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Comment Re:Tough Shit. (Score 1) 1259

It seems that anyone under the age of 45 is trying to find out a way to blame someone else for decisions they made or didn't make.

And it seems like everyone over 45 is pretending that education wasn't free when they were 20 ( at least in CA where I go to school... )

20 year olds are just trying to get by in the world they were born in - and like it or not college is a part of that in a way that it wasnt 30 years ago.

Comment Re:Time to man up dude! (Score 1) 253

Working 2 years and producing a strong negative result is good science, but it doesnt get you published in a good journal.

My point is that it is a general statement of the human condition that you have to be right.


But a strong negative result is being 'right'

If I set out to test the hypothesis that strawberries cause cancer, and I find that they do not, and I can quantify the extent to which they do not, then I have succeeded. But Nature probably still wont publish my paper that says that strawberries do not cause cancer. ( Please dont criticize me for this example - I realize someone who sets out to test the hypothesis that strawberries cause cancer probably shouldnt be a researcher - I just chose the example to make a point. A better example would be whether or not histone flavors are relevant in DNA accessibility )

My point is that it is a general statement of the human condition that you have to be right. You can work for two years and produce a strong negative result in any field of life. To create a product and release it, is, ultimately, an experiment. If I spend two years working on a product, then sell it, and find out x,y,z is wrong with it. Will I have learned a lot? Yes. But, it doesn't help pay the bills.

Of course, but the point of releasing a product isnt to determine whether or not it is a good product. It's to make a successful product. A better analogy would be a consulting firm that was hired to determine whether or not a product release will be successful. Like scientists, this hypothetical consulting firm could be 'right' whether or not they said the product would be successful. To extend the analogy, what if the firm got paid more if they said the product would be successful? Dont you think that would bias their results?

Indeed, if someone did spend two years researching something and then finding out that their model was wrong in some way,

It's important to make a distinction between a model being wrong, and it not telling you what you expected to see. If I model global warming, and my model's predictions dont line up with reality, I've failed at being a scientist and dont deserve to be published. However, if my model predicts that global temperatures are unrelated to CO2 levels and future observations validate my results, then I've been successful ( and a good scientist ) but I bet I wont get nearly as much stimulus money as if my model had predicted the opposite.

Comment Re:Time to man up dude! (Score 2, Insightful) 253

you actually have to treat your scientist well.

You talk about working two years on an experiment to find out your hypothesis is wrong? Cry me a river. There's tons of people that work for two years, five years, ten years, pitching in to build up a business, and then they'll get bumped out on the street because some jackass guy in bufukistan can do it cheaper.

I think that you are missing the gp's point.

ASAICT he is saying that good research jobs *are* cushy ( which they should be - it's important to reward competent researchers ) but that we dont reward good research properly.

Working 2 years and producing a strong negative result is good science, but it doesnt get you published in a good journal. So, when you embark on a two year project as a post doc to test a hypothesis and get a negative result, what do you do? Get another post doc, and be severely underpaid for another 2 years? Leave science altogether? Or fabricate results. None of those are good options for a good researcher and, until we as a society start rewarding people for good science and not just exciting results, we will continue to have people inflating the excitement of their work.

As far as your analogy goes, I think it would be better to say that someone works 2, 5, 10 years to develop a *profitable* business and then be kicked out on the street when someone else develops a less profitable business. Does that happen? Probably, but I'll bet that it's pretty rare.

Comment Re:Should have listened to Edison (Score 1) 859

Besides, AC is far more dangerous than DC.

Really? Aren't you more likely to clench on to a DC source? On the other hand, I've heard that AC is more likely to stop your heart.

There's a reason why they use it in electric chairs.

Maybe because the grid is AC and they will both kill you?

Now let's see, who disagrees with me?

I guess that's me :-)

The bigger issue in the AC/DC debate seems to be transmission. Is converting to DC at the last transformer really cost effective?

Comment Re:Very sloppy, misleading headline (Score 1) 584

You're claiming that there are "wild assumptions", something I see no evidence of.

Well, he calculated nuclear CO2 emissions by estimating the amount of CO2 that will be released when terrorists make a nuclear weapon from fissionables stolen from a (new) American power plant and set it off in a city and the city burns, releasing CO2. I would personally classify that number as being based upon at least a couple 'wild assumptions'.

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