McCain tweets about astronomy

This news is a few days old, but in case you haven’t heard, John McCain has apparently been making fun of various earmarks in the current spending  bill on his Twitter feed.  One recent tweet:

$2 million "for the promotion of astronomy" in Hawaii – because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy.

I agree that that earmarks are a lousy way to allocate funding.  But it really bothers me that complaints about earmarks so often take the form of contemptuous mocking of science.  For the record, astronomy jobs are jobs, and astronomy is a significant industry in Hawaii.  Yes, the average American doesn’t work in the astronomy industry, but the average American doesn’t work in, say, road construction either. 

This post from the Cosmic Variance blog (a very good science blog, by the way) says it all much better than I can.

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Ted Bunn

I am chair of the physics department at the University of Richmond. In addition to teaching a variety of undergraduate physics courses, I work on a variety of research projects in cosmology, the study of the origin, structure, and evolution of the Universe. University of Richmond undergraduates are involved in all aspects of this research. If you want to know more about my research, ask me!