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Comment Re:Costs of education? (Score 1) 551

>Paying professors high salaries [slashdot.org] working for 9 months of work (most professors do not teach during the summer, like teachers)

I am one of these professors you're talking about. We are paid for nine months of work. If I want to get paid for the summer months I have to bring in grant money or contract work. (And the University skims off 52% of whatever I bring in.)

>massive [re]construction

Construction work at a public University is almost never paid for from the University's budget. New buildings are capital investments paid for by the state, typically through a bond initiative.

>every state school blows their budget at the end of the fiscal year

Do you understand how government contracting works? No state budget is going to let you hold onto money left in your allocation. You have to use it or you lose it. And risk having your budget cut in the future because you don't "need" it. This is perhaps something that could be changed, but it would be a massive change to the way every government budgeting process works.

Comment Re:Costs of education? (Score 1) 551

Exactly correct. I teach at a state University, and the amount of money that we receive from the state is being cut every year by 10s of millions of dollars. Those costs have to recovered somewhere, and tuition is the fastest stopgap, along with incentives for early retirements and a some staff layoffs. It's at the point where our University is making rumblings about going private, since state bureaucracy is inhibits all kinds of initiatives - like the ability to invest in research resources that should grow the University's income through federal grants in the long term.

Classic Games (Games)

Bethesda Releases Daggerfall For Free 80

On Thursday, Bethesda announced that for the 15th anniversary of the Elder Scrolls series, they were releasing The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall for free. They aren't providing support for the game anymore, but they posted a detailed description of how to get the game running in DOSBox. Fans of the series can now easily relive the experience of getting completely lost in those enormous dungeons. Save often.

Comment Re:Hmm. (Score 2, Informative) 245

Actually, this is technology several years out of date. This is how we would have done it when I was in grad school, ten or so years ago. Nowadays, it would be amazingly trivial, *IF* the biosynthetic pathway has been elucidated, which is the first step above. A quick search on PubMed says it either hasn't been done (complex plant biosynthetic pathways is a tricky subject for study), or else it hasn't been reputably published. Or it's been repressed through regulatory mechanisms I'm not familiar with.

Personally, I'd probably just go ahead a sequence the cannabis genome. Today, you could probably do this for less then $150,000. Which sounds like a lot, but a few years ago this was a magnitude more expensive. A few more years and who knows? If you're able to do a $1000 human genome at some point in the next few years, you could do a plant for a similar price. Then you conduct bioinformatic analysis of the sequence to find the right genes. Difficult, but FAR easier and less expensive than protein purification.

If the pathway genes were known, it would only take a few thousand dollars to synthesize DNA that encodes the pathway, which could be tailored to whatever organism you want to express the pathway in. I'd try baker's yeast first. The organism is well understood, and you could make beer or bread.

All of this could be done today with a computer if you had the bioinformatics knowledge to do the analysis, and the sequencing and synthesis through commercial companies with a credit card. How do I know? I do this with antibiotic pathways.

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