Overhead projector.  Courtesy Alibaba.com

Of Overhead Projectors and Planetarium Foolishness

Article Updated: 26 Apr , 2016
by

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We don’t normally publish political articles here on Universe Today, but I’m going to make an exception here after watching last night’s presidential debate because a.) John McCain mentioned something about a planetarium, which is an area of interest for UT readers, and b.) McCain obviously had no idea what he was talking about. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee pointed out how Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, has voted for almost a billion dollars of “pork barrel” projects (money for specific pet projects in their districts) and said, “He (Obama) voted for … $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois.”

First of all, there’s a big difference between an overhead projector and a planetarium projection system. Spacewriter’s Ramblings has a great explanation and pictorial description, if you have questions.

Second, if you want to be nitpicky, while Obama requested the funding, he never voted on it.

Obviously, McCain thinks this is a big issue, since this is at least the second time he’s mentioned Obama and planetariums. A few weeks ago he said that Obama has sought money for “planetariums and other foolishness.”

Foolishness! Over 110 million people around the world visit planetariums every year! They are important learning and teaching tools that encourage a science-literate population, and have inspired young people to become astronomers and astronauts, and aspire to many other science-related occupations as well.
Children enjoy the stars and planets at the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Davin Flateau says it much better than I can on his great post at his Perfect Silence blog.

Obama’s website has a list of his federal funding requests for Fiscal Year 2008, and clearly listed is “Adler Planetarium, to support replacement of its projector and related equipment, $3,000,000,” with a description that says the 40 year old projection equipment has begun to fail and since parts are no longer available, soon students and other museum-goers will be left “without this very valuable and exciting learning experience.” I don’t see that as “pork barrel” funding, but an attempt to maintain a long-standing (Adler opened in 1930) and important institution in his district.

And don’t get me going on Sarah Palin.


100 Responses

  1. Invader Xan says:

    The stupid! It burns!!!

  2. Invader Xan says:

    On a marginally more serious note… Is it just me, or is politics no longer about actually being any good as a politician? These days, elections always seem to end up as mud slinging matches and schoolyard tale-telling.

    “Look what he did. Isn’t he bad!”

    “Ooo! Ooo! He did this too!”

    “Look teacher! He got paint on the floor!”

    “Honest! It’s true! *And* he had the audacity to think that education was worth spending money on!”

    Someone give the politician a lollipop before he throws his toys out of the pram…

  3. just say no! says:

    Seriously, anyone who votes for either of these idiots are idiots themselves. Not voting would send a bigger message.

  4. greg c says:

    a message to whom? that is the dumbest thing anyone ever says. no one gets the message of not voting. certainly in swing states everyone should vote. electoral college, heard of it? not voting is lazy, ONLY if you don’t do your homework on the candidates and their issues. thanks for the info and clarification, Nancy.

  5. George Sullivan says:

    You’re right about one thing; you shouldn’t put political items on Universe today.

  6. just say no! says:

    I guess greg c is an idiot.

  7. Bob says:

    110 million*

  8. Thanks Bob, I fixed it.
    Nancy

  9. fsm says:

    They dont want kids asking difficult questions like “Mom, if the earth is only 6000 years old, why did the man at the planetarium say the light from andromedea takes 2 million years to reach here?”..

  10. Nonchalont says:

    You can either vote for Turd Sandwich or Giant Douch….it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, because one of them are going to be the next President. You might as well vote for the one who YOU will think be better, and I believe Barrack Obama aka Turd Sandwich would be the best vote over McCain any day. There are a lot of Presidents who are HORRIBLE…I mean c’mon, America voted for the worst president (G-Dubbya) TWICE…lol!! Actually America is the worst. America is like the movie Idocracy! American people are dumb…and I’m an american. I’m the few that are actually intelligent.

  11. Ryan T says:

    Wow. Somehow I would have expected more from the readers of UT.

  12. Ryan T —

    Me too. All the nonsensical comments supposedly posted by political figures were posted by one person and have now been deleted.
    Nancy

  13. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Anyone who thinks McCain would somehow have a clue in regards to anything on science (and don’t get me started on Palin, either) has never really read up on the man.

    McCain is there because he represents what many hope is a return to what they think are the traditional values of yesterday.
    Being any kind of smart other than street smart just isn’t cool and sure won’t win you any votes, not from Joe Sixpack anyway.

    Many are frightened of Obama not just because he is relatively new and – gasp – black, but also because he represents a new world and way of thinking, one that if the United States doesn’t get into gear about will be left behind or, worse, finding out what it is like to be Tibet on an economic scale at the very least.

  14. Per says:

    “… I’m an american. I’m the few that are actually intelligent.”

    – Nonchalont [sic] 10.8.08

  15. REllis says:

    Now, now, gang try not to be too upset with
    Johnny McPalin. He and Miss Alaska are mental defectives. Your dog can’t play chess and you don’t get mad at him.

    They don’t read much and it is a certainty they’ve never been to a planetarium.

    Their colossal brand of ignorance, stupidity and myopia though wholly unforgivable is to be pitied.

    Just don’t vote these poltroons in and America can start to rebuild.

  16. Talk is cheap says:

    Obama sought projector money, though he didn’t vote on it.

  17. dollhopf says:

    In Germany most of the voters have a strong aversion to all kind of lobbyism. I do not share that opinion. In in my opinion lobbyism is an eminent part of a democratic society. When Germans think of lobbyism they normally are used to think of the interests of the “high finance”. They imagine arms deal, child labor and other monstrosities. So it is very interessting to see that also planetaria have a lobby in the States. 😉

  18. sarcastic voter says:

    I’m voting for Obama, cause i know when he says something, he means business. Like when he pushed for the projector money but didn’t vote on it… yeah, that’s someone who we need in office. We need someone who talks about getting things done, but isn’t actually serious about getting them done.

    Makes sense, right?

  19. wasted vote says:

    Yeah, i plan on voting for obama too. He seems like the right guy to waste our time, and bring us false hope.

  20. Big Spender says:

    I guess we will all feel better, when all of our senators average 450 million dollars a year in pork spending. What is another 45 billion dollars a year in purchases which should be funded by local and or state governments?

    The problem with pork spending is:
    1-Doesn’t face the same spending scrutiny
    2-Can be used to “payback” a contribution or to get one up front
    3-While this one was a planetarium, it could have easily been 3 million spent on parking meters
    4-Federal funds would be better spent on local crisis rebuilding, not luxury items
    5-Federal funds being used for local gain. Californians shouldn’t have to pay for Chicago’s laser light shows.

    The point isn’t what the money was spent on, it is how it was spent. Do you really want your federal tax to pay for items in other cities you will not use? Especially on projects which charge individuals, should make a profit and yet somehow dont? Chicago has its own tax base, and they will use it. Let them pay for it.

    Last year, 18 billion was spent on earmarks. I would rather see this money REBUILD A PLANETARIUM and a school which was blown away by a hurricane, rather than to upgrade one in Chicago which should be taken care of by its own citizens.

    By the way, what do you think happened to the money the planetarium made from charging customers?

  21. Todd says:

    Sounds more like a mis-speak, no more a sign of lack of knowledge than Obama saying asthma sufferers should be put in inhalators (also known as “iron lungs”) (correcting himself after saying “Breathalyzer)

  22. Ayti says:

    That’s real swift, make a fool of yourself by raising a stink over $3 million for a legitimate educational purpose – right after furiously racing to DC to “lead” the congress in handing over $700 Billion to a bunch of three-martini Wall Street executives who failed to properly manage their company’s balance sheet. Not too smart.

    To the guy who calls everyone who votes for McCain or Obama an idiot: Rash generalizations about the actions, motivations and priorities of 80 million individuals would seem to be the product of an idiotic mind. Perhaps a little self examination would be in order.

  23. Joe Shobe says:

    Wow, Nancy. You brought ’em all out.

    Nice article. You’re subtlety is to be commended. It’s always interesting in an election to see who is listening to where the people are headed. People want more access to education and to any form of knowledge about their ever-changing environment. Obama has shown that he’s listening, while McCain has shown that he’s out of touch. I much prefer someone in the White House, especially now, who is trying to learn how to navigate in a new world as opposed to one who is telling me “our tried and true navigation tools will bring back the values of yesterday.”

    McCain: “Common, $3MM for a ‘projection system’? Just replace the damn light bulb in the overhead.”

  24. Dave S says:

    This was the one place I thought was safe from the political nonsense. I hope this was just a one time mistake. Please take extra care in the future to avoid setting off fires like this. You folks almost always do a fine job.

  25. just say no! says:

    Do those 80 million individuals even know what they are voting for? No, because they are being mislead. Even if you think you’re not, you still are.

    When polititcians speak the truth, then I’ll consider voting. But until then, just say no! Or if you prefer, yes to being an idiot

  26. Todd says:

    There is another consideration–a planetarium in someone’s district should be funded locally, not by Congress. After all, it’s the local area the benefits. That’s usually what is meant when a politician complains about “pork”–national funds supporting specific localities.

  27. mike h says:

    I’d rather not see this crap here. I see it everywhere else.

  28. Patrick says:

    So, Dave S, please explain what is wrong with the article’s contents. I am truly curious.

  29. Ron says:

    John McCain obviously would not know a light bulb if he saw one considering his party has no ideas of thier own when it comes to anything that makes sense.

    To say not vote at all you’d have to be very ignorant and selfish. This election will not just effect you, not just the world but the generations to come and these are serious issues. Overhead projectors are used to educate children and staff in the classrooms. Planetariums are used to educate groups of people via entertainment or education means such as planetariums. If you can’t tell the difference between a projector and a iMAX experience then how can we trust you to know the difference between a nuke and a hot air balloon?!

  30. zip says:

    Patrick, are you a U.S. citizen?

  31. Dave S says:

    Patrick let’s just stay focused on the exciting topics this website is famous for. There is more than enough to learn and ponder on topic.

  32. There’s one other point which I wasn’t able to verify until after I wrote the article, but apparently the Adler Planetarium never received the funding anyway, so McCain’s point is rather moot.

  33. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Want an idea of what having McCain in office would be like? Read this:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/23316912/makebelieve_maverick/print

    Science is probably about as high on his priority list as knitting. Probably less so.

    As one person called him, McCain is Bush on steroids.

  34. Chuck R. says:

    Hey! Look! Another online political debate!

    ‘Scuse me while I don’t give a crap.

    And screw McCain, Palin, and the entire Republican party. Am I a Democrat? No. But I’m more so not a Republican.

  35. Rob says:

    If an amusement park wants to build a new attracton or upgrade an older one they use the receipts from admissions and concessions to do so. I’m pretty sure Adler charges money for admission and concessions. If their attraction needs upgrading they should use their own money like most other businesses do. Seems simple to me.

  36. Per says:

    Invader Xan – It’s been like that ever since politics began. Sad but true.

    And I agree, the stupid does burn. Eternally.

  37. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Anyone who thinks science is somehow isolated and untouched by politics and the money and influence it can either bring or deny is living in a fantasy world.

    The only reason we put men on the Moon 40 years ago was due to politics. Science and even engineering were mainly excuses. There is even a book that came out by a NASA engineer who found the scientists clamoring for some info abou the Moon to be mainly annoying and in the way of the real goal.

    Nothing has changed in the 21st Century. If anything, it is probably much worse. We will only continue into space so long as the politicians find it useful to them. I am not holding my breath for private space companies to save us any time soon.

    So yes, this thread has a lot more relevance than some of you seem to realize.

  38. Aodhhan says:

    I’m disappointed. If I wanted to hear this, I would go to spin site and do so.

    I’ve been around long enough to know it doesn’t really matter who gets in. They won’t live up to their promises, and sure enough I’ll see my income, property, capital gains tax go up either way.

    Especially since today is filled with more people who think the world owes them something, instead of actually working for it themselves.

  39. Bunnyman says:

    If reasonable, intelligent people don’t exercise their duty to vote, then the election goes to the Christo-fascists and the Nazis for Jesus who would stampede their own mothers to vote Republican. That’s exactly how Bush got two terms in office.

    Sticking your head in the sand and pretending like nothing can be done is the worst form of cowardice. And the Republicans are counting on a lot of people doing precisely that.

  40. Frank says:

    John McCain has an engineering degree from the US Naval Academy. Care to make a bet which candidate would win a basic science quiz?

    This is partisan political crap over a minor mis-speak.

    Goodbye to your site. I won’t be back.

  41. DestroyAllHumans says:

    McCain was 894th out of his class of 899.

    His main focus in his younger days seems to have been womanizing, drinking, and verbally and physically attacking anyone who pissed him off, including his 2 wives.

    Engineering his career was McCain’s main goal in life.

    Seriously, read this article if you want an idea what we will be in for if McCain wins:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/23316912/makebelieve_maverick/print

    Bush and Cheney look like mature saints by comparison. And say goodbye to space exploration and science overall.

  42. Adam says:

    A number of interesting issues raised I see here!

    For one, space exploration and a lot of other science related disciplines depend on tax payers’ money. This is the core of the problem in my opinion. A few hundred years ago a rich guy could just decide to subsidize a scientist or an artist and nobody would object since this was his own money. OK, all too often it was stolen from some other guys but at least we got some science from it sometimes! For the past few decades a lot of the science and engineering has gotten too expensive for even the richest to pay for.

    This brings me to the other problem. It seems to me that many politicians (most? all?) are hypocrites so they’d promise anything to get votes. I have my personal doubts whether Obama is so much better for say NASA than McCain. It would seem to me that he is primarily better at “showing that he cares”. At any rate, it would probably be way easier to get McCain to give extra funding to NASA if you could get an anti-communist-China spin on that. In any case, I don’t see any of them as truly dedicated to supporting science for it’s own sake. Consequently, whether NASA and space exploration will get more support from the White House after the election is more a matter of lucky chance than any real commitment.

    So is all the hope lost? Well, it depends on what The People will do. And I don’t mean how they vote. We get the politicians we deserve. If we don’t take better care of our own children to begin with (ie in stead of spending an evening with a six pack in front of the tele we actually take the kids out to a planetarium or a museum or just make sure they do their homework) nothing will change in the foreseeable future. We have to make a change at home. It’s going to take some time and a lot of effort but I think this is the only way. Certainly, it seems to me that waiting for the politicians to do it for us is pointless.

    There is another glimmer of hope at least as far as the space exploration goes. The stuff that’s been happening over these past few years suggests that access to space is starting to be achievable to “private pockets” instead of just the governments and gigantic multinational corporations. Maybe, just maybe we are yet again entering an era of privately funded boom in science.

    We shall see.

    Kind regards to all,
    /Adam

  43. jerry says:

    I can see why political discussion has been banned…except when it deals with the politics of space science and astronomy.

    What is alarming is how bad the diatribes are on this thread…and virtually every other political blog I have run across. Is America really this uncivilized? God help us.

  44. KJ says:

    Perhaps the planetariums should charge slightly higher admission to their 110 million guests and start paying for their own pork projects, vs making the rest of us pay for them.

  45. Clint says:

    I think the writer of the article and most of the comments have missed the point of what McCain was actually saying. He was discussing “pork barrel” bills. It wasn’t necessarily the projector, it was that it was added to another bill that had nothing to do with science, space or anything that was a “need”, as it would be considered a “luxury item”.
    As citizens, we should be concerned about “pork barrel” items in bills.

  46. Matt Stocum says:

    I fail to see why people are upset. McCain was trying to mischaracterize the funding. Both he and Palin called the projection system an “overhead projector” in both of the last two debates. It was not a mistake. A $3 million “overhead projector” sounds wasteful, a $3 million “planetarium projection system” may not. Personally, I see it as a good use of money, others may disagree, but have the debate honestly.

  47. Emma says:

    O.M.G and i thought us here in the UK had government problems lol

  48. jEFf says:

    I’d like to suggest that you keep your political commentary to yourself please and stick to science…

    There is better no way to cheapen a site than to start ‘blogging’ about politics on a site that isn’t political in nature. You just expose your bias and open the site up to ridiculous threads like this one.

    Stick with what you do best…

  49. A New Plan says:

    How about this:

    1. ALL education should be free to anyone willing to learn and put forth the effort to study and USE that education for the betterment of all humankind. Be it Engineering, Medicine, Law or even Waste Management, let those who have the desire to learn, do so without worry of financial distress. Everyone enjoys doing SOMETHING so give them a free education to pursue their interests. Once they have that education they can go out in the world and actually ENJOY their job. That way the majority of those educated will have the best possible chance of being a productive part of society. (Everyone has a talent, skill or even a gift that can be beneficial to everyone, in some, even minute, way.)
    2. Make Health care free, regardless of a persons income, age or current health status. A healthy society is a happy and productive society. (This will help keep the insurance companies from raking in billions of premiums while denying every claim until the point of bringing class action lawsuits.)
    3. Create a Bonus Cap for CEO’s and execs to the same level that the companies lowest hourly employees recieve, if any. Trying to cap a salary on execs and ceo’s is pointless, because no one would strive to climb the corporate ladder, but by limiting or eliminating bonuses they will be less inclined to gouge the profit sharing, stock option and retirement accounts. While doing this also limit the percentage of stock holdings ANY employee can have, including the CFO, CEO, and owners so NO ONE has a controlling share. This creates a more level and fairer playing field for all.
    4. Create a seperate fund specifically for ‘special’ projects(here is the ‘pork barrel’ to apease the lobbyists) that can never exceed a small percentage of the Gross Domestic Product. Once the funds are gone for a fiscal year, no more can be added until next year. Any project which recieved finances from this fund has to wait five years before reapplying.
    5. Create a fund specifically for development of water purification, agriculture and infrastructure in developing nations. Of course any funds given out would have STRICT oversight to assure the funds are used for those purposes and not the leaders or military of those recipients. Again any nation recieving such funding would be limited to a once every five years, unless there is a dire humanitarian need such as a natural disaster.
    6. In this GLOBAL economy, the only way to assure everyone gets a fair shake, there would have to be a standardization of monetary value. This could be trickey but can be done. ALL countries should be involved in trade and production and those with lesser ability could be given a one time grant from the global fund to help create a sound and stable infrastructure.
    7. Create an agricultural fund to bring all available, fertile land into full production and provide the equipment needed to do so. Offer a decent wage to those who seek to work on these farms and make sure the food produced is distributed globally. (The amount of food that goes to waste in developed nations is a downright crime.)
    8. Offer grants to all companies who cut carbon emissions, impliment a policy of alternative sources of energy, and recyle all waste/by-products.
    9. Penalize any nation who takes a stance of dictorial/military/monarical/theocrial rule over it’s people by eliminating them from applying for these grants and money from the global fund, and offer the citizens of these nations cut off, free passage to other free nations. Once there they would be offered the same educational and employment opportunities as the rest of civilized society.
    10. Put science, education, agriculture and health care the TOP priority and main objective to advance our knowledge of our world, and ensure the health and well being of ALL humanity.

    OK I am dreamer and utopia is always a pipe dream, but with a little teamwork I think these are good ideas. It might sound a bit Orwellian in nature but by banding together as HUMANS and not just Americans, Africans, Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, Republicans, Democrats or any of the myriad of lables we can use to categorize ourselves as, we CAN create a better world for future generations as well as our own right now.

    MY TWO CENTS WORTH

  50. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Yeah, we once had another senator named William Proxmire who was big on making a show of cutting what he considered wasted taxpayers dollars via the government.

    One of the things he most notoriously cut was funding for SETI – you know, the chance to find out if there is at least some intelligent life in the Universe, cause there sure as heck is way too little down here on this sorry rock.

    I see McCain’s horn blowing about a planetarium as his way of acting like he is one of the Joe Sixpack crowd, as his female Alaskan bulldog so likes to yak about.

    Clearly he sees science as elitist and not for the common man, if he cares at all, and what better way to look like one of the cool kids than to diss science.

    And as for the Europeans putting down America and its citizens on this thread:

    Thanks for being there in our time of need, when the person we decide to run this country after 8 years of Bush/Cheney might make all the difference between thriving and dying. It may look like a joke to you, but it is life and death to us.

    Now I know a lot of Europeans would just love to watch the USA go down the tubes. Well, then, good luck when China or the Islamic extremists come along and there is no one to protect you. Then we’ll see how quickly your socialist values last.

    It’s all about politics, oh nieve ones.

  51. Cynthia says:

    One of the problems with this is that the Adler Planetarium is not short on money and that the request for funding may have something to do with large political donations to Obama from some high up muckity-muck(s) at the museum. After all you are talking about Chicago and Illinois where nepotism, pay-offs, and things like “pay-to-play” (bribes to get government contracts) are hardly a rarity. This has to be one of the most corrupt places in the country and things that might be considered illegal elsewhere are considered normal here. McCain is a complete disaster when it comes to actually explaining something but a bit of research into this might be prudent before spouting off with overhead projector rants.

  52. Re: talk is cheap says:

    Obama did not vote for it because it never made it past the Senate appropriations committee. If it had I believe he would have voted for it.

  53. Peter B says:

    McCain’s comments indicate that he has no interest or knowledge of even basic science. Just cos he’s done engineering!!! as stated earlier. Many engineers I know as students and customers have little knowledge of the basics of science. If he wins, science will lose big time. Bah, Humbug to all those who complained about a political comment in a science publication. I don’t hear you complaining when Fundamentalist Christian interest groups swing their vote behind McCain and Palin. “Separation of church and state total BS!!!!!!” Wake up America and smell the psuedo-science………………

  54. Maxwell says:

    Well, I’d just add 3 things to the discussion.

    1) If you need a million dollar machine to show kids what stars look like, we may well have been misplacing our priorities for too long.

    2) The sad truth is neither politician understands. The telescope deal was botched in such a way that politicians got a chance to strut without taking a political hit in return… but science did not benefit, so we got screwed to make someones talking point.

    3) Its not the “what”, its the how. Earmarks and pork are blatant political back scratching. Elected leaders giving and taking incentives of their own accord to win elections.

    When we’ve come to a point where its not a mans stance, experience, or principles that matters but how much bacon he brought home… well, we’ve all lost at that point.

    Which is why we are here, with two non choices for president, debating which one will do less harm in the coming years.

  55. Astrofiend says:

    If the Republicans get in again, America will enter the beginning of the end as a leading world power in science, me thinks. While Europe diligently forge ahead making excellent use of any and all monies sent their way, creating high impact equipment for high-impact science, Americans are forced to argue a case to morons like Palin and McCain for the exclusion of ‘Intelligent Design’ from the science classroom.

    It is among the saddest things I have ever seen.

  56. Hex says:

    Nothing good will come of this thread.

  57. dollhopf says:

    The struggle for power is, as usual, hart but unfair.

  58. dollhopf says:

    As soon as an algorithm on a super computer will be able to calculate optimized decisions for whole societies, western societies need no longer endure this self-humiliation during election campaigns.

    The problem then would be to control the expert knowledge and the incorruptibility of the system administrators.

    Since the decisions of the machine could not be influenced to unjustly benefit any party, individual or interest group, the selection of the administration would no longer require mud-wrestling.

    Hopefully the machine would not pursue its own interests. 😉

  59. john says:

    Thank God I dont live in the US of A., Australian politicians are silly enough. Please vote for somebody who has a modicum of sense.

  60. john says:

    Oops I forgot, Intelligent Design is a theological arguement and as such is not legally eligible to be taught in US schools.

    PS Biological Evolution does not conflict with the bible, which is the story of the evolution of mankinds’ relationship with god. Note the word evolution. God invented that too.

  61. Michael says:

    I don’t read your articles for your knowledge of the political struggle. Next time do your self a favor and keep your politics out of your posts.

  62. Kenny says:

    We don’t normally publish political articles here on Universe Today

    Your instincts are fine – stick to them, please.

  63. Jorge says:

    Heh… republicans got pissed… that was to be expected.

    But, be honest, when it’s about praising private companies or bashing NASA, or denying global warming, you’re all happy and jumpin, aren’t you? Don’t lie. You know you are.

    And that, I’m afraid, is also politics.

    And you can’t blame science-loving people from reacting when they see a candidate showing off his scientific ignorance and/or exploring for political advantage the scientific ignorance of his constituency, because it’s well known what that road leads to. Someone this ignorant is someone who will do his best to cut funding to research and education. You can’t expect people who think research and education are of paramount importance to just sit idly watching that, especially when the topic does fall within the scope of this site, weather you like it or not.

  64. Farcall says:

    Politics enters *everything*, especially in this country from (Un)Intelligent Design to planetariums. This year , and with what’s at stake in this election, politics is, and needs to be, discussed everywhere – even in science forums.

    Just try to imagine a McCain Presidency where something goes South with his health and Palin becomes President, like in the first few months.

    I can’t think of a more frightening scenario for the future of this country, let alone science and science education.

  65. Peter says:

    Can I vote for Elon Musk?

  66. Wow says:

    Wow I expected science peope to be smarter. Looks like I was wrong from all the comments posted on here… sad.

  67. dollhopf says:

    We have a Planetarium round here in the area where I live. And it owns a high-tech device which is called “Universum”, made by Carl Zeiss in Jena, (äh … Jena, this is a town in Germany – I tell you, because maybe you are an American citizen and therefore not so educated yet and still waiting for several federal programs which will teach you that fact). Well, it cost 3 Millionen Euro, äh … too.

    An old friend of mine asks me from time to time, whether not go and visit their latest show. Agreed. But guess what! All the times the show never offered more knowledge than the first one and a half pages comprised by a standard astronomy textbook.

    Well, we Germans still have standards. We still do not exist in the middle of nowhere. But you don’t learn anything about astronomy in a Planetarium in Germany. So, is the Chicago Planetarium realy worth visiting? If so, then I will. But do not dissapoint me.

  68. von Dawson's Express says:

    A (oldfashoined) over-head projector?All this fighting over a poxy out of date over head projector? I pulled two perfectly good ones out of a skip at my place of work and gave them to my cash strapped astronomical society. We don’t all have LCD-Power-Point-Projectors. I use the old OHP’s when giving the occasional talk to Scout and Guide groups….
    I could have given the planetarium a OHP and saved all this hot air….

  69. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Ah yes, the Germans – a wonder people, so full of peace and love to all mankind.

    Except for certain groups.

    But silly me, I forgot that Europe and its denizens are all so enlightened and above poor, silly, warmongering America.

    Goodness knows your history is just FULL of enlightened, peaceful behavior.

  70. dollhopf says:

    “Ah yes, the Germans – a wonder people, so full of peace and love to all mankind.”

    Sure, also Marx and Einstein could have informed you about that. I do visit their places by stepping out from my doorstep and accede theirs. This Middle of Europe is the most vagarious birthplace of ideas mankind can imagine … except you are addicted to rap music

    I can’t help, but when I am surrounded by the Thinkers, they impress me.

  71. DestroyAllHumans says:

    I despise rap music and while Germany has created some wonderful thinkers, it has also created a few monsters of globally destructive proportions.

    In other words, you are no better or no worse than the rest of the nations. Only more arrogant as a rule.

    Of course I wonder how 6 million members of a certain religious group might feel about you and your nation. Try as you might to sweep that under the rug.

  72. btw says:

    I, too, tuned in for the debates and was extremely disappointed to hear that an instrument of science and education was being used as an example of fiscal waste. All of the peoples of our planet benefit from science, wherever its source. Shame on McCain.

    The alternative is Obama, who sometimes fails to vote when it really counts.

    The topics that are important to everyone here, to everyone reading this, will find no comfort in either of the two. Science and education are more important than the candidates. Their words are hollow.

    That said, perhaps there is room for politics on UT’s forum.

  73. Perhaps people should try harder to look for truth about what is happening in this country. 3 million for a world class observatory is money well spent.

    The billions of dollars and the lives of our children we’re spending on war for oil is a sin against our nation.

    The bankers, petroleum industry, and the military industrial complex are laughing their way to the banks and spitting in the face of the dumbed down American voter. Please look for the truth and vote for the candidate against the war. McCain is just another Bush.

  74. perspectivehere says:

    The internet would not exist if were it not for U.S. government funding.

    Much of the content for this website would not exist if not for U.S. government funding of astronomy. All these pictures of stars don’t come cheap.

    Private donations and ticket sales only pay for so much.

  75. Vernon says:

    Why is it the business of the US Senate to fund this type of local initiative? If the local people want a planetarium, let THEM fund it. I support science investment in my own backyard, but I don’t ask people in other states to pay for it. It may be “for science,” but it’s still pork.

  76. What the? says:

    McCain stepped in it again. Good Article! McCain sold his soul to the devil when he hired Bush”s campaign hacks last Spring. He”s not the same man as in his 2000 bid, no Straigh-Talk, just partisan lies and half-truths. I’m an ex-Republican.

  77. What the? says:

    Truth hurts those who distort it.

  78. btw says:

    Vernon, who are you referring to when you say “local people?” If the expenditure is not appropriate for the federal government, that leaves the
    state. If it is not appropriate for the state, that leaves the county. If it is not appropriate for the county, that leaves the city. If it is not appropriate for the city, that leaves a school zone. If that isn’t local enough you still can bill the local soccer mom’s club.

  79. dollhopf says:

    Hello DestroyAllHumans,

    You said “the Germans – a wonder people, so full of peace and love to all mankind. Except for certain groups.”

    What certain groups do you mean? Why not speak frankly? Tell me! I will be curious to see whether it fits or not. So which groups do you think that Germans love and love not? Come on now!

  80. dollhopf says:

    Hey btw,

    I don’t know whether you are a US voter. I am not. Nevertheless I have an understanding of “local people”. In 2006 in the German city of Berlin with nearly 4 Million inhabitants the public transportation services were affected by a damage sum of €8,625,000 due to smearings and destruction of property, a damage done by “local people”. If a Planetarium projector and related equipment is about $3,000,000 in price, then the “local people” could have three of them. I support the idea of individual responsibility also for “local people”. I guess that there are also “potential savings” in Chicago. Or are they all angels there?

  81. Adam says:

    Holy crap…… =/

  82. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Hey dollhopf – stop trying to be coy and clever, cause clearly you are neither.

    Why do I get the feeling if this were 1932 you would be the first one out there wearing a brown shirt and in full support of a weird little mentle case with a cheesy mustache while smashing in a few store windows and beating up certain ethnic groups with your band of thugs.

    Now I wait to hear more about how wonderful, educated, and elite you and your people are.

  83. dollhopf says:

    DestroyAllHumans, you claimed that

    Germans feel love for all “except for certain groups.”

    I am realy eager to know whom they (me and the rest) do not love! Name the groups or stop your bashing! *** Are you a coward? ****

    Say clearly: “Germans do hate …!”

    (fill in name of the group or groups you claim that Germans do hate)

    If you are not able to then shut up!

  84. DestroyAllHumans says:

    No, I think I will let the world watch you try to be clever and avoid what everyone else knows what your kind did to Europe in the 1930s and 40s.

    And would probably do again, given the chance. How do you live knowing you systematically slaughtered millions of innocent human beings for years?

    Seig heil!

  85. DestroyAllHumans says:

    And boy, you Germans just can’t help given others orders, can you?

    “Tell me who you mean, or else!!”

    I can practically hear your long black boots snapping together as you raise your riding crop to strike me, a petulant inferior.

    Have a nice Krystal nacht.

  86. dollhopf says:

    Looks like it does not work with me.

    Sorry!

    Have a nice Rosch Haschana!

  87. DestroyAllHumans says:

    And thank you for showing that 60 years has not cleansed the German people of their true dark colors.

    Enlightened, indeed.

  88. dollhopf says:

    Oh dear! In the German slang we have a phrase for folks like you: Vorurteile wie Krätze.

    Who might have taught you so?

  89. ccpetersen says:

    DestroyAllHumans, give it a rest. You’ve Godwinned yourself into oblivion.

  90. DestroyAllHumans says:

    I will – and one little obnoxious German isn’t going to erase his nation’s history of systematic genocide.

    Auf weirderinsane, dollboy!

  91. dollhopf says:

    “I will – and one little obnoxious German isn’t going to erase his nation’s history of systematic genocide. Auf weirderinsane, dollboy!”

    Sounds like World War 2 is not over yet. At least for some latecomers. If you have no problems, create some.

    So welcome Germany on the axis of evil in 2008!

  92. dollhopf says:

    John McCain: Statement on World Space Week

    World Space Week is another great example of international cooperation for a common cause. Its goal is to inspire the workforce of tomorrow and educate the public about space. Participants include NASA, aerospace companies, planetariums, museums, schools, and others around the world.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=26664

  93. Waste of Time says:

    I joined this site to learn about astronomy, not politics. Site mangers should not allow this political conversation. I am choosing to cancel my subscription and I encourage others to do the same. Let’s “send a message” to Universe Today to REMOVE this type of stuff from their site. Thank you.

  94. Vanamonde says:

    Frankly, I am shocked at John McCann. Several times in the last few months, I have thought, darn, I thought the man was better than this.

    I believe he knows the fix in in and he is just making sure that Obama wins.

  95. Vanamonde says:

    To “Waste of Time” and the others – this story is about the state of site education in our Idiocracy today and very worthly of this site. If you truly believe it is a waste of time, then why bother to comment? Why not just move one.

    I love and support Universe Today. Please keep up the great work.

  96. Disgusted says:

    This ariticle is NOT why I subscribed to UT! Stick to Science leave politics to forums that cater to people who never let facts stand in the way of poor reporting. Frazer as a CANADIAN STAY OUTof American politics. YOU Have your own elections cooming up with you own idiot candidates!!

  97. DestroyAllHumans says:

    dollboy blurts out:

    “Sounds like World War 2 is not over yet. At least for some latecomers. If you have no problems, create some.

    So welcome Germany on the axis of evil in 2008!”

    Translation into Plain English:

    “So what if my fellow countrymen and relatives helped to slaughter 6 million Jews and millions of other innocent people deemed ‘inferior’ by the Master Aryan Race?
    I don’t really care and we would probably do it again and again if we had the chance.”

    You continue to prove what a threat you and your kind are to humanity. You will never be able to wash away the blood of all those you killed, no matter how arrogant and elitist you try to act in a public forum.

    As far as I am concerned you ARE the continued AXIS of Evil. Enjoy your permanent stay in Hell one day. I am sure your many victims are waiting for you to arrive so that they may express their feelings on the entire German race.

    Heil Hitler!

  98. DestroyAllHumans says:

    I am always amused when rich, white conservatives, who run most everything in this country, suddenly play the victim card.

    Your thinking is not only BS, it’s also shows itself to be painfully outdated. Most kids today know they have to do something useful with their college educations, so they tend to aim at courses that will help them with their careers.

    Playing bongo drums? Hello, it’s not 1968 any more, dude.

    And what another load of BS that a scientist would reject a conservative if they found out that person’s political orientation. You clearly have never met enough real scientists.

    You really need to stop believing everything Hannity and Rush tell you.

    And just because McCain isn’t going to make it past November 4 to continue the utter disaster that is called George W. Bush doesn’t mean most of the country won’t still be thinking and acting like you do, sadly enough.

    As long as people remain ignorant and fearful of real change and progress, the kind of thinking as spewed above will continue.

  99. DestroyAllHumans says:

    Everything is being nationalized in this nation by the actions Bush started and you are worried about Obama turning the USA socialist?

    And oh yes, those rich conservatives are so on the side of the average Joe Sixpack American citizen – NOT.

    Wake up and take the blue pill. Otherwise enjoy the new American theocracy.

  100. David says:

    First off. I love science. I loved it in school, i loved experimenting, hypothesizing, quantifying, I still have a great love of math and its application in database management.

    Having said all of that. Chicago has a population of 2 million people, nearly 3 actually. So in 40 years they have not been able to set aside 3 million between them all?

    Before we even ask that though how exactly is funding this project a federal project? Where is the overriding interstate commerce? If this is to bring tourism to Chicago it is still a state/local function, not federal. The fact that two other planetariums managed to get money doesn’t mean they should also.

    The fact Obama requested it, regardless of his getting it, is a matter of principle.

    Raise your own money Chicago.

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