News Americans DO NOT Care About

Because it doesn't involve sex, creepy old guys trying to get sex, missing/dead blonde girls, TomKat, or the contents of Paris Hilton's cell phone.

Via the Washington Post:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Americans John C. Mather and George F. Smoot won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for work that helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe.

Mather, 60, works at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Smoot, 61, works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.

Their work was based on measurements done with the help of the NASA-launched COBE satellite in 1989. They were able to observe the universe in its early stages about 380,000 years after it was born. Ripples in the light they detected also helped demonstrate how galaxies came together over time.
And in Yesterday's Washington Post:
Two American scientists -- one of whom graduated from Fairfax High School -- awakened early yesterday to learn they will share a Nobel Prize for their discovery of a gene-regulating mechanism inside cells, an advance that in just eight years has revolutionized genetics and led to several experimental treatments for diseases.

Craig C. Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester -- whose father, a paleontologist, served for years as an associate director of the National Museum of Natural History -- and Andrew Z. Fire of Stanford University's School of Medicine will share the $1.36 million Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their serendipitous discovery of RNA interference, or "RNAi."

In a series of experiments on nearly microscopic soil-dwelling worms, conducted at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's laboratories in Baltimore, the team stumbled upon a naturally occurring mechanism that allows cells to shut down individual genes.
There are only five Nobel Prizes - Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace. To have two prizes go to Americans is a great honor and an indication that some of the most advanced research by the smartest people is going on in America.

I say that not to be self aggrandizing but to recognize the ability of American institutions to attract the best and brightest from around the world.

Yet how many Americans know that four Americans won two of the Nobel Prizes? How many Americans know that there are more Nobel Prizes than the Peace Prize? How many Americans think that the government funding of the winners of the Prize in Physics should probably be revoked because the research isn't important (at best) or (at worst) that it furthers the blasphemous idea of the 'big bang' instead of supporting what is obviously true - that the world was created by God over the course of a week 6,000 years ago.

Maybe I'm a Liberal Elitist but the amount of anti-intellectualism in this country is astounding. I do not claim to be an expert on all matters but I like to think that I understand the basics of most fields of science. I couldn't explain the physics that Mathers and Smoot are investigating nor understand the details of Mello and Fire's research into RNA but I understand what the big bang is and why RNA is important. I understand that both of those advances increase human understanding of the world around us (and within us) and is therefore both important and valuable.

I got that from a good public education, both at public schools and at a public university. How long will that be available to America's young people? I listen to those on the far Right rail about U.S. Department of Education should be abolished and I read what Freepers write about pulling children out of public schools in favor of home schooling. I wonder if the future holds as many American Nobel Laureate as the past does.

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