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posted by martyb on Saturday September 30 2023, @02:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the petty-level-disputes dept.

If Congress does not pass a measure to fund the government by Sunday, October 1, a partial shutdown of the United States government will begin. Much of the federal government is funded each fiscal year by 12 appropriations bills. None of the appropriations bills for the 2024 fiscal year have been signed into law, which is not especially uncommon at the start of a new fiscal year. Instead, Congress authorizes funding at the levels from the previous fiscal year through a continuing resolution (CR), and then the appropriations bills are signed into law when they are ready. The Senate is scheduled to vote on such a CR on Saturday, though any Senator can refuse the expedited process for debating the bill, and delay the vote until Monday. Although the CR is expected to pass the Senate with bipartisan support, the House is highly unlikely to pass any funding bills before the government shutdown begins.

The impending government shutdown is likely to have significant effects on scientific research, as noted in a Nature article:

Fuelled by infighting among Republicans in the House of Representatives over spending cuts, the United States is barreling towards a government shutdown. Lawmakers in the US Congress have until 30 September (the end of the fiscal year) to reach an agreement over how to keep money flowing to federal agencies, or the government will have to close many of its doors and furlough staff — including tens of thousands of scientists — without pay. Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, work at science agencies will stop, interrupting experiments, delaying the approval of research grants and halting travel to scientific conferences.

A lot of academic research is funded from government grants from agencies like NSF. For grants that have already been approved, universities can continue to conduct research. However, the shutdown will halt the review and approval of new grants. The same article from Nature reports:

The US National Science Foundation (NSF), expects to halt work for 1,487 out of its 1,946 employees, once short-term funding runs out, for example. Scientists can continue to submit applications for funding to the agency, which pays for about one-quarter of the taxpayer-supported basic research in the United States, but no new projects will be approved. The Department of Health and Human Services, which houses the US National Institutes of Health, a significant funder of biomedical research, plans to furlough some 37,325 people — 42% of its staff — by the second day of a shutdown. 'Essential' staff working at its clinical centre or on public-safety missions such as monitoring for viral outbreaks will continue to report to work.

An article in Science states that many clinical trials supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be affected:

NIH was mostly spared in the last shutdown because its budget had already been approved by Congress, but this time it will feel the impact. A subset of its nearly 19,800 employees—just 4427, or 22%—will remain on duty to care for patients at the NIH Clinical Center and maintain research animals and cell lines for labs in the agency's intramural research program. No new patients will be enrolled in trials unless their illness is life threatening. The agency also expects to keep open PubMed, which holds biomedical research abstracts needed for health care, and the ClinicalTrials.gov registry, where reporting of clinical studies is a legal requirement.

However, the Science article notes that some astronomy research will continue to be conducted during the shutdown due to leftover funds from the current fiscal year or other external funding:

As for research infrastructure that NSF supports, a small number of employees deemed essential will continue to provide support for research programs in the Arctic and Antarctic. And many NSF-funded telescopes should be able to remain open for an extended period thanks to extra funding the agency provided this year to tide them over in case of a shutdown. Most of the optical telescopes are managed for NSF by a nongovernmental organization, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). It has "sufficient financial resources to maintain our functional and research activities for a reasonable length of time," an AURA spokesperson told ScienceInsider.

At the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), run by a university coalition, "We are doing exactly nothing special to prepare for the shutdown," Director Tony Beasley says. That contrasts with the government shutdown of 2013, when NRAO was forced to switch off its U.S.-based facilities after just a few days.

Other agencies will continue to provide services that are deemed essential but will cease other operations. For example, the National Weather Service will continue to issue forecasts and warnings but research to improve weather forecasts will be halted during a shutdown. As in the 2019 government shutdown, the forecasters who issue alerts such as tornado and hurricane warnings will be expected to do so but won't be paid until the shutdown ends.

In summary, the looming government shutdown will not halt science-related activities that are deemed necessary to imminently protecting life and property, such as issuing weather warnings. However, the employees who provide those services will not get paid until after the government shutdown ends. For agencies that do not have supplemental funds available, scientific research will generally be halted.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gaaark on Saturday September 30 2023, @02:45PM (25 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Saturday September 30 2023, @02:45PM (#1326462) Journal

    that with a government shutdown, one effect should be that the politicians don't get paid.

    You'd probably never see another shutdown.

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 5, Touché) by epitaxial on Saturday September 30 2023, @02:58PM

      by epitaxial (3165) on Saturday September 30 2023, @02:58PM (#1326464)

      Their government salary is a pittance compared to their side hustles.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by driverless on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:06PM (22 children)

      by driverless (4770) on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:06PM (#1326466)

      The USG has had quite a few shutdowns over the years, so it's nothing that unusual.

      Although from the rest of the world's point of view it's pretty bizarre, normally to shut down a government you need an armed revolution or a foreign invasion, while the US keeps doing it to themselves without any outside help.

      • (Score: 2) by loonycyborg on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:15PM (4 children)

        by loonycyborg (6905) on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:15PM (#1326467)

        Dozen trillions of debt is already good enough reason.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by epitaxial on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:46PM

          by epitaxial (3165) on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:46PM (#1326469)
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by Tork on Saturday September 30 2023, @05:15PM (2 children)

          by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2023, @05:15PM (#1326475)
          It wasn't from 2016 to 2020.
          --
          🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @09:04PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @09:04PM (#1326498)

            lolwut? There were 38 days of government shutdown during Trump.

            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:32PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:32PM (#1326519)
              and the debt didn't down.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:10PM (16 children)

        by Thexalon (636) on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:10PM (#1326480)

        This all started as a tactic in 1995 thanks to Newt Gingrich. Back at that time, there wasn't an established protocol of what to do when Congress refused to fund the government, because this was completely unprecedented. Now there is, because every Democratic president with a Republican House or Senate since has had this happen to them. Paul Ryan did it to Obama, and now Kevin McCarthy is doing it to Biden.

        What has changed this time, though, is that in previous rounds of this, there was the Democratic administration's budget, and there was the congressional Republican's budget, and they were fighting over whether the final one was going to be closer or further from each proposal. This time, there's a group of approximately 21 House Republicans who have refused to back any budget. Including, as of yesterday, a budget that would have pretty much everything they say they want. And they haven't bothered to negotiate or try to come up with a compromise, they're too busy trying to come up with a reason why they should impeach Joe Biden. Meanwhile, the Senate has a bipartisan budget hammered out by the leaders of the 2 major parties that everyone could probably live with, and the House refuses to even consider it.

        It sure seems like we're dealing with a group of people intent on wrecking the place, and a Speaker that's too afraid of losing his own position as Speaker to not go along with that.

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
        • (Score: 0, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:17PM (14 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:17PM (#1326481)

          Accepting what you've written as likely true facts, don't forget that Democrats tend to spend spend spend. It's a bit disingenuous (and all too typically liberal narrative) to blame the Republicans when they're just trying, as always, to rein in the unaffordable spending. And then, of course, the liberals lie and say the Republicans hate blacks, elderly, schools, environment, whatever, when it's the opposite. Throwing money at something just seeds the greedy opportunists who bilk the government. More oversight helps, but that costs money too.

           

          • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:02PM (8 children)

            by Thexalon (636) on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:02PM (#1326489)

            Do they though?

            Check this out, bearing in mind these are nominal dollars, which means not adjusted for inflation:

            George H.W. Bush
            Year Spending in trillions
            1993 1.41

            Bill Clinton (Democrat)
            Year Spending in trillions
            1994 1.45
            1995 1.51
            1996 1.56
            1997 1.60
            1998 1.65
            1999 1.70
            2000 1.79
            2001 1.86
            Total change from end of previous administration: 32%

            George W Bush (Republican)
            Year Spending in trillions
            2002 2.01
            2003 2.16
            2004 2.29
            2005 2.47
            2006 2.66
            2007 2.73
            2008 2.98
            2009 3.52
            Total change from previous administration: 89%

            Barack Obama (Democrat)
            Year Spending in trillions
            2010 3.46
            2011 3.60
            2012 3.52
            2013 3.45
            2014 3.51
            2015 3.69
            2016 3.85
            2017 3.98
            Total change from previous administration: 13%

            Donald Trump (Republican)
            Year Spending in trillions
            2018 4.11
            2019 4.44
            2020 6.55
            2022 7.25
            Total change from previous administration: 82%

            Joe Biden (Democrat)
            Year Spending in trillions
            2023 6.01
            Total change from previous administration: -17% so far

            So, please, enlighten me, how exactly is it the Democrats who are profligate spenders?

            --
            The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:16PM

              by Thexalon (636) on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:16PM (#1326492)

              Correction in my previous post: The last 2 years were actually for 2021 and 2022, since we don't have actual 2023 numbers yet. This of course does not affect my overall point in the slightest.

              --
              The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
            • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:19AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:19AM (#1326534)

              Typical liberal mind. You cherrypick facts that fit your narrative. You only listed presidents. Einstein, how about Congress, who actually sets the budgets?

              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:15PM

                by Thexalon (636) on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:15PM (#1326587)

                The president listed approved each of those budgets. Adding control of Congress into the mix doesn't change things a whole lot, e.g. some of the worst years in terms of spending growth had a Republican president and Republican Congress, while some of the best years that actually lowered spending had a Democratic president and Democratic Congress. And there were of course split Congresses as well.

                When you look over the details, there is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility. However you measure it, Republicans do worse at keeping the budget close to balanced and controlling spending.

                I even had a brief conversation with my then-senator, a Republican, about this, because he happened to be at an event in my community, and I'm the sort of person who will walk right up to a politician and start pestering them with questions. It went approximately like this:
                Me: Senator, I know you're very vocally in favor of a balanced budget. I also noticed you voted for a very large tax cut last month that is going to cost the US treasury a great deal, without any kind of spending cuts to go along with it. How do you reconcile those two positions?
                Senator George Voinovich: Well, we just had to do the tax cuts. Oh, and let me tell you about the new Homeland Security funding we got for this area, I know the mayor here appreciates it. Oh, my, look at the time, I have to be somewhere else?
                Staffer for Voinovich: Are you part of a group or organization or something?
                Me: No, just one of his constituents whose support for him might depend on the answer he just gave.

                And he was a fairly moderate guy who got elected mayor in a mostly-Democratic city at one point. They're full of it. They know they're full of it.

                --
                The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
            • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:07AM (4 children)

              by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:07AM (#1326559)

              Never mind that the House of Representatives controls spending, but can you tell us how Donald Trump, who left office in January of 2021, spent 7 trillion in 2022?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @12:39PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @12:39PM (#1326574)

                Proving once again that republicans are greedy dumbfucks.

              • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:04PM (2 children)

                by Thexalon (636) on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:04PM (#1326584)

                Each president inherits their first-year budget from their predecessor. So the budget that Donald Trump approved was the $7 trillion (a lot of it Covid-related outlays).

                --
                The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
                • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:44PM (1 child)

                  by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:44PM (#1326609)

                  That would have been 2021. Biden had been in office for 9 months when the 2022 budget year was approved.

                  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday October 02 2023, @10:27AM

                    by Thexalon (636) on Monday October 02 2023, @10:27AM (#1326692)

                    Right - as I explained a reply to my own post, I'd written the wrong years down for the last 2 entries, and those are the 2021 and 2022 outlays. So the $7 trillion number was in 2021.

                    --
                    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:20PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:20PM (#1326515)

            don't forget that Democrats tend to spend spend spend.

            Especially since this is not true. Can you sell us some colloidal silver, or perhaps some Hydroxycloroform? Horse deworming paste? Goebbel's "Big Lie" technique? Or are you just stupid?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:09AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:09AM (#1326526)

            It's a bit disingenuous (and all too typically liberal narrative) to blame the Republicans when they're just trying, as always, to rein in the unaffordable spending.

            Imagine how much better that had sounded if ya'all had decried the spending over Trunp's golf trips.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @07:32AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @07:32AM (#1326552)

            Your comment is misleading. A deficit isn't just about spending, it's also about revenue. Increasing spending will grow the deficit, but so will decreasing revenue. It's basic math.

            Both parties increase spending in some areas, including entitlements and defense spending. The proposals that were put forth in the House to cut spending exempted defense spending from those cuts. The deficits in recent years are massive, and any real solution probably requires putting all areas of the budget on the table. There are ideas for reforming entitlements without actually reducing benefits to elderly and disabled people, but a small tax increase might be required for these to work. Defense spending is another massive part of the federal budget, so exempting it from cuts makes it a lot more difficult to address the deficits.

            Like I said, revenue is just as important to the budget as spending. Three of the four most recent Republican presidents oversaw legislation to significantly cut taxes. The fourth, Bush 41, made a campaign pledge of, "Read my lips, no new taxes." He ultimately broke that promise and signed tax increases into law to address growing deficits. Reagan argued that cutting taxes for the wealthy would produce economic benefits for everyone else, the concept of trickle down economics. These benefits never materialized. The Bush 43 and Trump tax cuts were smaller than Reagan's. Trump claimed that cutting taxes would lead to economic growth, and tax revenue would actually increase despite the lower rates. This didn't happen, and the cuts both by Trump and Bush 43 increased deficits. It's a very good bet that the Republican presidential nominee in 2024 will pledge once again to cut taxes, because this appeals to the Republican base. If those tax cuts happen, they will probably grow the deficit once again.

            If you take a good look at the spending cuts proposed by Republicans, you'll see they're targeted at programs that are unpopular to the Republican base, but they often greatly benefit many Americans. Yes, I'm referring to social programs like Medicaid and SNAP that benefit people with low incomes. The cuts aren't actually serious efforts to address excessive spending, just to defund programs they don't like. But they won't hesitate to offset those spending cuts by decreasing revenue through more tax cuts.

            The bottom line is that history shows that Republicans are generally no more serious about addressing the growing deficit than Democrats are. I see no indication that this is going to change in the foreseeable future.

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:42AM (1 child)

            by Gaaark (41) on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:42AM (#1326566) Journal

            Accepting what you've written as likely true facts, don't forget that Repubicans tend to cut cut cut.... taxes for the rich, which adds to the problem.

            It's a bit disingenuous (and all too typically conservative narrative) to blame the Democrats when they're just trying, as always, to rein in the unaffordable cuts.

            And then, of course, the liberals speak truthfully and say the Republicans hate blacks, elderly, schools, environment, gays, whatever.

            Cutting taxes for the rich just seeds the greedy opportunists who lobby the government. More oversight helps, but that costs money too.

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @12:42PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @12:42PM (#1326575)

              TrumpCo put in some delayed tax cuts that raised taxes for the poor which hit after he was booted like a limp dick at an orgy.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by driverless on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:35PM

          by driverless (4770) on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:35PM (#1326486)

          Meanwhile, the Senate has a bipartisan budget hammered out by the leaders of the 2 major parties that everyone could probably live with, and the House refuses to even consider it.

          Well they haven't done absolutely nothing, they've managed to pass a resolution that men have to wear a coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants [politico.com] on the chamber floor, so they're still getting something done. Oh, and Kevin McCarthy and Matt Gaetz got into a shouting match [politico.com], so there was some entertainment present as well.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @05:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @05:03AM (#1326548)

      The two official reasons why Congress and other high level officials still get paid even with the government shut down is because they don't want to force them into the position where they give favors in exchange for getting their bills paid in the mean time and that a law to create that requirement is blocked by the 27th Amendment in the short term regardless. Of course, the former assumes they aren't dealing in quid pro quos already and the latter wouldn't really make a difference in 2 years, maximum.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by looorg on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:01PM (19 children)

    by looorg (578) on Saturday September 30 2023, @03:01PM (#1326465)

    Is there some kind of massive defect with your governmental system? Cause this shutdown thing seems to almost happen like clockwork. Then hopefully at the last second or so they come to some kind of agreement and then push the boulder up the hill again until it decides it's time to let it roll down again, cause there is always apparently a next time.

    I guess the lesson for research institutions is that they should ask for a larger sum upfront, and another one upon completion, when they begin the work. Instead of getting little sums here and there.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday September 30 2023, @05:03PM (9 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2023, @05:03PM (#1326474) Journal

      Troll mod, huh? Some of our moderators seem like petulant children. You asked a damned good question: Is there a massive defect with our government? The answer, is yes, there are massive problems with our government. Which would you like to delve into first?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:20PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:20PM (#1326482)

        Troll mod, huh? Some of our moderators seem like petulant children.

        I know you've known this for a long time. One of many core problems with the mod system: flat power. Everyone has the same mod power, regardless of how they abuse it. Unless they're extreme, then they appropriately get the mod ban.

        • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:11PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:11PM (#1326512)

          Runaway being modded down, despite his admin approved ghost army of fully mod-enabled sockpuppets? The only possible explanation is that he is, in fact, deplorable.

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:11AM (6 children)

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:11AM (#1326527)

        Troll mod, huh? Some of our moderators seem like petulant children.

        Heh! Yeah Runaway, lecture them on childish moderation!

        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
        • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:44AM (5 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:44AM (#1326532) Journal

          Well, yes, actually I can. I don't moderate much. It's a rare day that I use half of my mod points. I think that I mod up, more than I mod down. TMB used to post some interesting statistics about our moderation habits. I suppose you could inquire of staff about my claims. I have nothing to hide, any member of staff can post any statistics he feels like posting here. Not that they need my permission, of course. It would be interesting to see how some individuals moderate, wouldn't it? I did use the term "petulant child".

          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:22AM

            by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:22AM (#1326535)

            I think that I mod up, more than I mod down.

            You think you do? Okie doke.

            --
            🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @12:46PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @12:46PM (#1326576)

            The amount you mod up or down matter much less than the quality of your choices, and seeing as you frequently sock puppet your AC comments is damning enough.

            • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:10PM (2 children)

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @02:10PM (#1326585) Journal

              Idiot. If I had sock puppets, admin would know about it. Ooops, my mistake, everyone is an idiot, except you. An idiot, or a fascist, or both, right? Stop projecting.

              • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @08:37PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @08:37PM (#1326634)

                And if Runaway had sockpuppets, admin would know about it, and probably approve, to level the playing field and enable stupid to keep up with all the egg-headed liberal boffins here on SoylentNews. Such is the way of the world. https://www.rawstory.com/raw-investigates/hartmann-truth/ [rawstory.com]

              • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:35PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:35PM (#1326646)

                You've admitted to running sock puppets before and having multiple computers that use VMs and VPNs. But you're right, you are probably too incompetent to keep it secret. More likely one of the other racists circle jerking you off.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday September 30 2023, @05:55PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2023, @05:55PM (#1326478) Journal

      I guess the lesson for research institutions is that they should ask for a larger sum upfront, and another one upon completion, when they begin the work.

      Or find more diverse funding sources? Live by public funding, die by its absence.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:32PM (4 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:32PM (#1326484)

      Is there some kind of massive defect with your governmental system? Cause this shutdown thing seems to almost happen like clockwork.

      Yes, there is. Well, several, actually:
      1. It is entirely possible for the leader of the country's government, the president, to not have the support of the majority of the population when they were elected. This has happened 4 times in the last 8 elections. This is due to a bunch of factors, but the biggest one is that where in the country you live affects how impactful your vote is for president.

      2. It is entirely possible for the majority party in our lower legislative house, the House of Representatives, to also not have the support of the majority of the population. This has to do with the districts being controlled by the state (regional) governments, and the state governments are not obligated to draw up the House districts fairly among their population. For example, one thing they can do is include a prison in a district, and the prisoners can't vote but they count as a voting population, so the votes of non-imprisoned residents of that district count more than other people's votes. It's downright scientific at this point, there's computer software both major parties use to do this kind of thing.

      3. It is entirely possible or even likely for the majority party in our upper legislative house, the Senate, to also not have the support of the majority of the population. This is because senators allegedly represent states (regional governments), not people. Because some states are a lot more populated than others, this means that a state with 600,000 people has exactly the same number of senators representing it as a state with 45,000,000 people.

      4. The president can't spend money without the approval of the legislature. Which means that when the allocated money runs out periodically, as it always does, he needs to get the legislature's approval to continue running the government. Which, if either house of the legislature is controlled by the opposing party, means the opposing party can and sometimes does sabotage the president by refusing to approve a budget.

      5. The rules in the Senate mean that if 34 senators want something to not happen, nothing happens, no matter what the other 66 senators say. There are ways the majority party could fix this, but they don't want to because they want to be able to do this if they ever become the minority party. This combined with point #3 above is that it's entirely possible for approximately 10-15% of the country's population to stall legislation favored by the other 85-90% of the population, and the president, and most of the lower house representatives.

      6. One of our 2 major political parties has an unofficial rule which states that they will never bring anything to a vote unless they have the support of the majority of their own party's representatives. Even if enough total representatives would back it, it doesn't matter. More recently, they've also established a rule that a vote of what amounts to No Confidence can be brought by any member of their own party at any time for any reason or no reason at all, a vote which the leader will lose if he doesn't have all but 4 of his own party's votes.

      So you have a system set up to give control to the minority of the country, with lots of techniques for making things not pass, and the whole thing falls apart if nothing passes.

      A Westminster-style government has its problems, certainly (e.g. how many of the recent UK prime ministers have gotten there without a popular vote in their favor) but I don't think they're as ridiculous as this.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by loonycyborg on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:22PM (3 children)

        by loonycyborg (6905) on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:22PM (#1326493)

        There are many ways to define what "majority support" means. Actual elections have formal methods to define outcome just to prevent arguments on what exactly that means. On the other hand those formalizations are subject to exploits in the long run which allows capture by minority interests or incompetents. Because of subjective nature of how collective decision making works revolutions will always be necessary at some point. No formal system can avoid getting subverted and exploited eventually.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:11AM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:11AM (#1326537)

          "Majority support" for the purposes of my point above would include a combination of "win a majority of popular votes in elections" and "have the support of a majority of the population in polls". The US government is organized so it is entirely possible that the president, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court are all acting without a popular vote majority or a polling majority.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 2) by loonycyborg on Sunday October 01 2023, @05:00AM (1 child)

            by loonycyborg (6905) on Sunday October 01 2023, @05:00AM (#1326547)

            Still if split is close to 50/50 then majority is most likely decided by random factors like who happened to have heard particular part of campaign favoring his issues. It's like pretty dangerous outcome if your system is of "winner gets all" sort. No matter who wins 49% or a bit less of all voters lose.

            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:38PM

              by Thexalon (636) on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:38PM (#1326593)

              And that makes sense when the public's support is close to 50-50. But the US system is structured in such a way that the public's support can be 85-15, and the 85% still don't get what they want.

              --
              The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @09:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @09:12PM (#1326501)

      Is there some kind of massive defect with your governmental system?

      Yes, the voters. For reasons that go little beyond their own tribalism, they keep reelecting these people

    • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Monday October 02 2023, @03:18AM (1 child)

      by ChrisMaple (6964) on Monday October 02 2023, @03:18AM (#1326666)

      The problem is moral corruption, not the structure of the government. The people have become increasingly corrupt. Big government offers more opportunities for corruption and also corruption on a larger scale. This attracts corrupt people to politics, and they enlarge the government to increase their take, and they develop schemes (Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, supports to all sorts of industries and social groupings) which increase their power and further corrupt the populace.

      If you think you deserve other people's money that the government is giving out from taxes, and you're not providing goods or services in honest exchange for that money, you're corrupt.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @02:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @02:18PM (#1326721)

        Says a Republican unironically, and a Christian that cannot even try to live up to the teachings of Jesus. At the least you should be running campaigns against all the pro child marriage laws that red states have been passing. The Puritan hard work system has some minor benefits, but like all punitive based systems it creates more of the problems it tries to fix.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Entropy on Saturday September 30 2023, @04:24PM

    by Entropy (4228) on Saturday September 30 2023, @04:24PM (#1326471)

    Stay down for as long as you want. No matter how many news stories where you tell me I care if the government shuts down, I don't. Spend extra money to shut
    down parks and pay people to keep the public out? Guess you're not really shut down then.

  • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Runaway1956 on Saturday September 30 2023, @04:59PM (4 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2023, @04:59PM (#1326473) Journal

    https://www.history.com/news/us-government-shutdowns-facts [history.com]

    Here’s a breakdown of each shutdown.

    1. November 20–23, 1981
    President Ronald Reagan triggered the first government shutdown when he vetoed a funding bill because he thought it should have cut more from domestic spending. As a result, the U.S. government furloughed 241,000 federal employees. Like most of the early shutdowns, this one ended after only a few days.

    2. September 30–October 2, 1982
    The next year, Congress caused another shutdown by missing the deadline to pass a government spending bill, even though it had already agreed on the terms for the bill. The New York Times reported that Congress missed the deadline because both major parties had events they didn’t want to miss: Republicans were attending a White House barbecue and the Democrats had a fundraising dinner.

    While Congress didn’t anticipate the funding gap would last long enough to trigger shutdown procedures, there was confusion about this and some agencies sent federal employees home. The next three funding gaps in 1982, 1983 and 1984 did not lead to federal shutdowns, but another one in 1984 did.

    3. October 3–5, 1984
    The U.S. government had two back-to-back funding gaps in 1984: one from September 30 to October 3, and another from October 3 to 5. Congress and President Reagan averted a shutdown during the first gap by passing a temporary extension, but then missed their new deadline again, triggering a brief, half-day shutdown in which the government furloughed around 500,000 employees.

    Democrats conceded to many of Reagan’s demands in the bill that ended the shutdown. The bill included temporary funding for the Contras, a group the CIA had recruited and organized to fight the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

    4. October 16–18, 1986
    The 1986 shutdown played out much like the one in 1984: the government furloughed about 500,000 federal employees for half a day, and Democrats conceded to Reagan’s demands in order to end the shutdown.

    The last funding gap during Reagan’s presidency happened in December 1987, but Congress averted a shutdown by quickly passing a bill that again provided funding to the Contras. This was just months after Congress had held hearings on the Iran-Contra Affair.

    5. October 5–9, 1990
    When President George H.W. Bush accepted his nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention, he famously said: “Read my lips: no new taxes.” His subsequent decisions to raise taxes during his presidency rankled House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich. In 1990, Gingrich led a Republican rebellion against a funding bill, triggering a shutdown that led national parks and museums to close.

    6. November 13–19, 1995
    Up until now, government shutdowns had lasted around one to three business days. In 1995, they started to get longer. That November, the government furloughed 800,000 federal employees after Newt Gingrich, who was now the speaker of the House, sent President Bill Clinton a funding bill he expected he’d veto because it raised Medicare premiums and cut environmental regulations.

    When reporters interviewed Gingrich about the shutdown, he mentioned that Clinton hadn’t talked to him on a recent Air Force One trip to attend the funeral for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

    7. December 15, 1995–January 6, 1996
    A month after the November shutdown, another standoff between Gingrich and Clinton led to a much longer shutdown. During the 1995 to 1996 disruption, the government furloughed 280,000 workers. It was the first time a funding gap had shut down the government for more than a week, and the length of this shutdown caused significant delays for government services. When the State Department resumed normal functions in January, it had a backlog of 200,000 passport applications to process.

    After such a lengthy and unpleasant shutdown, the United States didn’t experience another funding gap or shutdown for nearly 18 years.

    8. September 30–October 17, 2013
    The no-shutdown streak ended in 2013 over a battle between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, which President Barack Obama had signed into law in 2010.

    The president and his fellow Democrats opposed the Republicans’ demands to defund the act, and when the deadline to pass funding expired, the government furloughed 800,000 workers. The shutdown ended weeks later when Obama signed a bill that made minor changes to the ACA, but did not include the major defunding the Republicans had wanted.

    9. January 19–22, 2018
    In 2018, the government briefly shut down when Democrats in Congress tried to force Republicans to protect beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

    President Obama created the DACA program in 2012 to allow undocumented people who came to the United States as children to remain in the country. In 2017, President Donald Trump’s administration announced a plan to phase out the program. To end the shutdown, Republicans agreed to vote on DACA later that year.

    10. December 21, 2018–January 25, 2019
    In late 2018, another funding gap triggered the longest shutdown in U.S. history. This time, the funding argument was over Trump’s proposed plan to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The shutdown led the government to furlough 800,000 federal workers. Democrats refused to fund the wall, and ultimately Republicans relented. The shutdown ended a month after it began with no funding in place for a border wall.

    Funny thing, I've never lost a night's sleep, or missed a meal, or failed to make payments or meet payroll, or anything bad during any of those shutdowns. They're mostly non-events. Shut government down, go ahead. Doesn't mean a thing.

    • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:34PM

      by gnuman (5013) on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:34PM (#1326485)

      Maybe you can have one until elections... if it doesn't affect anyone. Or does it?

      https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-government-shutdown-what-closes-what-stays-open-2023-09-21/ [reuters.com]

      Workers deemed essential would remain on the job. Almost all workers would not be paid.

      So I guess they would be affected if they have not much savings and need to make those not-so-common mortgage payments ....

      And just to cherry-pick here,

      The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would continue to support the International Space Station and track satellites, but 17,000 of its 18,300 employees would be furloughed.

      I guess SpaceX and others could be affected, if they are waiting for any regulatory reviews, like SpaceX is.

    • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:16PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:16PM (#1326514)

      So you think you are cancel-proof, now that you're retired? We're going to shut down your Social Security, and Medicare, you parasitical Trumper!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:31PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2023, @11:31PM (#1326518)

        Parasitical? You sound like the blood sucking tick that crawled up the old dude's ass.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:42AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:42AM (#1326545)

          Red State leeches! Nasty Right-wing Neo-knotsea filth, living on disability from our tax dollars, and then, all upset because a President was black, try to overthrow our Constitution, and when they fail at that, to Defund America! Red states receive more Federal dollars than they pay in in taxes, so yes, they are parasites upon the nation. Fortunately, mind-control seems to be beyond their abilities.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:25PM (12 children)

    by VLM (445) on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:25PM (#1326483)

    If the government works mostly in opposition to its own people, every time a populist type gets power the govt will be shut down.

    Better to have no operating government at all, than a government that actively works in opposition to your own citizens.

    • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:44PM (11 children)

      by gnuman (5013) on Saturday September 30 2023, @06:44PM (#1326487)

      Better to have no operating government at all, than a government that actively works in opposition to your own citizens.

      Especially them scientists. They are definitely working against people's interests. Right?

      https://usafacts.org/annual-publications/2021/government-10-k/part-i/item-1-purpose-and-function-of-our-government-general/employees/ [usafacts.org]

      And the 20+ million government employees, they are all working to undermine your freedoms. Don't pay them a dime! No more effective way of de-funding police then don't actually paying them. Or prison guards. Or military. Teachers? Who needs them? Who needs those hospitals either. If God meant for you to live, he would not make you sick in the first place and the Bible is the only TRUTH I need!

      Amen brother! Those millions of freedom haters -- not a dime more!

      (this is sarcasm, by the way, but maybe some need to think things through a little more before writing it down)

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:26AM

        by VLM (445) on Sunday October 01 2023, @01:26AM (#1326529)

        of the

        the 20+ million government employees

        you mention, the ones you mention favorably are what, 1% of them, maybe 0.1% if that? And ironically none of those people (except the scientists) are allowed not to work

        Seems like you've made more of a small-government states-rights argument than an opposition to shutdown.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:18AM (9 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:18AM (#1326538) Journal

        Especially them scientists. They are definitely working against people's interests. Right?

        Indeed. For a glaring example, how many decades again are we away from commercial fusion power? Paying scientists for over 50 years to research fusion power in a way that doesn't result in concrete benefit to humanity is a classic example, not only of scientists working against peoples' interests, but being paid to do so!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:01AM (8 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:01AM (#1326542)

          You're wrong.

          If successful, fusion power could be a cheap source of clean and abundant energy. Developing this technology is working in the interests of most people, because they would stand to benefit from inexpensive clean energy. The most obvious loser in this is those who have investments in other forms of energy like fossil fuels. I notice you said that the scientists are working against the interests of the people, then you mentioned the money issue separately. This suggests that you believe that developing fusion power is inherently working against the people regardless of the money.

          You're also wrong for several reasons. Unsuccessful research does not mean actively trying to cause harm. It just means that scientists tried something and found that it didn't work. There are many ideas that seem promising in principle but don't work when you actually try them. As long as the scientists are honestly reporting their results rather than fabricating or falsifying them, they're not working against the people. Also, even if fusion power is never feasible, it doesn't mean there aren't any returns on the investment. A fusion reactor is a complex piece of technology, and some systems developed for such a reactor might have other applications.

          Working against the people implies a desire to inflict harm. That's certainly not the case here. If you want to argue that there are more promising ideas, and that limited resources would be better allocated elsewhere, that's a position I could respect. But the inefficient use of resources such as money does not indicate malice. At most, you could perhaps argue that the people who allocate funding are acting against the interests of the people. But those people aren't the scientists conducting the research.

          When someone talks about government working against the people, I envision things like the Patriot Act and massive warrantless surveillance of people. Government infringing on people's rights qualifies, but not unsuccessful scientific research with the goal of helping humanity.

          • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:45AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @04:45AM (#1326546)

            khallow cannot conceive of his theories actually being false, so his attitude toward scientific research matches the fascist VLM pretty closely.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 01 2023, @05:18AM (6 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @05:18AM (#1326549) Journal

            If successful, fusion power could be a cheap source of clean and abundant energy.

            It won't be though. Things like ITER, for example, use infrastructure technology (for example, helium-cooled superconductors) that would cost tens of billions of dollars to implement on a commercial scale - about an order of magnitude higher than the most expensive current power plants. It would take a major restructuring not just of the power grid (how will that power be transported?), but also human demand for energy in order for power plants of that cost to work (something needs to consume the huge energy production in order to cover costs of the plant).

            Unsuccessful research does not mean actively trying to cause harm.

            Research that we know a priori will be unsuccessful does cause harm because it's diverting these scientists to unproductive purposes. To be blunt here, we know what it takes to build viable power plants and virtually all fusion research doesn't touch that.

            When someone talks about government working against the people, I envision things like the Patriot Act and massive warrantless surveillance of people.

            I envision much more than that. Paying people to do useless or harmful things is a way too common government practice.

            Government infringing on people's rights qualifies, but not unsuccessful scientific research with the goal of helping humanity.

            "Goal of helping humanity"? Meet "unintended consequences".

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @06:30AM (5 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @06:30AM (#1326551)

              NSF is one of the primary sources for federal research funding. Their budget was $11.06 billion for fiscal year 2023. It's a very small amount considering the scale of the entire federal budget. They have a variety of funding vehicles. One of which is a standard research grant, and three years is a common duration. Proposals for this type of grant are sent out for merit review. There's also a RAPID, which is reviewed by the program manager, and is for time-sensitive research opportunities. Then there's an EAGER, which is for high-risk but potentially transformative research. If I remember correctly, decisions for an EAGER are made by the program manager, but there are significant limitations on the length and amount of funding. There are other funding vehicles as well, but it's important to mention the EAGER vehicle. Fusion power research would fall into this same category of work that would be very impactful if successful, but there's a high risk. Just because fusion power probably isn't feasible with current technology doesn't mean it will never be feasible. It is within NSF's mission to fund potentially transformative research in its early stages.

              Submitting a proposal to NSF is a lot of work. There's a 15 page statement of work, plus some supplemental materials. A good proposal requires a lot of thought and revision, meaning it consumes a lot of time. It can very from one program to another, but you're likely to wait about six months for a decision, and roughly 20% of proposals get funded. There are still a lot of good proposals in the other 80%, but there just isn't enough money to go around.

              The solution isn't to stop funding potentially transformative research in its early stages. It would be more beneficial to speed up review times and allocate more funding so that good proposals aren't being rejected due to the limitations of NSF's budget.

              Also, NSF requires proposals include a section on broader impacts. Typically this involves educational outreach activities to provide a societal benefit beyond the primary research activities. Proposals often include funding for grad students and sometimes support to hire undergrads. All of these things involve training people for careers in science, so there are usually real benefits even if a research project produces a null result.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 01 2023, @11:59AM (4 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @11:59AM (#1326572) Journal
                Two things I see about your post. First, there is not a word about the utility of research conducted under the NSF - it's boilerplate about NSF processes followed by hollow words about training people for careers in science. I think this is a tell. It's more important to talk about the processes of funding research and of training the next generations rather than actually talking about the research and its value. When you start from a position of extreme disinterest in the outcome of research, then don't be surprised when the research meets expectations. I believe that happens here.

                Second, I can think of a number of larger primary sources for research funding in the US such as the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Education as well as NASA and US intelligence. Or the private world - which incidentally is more than adequate to take over for any lack of public funding.

                The solution isn't to stop funding potentially transformative research in its early stages. It would be more beneficial to speed up review times and allocate more funding so that good proposals aren't being rejected due to the limitations of NSF's budget.

                Depends what those researchers would be doing without this funding. My take is that they would find alternate sources of funding and would have far stronger incentives to deliver value for the funding they receive. When you don't care how potentially transformative your research is, such as with the NSF, then the amount of funding is more important than the outcome of that research.

                One of the problems with US public funding of research (and almost all other governments for that matter) is that we're entering a phase where funding has to be cut due to more than a century of irresponsible spending putting heavy pressure on everything that relies on public spending. You can speak of how much better things would be with more money, but where will that money come from? It's fantasy to ignore that long term fiscal problems will severely impact even the most valuable research, such as it is.

                I think it would be better to coming up with private-side funding sources for research in this situation. So that we have something to take over when the government sources inevitably fail.

                • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @08:48PM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @08:48PM (#1326636)

                  One of the problems with US public funding of research (and almost all other governments for that matter) is that we're entering a phase where funding has to be cut due to more than a century of irresponsible spending putting heavy pressure on everything that relies on public spending. You can speak of how much better things would be with more money, but where will that money come from? It's fantasy to ignore that long term fiscal problems will severely impact even the most valuable research, such as it is.

                  Republican debt fetishism, at its finest! Too expensive? We don't have the money? Pressure? What is it about conservatives that they think money is something real, and intrinsically finite? What better thing than science can khallow think of to spend public money on? Hookers and blow? Typical selfish Republican corruption. khallow is in the same league as Don Jr. There is no shortage of funds, America's credit rating is strong enough to fund research! Or it was, until tight-assed Scrooge Republicans started threatening to not allow the debt limit to increase, or to shut down the government, until they got their selfish tax cuts.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 02 2023, @01:05AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 02 2023, @01:05AM (#1326660) Journal

                    Republican debt fetishism, at its finest! Too expensive? We don't have the money? Pressure? What is it about conservatives that they think money is something real, and intrinsically finite? What better thing than science can khallow think of to spend public money on?

                    Money is a proxy for resources, human effort and time, and other scarce things - things we value. Money printers can go brrrr, but there are no printers for those other things.

                    There is no shortage of funds, America's credit rating is strong enough to fund research!

                    This ignores a couple of important points. First, a credit rating is a shaky thing. Enron, a famous fraud of 2001 went from a high rating to junk rating in less than a year. Ratings never predicted that disaster. Second, a sane rating process would take into account the accounting processes of the organization. The US federal government has accounting processes so bad that if they happened in a private company, people would be going to jail for fraud and such (for example, refusing to document liabilities or repeated violations of and huge overspending in contracts that are ignored). There's no way under that scenario that the US would have a rating, much less a strong rating.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04 2023, @07:44AM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04 2023, @07:44AM (#1327109)

                  You're missing a key point here about why NSF funds such research, and why private sector funding isn't likely to take over that role.

                  Other forms of government funding and private sector funding are less likely to fund basic scientific research. A lot of agencies use a metric called the technology readiness level (TRL) to indicate how close a technology is to operational use. TRL 1 is basic science research, but everything above that from TRL 2 (a concept for new technology) to TRL 9 (widespread operational use) is applied science. For example, a lot of NOAA proposal solicitations indicate that they're looking to fund research at TRL 5-6 or higher. There's less risk of funding research at a higher TRL, and there's a shorter time before that work would be ready for operational use.

                  The problem is, how do you get the funding to advance the research from TRL 1 to TRL 5-6? NOAA isn't going to fund research that's going to advance to TRL 1 or TRL 2. The private sector is probably not going to be eager to fund research at a low TRL, either. There's a higher risk that the technology will be unsuccessful. Even if the technology is successful, it's going to take considerably longer to advance it to TRL 9. NSF is one of the agencies that fills the gap and funds research at a low TRL. If you're conducting research at TRL 1, you probably don't know what the end result will be at TRL 9. Even if you have some idea, it might need to change as you're developing the technology and find that something doesn't work, requiring a change in approach. You might never get to TRL 9 because you find that either the technology doesn't work or perhaps the costs of implementing the technology will significantly outweigh the benefits. Many agencies won't fund research at a low TRL, and I suspect that the private sector isn't going to be particularly motivated to do so. However, research still has to be done at a low TRL if you're ever going to advance to TRL 9.

                  In your example of fusion power, it really has stalled out at a low TRL. Improved technology could eventually advance it to TRL 9, but it's nowhere close to that right now. But your example is exactly why funding low TRL research is essential, because you need to find out if a concept is viable before it can advance closer to operational use. It's riskier because technology can often sound promising but still have issues that prevent it from making it into operational use. Someone still has to fund it, though. If the private sector won't, and many government agencies aren't interested, someone else has to step up and do so. That's one of the gaps that NSF fills, and that's why it's necessary.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 06 2023, @01:38AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06 2023, @01:38AM (#1327484) Journal

                    The problem is, how do you get the funding to advance the research from TRL 1 to TRL 5-6?

                    Someone gives you money. Private funding spends just the same.

                    The private sector is probably not going to be eager to fund research at a low TRL, either.

                    Except, of course, when it is so eager. The real problem missed here is that government sources aren't interested in TRL development. They're interested in writing checks and generating theater for political purposes. Going back to the fusion example, fusion has been stuck at TRL 4-6 for the past fifty years and the big government projects aren't even trying to make progress on that.

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Opportunist on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:05PM

    by Opportunist (5545) on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:05PM (#1326490)

    Maybe finally a few people would notice just WHAT their tax money is actually doing for them. Shut down the whole public sector. Have the balls.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Appalbarry on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:49PM (5 children)

    by Appalbarry (66) on Saturday September 30 2023, @08:49PM (#1326497) Journal

    This is a serious question. Whether it's the bizarro world of Trump, the gun fetish and subsequent deaths, the frequent threats to shut down the whole government, the lack of public health care, or any of dozen things like this... the rest of the world is looking at the US and asking "What, exactly, is their problem?"

    I mean seriously folks, is there anyone in the country who actually thinks all of this is good thing?

    • (Score: 2) by turgid on Saturday September 30 2023, @09:15PM (2 children)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2023, @09:15PM (#1326502) Journal

      From outside it does look completely bizarre.

      From what I have inferred over the years from looking at the American system, it's supposed to be "we the people" working together, and that means some sort of gentleman's agreement in the government that they're working for "we the people" so there are some things they should collaborate on, like signing the budget.

      But along comes the Alt-Wrong/populists...

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:22AM (1 child)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:22AM (#1326539) Journal

        and that means some sort of gentleman's agreement in the government that they're working for "we the people" so there are some things they should collaborate on, like signing the budget.

        Which is fine, if you get a piece of the cheese (not merely low value social safety net bandaids). If you're not, then there's no gentlemen's agreement. You're a revenue source.

        But along comes the Alt-Wrong/populists...

        What are they getting out of this agreement?

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:59AM (1 child)

      by Thexalon (636) on Sunday October 01 2023, @03:59AM (#1326541)

      I mean seriously folks, is there anyone in the country who actually thinks all of this is good thing?

      Yes, and that's precisely the problem.

      It's as far as I can tell a minority, but it's a minority that fervently believes that they were ordained by God to rule over not just this country but also the entire world. And because it's a religious belief, not just a political one, there's no room for compromise or reason or any of that, and violence is 100% OK so long as it helps with the goal.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @02:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @02:24PM (#1326724)

        You see them here all the time pushing hatred, division, ignorance and religion. VLM and Runaway are the two most frequent commentators recently, but a handful of others lurk about. Sadly these problem users get almost no push back, rarely even down modded.

  • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:37AM (3 children)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:37AM (#1326564)

    "the government will have to close many of its doors and furlough staff — including tens of thousands of scientists — without pay"

    No. They've always been paid. Every single time - for doing absolutely nothing while on furlough. Nice work if you can get it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2023, @10:38PM (#1326647)

      You disqualified yourself from all discussions. Good job!

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by helel on Monday October 02 2023, @07:20AM (1 child)

      by helel (2949) on Monday October 02 2023, @07:20AM (#1326678)
      • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Monday October 02 2023, @04:28PM

        by DadaDoofy (23827) on Monday October 02 2023, @04:28PM (#1326756)

        Yes. The article only mentions federal employees, with no reference to contractors. I was a contractor to the Federal government for many years. If the work was deemed "essential" we kept working and got paid. If we had to stop work, we didn't get paid. That's how private business works, and part of the reason contractors usually make more than government workers.

  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by ChrisMaple on Monday October 02 2023, @03:24AM (2 children)

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Monday October 02 2023, @03:24AM (#1326667)

    Government funded science is an oxymoron.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @02:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @02:27PM (#1326725)

      And you are just a regular moron.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @07:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02 2023, @07:53PM (#1326811)

      Could it be a SoylentOxyHydroQuinineMoran?

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