Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Sequester and Science, Part 1

Whether we're creating a mass extinction event of gummy invertebrates in the kitchen, or whining through the most depressing grant-writing parties at the dining room, life at Vengeance Team Headquarters is always a little stressful... and recent federal budget cuts haven't helped. See, in academia science is funded primarily by grants and fellowships, those sweet monetary unicorns that sequestration is making even more rare and competitive, and 20% of those are federal funding sources. As students, Amy and Meaghan apply for a lot of these, which feels like spending hours crafting arrows that you then shoot into the dark. Even the most highly recommended grant applications aren’t always going to get funded at the best of times, and the best of times for funding are going to soon seem like a distant memory. The National Science Foundation expects its overall budget will be cut by five percent and it is likely that new grants will take a major hit—a thousand fewer will be funded this year.


We've already seen the competitive aspect coming out to play, with scientists and the public tearing each other apart over the merits of their research. But worse than the infighting, and worse than poor funding rates for grants, are the insidious impacts of these cuts which hit deep at the core of everything that we (mostly Amy) love. That’s right - the sequester is hurting lemurs.




Within the article, Lemur Center Director Anne Yoder laments about the impacts of budget cuts, “In our case, it would mean the loss of jobs, and consequently, our ability to care for our lemur colony would be compromised.”

Compromised. Lemur safety will be compromised by the sequester. We (mostly Amy) cannot emphasize this enough: the sequester is dangerous for lemurs.

Of course upon hearing this we (mostly Amy) flew into an angry angry rage.       




"This is ridiculous. This country values military funding, patriarchal, capitalistic mind numbing bullshit. Lemurs are gonna die, while our government representatives make more money that some african countries. It may not be evident quite yet how bad this is, but the long term effects of these science budget cuts will be severe. Does this mean no more bananas or tamarinds for lemurs (THEIR FAVORITE TREATS), they’ll have to suffer through generic fruit like the rest of us? Or god forbid, RED DELICIOUS APPLES?"




But don’t worry everyone (Amy). The Vengeance Team is on it. We’ve created a petition (wow, they really don’t check those do they) and have contacted Sarah Mclaughlin to use her heart-wrenching song in a promotional lemur video. We’re sure she’ll get back to us soon, but in the meantime here are some of our favorite lemur videos, which you can feel free to link to when you sign our petition.





In Prosimian Solidarity
Meaghan and Amy (Seriously, mostly Amy)