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Science Ticker

A roundup of research and breaking news

Science News Staff

Science Ticker


Science Ticker

Most Americans think funding science pays off

But there is some disagreement over where that money should come from

scientists in a lab

REAPING REWARDS  Government funding of basic science enjoys widespread support among U.S. adults, a new survey shows.

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Forget all the ridicule heaped on treadmill-running shrimp.

About 80 percent of U.S. adults think that government spending on medical research, engineering and technology, and basic science usually leads to meaningful advances, a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows. The nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization queried 2,537 people from April 23 to May 6.  

No matter where they fell on the political spectrum, a majority of Republicans and Democrats shared that view. Of liberal Democrats surveyed, 92 percent said government investments in basic scientific research “usually pay off in the long run.” Of conservative Republicans, 61 percent agreed.

That general agreement broke down when it came to private versus government spending. Two-thirds of conservative Republicans said that private investment alone would be enough to see that scientific progress is made, compared with 22 percent of liberal Democrats.

Surveys in 2017, 2014 and 2009 by Pew also found similar support among Americans for spending taxpayer dollars on science.

Some seemingly silly government-funded experiments, such as the exercising shrimp, have been singled out by politicians and others in the past as examples of wasteful spending. But appearances can be misleading. Putting the crustaceans through their paces, for example, was part of a larger project studying infection in farmed shrimp in hopes of finding treatments.

Science support

Only about 20 percent of U.S. adults think that government spending on medical research, engineering and technology, and basic science isn’t worthwhile in the long run, according to a new survey. Survey participants who didn’t answer these questions aren’t included below.

Genetics,, Anthropology,, Animals

North America’s earliest dogs came from Siberia

By Bruce Bower 2:12pm, July 5, 2018
North America’s first dogs have few descendants alive today, a study of ancient DNA suggests.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science,, Technology

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrives at the asteroid Ryugu

By Maria Temming 2:58pm, June 27, 2018
The Hayabusa2 spacecraft says “hello” to near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.
Astronomy

‘Oumuamua may be a comet, not an asteroid

By Emily Conover 1:00pm, June 27, 2018
The solar system’s first known interstellar visitor doesn’t appear to be the asteroid that scientists thought it was.
Neuroscience,, Animals

How domestication changed rabbits’ brains

By Tina Hesman Saey 3:00pm, June 25, 2018
The fear centers of the brain were altered as humans tamed rabbits.
Neuroscience,, Psychology,, Science & Society

Splitting families may end, but migrant kids’ trauma needs to be studied

By Laura Sanders 5:39pm, June 20, 2018
The long-term effects of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border need to be studied, scientists say.
Physics

The Large Hadron Collider is getting an upgrade

By Emily Conover 2:01pm, June 15, 2018
Revamping the accelerator’s equipment will increase the rate of proton collisions.
Planetary Science

Opportunity rover waits out a huge dust storm on Mars

By Lisa Grossman 5:56pm, June 11, 2018
NASA’s Opportunity rover is in low-power mode to preserve battery life while a vast dust storm blankets part of the Red Planet.
Planetary Science

New Horizons wakes up to begin Kuiper Belt exploration

By Lisa Grossman 10:51am, June 5, 2018
The New Horizons spacecraft just woke up to get ready for its New Year’s Day flyby of the distant space rock Ultima Thule.
Exoplanets,, Astronomy

Take a virtual trip to an alien world

By Lisa Grossman 10:00am, June 4, 2018
NASA’s Exoplanet Travel Bureau website lets you view what alien landscapes might look like.
Pollution,, Ecosystems

Treating roads with oil and gas wastewater may spread harmful pollution

By Laurel Hamers 5:49pm, May 30, 2018
When spread on roads, wastewater from oil and gas production can leach radium and other contaminants into the environment, a new study finds.
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