I worked as a government employee overseeing R&D contracts. It wasn't that long ago. We were required to post the contracts publically. They're on the websites I mentioned...
Sure, they can release the details of that contract. Government contracts are supposed to be public. Go take a look at usaspending.gov and fpds.gov There are plenty of security contracts posted there, just not any between RSA and NSA. It's not the easiest system in the world to navigate, you have to know a lot about government contracting to make sense of it.
But, you'll see military hardware contracts, homeland security database contracts, all of them are published on federal websites as a matter of course (you have to get special approval to not post a contract publically). The government mandates this so that competing companies and the public can see that they're getting a "fair deal". Never mind that a lot of these show they weren't competed, no one actually takes advantage of government transparency when it's available.
Like everyone else looking at this, they assume we'll have to use a carbon nanotube tether. They propose a spun tether of nanotubes, but use the strength of individual nanotubes in their model. Nanotube yarn is about 1/10 the strength of the raw material (which is insufficient). Growing the raw material directly would only take a few thousands of years more than the four they plan on using.
We are paying for that access.
I've been a government employee overseeing research grants. Nearly every single one of them has a clause built in that the data is to be organized and shared with the government and the government has unlimited rights to that data, including all publications. Almost all of them have to have a data management plan and have to describe how the grantee will ensure access to the data.
Almost every single PI simply says "We will follow a standard data management plan." or some other nonsense. The government guys sign off on this, and that's that, there's no enforcement.
When you buy or build equipment on a government grant, you sometimes have a choice to hang on to it or return it to the government at the end of the grant. By agreeing to be the custodian of that equipment, you agree to maintain it, free of charge, for the government. By law, no one gets ownership of free equipment from the government. The government is absolutely terrible at enforcing this.
These legal documents researchers sign with the government have meaning. Read your contracts. That was the first thing I told my PIs. I don't think any of them did.
It's a bit silly to equate communities setting their own standards to community members having no rights. Should standards be set by those outside of the community? Should Arizona education standards should be set by... Delaware? Even then, you and I would agree that we're all part of the same national (and global) community. The only way to have a standard is for some representative(s) of the community to set it.
Some children will be poorly served by a communal standard, but that's part of living in a community. It's not about having rights or not. It's simply that not every group decision will be optimal for every individual in the group.
There are two possibilities:
1) The universe is infinite, and it would be possible to find two quasars which never shared a quantum state.
2) The universe is not infinite and it is not possible to find two of anything which have never shared a quantum state.
They've completely failed to close this loophole.
I don't think JET ever reached Q of 1, but it can handle the most energy dense fuel of any current tokamak (The JET Q of 0.6 is still ~100x larger than NIF). However, a Japanese tokamak did reach Q of 1.25 in the mid 90s, and it wasn't something guys in the field I knew talked about as a problem by the late 90s.
There's a big challenge in getting the energy out of a fusion reactor. There are parts of a reactor which need to collect energetic particles so they could even theoretically produce power. This screws with a lot of other things in the reactor; it's not easy. Magnetic guys have been at the stage of designing those parts for a while. Given their progress, they may never finish. But those problems are a lot closer to talking about "fusion energy" than what NIF does.
A guy working on diverter physics for ITER *has* to wonder why NIF gets all this press, while no one cares about the work he does on designing the part which could actually demonstrate extracting energy from fusion.
If this keeps up, the magnetic fusion guys, who achieved break even (ignition) decades ago, are going to start crashing NIF press conferences so they can get noticed. The NIF press push and lack of discussion of the field as a whole has got to drive them crazy. I'm sure it's not doing any favors for their budgets.
This is the fourth major redesign around here (so version 5 is in beta). I liked version 3... a lot. We all got used to version 4 ("Classic", I guess it is now). It's not the end of the world here.
Anyone remember when they added ads? Do you really think this is a bigger change than that?
This is what a beta test is for. You're never going to convince me that this interface is perfect. Go ahead and try to improve it.
You're pointing to articles on high end mammalian brain structures when TFA is referring to the most basic structures in an insect brain. Also, this blanket assumption that no one could possibly understand the complexity of a small group of neurons is way out of date.
Olfactory circuits are pretty well understood. This isn't the first simulation of neurons mimicking an olfactory bulb at the single neuron level. We've been watching videos and seeing presentations of these models for years now. What is neat, here, is that they're modeling a somewhat realistic hardware instantiation of a model (as in, this is something which maybe could be built).
I come at this from the other end. I make the chemical sensing hardware that mimics the response of a biological chemical sensor (an artificial insect 'nose'). There are long running collaborations between my field and neuromorphic computing folks to develop a combined sensor-processor that can electronically understand smell in the same way a living thing does. I have to sit through their talks on modeling neurons, and they have to sit through my talks on nanosensor arrays.
There are about 150,000 EB-2 visas given out every year. 1/3 of those are going to go to Detroit? Maybe they'll increase the total by 50k just for Detroit, that would still be 1/4 of the granted EB-2 visas. There is tremendous demand for these, and someone (a US business) usually pays for the substantial legal bills for the application. The people who get these visas don't grow on trees, it's probably the most competitive one you can go for, depending on where you're from. I've known experienced scientists who haven't qualified for it.
This is a training project for some medical residents which has been repackaged into a press release. As a training and exposure project, it's great, BUSM is going to learn a bunch. Maybe they'll publish something, but don't expect anything else.
As a vehicle to get Gates Foundation and University of Manchester a bunch of press, it's
$100k isn't close to realistic for a real applied nanomaterial R&D project. Running a real materials research project with medical residents would be silly.
If they really wanted to make a better condom, they would fund a materials company.
I think you're mixing politics with ethics.
Does anything you brought up matter to the overall point that government is in the habit of breaking it's own laws?
Fast and Furious lost "strength" as a scandal because gun walking was revealed to be a "standard" technique implemented at a local level. There's questionable legal and moral basis for this, regardless of whose fault it is politically. There's a big difference between something seen as a "fake scandal" and something which "didn't happen." Gun walking does happen and it shouldn't.
It was still wrong for the IRS to delay applications the way they did; the IRS still insisted on information they weren't entitled to. The IRS did share information with people outside government that they shouldn't have. It's not ok that these things happened just because it hurt people evenly across the political spectrum.
It's not ok for any president to ignore implementing a law. Does the fact that Bush's administration ignored environmental law make it ok that Obama's administration ignores the health care law? This doesn't make any sense. Can the next administration pick a new set of laws to ignore? It's silly. We don't want a system where that kind of behavior is ok.
Your arguments are part of the problem here. (PART, not the whole problem, calm down...) We have to stop looking at things in terms of who is winning and losing politically. The root problem in our country is a pattern of poor governance. Regardless of who is in power, we need to expect and receive competent and ethical government. We are not getting that. (And the point of this discussion is that Christie is part of the problem, not the solution.)
There were many moderate Republicans and Independent voters who recognized after Bush that the Republican party had "lost" the ability to effectively govern (I was one of them). There will be many moderate Democrats and Independents who now come to the same conclusion about the Democratic party. As you point out, government is more than just the person at the top, it's the infrastructure, culture and people installed in the hundreds of administrative positions under the president. Now though, we have few (no?) credible alternatives to turn to...
I've worked in the past as part of the DoD Acquisitions Workforce.
CMMI is really just part of a broader obsession in DoD with project and program management. Abstractly, these are good things. When implemented correctly, they make debacles like healthcare.gov nearly impossible. Good planning, budgeting and in-progress evaluation are generally applicable to basic research projects, software development and building ships. We all want to work on projects which are well run.
The problem is, blindly stepping through the predefined process of project management has nothing to do with actually managing a project. You still need good managers who can recognize problems in the technical fields they're working with, understand what to do when problems crop up and are empowered to act. DoD in general fools itself into thinking it has people like this because the paperwork is done right. I suspect that's a fairly common problem.
We all know there's a problem with treating the "talent" (i.e. programmers) as interchangeable blocks using these systems. I think treating management the same way is worse. The ideas that management is mastery of a process and operates solely for organizational interest over individual interest are flawed, but central to things like CMMI.
If you want to do science on your own, you can and should incorporate. Be a non-profit if you'd like. The entrenched system which stifles non-university researchers gladly accepts small businesses and NGOs, as long as they have some funding.
The number one thing you should not expect about doing science, at any level, is that it will be cheap, quick or lean. When it comes to science those words mean the same thing as "violating environmental and safety law" or simply doing a piss-poor job.
If you want to do real chemistry or biology work, you will find that renting or begging lab space somewhere will be cheaper than actually making your garage legally suitable.