Crazy ants, the New York Times, and the failure of Americans to support basic research

“I don’t see the point of singling out the egghead scientists for being slow to identify Nylanderia fulva when the real trouble is bigger and structural. Americans simply don’t value basic research enough to support a system that rapidly pinpoints emerging pest problems.

“If we want to quickly identify new pests, we need to salary thousands of positions for taxonomists where rapid response to emerging threats is part of the job. Instead, we’re doing the opposite. Taxonomists are being laid off. Congress is defunding science. The result is that when a new problem like invasive crazy ants arises, we depend on retirees and hobbyists to volunteer their expertise, if they want to. As a response to billion-dollar invasions, that’s just not good enough.”

via – Crazy ants, the New York Times, and the failure of Americans to support basic research.

 

What Is Wrong with Dissections? (Scientific American Blog Network)

“We seem to now teach anatomy in exactly the same way that it was being taught at the end of the dark ages. Specifically, students look at bodies of animals, but are not encouraged in any way to make real observations. Instead, they are encouraged to look for what is already known and then if it does not look quite right, do depict it the way it “should,” look. Even where the differences among bodies are noted, they are seldom measured. Even when measurements are taken, they are seldom recorded.”

via What Is Wrong with Dissections?