Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Scientific Change in Direction?

"Our national policies will not be revoked or modified, even for scientists." Adolf Hitler

I wrote a piece a while back comparing Nazi science minister Bernhard Rust and Christian Paradis, both of whom controlled any messages, pertaining to scientific research.

Gary Goodyear made a feel good announcement yesterday at Queen's University with the promise of a $30 million investment in research.

This just happened to coincide with another announcement that 50 staff members at Environment Canada, "including scientists and scientific support staff", were given their lay off notices.

What does it mean when Gary Goodyear, our science minister who doesn't believe in science, is pledging millions for scientific research, on the same day that we lose 50 scientists?

For the answer to that question, we can turn to a piece written by Laura Beach, and published on The Mark: The Militarization of Canada's Universities

Beach argues that most research at universities is now conducted to bolster " the “military industrial complex” within the university sphere."
A significant portion of federal funding to Canadian universities now flows through “matching funds” projects where industry and government share financial investment.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Networks of Centres of Excellence both participate in “matching funds” projects, favouring research that has direct applications in private industry. It is within this context that the influence of the military has become so pervasive in universities across the country.
Goodyear's announcement specifically mentions NSERC as one of the partners in the new research grant, and NSERC conducts research for the Department of National Defence.

The other area that is receiving research funding is Ultra Large Scale Software This is a system being developed for the U.S. Defense Department:
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a goal of information dominance—to achieve and exploit superior collection, fusion, analysis, and use of information to meet mission objectives. This goal depends on increasingly complex systems characterized by thousands of platforms, sensors, decision nodes, weapons, and war fighters connected through heterogeneous wired and wireless networks. These systems will push far beyond the size of today’s systems and systems of systems by every measure. They will be ultra-large, network-centric, real-time, cyber-physical, social systems that support a landscape of information-sharing constraints and must be adaptable and robust in extreme environments, and be sustainable legally, technically, and politically.
And if these three, seemingly unrelated stories, don't help to define Harper's change in direction, when it comes to scientific research, another might make you want to pay attention.

To further our own "military industrial complex", the government has just announced that they will be creating seven new operational bases around the world: Kuwait, Germany, Senegal, Kenya, Singapore, South Korea and Jamaica.

This while Libya is being blasted back to the stone age with the promise of more to come.

So now it makes perfect sense for Christian Paradis to filter information on government funded, scientific research.

And a joke from Time magazine, in a 1933 piece:
Two Germans were eyeing a burly lout in the Nazi uniform who was striding through a university hall. First man: "What is the policeman doing here?" Second man: "Sh, sh. That is the man selected to succeed Einstein."
Can you hear me now?

No comments:

Post a Comment