Daniel W. Drezner

We Are Cancelling the Financial Apocalypse!! As for Other Apocalypses….

Sure, it needlessly cost billions of dollars, and it appears that the perpetrators of this month’s deadlock have learned almost nothing from the experience… but the federal government has been reopened!  The United States will not default on its debt!  Financial Armageddon has been averted!  Woo-hoo!!  Time to turn it over to Idris Elba: Sure, ...

Sure, it needlessly cost billions of dollars, and it appears that the perpetrators of this month’s deadlock have learned almost nothing from the experience… but the federal government has been reopened!  The United States will not default on its debt!  Financial Armageddon has been averted!  Woo-hoo!!  Time to turn it over to Idris Elba:

Sure, the United States will have to revisit this topic come January, but I think we can safely say that we averted the apocalypse for 2013 once and for— say, what’s this New York Times story by David Herszenhorn?

Russian officials on Wednesday retrieved the largest fragment so far of a meteor that exploded in February over the city of Chelyabinsk, but as divers and a mechanical winch lifted it from the bottom of a lake, the rock broke into three pieces, and then broke the scale — literally — when all together it weighed in at more than 1,250 pounds….

As it was recovered, the meteorite fragment — which Russian scientists have estimated is more than 4.5 billion years old, or about as old as the solar system — was caught in a tangle of colorful ropes and cords, almost like an old piece of furniture tied to the top of a station wagon….

Scientists said that the dark, glassy surface of the rock, known as a fusion crust, and indentations on its surface were the classic markings of a meteorite and seemed to confirm its origins. Officials said it would be analyzed and then placed in a regional museum.

Fools.  Bureaucratic fools!!  As a certified zombie expert, I have to caution that the above story is a standard prologue to about, oh, one-third of all post-apocalyptic narratives.  So this meteorite is a possible vector to trigger… um… something pretty bad happening across the Eurasian landmass. 

Well, fortunately, with the federal government reopened, our country’s best scientific minds will now be fully capable of detecting any emergent epidemiological trends from this foolhardy act by the Russian– wait, what’s this Politico story by Darren Samuelsohn? 

The government may finally be on a path to reopening, but the shutdown’s effects will linger for scientists studying everything from climate change to cancer….

Public health officials warn the country is still “flying blind” for the start of the flu season.

“Even if the government opens tomorrow, a significant amount of damage has been done,” said Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, a nonprofit advocating for science-minded agencies. “This isn’t about a few people who can’t go to the labs like they’re on vacation or something. The whole research enterprise depends on operating 24/7.”

Thinking more of the big picture, there’s also the little matter of keeping the best and brightest researchers working in, and for, the United States or seeing them flee to the private sector. It’s a realistic expectation after nearly three years of stop-and-go budget battles resulting in sequestration and now the cruel reality of laboratories ordered to keep the lights out.

“Would you go work for someone where the funding is squishy?” said Georges Benjamin, executive director at the American Public Health Association….

Even with Congress moving toward an agreement to reopen the government after a 16-day lapse, several scientists said they are concerned that the same problems will emerge by the next budget deadline in mid-January. Another funding lapse could mean flushing away years of work in the natural sciences, in particular any real-time research dealing with astronomy or the environment.

“From a research point of view, when observing something in nature, you can’t go back and ask it to do it again,” Cicerone said, noting federally funded radio astronomy facilities in Virginia and New Mexico that have been closed for the shutdown and couldn’t feed into a global network of observation systems.

I’m sure this will all amount to nothing.  Still, if I was the CDC, I’d elevate this month’s Zombie Threat Level from Peachy-Tan to Gray. 

Developing….

 Twitter: @dandrezner

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola