Friday, April 24, 2009

Noted around and about.

What happens when the efficiency of government meets the efficiency of academia?
Cost of the NSERC Science Grant Peer Review System Exceeds the Cost of Giving Every Qualified Researcher a Baseline Grant

... we show that the $40,000 (Canadian) cost of preparation for a grant application and rejection by peer review in 2007 exceeded that of giving every qualified investigator a direct baseline discovery grant of $30,000 (average grant)... [Informaworld]

What's driving the now ever-rising deficits that now are on course to bankrupt the US in 20 years or so? Lack of taxes? Nope. Here it is in pictures: Spending in the short run, and (ooh boy!) spending in the long run.

Remember way, way back, oh, nine months ago, when all the experts and media were predicting oil would be $150 if not $200 a barrel by ... oh ... today? Well, now they are getting back to predicting "cheap oil forever". (Why do I get the feeling that these predictions about forever into the future are always based on looking backwards about three months?)

The Constitution is a living document. In fact, parts of it sometimes seemingly spring right back from the dead.

...a growing number of national security experts are calling on Congress to consider using letters of marque and reprisal, a power written into the Constitution that allows the United States to hire private citizens to keep international waters safe.

Used heavily during the Revolution and the War of 1812, letters of marque serve as official warrants from the government, allowing privateers to seize or destroy enemies, their loot and their vessels in exchange for bounty money... [Politico]

Yup, not only is it in the Constitution it's right up front there in Article 1. The Founders had this on their minds. Not only that, there's a US Code Section specifically authorizing Obama to get cracking on it! Maybe this is a way some of the laid off captains of Wall Street can finance keeping their yachts. Instead of being financial privateers, become literal ones!