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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: jobs for all these new trainees to fill? (Score 5, Insightful) 149

by dciman (#49320731) Attached to: Obama To Announce $240M In New Pledges For STEM Education

What we really need is jobs for all of these new trains to fill once they graduate. Talk to any recent PhD in the biomedical sciences, engineering, etc, and ask them what they think of the push for greater STEM education efforts. They'll tell you it's basically BS. We can't place the number of graduates we currently have into even remotely well paying, long term, jobs.

Now, we might need more STEM education and training for more technical, lower level, jobs. But of course that's never how these programs are billed. It's not as sexy of a sell to parents and students! Instead we push people to go to graduate school, get a MS or PhD. Then dump them into a market with slashed education funding, so there are few prospects in the university system. Combine that with a large number of foreign applicants for postdoc and technician positions that are willing to work for MUCH less in terms of wages and you've got a disaster. US citizens do have a slight advantage in that most of the NIH/NSF funded pre and postdoc training fellowships/grants are only open to citizens. But, those are so small in number and highly competitive that it doesn't have a large effect.

We need to face the fact that we're really training WAY too many PhDs and even masters graduates in most of the STEM fields right now. It's a vicious cycle though. Profs want lots of PhD students because they are very inexpensive labor. Likewise with postdocs... for their training and amount of work they are expected to do... they are paid much less than minimum wage. Moreover, most profs will kick out postdocs after 2-3 years because of pay raises that some institutions mandate. It's just easier to dump the experienced person and higher in a new 1st year that gets paid 10k less, pump and dump... factory style.

There have been a number of really excellent articles written about this problem over the last few years. Science and Nature have both dedicate page space to the topic. Some suggest forcing researchers funded by NIH/NSF monies to be required to higher long term technicians to their labs and reduce graduate student/postdoc usage. Such actions would start to limit new graduate number, while at the same time providing employment for scientists that aren't interested or can't get a faculty position in academia or don't want to work for industry. A lot of people also think it would help lab productivity, as you'd retain talent and skill sets that were honed over years of work.

Comment: Lysozome used for a reason (Score 1) 155

by dciman (#48906993) Attached to: Scientists Determine New Way To Untangle Proteins By Unboiling an Egg

Lysozyme is a very robust protein found in hen egg whites. This process is going to be VERY difficult to apply to other proteins.

Even with purified lysozyme, you can boil it for extended amounts of time and it will refold on it's own just fine... in very short time scales. You can lyophilize it down to a powder, store it for years, add water... and it will refold and be active. (Lysozyme is an enzyme that degrades bacterial cell walls.)

 

Comment: SOSUS (Score 3, Interesting) 40

by dciman (#48326751) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Robert Ballard About Ocean Exploration

Loved the show you hosted a number of years about about the development and implementation of the SOSUS system. Can you speculate or comment on the types of next generation technologies that could potentially fill in some of the gaps we now have with the reduction in traditional SOSUS effectiveness against quiet(er) ships from other nations? Presumably we still have to keep track of other countries missile and attack subs, is that much harder now than in the past?

Thanks!

Comment: Re:Immediate Loss of 10% of the Market (Score 1) 730

by dciman (#47865085) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

I'm assuming you can just flip the watch "upside down" and the software will orient the display for lefties.

The digital crown and lower button would be switched for which one is on top. But, I that could be adapted to.

Or Apple might have a lefty version in the works. Since it's 4+ months out... it's all speculation.

Comment: beta beta beta (Score 1, Offtopic) 144

by dciman (#46188699) Attached to: A New Use For Drones: Traffic Scouting

Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this in a new tab. After seeing that, click here to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott

Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors - only discuss Beta
  http://slashdot.org/recent - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

-----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=56395415

Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&type=submission&id=3321441

Alternative Slashdot: http://altslashdot.org (thanks Okian Warrior (537106))

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"

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