The argument for funding NPR is that they can focus in greater depth than commercial news sources, giving listeners more background and context around important stories. This leads directly to a better informed electorate (so goes the argument) which is a public good.and then goes on to show that this isn't true.
When Discovery ended her mission yesterday, I went outside to hear and feel the double sonic boom all returning shuttles give - and I realized I'm going to miss this. From about 1986 until 1997, Mrs. Graybeard worked up there; starting on expendable vehicles and then over to work on the shuttle solid rocket boosters. After Challenger (she was outside watching - I was working through lunch and watching on TV) they had an open house at the KSC for family; Discovery was on the pad for the return to flight operation, and we got a good look at her. On two separate other open houses years later, I stood underneath Discovery. I almost could have reached out and touched her, but I didn't. Still, I got up close and personal with Discovery like no other member of the STS "fleet". Yeah, she was getting to look like a used space ship Han Solo might fly, but I'm going to miss her.
As I mentioned in my riff on corporate wellness programs, I work for a major aerospace corporation. Like many, we have a big "diversity" program. I can't help but feel like they're going about it all wrong; they emphasize what we look like, or what we eat, not who we are. For example, we have a very Indian guy in our group, with a very Indian name, heavy accent, did his undergrad work in India and MSEE in the states. I have more in common with him than 99% of the people outside the building. Last week, I was on TDY in the factory. I was the only "old white guy" in the place, but I had more in common with those technicians and younger engineers, like the young Latina, than with the vast majority of administrative workers, marketing people, HR folks and other non-technical workers - as well as the 99% of the public outside our buildings. Diversity isn't white guys and Indian guys or "smart Latinas": it's engineers and art majors.