Why Government-Funded Research Is Totally Fucking Borked

This is what totally fucking borked government-funded research looks like from the inside:

saifedean:i There’s a long ass story about how this came about which I may tell to you some day near a fire… I basically started reading Talebii in my third year and went off the good Ivy rails… by the end of my fifth I had written an absolutely heretic PhD and submit it, and when my adviser finally got round to reading it, the day before the defense, she decided it wasn’t acceptable and wasn’t going to let me defend it. I had already got my job but needed the degree, so after I started the job, I had to basically write a whole new PhD, get a new advisor and make it Ivy-league-approved… the result is the derpage you saw above. Read at your own risk.iii

mircea_popescu: So what happened to the original ?
pete_dushenski: And how did you turn that heretic paper into a friendship with the guy ?
saifedean: It’s on my hard-drive, a long Talebian/Popperian/Hayekian fisking of climate science and its pretenses of knowledge. Taleb was the reason I went heretical, or the gateway drug at least,iv I met him and became friend and then went heretic… he liked the heretic version and was happy to be on my committee as the external examiner… but the Columbia folks didn’t like it so I had to rewrite it and do my Hail USG’s, and he still sat on my committee for that one and helped me defend it from their fangs.

mircea_popescu: So basically, would you say the USG is using grant money to coerce lies being published as “science” and to force people who won’t do it leave academia ? Because this sounds so very Soviet…v
saifedean: Well, it is very Soviet, but it’s more subtle than ‘using grant money to coerce lies’. The only way to get into a PhD program, get a grant, get a job, get into a journal is if you buy into the premises… Once you bought into the premises, the ‘scientific method’ will bring out the right result.. If you try to rock the boat, you’re simply wasting the time of people who have research grant deadlines to meet and so can’t be bothered to sit and actually think of anything.

bounce: So in a sense a side-effect of too many scientists
asciilifeform: vi ‘Scientists’
saifedean: It’s a direct effect of state-funded science. Science by committee and public grant. It’s the DMV-fication of science…vii Science on a public budget is a self-referential circle jerk: get with the system and suck the cock above you and you might be lucky to get your cock sucked below sometime soon… You’ll spend your life sucking and getting sucked and soon won’t even remember your cute teenage aspirations of doing something useful. But of course the vast majority of people who play this circle jerk end up sucking and not getting sucked, somewhere along the line, funding dries up, a department closes down, a professor dies and you’re left unemployable and with nothing useful to contribute to anyone.

This is what totally fucking borked government-funded research looks like from the outside:

The following excerpts are from the completely straight-faced Understanding Millennials—How do Potatoes Fit into Their Lives? by the United States Potato Board.viii

DENVER (December 6, 2013)— The United States Potato Board (USPB) is committed to designing and conducting consumer research that enables the industry to identify opportunities and make informed decisions to increase demand for potatoes. In order to identify new opportunities and promote a proactive and forward-looking approach, the USPB is taking a closer look at a younger audience. The up-and-coming generation (18–30-year-olds), just now forming new households and starting families of their own, is big! In fact, the Millennial generation is about 80 million people, about the same size as the Baby Boomer generation. To stay relevant and increase demand for potatoes, it will be critical to understand Millennials and how potatoes fit into their lives—now and in the future.

Millenial Potato Research
Please excuse the objectionable quality of the above graphic. The $20+ mn that the USG threw at this bunch of tater tossers was apparently insufficient for hi-res websites graphix. The dollar ain’t what she used to be! 

If only the joke stopped there. But oh no…

Attitudes about potatoes among Millennials are very positive. Eighty-nine percent rate potatoes “excellent” or “good” for being a good value, and 88 percent rate potatoes “excellent” or “good” for being something everyone would enjoy. In fact, potatoes rate highest on what’s most important to Millennials.

Yup, not smartphones, not Facebook, not FOMO, but motherfucking POTATOES are the most important thing to Millenials. Well doesn’t that just explain everything from CoinDesk to SEWs to Bitcoin conferences ?

Nurturers are similar to the current target (moms). They like to experiment with new recipes and cook for the taste and enjoyment of it, not for nutrition. Nurturers are looking to put something on the table that everyone will enjoy; so flavor, satisfying cravings and ease are all of upmost importance. They also skew to the Midwest.

You read that right, the tatertards have subdivided Millenials into subcategories in order to better determine what each finds to be of the upmost importance. Because applying for the special USG Spellcheck Grant was just too much fucking work.

For more information on the USPB as the nation’s potato marketing organization, positioned as the “catalyst for positive change,” and the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes, please visit www.uspotatoes.com.

That’s pretty much it. A “nation” with its own “potato marketing organization” could only be a Soviet monstrosity vomiting up the most barbaric pseudoscience under the pretense of “government-funded research.” So you end up with a whack of USG tatertalk masquerading as “real jobs.”

Those tax dollars at work, eh?

 

___ ___ ___

  1. Saifedean H. Ammous, he of Contravex comments fame, via IRC. (Update: Saif is also noteworthy for being a buddy of Taleb’s!) The following conversation has been edited for clarity. []
  2. Nassim Taleb is, of course, no stranger to the pages of Contravex. []
  3. Alternative Energy Science and Policy: Biofuels as a Case Study by Saifedean H. Ammous, Columbia University 2011, is available as a PDF. []
  4. Funny, Taleb had the same effect on me, also in 2010/11. Without going down the Taleb rabbit hole, after quite randomly finding The Black Swan on the bookstore shelf, I could’ve never weaved my way towards understanding the monumental importance of Bitcoin. Funny how that works sometimes. []
  5. And by Soviet, MP means socialist in the worst possible way. []
  6. I recently got a huge LOL out of a lovely lady friend who, when reading the logs, pronounced Stan’s nick as “ass-il-i-form”. []
  7. “Never mind that the new terms have no more validity than the old terms, and are equally invented.  That’s not the point, diagnosing the patient isn’t really the point, the point is that the DSM is the authority.  They’ve made it that the burden of proof of disagreement is on you, not them.  They gain the credibility not by improving the diagnosis, but merely by altering it.  And so you all say, ‘well, I think they’re wrong, but they must have had some scientific reason that I don’t fully understand…’ ” via The Last Psychiatrist. []
  8. “The Board receives assessments from potato growers and funding from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the purpose of carrying out an effective and continuous program of marketing, research, development, advertising, and promotion to help expand existing domestic and foreign potato markets and to develop new or improved markets.” via 2013 US Potato Board audited financials. PDF. []

25 thoughts on “Why Government-Funded Research Is Totally Fucking Borked

  1. Diana Coman says:

    Ahahaha, millenials and potatoes relationship research must indeed “maximize return on grower investment”. And to think I called university research “fiction-science” and I quit it while it was still not even by far as much potato growing as this. I might borrow the term potato science from now on, it seems even more fitting.

  2. […] if you want to talk about corruption, let’s talk about potato science first. […]

  3. […] has been badly twisted to construct a narrative of progress.xi This narrative prizes science, suppresses religion, and muddies reflective […]

  4. […] exclusively in the pre-1945 period? Hmm, I don’t suppose that the metastatic state’s borking of research and its malicious misconstruction of science might’ve had anything to do with that. No, […]

  5. […] the climate fear-mongering goes its torch. From a recent article in […]

  6. […] In summa, Facebook is dust, Google Glass drools, and now the search giant’s meat and potatoes is as borked as government-funded research. […]

  7. […] power. Curing cancer and star-gazing are not only infinitely less important, but the former is a money-trough for feeding post-doc cows and the latter is a hobby, so how can these really compare […]

  8. […] for in essence, the bell curve is an over-used and oft-abused platonicity upon which far too much pseudoscience is predicated, all of it attempting to wedge the vast and unpredictable complexity of reality into […]

  9. […] USGavin, the mole planted in Vessenes’ scam foundation by you know who, the incapable and willfully ignorant derp who tried to break Bitcoin with 20MB blocks and was sunk on the open seas of battle so badly that he never even found a fraction of a percentage of his mother’s friends to support him, much less any miners of consequence, has moved on from his role as that sorry excuse for a “community” front to a new role at the Massachusetts potato research institute. […]

  10. […] bubble 2.0, is AI itself. There haven’t been marked advances in AI in a generation, not since the potato scientists with too much money imagined themselves gods rather than men. Instead of trying to address the […]

  11. ChrisH says:

    Just passing through and thought I’d note…

    Upmost is a real word, albeit one that’s rarely used these days.

    This potato board report seems exactly like what you’d expect from an organization whose mission statement is to market potatoes. It’d be nice to see an example of science research to see if the whole borked thesis holds any water.

    A for effort though.

    • Look no further than “cognitive neuroscience” if you’re so inclined to find further evidence. Also, anything calling itself “economics” from the last 60 years.

  12. […] of today’s flaming idiocy : Eric Barker. You see, Eric fancies himself a populariser of potato research and a distributor of “science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at […]

  13. […] has a better head on his shoulders than all the fecally consensused scientards suckling from the government-funded teet of stupidity and perverse incentives… combined. But before we make our way to some of his […]

  14. […] on the vast narcissism of social mediatards. While it’s a sorry indicator of the state of government-funded pseudo-intellectualism, I’m inclined to agree with the superficial sentiments of the author,i even if she wholly […]

  15. […] pseudoscience as is currently practiced in the charlatanic post-secondary institutions of the “civilised […]

  16. […] be unconscionable (ie. litigiously unsound) to use them. This is, unfortunately, still predicated highly problematic areas of “scientific” research ; so not only is it unclear just how dangerous the ingestion of the known poisons are, but even […]

  17. […] is, for the record, the only way to deal with the feelings-driven, cum-guzzling potato scientards that stand for nothing but “komoonity konsensus of fellow kommrades” over everythingii […]

  18. […] and spiteful culture could also pretend to hold science in any regard whatsoever, much less in the high regard it claims, and yet maintain such wicked delusions in the face of so much falsifying evidence, is […]

  19. […] of would-be teet-suckers, grant-getters, IMFists, “Alberta’s Economists“, potato researchers, and the similar such philosophasters. But let’s continue lest we’re here all night […]

  20. […] any practical way. Menial work and dignity are mutually exclusive. Not even the fraudulent “scientists” of this last generation could, for all their billions of dollars and millions of lives […]

  21. […] found research up to 25 sigma events but bizarrely little beyond that. Clearly, too much grant $payola is bad for the brain. […]

  22. […] not my fault, of course. Data is widely abused. Everywhere we look in the modern world we see statistics, graphs, charts, survey results, and […]

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