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Wisconsin Designates State Microbe 102

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that state legislators in Wisconsin raced against the clock to pass a bill designating Lactococcus lactis as Wisconsin's official state microbe. 'The first time I heard the idea, I thought, I've got more important things to do than spending my time honoring a microbe,' says Gary Hebl, a Democratic state representative who proposed the bill which, he says, would make Wisconsin the first state in the nation to grant such a designation, 'but this microbe is really a very hard worker,' added Hebl, referring to the bacterium supported by the Department of Bacteriology at UW — Madison used to make cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheese. The proposal faced only one detractor in committee ('the opponent was clearly lactose-intolerant,' says Hebl), and there was no sign of a last-minute campaign from other bacteria, so by evening, the Assembly had approved the measure, 56 to 41. In case there were any doubts about Wisconsin's priorities, a separate bill also awaits consideration in Madison, declaring cheese Wisconsin's state snack."

Comment Remember Ike's Warning? (Score 5, Interesting) 874

Remember Ike's warning about the Military-Industrial Complex? In that same speech, he also said:

the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.


Think about that the next time someone tries to discredit research because it was funded by an oil company.

Ike's warning has been borne out. Public policy has become the captive of a scientific-technological elite, who, unsurprisingly, are a bunch of dishonest frauds.

Comment In my experience, no. (Score 5, Insightful) 223

I've been part of two large, high-profile projects that cratered spectacularly (as I knew they would) and I consider it some of the most valuable experience of my career as a software developer. I've told that to interviewers a number of times. If they don't get it, then I don't want to work for them.

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