30 November 2009

Palin and I -- united by fruit flies

Palin and I -- united by fruit flies

By Nicole E. Avery
GVL Columnist

Have you heard the buzz?

There has been an extensive amount of fruit fly research done in our country that has wasted money that could go to programs focusing on education, repairing the economy or literally any other project actually benefiting the American people.

Sarah Palin was berated on thinkprogress.org for criticizing the government for wasting America's valuable resources on projects that do not directly benefit the people -- such as resources spent on the funding for fruit fly research.

According to the article, Palin obviously hadn't researched what kind of scientific advancements were being funded by the government, and if she had done research, she would have known these "pet projects," as she called them, were actually making advancements in research pertaining to neural disorders such as autism.

I want cures for diseases just as much as the next person, but I want a cure for the current economic problems oppressing the American people such as unemployment, our educational system and decent health care for the elderly and disabled.

I have to admit I agree with Palin.

Currently, the biggest scientific breakthrough made via fruit fly research is that scientists have figured out how to insert artificial memories in a fruit fly's brain, causing it to fear things it was never afraid of before. The second biggest breakthrough scientists have made is they can also change what the fruit fly is sexually attracted to.

Here's how it works according to "The New York Times:"

The project was at first designed to calculate and analyze how the brain works by using a similar conditioning technique used on rats by psychologist. The fruit flies experience a scent combined with electric shocked so every time they smell that particular scent they fear it.

Eventually the experiment was upped to genetically altering the flies to be sensitive to a specific kind of light -- when they see it, it simulates a shock in their brain waves and causes them an attack of fear and pain.

I'm genuinely shocked PETA hasn't freaked out about this and started a petition to stop fruit fly cruelty.

I don't necessarily think it is wrong because fruit flies are being harmed -- although I do think it's creepy.

My problem with fruit fly research is it isn't benefiting autism at a fast enough pace for me to think it's more essential than other projects being privately sponsored.

Why is this taking precedent over immediate issues needing to be addressed in our country?

How much funding is actually going to this?

All of our troops aren't home from Iraq, we have no idea what we're going to do with Gitmo and every day more people file for unemployment because they've been laid off.

What is our government doing? Funding experimental fruit fly brainwashing projects that are essentially useless.


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