Monday, November 14, 2011

Brookhaven National Boondoggle - Welfare For School Nerds

Today my son had a science class some 65 miles east at Brookhaven National Laboratory - pictured above.

I'd never even heard of it before and was AMAZED at how freakin' huge it was. I mean it was a few miles wide and I hadn't seen this many ├╝ber-GEEKS since I was last in Cambridge, MA.

An alien visiting from outer-space and armed with today's conventional stereotypes would probably presume that these disheveled, socially-awkward pocket-protectors were homeschooled rather than in fact the *best and brightest* churned out by SCHOOLS.

While my son attended his class:

1) Blocks and Marbles: Students work in design teams to develop a solution to an engineering problem. Teams will construct a "ride" for a marble that must meet specified design criteria. Students will be introduced to the law of gravity.

2) Seeing the Light: What is light? How is a rainbow made? Through a series of experiments students will explore the properties of light. Discover how shadows are made, how light is reflected, and how light can be bent to make colorful rainbows. Students will also see the results of mixing the primary colors of light and experiment with our shadow wall.

3) Sounds Around: Discover how sound is produced and how it travels. Analyze how different pitches and volumes are produced. Experience sound waves as they pass through different states of matter. Watch your sound waves on an oscilloscope and try our invisible strings exhibit!
...I made my way around the *campus* and cafeteria and couldn't get over how much taxpayer money is essentially burned there. I mean all those Phd's make 6 figures+; and they were all moving at about the same speed as the obese women employed by the DMV.

Apparently it's an astounding $760 million a year - that's the annual budget for this boondoggle which employs 2,800 people.

The Republicans tried to cut its budget by 1/3 this year but failed - as they do in every other cost-cutting attempt. They fail so much a supporter of theirs ought to seriously wonder about sincerity.

Of course if I were President dictator....I'd close the whole thing up tomorrow!

I got real angry thinking about this but then I realized that there are probably a hundred of these boondoggles all over the country (esp. near Washington DC!) and that it's just the first one I really came into direct contact with.

My son's class? It was decent. And it was FREE....but only in a manner of speaking.

I was told that the 80s classic motion picture - The Manhattan Project - which I remember enjoying very much, was filmed at Brookhaven Labs:

It featured a young *Miranda* (aka Cynthia Nixon) as the girlfriend.

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