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Books Canada Government Science

Canadian Health Scientists Resort To Sneaker Net After Funding Slashed 168

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hide-the-books-in-fred's-basement dept.
sandbagger writes "Health Canada scientists are so concerned about losing access to their research library that they're finding workarounds, with one squirreling away journals and books in his basement for colleagues to consult, says a report obtained by CBC News. The report said the number of in-house librarians went from 40 in 2007 to just six in April 2013. 'I look at it as an insidious plan to discourage people from using libraries' said Dr. Rudi Mueller, who left the department in 2012. 'If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used.' This is hardly new for Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Over the Christmas holidays, several scientific libraries were closed and their contents taken to the dump."
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Canadian Health Scientists Resort To Sneaker Net After Funding Slashed

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  • by surfdaddy (930829) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:16PM (#46019651)
    ...are we batshit crazy. What the FUCK ever happened to science? We are descending back into the dark ages...
  • by bmo (77928) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:19PM (#46019679)

    'If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used.'

    So we have "starve the beast" in Canada now.

    Spiffy. Not.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:21PM (#46019697)

    Science involves education. Educated masses are not useful to political parties.

  • by Slur (61510) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:32PM (#46019795) Homepage Journal

    It's become something of a crusade of mine lately to promote reason, spurred on by stories like this, the rise of scientific illiteracy, and the destruction of culture through a dumbed-down commercial media. I'm not down with any specific ideology, in fact I promote rising above ideology to a more anthropological and phenomenological view of humanity and nature, and a faithful application of empiricism to all things we call "knowledge." Too many people invoke the chemical feeling of "belief" just to get high on it, and have no interest in the hard won truth which comes by skeptical inquiry. Too many of us are willing to swallow conspiracy theories that fit our overblown narratives of authoritarian control, as well, and in that manner also become stupid with time-wasting and untenable beliefs.

    I urge people to get into understanding things as they actually are, practicing their arts and exploring the sciences with enthusiasm, focusing on results rather than just pure jollies. Religion, ideology, and self-deception are insidious traps that can hold people for a lifetime, and are very hard to fight against because people are so inured. But fight we must.

  • by worldthinker (536300) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:37PM (#46019817)

    If the people of Canada think this is horrid and despicable, they only have to look into the mirror to see who is responsible for electing a Tory government. Next thing you know, your precious universal health care will be under siege. Wake up neighbors!!!

  • by plopez (54068) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:41PM (#46019851) Journal

    Wasn't there some Austrian dude who like burned a bunch of books and restricted what would be taught in schools to only support his totally bogus regime?

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:43PM (#46019865)
    Why do electorates keep falling for this "Government doesn't work! Vote for me, and I'll PROVE it!" crap?
  • by neiras (723124) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:44PM (#46019869)

    Used to be, we wanted to know everything about everything. Now it seems there are powers out there that want a select few to keep their knowledge, and everyone else should know nothing.

    This. The whole "knowledge is power" thing isn't just a platitude. The rich and powerful have realized that the lower classes are beginning to figure out a little too much for their liking. I think the Internet upset the balance a bit and gave 'em a scare until they realized that Facebook was the great pacifier.

    Mobile tech, internet addiction, social media, health care costs, mortgages, unpaid internships and student loan debt... control the population by enforcing a giant wealth/knowlege/skills/health/opportunity gap. Let the plebs smash themselves to bits trying to get ahead.

    Can't fix the system by playing a part in it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:47PM (#46019893)

    You get the best government you deserve

    Stop it. Just stop with this. Does an average person have any control over a government? No. They can write letters or vote for whatever paid-off politician they wish.

    That does not mean they are getting what they deserve. They are merely getting what people with power and influence want. Nothing more.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:50PM (#46019903) Homepage

    Who would benefit from the destruction of knowledge in Canada?

    A government who refuses to make evidence-based decisions, and instead likes to believe their ideology defines reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:11PM (#46020051)

    Things like this have been going on for some time in Canada. For example, world class science was being done at the Experimental Lakes Area, see section on it's defunding

    I'm from Buffalo NY (USA) and we recently spent a weekend with some scientist friends in Toronto -- they took us to a lecture about this major problem. One of the conclusions was that scientists (in Canada) aren't used to political action, so this government move has (to some extent) blindsided them.

  • Alternate Headline (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CauseBy (3029989) on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:36PM (#46020249)

    Alternate Headline: "Public Agency Finds Less Expensive Way to Do The Same Job; Saves Taxpayer Dollars".

    This is what people voted for. It's a democracy. If people want the more expensive solution which does the same thing, then they'll vote for that instead.

  • by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:56PM (#46020395) Journal

    That's fine so long as you're telling people how things are, but very limited if you want to think about how they should be. The problem with abdicating from advocacy is that there are plenty of people without your knowledge, understanding or benevolence who are prepared to fill in the gaps for you. This is why 'promoting societal good' is rightly now a key aspect of scientific endeavour.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:08PM (#46020483)

    You might want to read up on the election fraud that occurred here. Google: "2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal", aka the Robocall Scandal.

    The Cons worked hard at getting that swept under the rug. For any act like this that politicians get caught in, you can bet there's probably a dozen more they pulled off without the public knowing.

  • by dryeo (100693) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:46PM (#46020713)

    You're thinking of the closures of the fisheries libraries over the holidays. This is the closure of the health libraries. The other year it was the closure of a bunch of research stations. It's the typical right wing agenda, cut taxes slightly so business doesn't have to give cost of living wages, increase spending so the government is running in the red (they came into power with a pretty good surplus) then cut those parts of government that don't agree with their ideology and give lots of money to their favourite industry, oil. Bonus with all the government re-purposed to supporting the tar business they can claim that they're spending more on science then ever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:03PM (#46020821)

    To paraphrase Sid's Alpha Centauri:
    Beware those who would deny you knowledge,
    For in their hearts they dream themselves your master

  • by matbury (3458347) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:03PM (#46020829) Homepage
    Looks like "... was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual..." is going to be a new meme. First George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four, now Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451.

    Down the memory hole!
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @12:54AM (#46021555)

    They digitized a few pages as that was all there was funding for.

    Screw funding. What are grad students for if not the massive man-hours required to simply photograph or scan every page? Where is ANY sign of a volunteer effort to preserve this data?

    Lets say it had not been thrown out. What about Fire? Flood? Library of Alexandra mean anything to anyone? Never has the "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it" been more percent. To blame funds alone on letting this data slip away is absolving from blame those in charge of caring for the data.

    Sorry, but I simply can't get worked up over the loss of data those closest too apparently never lifted a finger to digitally safeguard.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @06:08AM (#46022665)
    Funny thing is there's a travelling exhibition called "lost treasures of Kabul" which is made up of stuff the museum workers hid from their own government to prevent it from being destroyed. I wonder how the Canadian government would like that comparison?
  • by chihowa (366380) * on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @11:56AM (#46025595)

    Because he seems to be confusing "We're powerful enough to avoid facing the consequences of our actions" with "Because we're so powerful, our actions lack any undesirable consequences".

    In the short term, and from his perspective, there is no difference between the two claims. Over the long term, though, this position is unsustainable and will lead to the fall of his "empire". Pretending that you change reality by sheer force of will and political power doesn't actually change reality.

    Either he isn't concerned with the long-term consequences of his actions (maybe because he'll be dead by the time that they start to come due), in which case he's a self-centered asshole, or he genuinely thinks that politics determine reality, in which case he's a lunatic.

    What's unreasonable about those claims is that they are the same power-drunk ravings that have brought down every empire that has ever existed.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg