I've never seen Python used in scientific research, except in control scripts or GUI front ends.
I work for a company that does research in the physical sciences. Our scientists use a variety of languages; whatever tool fits the job, so to speak. We have clusters that run Fortran codes. We have folks who write mostly C++. We also have a lot of folks who use Matlab and Python. Those are great languages for exploring ideas-- you can write and modify code very quickly. Not to mention Matlab and SciPy have some really nice routines. Just because you haven't seen Python in scientific research doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
One of the issues is that scientists are not necessarily good software engineers. In fact they're usually not good software engineers. The scientists who are good programmers usually write highly optimized algorithms. There are also those who know nothing but Fortran and have no idea what OO is or how it might help them. For many projects, Python would be a huge time-saver. But they're mired in their ways and use Fortran for even just little I/O projects, like transforming data from ASCII to NetCDF, spending hours doing something that could be done in minutes in Python.
On my EEEPC 901, I installed stock Ubuntu 8.04 from a USB flash drive using UNetbootin, then added the array.org kernel (http://www.array.org/ubuntu/index.html). All hardware works, including accelerated video, wireless, etc.
Ubuntu 8.10 on the same netbook was horribly slow.
Close, but no cigar. Corporations may be people in some legal respects, but they sure as hell can't vote. It's people like us who give politicians their jobs, and it's people like us who can just as easily take them away.
Corporations are much more powerful than people: they are after all comprised of people, who can vote; they can "live" longer than people; they typically have much more money and resources than people, with which to lobby governments; and since there are generally many people working for a corporation, they have a lot more person-hours to spend on lobbying, etc. than a natural person.