>of knowledge." I imagine that we would not be having this discussion
>via the internet if many, many folks didn't do the basic research that
>led to the practical development of electric power, computers, silicon
>chips, and the internet. Granted, a lot of basic research does not
>prove to generate "practical" appliances for the benefit of the general
>public; but, until the "Psychic Friends Hotline" is perfected, we can't
>predict which will and which will not.
Fair enough, but some avenues of inquiry are intrinsically more likely
to have real-world applications than others.
>Second -- I'm a fisheries researcher, in fact one that studies food
>habits and food-web interactions, and I can tell you that we can
>what bass will eat, but only with very fuzzy, probabilistic accuracy.
>And when they're stocked into waters where they didn't evolve,
>that's happening all over the world, even our fuzzy, probabilistic
>answers aren't worth a hill of beans. Further, our knowledge of WHY
>they eat what they do is really bad -- the big hurdle in predicting
>they'll eat in a new environment. If you want to hear some good
>argument, get academic ecologists going about optimal foraging theory
>but brush up on your calculus and dynamic programming first.
Why would one need to predict what bass eat? It can be determined empirically. Optimal foraging theory? Strike out the first and last words, and you may have something worth pursuing.
>Third -- As for "And I helped pay for this . . .": For what this study
>cost you might be able to purchase the toilet paper used by the military
>in Iraq for one day, or maybe not. You certainly couldn't afford the
>various political mailers sent by our senators and congressmen at our
>expense through their franking privileges. I'm not Mormon, but that can
>make me an Irate Atheist!
No argument there - I don't like my money being distributed to others in any manner I don't approve. Let those who want to fund fish sucking projects and political mailers do so with their own money - you'll never hear me complain once. For instance, I fully approve of how NANFA spends the money I voluntarily send them.
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