I got a curious email this morning, from a person asking me to delete a comment from his address on my post about the grant writing class contest.  It had been posted by someone else posing as him.

I checked it out, and the comment hadn’t gone onto the blog yet (note to spammers: give it up, I don’t approve your spam comments, they just get deleted).

Here is part of what the malicious comment said:

Writing and applying for grants is akin to begging…help me in becoming a Master Begger!(sic)

Ok, a few things to our uneducated, malicious, spammer.

First, your ip address was recorded, and I know exactly which machine this was posted from.  In many countries it is a felony level crime to impersonate someone else.

Second, you show an inexcusable lack of education in these days of google.  For example, wikipedia says:

Begging (or panhandling) is to request a donation in a supplicating manner.

But that’s not the whole story.  Begging is asking for money without giving anything back.  There is no value exchanged, there is only value given (to the beggar).  It is not an equal exchange.

I know some uneducated people think that grant writing is all about asking for “free money” so that you can sit on your butt and do nothing with it (or take a vacation).  People who think that are dumb enough to equate it with begging.

But if you think that a “beggar” is going to get grants, choke on this: in the USA right now, only about 1 in 10 grant proposals to NIH get funded. In many other countries, it is even harder than that. Do you think that any panel of serious scientists is going to send grant money to someone who writes a proposal that says “please, please give me money for my research, I really really need it?”  Do you think they’re going to take away the chance of someone else to do great science, in order to send money to you, just because you’re pathetic?

If you think that, you’re smoking crack. Quit it with your bad habits.

The only science I know of that gets grant funding these days is that which offers  the promise of exceptional value in return for the funding. (hey, I just gave away one of the “secrets” of grant writing. take note.)

If you know of institutions that respond to “begging,” please, let me know.  I want some of that free money so that I can sit on my butt too (actually, I have too much energy to sit around on my butt posting malicious comments and smoking crack like our spammer – I would use the money for something useful, like actually helping people).

So, spammer, the joke is on you.  Keep going through life thinking that someday you too can get to a point where people will be giving you “free money” just because you’re a good beggar.  See where it gets you (to your local street corner).  Then look around and compare your results to the other people who actually work hard to give some value back to the world in return (people who will have houses and jobs).

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