Geologist Kerry Sieh introduced a new unit of measure yesterday during a widely talked-about speech on earthquake preparedness.
One rumsfeld, he explained, equals $100 billion per year, roughly what the U.S. has spent on average per year during the 4-year Iraq war.
Roughly $2 million--or 20 microrumsfelds--has been spent in recent years on preparing infrastructure to withstand earthquakes for the roughly half-billion people who reside between Iran and Sumatra and live in grave danger of earthquakes. Sieh, of Caltech, says he's being generous on that total, and just a few "fractions of a rumsfeld" spent by the U.S. each year could spread much good cheer for American foreign policy. "For heaven's sake, let's think about our priorities here," he told me today.
Science's Newsblog provides below some additional U.S. government sustainability expenditures in rumsfelds:
* Proposed 2008 U.S. spending on applied solar energy research ($148 million) = 1.48 millirumsfelds
* Proposed 2008 U.S. spending on nuclear nonproliferation ($1.67 billion) = about 2 centirumsfelds
* Total 2004 developed nations aid to developing countries (about $25 billion) = a quarter-rumsfeld
* Amount per year, according to the United Nations, that some 1.1 billion people earn ($730) = $7.3 nanorumsfelds
And, in case you're wondering:
The average National Science Foundation grant size ($150,000 per year) = 1.5 microrumsfelds.