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  • grumbler
    replied
    At this point, I would settle for an educational system that simply teaches how to capitalize words properly!

    As for the private/public split in research dollars, it is absolutely true that the growth in buy quick/sell quick investors in the market in the last coupla decades has forced even such companies famous for basic research like AT&T to divest themselves of such entities as Bell Labs' Advanced Research department. Doing basic research paid off big time for AT&T, but the returns are further down the road than the typical invester of today is willing to wait.

    Some government funding seems needed in the arena of fundamental (as opposed to applied) research. It has gotten too expensive for the foundations that used to fund a good chunk of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • WorkerCaste
    replied
    Originally posted by bakana
    Bad example, since Microsoft doesn't Invent anything. They have a very long record of Stealing from those who Do.

    Long term, Microsoft and corporations using that model are a Disincentive to research. Why spend all that Time, Money and Effort if you know there's a high probability that it will be Stolen from you just when it starts to pay off??
    Bakana, you are absolutely right about MicroSoft. Don't know what I was thinking when I pulled that example out of the hat! Although, to be fair, they have invented a number of clever ways to force 3rd parties to give them market share. As far as the disincentive to research, that's actually consistent with where I was going. Refining existing ideas (yours or other's) is much less expensive and has much less risk than developing wholly new ideas, concepts, and products.
    Originally posted by Z'ha'dumDweller
    Have the military pay a private company to design new technology with an overseer (I think that's how it works, anyway.) Then the company won't be jittery about the money...it'd be the government's money being risked and chances are the risk would be less.
    To me, this scenario isn't really privatized. It's government sponsored because they are paying the bills and have the ultimate say on the shape and form of that research. I can tell you, from a personal perspective, if I'm paying the bills, it's MINE.

    Leave a comment:


  • bakana
    replied
    When it pays off, though, you can get a Pixar, or a Microsoft (mixed blessing, I know )
    Bad example, since Microsoft doesn't Invent anything. They have a very long record of Stealing from those who Do.

    Long term, Microsoft and corporations using that model are a Disincentive to research. Why spend all that Time, Money and Effort if you know there's a high probability that it will be Stolen from you just when it starts to pay off??

    Look at corporate history in this regard:


    The history of FM Radio

    Edwin Armstrong: The creator of FM radio

    Edwin Howard Armstrong is the father of FM radio and the grandfather of radar and a great grandfather of space communication, but he never reaped the full reward of his genius.
    He was born on December 18, 1890 in New York City and died on February 1, 1954, alone and in disgrace.

    Young Howard Armstrong had been so full of life. In his teens, he was charged with energy, and totally wrapped up in radio. He liked girls, but he was too busy to date. He studied his head off at Columbia University. He drove a red motorcycle. He liked to climb towers and hang from his heels when he got to the top. And he was always ready to question the untested (and frequently wrong) theories of some of his professors.

    Armstrong didn't invent radio. Alexander Popov and Guglielmo Marconi and Lee de Forest get the credit for that. But, in 1912, at the age of 22, Armstrong found out for himself how Lee de Forest's radio tube really worked -- and redesigned it by taking the electromagnetic waves (or electrons) that came from a radio transmission and feeding the signal back through the tube again and again, each time increasing its power as much as 20,000 times a second. He called the phenomenon "regeneration." It was the most important advance in the young history of radio -- because, when the feedback was increased beyond a critical level, the tube gave forth an oscillation that created its own radio waves. Armstrong made the de Forest tube into a transmitter as well as a receiver. It not only amplified radio signals. It generated them as well. And this advance made all the difference. Now radio engineers no longer needed 20-ton generators to get their stations on the air.

    Armstrong patented his discovery in 1913, and licensed it to the Marconi company in 1914. And then he was off to France to fight in World War I. On the battlefields of western Europe, Captain Armstrong discovered that the American Expeditionary Force had little or no radio. Almost single handedly, he remedied that situation -- on the ground, and in the air. He personally designed and outfitted the fledging Allied air force with radios, often going up and testing them himself.

    Then, while still stationed in Paris, he invented something then called the superheterodyne receiver, a complex bit of electronic sorcery that is still basic to the tuner found in almost every radio and television and radar.

    In 1920, Westinghouse bought Armstrong's patent for the superheterodyne receiver, and started up the nation's first radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh. It signalized its accomplishment by broadcasting the election returns that brought Warren G. Harding to the White House. All of a sudden, radio was the craze of the post- war period. Kids in America started making their own crystal sets. Other manufacturers started making their own brand of "radiola." Other stations came on the air. Though all this, Marconi's company, the Radio Corporation of America, had been sitting on the sidelines, content to concentrate on its international telegraph business. But not for long. RCA soon bought up all of Westinghouse's radio patents, and those of AT &T and any others who had them, including Armstrong's patents for regeneration.

    Another radio pioneer, Lee deForest, objected. He said regeneration was his idea, and started legal procedures with the U.S. Patent Office. He lost his case, but then went on to pursue appeals against Armstrong in the federal courts for almost two decades. He lost his case at every step of the way, and then, in a legal fluke, won his final appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. Much to the outrage of scientists and engineers from coast to coast, a Supreme Court judge misunderstood the case, and ended up siding with de Forest.

    So did RCA. If de Forest won his suit against Armstrong, RCA would retain control of its patent for an extra ten years. So RCA gave no help to Armstrong, even though the company lawyers knew what the truth was. The truth was that Armstrong had helped create an industry which, in 1934, a depression year, was worth almost $2 billion. Everybody -- RCA, Zenith, Philco, Magnavox, Motorola and Crosley -- they were all turning fantastic profits, using Armstrong's inventions.

    <Skip a bunch>

    David Sarnoff told the press, "I did not kill Armstrong."

    A month later, Sarnoff announced at RCA's annual meeting that the company had reached an all-time high earnings of more than $850 million. At the end of that meeting, one man stood before his fellow stockholders and told them to "have faith and confidence in Uncle Sam of the United States of America and in Daddy David of RCA."

    Armstrong's lawyers stuck with Armstrong's widow, working on contingency until they finaly squeezed a settlement out of RCA: Marion would get a little more than a million dollars, the same amount that Sarnoff had offered Armstrong in 1940.
    In effect, Sarnoff had finally gotten an answer to the question: "Do you want me to pay you, or your widow?"

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<From the perspective of civilization, we need all these kinds of research. The safe research done by companies is important, but we need the high risk, too. My fear is that we will have too little risky research if its left to companies, though. To constantly stand against high risk and a high failure rate, you need an organization that is not looking on the dollar ROI.>>

    Have the military pay a private company to design new technology with an overseer (I think that's how it works, anyway.) Then the company won't be jittery about the money...it'd be the government's money being risked and chances are the risk would be less.

    Ronald Reagan said this once: "The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away."-Ronald Reagan

    Leave a comment:


  • WorkerCaste
    replied
    I haven't been following this thread closely, but I just had a few minutes to look back through and thought I'd throw in my two cents. Many of the messages have been thought provoking, but rather than quote extensively, I thought I'd just quote Z'ha'dumDweller briefly and start from there.
    I think the privatization of that research is great. Then we will have more money for the upkeep of roads or whatever, and hell, a good tax cut.
    For me, the complete privitization of research seems like it wouldn't work well. Ultimately, the trustees of a corporation are liable to the share holders (whether publicly or privately held.) This means that overall, they need to do research that is profitable. Some coporate benefit can come from doing research that can be written off on taxes, and some benefit can come from doing high-profile research in terms of public good will, but by and large, the research needs to stand a good chance of paying for itself. Research is a form of investment, and everyone looks for a good return on investment.

    Research can be classed by risk, much like any other investment. The lowest risk is doing research to apply an existing product to a new use. Next would be refining an existing product with new features or more reliabilty or fewer side effects or what not. The most risky research is creating an entirely new product. With profitability in mind, companies may still do the brave new research, but their investment in it will be less since most companies cannot afford to invest entirely in high risk research. Startups are the most likely companies to have more risk in their research because they started with an inspiration or idea. That's one reason why many startups fail. The risk/reward is high, and sometimes the dice come up craps. When it pays off, though, you can get a Pixar, or a Microsoft (mixed blessing, I know )

    From the perspective of civilization, we need all these kinds of research. The safe research done by companies is important, but we need the high risk, too. My fear is that we will have too little risky research if its left to companies, though. To constantly stand against high risk and a high failure rate, you need an organization that is not looking on the dollar ROI.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<Meanwhile, here's another example of what happens when religion shapes public policy:>>

    Or when parents fail to teach values and personal responsibility. Or when the kids fail to learn when it is taught.

    Leave a comment:


  • bakana
    replied
    I didn't See the words "Creation Science" on the Templeton web site, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    But that IS the usual sort of trash that comes out of religious groups which show an "interest" in Science.

    But, we didn't really get into this limiting ourselves to "Hard" Science.
    Just discussing the effects of government and religious influences onm research in general.

    We could, perhaps profitably, contrast that with the way in which the Minbari Religious Caste apparently Leads the way in Technological advances on Minbar.
    Building the White Star fleet, for instance.

    The Minbari are a very Conservative culture.
    You could even describe the Warrior Caste as Hidebound and Reactionary at times.


    Meanwhile, here's another example of what happens when religion shapes public policy:

    Parental OK Rule for Teen Contraception Ups Births

    By Alison McCook

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Requiring teens to get their parents' approval before obtaining prescription contraception at a public health clinic appears to increase the rate of teen pregnancy, according to new study findings released Thursday.

    In the report, Dr. Madeline Zavodny compared the rate of teen pregnancy in a U.S. county that now has such a requirement to rates in neighboring counties that don't require consent.

    Zavodny found that once McHenry County, Illinois, began requiring parental consent, pregnancy rates and births among women under 19 increased over the next two years, relative to neighboring counties.

    In an interview, Zavodny explained that there are many possible reasons why teen pregnancy rates increased after parental consent was put in place. Some women may have used less birth control because they did not get it at the clinic, and did not go to a private clinic because they didn't realize private clinics didn't require their parents' permission.

    "I think there's a lot of confusion among teens about laws regarding contraception and abortion," the researcher, based at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, told Reuters Health.
    The rest is on the web site.

    How to Increase Teen prognancy rates

    Leave a comment:


  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    Originally posted by bakana
    Here's an example of the sort of thing some people are calling "Research" these days: Your Tax Dollars at Work.



    Fire & Brimstone are Good for the Economy

    Most Obvious problem with this: It seems to imply that Christianity is the Only religion.
    That has nothing to do with the physical science and technology R&D we were discussing...

    This kind of literature "research" is common on social sciences like Economics. In the physical sciences the equivalent would be "review" papers or the opinion/commentary on research that you'd find in journals like Science and Nature, or from profesional publications like Chemical and Engineering News (the news magazine from the American Chemical Society), the articles from Scientific American, Discover, and other science popularization magazines would be also similar, but those are more general and less scholarly (e.g. a very small list of references which usually doesn't include scientific journal articles).

    You may want to read the actual article before you start assuming what is supposed to mean from a news report...

    http://www.stlouisfed.org/publicatio...r_of_hell.html
    (The link provided in the MSNBC news article doesn't lead you directly to the source.)

    Here's the final paragraph of the St. Louis Fed article (emphasis added):
    In a paper last year, economists Robert Barro and Rachel McCleary provided evidence that church attendance and economic growth are negatively related, but a belief in hellùtheir measure of religious beliefsùwas positively related to increased economic growth. According to Barro and McCleary, increased church attendance could lower growth because of more resources flowing to the religious sector. However, the net effect would be uncertain because increased church attendance may also increase religious beliefs, which, as Weber believed, raises economic growth by spurring individual behavior and actions that are thought to encourage productivity. Interestingly, Barro and McCleary also found that economic performance was largely unrelated to the dominant religious theology of the nation.
    That final paragraph suggests that they didn't look only at nations with a Christian theology...

    I'll grant you that it is not definitive evidence (but as a skeptical scientist I'm used to following the literature trail to the original sources whenever possible, and I did).... The Barro and McCleary article actually includes Israel, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Phillippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, among 59 countries. Those I listed are not predominatly Christian... Here's a quote from the article
    The religions included are Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, other Eastern religions, Jewish, Orthodox, and other.
    Barro, Robert J. and McCleary, Rachel M. ôReligion and Economic Growth across Countries,ö American Sociological Review, October 2003, Vol. 68, p. 760

    You can find a draft version online here: http://post.economics.harvard.edu/fa...orkpapers.html
    The part I quoted is a footnote to table 1, it's in p.44.

    I'll be honest, I didn't read all of it.

    Because, as I said, that has nothing to do with the physical science and technology R&D we were discussing...

    But the fact is that the original argument did consider other religions. The original research was partly sponsored by NSF (USA tax dollars at work indeed), but also by the John Templeton Foundation ("The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise." quote taken from their website http://www.templeton.org/ ). Those are not tax dollars...

    Before drawing conclusions about research it's advisable to go to the original sources...

    News items, sadly, rarely represent science and research properly... maybe some of the fault lies with the scientists ourselves, from not doing more to advocate a better representation and communicating better the why and how of what we do.

    Leave a comment:


  • Andrew_Swallow
    replied
    Originally posted by bakana
    Otherwise, the whole argument falls apart when you factor in the Muslim, Hindu and Bhuddist countries.
    These are all countries with VERY Religious populations. Some would argue TOO Religious.

    Very few of them have thriving economies.
    Time they discovered[list=a][*]Hell[*]Sloth is a sin.[/list=a]

    Leave a comment:


  • bakana
    replied
    Here's an example of the sort of thing some people are calling "Research" these days: Your Tax Dollars at Work.

    Belief in hell boosts economic growth, Fed says

    Fear of nether world is a ædisincentive to wrongdoingÆ ù reverend

    Updated: 4:34 p.m. ET July 27, 2004

    WASHINGTON - Economists searching for reasons why some nations are richer than others have found that those with a wide belief in hell are less corrupt and more prosperous, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    "The expectation that there is a cultural belief in hell or perpetual and eternal punishment for wrongdoing will act as a disincentive to wrongdoing," she said.

    > Skip down a bit<

    The St Louis Fed's researchers took a two-step approach to linking religion and the economy.

    "A belief in hell tends to mean less corruption and less corruption tends to mean a higher per capita income," they wrote. It correlated the belief in hell findings of the World Value Series with a measure of corruption produced by Transparency International.

    It then looked at the relationship between corruption and per capita gross domestic product and found "a strong tendency for countries with relatively low levels of corruption to have relatively high levels of per capita GDP."

    "Combining these two stories ... suggests that, all else being equal, the more religious a country, the less corruption it will have and the higher its per capita income will be."

    The rest is on the web site...
    Fire & Brimstone are Good for the Economy

    Most Obvious problem with this: It seems to imply that Christianity is the Only religion.

    Otherwise, the whole argument falls apart when you factor in the Muslim, Hindu and Bhuddist countries.
    These are all countries with VERY Religious populations. Some would argue TOO Religious.

    Very few of them have thriving economies.

    Leave a comment:


  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    You can't blame the education system for your mistakes indeed, but if that education system doesn't provide you with enough information to make the best decision then that system needs fixing. I think that if some religious groups think that abstinence is the only way then it's their burden to teach their followers that and convince them. They shouldn't impose their views over the whole educational system. I support that sex ed in public schools include the concept of abstinence, but not at the exclusion of everything else.

    Originally posted by Z'ha'dumDweller
    I think the privatization of that research is great. Then we will have more money for the upkeep of roads or whatever, and hell, a good tax cut.

    I am ready for the privatization of health care next.
    For the most part health care in the USA is in private hands... PPOs, HMOs, etc. If you can't afford it you're in trouble...

    I don't think all research should be private or in the hands of corporations. Then we would have many lost opportunities for advancement if they can't yield results fast enough.
    And I'm sure that wasn't the Minbari way.

    Leave a comment:


  • bakana
    replied
    We can't blame anyone else for the decisions we make -- or fail to make. The best thing to do is to learn from our mistakes and not point fingers.
    And what about the people who don't learn what a condom or STD IS until it's too late because their parents went by the old motto:
    "Let 'em learn it behind the barn like I did?"?

    If a school is going to Teach a subject, the students should get the Facts, not a Religious Tract disguised as a textbook.

    And, in point of fact, in most school districts, the teaches Do Not "get the summer off". They spend it doing tons of bureaucratic Paperwork and "Planning" for the Next school year.

    As far as owing Teachers, I have to say that I DO owe a couple. In particular the Crappy one who walked up to me after the Senior Placement scores were posted and informed me that, by placing so High on the list (12th of 532), I had deprived a "more deserving" student of a scholarship.
    Evidently she was sponsoring one of Her pet students who got turned down.

    It was that incident, as much as anything else, which eventually pushed me into deciding to enroll in college. So, I got my Batchelors and now make a bit more than I would have if I'd followed her advice.

    He proclaimed himself to be a Self Made Man, thus relieving the Lord of a Terrible responsibility.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<Surely not a burocrat from Pluto ?>>

    Watching my newly received Star Blazers: The Quest for Iscandar DVD set, I laughed at the ep where the Gamilon's base on Pluto was firing planet bombs at Earth. There is an equatorial ocean on Pluto! Ha! Being kept unfrozen by what? The heat from the jovians? Ha.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    <<What is happening is that the total amount of university research in the US is increasing. Most of the growth is due to corporate funding (because so many more corporations have realized that they have to have a strong technology base as well as an engineering one) but federal funding for basic research has also increased.>>

    We got lost from the main topic when we inadvertently segued into the education deal.

    I think the privatization of that research is great. Then we will have more money for the upkeep of roads or whatever, and hell, a good tax cut.

    I read an article in the paper a few months ago, the headline of which was "Agency thinks corporations not paying correct amount in state taxes" or something to that effect. And some guy (state senator or someone) was talking about "getting to the bottom" of how much Wal-Mart, Dillard's, Tyson and J. B. Hunt were "supposed" to pay. Do they realize that is what would drive business -- and therefore jobs -- away? Look at my home state of California, with the mass exodus of big business. There isn't only the loss of jobs, but also the sense of community that the big companies create. They FUND RESEARCH, they raise money for charity, they give scholarships away. Any time I hear someone complain about work here, I tell them they can always find a new job.

    I am ready for the privatization of health care next.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr Maturin
    replied
    On abstinence...at the age of 18, I got a girl preggo but she had a miscarriage...the rubber busted. At 19, I got another girl preggo, didn't wear one. Also got a curable (thank God) STD from her.

    Now, this is no one's fault, not the education system's, not my parents', not religion's, but MINE. We can't blame anyone else for the decisions we make -- or fail to make. The best thing to do is to learn from our mistakes and not point fingers.

    And no -- NO -- teacher made sure of anything in my life. I got myself to where I am now. If your teachers suck, then you can educate yourself. My teachers did NOT suck, for the most part, but that is irrelevant. I saw just as many dummies fail classes -- with the same good teachers I had -- as those who failed in a "bad" district. And let's not forget that most teachers get the summer off, and in many places they are being paid great salaries with two and a half months off.

    Leave a comment:

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