Science! Psychology researchers discover that kids make friends with those who sit next to them in school

Your tax dollars at work! Psychology researchers at Florida Atlantic University have found to their shock that the friendships school children form are strongly influenced by their seat assignments in class.

Results of the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, revealed that friendships reflect classroom seat assignments. Students sitting next to or nearby one another were more likely to be friends with one another than students seated elsewhere in the classroom. Moreover, longitudinal analyses showed that classroom seating proximity was associated with the formation of new friendships. After seat assignments changed, students were more likely to become friends with newly near-seated classmates than with those who remained or became seated farther away.

You can read the actual paper here. The research itself was apparently funded by a grant from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), apparently an agency within NIH, that stellar agency that pushed masks, lockdowns, and social distancing during the past two years based on zero data and contrary to research results going back decades.

It seems to me that this result would be obvious to any first grade teacher who is focused on teaching kids. It is also obvious to anyone who ever went to school and made friends there. To spend money on such research is utterly idiotic. Worse, it diverts funds from research that is considerably more important.

But no matter. What is really important is to get funding, no matter how trivial or useless the research. And our corrupt and bankrupt federal bureaucracy is most willing to oblige.

NIH to discriminate against whites in awarding research grants

Federal government: dedicated to segregation!
NIH: dedicated to racial discrimination

“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now created a program to award about $20 million in grant money exclusively to black researchers, thus favoring research not because of its merit but solely because of the skin color of the grantee.

The program will create a new class of NIH’s standard R01 research grant designed to “encourage a more diverse pool of PIs [principal investigators],” said Walter Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), at a recent meeting. NINDS is launching the program, aimed at new PIs and those whose labs are at risk of folding, together with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In 2021, the three institutes partnered on a policy with similar aims that NIH later pulled because of concerns it would violate federal antidiscrimination laws.

The NIH attempted to create a similar bigoted grant program last year, but had to back off when critics pointed out its obvious illegality. Agency officials now claim this new program passes muster, because

…it aims to enhance diversity “in a very broad sense,” [NIH extramural chief Michael] Lauer says. An NIH spokesperson notes that although the program “encourages” applications from researchers in underrepresented groups, “it is not exclusive—all new investigators and at-risk investigators are eligible to apply.” (NIH defines “at-risk” as a PI who will have no NIH grants if their high-quality proposal isn’t funded.)

What a lie. We all know that the grant application will require each applicant to state their race, and the NIH will then automatically disqualify anyone who isn’t black. It will also conveniently never make public the actual racial breakdown of those who win grants from this program, in order to hide its bigotry.

Today’s blacklisted American: Forbes terminates journalist for documenting Fauci’s salary

Adam Andrzejewski, journalist banned for doing good journalism
Adam Andrzejewski, journalist banned for doing good
journalism

The new dark age of silencing: Adam Andrzejewski, a long time journalist for Forbes magazine, was fired when the magazine was pressured by NIH to stop him from documenting accurately the large income that Anthony Fauci and his wife derived from their government jobs.

As Andrzejewski concludes in outlining his blackballing by Forbes:

Two directors, two bureau chiefs, and two top PR officers [from NIH] didn’t send an email to the Forbes’ chief on a Sunday morning because they wanted to correct the record about Fauci’s travel reimbursements. They sent that email to subliminally send a message: We don’t like Andrzejewski’s oversight work, and we want you to do something about it.

Unfortunately, Forbes folded quickly. Within 24 hours of the NIH email to Randall Lane, my regular Forbes editor called and announced new rules. Forbes barred me from writing about Fauci and mandated pre-approval for all future topics.

Then, Forbes went silent and terminated my column roughly 10 days later on January 28.

On the day Forbes cancelled me, the editors bent the knee. A new piece on Fauci published: “Fauci’s Portrait Will Soon Hang In The Smithsonian.”

The shameful part of this story was the way a news organization took the side of government agents, rather than their own journalist. The press is not supposed to be a state-run organization, but a free press intent on uncovering government malfeasance. The people who run Forbes apparently don’t understand this, and are quite willing to become panting toadies to the federal government.

Andrzejewski however understands his role as a journalist far better. In 2011 he founded Open The Books, a non-profit focused on documenting government spending precisely, at all levels from the smallest school district to the largest agency in the federal government. To do this the organization has filed almost 50,000 Freedom of Information requests. As he noted at the link above,
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Nebraska AG report blasts FDA and NIH positions on COVID treatment

In a ruling [pdf] making it clear that doctors are doing nothing wrong if they prescribe ivermectin or hydroxycholoroquine as part of their treatment for patients with COVID-19, the Nebraska attorney general not only provided detailed documentation demonstrating the reasonableness of prescribing those drugs — based on extensive peer-review research by scientists — he blasted the FDA, the NIH, and WHO for their somewhat ignorant hostility to those drugs.

The document is long, but everyone should read it, mostly to get a clear idea whether they or their doctor should consider using these two drugs should they come down with COVID. The answer appears to be an unqualified yes. Both drugs have different purposes, but both appear, if used properly, to be beneficial and reduce the severity of the virus.

The report also makes it clear that the hostility to these drugs by these American health agencies is irrational and somewhat alarming. See for example the one excerpt describing the FDA’s absurd statements in connection with ivermectin, a drug that doctors have been safely prescribing since the 1970s:

From Nebraska report

The report details at length the numerous research that makes these FDA statement so anti-science as to be quite horrifying, especially as this is the federal agency that is supposed to regulate food and drugs.

Once again, download this pdf and read it for yourself. You will find yourself significantly educated, based on actual peer-reviewed science.

The COVID lies of governments and scientists

Liar Fauci
The man has been lying from day one.

Two stories this morning illustrate once again the utter dishonesty and untrustworthyness of the governments and scientists who have been promoting strict lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates as a response to COVID-19.

First, the NIH yesterday admitted in a letter to Congress that it had funded the gain-of-function research at China’s Wuhan lab, despite repeated blunt denials by it and former NIH Director Francis Collins and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci.

In a letter addressed to Rep. James Comer (R-KY), NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak cites a “limited experiment” to determine whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.” According to the letter, humanized mice infected with the modified bat virus “became sicker” than those exposed to an unmodified version of the same bat coronavirus.

[Lead scientists Peter] Daszak failed to report this finding, and has been given five days to submit “any and all unpublished data from the experiments and world conducted” under the NIH grant.

When Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) had accused Fauci of funding this research, Fauci had not only denied it, he accused Paul of being a liar. In truth, it was Fauci who was lying in his testimony to Congress. Fauci and the NIH provided a foreign government funding to do secret biological weapons research that, in the end, was used to attack our country.

Fauci should be fired forthwith. Collins had stepped down on October 5th, probably because he knew this information was about to be released, proving he had been lying.

The second story is as egregious. It appears that the mask study that the Australian government has touted to impose mask mandates throughout their country is filled with so many basic errors and faulty research procedures that it should never have been published in the first place.
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Republican Congress boosts NIH spending, rejecting Trump proposed cuts

Failure theater: The Republicans in Congress have given the NIH a significant boost in spending, rejecting both Trump’s proposed cuts and reorganization proposals.

Congress has approved a $2 billion raise, to $39.1 billion, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a 2019 spending bill approved by House of Representatives and Senate negotiators last night.

As expected, the 5% boost matches the Senate’s proposed spending level and surpasses a $1.25 billion increase in a draft bill passed by the House. President Donald Trump’s administration had requested $34.8 billion for the fiscal year that begins 1 October. This is the fourth year in a row that NIH has received a substantial increase, after more than a decade of flat budgets.

Trump had also proposed shifting three Health & Human Service agencies into NIH. Congress ignored this.

This illustrates the bankrupt nature of the Republicans in Congress. Don’t believe them when they argue they want to limit government. They are lying. They pass tax cuts to make you happy and vote for them, then turn around and pour money we don’t have at their Washington friends.

This also illustrates the bankrupt nature of the American voter. We gobble up tax cuts, either ignore or celebrate Congress’s out-of-control spending, and then vote for the elected officials who do this.

Trump administration shuts down NIH anti-gun research

The NIH has quietly shelved all funding for gun research, most of which had been instigated under the Obama administration as a propaganda tool to promote gun control.

The article from Science is remarkable — coming from a mainstream academic source — in that it provides a fair description of the perspective of the NRA and gun-owners.

Note: Reader Kirk noted my error in originally crediting this article to Nature, when it truth it was Science that published it. Post corrected. Sorry!

House Republicans push for big spending in Defense and NIH budgets

Failure theater: Two different House committees have chosen to ignore the budget cutting recommendations of the Trump administration and add billions to the budget of the National Institute of Health while approving — against the objections of the administration — the creation of a military “space corps.”

The first story is especially galling. Instead of cutting NIH’s budget to $25.9 billion, which is about what the agency got in the early 2000s, the increase to NIH would raise its budget from $31.8 billion to $35.2 billion. Worse, the House proposal would continue the policy where NIH pays the overhead for any research grants, which has been an amazing cash cow for American universities, most of which are leftwing partisan operations whose focus these days is often nothing more than defeating Republicans and pushing agenda-driven science.

Trump was right to push for those cuts. The Republicans are fools to eliminate them.

As for the second story, as I noted yesterday, the limitations of the Outer Space Treaty are almost certainly what is pushing Congress now to create a separate military space division. That and a greedy desire to establish another bureaucracy where they can take credit for any additional pork barrel funding. While such a force will certainly be necessary should the Outer Space Treaty not be revised to allow sovereignty and the establishment of internationally recognized borders, it is simply too early to do so now. The result will be a bureaucratic mess that will only act to waste money and possibly hinder private development in space.

But then, that’s what too many Republicans, like Democrats, want. They aren’t really interested in the needs of the country. They are interested in pork and power, for themselves.

Republican-led Senate proposes big budget boost for NIH

This is fiscal restraint? The Senate, under the leadership of the Republican party for the first time since 2006, has proposed a $2 billion increase in the 2016 budget for National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The House Republican leadership hasn’t shown much restraint either, proposing $1 billion boost in the 2016 budget. And this in the context of a flat budget for NIH during the period from 2006 to 2014 when Democrats controlled either both or at least one house of Congress.

Since Congress completed a 5-year doubling of the NIH budget in 2003, the agency’s funding level has fallen more than 20% below the 2003 level after taking into account the rising costs of biomedical research.

This is once again evidence to me that the Republican leadership in Congress really has little interest in reining in the out-of-control federal budget. They talk a conservative game during elections, but when it comes time to write the budgets, the Republicans in charge of committees become spendthrifts to support the pork in the government agencies they are assigned to manage, and are almost always centered in their own districts.

$28 billion spent on poor biomedical research?

The uncertainty of science: A new study suggests that $28 billion is spent on biomedical research that no one can reproduce.

I have no doubt that a vast amount of medical research is so poorly done that no one else will ever be able to replicate the results. However, the article notes that the way the researchers came up with the $28 billion figure is quite questionable, reviewing only about two dozen studies and then extrapolating their numbers across the entire research field. This is highly uncertain and should be taken with a grain of salt.

NIH panel recommends cancelling multi-billion dollar study

An government advisory panel has recommended the NIH cancel a controversial nationwide study to track the health of 100,000 children.

The study has already cost one billion, has had two scientists resign because they didn’t like how the study was being run, and has as yet only enrolled 4,000 children.

Update: The NIH officially cancelled the study later the same day the panel’s report was released.

The journal Science struggles to find the harm done from NIH’s 5% cuts from sequestration.

The journal Science struggles to find the harm done to NIH from sequestration’s 5% cut.

Given that sequestration lopped off a staggering $1.55 billion from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) budget this year, it shouldn’t be hard to find examples of how the cut is harming research labs. Although sequestration “has already dealt a devastating blow,” said NIH Director Francis Collins at a Senate hearing last week, it turns out it’s not that easy to spell out the damage.

First of all, this cut was hardly “staggering.” All it did was bring NIH’s budget down to $29.15 billion, which is almost exactly the budget the agency had in 2008. Somehow, NIH managed quite well with this amount of money in 2008, and in fact probably wasted quite a bit of cash even then.

Second, this fact — that the cut wasn’t really that “devastating” — might explain why Science can’t find any obvious damage to any program. In its budget articles the journal routinely makes it a point to lobby for more money for scientists. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised when it tries to spin any cut — or even a small reduction in the rate of growth — as a disaster. The fact that Science still has trouble making that spin seem believable in this case is solid evidence that sequestration was a good idea, and that there was a great deal of fat that could be trimmed from the budget.

The science cuts from sequestration

The journal Science today published this detailed look at the cuts that would occur in all the federal government’s various science programs should the automatic budget cuts outlined in the sequestration legislation occur on January 2, 2013.

Not surprising, the article includes a great deal of moaning and groaning about the terrible harm the cuts would have on science research should they occur. From the Obama administration:
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A U.S. senator has demanded the NIH explain how it could give a $2 million grant to a researcher previously punished for not reporting financial conflicts of interest who is also under investigation by the Department of Justice.

Corruption in Big Science: A U.S. senator is demanding the NIH explain how it could give a $2 million grant to a researcher previously punished for not reporting financial conflicts of interest who is also under investigation by the Department of Justice.

Shut it down

Our government in action: An NIH nationwide study to track hundreds of thousands of children from birth to age 21 is wracked with budget and management problems.

All told, this study has already cost the taxpayers almost a billion dollars for the enrollment of only 4,000 children, not the 100,000 envisioned. That’s about $250,000 per child, an amount that seems incredibly high.

In addition to the above problems, it appears there are scientific ones as well:
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NIH and DOE in the proposed budget deal

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the science office in the Department of Energy (DOE) appear to avoid serious cuts in the proposed budget deal.

Actually, NIH’s budget remains almost identical to what it got in 2012, $30.6 billion. However, this amount is $1.4 billion more than it got in 2008, and $1.7 billion more than it got in 2007. As for DOE’s Office of Science, the $4.889 billion for 2012 is still $700 million more than the office got in 2008.

In other words, considering the budget deficits the federal government faces, these 2012 budget numbers hardly seem to be a reasonable attack on the problem. Simply bringing those budget numbers back down to 2008 numbers would hardly damage the work these government agencies are doing, and it would surely do more to reduce the deficit.

House proposes a budget increase for NIH

The Republican-controlled House has proposed a budget for National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is one billion more than last year’s budget, an increase from $30.7 to $31.7 billion.

What evil budget-cutters these Republicans are! Their mean-spirited budget increase has the nerve to reduce Obama’s budget request by about $120 million, equivalent to a whopping one third of one percent!

This is all shameful. For context, in 2008 NIH’s budget was $29.2 billion. Considering the state of the budget it seems unconscionable for the House to agree to any increase over $30.7 billion. In truth, it is perfectly reasonable to reduce NIH’S budget back to its 2008 number.

Too bad our present Congress, both Democratic and Republican, isn’t reasonable.

Senate panel trims NIH budget

Now for some good reporting: A Senate committee today approved an NIH budget that trimmed the health agency’s budget by $190 million.

This report actually gives us an accurate description of the proposed budget, which offers a 2012 budget of $30.5 billion compared to the $30.7 that NIH got in 2011. For further context, note that the 2012 budget is still more than the agency got in 2009 ($30.2 billion), and more than a billion above what it got in 2008 ($29.2 billion). Anyone who cries poverty at this budget cut immediately discredits themselves.