I have read the posts on this discussion and there are many who feel that scientists need to do a better job communicating the importance of science (basic research) to the public. I agree. This, to me, is indisputable. However, this is also really not relevant to what happens when politicians make the types of comments Palin made about the fruitfly research.\n\nYou can speak to and educate the public as much as you want, but when Palin or others in the current administration surround themselves with like minded idealogues, it's all for naught. These politicians, through their advisors, shape the science to their political outlook. So in a sense, you are trying to prescribe a rationale approach (more public education) to a situation that is inherently resistant to the approach. \n\nPalin's comment was a cheap shot made for people who already believe that government is only there to waste their money and get in their way. No amount of public science education will change these people, and therefore no amount of education will prevent politicians from making these simple-minded statements in their attempt to win votes.\n\nNo. The real problem is when an administration (or single politician) short-circuits the input of scientific advisors and treats them as just another interest group. This is especially problematic with highly complex scientific situations, like global warming. \n\nIf anyone watched the congressional hearings regarding global warming and Dr. Jim Hansen (head of NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies), you would understand why public outreach will not rectify the problem of politicians making silly comments about science or "misunderstanding" the scientific process in general. \n\nLastly, if someone could explain how a politician can ear-mark money for a specific scientific study, I would like to know. I would have thought the money would have gone first to NIH or the USDA and they would then simply fund deeper into the scored grants (funding to the 12th percentile versus only the 10th percentile).\n\nThanks!