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Did the US Take the Back Seat In Science In 2009?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the relegated-to-the-trunk dept.

United States 502

tcd004 writes "In the PBS NewsHour's roundup of the biggest science news of the year, Neil DeGrasse Tyson dropped this doozie: '[Scientific leadership] drives the economic strength and security of nations. The fall is not from a cliff. More like a slow, downward slide — almost imperceptible from day to day. But as the years pass America will have descended from leaders to players to merely followers as we fade to insignificance, at best hitching a ride on the innovations of others.'"

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not news (1)

mmjcon147 (1027846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621696)

everyone saw this coming

Re:not news (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621932)

not anyone who counted

I agree (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622370)

this nightmare started in 1980 with reagan and has continued ever since. Poppa Bush tried to give it more funding, but Clinton did little and W out and out destroyed it. It remains to be seen what Obama really will do, but it does not look all that good.

Still a driving seat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621700)

But in which direction?

I expect so... (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621714)

The USA has a population of around 300,000,000, or around 5% of the world population. It should expect to be following in some areas. In the twentieth century, a combination of factors (less damage from WWII than other developed nations, higher ratio of middle class to subsistence-level citizens, greater economies of scale that most of Europe) let the USA lead in technology. Even then, a number of key developments came from outside the USA, for example the first theoretical models in computing, the first stored program computer, the most successful commercial CPU architecture and the TFT display all came from the UK, the first (and, so far, only) supersonic passenger aircraft was a joint venture between the UK and France.

With 5% of the world population, you simply can't expect to be the world leader at everything. Through most of the twentieth century, the USA operated quite a successful brain drain, skimming off a lot of the best and brightest in the rest of the world by offering them bigger salaries and, more importantly, a lot more resources to continue their work. Now it's quite difficult for someone with a PhD to get a visa to work in the USA (unless they're just transferring within the same multinational company) and the desire to work in America is significantly lowered by the insane anti-terror legislation, not to mention the crippling IP laws which make the USA a much less attractive place to do research unless you have a massive company backing you.

Re:I expect so... (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621768)

I was going to mention the suppression of innovation through patents, but I hadn't considered how hard it is for people to get here if they want to come. So even highly skilled can't get here because they could be terrorists or they could take a job. I like your analysis of brain drain. I hadn't really thought of that before but it makes perfect sense to me.

Re:I expect so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621816)

I was going to mention the suppression of innovation through patents, but I hadn't considered how hard it is for people to get here if they want to come. So even highly skilled can't get here because they could be terrorists or they could take a job.

Actually if you have a passport from the "right" country (i.e. EU and some other) you can get there eventually. But even for people from non-risk countries it's a totally bureaucratic and annoying procedure. Believe me, Euros know bureaucracy and of course there is some paperwork involved for longer stays. But having to travel several hundert kilometers to get to a consulate and to wait for several hours outside in the rain at degrees around zero for a short and pointless "interview" for a one year stay research visa is over the top.
International researchers don't have to put up with such rubbish.

Re:I expect so... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622016)

Considering that millions of illiterate and non-English speaking people get into the U.S. every year without valid papers, you would think that all these PhDs would be able to figure out how to do it too.

Re:I expect so... (5, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622136)

Considering that millions of illiterate and non-English speaking people get into the U.S. every year without valid papers, you would think that all these PhDs would be able to figure out how to do it too.

You might think that, if you thought people with PhDs would put up with getting paid under the table, having to carry fake IDs, going without access to even the US's meager social safety net, and living in fear of being deported.

It's one thing to put up with those conditions when you're coming from some poor, broken country. But why would an educated person from a developed country come here to live as a second-class citizen when he could stay home, do the same work above board, and enjoy his single-payer health care and 4 weeks of vacation?

Re:I expect so... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622380)

Doesn't seem to stop them from getting a College education [usatoday.com] .

Plenty of People think they should [usnews.com]

And Congress is wanting to make it so [wikipedia.org]

Re:I expect so... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621806)

Utter bullshit. People who really have the talents you described would have no issue getting into this country. Instead of believing a bunch of knee jerk reactionary bullshit why don't you take your head out of your ass and look around a bit. The sky hasn't fallen.

Re:I expect so... (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621836)

Now it's quite difficult for someone with a PhD to get a visa to work in the USA (unless they're just transferring within the same multinational company) and the desire to work in America is significantly lowered by the insane anti-terror legislation,

It's sad really, the most rabid believers in American Exceptionalism [wikipedia.org] are the exact same rabid supporters of the policies that are destroying it.

Re:I expect so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621964)

>It's sad really, the most rabid believers in American Exceptionalism [wikipedia.org] are the exact same rabid supporters of the policies that are destroying it.

Really?! Read the 5000 year leap, and then feed me that BS line.

Govt != nation.

Re:I expect so... (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622010)

Really?! Read the 5000 year leap, and then feed me that BS line.

Given the fact that Glenn Beck seems to be the #1 tout for that book, I think you just proved my point.

Re:I expect so... (3, Insightful)

Davemania (580154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621842)

The population ratio would probably be roughly equivalent in the last few decades yet US and a few other "rich" countries were able to maintain their scientific lead in the past. The point here is not that we expect the US to be the leader of everything but that there seems to be a large drop off in scientific/research investment in the last decade. We also see a drop in the quality of education (i.e. why are we still arguing about evolution in 20XX) standards and that will have a long term effect.

Re:I expect so... (4, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621910)

It is fear that will be the downfall of our "Home of the Brave". Fear that our kids will not believe in a god if they are taught evolution, fear that they will blow us up if they are taught chemistry, and fear that they will "steal" songs if they are taught math.

Re:I expect so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622020)

>Fear that our kids will not believe in a god if they are taught evolution, fear that they will blow us up if they are taught chemistry, and fear that they will "steal" songs if they are taught math.

Wow talk about Strawmen. With the exception of biologists who cares about origins? No one.

Have you read the standards for your states K-12 education? I have for mine and the stupidity astounded me. Case and point in my State we try to teach critical thinking to 1st graders along with algebra and we aren't to teach grammar until middle school. This flies in the face of our scientific understanding of human development. Basically burecrats and the ever centralization of power over more of our lives if the problem.

Re:I expect so... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622122)

I agree education has much to do with it, as does mainstream media, and even school itself.

Think back when you were in high school and didn't really know what you wanted to do the rest of your life, which sounds better? Rock star, actor or actress, sports figure, or research scientist.

Given those choices the last I would pick would be research scientist. We are a nation of 'me's, what will it get me, how much will it earn me. Upon reflection now, I think it would be way cooler to be a research scientist, than any of the others, but back then when I would need to develop the interest in that field and the wonderlust, I would have chosen any 1 of the others first.

Re:I expect so... (1)

Trails (629752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622394)

The politicking of education an science seem to me to be the biggest threat/detriment. It's not just the corruption of knowledge and progress, it's the tolerance of it that begets more.

Economics: Comparative Advantage (3, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621876)

Not being a leader in some field of scientific endeavor is okay. That the Germans produce better machine tools than the Americans is okay. They do what they can do well. We do what we can do well. Free trade between 2 free markets -- USA and Germany -- gives each country access to the products of the other country and enriches both countries in the process. That situation is the very basis of the economic law of comparative advantage.

However, that law is never mentioned when American companies demand that Washington open the floodgates to foreign engineers begging to come to the USA. The CEO of, say, Intel says that the American economy will collapse unless we Americans admit foreign engineers. Professor David Patterson (of UC-Berkeley) promotes the idea that we must admit foreign engineers so that we can be #1 in all fields. (Patterson is president of ACM and has promoted the H-1B program.)

These advocates of foreign engineers are wrong.

Even more interesting is the fact that Japanese companies rarely hire foreign engineers. Technology in Japan is homegrown. Yet, the Japanese beat the Americans in several areas of high technology. Most of the patents for your LCD monitor are owned by Japanese companies.

Here is the irony. Despite a massive influx of foreign engineers, the USA is actually declining in scientific achievement according to the lead news article in this discussion. Yet, Japan, which has severe restrictions on hiring foreigners, remains a technological powerhouse. Here is the conclusion: H-1B engineers were never necessary to the American economy.

Re:Economics: Comparative Advantage (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622346)

Japan, which has severe restrictions on hiring foreigners, remains a technological powerhouse.

How many of their best and brightest become lawyers or investment bankers?

Here is the conclusion: H-1B engineers were never necessary to the American economy.

They are, but perhaps they wouldn't have been if there was sufficient (in quality as well as quantity) homegrown talent.

Even if you could reverse the causes mentioned above - and do it overnight - it's be a decade before the effect was felt.

Re:Economics: Comparative Advantage (4, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622454)

While I think there is rampant abuse of the H1-B program I do think it is vital a U.S. dominance in all technological fields. Through-out the 30's and 40's we were not pulling just highly educated people from other countries, we were pulling in rockstars of science, people that could contribute the science we were trying to develop. Today H1-Bs are just a form of cheaper labor for companies and you don't have to be especially well qualified to land a job using an H1-B. Because of this our job pool is diluted and all the effort bringing people here yields very little.

The best and brightest minds are naturally going to be in other countries as we hold merely 5% of the population. H1-B needs to be about bringing in the best and the brightest, not about filling non-existent programmer position voids. Foreigners helped us construct the atomic bomb among many other technological leaps forward. They are necessary. The fact that Japan is so successful right now is due to us being lazy and let's face it, science was manipulated for political gains through the new millennium. When we recover our strengths you'll see us surpass Japan unless they too start bringing in foreign talent.

Of course you might remember that Japan was in a similar position to the U.S. now about a decade ago. They shifted their priorities and surprise surprise, they are back to being productive members of the international community. Right now people in the U.S. take their success for granted and have forgotten that it was only achieved through lots of hard work and lots of sacrifice! My own feelings lean towards suggesting that the religious awakening since 9/11 has been the root cause due to people living in fear searching for a quick fix rather than fixing the root of the problems at hand. It's easy to say god will save us, hard to actually do it yourself and stop the international sale of arms to unstable regions and stop the acquisition of oil from countries that behave unconscionably. All solutions come with sacrifice and there would be serious humanitarian issues to deal with although I suspect China would fill any economic gaps for those countries we stopped buying from. At some point we have to accept higher gas prices as a cost of our ideals which are just and sound if only we had the balls to live up to them.

Re:I expect so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621944)

In the twentieth century, a combination of factors (less damage from WWII than other developed nations, higher ratio of middle class to subsistence-level citizens, greater economies of scale that most of Europe) let the USA lead in technology
In the 21st century, a global war on terror, or put differently, a war between some fundamentalists in Afpak caves and other fundamentalists citing the Bible on official papers cost hundreds of billions of dollars. At the same time the US seems to be unable to do what it had done over forty years ago, in 1969. Neeedless to say, this also has a very negative effect on the brain drain.

Additionally, a now established business elite is using patent and copyright laws to get recurring benefits with no innovation and worse, by limiting innovations done by others, let alone parts of the same business elite suing ordinary citizens in thousands and getting absurd convictions because they themselves are unable to adapt.

All this has nothing to do with the fact that the US has a population of around 300,000,000, or around 5% of the world population. I don't know what went wrong but you've lost your edge. Either you change and you change fast or others will be more than happy to pick your place while your spending your resource on stupid things. In Europe we already experienced this.

Re:I expect so... (3, Insightful)

Denial93 (773403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622008)

The US received a massive advantage in that all three other historical power centers (Europe, Russia, China) were crippled by massive dictatorships at roughly the same time. Half a century later, it is not surprising the relations should balance out somewhat.

Re:I expect so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622086)

From the article "The second carries a several-in-a-million chance of colliding with Earth's Pacific Ocean, causing trillions of dollars in tsunami-triggered damage to the West Coast of the United States."

We don't need US science if all it cares about is the monetary cost of a distaster that could kill millions of people.

What's this 'we' thing ? (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621730)

are you americans arent able to realize that internet has become a global place still to the extent that you think staggering majority of people here are americans ?

get over yourselves. you are living in a global world and its name is internet.

It's US stomping on your face (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621742)

STFU, Untermensch! May niggers sodomize you until your entrails are turned to goo and your lungs are filled with jizz.

Die.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621762)

if it is a global world now, and in no small part due to the internet, then is is because of US

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621830)

the concept of a 'nation' is seriously dated, and 99% artificial.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1, Funny)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621772)

Then why are we speaking American?

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621808)

I speak English here because it is an English website... douche.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621862)

If this is an English website, there's a lot of foul spelling - looks more like an American if you ask me!

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622254)

If this is an English website, there's a lot of foul spelling - looks more like an American if you ask me!

I always used to take the piss out of the Americans not being to speak English correctly. Then a friend of mine who was a Phd student studying the evolution of languages pointed out to me that the way Americans write and pronounce certain words is closer to original English and it is us who can no longer speak our own language the same way as we did when the American forefathers left.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

hughperkins (705005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621854)

Same reason we're using Intel's 80386 architecture, IBM's BIOS, and Arab numerals: it's a common protocol that is in use worldwide. Be thankful for that, it might not last ;-) Though, there's a reasonable chance that it will to be honest. Doesn't mean we're all American though ;-)

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621888)

Though, there's a reasonable chance that it will to be honest. Doesn't mean we're all American though ;-)

Actually, it kinda does. The same way using those arabic numerals means we are all a little bit arab.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

furball (2853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621958)

Culture is a virus.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621786)

And there wouldn't even be an internet if it weren't for the United States and Al Gore. So go suck a dick you fucking communist.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (5, Informative)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621794)

From Slashdot's FAQ [slashdot.org] :

Slashdot is U.S.-centric. We readily admit this, and really don't see it as a problem. Slashdot is run by Americans, after all, and the vast majority of our readership is in the U.S. We're certainly not opposed to doing more international stories, but we don't have any formal plans for making that happen. All we can really tell you is that if you're outside the U.S. and you have news, submit it, and if it looks interesting, we'll post it.

It is worth noting that there is a Japanese Slashdot run by VA Japan. While we helped them a little in their early days, they essentially run their own content without any real involvement from us... none of us can read Kanji! There are currently no plans to do other language or nation specific Slashdot sites.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (2, Informative)

ko9 (946154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622132)

While out of all the countries, the US is definitely home to the most readers of this site, the majority of the readers are not US-based. Those are two different things. If you look at the stats on Alexa [alexa.com] you can see that 47.1% of the readers are from the US, while he second place goes to India with a mere 8.8%. That still means that 52.9% of the readers live outside the US though, so the FAQ seems either false or outdated.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (5, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621798)

are you americans arent able to realize that internet has become a global place still to the extent that you think staggering majority of people here are americans ?

get over yourselves. you are living in a global world and its name is internet.

In this great international global place of no shift keys, do you also not recognize the authority of the direct quote? The we in question is Dr. Tyson (an American) and his fellow countrymen (also Americans).

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621832)

Nobody ever said the Internet wasn't global. When interpreting pronouns like 'we' in a quote like that posted on slashdot, context matters. The person who constructed the sentence made it very clear that the 'we' pronoun was citizens and residents of the United States. 'We' isn't always a universal that is meant to encompass everyone who reads the text. For example, the U.S. Declaration of Independence was written by the Continental Congress, to be sent both to people within the American Colonies, *AND* to foreign nations (in particular, England). The second paragraph starts "We hold these truths to be self evident. . ."

It's obvious that the writers of the Declaration of Independence weren't including all possible readers in the "We", as the King of England and his privy council, as well as the parliament of England, probably didn't hold that view at that time.

'We' is a perfectly useful pronoun, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way it was used in the quote posted to slashdot. If the article author hadn't made it clear from context who 'we' encompassed, then I might have agreed with your position, but I personally find your argument lacks merit.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622012)

Britain, dude, Great Britain. The american colonies didnt belong to England, England had ceased to exist as a sovereign nation in 1707. The US won it's independence from Britain.

Kind of messes up your whole argument when your core theme is incorrect. What was it you were trying to say?

POWND! (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622084)

Nice!

What's this 'you' thing ? (1)

ko9 (946154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622068)

are you americans arent able to realize that internet has become a global place still to the extent that you think staggering majority of people here are americans ?

get over yourselves. you are living in a global world and its name is internet.

Please don't assume everyone on this site is American, it's annoying.

More seriously though, I found it surprising that slashdot is so specifically US-centric (given the FAQ mentioned below). It has always seemed like a global tech site to me, and I am not from the US either.

Re:What's this 'we' thing ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622124)

Have some respect- we built it...

but did you. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622284)

it is undeniable that internet sprung up from arpanet, however its progress has been global. if you are not aware, the entire www thing was from switzerland. which kinda basically forms the majority of interactions on the net.

Time to reverse scientific migration... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621744)

For decades, many of the world's best students came to the US to get their PhDs. In many American labs you could hardly meet a native American scientist. And American science thrived, really. Maybe now it's time for the US to send their best students abroad and get valuable PhDs from countries where you can still find a taste for hard work and good science?

Re:Time to reverse scientific migration... (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621994)

A lot of people still go to the USA to get their PhDs, but over the last few years the rules have changed to make it much harder for them to get a work visa afterwards. It used to be a quite easy way of getting into the country; go for a PhD, get it, and then stay. Now you're educating people to a high standard and then sending them back to their original homes, and then wondering why there are so many excellent foreign research centres...

Re:Time to reverse scientific migration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622110)

OK, but I was just trying to (tactfully!) suggest that the standard of education in the US may just not be quite what it used to be 20 or 30 years ago. It has always had a rather low reputation up to college level and a high one from the master's up. Now I'm afraid it may still be below par from kindergarten to college, and PhDs, according to my own personal polls, are getting more and more questionable in various fields. No offence; in my home country (France), the same downhill run can be observed. I guess this is just the usual fate of rich countries.

Re:Time to reverse scientific migration... (4, Insightful)

willy_me (212994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622038)

Maybe now it's time for the US to send their best students abroad and get valuable PhDs from countries where you can still find a taste for hard work and good science?

No, America has a high quality (but very expensive) post-secondary education system. Being expensive means that some bright but less fortunate students will never reach their full potential - which is sad but it is still provides a quality education. The real problem with America is the public education system. Low standards combined with parents that don't get involved result in very few American students good enough to attend post-secondary education. So good students are imported.

For some time now, America has operated their "brain drain" to attract the best from other countries. Take Canada for example (I am Canadian). American jobs generally offer higher wages and result in lower taxes. This is partly because tuition in Canada is subsidized - I only paid ~$2000 a semester. So I can graduate from Canada with very low dept and then move to America to work. This is great for both me and America as America does not have to pay for my training. It is bad for the Canadians that do pay for my training and for the Americans I am competing against that do not have the option of a low cost education. But overall, this is good for America and is partly responsible for the lead America had in R&D.

Others have discussed some reasons why this American "brain drain" is starting to fail - and I agree with them. For example, I have no desire to work in the US. I don't even want to travel to the US - or through the US for that matter. I will gladly pay extra for flights that do not require a transfer in an American airport. It is sad because the Americans that I know who live here in Canada are amazing people. I love my American friends - but seriously America, what happened???

Re:Time to reverse scientific migration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622098)

I wonder if they way the educational system here in the U.S. works is partly responsible.

My niece got her PhD in Chemistry recently. She had to put up with all manner of crap.

1. Arrogant, asshole, tenured professors.
2. Virtually working as a slave 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for 5 years.
3. A rather hostile work environment, brow beating and intimidation.

Your typical American kid would usually say Fuck This and simply go into the job market with their undergrad or graduate degree. Foreign students probably put up with it because they have fewer options at home and their parents are probably picking up the tab.

Re:Time to reverse scientific migration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622118)

American science thrived because there was no Apaches in the lab?

Re:Time to reverse scientific migration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622188)

The difference between machine and human intelligence is the ability to derive meaning from context...

"Science" is not just "Eureka" (4, Insightful)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621796)

You can't just have PARC and places sitting in isolation, churning out whizz bang science.

Neither can you just build a PARC, and have that attract and create industry around it.

PARC and places like that need to co-exist with a hotbed industrial base, and then you get a positive feedback loop.

If you kill local industry and manufacture, then you also kill science.

If you kill science, then you also kill local industry and manufacture.

Back in the 1960's and before every school in the UK turned out kids who could read, write, and do math.

You cannot do ANY trade without these skills, not plumbing, not carpentry, not bricklaying, not to mention the slightly higher level trades like boilermakers etc.

Sadly, we threw it all away, in our pursuit of crap courses like equine aromatherapy and womyns studies, anything, just to get more people in university, just to get more people with degrees and diplomas and certificates.

Now we have a "service" economy that relies on someone else being able to do the basic math etc.

I am an engineer ( a proper one, eg mechanical and marine) and sadly I am the demographic that went through the trade at a time when an engineer was lower in status and pay than many blue collar jobs, which meant no-one wanted to do apprenticeships, which means I am one of the last of the "old school" of engineers.

The future isn't bright.

Sci-fi series Firefly had one thing right, learn a second language, and make it Chinese.

Even if we turned around and went balls out to fix the problem, money no expense, NOW, it would take a generation, or 20 years, to fix, which is too damn slow to work.

All that is left is importing the talent.

From what I know of the USA, there is a lot of importing engineering talent going on, lots of foreign nationals, green card holders and immigrants working in tech.

A friend of mine summed it up well years ago, when he said that in 2020 the USA will be the place to go to make cheap porn and exploit people who don't have any other options.

USA, the new Romania.

3arabsoft (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621916)

[3arabsoft.com]
[3arabsoft.com]
[3arabsoft.com]

Re:"Science" is not just "Eureka" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622350)

If you kill local industry and manufacture, then you also kill science.

If you kill science, then you also kill local industry and manufacture.

So true. In the US, engineering was replaced with buying other companies to save money and stifle competition. The end result being witnessed as a decline from being the world leader in innovation. Corporate greed once again. For all the past, current and upcoming MBA's out there, this what your greed has brought us- Thank you. Regardless of what you are taught in graduate school- business has an obligation to society and to its employees.

If ALL the businesses farm out their work to foreign countries and lay off their workers, who will be left in the country to buy your goods or services? Oh wait- It's a global economy. I forgot. You don't care about that.

Strange conclusion based on the named fact (2, Insightful)

ugen (93902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621820)

US may be taking a back seat in science, but what is described in the article has nothing to do with that.

Russian space agency needs money very much like NASA. The proposal to shoot down an asteroid (which, according to recent calculations is not an imminent threat) is made primarily to raise their profile, and perhaps get some cash. It certainly helps that the cause is "you will die unless you pay". If you read the original russian announcement you'd notice that they "will need 100s of millions of dollars" and they hope US and European partners will bring some dough to the table :)

I am somewhat familiar with a state of Russian science, and while it may be that over countries are going ahead of US - Russia is not one of them. Real science in Russia is, unfortunately, taking a backseat to populist crackpottery (such as controlling the clouds or making machines that cure all diseases with "magnetism" and other such things bordering on mysticism) that is in style with the new rich, who are ready to pay for it.

us vs. them (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621822)

BTW. Alexa claims only about 47.1% of us here at /. are from US. I'm unsure how representative Alexa is for global stats (global rankings rarely are), but the rest of the world'd be sooner underrepresented than not.

In a modern, globalised world (3, Insightful)

Jacques Chester (151652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621858)

Who cares where the research happens, so long as it happens and happens well? Science should be without borders. Reducing it to a penis-measuring contest is hardly edifying.

Re:In a modern, globalised world (1)

robus (852325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622240)

If there was free movement of people around the world I wouldn't care. But there isn't, so people are stuck in the economy they find themselves. Thus if it is in decline - I (and probably they) care very much.

Smart people are discriminated against in US... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621868)

American society absolutely hates smart people these days. They are called derogatory names, like "nerds", and "geeks", ridiculed and made fun of. The net result of that is in years to come only rednecks would be left in US and other countries which value smart people would have replaced US as world leaders. This is called evolution - survival of the best and the fittest.

By the way, if we have laws to prevent discrimination against races, why is there no anti-discrimination law for discrimination against intelligent people? Calling someone a "geek" and bullying him and making fun of him just because he is more intelligent than you should be against the law.

Re:Smart people are discriminated against in US... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621928)

I think urban culture has a lot more to do with the decline in America than the redneck. A redneck will work 16 hours a day to put food on the table and be thankful for it. Your average ghetto rat feels that holding down a part time job to make things right in their world is an inconvenience.

It's not too odd how the decline in America and society's sense of entitlement go hand in hand. I think we've lost a few fundamental values that kept us going in a positive directions. Now it's a question of finding those values and somehow getting them back into the public consciousness.

Our latest president was voted in with the help of an alarming number of people who thought that he was going to magically whisk away their problems. People in the US are less and less enthusiastic about opportunity and looking more and more for an easy out. We lack responsibility because we lack discipline. While we may be in a comfortable position today to do that it's not going to last. The question I have is what really happens when the real bottom of the barrel gets hit? What are we going to do with all the incompetent fools who've asked for bail out after bail out when we have no more to give?

Re:Smart people are discriminated against in US... (2, Insightful)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622212)

^ +1, uncomfortably true.

There is certainly a big "culture of entitlement" in the U.S. that has largely replaced individualism and a good work ethic. When you have a lot of people wanting something for nothing and only a small number of hard-working people to leech off of to get that something for nothing, are you surprised that the country is collapsing?

Re:Smart people are discriminated against in US... (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622298)

The introduction of the welfare state in the Nordic countries greatly boosted their economies. Blaming America's problems on a desire for some government solutions is an oversimplification that obscures more than it clarifies.

offtopic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621886)

So basically the have "terrorist" won. USA is screwed by the war and anti-terror legislation.

Re:offtopic (2, Insightful)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622000)

This decline has been going on much longer than any war on terror. This is a problem on a wide social level that has no single cause and no single solution. The sooner people stop using this problem to push their own political agenda the sooner we can get down to solving it.

We have a creationist "museum"... (5, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621892)

http://creationmuseum.org/ [creationmuseum.org]
...and it has not been laughed out of existence. 'Nuff said.

Re:We have a creationist "museum"... (0)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622170)

I think other areas are the cause. You don't see China or India leading the world with billions of dollars of research on how life began (because it really isn't a priority). Creation vs evolution doesn't affect chemistry, physics, or 90% of biology. I know several very smart and productive hard science PhDs who espouse creationist viewpoints; somehow it doesn't affect their work (they obviously don't work in evolutionary biology though).

Re:We have a creationist "museum"... (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622310)

I think other areas are the cause. You don't see China or India leading the world with billions of dollars of research on how life began (because it really isn't a priority). Creation vs evolution doesn't affect chemistry, physics, or 90% of biology. I know several very smart and productive hard science PhDs who espouse creationist viewpoints; somehow it doesn't affect their work (they obviously don't work in evolutionary biology though).

The Creation Museum is a symptom, like Sarah Palin, etc., of a country that takes stupid way too seriously and discounts intelligence, intellect and expertise as "elitist". Young earth creationist nutballs are harmless as long as they don't try to teach it as science or history or whatever. Because when you're trying to discern the laws of nature, predict future natural phenomena and exploit these for technological purposes, "God did it" is not a very good starting point.

The Creation Museum is trying to get dinosaurs with saddles taken seriously as science. They are trying in general to get taken seriously as science. Check out their website, reviews of the museum, people's impressions and photo journals of it to see just what we're writing about. Seriously, take a look -- it's way wackier than you might think, much more loony than your creationist PhD friends, who are probably otherwise normal and would never suggest that Noah's Ark is literal history and the dinosaurs came along for the ride.

I cannot make this stuff up.

Re:We have a creationist "museum"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622376)

The "theory" of evolution and the movement that espouses it is just as much a religion as any creationist one I've seen.

The Beatles were great for declining Britain (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621900)

So what sort of music do the Chinese like these days? What's the market for cultural tourism and what does a Bed and Breakfast feed Chinese for breakfast?

Disruption is essential (3, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621908)

Disruption is the essence of progress. Some of what was is superseded by something new. Typically the incumbent technologies and powers either fight progress tooth and nail, try to co-opt it, or try to at least manage it's pace to something they can control. When too much incumbent power is too successful at slowing progress, that progress tends to move somewhere else.

In recent years, those incumbent powers have been quite successful in the US. One can hope that that trend doesn't continue.

Short term thinking maybe? (5, Interesting)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621936)

People mentioned the immigration policies and other factors, but I think the #1 reason long-term pursuits like science have faded from the forefront is the shift everywhere to short term thinking.

  • Students are staying away from science and math because of a short term (or maybe a long term) worry about employability. They also realize that law, medicine and MBA-type pursuits are much more lucrative if they're smart.
  • Companies are increasingly run by groups of investors who put intense pressure on boards to make the quarterly numbers any way possible. This kind of thinking can kill innovation at a company -- it's always wasier to license and resell someone else's product in the short term, but in the long term you're nothing but a middleman.
  • Universities are under even greater pressure to focus research on things that can be immediately turned into products or patents.
  • IBM, AT&T, HP, etc. have all cut back their research labs and divisions. That's not a total surprise; can you imagine trying to explain to some hedge fund guy who holds 10% of the company stock why he's spending money on research?
  • The general public is also caught up in the market driven short term thinking. Everyone depends on the stock market for their retirement. Now that they have instant access to it, volatility goes way up and the public is making the same demands as the hedge fund guys...make money for me NOW or you're fired!

Personally, I think we should deemphasize the amount of attention paid to the stock market, and give it back to the billionaire's club. Invest your retirement money in something safe that gives reasonable returns....ror better yet, demand that they bring pensions back (the ultimate long term planning tool.)

Re:Short term thinking maybe? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622052)

"Students are staying away from science and math because of a short term (or maybe a long term) worry about employability. They also realize that law, medicine and MBA-type pursuits are much more lucrative if they're smart."

I'd just like to point out that Medicine *is* science. To get a degree in medicine (whether as a nurse or doctor, or lab technician) you have to take all sort of chemistry, biology, and other science courses. All medical progress/research is science-driven. The part about law and MBA's is a good point, but throwing medicine in there strikes me as a bit odd given the argument of the statement.

Re:Short term thinking maybe? (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622138)

You're right - I was referring to medicine as part of the professions. Medicine is science, but a lot of it is applied science instead of basic research. At least for now, it's also a very lucrative path if you have the talent and can deal with people and the insane amount of training you have to do.

Just as an example, if you were about to graduate with a 4.0 from MIT, you'd have options open to you. Medicine is one...8+ years of training, incredible amounts of work and debt, and a huge payoff at the end. Law is 3 years of training with a semi-guaranteed huge payoff at the end depending on where you go to law school. An MBA is 2 years of training, and an almost-guaranteed huge payoff. Getting an Ivy League MBA is pretty much a free ticket into one of the high-end consulting companies, investment banks or management at a corporation. A science Ph. D. is 5-6 years of research, with the only guarantee being medium-level pay and tenure at a university if you can get it. Add in the job security being in one of the professions gives you (AMA, ABA, etc.) and you can see why people might not pick the science path.

I'd probably be silly and pick the Ph. D. route for love of the game.....but would you? I'd never call medicine and law "shortcut paths to riches" given the training requirements, but compared to the alternatives, they're attractive.

Re:Short term thinking maybe? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622208)

It's a cultural thing. I am sure you have heard the following line in one movie or another, where the father laments his son's career choice: "You could have been a doctor or a lawyer!" This line is used so often it's almost a cliche, and that's no surprise: those professions, and increasingly the MBA-type stuff as well, are considered by many, many people as positions that come with wealth and respect. Conversely, engineers and scientists are notoriously lacking in respect from society at large. Students leaving high school and enrolling in a technical university are sometimes still being met with a mix of disdain and pity, something that would never happen to anyone enrolling in law school. If you have a choice, this is just one of the reasons why you might not choose a career in science... social status plays a bigger role in people's choices than one might think.

Re:Short term thinking maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622238)

I'd just like to point out that Medicine *is* science.

How so?

I work at a very large research organization. Now, if you're implying that MDs are scientists, you're full of crap. The real scientists, the ones sporting Phds in biochem, microbiology, biophysics, and hell, even biomedical engineering pretty much scoff at them.

MDs are auto mechanics.. nothing more.

Re:Short term thinking maybe? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622372)

I was referring to Medicine as the entire field/industry of Medicine, not just MD.s. As you yourself state, a lot of PhDs are employed by biotech and pharma companies. Even doctors are trained in science, and effective use the scientific method every day. You may scoff at them as 'auto-mechanics', but even auto-mechanics, to a degree, employ the tools and techniques of science. As for MDs, as I pointed out, in order to practice, they need to learn a lot of science, even if they don't do 'research' day to day. Heck, some M.D.s specialize in research at research hospitals.

I blame the MBA (4, Interesting)

DG (989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622202)

Personally, I blame the MBA. As in the "Masters of Business Administration" degree.

The MBA programmes at all North American universities promote this short of short-term, quarter-by-quarter, stock price driven corporate culture. As the MBA increasingly became the price of entry to more lucrative salaries and promotion within an enterprise, that culture became all-pervasive, to the point where it is now the water in which the fish swim.

And along the way, the MBA-trained manager class forgot the hard-learned lessons of their founding fathers - like long-term planning, maintainence of corporate morale, and taking care of employees.

My career arc went military (I was a product of a military college) -> civvi -> military. The military is hardly a perfect institution, but one thing it really gets right is teaching leadership. Actual *leadership*, not just management.

One of the key tenets of leadership is that quality personnel who are properly motivated can overcome shortfalls in pretty much everything else. Crappy materials, shitty situation, odds stacked against you - well led troops can overcome these things and manufacture success.

And so there are a number of principles that go along with providing this kind of leadership: Lead by example. Ask your subordinates to do nothing you wouldn't do (or haven't done). Loyalty up starts with loyalty down. Respect is earned, not demanded. Always tell the truth, no matter how unpalatable it might be. If you have to correct someone (or you yourself are corrected) fix the problem and move on with no grudges. Provide subordinates with clear direction, including the mission to be accomplished and your intent, and then trust them to carry it out. Etc.

Yes, even in the military it is rare for all of these to gel in the same unit, and I can name commanders who I worked for/with who were deficient in one or more of these areas. But even the worst of them (and some could be pretty bad) were still better leaders and ultimately more effective than any MBA-trained manager I ever worked with as a civilian.

Having worked in a variety of civvie companies, ranging from small startups to major corporations (and most of my civvie experience was with US corporations) I've never seen so many people so completely oblivious to the effects of their decisions upon morale and the overall health and well being of their workforce. Decisions were routinely made with no consideration of second or third order effects. Corporate loyalty simply did not exist, with the employees in the trenches convinced (quite rightly) that management was out to screw them as hard as they could - and so it was OK then to screw the company as hard as they could.

And most frustratingly, any attempt to draw attention to problems in an attempt to get them rectified was usually perceived as an attack on the person who came up with the policy, not the policy itself. It was nearly impossible to pass ground truth up the chain because the bearer of bad news was treated as "difficult" and quite often punished or even terminated.

I wonder sometimes if the success of the "greatest generation" who fought in WW2 isn't because so many key people were exposed to military-style leadership and that sense of everybody in an enterprise pulling towards a common goal, and then that carrying on through the rest of their lives. Now, we get the short-sighted, numbers-focussed "leadership" of the MBA and the resulting destruction and misery.

I went back to the Army in large part because I couldn't take it any more. Even a bad day in the Army usually trumped a good day as a corporate wage slave.

DG

Meh.. I disagree... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621938)

The US is home to huge numbers of institutes, universities, and foundations that are directly responsible for TONS of science coming out. Matter of fact, I have a subscription to Science Magazine and many of the articles are in part or wholly by the US.

We are a bit behind in stem cell research training and skills, relative to other countries, but CIRM is working to catch that up.

http://www.cirm.ca.gov/node/278 [ca.gov]

---

I think the article is a bit shallow and assumptive, and does not wholly encompass (or ignores for sake of proving a point) the massive science we are responsible for producing.

Re:Meh.. I disagree... (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621996)

Yeah, I kind of have to agree with the parent. I guess, honestly, I don't really know the state of U.S. science vs the rest of the world, but while I generally respect Dr. Tyson, his line of reasoning strikes me as a bit shallow. Basically, he says that because the Russian space agency is planning to try to deflect an Asteroid named Apophis so it has a reduced chance of colliding with Earth in a couple decades, and because CERN's LHC is currently leading theoretical particle physics, that the U.S.A. has fallen behind in science leadership.

It kind of sounds like Tyson is claiming that because anyone, anywhere, other than the U.S.A. is engaging in science, the U.S. has lost leadership of science. I realize that's not really what he's trying to say, but you read the article, and that's basically what you come to. That, and because there've been a few court cases where creationists LOST when trying to either restrict the teaching of evolution in public schools, or LOST when trying to force public schools to teach Intelligent Design. As far as I know, there is nowhere in the U.S.A. where the teaching of evolution is actually banned from public school curriculums, but apparently Tyson thinks that a very small but vocal minority, who caused a couple court cases which they lost, but which got big media attention, spells the end of science education in the U.S.

Oh noes! The sky is falling (well, if the Russians are unsuccessful, it might. . .)

Re:Meh.. I disagree... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622062)

Exactly. If one instance of valuable science is to be attributed to a country, and then assumed to fully describe that country...

well... Yamanaka, the champion of induced pluripotent stem cells, now works for the US in SF.

IPSC are how current adults can get genetically identical stem cells. IPSC are how we can completely go around the 'ethical' disagreements from embryonic stem cells. IPSC are badass. This summer, whole mice were made from IPSC of tail tip skin.

had to slip global warming in there didn't they. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621942)

it lost all credability when they shoe horned that nugget in there. measuring something via satillite is hardly a break through.

Re:had to slip global warming in there didn't they (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622144)

Come on, give it a rest! In what way did they lose credibility by making a measurement that confirmed their predictions? That seems to be the ideal way of increasing credibility.

Can you really be suprised that they would bring up climate change in a scientific review of 2009 when it is such a hotly debated topic right now?

I have seen the lecture you are referring too. (5, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 4 years ago | (#30621992)

He made a very good point.

Tyson made a very good point. In that lecture, he talked about the Islamic Empires of the 12th and 13th centuries that were building while we were in the Christian Dark Ages. Do you know what happened? A bunch of Imams got together and basically stated that Math and Science were of the devil. After that, it was only a matter of time. The result is the Middle East we see today.

He also stated a statistic that since Bush took office in 2001, during the 8 years of Bush, the amount of "hard science" Papers in Chemistry, Biology and Physics has dropped to 1/10th what it was in the 90s.

(He had exact numbers, and I saw this last November.)

The point is, Reactionary Christianity is causing the collapse of our civilization just the same way that Reactionary Islam caused the middle east to become what it is today.

Christianity. Its the Problem.

When you have 60% of your population denying Evolution, a scientific fact, your civilization is circling the drain.

Re:I have seen the lecture you are referring too. (1, Insightful)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622166)

When you have 60% of your population denying Evolution, a scientific fact, your civilization is circling the drain.

Oddly enough, when that number was much higher the US was the indisputable leader of the world.

Re:I have seen the lecture you are referring too. (0, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622206)

Since December, 2008, when Zombie Ryushu started posting, the economy has tanked.

The point is that Zombie Ryushu's posts are causing the collapse of our economy.

Zombie Ryushu. He's (she?) is the problem.

Re:I have seen the lecture you are referring too. (1)

Turbosatan (1129159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622260)

the next few years will be a big deciding factor in our futures. we will either be able to break this ridiculous religious fervour which seems to be overly rife in america or we will become slaves to the bullshit these people peddle forever.

Re:I have seen the lecture you are referring too. (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622356)

Care to be a little more detailed on how you came to this conclusion?

Re:I have seen the lecture you are referring too. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622436)

"When you have 60% of your population denying Evolution, a scientific fact, your civilization is circling the drain."

Wow. I guarantee you that the civilization that follows the Gospel of Jesus Christ will never collapse. It is only when you deny Him that you will fall.

You're also making two different arguments. Human Evolution has never been called "a scientific fact". I'm a Christian and I believe that organisms evolve. Where we disagree is that you believe you evolved from an ape. I believe I am son of God, the Eternal Father. I choose to hold humanity at a higher standard than the offspring of a dumb animal.

Evolution is not a fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30622448)

Nitpick: evolution is not a fact, it is a theory, such as gravity is a theory. (Yes, incorrectly misused by creationists as a derogatory statement).

Well, duh (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30621998)

Guess what happens when you keep trying to teach controversies that do not exist, define reality as a matter of religious freedom and get "fair time" for stupidity in classrooms.

Re:Well, duh (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622014)

What distresses me most about this AP story is not the asteroid itself, but that a space-faring nation (not us -- not the U.S.) has decided to take the lead on an important space mission and, as a courtesy, asked if we want to join them. But isn't that what we used to do for other countries?

Meanwhile, the Large Hadron Collider, a primarily European, international collaboration at CERN in Switzerland, now probes states of matter beyond all previous experimental limits previously probed by American labs.

Add to these stories the widespread paranoia across America that the world will end in 2012 because an extinct Mayan civilization from half a millennium ago said so, and that we still need court cases to decide whether or not evolution by natural selection should be taught in our public schools, and I'm left fearing the future of America's leadership on the world stage of science and technology.

He said it.

Internally Mirrored Glasses (0, Troll)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622050)

I don't recall being asked if I'd like to have my science credited to the US, either upon entry into the science workforce or at the outset of each study. I resent being appropriated.

Tyson is an educator/entertainer and a scientist. None of this makes him qualified in any way to speak on the political implications of "scientific leadership", whatever that is supposed to be. Tyson should perhaps stick to the science, perhaps even doing some on the subject raised here. He might be surprised to find that scientific leadership is not what drives economic strength and security. If asked, I'm sure the economic and security leaderships would be glad to explain this fully.

From whence this wind blown rhetoric, Tyson? Scientific leadership has led nothing in this country but science itself for our entire history. And whither blowest? Is there some science pulpit coming open in the political arena? Science Czar perhaps? If so, you've got the talking pretty part down, but could use some work when it comes to realism. Willing suspension of disbelief applies to drama, not politics nor science.

To lead one must be involved. The more science is involved with politics the less it is allowed to lead itself much less any other segments of society. Scientists who attempt to lead more than science suffer from the handicap of relying on truth. Other practicing politicians do not suffer this same problem, and will eat your lunch.

For someone whose training is in an observational science, Tyson seems peculiarly unable or unwilling to observe the relationship of science to politics across history. Too close maybe? As an astronomer you should be familiar with that in order to be able to focus your instrument on a target, you need go be quite some distance away. As for me, that's where I plan to keep my science, because I've had mine looked over by the Department of Appropriation of Research for Political Agendas(DARPA) and those people piss me off and scare me.

And until the general population sees fit to show up at the lab to do their share of the work, fuck this 'we' shit. I do science for Science's sake. If there were an alternative called US Science, I'd refuse to do that sort. Luckily outside of politically motivated rhetoric there isn't.

Re:Internally Mirrored Glasses (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622392)

If it's not appropriate for Tyson, a national stature scientist in the public eye, to make statements like this, then who is meant to be speaking up? There is no national science policy Tsar that I'm aware of, and if there is one they are flying so low under the radar that they may as well not exist.

In the current scientific/regligious climate in the US, where creationist nutjobs get their opinions into the national press, and their viewpoints are presented as being a valid alternative to science (in reality as valid as flat earth "alternative" view points), I'm glad that a few people are willing to stand up and speak for scientific literacy.

As Tyson says, it's a long slow slide, but one that affects us nonetheless. You better believe that science affects us in our everyday lives and not just in the ivory towers of academia. Where do you think the advances in material science, semiconductor technology, industrial automation/robotics, etc, etc, come from - the things that keep (or DID keep) America competetive on the world stage come from? How is America meant to compete with countries like China with lower salaries other than via technology/science that lets us leverage the productivity of American workers.

Never mind the extraordinarily practical advantages of science, do you really want the next generation (incl. your kids, if you have any) where America despite it's "superpower" status ranks 3rd or 4th, and sliding in terms of scientific achievement and breakthoughs... Where all the headline grabbing achievements are made by Europe, and Asia? Not America lands man on the moon, but rather China builds station on moon, Japan/Europe builds fusion reactor, etc, etc.

Actually this has happened for a while now (4, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622070)

The USA does not, contrary to some believing it, have a monopoly on science and technology.

During the 1970's to 1990's the USA may have made some innovative computer technology and got the Apollo mission to the Moon and the Space Shuttle, but the rest of the world has caught up and in some ways passed us by.

Due to offshoring the work to foreign nations and not hiring enough scientists, engineers, and computer science US citizens in the USA, most of us had to take a job to pay the bills that does not contribute to science and technology. The jobs went to the lower bidders in India, China, Russia, etc instead. Labor goes to where labor costs are cheaper as per classic capitalism and even China has become capitalist. Minimum wage is welfare capitalism and classic capitalism does not use it. The USA has welfare capitalism which means we have welfare ie social programs backed by capitalism via insurance and that means unemployment, COBRA, medicare, disability, welfare, etc. We also force companies to get health insurance for their employees but foreign nations do not. Plus we tax corporations to pay for our welfare capitalism social programs so it also forces companies to move to foreign nations to avoid all that.

When I went to UMR I hung out with the foreign students from China and other places. They were so smart I would play pinball with them in the student lounge and they would win all of these free games because of mechanical engineering and they taught me some of the tricks of playing pinball and gave me their free games, in which I would win more free games and give them to another student. The best of the best from foreign nations come to the USA for college degrees and used to work in the USA, but now thanks to the Internet they can work in a foreign nation and turn out work for pennies on the dollar of what a US citizen wants to earn.

Smart Americans would be stupid pursue STEM career (1, Flamebait)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622344)

Massive offshoring, and importing of guest workers, has driven the salaries of many STEM workers below a living wage. US citizens are pushed aside to make room for the flood of offshore workers. Needless to say, this situation discourages Americans from pursuing a STEM career. Smart Americans are studying to go into finance, or something. If the US has not already lost it's technology edge, it soon will.

Decline (1, Offtopic)

TopSpin (753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622378)

If only the US had launched some space observatories [berkeley.edu]
If only the US had bothered to maintain some of its science assets [nasa.gov]
If only the US had conducted any exploration of our solar system [nasa.gov]
If only the US had commissioned any meaningful physics experiments [llnl.gov]
If only the US had any anthropologists discovering stuff [nationalgeographic.com]
If only the US had any geneticists discovering stuff [scientificamerican.com]
If only the US had bothered to conduct any nuclear physics [wired.com] experiments
If only the US had any medical science to speak of [wired.com]
If only the US had any practicing bioengineers [wired.com]
If only the US had funded any studies into the harmful effects of BPA [mit.edu]

...then maybe then SlashSnot editors would avoid indulging their myopic views of the US science.

Nice trick CNN (CNN "Pirates" ad revenue) (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622406)

If you hover over the "E-Mail" button, it is a link to the same page. Seems like CNN is not above scamming the Internet for revenue by tricking people into hitting their page more often, thus generating more ad revenue. I wonder when they will have an article on how supposedly respectable sites "pirate" ad revenue by exploiting the ignorance of the typical reader who visits their site.

Tyson has it wrong. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30622426)

The item about Russia and Apophis is a none item. First, Russia has been screaming about doing more space for the last decade and yet, the majority of their funding has been from America, not their own government. Second, this has a LOT more to do with Russia's new focus on doing space weapons. It is certain that they will announce a solution to Apophis. It will be:
  1. A sat system that tracks 10's of 1000's of missiles^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h meteors.
  2. A new missile system that can send 1000+ nuke warheads accurately to at least 1/2 of the circumference of the earth.
  3. A new anti-meteor system using lasers and ABMs that can discern the difference between meteors that contain nuclear warheads and those that are dummies.

Had Russia been even the LEAST bit sincere about that, it would include some levels of partners, be it China, EU, or even America.

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