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Comment Only very best survive, and they like it that way! (Score 3, Insightful) 283

It's simple math really. As someone above pointed out, a university professor will graduate about 15 PhD's. Since the number of professor positions isn't quickly increasing, most of those PhD's aren't going to become university professors. So they either languish as post-docs or have to find a different job (either in or out of science).

This is good for the universities who can get the cream of the crop as professors. (And considering that getting a PhD in science is no trivial matter in the first place, this is really the cream of the cream of the crop). The bad part is that we've lead a huge number of people down a very challenging path without telling them that their odds of success would have been similar if they chased their dream of becoming a rock star, instead. (OK, maybe not quite, but you get the point).

On top of that, if they are one of the lucky/hardest working/brightest ones who manage to get a university position, they then face a 5-10 trial period before they get tenure, during which 80 hour weeks are the norm as they teach classes, train grad students, get grants, and publish or perish. After tenure, it doesn't get much easier if they want to keep doing research and feed their graduate students.

The easiest way to lower the number of science grad students is probably simply to be honest with them, and let them know this going in, instead of telling kids and young adults how important it is that people go into science. But, if we did that... 1 - the current system would fall apart because grad students (and post-docs) form an extremely valuable class of cheap and highly skilled labor for science research at universities. 2 - The quality of research in general would go down dramatically, as some of the best and brightest possible scientists (i.e., the few who make it, now) would choose other fields.

Comment Re:"Extreme Ultraviolet" (Score 2, Insightful) 362

because "X-rays" is such an UGLY word....

There's actually some truth to this. Originally it was called soft x-ray projection lithography. The other type of x-ray lithography was a near contact shadow technique using shorter (near 1nm) x-rays. To distinguish the two techniques they changed the name from soft x-ray to EUV.

This was also done for marketing reasons. X-ray lithography had failed (after sinking a lot of $$ into it), while optical lithography had successful moved from visible to UV, to DUV. By calling it EUV it sounds like the next logical step, instead of being associated with the failure that was x-ray lithography.

(Actually, x-ray lithography didn't really truly fail. It does work, but optical surpassed it before it was ready, so it became pointless)

Comment Re:GM (Score 1) 835

They may be able to buy politicians and hide their GM labels, but consumers are still a force to be reckoned with, and thanks to the internet - more informed than ever.

That's kind of like saying that consumers are underinformed because there are no autism warning labels on vaccines. Anti-vaccine people aren't demonstrating that they're more informed than the rest of us - they're just demonstrating that they don't know WTF they're talking about.

I don't think that's the same. If the label said that GM foods were bad for your health or the environment, then you'd have a point. If all the label says is that the food is GM then it's up to the consumer to decide what that means to him/her. I don't see anything wrong with this. If the consumer wants to vote with his/her wallet to avoid GM foods, then great - companies will respond to the desires of the people by producing less GM food. If people would rather buy GM food, well, then I can't really blame the companies for giving people what they want. (In the absence of evidence of harm to health and environment).


New Estimates Say Earth's Oceans Smaller Than Once Believed 263

Velcroman1 writes with this snippet from Fox News: "Using lead weights and depth sounders, scientists have made surprisingly accurate estimates of the ocean's depths in the past. Now, with satellites and radar, researchers have pinned down a more accurate answer to that age-old query: How deep is the ocean? And how big? As long ago as 1888, John Murray dangled lead weights from a rope off a ship to calculate the ocean's volume — the product of area and mean ocean depth. Using satellite data, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute set out to more accurately answer that question — and found out that it's 320 million cubic miles. And despite miles-deep abysses like the Mariana Trench, the ocean's mean depth is just 2.29 miles, thanks to the varied and bumpy ocean floor."

Comment Re:Puritan pferd merde stops it in US (Score 1) 436

I really think the current schedule has a number of reasons: Sharing the buses between high school, middle school, and elementary school. High school students want to get out early for sports or jobs. Teachers probably also appreciate being done with classes earlier. I don't think Puritan culture has anything to do with it, at this point.

Comment Re:Loopholes (Score 1) 582

...Rich people of all religions seem to do it, but wealthy Jews seem to have a knack for it.

*(With very strong emphasis on "rich and arrogant". One of my closest friends from High School is a practicing Jew and I have no patience for antisemitism.)

Uhm, in your first sentence that I quoted you are, indeed, specifying that people who are Jewish are worse than other groups in this regard. One might consider judging a whole group like that to be prejudiced

I agree with the sentiment that you should get as you give, and that someone shouldn't expect donations if they aren't willing to give them. Dogma be damned. I don't think that Jews as a whole (or even just the wealthy ones) are any worse than other group in this regard.

As far as loopholes go, there is a cultural tradition for Jews to read, discuss, debate, and interpret the meaning of their laws. This can lead to some pretty bizarre practices, but how they follow their religion is up to them.

Comment Re:What a Tragedy and No Charges? (Score 1) 1343

Those cases are always heartbreaking. It's a mistake anyone of us could make. You multiply the large number of kids in child seats times the small likelihood of someone making this mistake and you are going to get a finite number of deaths a year. Most of the time the parents aren't being neglectful, they're just being human.

To some extent one could say the same about this case involving the gun. However, I don't think anything involving a gun (especially in a house with kids around) should ever be as routine as driving a kid around.

Comment Re:All glass is liquid (Score 1) 293

I suspect that the liquid is not actually silicon dioxide, but is a silicone that cures to silicon dioxide. Such flowable oxides (such as hydrogen silsesquioxane or HSQ) are often used in the semiconductor industry for a convienent planarizing layer.

Comment More info (Score 2, Insightful) 63

This is the same basic result as a previous article:

The structure in the current article is a ring resonator in this article. In the previous article the structure was a grating based resonator.

I found an article with better information:

Comment Re:Not a fundamentally new idea (Score 2, Interesting) 91

This is different than acousto-optics. There is no outside force here; all the movement is generated by the light itself. The miniscule amount of force from the light is enough to excite a resonance in the mechanical structure. The structure is both resonant to light and to acoustics. The two resonances are coupled because as the structure moves, the optical resonance shifts a little bit.

It is really cool work, but I haven't figured out what it'll be useful for.

Comment Re:But still... (Score 1) 710

I've had the whole house on CFLs for years now and they light *instantly*.

The standard fixture CFL's (A19 replacements) I've bought have all been pretty good. They start up fast (except in cold weather) with enough light output that I don't mind that it's not 100%. However, I've tried flood light replacements, and they all stink. I might as well light a candle for all the light they output when I turn them on. It takes a good couple minutes before they reach a reasonable light level, and another few minutes before they reach close to the advertised amount of light.

Comment Re:sigh (Score 2, Interesting) 251

Use the right tool for the job.

I agree -
2-D Platformers and most classic games -> d-pad, joystick, or keyboard (my preference is joystick, but I'm an old-timer)
3-D Platformers -> modern console (except Wii)
First person shooter -> mouse and keyboard
Real time strategy -> mouse and keyboard
Flight simulator -> joystick and keyboard (unless you spring for a more involved setup)
Driving -> steering wheel and pedals.
Rhythm -> unique controllers - here the controller basically is the game, and the games are differentiated primarily by the controller.
Wii -> Motion controllers like these are still in their infancy. Wii Sports, etc., hints at what's to come.

I second another post that comments that modern console controllers (Wii, not withstanding) are jacks of all trades, masters of none. They work reasonable well for a huge gamete of game types, but I think 3-D platformer is the only game type that I think they are the best choice for.

I also think that for most games, simpler controls are better. Fewer buttons, less complicated maneuvers all allow the game to picked up quickly by a large number of people. Some people really enjoy mastering complicated controls, and that's fine. I just don't think that complicated controls make games fun for the majority of people.

Comment Re:Poor perspective. (Score 2, Insightful) 383

"They" say being slightly overweight leads to a longer life than "normal" weight. Perhaps the reality is "they've" defined normal a little too low.

There's definitely some truth to that statement. In addition, there's a natural tendency for people to gain weight as they get older. In our youth obsessed culture thin=young=good, which may not actually be true.

I think the real reason having a little extra weight is beneficial is that it helps if you get seriously ill. If you are very sick, you might not be able to eat for weeks. Having that extra storage of energy is essential to fight off the illness and get better.

If you are seriously overweight, the added complications of carrying that weight outweigh (no pun intended) any benefit.

Comment Re:I choose... (Score 2, Insightful) 610

Show some evidence even for an effect in the brain which can't possibly be accounted for by everything we currently understand about it, and people might be more willing to believe your ludicrous claims.

Simple. The fact that I (and you, too) am aware of our existence. We can argue about free will, but perhaps more important is the perception of free will, or indeed any will at all.

(Not that I necessarily agree with the grandparent's ludicrous claims, either).

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