Vesuvius erupting (1872)
Mount St. Helens Eruption (1980)
Mount Redoubt eruption (2009)
Yellowstone Supervolcano (future eruption)
One could make the point that so-called "pork barrel" spending is bad business in Washingon. However, it accounts for a vanishingly small percent of government spending, and acts as a convenient canard against which to rail when making blinkerdly silly comments about spending and budgets. When will politicians learn to actually investigate what the "pork barrel" project is supporting (and have a staffer do some research into the topic, if they don't know what it is) than just saying something that - at the moment - might sound funny or degrading, but - in balance - only acts as a shovel to dig a deeper hole? Does this all play into the larger question of the divide between people's popular understanding of science, and what scientists actually do? Is this a question of tapping into people's resentment of government "meddling"? Is it anti-science?
Surly it cannot be the last one, since (it is my belief) that people in the United States readily understand that there are benefits of science. (You are - for example - reading this because of several benefits of science.) I feel, though, that it is a question of resenting government "meddling", especially tapping into deep-seated fear and loathing about the government's ability (some say unconstitutional ability) to tax its citizens. However, that is a topic for a different blog post.