Hyperdrive

Sabine H. is exercised over scientists trying to promote their research with hype.  She complains that Francis Bacon's "Merchants of Light" have been replaced by "Merchants of Hype."  She is very good writer and I have a certain amount of sympathy for her point of view - I mean, who among us has not seen one of our brilliant and insightful proposals languish while some rival with a better PR department gets funded?

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that hype isn't a new invention, and it wasn't new when C. Columbus was trying to pitch his voyage to India  project to Queen Isabella, or even when Joe caveman was pitching his great idea for catching a mastadon to his buddies Moe and Doe.

Sabine got a lot of publicity when she scored a NYT Oped against funding a new super collider.  Does she have a good case, or is it just sour grapes about her own research not getting the support she would like?  I have no idea, but she expands her jihad against the funding process to take on cancer research, neurobiology, artificial intelligence, dark matter and others.

"Where are our quantum computers? Where are our custom cancer cures? Where are the nano-bots? And why do we still not know what dark matter is made of?"

I find this kind of "where is my flying car" complaint ridiculous. Rome wasn't  built in a day and great scientific puzzles aren't usually solved in a grant cycle, decade, or, quite often, in many generations.  There seem to be only a few plausible possibilities, for example, for solving the dark matter mystery, and the two most likely, giant colliders and giant underground detectors, are both the kind of science SH deplores. 

Her rant attracted a lot of mostly enthusiastic comments, 100 or so, from climate deniers and more or less anyone ever unhappy in grantsville.  Mine, a much shorter version of the above, did not make the cut. 


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