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The Almighty Buck

Science Programs Hit Hard By Proposed Budget 395

BJ_Covert_Action writes "The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has released a list of proposed spending cuts for the US Federal Government. The proposed cuts include reductions in spending on many science organizations and funds such as NASA, NOAA, nuclear energy research, fossil fuel energy research, clean coal research, the CDC, the NIH, and numerous EPA programs. There are also quite a few cuts proposed on domestic services, such as Americorps and high speed rail research. The House Appropriations Chairman, Hal Rogers, acknowledges that the cuts go deep, and would hurt every district across the country. But they are still deemed necessary to rein in Congressional spending. Notoriously absent from the proposed budget cuts are two of the largest spending sinks in the federal budget: the Department of Defense and Social Security."

Internet Kill Switch Back On the US Legislative Agenda 376

suraj.sun points out a story at Wired that US lawmakers have revived the idea of a government-controlled "Internet Kill Switch," which reads, in part: "The bill, which has bipartisan support, is being floated by Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The proposed legislation, which Collins said would not give the president the same power Egypt's Hosni Mubarak is exercising to quell dissent, sailed through the Homeland Security Committee in December but expired with the new Congress weeks later. 'My legislation would provide a mechanism for the government to work with the private sector in the event of a true cyber emergency,' Collins said in an e-mail Friday. 'It would give our nation the best tools available to swiftly respond to a significant threat.'"

NASA Head Ignores Congress, Eyes Cooperation With China 271

eldavojohn writes "Congress and the president haven't been exactly kind to NASA recently as far as funding goes but NASA chief Charles Bolden is ruffling some feathers with his planned trip to Beijing to investigate cooperative human space flight as well as potential Chinese involvement with the International Space Station. Such news has caused Congressman Frank Wolf to warn Bolden that 'no such planning or coordination has been approved by the Congress ... In fact, several recent NASA authorization bills have explicitly sought to place strict limitations on coordination with China.' Wolf is an outspoken critic of China in space and further warned Bolden in a letter that 'It should go without saying that NASA has no business cooperating with the Chinese regime on human spaceflight. China is taking an increasingly aggressive posture globally, and their interests rarely intersect with ours.'"

Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich 589

Atypical Geek writes "Charles Lane, writing for Slate, argues that subsidies for electric cars are an example of 'limousine liberalism' — a lavish gift for well-off Americans to buy expensive cars for the sake of appearing green. From the article: 'How rarefied is the electric-car demographic? When Deloitte Consulting interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, it found that from now until 2020, only "young, very high income individuals" — from households making more than $200,000 a year — would even be interested in plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars.' Lane also takes issue with the billions of dollars in subsidies offered to automakers for the manufacture of batteries, arguing that research (warning, PDF) concludes that the money will not help in jump-starting the economies of scale that will drive down prices. At least, not as much or as quickly as the President has argued."

Daily Kos Pollster Made Up Numbers 546

jamie found a story up on Daily Kos revealing that the polling firm they had contracted with for 18 months, Research 2000 or R2K, apparently made up or at least manually tweaked its polling results. The blog published a preliminary report by a team of statistics gurus (Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman), and it is an exemplar of clarity and concision. The team reports, "We do not know exactly how the weekly R2K results were created, but we are confident they could not accurately describe random polls." Daily Kos will be filing a lawsuit against its former pollster. "For the past year and a half, Daily Kos has been featuring weekly poll results from the Research 2000 (R2K) organization. These polls were often praised for their 'transparency,' since they included detailed cross-tabs on sub-populations and a clear description of the random dialing technique. However, on June 6, 2010, rated R2K as among the least accurate pollsters in predicting election results. Daily Kos then terminated the relationship. One of us (MG) wondered if odd patterns he had noticed in R2K's reports might be connected with R2K's mediocre track record, prompting our investigation of whether the reports could represent proper random polling. ... This posting is a careful initial report of our findings, not intended to be a full formal analysis but rather to alert people not to rely on R2K's results."

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