Take a look at this headline:
"Astronauts Tinker with Urine to Water Machine"
It is part of this article: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081123/D94KUSRO0.html
The big three automakers are going bankrupt. Citibank was just bailed out to the tune of 20 billion dollars. The credit markets are frozen. The US has taken control of major financial institutions, deflation looms, and the stock market has lost over 30 percent of its worth.
Yet, we still have the money to launch the space shuttle to infinity and beyond to change the oil on the International Space Station.
For a point of reference, the launch alone costs $750,000,000.00. Now add to that the nifty and can't do without Urine-to-Water machine, don't forget the lost tool bag that cost almost a million, and it adds up to over a billion dollars.
Do we really need to turn urine into drinking water? Maybe in the future, say after they learn how to turn the ocean into potable water, but now? When we can't print money fast enough to bail out anyone who asks?
This all trickles down to health care. The NIH will have a budget freeze, which means less money for research. Less money for research means any gains made will be put on hold. This affects each of us. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, all fall through the cracks.
But heck, who needs a better, targeted chemotherapy? Who needs an agent superior to insulin? Who needs a way to stop cardiac arrest? When we can proudly sit back and say, heck, we can turn that urine into a nice, cold drink of water.