Friday, August 24, 2012

Poll results


So the poll is done. Fifteen people expressed their opinions. I have to say I am a little surprised by the results. 

I want to say first that I screwed up a few things when I made this poll. Firstly I forgot NASA so it was covered by Other. Secondly I meant this question to be which of these categories should get an increase in funds from this increase in taxes. The way I looked at it when I first came up with the idea was a fifteen percent increase in taxes split between three categories meant each vote was a five percent increase in funding. Sorry for not making that clear from the beginning. I'm not sure how that might have changed the results.

First up the losers, no surprise here. No one voted to have their increased taxes go to Congressional or Presidential salaries, or to Welfare. Next up are the one votes. 

Each of these got one vote, or six percent of the votes, in no particular order: Disaster preparedness and recovery, National parks, Foreign aid, Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and federal regulatory agencies. I am a bit surprised a couple of those got a vote I must say. 

Green energy and environmental concerns received two votes, or thirteen percent of the votes.

Next at three votes, or twenty percent, came Arts and science grants. I don't remember why I lumped those together and I heard at least one person say they wanted to vote for the science grants but not really the arts. Not sure what the results would have been had they been separate but I think it's clear some people at least think the government should be in the business of help out scientific research.

We have a few tied at twenty-six percent, or four votes. They are, in no particular order: Infrastructure, Health care, and Military. There was at least one person who expressed concern that there are people that think the military needs even more money then they already are getting. I view this as the point where people really care about where their money is going. Admittedly fifteen people is a small sample size, but when four or more people voted for the same thing I think that is a good indication of what the people of this country care about.

This next one was a bit of a surprise to me. Five people, or thirty-three percent, voted for Small business loans and grants. One third of the people I could get to take my poll thought the federal government needed to invest in small businesses more. An interesting insight into the upcoming elections I think.

In second place with seven votes, just shy of half at forty-six percent, came Other. Originally I just put that there as a catch all for anything I might of forgot. It wasn't long before I noticed that I had forgotten NASA and I think it is fair to say that these seven votes are for NASA. So listen up federal government, if you are going to increase our taxes about half the people out there want at least some of that money to go to NASA.

And the clear winner, it spent the majority of the time the poll was active at one hundred percent, was Education. It ended up with just seventy-three percent, or eleven votes. A clear sign that the people want to invest in our children's future. I dare say we want to educate them to the point where they see the folly of our ways and are smart enough to sort all this mess out.

So what was the point of this poll? Well there were a few. First just to see where people thought the tax dollars should go. But I also wanted to show people all the places tax dollars go. I know I left stuff out that I probably shouldn't have, but I couldn't think of everything at the time. I wanted people to see a huge long list of categories of government spending and feel a little lost has they had to pick just a few of them to get funding. I have no idea if I succeeded in that. I imagine it is much worse for which ever poor souls have to try to get an actual federal budget all sorted out and I do not envy them their job.

So what are your thoughts on the matter? Were you surprised by any of these results?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Last few days

Only a few days left to vote in my poll about the hypothetical situation in which the government raises your taxes by 15% but allows you to choose which three areas of government spending gets the money. I forgot to put NASA on there like I've said before, so it got dropped into the Other option, which has seen a few votes that I am assuming are all for NASA..

Anyway if you haven't yet taken part in the poll please do so now. And if you have spread the word to your friends. I'd really like a larger sampling group for this poll.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiosity has landed!

So if it is something you care about I'm sure you are already aware that the new NASA Mars Rover named Curiosity has landed safely on Mars. They used a new technique and it worked perfectly it seems. I watched the live stream of NASA TV coverage of it all. I have to say it was very exciting.

There is one thing I think NASA has screwed up on this and a few other major events like this in recent years, like LCROSS crashing into the moon in 2009. The thing is that the events always seem to happen in the middle of the night. That is fine for me, as I stay up all night routinely.

However, these could be prime teaching events that excite the younger generation to explore the possibilities of science and engineering. But the younger generation is always sleeping when these events happen. They can't see and feel the excitement of the live events.

It might seem like such a minor thing. And don't think that I'm any less excited about the new Mars rover landing safely. I can't wait for it to start up it's mission and see the results. I just think if NASA could schedule such events during the day, it could do so much more to get school kids interested and excited by science. Isn't that one of the founding principles of NASA, encouraging the next generation to take up the challenge of new scientific discoveries?