In the Russell Senate Office building, a veritable all-star lineup of maligned researchers gathered. Their work would be familiar to anyone who has read the “wastebook” put together by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) or has watched Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) lead a House Science Committee hearing: In the back corner was that guy who watched shrimp run on treadmills; off to the side was the woman who pondered why fat girls can’t get dates; in the middle of the room was the person who studied cows in China; near the bar was the man who sent text messages to drunk people; and in the back was the scientist who started a fight club for shrimp (it’s always those damn shrimp!).
These researchers had come to Capitol Hill to make the case that their congressional tormentors had gotten their work profoundly wrong. Far from being taxpayer-funded jesters in the world of science, they were doing work of merit and promise. And while they had the resumes and wherewithal to withstand the scrutiny, their worry was that future scientists — the ones hanging out with Obama — would look at the crucible and decide to stay far, far away...
Contra what Flake said in his book, Patek and her graduate student didn’t set up a crustacean-themed Fight Club. Nor did the federal government give her $700,000 for that purpose. That sum was for all of her studies.
The focus of the infamous study is actually quite in symmetry with Republican priorities. Patek and her team are looking into the ability of mantis shrimp to generate incredible force without the assistance of outside factors. They’re trying to answer questions like: How it is that a shrimp’s toothpick-sized hammer can break snail shells in water when humans have to use a larger hammer to do the same in air? A discovery could eventually lead to dramatic changes in human-engineered defense systems. The research already has sparked changes in engineered materials designed to resist impact fracture.
“It is a beautiful and elegant study,” Patek said.
Anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-American Republicans.
Lots of other examples of Republicans getting it wrong time after time on science through either willful deceit (i.e. lies), or willful ignorance (i.e. stupidity). There are a number of things you can debate about a person or group who exhibits this combination of deceit & ignorance so frequently over an extended period of time, but there is one thing that is obvious and incontrovertible: These people are assholes.
P.S. Dangerous assholes at that.