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State of the Union and Plant Stress

larson eric elarson at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu
Sat Jan 28 09:32:40 EST 1995

ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk (Tony Travis) writes:

>The State of the Union Address delivered by President Clinton on Jan. 23,
>1995 included the following:

>> For years, Congress has concealed in the budget scores of pet
>> spending projects -- and last year was no different: A million
>> dollars to study STRESS IN PLANTS, $12 million for a tick-removal
>> programs that didn't even work. Give me the line item veto and I'll
>> save the taxpayers money.
The letters to Clinton are fine, but I'm sure people have already pointed
out his gaffe.
However, it behooves us in the scientific community to write titles, name
projects, etc., with names that will be understood by common folks.
William Proxmire gave his golden fleece award to many research projects
based solely on the name -- both Perot and Clinton have gaffed on plant
In the USDA, submitted papers must have an interpreted abstract that is
supposed to be accessible to the common man.  It might make sense for
granting agencies to include a subtitle that at least telegraphs the
imprtance of the work (i.e., water stress is the limiting factor of plant
growth for much of the nation, thus understanding how water stress can be
ameliorated would be enormously advantageous to the farming community.)
We're obviously doing something "wrong" if several politicians get onto the
podium, presumably giving speeces perused by others, yet they still get the
concepts of research wrong.  This "problem" won't go away, thus one could
argue that the scientific community isn't very "smart" if we can't figure
out how to present our work such that misconceptions occur.
Just a thought.
Eric Larson                  | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
USDA/Agronomy                | 190 PABL; 1201 W. Gregory; Urbana, IL 61801
elarson at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu     | Voice 217.244.3079  Fax 217.244.4419
Fidonet: 1:233/4.1           | My opinions are my own, but correct :-) 

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