Attacks on NSF Funding
2-4 Dec 2010
Eric Cantor ( R ), the incoming House majority leader, is asking people to look for ‘wasteful’ National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. In his view, this would include projects that can be found using the keywords “success, culture, media, games, social norm, lawyers, museum, leisure, stimulus”. Cantor asks people to search for these keywords on the NSF website, make note of the offending award numbers, and submit them to a web-based form. This is an instance of so-called “crowd-sourcing” being used against the very researchers who are key in developing and studying this phenomenon.
I have written a simple script to upload your own “suggestions” to this form. These suggestions consist of texts such as Alice’s Adventues in Wonderland, Capital, Communist Manifesto, and works by De Sade. Additionally, the uploads come from referers such as “http://let.the.air.force.have.a.bake.sale.to.raise.money.gov” and “http://learn.about.research.before.you.cut.what.you.dont.know.gov”. The project follows in a long line of similar interventions such as the FloodNet by EDT and b.a.n.g. lab.
Note: the script that processes the results of the form on Cantor’s site is actually hosted on the personal site of Matt Lira, well-known technical operative of the GOP. Thus this script never connects to any .gov website.
The script and accompanying text files can be downloaded here. All you need is python 2.5 or higher to run. Comments at the top of the file explain any changes you might want to make.
Update: see the excellent post by Micha Cárdenas on Occupy Everything regarding the ongoing wikileaks situation and its relationship to student protests around the world.
Update 2: I’ve updated the code to be able to use Tor; if you have Tor running, just set TOR = True at the top of the file.