www.whyville.net Oct 20, 2013 Weekly Issue

Senior Times Writer

16 Days for Years Worth of Studies?

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As you might have heard on the news or in school, the government temporarily closed things such as national parks and monuments, due to the unwillingness of parties to come up with a cooperative strategy. However, the effect of just these two weeks went way beyond silly notifications on government websites and the inability to visit the Statue of Liberty.

Scientists who were conducting studies using federal aid were also forced to stop their activities during this break. Unlike national parks which can stop and restart with little issues, science studies are far too complex. Some of these studies that were forced on hold were continuations of studies going on for several years on end.

This mere 2-week break acts as a confounding variable (aspects that effect the outcome of an experiment, and make it less reliable). Going even beyond this, some of these studies required week-to-week or even day-to-day observations on the scientists' parts. And due to this, issues have arisen on whether they will be able to continue on from this short hiatus, or will have to scrap a whole year(s) worth of data and begin again.

From personal experience, I've come to unfortunately realize just how essential consistency is for scientific experiments. I've been caused needless frustration over silly things like janitors turning off the lights in a classroom and disturbing the consistency of light exposure. And due to this, I've had to replant and begin again. While my own mishap caused an extra couple of weeks of experimentation, this incident had nothing to do with the scientists and yet they bear the possibility they might have to restart years' worth of observations to retain their credibility.

Some of the mentioned studies that are affected from this shutdown are: studies in the Antarctic, Milky Way research, and CDC's monitoring of illnesses.

An event like this reveals just how in an intricate web, such as our government, can have an effect on other aspects that you might not even imagine. All actions have consequences whether they blatantly come to your mind, or are subtle like the mentioned scientific studies.

Author's Note: Source: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/10/18/shutdown-research-antarctica


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