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Without a government space program I think it would be unlikely that we would have satellites by now. The necessary technology developed over decades because the government payed for it even when there was no commercial application for the technology.

The article is right that certain things get discovered multiple times, but often a discovery doesn't lead anywhere and it doesn't spread. Science provides a way for discoveries to be stabilized. Knowledge get's written into textbooks.

Hypnosis is a good example where we don't have good science. Dave Elman talks in his book about how they did open heart surgery without anesthetic under his watch in cases where they could give the patient any anesthetic.
We lacked a science that systematized the process in a way that makes that knowledge spread.

We have a lot of alternative medicine treatments that claim to strengthen the immune system.
Out of Ayuvedic medicine there the belief that daily tongue cleaning helps the immune system. I would appreciate a science that tests whether claims like that are true.
The treatment happens to be old, but to be useful for society we have to know whether it actually works.

There would be little commerical gain from knowing the answer to that question. It would make much more sense to fund a study on the question than do basic research where there's hope that it yield patents that big pharma can use.






Kickstarter seems like a better way to fund these sorts of health sciences (hypnosis, scraping, ..)

While I don't think they would compete well against other health science research - I don't think anyone would mind if a group of people funded it. www.nusi.org used a kickstarter like model against an entrenched opposition.


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