You may (or may not) have heard that recently SETI had to mothball it's Allen Telescope Array. Apparently it would cost $2.5 million to keep it operational. That's a lot of money, especially in these hard economic times, right?
It depends on what's important to you. I recently saw a bumper sticker that read something to the effect of "we never have enough money for education, but we always seem to have enough money for war". Think about that. The swath of Republicans we just voted into office (due in no small part to the billions of anonymous dollars filtered through SuperPACs made possible by the Citizen's United ruling) have been busy slashing funding left and right. They claim we can't afford these things. Things like health care for all Americans, NPR, PBS, Planned Parenthood, and our educational system. I'm watching my sister facing the possibility of being fired and forced to re-apply for her job as a way of "improving our educational system". What a crock. Meanwhile, we're involved in a third war now. We don't pay our soldiers much, but damn do we buy them some expensive toys.
Microcosmologist has put together a little infographic that shows, quite clearly, where our priorities lie. (there's more after the picture)
Is this stuff important? Is it worth the money? I defer to the great Carl Sagan.donating to SETI, and remember this next time you vote.