Friday, November 12, 2010

Cat Research

Yahoo! has an article from the AFP about a group of scientists who have discovered exactly how cats "drink" milk. The research is going to be published in the Nov. 12, 2010 issue of Science (a scientific journal). After reading the whole article at Yahoo!, I'm left with a few questions.

First of all, I'm curious as to how much money the study cost. Often these studies go on for years and cost millions of dollars. Secondly, how much funding of the study came from government grants. Lastly, how exactly do researchers intend to apply this new knowledge they've discovered.

I understand that many products and inventions come from observing nature. I get that. I realize and understand that careful observations of the most mundane things can lead to great leaps in technology. I also can relate to the thrill of discovery that scientists and researchers must feel when observing something completely new for the first time.

However, we are in perilous times. Our governments at all levels are in major financial trouble. The federal government this month alone posted a deficit of over $140 BILLION for the month of October 2010. Research money either comes from corporations or the government, and very, very rarely a private citizen or group of citizens. I think the private citizen element is out of the question in the "how does a cat lap milk" research. That leaves a corporation or the government. If the researchers actually had an intention for their research, beyond the research itself, then some of the money might have come from a corporation. However, from the information contained in the article it seems that the researchers did the research just for the sake of doing the research. Which means the federal government probably offered up the funds.

Frivolous studies like this are one of the reasons people are so frustrated, upset, and angry at the government. People see millions of dollars spent to examine how a cat drinks milk while their uncle or brother just lost their job.

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