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Thread: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

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    Default NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Really, what's the point of these experiments?
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/oklah...ry?id=13689403

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Quote Originally Posted by GameGeeks View Post
    Really, what's the point of these experiments?
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/oklah...ry?id=13689403
    The United States government does not understand your question, nor does it understand its own actions. Since when could you expect honesty from American politics? Geez, you must be taking some powerful drugs - like, common sense.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    These seemingly useless experiments serve to further science in general. Giving robots a task like folding laundry improves general knowledge about robot controll, so that they in the future can create robots that have more direct uses.
    Last edited by Eris; 05-26-2011 at 03:59 PM.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eris View Post
    These seemingly useless experiments serve to further science in general. Giving robots a task like folding laundry improves general knowledge about robot controll, so that they in the future can create robots that have more direct uses.
    Yeah, not buying it. That robot cost 1.5 million tax payer dollars and takes 20/25 minutes to fold one towel. Not to mention there's the grant for the hoedown robots or the shrimp on a treadmill research.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Quote Originally Posted by GameGeeks View Post
    Yeah, not buying it. That robot cost 1.5 million tax payer dollars and takes 20/25 minutes to fold one towel. Not to mention there's the grant for the hoedown robots or the shrimp on a treadmill research.
    Robots are very bad at manipulating objects. In general, they can only follow rigid programs, and mess up if anything deviates from how these programs expect things to be. This is a big problem in robotics. Human hands, on the other hand, are very good at manipulating things, without knowing exactly how they're going to behave. Human hands seldom apply more force than they need to, and seldom drop items. Cloth especially is very difficult to predict the behavior of, and hence is something that is exceptionally hard for a robot to handle. The act of towel folding is completely unimportant, the goal is not to produce an effective towel-folder, but to develop the technology to handle something as unpredictable as towels in the first place. This technology goes on to be used in other applications.

    The shrimp treadmill is probably also related to robotics, and the study of walking. Turns out making walking robots is quite difficult. In order to study walking, animals are put on treadmills and their reaction is filmed so the leg motion can be replicated.
    Last edited by Eris; 05-26-2011 at 05:40 PM.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eris View Post
    These seemingly useless experiments serve to further science in general. Giving robots a task like folding laundry improves general knowledge about robot controll, so that they in the future can create robots that have more direct uses.
    While that could be argued, it's still a waste of money given the current budget crises and the projects could easily be cut or postponed.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    This money also went for things like a study of the socioeconomic implications of having Farmville on Facebook.

    Justin sayin'.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Scientific research is what has been advancing humanity and civilization, though. (Think of Newton or Einstein.)

    But I see what you're saying here. Some so-called "experiments" are just ridiculous. Like, for example, do we really need a group of scientists to conduct research experiments to tell us that it's bad to be sucked out of an airplane in mid-sky? (Not sure when or where I read this study, but I had such a "duh!" moment.)

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Science; its all about 'Could Have' not 'Should Have.' We SHOULD have been researching a solution to cancer, but we COULD put a shellfish on a treadmill. See how it all equals out in the end?

    \/CLICK\/


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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serated View Post
    Science; its all about 'Could Have' not 'Should Have.' We SHOULD have been researching a solution to cancer, but we COULD put a shellfish on a treadmill. See how it all equals out in the end?
    Science doesn't work like that. It's extremely rare to be able to direct science to solve an unsolved problem. You can't just set out saying "Today I'm going to research a cure for cancer" and then get cracking. Oftentimes the solution is an accidental discovery in another unrelated field, or as a result of research into fundamental science. Most importantly, pouring more money into a particular area of research generally does not lead to quicker result (beyond a the level of funding required to do any research in the subject), so science like this is not performed at the expense of cancer research.

    Quote Originally Posted by animeyay View Post
    But I see what you're saying here. Some so-called "experiments" are just ridiculous. Like, for example, do we really need a group of scientists to conduct research experiments to tell us that it's bad to be sucked out of an airplane in mid-sky? (Not sure when or where I read this study, but I had such a "duh!" moment.)
    You'd think this was bad, but it actually isn't. Thanks to (accidental) research, we know that humans can be exposed to near (and complete) vacuum for some time without lasting injury (so long as you don't try to hold your breath).

    But in general it's important to question common sense. All too often things have been so obviously true that nobody has bothered to test them, and when someone finally got around to testing it, it turned out to be completely wrong.
    Last edited by Eris; 05-26-2011 at 06:55 PM.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    "We do what we must because we can"

    That's really what research is all about. The smart ones figured it out. They get paid anywhere from 50 to 120K a year to do things they find fun and interesting.


    Thanks for the sig Xey Oiz ^.^

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    This whole news entry is biased rubbish. Do they let the researchers motivate their research, explain what good it does? No. Does the NSF get a say? No.
    In fact, they go out of their way to present it in a dumbed down fashion in order to make it seem as silly as possible.

    So much for journalistic integrity.

    This crap pisses me off so much. Herp derp if science doesn't have immediate applications, it's a waste of taxpayer's money. If you don't like basic research, please go back to a 15th century standard of living. Who cares if heating water to form steam can be used to move a piston? How does that make the oxen plow the fields any faster?! Who gives a damn about that moldy dish, can't you work on a cure for the plague instead?

    Seriously. Look around you. Pretty much everything you see you owe to basic research. Electricity, cars, plastic, air conditioning, hygiene, construction materials, electronics. It is undoubtedly the one most important things to pour money into as a society. The technology we have today only exists because people half a century ago had the foresight to invest money into pure research. If we don't do the same, then there will be less new technology, less economic growth, and things will overall just suck. Pure research is an investment in the future. Not all of it pays off, but the stuff that does is absolutely essential.

    A hundred years ago, a lot of money was spent playing with radiation. They would shoot radiation at a gold film, and then see what patterns formed on a photographic plate. This was expensive research, with no real direction or immediate results. However, this "meaningless" research lead to the development of quantum mechanics. Without quantum mechanics, we would have no idea how to develop transistors, so we would be unable to proceed beyond 1950s technology vacuum tube computing.

    The history of technology is absolutely littered with examples like this.
    Last edited by Eris; 05-26-2011 at 07:25 PM.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Yes, science has been random. But there has always some idea behind it. Take the shrimp for example. The reason that was done was simply to see how a treadmill effected their health. That's rather pointless and achieves nothing. There's nothing to be gained there. It's not like a shrimp can work out. Not like having it work out will do anything except maybe kill it. So yes, most of this is pointless and will effect nothing in the end.

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    I for one, am quite honored of the fact that the fruits of my labor help fund the advancement of human understanding, and would give more if need be.

    ^by Hakuchuumu^

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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Actually the shrimp treadmill research has a very solid basis, despite the fact that it makes for a good quick soundbyte.

    The shrimp are on treadmills as a method, not an end.

    They are measuring the effect that the different chemicals that we like to dump in the ocean have on shrimp. A good way they found to measure that is to see how long they can go on the treadmill, because you need a way of measuring effect, and shrimp swimming randomly don't give you good data. Putting the tasty critters on a treadmill allows them to measure the duration of their activity at a set oxygen and speed levels, and see how they are impacted.

    It's not even new research, I remember reading about this back in '06


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    Default Re: NSF, the Aperture of our world.

    Alright, finally managed to track something on the shrimp and there seems to be more to it then I previously thought. Search was clogged with the news articles from yesterday. I still don't think it'll effect anything but at least there's a thought pattern behind it.

    http://www.livescience.com/4221-scie...treadmill.html

    Though I still say the jello-wrestling and hoedown robots server no scientific purpose.

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