Anyway, the real problem as explained in this series of Nature articles (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110420/full/472276a.html), is that the number of faculty positions has remained relatively constant in comparison to the vast increase in the number of PhDs awarded. As mentioned by another poster above, this system was created and nurtured by the people who got their faculty jobs in the 1970s and 1980s when they faced very little competition. To paint a slightly caricatural picture, when research budgets expanded, the people in charge used most of the money to expand their own labs rather than to create more tenured jobs.
Because of that, expectations in terms of published research and obtained funding have kept going up to a point where it is very difficult for young people to become independent. Senior established investigators have the better toys, they can take more risks, they have more money, they populate grant panels and can easily stifle competition and control a good part of the review process in top tier journals.
For example... maybe one scientist pays another scientist to reproduce his work. Maybe you have big collections of graduate students that as part of their process of getting a degree get assigned some random papers submitted by scientists in their field and they have to reproduce the work.
You don't work in science do you? Being paid for reproducing someone else's work means you are not producing anything original of your own. It doesn't advance your career. Then with respect to your second point, being a graduate student means to perform original research. If your PhD is about reproducing someone else's work, you won't be able to publish anything of significance.
The problem is the system globally: journals, which push for high impact sexy stories; promotion committees, which only look at how many high impact papers scientists have published and at how much funding they have attracted; and finally funding bodies, which only look at publications. If you are not lucky enough to get into a big lab which automatically publishes in high impact journals based on the labhead's reputation, the incentive to game the system is high. You just need to look at all the scandals that have come to light in the last years. You can even buy authorship on papers to which you have contributed nothing (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6162/1035.summary).
no it can't because amateurs can't do things rigorously enough to meet the 5 sigma thresholds.
Most professional scientists never meet the 5 sigma threshold either.
On a more serious note, I though the next big project was going to be a linear accelerator. Anybody know why they picked the round one over the straight one?
Isn't that simply because in a circular one you can accelerate the particles continuously through several rotations?
If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you are real good, you will get out of it.