Yes, you read that correctly. Glaciers are sexist, and so are the sciences that study them. In a new study from the University of Oregon, Dr. Mark Carey and a few student researchers propose that
“Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”
The authors argue that women are more likely to be harmed by the progressive melting of the world’s glaciers than men are, and that you wouldn’t know that since no experts are researching the gender-studies angle of glaciers because there are so few women in the field.
The study was taxpayer-funded. According to Professor Carey’s curriculum vitae, The National Science Foundation awarded him a five-year grant for the “feminist glaciology” research, a total of $709,125. In the grand scheme of taxpayer-funded projects, this is not much, but this isn’t the first time your money has funded questionable studies — in fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Last year, the National Science Foundation spent nearly $1.2 million to teach robots how to choose outfit combinations, and expects the kinks in design won’t be worked out for four years. They also funded a study determining the ups and downs of senior adult dating to the tune of nearly $375,000. And don’t forget that time the Bureau of Land Management blew through $67.9 million for wild horse management in the western lands. These are just a few of the hundreds of ways the federal government has chosen to spend billions of your dollars.
With budget talks always strained by gridlock, and real spending cuts rarely on the table, the national debt continues to grow out of control. Spending on silly studies should be low-hanging fruit for anyone looking to address the problem.