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Comment Re:Where the researchers slaves? (Score 1) 51

If you ever talk to a university dean or professor, the aim of a university to educate undergraduates is secondary. Most of the engineering budget comes from research grants to the department. At best, the jobs of a university is to educate graduate students and to conduct research from which to receive further research grants. I was told that a MIT's EE professor brings in 5 times his salary in research grants. So, as long as this happens, the university carries on. However, in times of intense growth or economic boon, it is more lucrative for both parties involved to hire a professor outright. I guess the major factor for many professors to not leave their university is that they think that maybe working in industry might draw them away from research and risk making them obsolete in case the tech changes. Also, universities tend to make the path to becoming a full tenured professor quite a journey, where each stage requires a considerable investment in order to be vetted by your peers. Many professors put up with this because they think that get stability and respect at a university. Technology has a half life of maybe 5 years, so even if you are an expert in something hot, it will eventually become passe.
I remember reading an article in Newsweek about some researcher who was able to transfer the bioluminese gene from jellyfish to other organisms in the mid 1980s. At that time, it was a ground breaking achievement. Now, he was working for a little bit better than minimum wage at Hertz Rent-A-Car in Madison, AL.

Comment Pharm industry does not want meds to be available (Score 1) 191

Most meds developed by research institutes are funded with public research dollars. However, once a medicine becomes effective at treating a disease, more extensive testing is done to validate it and the side effects on a broader population. This is where pharms enter the picture and get in make money. They buy the work from the research institute and write patents on the chemical process to obtain exclusivity. If you want to do research, best stick with problems faced by poor people without resources to cure their problems, e.g. parasites found in the South.

Comment meaningless (Score 1) 89

Most of my FaceBook friends are people with whom I went to HS 30 years ago and haven't seen since. Some of my FB friends are people I ones that I never spoke with, unless I count my HS reunion after 5 beers.
Many of my LinkedIn associates are people I met while in career transition. So I had lunch with so and so, hence we reached out since we had some "common interests" Nice as this sounds, we are really worlds apart. However, the kicker is that there are many coworkers out there who turned down my LinkedIn request, and vis versa.
Much of this is probabilistic analysis.
My favorite FB moment was a FB suggestion I had. FB found that I have lots of friends in common with this person. Ok, she is my wife, but maybe she does not want to admit this to too many people.

Comment let me try (Score 1) 137

I guess if the Dutch try it, so can we.
I wonder if this is not being done all ready. Some guy growing drugs notices that there seem to be too many drones flying around and decides to take matter into his own hands. Better than shooting the drones with a rifle, as there is culpable deniability.

Comment selective enforcement (Score 5, Insightful) 391

Incidences like this have and always will be about selective enforcement. There are a plenty of laws on the book, which people violate every day. It is just a matter of who gets prosecuted.
Back in the 1990's, one of the Kennedy's was accused of having sex with his kid's babysitter. For a while, this became a news story, only to disappear into the background.
When the government wants to make a example out of you, they just fabricate evidence to frame you. Look at Nixon and the case of the pumpkin papers. Evidence will be planted to make you look bad. This is especially useful against dissidence and anyone who disagrees with the state. After all, if you are not for us, you are for the "enemy".

Comment Soviet SDI proof of concept (Score 1) 126

The thing about it is that it was built at a time of the Cold War SDI/Star Wars concepts. While as it might have had civilian uses, I suspect that it was a precursor to the equivalent of the American "Thousand Points of Light", a SDI concept that would use a ground based laser to fire into a orbiting mirror which would be redirected towards a target. However, if all you are doing is calibrating and orienting an orbiting mirror, you could sell it to the world as a purely scientific experiment.
The kicker in all of this is the protests mentioned which would disrupt the natural night environment. Now, we have been polluted with lots of light during the night time for the last hundred years, so I doubt that this is hardly a valid concern. I don't think that even the atomic bomb tests, which did irradiate a lot of people in the Pacific did not draw the same level of "concern".

Comment Oil of Oley (Score 1) 70

I heard that Oil of Oley was sued. I think that they reworded their commercials to say that "it makes skin look younger" from the old claims that it "actually reverses effects of aging". Mostly, I think that the company reduced the number of explicit TV ad and rely on "word of mouth" and leave the blame with the cosmetics salesperson to take any hits.
Still, fraud by my definition, but less fraudulent. Olive Oil is just as "effective at reducing lines and wrinkles" but costs a lot less.

Comment Re:Of limited use, but an interesting comment on C (Score 2) 164

Did the same team that developed that code also run an accuracy assessment? Was there a "prize" (contract payment) associated with meeting certain accuracy? I remember reading about facial recognition systems which worked well in labs, but fail in the field.
As soon as developers become aware that they might be identified, I think that they might do things (spoof, run beautify and strip comments) to throw such a system off.

Comment There are lots of qualified people in the US (Score 2) 543

It is surprising how many middle aged obsolete technology professionals you will find if you care to visit your local job career transition networking meetings. It not always that the people don't want to learn a new skill set, but more times than not, its a matter of cost of training. Its hard to fork down money for a training program if you are not working. Moreover, there is another problem in that people are reluctant to lay down cash on a skill set if they are unsure that it will be used in two years. I remember learning COM & OLE. I thought that it was hot shit. Well, it was more worthless than Elvis paraphernalia in another two years. Moreover, most head hunters or corporations will not want you if you only have a training program or a homemade portfolio (or open-source project). Its hard enough selling yourself to upper management if you have the skill set, but are an outsider without business contacts. There is an strong and established good old boys network for most upper end jobs. About the only way to circumvent it is if you know something that some business owner cannot find something thought his connections. I worked in finance, and it is ironic how many people knew each other from early childhood.
On the other end of the age spectrum, I have met many a Ph. D. s in fields that had a glut of people, e.g. medical sciences or in fields that do not have a high demand, Philosophy, Mathematics, Literature, or Oceanography. Most of these former students had unrealistic expectations of job prospects or believed that somehow they would be the one to overcome the odds and land a professorship. After about a two year job search, most come to the realization that they should have became a "short order chef: which has better career prospects. Being broke and destitute, they are looking to retool to become a programmer or bank administrator or "tech writer" and have the mental aptitude to learn what is necessary.

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