Al Bregman's funding problem (Pierre Divenyi )

Subject: Al Bregman's funding problem
From:    Pierre Divenyi  <pdivenyi(at)MARVA4.NCSC.MED.VA.GOV>
Date:    Wed, 20 Sep 2000 11:34:35 -0700

Dear List, I thought I would put my one-dime's worth of wisdom into this animated exchange. As I perceive it, many of the arguments are missing the pragmatic point: How to convince the funding agency's decision making apparatus, which is, actually, a group of people with a law-mandated mission to fund solid research, that Al's on-line demo is, in fact, scientifically valid. Having worked for a government agency for a number of years I understand, without condoning it a bit, that each and every decision taken by an agency has one principal motivation: to have the behind of the person making the decision covered to the fullest extent. Since we cannot change this basic fact, we should accept it and collectively find a solution satisfying everybody's needs, i.e., (1) Al's needs for funding and for a positive outcome of his venerable efforts intended to make a potentially useful piece of his work readily available to anybody interested, (2) our need to have such a demo available to us for research and education, and (3) the government's decision maker person's need to appear clad from the waist down, i.e., to show his superiors a flawless performance of his duties (the lack of which would be devastating for his public servant career). If we accept this pragmatic view, then I would suggest that Al finds out EXACTLY what sort of review would satisfy the agency -- he could propose, in a letter to the agency, a number of alternatives, for which the list's lively exchange may have provided him with more advice than he needs. After he receives a clear answer, he should communicate it with us and we could pick up the exchange where it stands today. Implicit in this suggestion is that any further arguments on this issue, while extremely interesting and inspiring at least to me, will not help our friend Al Bregman solve his dilemma. Best, Pierre **************************************************************************** Pierre Divenyi, Ph.D. Experimental Audiology Research (151) V.A. Medical Center, Martinez, CA 94553, USA Phone: (925) 370-6745 Fax: (925) 228-5738 E-mail : pdivenyi(at) ****************************************************************************

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University