Fox News is Too Liberal

Here, at Fox News, is an interesting review of McCain's and Obama's position on some technology issues. Who wrote this thing? I thought Fox was supposed to be more conservative. All of the background is absurdly loaded:

Broadband Adoption

The U.S. lags behind Canada, South Korea and most of northern Europe in per-capita broadband “penetration,” the number of people who have access to high-speed Internet. Many Democrats have called for better and faster Internet access to make up for this gap...

Many Democrats? Five? Who? Only two Republicans?

Cancer Research

Both McCain and Obama have pledged to increase cancer funding for research and improve patient access to screening and clinical trials. (The National Cancer Institute’s total budget has been reduced under the Bush administration from $4.83 billion in 2005 to $4.75 billion in 2007.)

President Bush has been in office since 2005? No, but we would rather not mention the fact that the NCI budget was $4.1 billion in 2001, and the overall NIH budget has grown as well.

Climate Change

President Bush has called for halting the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, a stance that environmental groups consider insufficient...

A stance that level-headed, non-fanatical people find ambitious.

Space Exploration

The Bush administration has long favored manned missions, which are risky, expensive and often scientifically unnecessary, over cheaper and safer robotic missions...

I agree with the bias here. It's bias nonetheless.

Stem-Cell Research

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research believe it holds the key to finding cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes. President Bush has opposed federal funding for stem cells extracted from embryos that were created for the purpose of research...

Proponents of armadillo pee feel it holds the key to finding a cure for arthritis. Ok, I admit I'm stretching here.

In any case, much of this science platform is little more than a demand for funding from scientists and engineers. Note that it is never, ever enough. I've seen other queries of the candidate's positions on these and similar issues. The responses from candidates are always the same, an attempt to outbid each other on how much they are going to spend. "I see your $40 billion and raise you $20 billion!" There is never any estimation of what those dollars will bring us, in terms of actual "results," nor an estimation or description of how the money Science is already getting is being spent. Are we getting a good return on our investment?

Generally, I agree with treating funding of science as an investment. But that requires an analysis of science research, not just the problems that are being worked on, but an estimation of the payoff from additional research money. This doesn't preclude spending on a few research "longshots" (see DARPA for an idea of that sort of funding), but generally we should invest our dollars in science as wisely as we invest our dollars in stocks and bonds. I have never heard a government approach to science funding that was more than throwing money at a problem.