5, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580243)

is that it's probably no embarrassment at all.

Re:The sad thing... (5, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580267)

[The sad thing..] is that it's probably no embarrassment at all.
Even sadder is that the DOE has no sense of embarrassment.

Re:The sad thing... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580405)

Yes, but it is sad that there is no embarrassment at the DOE.

Re:The sad thing... (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580437)

Even sadder is that the DOE has no sense of embarrassment.
It's not the DOE's fault.
The Congress and Senate slashed the budget, not the DOE.

Maybe you can say "well they didn't lobby hard enough to maintain or grow their funding...
but it's pretty obvious that science has not been a USA priority for quite some time now.

Re:The sad thing... (3, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580499)

it's pretty obvious that science has not been a USA priority for quite some time now.
Yep. Our administration has decided that making footprints on Mars and digging graves in Iraq outweighs energy research. Sucks.

Even worse? The DoE is almost entirely devoted to missions having nothing to do with energy research.

Too depressing...

Re:The sad thing... (5, Insightful)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580645)

Compared to Iraq, the Mars missions are pretty much free (and incalculably more useful). They don't even make a dent in the annual federal budget.

Re:The sad thing... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580915)

Compared to Iraq so would paying for each American to visit a prostitute once a year. That doesn't automatically make it a good idea.

Re:The sad thing... (5, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580527)

Maybe you can say "well they didn't lobby hard enough to maintain or grow their funding... but it's pretty obvious that science has not been a USA priority for quite some time now.

I agree with you, but I think the timing of the US's scientific stagnation is also uncanny. It's been several generations since the last influx of extremely bright and educated scientists (and philosophers) from conquered lands. Iraq, I have to say, hasn't netted anything of the sort (with all due respect to Iraqis).

Is there a problem with the handing on of scientific knowledge in the US? Or is this a reflection of American cultural shortcomings? It seems to me that US culture is too shallow to recognize the importance of free & fair education 'for all'. If you don't provide equal opportunity to every child to excel and prove themselves in academia, then the chances of plucking the brightest from the far reaches of the bell curve diminish.

I say this knowing full well I'm going to be modded a troll or flaimbait or something.

Small government, private philanthropy (4, Interesting)

Lars512 (957723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580453)

Isn't this just a reflection of the style of government in the US? There seems to be a strong emphasis on small government, and then relying on private philanthropy to keep other things running.

Re:Small government, private philanthropy (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580679)

Bush's faith-based initiatives are only symbolic gestures(tax breaks on donations and whatnot), but having that office still costs money and I'd still rather have that dollar of my taxes go to the EFF instead.

Some other slashdotter posted a good idea awhile back: That taxpayers should be able to directly allocate their taxes to the issues(and possibly the charities) that they care about, rather then just sending lump sums to the government(who will do what the government, and not necessarily the taxpayer, wants).

Re:Small government, private philanthropy (4, Insightful)

bendodge (998616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580863)

That's called a pure democracy, and it doesn't work. There's a reason we're a republic.

Re:Small government, private philanthropy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580725)

Emphasis on small government? Please, oh please, tell me that was sarcasm. No one, Demoncrat, Repugican, Lieberterian, or Interdependent, is dumb enough to believe that.

Re:The sad thing... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580623)

The REALLY sad thing is why does the govt have to pay for everything?????? Why should limited, never gonna see the light of day research be paid for by the tax payers in general????

If you are so freakin' concerned with this research, pull out your check book and pony up some cash!!! Put your money where your mouth is you geeky bafoons.

Bunch of pinko, commie, lefty dorks thinks all the rest of us should pay for such crap. Burns my cookies to no end. . ..
 

Re:The sad thing... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580667)


If you are so freakin' concerned with this research, pull out your check book and pony up some cash!!! Put your money where your mouth is you geeky bafoons.

Too bad wars weren't funded this way. It'd be a much more peaceful planet.

Re:The sad thing... (4, Funny)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580809)

Goddamn government leftists and their "Computer" research. Fat lot of fuckin good that'll ever do us. If that dork Turing cares so much, let him pay for it! None of that stuff will ever see the light of day or help us in general.

Oh wait!

Taxes (4, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580247)

It's not an embarrassment for the DoE, it's an embarrassment for the Bush Administration and the Republican party in general- despite driving this country's yearly deficit deeper and deeper and pushing our total debt to record levels, they can't even fund worthwhile projects with it.

Of course, the Republican party's low appraisal of science probably has a lot to do with it- after all, what good is science that might change peoples' minds about something (FLIP FLOP FLIP FLOP) when there's Muslims to kill?

Re:Taxes (2, Funny)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580329)

What we need is a nice young physicist to find some backwards way to use particle physics to "prove" intelligent design. The Republicans wouldn't be able to throw money at that place fast enough.

Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congress (5, Insightful)

Ada_Rules (260218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580355)

Ignoring for a moment the argument about whether or not the government should be funding this lets just talk about the full article v.s. your post... From the full article "Fermilab's financial crisis began in December, when the U.S. Congress passed a last-minute budget for the 2008 fiscal year (ScienceNOW, 19 December 2007). Legislators whacked Fermilab's budget from the $372 million requested by the Department of Energy (DOE) to $320 million, $22 million less than the lab had received in 2007. To balance the books, lab officials said they would have to cut about 200 of the lab's then-1950 employees." You have gotten so used to bashing Republicans that you really are missing the point that both parties are corrupt and extending government beyond the constitutionally defined limits. Then each side argues about how they don't like the cuts and/or spending that was pushed from the other side and we all end up so worked up that we miss the point that the government should not be doing any of this stuff.

Re:Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congre (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580479)

Hmm, government has basically always funded basic science research, whether that be a strong central government or the local lord. There isn't a huge amount of incentive for businesses to fund basic science research as it infrequently leads to a positive ROI in the nearterm. That doesn't mean that there isn't a societal good from basic science research, the last 100 years of technological advances are proof to the contrary, but the private sector just doesn't have the right conditions to do it so the only place left are private foundations and government and private foundations don't have nearly the resources to do it (I guess you can argue that the foundations would have more resources if the government took less but I don't buy it).

Re:Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congre (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580605)

you really are missing the point that both parties are corrupt and extending government beyond the constitutionally defined limits.

So since the elders of an 18th century agrarian society somehow failed to specifically envisage the important technological advances that high energy physics could provide for a nation, then the government must abstain from all involvement in that area. Maybe some private business would pick up the slack and build a big particle accelerator for basic research. Maybe they could fund it by painting Taco Bell ads on the ring.

Few other countries would worry about such strict constructionist issues, however. They'd just go ahead and leave us in the dust as a technology backwater.

Re:Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congre (1, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580695)

Yes, and universities would never have an incentive to invest in such research to attract the best and brightest students and faculty... oh wait, universities flock to such projects. No, no, clearly we must continue demanding the funding at gunpoint from our own citizenry. I'm sure if we voluntarily asked the public for donations they would be too greedy to fork over a cent!

Re:Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congre (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580807)

And just where do you think that universities get the money for basic research like this?

Re:Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580771)

Gee, if only the 18th century elders had considered the fact that the constitution might need to change..Oh wait, they did.

Re:Umm, both houses are (D) - cuts are from congre (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580851)

Gee, if only the 18th century elders had considered the fact that the constitution might need to change..Oh wait, they did.

You're right. Ideally, we'd amend the constitution to specifically state that the government has the authority to do what needs to be done in a modern industrial civilization. But the end result would still be the same as what we have now: federal funding of large basic research laboratories.

Re:Taxes (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580375)

Yeah, God help them if they fund something that makes people think about science. Hell, they might start believing in evolution.

Can't have that...

Re:Taxes (0, Flamebait)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580705)

Bahaha, the JesusCunts must be modding tonight.
That was Funny, not Flamebait.

Re:Taxes (1, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580827)

Modding the last week or so seems to have been really stupid and harsh. Anymore there's no point in the system anyway.

Re:Taxes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580379)

It's not an embarrassment for the DoE, it's an embarrassment for the Bush Administration and the Republican party in general- despite driving this country's yearly deficit deeper and deeper and pushing our total debt to record levels, they can't even fund worthwhile projects with it.
I'm no fan of the Bushies, but if you dislike budget cuts, it's important to understand where they come from. Congress determines the budget. That is their prime function.

The administration asked for increased funding for the DOE Office of Science. Congress instead slashed its budget --- all while fully funding Bush's multi-trillion dollar war in Iraq.

When Congress cuts the budget, there's nothing the administration can do.

If the Democrats in Congress really wanted to end the war in Iraq, they could do it tomorrow by revoking its funding. But why would they end it, when it's their best polling issue?

Sometimes, Democracy just plain sucks.

How About No? (2, Informative)

heptapod (243146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580505)

> If the Democrats in Congress really wanted to end the war in Iraq, they could do
> it tomorrow by revoking its funding. But why would they end it, when it's their
> best polling issue?

Gas and food prices in addition to the current state of the struggling USA economy [cbsnews.com] has superseded the country's current involvment in Iraq.

Re:Taxes (5, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580649)

Democracy? Since when is America a democracy?

The problem is that America is not a democracy, and is nothing close. It is virtually guaranteed that:

  • Just under half of Americans do not agree with most of the ideas from their elected representatives
  • Just over half of Americans (the rest) probably don't agree with most of the ideas from their elected representative, but more than the ideas of other candidates
  • Since our representatives disagree with us for the most part, they probably don't care what we think and listen more to money and lobbyists.

So, because of this "republic" two-party system, we're screwed. We have no real voice.

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580941)

Wow, kudos and thanks for an upbeat look at Republican George in the white house. Now I don't have to get my gun and start a militia to take this country back.

Re:Taxes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580413)

Well with science you can kill more muslims!

but seriously, the bush regime is an embarrassment to the people of the USA who are subsequently an embarrassment to the rest of humanity for their shallow intellect and lack of political will.

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580419)

What a load of shit. As if Democrats are any better. Drop the asinine stab at Bush, replace Republican with 'politician', then your comment will have some substance.

Re:Taxes (3, Insightful)

EricTheGreen (223110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580459)

While I share your disdain for the Bush administration you appear to be overlooking the fact that both houses of Congress responsible for crafting and approving the US budget (including this particular embarrassment) were controlled by the Democratic Party. Plenty of opportunity for them to do something about this and nothing was done.

You're welcome to your partisan opinions (it is Slashdot after all) but at least apportion blame fully where it is due.

Re:Taxes (2, Informative)

goofballs (585077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580463)

Of course, the Republican party's low appraisal of science probably has a lot to do with it- after all, what good is science that might change peoples' minds about something (FLIP FLOP FLIP FLOP) when there's Muslims to kill?
except, according to the article, it was the legislators (read congress (democratically controlled), that lopped $22M off their budget from last year.

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580473)

Interesting since your beloved PERFECT Democratic lead congress cut funding for Nuclear Fusion projects recently. So all the talk coming from the Dem candidates saying that we much find alternatives for fossil fuels, is pure BS as both Obama and Clinton voted to cut the funding.

When will you nose in the air partisan hacks realize BOTH parties suck ass.

Phwew (2, Insightful)

Jimmyisikura (1274808) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580257)

Thank god for rich people

Anonymous Coward here, (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580259)

You can direct your appreciation towards me. Yes, me, Anonymous Coward. I sent the 5 million dollars.

Re:Anonymous Coward here, (0)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580381)

You can direct your appreciation towards me. Yes, me, Anonymous Coward. I sent the 5 million dollars.
Do you happen to have a spare million for me? Thanks.
Sincerely,
Dr. Evil.

Re:Anonymous Coward here, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580671)

Dr. Evil. I thought I might find you here. I believe that you already owe me one ... million ... dollars. Pay up or face the music.

Re:Anonymous Coward here, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580407)

Anonymous: because none of us are as rich as all of us.

so (1)

shadowkiller137 (1169097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580261)

at least there are some people (who have lots of money) left in this country who care about science

SCIENCE? Who needs that shit? (5, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580279)

MY GOD!!! We have nations to invade, and children to burn, and a treasury full of cash that needs to be looted by the military industrial complex. We don't need stuff like BASIC RESEARCH. Hell with that crap. We need bombs and guns to keep the empire rolling and extract other nations resources for our own lazy convenience.

RS

Re:SCIENCE? Who needs that shit? (4, Funny)

marshac (580242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580517)

What's sad is your comment was rated as Informative rather than funny...

Re:SCIENCE? Who needs that shit? (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580551)

What's sad is your comment was rated as Informative rather than funny...
What's gratifying is that at least one more moderator out there has been rendered 'informed'.

Re:SCIENCE? Who needs that shit? (1)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580625)

You call that "funny"?

Re:SCIENCE? Who needs that shit? (5, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580897)

This is what happens when you give people mod points and say you have 3 or 5 or however many days to spend them. It's like giving an 8 year-old $10 and turning them lose in the candy store. You're not going to get any change back, and they sure as hell didn't think most of their decisions through, but you can really only blame yourself for being dumb enough to give the kid the money in the first place.

Why Is That Embarassing??!! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580283)

Is there any practical application of particle physics research whatsoever? Yeah, I thought not.

I'm just not that into government using my tax dollars for such esoteric stuff. If someone in the private sector wants to donate or support that's fine, but the government should stay out out such trivial issues. There are many other useful and urgent things they should fund instead.

Well... it is a secret... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580327)

Is there any practical application of particle physics research whatsoever?
But what the hell...

Particle physics is the key to penis enlargement.

Re:Well... it is a secret... (1)

J'ai Friedpork (1293672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580351)

Particle physics is the key to penis enlargement.
So... what you're saying is that all my email spam comes from Fermilab?

Re:Well... it is a secret... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580401)

Only the GOOD kind.

Where do you think those 5 mil. came from?
Not all of it comes from Nigeria, you know?

Re:Why Is That Embarassing??!! (5, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580335)

Next time you use a computer, think: positrons are an unrivaled probe of defects in Si crystals. They make excellent diagnostic tools to see if a particular batch of computer chips is going to go bad.

Next time you or someone you care for gets radiological treatment, think: accelerators make lots of things which are used to diagnose and treat cancers.

Re:Why Is That Embarassing??!! (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580475)

Everything that will be discovered has been discovered. Honest

Re:Why Is That Embarassing??!! (5, Insightful)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580511)

Sorry for feeding a troll, but two points:

1. Research (even esoteric) can have completely unexpected practical applications. Remember the steam engine? For hundreds of years it was nothing but a novelty, and then whammo! Industrial revolution. Just because something has no clear immediate practical applications now, doesn't mean squat for the future.
2. Compared to how big a proportion of your 'tax dollars' goes to funding despotic regimes, terrorist cells we use against 'other' terror cells, and kickbacks to the arms industry, I think you can wear the tiny percentage that goes to 'esoteric' research.

I'm sorry, but I wish people had a bit more perspective on these things :(

Re:Why Is That Embarassing??!! (3, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580867)

s/particle physics/that shockley guy's "transistor" thing/g

Umm. It's NOT the only remaining particle lab (3, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580287)

There is also the Stanford Linear Accellerator Center [stanford.edu] . I haven't been doing physics for a while, but last I checked they were investigating why there's more matter than antimatter, and not an equal amount of both.

Re:Umm. It's NOT the only remaining particle lab (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580501)

You are thinking of the Babar experiment. Unfortunately, that has stopped taking data due to funding cuts. Scientists are slowly going through the last of the results, and are leaving SLAC for greener pastures.

SLAC will no longer be doing high energy experimental physics, and is being turned into a enormous synchrotron source. Whilst this will result in good science, I think it is somewhat sad that the once world leader of high energy physics is no more.

The US government decided not to support the international linear collider. That marked the end of high energy science in this country. Discovering the workings of the universe is just too expensive compared to spending our money fighting for part-ownership in some hydrocarbons buried under a far-off desert.

Re:Umm. It's NOT the only remaining particle lab (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580853)

There is also the CEBAF [jlab.org] . However, there is apparently a difference between particle physics and atomic physics, which I hope someone more knowledgeable than myself can explain, 'cause i'm not sure exactly what it is...

Jefferson Lab is apparently doing some hardronic experiments, but the 12GeV upgrade still isn't done -- and it was started around ~2001? I know it was in early phases when I interned there in 2002, while we were upgrading the FEL from 1KW to 10KW.

very humbled (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580323)

I'm posting AC on purpose, but i'm a karma-whoring regular.

I work at Fermilab, and everyone i know (and that's a lot of people) is ... overwhelmed and humbled by this gift. A couple people almost cried. It's ... well, it's a real morale booster and at the same time it's humbling. did i mention humbling? wow.

Thanks a million (x5!) mysterious friend!

now back to the antimatter and neutrinos...

Re:very humbled (2, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580533)

Is it true about a massive wave of people leaving for CERN?

p.s. Love the bison you've got there.

Re:very humbled (5, Funny)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580635)

It can either be seen as a massive wave or a massive particle, depending on how it's measured.

Re:very humbled (2, Funny)

rhendershot (46429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580707)

ok this should be modded up +1 Funny!

It's REALLY hard to feel bad about them (1, Insightful)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580339)

Seriously, how much sympathy can you garner for an institution that can't stay solvent with a $320 million budget and damn near 2000 employees? $5 million is about 1.5% of their total annual budget, and this is what keeps them running? That's not a sign of poor support from the government, that's a sign of serious mis-management. Yes, it's probably very expensive to run a place like Fermilab, but you can't bitch when you're getting a third of a billion dollars straight from the pockets of the taxpayers every year.
It's an unfortunate reality that taxpayer funded institutions are often horribly inefficient, and pay little attention to keeping their costs down. Why should an organization that has proven that it's incapable of setting its books right, an institution that has a budget of over $160,000 per employee, play on our heart strings when they let people go? Sharpen up the operation, and then come cry when you run out of cash.

Re:It's REALLY hard to feel bad about them (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580371)

But think of the science!

Gotta love appeals to emotion that you can get behind.

I have an idea... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580537)

Move it to Las Vegas and have Tevatron [wikipedia.org] double as the world's largest roulette wheel?
Base the entire center around games of chance - with a scientific twist.

In a year or two, US government will be asking Fermi Lab and Casino Inc. for money, not the other way around.

Don't thank me... Thank Tom and Jerry. [wikipedia.org]
Got the idea for a Big F-in roulette wheel from them.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580677)

But then you will have to pay the NGC to train them to work with Tevatrons and all of the other high tech stuff.

Thank you... (2, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580345)

Mr. Wayne.

Bush doesn't care... (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580353)

his funding sources -- largely fundamentalist Christians -- don't give a hoot about particle physics. After all, "science" already contradicts Truth as they know it... or as it was re-written... or something like that. The literal word of God, only (mis)translated 3 or 4 times over the years...

Re:Bush doesn't care... (2, Insightful)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580491)

Dude, I know that "ZOMFG I H8 BUSHZZZZZ" is the knee jerk reaction to like 40% of the shit on here, but seriously, how does this have anything to do with him? Fermilab's budget doesn't come out of his bank account, he doesn't cut them a check every month, and he doesn't raise money for them, so who cares what his donors think? Congress does the appropriations in this country (specifically, all bills that involve spending HAVE to originate in the House of Representatives), and Congress' funding source is, well, all of us. They take our money and spend it on shit, they don't hold bake sales and fundraisers. Would that they did, that'd be fantastic, but, alas, they just straight jack the money.

There are plenty of really good reasons to hate Bush, just as there are plenty of good reasons to hate all politicians, but at least point your anger in the right direction. This is just stupid.

Re:Bush doesn't care... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580543)

There is of course the fact that the Democratic Congress cut the funding, but don't you go worrying yourself with facts when there's Bush-bashing to be done.

Congress, Budgets, Continuing Resolutions. (2, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580641)

Bush proposes a budget & Congress can approve it. While some might gripe with some of Bush's funding choices, one of the most significant issues is that Congress has not passed the funding he has proposed. Instead, we are left with continuing resolutions [wikipedia.org] where science is often left under funded.

Many of us abandoned Bush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580687)

You may not realize this, but a great many of us abandoned Bush a while back (somewhere around 2006), because it was clear that, if you care about morals, you can't permit an amoral leader. And at that point, it was pretty much undeniable that Bush lied to get us into the war (the recent memoir only confirms the propaganda campaign he waged).

So I wouldn't be so quick to cast blame, especially when it has very little to do with this story.

Re:Bush doesn't care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580727)

So why don't you start a foundation to fund such research? OH, I am sorry you have to DO SOMETHING instead of whining that the rest of us don't provide money for some drivel you think is important.

There is the downfall of this country.

What are you doing to fix the perceived problem you see???? RIGHT - NOTHING!!!!!!

MODS ON CRACK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580919)

That comment was not a troll. To a Christian, if the knowledge gained at facilities such as Fermilab is not in the Bible, it is unnecessary. If the knowledge is in the Bible, it is redundant. Either way, basic research funding is a very low priority.

No, this is what's great about the US (2, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580425)

Assuming the donor was a US citizen, this shows what's great about the US. Someone who valued the research freely decided to fund the research. The government did not need to forcibly confiscate the $5 million dollars from innocent taxpayers against their will.

Gifts freely given enrich both the giver and the recipient. The people of the US excel in individual generosity.

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580525)

I know, tax dollars are a salami attack on the general populace.

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (2, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580587)

Salami attack [wikipedia.org] -- wow, there's now a term for everything.

Take that, people who are trying to learn English. You'll never learn it all!

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (5, Insightful)

Iguanadon (1173453) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580619)

Yes, it's awesome that there are extremely generous rich people in the US, however, that person who donated $5 million dollars won't see any sort of personal return on it. You know who will though? Everyone else. No matter how indirect, basic research benefits everyone. Better products are created, new jobs are created, society as a whole advances. Why shouldn't the government fund it?

And before someone says it, corporations have no incentive to do basic research, there is no profit motivation for them to do it. Try telling GE 100 years ago to do basic atomic research, at that time there were no known applications for that research. However, after government funded nuclear research, GE now has a nuclear energy division, making a developing better nuclear reactors.

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (1, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580751)

Why shouldn't the government fund it?
How much? A trillion dollars?

The government shouldn't fund it because the government isn't a charity. The money the congress spends is not theirs to give to causes, no matter how good the cause or how altruistic the motive.

If the American people don't value basic research enough to donate to it voluntarily, then they should have that choice. Basic research may be valuable to all as you say, but it is not essential (unless it's specifically for national defense). Money shouldn't be taken from people by force to fund luxuries.

Libertarians are hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580741)

The government did not need to forcibly confiscate the $5 million dollars from innocent taxpayers against their will.Taxes are not forcibly confiscated. You chose to live in a country where taxes are levied and you have been unable to help elect sufficient representation to reduce public services (many of which are enumerated in the Constitution) to the point where you wouldn't be charged taxes. If you don't want to pay taxes, you have a few options: move, stop earning taxable income, or do a much better job at legally implementing tax reform in this country.

Rather than bitching on slashdot, perhaps you should put your money where your mouth is: refuse to use US-funded resources (including the internet) in protest

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (2, Insightful)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580757)

The fact that your government cut science funding so badly a private donor needed to step in to prevent the closing of the last particle physics lab in the US when the US was once considered world leader in particle physics research is what's so great about the US?
The fact that US taxpayers are so ignorant they can't see the value of research in particle physics when it apparently costs less than a sixtieth of a penny per person to keep it up is what's so great about the US?

Or is it just people desperately looking for reasons to cling to their unjustified sense of self-satisfaction at being American what's so great about the US?

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (-1, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580815)

Wow, you make a good case: "Valve this research, you ignorant American hicks, or I'll call you ignorant hicks again and look down on you some more. Now gimme some tax money."

Are you Barack Obama?

Re:No, this is what's great about the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580949)

Thank you for completely understanding how things are supposed to work. Maybe if we (citizens and corporation) were not taxed every time we bend over we would be able to fund the things that we the people think are important instead of the things that a few select people with the power to hold a guns to our heads think are important.

Freedom and liberty, crazy concepts.

Watch (0, Troll)

bobwrit (1232148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580439)

Democrats will make donations to any major science facility over $50 illeagel just like they did with campains(spelling purposeful)

Trollish editor (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580445)

from the do-particles-fight-terror dept.
A pretty trollish dept. line there, Mr Editor! Unfortunately I think there is some truth in that the US is allocating too much funds on their "war on terror", instead of science and technology. That is the field where the US has so long been way ahead of the rest of the world, and what it made such a rich and influential country.
I really hope Fermilab can continue to do great research for the better of us all with this grant.

Re:Trollish editor (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580611)

Yes, Fermilab is one of those things that deserves both budget and anthropological support exactly because it does benefit us all. There are some things that just need to be a group effort. While there is some private space exploration, NASA was also one of those group effort things, and should be. So is healthcare, but meh... too much argument about that one because too much money to be made by private industry.

I too am glad to see they got the funding they need.

Not the first time this has happened. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580503)

It wasn't too long ago when a group led by hedge fund manager Jim Simons donated $13 million to account for a budget shortfall that would have stopped the operations of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Efficient? (1)

scythe000 (564836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580519)

Perhaps not efficient enough if they need $5 million to keep going?

What we really need is a cultural SP3 (1)

quanta (16565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580545)

OK, 3 finger the thing. Reboot, apply patches, etc.

Whatever.

The Constitution was designed for this kind of problem.

Deal with it.

We don't need no stinking PA (-1, Flamebait)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580603)

We don't need no stinking PA, SpaceP, StemCR, NanoTR or any of the expensive science stuff.

Like any other third world banana-republic nation with semi-literacy, debt, god, and nukes why would we need a PA any more! I mean, does it help to explain anything which intelligent design has not already got answered.

America has returned (by their own free will and actions) to the good old better times of the past with road-nomads living in trailers and cars in parking lots off the main highways, just like in that old book/flick called "Grapes of Wrath", but with allot less dust and drought causing crop failures and ethanol production problems; THANK GOD!.

Yes, the truth hurts; So, you can call this flaming-troll, because it don't change no fycking facts for USAll, and another good world-war will help US out of our depression, eventually ... with gods' help.

!HAVEFUN!

faxed it in (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580673)

Did anyone get those hex numbers in the middle to come out to 5 Meg?

ugh, what spin. (5, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580713)

"Saved" Fermilab? Give me a break.

They might have had to lay off 200 employees. Out of TWO THOUSAND. Because their budget was "slashed" by just 22M (less than 10% of the budget.) Christ. It's not embarrassing, and the lab was in no danger of being "lost."

slashdot them with donations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580755)

Although I do not know how.

I just searched the charity list at www.networkforgood.com and there is a "FERMILAB FRIENDS FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION". But I don't see that you can just donate money to the lab directly.

If there was an easy, tax deductible way to do it... well ten bucks a pop times a million geeks starts to add up into some money.

How do the DOE and Congress not get this? (3, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580767)

You can sort of understand cutting funding to things like behavioral sciences or research on frogs or something. Their benefits are not always obvious to the layman.

You can also, given their ideology, understand why they want to de-fund climate research. That sort of thing leads to uncomfortable implications about John and Jane Doe's lifestyle in the exurbs.

But de-fund particle physics? Really? The successors to the folks who brought you the wonders of the atom bomb and who do all kinds of cool death-ray and weapons-applicable research (roughly)? To put it in terms even Bush and Congress should understand, "You like the boom-boom? They make the boom-boom."

How is it they cannot grasp that de-funding these facilities leads directly and quickly to the loss of our technological and military edge?

It's bad enough that they killed the supercollider. But killing the last of our first-rate physics labs is just plain nuts.

More than basic research is done at Fermilab (2, Insightful)

mentaldrano (674767) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580793)

I can think of three techniques off the top of my head that one can only do at a lab like Fermilab:

ARPES [wikipedia.org] , Muon spin spectroscopy [wikipedia.org] and neutron scattering [wikipedia.org] . Materials scientists live and die by these techniques - and they investigate things like improved materials for hard drive read heads, new steel alloys, materials for solar cells, everything.

The sad thing is that if this money hadn't come along, it could have completely destroyed Fermilab. People think research produces papers which anyone can read and become an expert. How many people became great Java programmers after reading one book or a few papers? None - it takes practice, and many years at that. If you have to fire any of these guys and gals, they will never come back, and that knowledge is very expensive to lose. You can hire someone and train them, but it takes time, and many of the little secrets never make it into the published literature.

Just wondering something here... (2, Funny)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580823)

I wonder if there are enough slashdot users that we could keep fermilab going by each of us donating a cent. That way fermilab could keep making discoveries that make good slashdot stories. It's a win win relationship.

This is an apolitical issue (5, Insightful)

kungfoolery (1022787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580857)

This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue, it is a societal one. Year after year, administration after administration, we as a society have been saying "we don't really consider science/education/research all that important."

Just look at the trends: companies are increasingly seeking out technical professionals overseas because they're churning out greater and greater number of graduates with science/engineering degrees with China pushing out 600,000 such graduates compared to the US' 70,000 per year [businessweek.com] ; and how can we compete in biotech when the majority of our citizens can't grasp genetics nor do they even believe in evolution [livescience.com] (we beat Turkey though!)?

With the way we've been funding education and paying our teachers, we collectively give educators the big middle finger tipped with stinky poo every year. We're making these choices as individuals so we all have a hand in this appalling state of affairs.

Fermilab died a long time ago (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580881)

Fermilab is barred from proposing and receiving science funding from the NSF or DOE on its own. Any high energy physics or computing project at Fermilab that gets funded has to be at least co-lead by a University professor. Over the last twenty years or so, as the universities became more and more aggressive about protecting their turf, more and more projects left the lab. When I left there six years ago, the writing was already on the wall. Smaller experiments were slashed in favor of the mega collaborations DZero and CDF, computing was shifted to the "Grid", and both trends were very efficient at shifting power and projects out of the lab. Except for operations, there was very little being done at the lab. One wonders if it was planned that way.

The donor was.... (1)

FatJuggles (1206940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23580891)

Jim Oberweis. He wanted Bill Foster [wikipedia.org] to go back to his old job before November.

Only remaining? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23580933)

As someone who works at the collider at Brookhaven National Lab, I'm curious what standard they use to call it 'the country's only remaining particle physics laboratory'.
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