February 7th, 2012

breaking bad

Crickets vs taxpayer

I love this article in the Guardian. An 165 million year old fossil of a bush cricket is so well preserved that scientists were able to reconstruct the sound of its chirp (which you can hear at that link).

But, I see that the comments are divided. Some people like me think it's wonderful, and others think it is a waste of money to do research like that:
This isn't science! It is sheer fantasy and a waste of time, money and energy.

This is obscene. I want to know how much this cost the taxpayer.

Actually it was paid for by the Chinese taxpayer, but that's beside the point. I suppose there are two ways to justify this type of expense. One is that blue sky research, open research, can lead to practical benefits. Some definitely will, and we don't know which. But I think that's a poor reason, really an excuse, for research. I think it's like art; it cultivates the human mind. It's cheaper than I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and to me it's more interesting by miles.