[Taxacom] Science funding

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Thu Oct 4 05:38:57 CDT 2012


Iconic subjects do capture the public imagination, but they do nothing of
themselves to change anything about changing perceptions. The cost of
science research in the non-applied, especially non military or non-health
science fields are not sufficiently or widely valued enough by society to
affect the political or funding priorities. I have noticed over the years
that great amounts of continual private funding and publicity is given to
supporting science education in museums whereas there is pretty much zero
interest in maintaining research in the natural science fields themselves
(this may not be the case for some museums or countries). When museums
reduce or eliminate their science research component they become the target
of much agitation by the few who value research in museums  but the ire is
misplaced as the museum is just the endpoint. Years ago I talked to an
agricultural researcher from New Zealand who said all research was highly
managed because scientists were treated as if they were bludgers (i.e.
parasites) who would contribute nothing of value to society unless managers
were looking over their shoulders and making sure they worked!

John Grehan

On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 3:22 AM, Cristian Ruiz Altaba <
cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es> wrote:

> Ken is right, and John realistic. However, to change reality we must
> strive to enlighten our fellow citizens. Dinosaurs and wolves are great
> players in changing the world's perception of biodiversity. Educating
> politicians takes a little longer, though.
>
> **
>
>
> -----taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu escribió: -----
>
> Para: Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
> De: John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com>
> Enviado por: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Fecha: 03/10/2012 12:23
> cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Asunto: [Taxacom] Science funding
>
>
> The place Ken is looking for is called Heaven. If only science were fair,
> if only funding was allocated properly to the 'right' subjects and at the
> 'right' amounts. If only society could make the 'right' choices. If only my
> personal research interests could be funded all would be well in the world
> of science. If only.....
>
> John Grehan
>
> On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 10:46 PM, Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > ....... If the public wants more specials on wolves or dinosaurs, let
> > private groups fund it completely.  Governments and universities should
> be
> > in the business of balance, NOT feeding the public's fascination with
> > certain taxa (especially dinosaurs).  If kids are fascinated by
> dinosaurs,
> > fine, but their parents should support dinosaur research privately
> (easily
> > done if they divert a mere 1% of what they readily pump into professional
> > and college sports).  Of course, government could fund FAR greater
> amounts
> > of conservation and taxonomic research if it just reduced payments into
> the
> > corporate welfare system.                          -------------Ken
> >
> > Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 20:50:23 -0700
> > From: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] another putative arthropod outgroup
> > To: kinman at hotmail.com; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >
> > but that is still very "hopeful" ... if pentastomids have lost genes,
> then
> > we still won't know what they lost exactly, so we can't reconstruct the
> > "groundplan" any more than we can with lost morphology! MAYBE we will
> find
> > some very specific genetic material shared with a crustacean ingroup, but
> > maybe not ...
> >
> > Stephen
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > From: Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
> > To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; "
> > taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> > Sent: Saturday, 29 September 2012 3:24 PM
> > Subject: RE: [Taxacom] another putative arthropod outgroup
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >         I actually think that reduced molecularities (lost genes) will
> > eventually prove more informative than reduced morphologies in such
> cases.
> >  The trouble is that a small molecular change can result in a cascade
> > yielding a number of morphological changes, so it can be like looking
> for a
> > needle in a molecular haystack.  If so, what the morphologists call
> > parsimonious in this case may be deceptive.  Not that I am always swayed
> by
> > molecularists (even when they have lots more data).  I look at each case
> > individually, and weigh morphology vs. molecularity data when they don't
> > agree.  In this case, there is so little molecular data that it seems
> > ridiculous to even invoke parsimony at this stage.
> >                   -------------------Ken
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 19:59:08 -0700
> > From: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] another putative arthropod outgroup
> > To: kinman at hotmail.com; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >
> >
> >
> > at any rate, is there any sound basis for thinking that the DNA
> associated
> > with reduced morphologies won't itself be reduced/absent, so, unless
> there
> > is some very specific other DNA shared with a crustacean ingroup (might
> be,
> > but might not), we are no better off?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > From: Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
> > To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; "
> > taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> > Sent: Saturday, 29 September 2012 2:47 PM
> > Subject: RE: [Taxacom] another putative arthropod outgroup
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Hi Stephen,
> >       Well, just to be fair, I wouldn't call the morphological data in
> > this case "extremely" limited.  It is actually quite impressive how much
> > detail they can see in these Orsten fossils.  My concern in this case is
> > not so much in how limited the morphological data is (even though much of
> > it is from such fossils), but rather how limited the molecular data is on
> > pentastomids.  Sometimes amazing that grant money can be found for
> > sequencing very large numbers of specimens of some species (or even
> > subspecies or populations) of certain taxa, but extremely little on a
> much
> > higher level taxon like Pentastomida.
> >
> >
> >                       --------------Ken
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 19:05:25 -0700
> > From: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] another putative arthropod outgroup
> > To: kinman at hotmail.com; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >
> >
> >
> > >The paleontological morphologists insist that it is unparsimonous to
> > assume that pentastomids have secondarily lost so many crustacean
> > morphologies<
> >
> > It is a general problem with obligate parasite groups, that they are so
> > derived and have lost so many characters that their relationships are
> > obscure. Given that paleontological morphological data is extremely
> limited
> > (both by the patchiness of the fossil record, and the fact that you can't
> > see much on a fossil specimen), I would look to molecular data on this
> one
> > (though there is still no guarantee of success). Whether it is
> > "unparsimonious" or not depends on a whole phylogeny, not just part of it
> > taken out of context ...
> >
> > Stephen
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > From: Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
> > To: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> > Sent: Saturday, 29 September 2012 1:47 PM
> > Subject: [Taxacom] another putative arthropod outgroup
> >
> >
> > Dear All,      Beside tardigrades and onychophorans, another taxon
> > (Pentastomida) has also long been put forward as an outgroup to
> > euarthropods (or arthropods in general, including fossil taxa).  However,
> > molecular data (18S
> >  rRNA and mitochondrial data), along with very limited morphological
> data,
> > indicates that pentastomids are actually highly modified (morphologically
> > "simplified") maxillopodan crustaceans.
> >       Anyone want to weigh in on whether morphologists (especially
> > paleontologists) or molecularists are right on this one?  The
> > paleontological morphologists insist that it is unparsimonous to assume
> > that pentastomids have secondarily lost so many crustacean morphologies,
> > even though they are highly derived due to their parasitic life styles
> (see
> > weblink below).  The question is whether they are right, or whether the
> > molecularists are just sorely in need of far more molecular data on the
> > pentastomids.  Anyway, if pentastomids are secondarily simplified
> > crustaceans, will tardigrades turn out to also be secondarily simplified
> > arthropods (although perhaps from another branch of arthropods such as
> >  chelicerates)?  The debate continues.
> >               ---------------------Ken Kinman
> >
> >
> http://www.core-orsten-research.de/Publications/PDF_Paper/ulm_team/2011%20CASTELLANI_ETAL.pdf
> > _______________________________________________
> >
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> >
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> >
> >
> >
> >
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