Obama Rebuilds US With Science

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama promised a new era of science and technology for the nation, telling the National Academy of Sciences on Monday that he wants to devote more funds to research and development.

America has fallen behind other countries in science, Obama said.

“I believe it is not in our character, American character, to follow — but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. I am here today to set this goal: we will devote more than 3 percent of our gross domestic product to research and development,” Obama said in a speech at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.

That 3 percent would amount to about $420 billion.

“We will not just meet but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race,” he said.

That pursuit of discovery a half century ago fueled the nation’s prosperity and success, Obama told the academy.

“The commitment I am making today will fuel our success for another 50 years,” he said. “This work begins with an historic commitment to basic science and applied research.”

This will probably come as a shock to the non-technorati, but most of the technologies (cell phones, Internet, Microwave ovens) we enjoy today were initially developed, or draw roots in the 60’s, as part of the “Space Race”.

SR 71 Blackbird

SR 71 Blackbird

The fastest jet aircraft (at least that anyone will admit to building), capable of transcontinental flight across the US in an hour, and NYC to London in less than 2 (with a refuel) – faster than a 30-06 rifle bullet at 33 miles per minute (they will admit to)…

First flew in 1964. (Yes I have heard the rumors about the Aurora.)

Even more amazing, it was designed using slide-rules, not computers – as the first true super-computers hadn’t been invented yet. It has a carbon-fiber skin – which has only now, 40 years later, become part of commercial products. (If you visit DC, you can see one of these at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport.)

The technology developed during the Space Race, commercialized largely after the last Apollo Moon Mission fueled our economy for the next 40 years.

The Bushsquat cut R&D each year of the pResidency – not coincidentally contributing to a huge hole in American competitiveness. The right has fought since the Raygun era against the education of minorities, believing such would benefit white folks with the unintended consequence that there are fewer American born post graduates in the Sciences than at any time in our history. Over 60% of PhD candidates are foreign nationals in the US.

The US desperately needs homegrown scientists (from any ethnic or racial group)…

Time to cut the bullsquat.

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