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The Almighty Buck The Internet United States Idle

Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes 126

An anonymous reader writes with news that the NSF has just awarded a group of researchers a grant to study the life cycle of memes. "Indiana University is receiving nearly $1 million in federal grant money to investigate the genesis, spread, and demise of Internet memes. The grant from the National Science Foundation awards four Indiana researchers $919,917 to for a project called Truthy that will, as the grant's abstract explains, "explore why some ideas cause viral explosions while others are quickly forgotten." (And yes, in case you're wondering, the name was inspired by Stephen Colbert's neologism "truthiness.") The government-funded research is aimed at identifying which memes are organic and which ones are mere astroturf. "While the vast majority of memes arise in a perfectly organic manner, driven by the complex mechanisms of life on the Web, some are engineered by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns," Truthy's About page explains."
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Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes

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  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @08:38AM (#47773187)

    This year the federal government moved $550 billion closer to default and the collapse of the dollar.

    Just thought I would point that out, since it seems relevant.

  • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:01AM (#47773323)

    Oh, it's absolutely relevant. I don't care if I get modded off-topic. I've got plenty of karma.

    Quite frankly, this sort of stuff is insane when we're continuously running a massive deficit. No one likes to hear this, but we really need to crank down the government spigot at so many levels it's no longer even funny. We simply don't have the money to be spending on what I'll generously term "discretionary" research. It's not just grants either, which admittedly take up a very small portion of the budget.

    The military budget is out of control. Yes, we live in a dangerous world, but we need to ask the rest of the civilized nations to help share the burden a bit (and this is coming from a somewhat conservative hawk), or perhaps scale back our overseas adventures. Our social program expenditures and pensions are ballooning even worse than military spending. We just passed another hugely expensive entitlement (health care reform), but with no regard to how the government is going to pay for it without crippling increases in taxes, deficit spending, or inflationary money printing. The NSA is spending billions to harvest and process all the data on the internet passing through the US for questionable benefits and even more questionable legality.

    The federal government has demonstrated time and time and time again that they can't be trusted to balance the budget in a fiscally responsible manner. It's always more politically expedient to pass the buck to the next generation, and when the time comes to really tackle the problem, it's going to be really painful for everyone. Federal spending money is power, and that power is apparently just too damned addictive to resist. It would be best to deal with it as soon as possible and in a responsible manner over time, just like with any debt incurred.

    A few other nations have been hopping on the constitutional balanced budget requirement. Maybe it's time to join them? I haven't quite made up my mind, but I'm definitely leaning towards support right now. A number of Keynsian economists argue against it, saying that it's best to allow deficit spending in bad economic times, but seeing as we never seem to STOP deficit spending in recent years, it's hard to make that argument with a straight face.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:28AM (#47773507) Journal

    Quite frankly, this sort of stuff is insane when we're continuously running a massive deficit.

    No, not even slightly. The reason you're running a massive defecit is because you have dumped trillions into two pointless wars and the military industrial complex. It was such a dumb idea that even previous presidents have warned about such things.

    Cutting back on basic research is a sure-fire way to hobble long term future development. The only way to do this successfully and on the scale and longevity required is via government funding.


    Yes government spending is out of control. About the worst way of reignin it in is to cut down on basic research.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie