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And NIH staff are not permitted to work from home or office so there is no communication about how to proceed. The National Institutes of Health: Sorry, we're closed. It's weird.
At first I was mildly amused. Politicians are playing games again and shut down the government, I thought. THAT is kind of amusing, right? But now after living with it for day, it's sinking in and I find it absolutely absurd. The land of the free: closed.
If the government ever does re-open, I think I might put together a proposal under Obama's $100 million dollar BRAIN Initiative to figure out what neurological disorder is affecting U.S. politicians. I'll title it, The Disconnectome: The Neuropathogenesis of Political "Thinking" in the United States. A major question that I will propose to address is whether the disorder is congenital, thus causing diseased individuals to seek government office, or whether it is acquired once they are sworn in. My a priori hypothesis is that it is congenital. My evidence, of course, comes from campaign data--speeches, sound bites, ads, debates--clearly it is a pre-existing condition.
I have some theories about mechanisms as well. I suspect it is an auditory feedback deficit. Listening to some of the talking heads, I'm convinced they can't hear what they are saying. One may wonder whether it is a generalized perceptual deficit because it seems that they don't hear what others are saying either. But in fact they DO understand what others are saying. The evidence for this clear: they selectively avoid direct responses to questions. If they didn't understand the questions, statistically they should actually answer one, at least once in a while.
I have a plan for eradication and prevention of the disease too. Stage 1 is to ban any U.S. politician who holds office during a government shut down. This is a clear sign of an epidemic and quarantine is the only viable option. So please don't re-elect anyone. It is for their own good. Stage 2 is a simple screening questionnaire. It only has one question:
1. Are you interested in running for U.S. government office? Yes/No.
If they answer yes, they probably have the disease and should not run. We need to nominate individuals with absolutely no interest in governing. It is our only hope for electing a competent official.