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Comment Re:Why homosexualism but not incest? (Score 1) 426

True that a prevalent trait is not necessarily beneficial outside of the conditions that led natural selection to favor it. You muddied the salient fact about sickle cell, as it is very helpful to survival to have one copy (which is of course far more prevalent) in an area of endemic malaria. Sickle cell is decidedly not helpful outside of malaria-prone areas, however, climate change is expanding the distribution of malaria-hosting mosquitos farther into temperate regions, so there will be more fun for all of us.

Comment Re:There you have it (Score 3, Funny) 672

Yes it's God keeping you on the ground; specifically the loving (and delicious) tendrils of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Like, ID His role in gravity is merely an alternative "theory". This contention is proven by the more frequent touching by FSM (pesto be upon him) that made past humans shorter than today. Now there are too many of us to be receive as frequent touching (except for midgets, who are his favorites, and have clearly been pushed down more by the loving, al dente tendrils). RAmen.

Comment Re:wow - what a huge sample size of 130 (Score 1) 1367

-keep in mind that heating with wood (in an airtight stove -not an open fireplace) is a near-carbon-neutral option for staying warm, for those who can do it. I just finished splitting and stacking a cord of oak, which will easily heat my smaller, well insulated home for the remainder of the winter (also uncharacteristically mild in the mountains of California). The carbon released from burning wood (from dead trees) would have been released through decomposition or forest fire anyway.

Comment Science is not about belief or disbelief (Score 1) 1367

Amen. The only part of climate change worthy of belief is belief in the process of Science, the finest intellectual achievement of mankind for determining objective reality. One should neither believe nor disbelieve in climate change; it's not an article of faith. A rational person, however, cannot help but accept the reality of climate change and the strong probability that a large proportion of warming is anthropogenic, based on the overwhelming weight of data and peer-reviewed publications. Leave faith to the science deniers. After all, it's all they have.

Comment Re:Degrees are about worthless (Score 1) 314

I applied for (my current) government job, and my application was rejected because the HR staff did not bother to read my stated experience, which met the qualifications. Instead, the HR person looked at the first option for qualification (something like 2 yrs. in classification A3 to qualify for position B) and threw mine in the "no" pile. I contacted the person and walked her through how to do her job and was later hired because I was far more qualified (experience from outside the agency). Moral of the story; an idiot will likely be screening applications. Make sure your resume contains all of the keywords in the required qualifications (the Feds. call these KSAs, for Knowledge Skills and Abilities). Once you get through the filter, hopefully you will be able demonstrate your value to the actual boss in the interview.

Comment Re:education is only useful for jobs (Score 2) 314

Having worked as a TA, autonomously conducting (and often writing) lectures and labs during my MS and Ph.D. for somewhere around $1K/mo. of pay (and state U. tuition waiver), I find your statement that undergrads "make up for grad students...especially if they teach," beyond ridiculous. Graduate students are the slave labor of the education system. I'm confident from your statement that you don't know where money for "expensive equipment" at a "research university" comes from -hint; it ain't from tuition -they're called research grants. That auto-sequencer was paid for by NSF and the U. took a 50-70% cut of the grant for "administration."

Comment No Respect (Score 1) 694

Most of us who went into science didn't do it for the money. The Scientific Method has enabled virtually all technological innovation since the Enlightenment. What could be more honorable than work in a realm where smart people collaborate and have their ideas tested through competition and peer review? Unfortunately, Science, and its annoying reliance on concepts like "rationality," "fact," and "uncertainty" make an easy target for ideologues in recent years. For an interesting (and depressing) perspective on why people maintain beliefs contrary to scientific evidence, see Chris Mooney's recent article: The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

Comment Re:So say the biologists (Score 1) 332

Most graduate programs provide training that has some role in industry. There is no for-profit sector that investigates evolutionary theory or applies said theory to conserving biodiversity. I work for a government agency, in a job that was highly competitive to get, but I'm ready to compete for even lower pay as biology professor, where I may better use my talents as a Ph.D. for research, and (mostly) teaching.

Comment Re:How about learning some statistics? (Score 1) 332

Firstly, please separate the professional fields (i.e., medical doctor) from science. They are apples and oranges. Biology research is extremely competitive, and the intelligence and quantitative abilities of grad students at top schools is impressive. Every good graduate program emphasizes statistics. In my biology MS program, I took classes in sampling design (something I've found physical scientists, like my Ph.D. astrophysicist girlfriend, terrible at), ANOVA, and multivariate statistics. All of these required a proficiency in "coding" in the SAS stats. package. As a Ph.D. student, I've taken classes in non-parametric stats., and population modeling, learning basic programming in "R" in the process, and developing skills and scripting abilities in GIS and remote sensing packages. The majority of grad students I know develop proficiency in SQL, VBA, or some other language, like Python for ArcGIS (or all of the above). That said, I am not a programmer, and don't compete with the Quants on Wall St., but have many specialized skills that are used in population biology. There aren't a whole lot of for-profit ventures hiring people to test evolutionary theories or conserve species.

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