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Education

Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science 283

Posted by Soulskill
from the opportunity-cost dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Carolyn Johnson reports in the Boston Globe that in recent years, the position of postdoctoral researcher has become less a stepping stone and more of a holding tank. Postdocs are caught up in an all-but-invisible crisis, mired in an underclass as federal funding for research has leveled off, leaving the supply of well-trained scientists outstripping demand. "It's sunk in that it's by no means guaranteed — for anyone, really — that an academic position is possible," says Gary McDowell, a 29-year old biologist doing his second postdoc. "There's this huge labor force here to do the bench work, the grunt work of science. But then there's nowhere for them to go; this massive pool of postdocs that accumulates and keeps growing." The problem is that any researcher running a lab today is training far more people than there will ever be labs to run. Often these supremely well-educated trainees are simply cheap laborers, not learning skills for the careers where they are more likely to find jobs. This wasn't such an issue decades ago, but universities have expanded the number of PhD students they train from about 30,000 biomedical graduate students in 1979 to 56,800 in 2009, flooding the system with trainees and drawing out the training period.

Possible solutions span a wide gamut, from halving the number of postdocs over time, to creating a new tier of staff scientists that would be better paid. One thing people seem to agree on is that simply adding more money to the pot will not by itself solve the oversupply. Facing these stark statistics, postdocs are taking matters into their own hands, recently organizing a Future of Research conference in Boston that they hoped would give voice to their frustrations and hopes and help shape change. They ask, "How can we, as the next generation, run the system?"
Iphone

Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-mah-hashtags dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Over the past several days, we've been hearing reports about some amount of users noticing that their brand new iPhone 6 Plus is bending in their pockets. The pictures and videos shown so far have kicked off an investigation, and Consumer Reports has done one of the more scientific tests so far. They found that the iPhone 6 Plus takes 90 pounds of pressure before it permanently deforms. The normal iPhone 6 took even less: 70 lbs. They tested other phones as well: HTC One (M8): 70 lbs, LG G3: 130 lbs, iPhone 5: 130 lbs, Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 150 lbs. The Verge also did a report on how Apple torture-tests its devices before shipping them. Apple's standard is about 55 lbs of pressure, though it does so thousands of times before looking for bends. One analysis suggests that Apple's testing procedure only puts pressure on the middle of the phone, which doesn't sufficiently evaluate the weakened area where holes have been created for volume buttons. Consumer Reports' test presses on the middle of the device as well.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47656307) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

So, here's how this goes: nothing in your next comments matters until you back up or retract your claim that I have ever said impeachment of President Obama needs to happen, or in any way supported impeachment of President Obama. Anything else you say will be ignored until that happens. You need to learn to tell the truth, at least sometimes.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47654697) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

If we don't need an investigation

The Constitution says we don't. Stop being stupid.

Your original statement ... indicated ... that you are certain of the outcome of the coming election

You're a liar.

... and that once your fantasy comes true that the rest of congress would bend to your will before the new class even shows up.

You're a liar. I implied no such thing. You appear to be under the impression that a. the House is not currently Republican, or b. that if the incoming House wants to impeach, the outgoing House would not, or c. the Senate has anything to do with impeachment before the House actually votes for impeachment. a. and c. are obviously false, and b. is nonsense. Stop being stupid.

So now, you admit to lying about proving it.

You're a liar. I said no such thing. I simply proved you were wrong. And you still won't admit you were wrong. In fact, you repeated your lie, even after I proved it was a lie, that removal is a separate process and takes a long time.

Except for all the times when you said [impeachment] needs to happen

You're a liar. It's never happened.

So, here's how this goes: nothing in your next comments matters until you back up or retract your claim that I have ever said impeachment of President Obama needs to happen, or in any way supported impeachment of President Obama. Anything else you say will be ignored until that happens. You need to learn to tell the truth, at least sometimes.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47652965) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

You claimed it, you most certainly did not prove it.

Simply put: the Constitution doesn't require an investigation, therefore it isn't necessary. This is easy, even for you, to understand.

First of all, you are claiming to know the results of the upcoming elections

You're a liar, or you can't read. (I could go either way on that one.)

why would the house and senate just spontaneously decide to bend over?

I never implied they would. What are you blabbering about? (Note: this is a rhetorical question. I don't really care what you are blabbering about, because I am quite sure it won't make any sense, won't reflect reality, won't be honest, etc. As usual.)

You are operating in a land of pure fantasy and imagination when you pretend that somehow congress could get this done quickly.

You're a liar. I presented evidence: evidence that Clinton was impeached and tried in 5 months, evidence that removal can happen as part of the trial process and take no additional time, evidence that the Constitution requires no lengthy time period, evidence that no investigation is required, and so on. And make no mistake: all of this evidence is incontrovertible.

You have provided zero evidence. You simply asserted it would take two years or more, literally without any evidence at all.

you did not admit you were wrong about removal taking much more time and being a separate process, when I proved it doesn't and isn't

You claimed it but you did not prove it.

You're a liar. I gave you the example of the former judge, Alcee Hastings (D-FL), whose removal was not a separate process and took no additional time. That is proof. I didn't prove it wouldn't be a separate process and wouldn't take much more time, only that you were obviously wrong to say it necessarily would. And it makes sense that you were wrong, because you are completely ignorant.

Except for the times when you very plainly supported [impeachment].

You're a liar. I have never once supported impeachment of President Obama. You're simply making shit up, as usual.

I ... are [sic] really enjoying how you just discarded the demonstration of your list of claims as being pure fantasy by trying to pick apart just one of them to try to make yourself feel better.

You're a liar. That never happened.

Let's see. You don't admit you were wrong about removal being a separate process and taking a long time, despite incontrovertible proof being presented. You don't admit you were wrong about Obama refusing to enforce the employer mandate, despite it being truly uncontested. You don't admit you were wrong about me supporting impeachment of President Obama, despite the fact that you have no, and have never seen any, evidence I ever did.

And let's not forget that bizarrely stupid claim you made about a grand jury being required! That was a bona fide howler.

You just can't stop making shit up. It's pretty funny.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47650825) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

Which you already admitted, happened after an investigation.

And I also already proved no investigation here is necessary. There's nothing in the Constitution requiring it, obviously; and if the House feels that we know what we need to, then no investigation needs to be done. It's that simple.

No investigation will even start until the middle of 2015 at the earliest

You're a liar. Even if an investigation were done, it could start immediately in January. Actually, it could start this November, after the results of the Senate election are known. But it would likely begin in January.

Two, however, is the bigger problem you have. No president has ever been removed by impeachment.

That is not a problem with anything I said, no.

It is reasonable to expect it would take at least as long as the impeachment itself, if not longer.

You're a liar. No such thing is reasonable to expect. In fact, the only evidence we have is that removals are not complicated and do not take a long time. Granted, a President is not a Judge, but you've offered zero evidence backing up your assertion that it would take a long time. None at all.

And to compound your dishonesty, you did not admit you were wrong about removal taking much more time and being a separate process, when I proved it doesn't and isn't. You stopped asserting it, which is fine, but maybe you should at least admit you were lying when you said it?

assuming of course that your fantasy of a conviction

You're a liar. I never said I hoped for that, and, in fact, I do not.

You have no evidence to support a.

I have evidence that it does not need to take that long, which is more than your nonexistent evidence for your claim that it does need to take that long.

If b is true then why are you supporting impeachment?

You're a liar. I am not. I've said from the beginning of this thread that I oppose impeachment ("Impeachment is a stupid idea ...").

Not that I don't expect you to not lie, but still, that one was beneath even you. Which is saying something.

That is your opinion.

That is your opinion.

That is your opinion.

That is your opinion.

I am not going to cast pearls here and go over all the cases, but one of these in particular is very funny, because it just shows how completely ignorant you are. Not that we didn't already know, with your idiotic claims of impeachment taking years, of removal being a separate more lengthy process, and so on.

But you just said it is merely my opinion that Obama has refused to enforce the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

This fact is seriously not in dispute by anyone. It's a simple statement of fact. The law says it begins in 2014, and he signed an executive order pushing it to 2015. No one denies this.

Now, on this point I am actually on Obama's side, in that I think the President has the legitimate authority to not enforce punishments, as long as he does it without violating equal protection. So he cannot say, "I won't enforce the mandate against liberal companies," but he can say he won't enforce it against all companies. He can further take it on a case-by-case basis, if he chooses. It's basically prosecutorial discretion. The President can, and does, choose all the time which laws he will and will not enforce prosecution or punishment of. Suing the President for exercising his authority here, as Boehner is threatening, is legal nonsense.

Of course, you can impeach the President for anything you want to.

But, none of this takes away from the fact that Obama has refused to enforce the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Everyone knows it.

Similarly, it's in my view a proven fact that Obama has given subsidies to people in violation of the law, and Obama's own advisor said this is the case. The law does not allow subsidies for the federal exchange. The wording of the law is absolutely clear, the intent of the law is very well-established, and Obama knew all this and did it anyway. But Obama denies this; he does not, however, deny that he has refused to enforce the employer mandates, though he wouldn't use those exact words to characterize it.

You're just full of shit, as usual, at every turn.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47648667) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

There is absolutely no precedent for it having ever taken a short amount of time.

You're a liar. Clinton: five months. Johnson: 3.5 months. Yes, he was not removed, but that would not take an additional year or more.

Hence you need to look at the time between next February and January 2017, which is not enough time to impeach and remove the POTUS.

You're a liar. Even if we said it took a year to impeach Clinton (including investigations etc.), that would still leave about a year to remove him.

Anyone with even a slight grasp of reality knows this, which is why your dear representatives and senators have all but given up on it.

You're a liar. The length of time pretty much has nothing to do with why they won't impeach him, because a. it wouldn't take that long, and b. it's a bad idea regardless of the length of time.

It is an additional process and there is nothing quick about it.

You're a liar, on both counts. For example, when Judge Alcee Hastings (currently in the House of Representatives, D-FL) was tried by the Senate, he was removed as soon as the voting on the impeachment articles was concluded. They voted on 17 articles, each of which read, "Wherefore, Judge Alcee L. Hastings is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office." And upon being found guilty on several of those articles, the judgment read "It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Alcee L. Hastings be, and is hereby, removed from office." The end. They summarized the vote on the last article, summarized all the votes on all the articles, and then removed him from office, all within a few minutes. The end.

It can be as quick as the Senate wants it to be, and does not need to be a separate process.

You're lying. I explicitly addressed what makes this different in the Obama case: we don't need further investigation for Obama.

Except that you didn't.

You're a liar. I clearly wrote: "Clinton's impeachment -- which took longer than necessary -- took a mere five months from beginning of Starr's submission of data ... We don't need to go through lots of information for Obama; most of his "crimes and misdemeanors" are well-known."

So now bloggers are sufficient for "investigating"? I haven't seen a congressional investigation find anything impeachable.

"Impeachable" means whatever the House wants, and the very fact that Obama said the IRS was not corrupt, but it was ... that is impeachable. And we know he has broken the law (federal exchange subsidies), we know he's refused to enforce the law (employer mandate), we know he lied about Benghazi, we know he lied about the IRS not being corrupt. We know all of this.

But they could also impeach him for being black, or for being a lousy basketball player. They can impeach him for anything they want; they get to define what a "high crime" or "misdemeanor" is in this context. They won't, of course, but that's a separate point, since they never would anyway, not for any of these things. But they could, and that's the point, that you dishonestly deny.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47647095) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

Why are you accusing the AC of lying when you dislike what they say?

You're a liar. I didn't say you were lying because I dislike what you say; I say you were lying because you lied. You either know it can take less than two years, or you said it with reckless disregard for truth or falsity (which is also lying).

If you knew anything at all you would know that even once the house and senate convict the president, a new process has to begin in order to remove the president.

And that can happen in mere days.

None of this is quick.

It might be; it might not be. You're lying. Again.

Furthermore, you very casually glossed over the "submission of data" part. Starr actually did an investigation, and interviewed meaningful witnesses.

You're lying. I explicitly addressed what makes this different in the Obama case: we don't need further investigation for Obama.

It's similar to the Clinton situation, in that when Janet Reno and the federal court started the investigation process by asking Ken Starr to investigate what happened with Lewinsky, the point was not to impeach Clinton. They were just investigating what happened. Only after the facts came out did they decide to impeach. Similarly, we've been investigating -- formally through Congress some, but mostly just by watching what he actually does -- Obama for years now. As I already said, there's no need for an investigation of Obama.

Currently the GOP has a bunch of wild accusations against Obama and no meaningful evidence of any sort.

You're lying. In fact, every allegation the House has offered of Obama has been proven true. He has offered subsidies, in direct contravention of the law. He has refused to enforce mandates, in direct contravention of the law. His IRS has been targetting conservatives in particular, in direct contravention of the law. He lied about "the video" causing the Benghazi murders. All of this is proven true. None of it is seriously controversial at this point.

This means an investigation needs to be conducted (and funded) before an impeachment can even begin.

You're lying. Even if these things were not proven, no investigation would have to be done: the House could put it to a vote any time they wanted to.

You are also overlooking the fact that impeachment begins not with a trial in the house, but with a grand jury

I hope you're lying, because if you really believe that, it's pretty sad. It's simply untrue.

Interesting that you didn't give any examples.

Because I assume you're not a fucking moron. Should I? Boehner is threatening a lawsuit over Obama's nonenforcement of the employer mandate, and there's an existing lawsuit likely to be heard by SCOTUS over Obama's blatantly illegal subsidies to people in the federal exchange. There's more, but I assume you know at least some of the obvious ones.

Of course, I listed some above, and there's more.

It could not be a quick process

You're a liar. I already proved it.

Why do you so dislike the rule of law?

You're a liar. Nothing in the law -- in any law we have -- says impeachment should take a certain amount of time, or that it shouldn't be done quickly.

Would you have supported a "quick process" if the democrats had found the stones to try to impeach Bush when he was president?

Absolutely, yes. I would want it to take about one month, maybe two, tops. There's no reason for it to take longer. With Bush -- and there was no serious case against Bush, not like there could be against Clinton or Obama -- we already knew everything we needed to know. We knew there was no serious evidence of deception about the WMD. We knew the Congress backed Bush in invading Iraq. The House impeaching and the Senate convicting Bush for what they said he could do, or for things they spent years trying to prove but never could, would have been idiotic.

I've seen other possible articles against Bush, and all of them are stupid. For example, "suspension of the constitutional right of habeas corpus," which a. never happened and b. what did happen -- restrictions on statutory habeas corpus rights, not constitutional ones -- was passed by Congress.

But even if they had a case to make, fine. Make it quickly and Move On. It drags on the whole country, and whether you remove him or not, I want it to happen quickly, not slowly.

(which would be more than twice as long as the ordeal Clinton put on this nation).

How, exactly, were you personally hurt by his blowjob?

You're a liar: I didn't say i was personally hurt, and I didn't say "his blowjob" hurt the country. I said Clinton hurt the country, and he obviously did. He even admitted he did. And the way he did it -- obviously -- is through his lying under oath.

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47646541) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

Of course, this is just an academic exercise. The funny thing is that no federal legislators are publicly talking about actually impeaching Obama. None. The only people talking this up are a tiny number of non-legislators on the right ... and pretty much all of the Democrats.

It's sheer dishonesty (though not unusual, especially on the left).

Comment: Re:Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47646363) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

Impeachment is a stupid idea.

In the current situation, yes.

Right, that's what I meant.

It will likely give the country little benefit to shave a mere year or so off his presidency

No.

First of all, it will give the country no benefit at all.

Second of all, it won't shave a year off the presidency.

It could, obviously.

In fact it is pretty much certain at this point that even if your heroes ...

You're lying. No federal legislator is my hero.

... began impeachment tomorrow morning, they wouldn't be able to get the process all the way through to removal before January of 2017, it simply takes that long.

False. You're lying. The question is: why are you lying, when the evidence is so clear?

Clinton's impeachment -- which took longer than necessary -- took a mere five months from beginning of Starr's submission of data to the House (1998-09-08), to the Senate's acquittal (1999-02-12). We don't need to go through lots of information for Obama; most of his "crimes and misdemeanors" are well-known. It could very well be a pretty quick process, though it could also take up to a year (which would be more than twice as long as the ordeal Clinton put on this nation).

Actually, it takes about that long with a congress that does its job and does actual work. We have instead right now arguably the most dysfunctional congress in the history of our country, and they certainly aren't going to be able to pull this off any faster.

It's true that Harry Reid is the most obstructionist Senate Majority Leader in my lifetime, but any potential impeachment assumes that the GOP takes over the Senate and keeps the House, so that's quite obviously a nonissue.

Science

New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight 117

Posted by timothy
from the kid-tested-mother-shocked dept.
The synthesis of ammonia is one of the globe's most significant industrial applications of chemistry. PhysOrg reports the publication in the August issue of Science (sadly, article is paywalled) the description of a low-energy process to syntheize ammonia for fertilizer using just air, water, and sunlight, by zapping with electricity water bubbling through a matrix of iron oxide, and sodium and potassium hyroxide. Electricity isn't free, though — "Low energy" in this case means two-thirds the energy cost of the long-in-use Haber-Bosch process. Researcher Stuart Licht is getting some of the energy to run this reaction from a high-efficiency solar cell he's created, which creates hydrogen as a byproduct. Along with the elimination of the need to produce hydrogen from natural gas, the overall emissions are reduced quite significantly. The whole process also takes place at milder conditions, not requiring 450C and 200 times atmospheric pressure as the Haber-Bosch process does. ... But even with Licht's method, [University of Bristol electrochemistry professor David] Fermin points out that we are far away from being able to replicate nature's efficiency at converting nitrogen from the air to useful chemicals, which is done by nitrogen-fixing bacteria. "What is truly remarkable is that nature does it incredibly efficiently at low-temperature," Fermin added. And yet, if something more efficient can replace the Haber-Bosch process, it would lower the energy input of the production of one of the worlds most important chemicals and lead to a notable reduction in global CO2 emissions.

Comment: Re:It's worse than that, it's physics, Jim (Score 1) 49

by pudge (#47557827) Attached to: Just how much lying is acceptable in support of "Higher Truth"?

I don't see it. I see the article as saying more that Hitler was horrible, and Bush is even worse than that.

The reason why Bush is worse is because Hitler meant well. That's what it says. That's what I am talking about.

It's a false dilemma to assume this means the writer thinks Hitler's dishonorable acts were ok

I never said that. I said that in comparison to Bush, he's not as bad, which is what you agree he said.

Of course, as pointed out by both smitty and I, the writer is factually wrong that Hitler meant well.

And I agree with that.

I find your mockery wanting

I find your understanding of it to be wanting.

and it is more likely to backfire and make the left stronger.

No, it's not.

Taking weak and cheap shots makes your side appear petty and unable to field a better argument.

Mocking the left for taking cheap shots, by pretending to take a cheap shot, is an actual cheap shot?

Comment: Rule of law (Score 1) 58

by pudge (#47554741) Attached to: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party

I've been saying for years, leftists generally hate the rule of law. They just do. The rule of law means they are restrained from doing what they think is best. Therefore, they hate it. There is infinite evidence of this. They openly question whether we should follow the law at every turn, from the top (Justice Breyer and President Obama) to the bottom (pretty much every "occupy" protestor).

We actually had a majority of the federal legislature decry a Supreme Court decision that merely said -- in reference to Lily Ledbetter -- that you cannot punish a company under the law, unless it actually breaks the law. Not to mention the case that said the federal legislature cannot restrict political speech by a person or group of persons, just because they are organized a certain way under the law, that also got massive opposition from liberals.

Time and again, the left just demonstrates a very clear and palpable hatred for the rule of law. They would have us ruled by enlightened people who would be free to make up rules as they went along.

Impeachment is a stupid idea. It will likely give the country little benefit to shave a mere year or so off his presidency, and generate massive animosity that will increase the liklihood of another law-hater being elected.

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?

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