Palin would hate this

Sarah Palin doesn’t understand why scientists would need to spend money researching fruit flies or grizzly bears, so I guess she’ll never comprehend why we would use remote-controlled helicopters to get a "darn good" sample of a sperm whale’s bad breath. Hint: bacteria, viruses, fungi. Glad she’s a politician, not a schoolteacher.

Read the BBC story on the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) collaborative study with Dr Diane Gendron from CICIMAR, a research
institution at National Polytechnic University of Mexico.


Images from ZSL at BBC (left), and Small at Flickr (right). – PJE

Peter Etnoyer (406 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

13 comments on “Palin would hate this
  1. Yet they show up uninvited on shipwrecks and oil rigs around the world, anyway. How is that?

    This story reminds me of some colleagues at DUML who used to drag a zeppelin equipped with a video camera behind their boat to count dolphins. Nice job if you can get it!

  2. All those years of playing with R/C cars, planes and helo’s may finally pay off!!! Where do I sign up??

    (Though it’s not the first thing I think of for “ROV” and Oceanography!)

  3. I’m sure it’s very valuable data to someone, but if taxpayers dollars are funding it I hope politicians like Palin are considering how our money is best used; and if taxpayer money isn’t best spent by the taxpayer rather than wasteful government spending. This is not not to say that collecting data on sperm whale breath isn’t important but if we have people having a hard time paying to heat their homes …

  4. Steve C already wrote what I signed in to say. It’s not that these things categorically have no inherent value, but rather that there needs to be an order of priorities when it comes to the use of taxpayer dollars.

    The gov’t has no money of its own, so you and I are the ones funding this… and I have some student loans to pay off before I’d feel comfortable investing in whale breath research.

  5. Its true there are many competing priorities. We ask which is more important, a public works project or whale breath research? One might argue public works, because it creates jobs and results in a common good. But science funding creates jobs, too, and more North American scientists are needed to compete in a global market. So, though whale health and welfare may be a questionable common good, global competitiveness in science and technology is clearly important, and more tangible.

  6. I assume a full-sized helicopter will be required, to deploy the breath mint?

    Palin/Schwarzenegger 2012!!

  7. do you think Sarah would understand it better if you fitted a gun to the helicopter & shot whales..? Just asking…….

  8. “Sarah Palin doesn’t understand …”

    Why do you feel compelled to inject politics into an otherwise interesting discussion of scientific matters?

    You sound more like propagandists than scientists. You remind me of the Stalinist era psuedo-scientists who perverted science to a totalitarian political agenda.


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