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Tide of International Science Moving Against US, EU

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the old-guard-passing dept.

Patents 302

explosivejared writes "The Economist has a story on the increasing scientific productivity of countries like China, India, and Brazil relative to the field's old guards in America, Europe, and Japan. Scientific productivity in this sense includes percent of GDP spent on R&D and the overall numbers of researchers, scholarly articles, and patents that a country produces. The article notes increasing levels of international collaboration on scholarly scientific articles in leading journals. From the article: '[M]ore than 35% of articles in leading journals are now the product of international collaboration. That is up from 25% 15 years ago — something the old regime and the new alike can celebrate.'" Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states.

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This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34218922)

Fallow fields have a greater increased growth rate over developed ones!

Re:This just in... (0)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219534)

No, they don't. Just in China, India, Brazil, and maybe a few others. Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, et cetera, are staying in exactly the same place. It's more like, "Fallow fields that aren't drenched in blood."

Re:This just in... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219668)

No, they don't. Just in China, India, Brazil, and maybe a few others. Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, et cetera, are staying in exactly the same place. It's more like, "Fallow fields that aren't drenched in blood."

only true if you ask a dune coon. they can whine all they want. the damned towelheads just picked the wrong country to fuck with when they attacked the USA on 9/11.

Re:This just in... (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219736)

Here, troll, have a candy bar.

Just too bad (5, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34218944)

We here in the States have much more pressing issues [msn.com] at the moment... Science is for pagans and heathens

Re:Just too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219010)

Sigh.... we are still so terribly close to slipping down into the darkness that is religious superstition.

Re:Just too bad (2, Funny)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219060)

HAIL Cthulu!
When the Great One returns, all will be revealed.

Re:Just too bad (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219064)

I read that article and I think maybe they're trying to solve the wrong problem. Rather than training more priests to perform exorcisms maybe they need to stop looking for demons in everything.

Re:Just too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219242)

That's how the Catholic Church works, rather than preventing and punishing priests caught sexually abusing children they've been covering it up and more recently blaming it on homosexual priests.

Re:Just too bad (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219364)

I read that article and I think maybe they're trying to solve the wrong problem. Rather than training more priests to perform exorcisms maybe they need to stop looking for demons in everything.

When all you've got is holy water, every problem looks like a demon.

Re:Just too bad (1)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219120)

LOL. Thanks

Re:Just too bad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219174)

And, of course, this will be modded insightful instead of offtopic, just so Slashdotters can rejoice in their atheism once again despite it having nothing to do with the actual article.

Re:Just too bad (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219468)

It's worse than that. Louisiana is now officially looking at changing textbooks in order to get rid of evolution. They want to replace one of the best documented scientific theories in existence with "I dunno how this works, ergo God did it". If the rest of the US decides to go down that path, I don't foresee a very bright future for science and technology in America.

Re:Just too bad (2, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219618)

You seem to be overestimating how "united" the US actually is. Really, it isn't - saying "Louisiana is banning evolution, the whole US is next" is like saying "Serbia is banning evolution, all of Europe is next". Yes, we're united militarily and economically, but many things are decided at the state level or lower. As far as education is concerned, it's pretty much as follows:
  • The Federal Gov't sets certain basic standards such as "what basic skills need to be taught", and provides some funding.
  • The State Gov'ts set standards like "what textbooks can be used" and "what specific things need to be taught", and provide some more funding.
  • The County Gov'ts control most practical things like "how much do we pay teachers" and "what textbooks do we use", and provide the majority of the funding.

Besides, it is extremely likely that, should Louisiana "remove" evolution, it will be challenged in courts, and thrown out. The case Epperson v. Arkansas did so back in '68, with a rather strongly-worded decision.

patents/capita (5, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34218956)

Judging scientific productivity in terms of patents filed is like measuring software value in lines of code. I realize that's not the only metric here but the fact that they're even looking at it this way is ridiculous.

Re:patents/capita (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219038)

Not only that, one of the other measures of "productivity" was the amount of money spent. That's not what "productivity" means.

The number of published papers *that get cited by others* would be a much better metric.

Re:patents/capita (2, Interesting)

aurizon (122550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219614)

Take a look at lab time per dollar. You might find that the Chinese researchers put in ten hours, and we put in one for the same cost, and Europe is the same.
Thus we are losing at the manufacturing end as well as at the research end.

In the USA/Europe?UK faculty and employee unions impoverish their research institutions with demands.

That said, I wonder if many USA/UK/European research tasks are exported to China?

Re:patents/capita (4, Interesting)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219720)

Except that there is a bonus _per paper written_ in f.ex. Chinese institutes, so that it becomes very attractive to just swamp the community with papers. And when you write papers, you cite your colleagues.

There simply is no good metric. You have to judge the quality of the papers and authors by reading them. Tht is not the answer accounting departments want to hear, though.

Re:patents/capita (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219722)

Not only that, one of the other measures of "productivity" was the amount of money spent. That's not what "productivity" means.

In a world financed by consumer debt, that's precisely what "productivity" means.

Yep... (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219044)

And, from the summary: "Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states."

So what? Increasing a baseline of 10 by 1 is 10% growth. Increasing a baseline of 1000 by 10 is 1% growth. Even if the metric is valid, which would you take?

Re:patents/capita (2, Informative)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219522)

I completely agree with your comment.

Yet, when I look at universities in the US, they play a similar game. In the last university I was in (top 5 in engineering), the faculty were consistently pressured to produce patents, and many of the faculty agreed it was the right path to go on.

And heck, even quantity of publications is a dubious measure...

"Tide" of Science (1, Redundant)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34218974)

I thought this was going to be a global warming study, rising sea levels ...

with the US singled out for special opprobrium because it's basically the only country unwilling to accept the consensus of (most) scientists that global warming is happening.

Too little too late (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34218982)

Since the world has passed peak oil production and is now on the down slope towards an energy famine.

some us schools think collaboration = cheating on (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219004)

some us schools think collaboration = cheating on some class projects and parts of other school work.

Some even think that collaboration on papers is cheating as well.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219258)

Collaborating on papers which aren't handed out as collaborative papers is definitely cheating. What concerns me more is the implication that some US schools don't think that's cheating.

Likewise, school work is to be done on ones own, except where indicated as a group task or in cases where one needs it explained.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219352)

"Likewise, school work is to be done on ones own"

Why? What if someone is actually helping you and explaining to you how to do the work so that you can later do it yourself? If they are cheating and merely copying answers without learning the material, it will show. It's their education and their own fault.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1)

Dr Damage I (692789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219496)

If said cheating is done in secondary school and helps one to get a tertiary placement in preference to someone who did not cheat, it doesn't matter to the displaced scholar that the person who displaced them got found out or failed the course later on.

Similarly, if a person obtains employment on the strength of academic results which aren't valid, not only does the person they displace get impacted potentially hampering them at the start of their career, the reputation of the cheats educational qualification will be damaged, affecting every student who completes their qualification honestly.

It's this last which should motivate educational institutions to ensure that their students complete their qualifications honestly.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219652)

"Similarly, if a person obtains employment on the strength of academic results which aren't valid"

If an employer is hiring people based on the imaginary grading scales present in the school systems, that is their first error.

"It's this last which should motivate educational institutions to ensure that their students complete their qualifications honestly."

Banning all collaboration whether good or 'bad' isn't the answer.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1)

Dr Damage I (692789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219716)

"Banning all collaboration whether good or 'bad' isn't the answer." Hedwards, to whom you originally replied, carefully distinguished between good and bad collaboration, so I assumed that you would be able to comprehend the fact that I was not referring to permitted and/or required collaborative efforts. My apologies for this erroneous assumption.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219744)

"so I assumed that you would be able to comprehend the fact that I was not referring to permitted and/or required collaborative efforts."

No, I was talking about projects that were originally meant to be done alone but you asked for the help of another to show you how to do it, not projects specifically intended to be group projects.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219850)

You know people can get through college without having to study, assuming they are an active member of a good frat? Most profs tend to have the same test questions, and most decent frats will have those questions on file to study. Combine that with a dossier of what profs do for exams and their political leanings, and all it takes it going to the test dates and the final with a list of answers memorized, and that is an easy "A" without interfering with the drinking binges.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (4, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219418)

That said, many teachers agree that student can work together on homework to figure out the approach to a problem, as long as they are not copying actual solutions (i.e. once the approach becomes clear, they stop and finish the problem independently, before moving on to the next problem). The vast majority of my teachers actively encouraged doing that, but were clear that merely copying solutions was very much unacceptable.

A few of them further specified that if while collaborating on the approach the the group as a whole finds the solution, a notation to that effect should be added to the paper, so the grader does not assume the basically identical answers are a result of copying.

One area none of the teachers ever touched was the collaborative process of checking answers against each other once everybody has completed the assignment. That is because that is a thorny area, and comes very close to the issue of simply coping answers. Done correctly, this process helps students find and understand mistakes they made, resulting in better understanding of the overall material, especially since by the time students get graded material back, and realize they made a mistake, the class has advanced far beyond that point, making students feel less comfortable asking questions, and also often just no longer care.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219548)

You'd think that since nearly everybody in the real world collaborates on projects, that academic institutions should want to encourage collaboration.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219264)

That's because it is when the work is supposed to be/is represented as your own work.

Re:some us schools think collaboration = cheating (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219572)

Some even think that collaboration on papers is cheating as well.

I dunno 'bout cheatin', but gotdangit, that sure sounds like communism to me! I mean, ain't 'collaboratin' what the Jews and the French did with the Nazis after the krauts bombed Pearl Harbor?

Chinese science (5, Informative)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219006)

FTFA:

But citation of English-language articles in Chinese journals by other publications remains low.

Maybe it's because Chinese science isn't trustworthy enough? [bbc.co.uk]

Since were linking the Economist (5, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219040)

Here is another article by them about rampant fraud [economist.com] in China's research. More power to Brazil and other countries that are legitimately improving their scientific establishment rather than faking it till they make it.

Re:Chinese science (4, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219252)

It is well known in the academic field that if you keep sending your crappy paper to journals, it will eventually get published. And I can tell you that I review a LOT a crap those days. Measuring papers is stupid,, it won't discriminate good papers from bad papers. The editors are supposed not to publish bad papers, but eventually they will. There is no good (IMHO) to discriminate those. So let's not use the number of paper as a metric of how good countries are at science.

In which country do people go for their study if they ARE going to another country looks like a much better metric to me. And let's face it, no one goes to india, china or brazil. It might come and I wish that eventually they will. I wish those country will produce good science. But let's face it. Right now, they have 20 years to catch up.

Re:Chinese science (1)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219538)

And let's face it, no one goes to india, china or brazil.

Don't know about China, but quite a few do go to India/Brazil - cheaper alternative to the US, and not everyone can get to the US.

One place many people also end up going: Singapore. They've invested heavily on recruiting top faculty (a bunch from my highly ranked alumnus abandoned the US and moved there).

Re:Chinese science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219532)

In my current field, semiconductor quantum dots, we generally ignore papers purely out of China. After getting excited and trying to reproduce results only to find that things were fabricated a few times, we stopped treating their papers as reputable. I probably would consider it if it were in JPC C, but that's about it.

Has anybody in the US (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219012)

Ever done this [youtube.com] ? How long would it take, do you think, it would take to rebuild a place like, say, oh, I don't know, New Orleans?

Re:Has anybody in the US (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219112)

Six days to build that? They aren't including clearing the land, prepping the site or digging & pouring the foundation ... and the quality has to be questionable at best. I wouldn't want NO rebuild using that approach or the next strong wind just might destroy it again - no water required.

Re:Has anybody in the US (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219254)

...and the quality has to be questionable at best.

Hmmmm... Is that a fact? I haven't seen it up close, so I wouldn't know...

Re:Has anybody in the US (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219308)

...and the quality has to be questionable at best.

Hmmmm... Is that a fact? I haven't seen it up close, so I wouldn't know...

Did you watch the video? It took them 46:38:12 to put up 15 stories which means they're not pouring any concrete between floors in a 15 story hotel, no pausing for things to settle and no pausing for any inspections. The finish work isn't the 'quality' I'd be worried about.

Re:Has anybody in the US (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219392)

Is concrete required in a steel framed building? And please, I hope you didn't expect the video to show every detail... The inspections could have been continuous throughout the process. For one thing, it's an early experiment. Improvements will be made. You seem to believe that their past history is a sure indicator of future progress. Stagnation is not universal. It's highly localized when considering the global scale. Right now some people are entering a dark period, and others are just coming out of one. Personally I don't care who does these things. I just like to see it get done.

Re:Has anybody in the US (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219512)

You seem to believe that their past history is a sure indicator of future progress.

Their past history of sub-par construction quality? Devastating losses of life due to building collapses during natural disasters? Thousands of school children dying when their 'papier-mâché' strength school buildings collapse on them? I don't believe that is progress at all.

Re:Has anybody in the US (3, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219478)

They may have been doing floor by floor inspections while the rest of the construction continued. There is little need for whole-building inspection for each construction phase, let each phase for a floor be inspected when that floor has completed that phase. That floor can then continue on to the next phase.

It is hard to know for sure, but it looked like they were using pre-fab concrete slabs inserted in the lattice.

The not pausing for settling is definitely a valid concern.

Here's the solution (5, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219022)

I've got a great idea.

Instead of making college free like other countries, let's raise the cost of going to college so high that nobody can afford it.

Instead, we'll let them take out loans that will put them in debt for the rest of their lives.

We'll make the interest rates so high that they'll never be able to pay it off.

And to stop them from going bankrupt like businessmen or anybody else who is overwhelmed by debt, we'll make it illegal for them to go bankrupt.

(Note to self: Don't forget to underpay science teachers and destroy teachers' unions.)

Re:Here's the solution (4, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219078)

I gotta add some thing to make your idea even better!

Let's also have society not value science and let's put superstitious thought on equal ground - say "Intelligent Design" or some other such nonsense on par with Evolution. Or have folks poo-poo a rational explanation because the idea of reincarnation just fits the "facts" so much better. And when someone who tries to put the rational view forward and discount the superstition, let's call that person "intolerant" of others beliefs.

There! Now, I am going to pray to the almighty Zeus - the creator and master of ALL gods - so that HE'll forgive all this science non-sense and the worship of the mythical God of Abraham.

Re:Here's the solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219420)

Science and faith are not mutually exclusive. If you look back at many of the scientific achievements you will find church men lurking around developing and encouraging the work. Where our culture seems to go wrong is when atheists are allowed to lay claim to science. This can cause the religious to reject ideas that they shouldn't because someone decides to claim that a scientific process disproves religion. Evolution is a mechanism for change within a species, it is not an explanation for the existence of life. Evolution does not preclude intelligent design, nor does intelligent design preclude evolution. Treating one as a substitute for the other is foolish. If faith could be proven it would no longer be faith. The state of education would be better if the anti-evolution (as a mechanism) crowd would listen to reason. It would also be better if all the "religion suppresses science" crowd would learn that judging by the data available at the time, Galileo's theories were inferior to the existing theories and that his arrest was due to politics and a refusal to admit what data showed.

To the grandparent. Let's keep subsidizing institutions only to have those subsidies be absorbed while students are still charged the same as before. That seems to have been a great way to keep tuition costs down. Let's encourage all students to study whatever they want and pay no attention to whether a poetry degree can ever repay the costs incurred. Let's allow unionized teachers to graduate undereducated students so that they can rack up more debt by taking remedial courses in college. Let's further offer unsecured loans and hope that no one abuses bankruptcy laws to get out of repayment. Unlike mortgages or car loans, your waiver of default is what mitigates the risk of default to lenders. The alternative is to have educational loans at rates similar to other unsecured loans (e.g. credit card or pawn/payday lending interest rate levels). I'll agree to an extent on your underpayment of skilled teachers, but the converse is that we overpay incompetent teachers and have a bloated administration that robs classrooms of their operating budgets.

Re:Here's the solution (5, Interesting)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219708)

Seems like an incredibly dubious argument to me. Faith and Science are mutually exclusive and have nothing to do with atheists. It has to do with separation of scientific process and leaps of faith that can't be proven. Your arguments are typical of what the grandparent is trying to say. Faith assumes that observation is causality and science recognizes that observation can be related but not the cause. Tying observation to causality my be a natural defense in animals. We assume that the last thing we ate is the cause of our stomach ailments. This might be life saving, but it also makes us avoid things that don't make us sick. Science doesn't have this luxury. We need to root out causality to efficiently make scientific discovery. The beauty of science sometimes leads scientists to have faith is a high power, but it doesn't lead them to apply faith to the discovery process.

What is also hurting our institutions is the changes made during the Reagan era to reduce funding to higher education and place taxes on graduate student stipends. This was driven by your same argument, "Gosh we should stop funding universities because they are turning out to many liberal arts degrees." The government stopped funding universities and forced them into a quasi for profit position. Universities started drawing from the foreign pool of students whose governments had the foresight to fund the education of future leaders of arts and sciences. It is not surprising that our universities have a disproportionate number of foreign students, and they are returning to their homelands with the knowledge to succeed in science and engineering.

I think it is great that China and India have the wherewithal to see what is required to be a dominant economic and political power. They aren't sitting on slashdot arguing over faith versus science. They are just working hard at discovery knowing it will pay off.

Re:Here's the solution (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219868)

How about we add onto that -- everyone knows sports heroes and rock stars contribute far more to a society than advances in the hard sciences and engineering. We all know that 300 years from now, Justin Bieber's song lyrics will be immortalized and will become a must study for every student in future times, while the advances in graphene, memristors, and biofuels are absolutely meaningless and will be forgotten in ten years.

It is far more important for high schools to have the football stadiums, and as big, if not larger Jumbotrons than the rival. Far more important than funding science labs, or hiring and retaining competent staff. Woe to the school district that doesn't have available skyboxes for parties during the Friday night games.

Re:Here's the solution (4, Insightful)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219130)

We should support Teachers; however, My 8 year old student should also have the benefit of a Union.

Re:Here's the solution (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219602)

We should support Teachers; however, My 8 year old student should also have the benefit of a Union.

Then tell her to get off her dead ass and organize.

Re:Here's the solution (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219142)

I strongly disagree with every point you've made, but I guess that's the point isn't it? We're making debt an addiction and never letting anyone get better.

The US needs to change its financial industry's philosophy of squeezing every penny out of its own people rather than increasing the productivity out of its real investments. People are not their investment, they are their junkies.

Re:Here's the solution (2, Insightful)

Degro (989442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219384)

We're in debt because taxes have been cut far too drastically over the last couple decades. Wealthy people have been buying their way into office, cutting taxes and then acting all surprised when there's not enough money to pay for even the most basic public services. Their solution, of course? Cut services. Fuck the tired and poor - we got ours. High taxes made the U.S. what it is (social security, interstates, medicare, space ships).

Re:Here's the solution (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219484)

So we should go back to the high taxes on rich folks like we had before Reagan? Yea, the 70s were really productive years for the US.

Perhaps we should find a balance, and understand that most people making $250k to $500k a year actually earn it, and if you overtax people in those brackets, they have no reason to continue to invest in their companies (most of them ARE self employed). So you literally tax away jobs as well when you raise taxes on the "rich" to 70%. Keep in mind that people who make just $159,619 or more are in the top 5% of wage earners, but pay 58% of all income taxes. People who make $380,354 or more (1% of the population) already pay 38% of ALL income taxes earned. The "poor" people, making $33,048 or less may be plentiful, but pay less than 3% of all income taxes collected. I would instead say that we spend entirely too much on military, farm subsidies, and in general, while not investing OUR money in the right places, such as education and the sciences. "Rich bashing" is not nearly as productive as it is popular.

http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html [ntu.org] if you are interested.

Reagan said it best: "No nation ever taxed itself into prosperity." Paraphrasing Margaret Thacher, you could also say that "the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money". In other words, you can't just tax rich people more and solve all the world's problems, and over-taxation will certainly cause a whole new set of problems.

Re:Here's the solution (1)

Dr Damage I (692789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219606)

US Federal Government revenue [usgovernmentrevenue.com] , as a percentage of GDP has been fairly static in the post WWII period, ranging from a high of 21% of GDP to a low of 15% of GDP with upward and downward fluctuations throughout the period. However, absolute revenues have increased from 46 billion in 1946 to 2104.5 billion in 2009. Your post assumes that the increase in GDP that permits the fed to collect vastly increasing revenues over this period has no relation to the drastically reduced taxes (which, curiously, are not reflected in the available data) to which you refer.

Re:Here's the solution (3, Insightful)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219396)

People should be responsible for their actions. This includes the debt they accumulate. We shouldn't have to legislate to the lowest common denominator.

Re:Here's the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219464)

When considering his/her reply was directed toward the cost of higher education and the practices of the student loan industry preying on students we should re-evaluate when big business gets their chunk of each person's income. Should they get it before an individual ever gets a chance to earn a decent living or after they're getting a nice paycheck and they can buy expensive things like new cars, houses, and all the other big ticket items that drive our economy?

Re:Here's the solution (2)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219222)

While we are at it could we shift more money away from the early (K-12) education system and put it to better use, I hear the military could use some extra cash right now?

Re:Here's the solution (5, Insightful)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219326)

"Making college free" - you mean using tax dollars to pay the tuition for... everyone? As it stands, probably 50% of the people who show up for class at university should have settled for trade school. Instead, they will spend 5-6 years getting a philosophy or art degree and then working as an assistant manager at Borders. I don't want to subsidize this any more than I already have to (interest deferred school loans).

Re:Here's the solution (1, Funny)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219348)

Oh God! A Republican.

Re:Here's the solution (5, Funny)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219376)

Oh God! A Borders assistant manager.

Re:Here's the solution (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219504)

:D

Best series of responses, EVAR!

Thanks for the initial comment - couldn't have said it better myself. We've already gotten to the point where college degrees are so common that they're essentially worthless - making them "free" by fleecing taxpayers would only exacerbate the problem.

Re:Here's the solution (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219774)

So why exactly both of you haven't realized the easiest possible solution to this "problem"?

(namely: focus on promoting hard science & engineering degrees ... as happens at my place, which generally does have free education - but, on top of that, recently many students of engineering studies can count on additional scholarship virtually just because of what they chose to study, as long as their results are decent)

Re:Here's the solution (4, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219802)

The idea is nonsensical that the US can remain the font of research, innovation, design, and engineering while the country ceases to make things. Research and product development invariably follow manufacturing. Now even business schools that were cheerleaders for offshoring of US jobs are beginning to wise up. In a recent report, "Next Generation Offshoring: The Globalization of Innovation," Duke University's Fuqua School of Business finds that product development is moving to China to support the manufacturing operations that have located there. -- A Workforce Betrayed: Watching Greed Murder the Economy, Paul Craig Roberts [counterpunch.org]

Re:Here's the solution (5, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219778)

We've already gotten to the point where college degrees are so common that they're essentially worthless - making them "free" by fleecing taxpayers would only exacerbate the problem.

Sure, if you start from the perspective that college education is a zero-sum game related to some piece of paper that lets you into the "club" of people who get good jobs. If you start from that perspective, then of course you don't want any competition.

I would be perfectly happy living in a world where everyone had a college degree, provided the degrees actually came with a real education. I also think the country would be a whole lot richer in that case, probably by more than enough to make up for the "fleecing" you mention.

In the real world, a more practical goal isn't to get everyone a college degree, but to make sure that talented people who could benefit from one (and consequently make us all richer) don't wind up flipping burgers instead 'cause they can't afford the tuition. Alternatively, we could just make sure that rich, dumb kids get all the opportunities.

Re:Here's the solution (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219848)

The value of a diploma shouldn't be measured by its scarcity, but by the knowledge acquired. The decline of that standard driven by a profit motive is the only issue I have with it.

Re:Here's the solution (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219514)

Interest rates high? Stafford loans are at 4.5% for this year and 3.4% for next year which isn't exactly high, but since the loans are almost zero risk they should probably be closer to prime this year.

Re:Here's the solution (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219890)

Stafford loans for undergraduates are pretty reasonable - however, once you go to grad school the interest rates roughly doubles.

Re:Here's the solution (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219576)

Interests rate so high? We're you born in the 90s or something?

how about dropping filler classes like art history (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219624)

how about dropping filler classes like art history and other off your major stuff just to fill a needed # of college courses. Some colleges have up to 1 year of filler that can be cut to save costs and let you take less time and or more class on your major.

But is anyone reading their output? (4, Interesting)

DebateG (1001165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219054)

The prestigious science journal Nature recently had an article on the best cities for science. They have some really cool interactive graphs [nature.com] showing scientific productivity of different parts of the world and how many citations each place gets. What struck me was how quickly China grew in terms of volume of publications, but how poorly their articles were cited. Whether that is due to papers being published in primarily Chinese language journals, the papers of being of poor quality, or the scientific community ignoring important papers coming from China for whatever reason is unclear, but I think it shows that other countries have a while to go before achieving scientific dominance.

Re:But is anyone reading their output? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219152)

I, for one, welcome our new Mandarin speaking Chinese research Overlords. Or not.

Given the fact that China, India, Brazil and a host of other countries are trying to shed their 'third world' moniker, I would both expect and accept the fact that these countries are starting to do more research.

I'm not sure how anyone expects them to improve their technology base otherwise unless it's to simply to buy everything from the US / UK / EU. Where's the fun in that? Furthermore, it's not like the entrenched powers are keen on sharing much of what we know with other countries. So what the hell do you expect them to do? You can't download everything from the Internet.

And besides, the US really needs this to occur. We need some scary boogeyman (preferably foreign) to create some sort of gap that we have to fill lest the American Way of Life become endangered. I am really hoping that the Chinese get a viable manned space program going in a few years so we can 'catch up'.

Ze future, eet ees 'ere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219074)

Scientific fakery and plaggiarism are a problem, especially in the "wild west" of science, like China. Still and all, science is a bit stagnating in the US and EU alike, with monies tight and a lot of unwashed more comfortable with comfy fairy tales than hard science to the point of wanting to have their kids taught those fairy tales in science class in lieu of scientific method. Apparently they figure they already have so much tech, they don't need any more.

Whereas elsewhere science is still paving the road out of poverty.

On another note, I see no mention of Russia. What of that?

obviously (1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219104)

it is obvious why this is happening, it was obvious in this comment [slashdot.org] , it was also obvious much earlier, but it's hard to find much earlier references.

But I was just considered to be 'funny' [slashdot.org] because I stated the reasons and the solutions to economic problems that are experienced by the western world and 'economies' that have very high social obligations and expectations.

here is how it will end for USA [slashdot.org]

Re:obviously (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219300)

here is how it will end for USA

You mean, some pompous blowhard won't bother to write about it, but instead will just refer to another of his rants about how stupid everyone around him is?

Same Madness, different day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219106)

I've seen this kind of article before but most of the commenters usually point at the quality of stuff coming from these countries as opposed to the U.S. but honestly, it's saturday...fuck science...I'm going to the bar.

We don't need no science (0, Flamebait)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219110)

We have Sarah Palin and she can see Russia from her front porch. So you can keep all that lefty science and educational stuff. Ameristan don't need no intellekutals.

Re:We don't need no science (4, Informative)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219220)

We have Sarah Palin and she can see Russia from her front porch

What Palin actually said was

"They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

http://www.slate.com/id/2200155/ [slate.com]

Which is literally true since from Little Diomede part of US territory and Alaska you can see Big Diomede which is under Russian control.

A legitimate critique of Palin would be that she considered Russia being visible from an island of Alaska, as saying something useful about her international experience and foreign relations.

So? (-1, Troll)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219286)

A legitimate critique of Palin would be that she considered Russia being visible from an island of Alaska, as saying something useful about her international experience and foreign relations.

Since when has the truth actually mattered, especially to a Republican?

The conservative fuckers still like about Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

The biggest problem I see with the Democrats is they aren't willing to fight the conservative fuckers on their own terms, that's why they lost congress. They didn't use scare tactics and lie hard enough.

And nothing is going to change my mind about the lying Republicans and Teabaggers, not till the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin are all living in homeless shelters.

An Idea (0, Flamebait)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219128)

While China and India stay busy copying our (old) research system, we should address and fix the distorted system of publish-or-perish junk paper mills that our university labs have become. Not that I have any concrete suggestions...

Re:An Idea (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219316)

The problem with research is primarily one of funding. There's a lot of great research that doesn't happen because the funding isn't there. Take stem cell research, a bunch of yokels decide that it's immoral so the funding is drastically reduce. Irony is that the same yokels that decided that stem cell research is murder think that it's A-OK to deliberately create and destroy embryos for IVF procedures that aren't really necessary in the first place and contribute little to society. And then destroy the extra embryos.

But more than that there's subjects like sexual abuse and domestic violence which get distorted because researchers are limited in what aspects they're able to get funded. It's significantly harder to get money to study male victims or female perpetrators because it's politically inconvenient for something that runs so counter the orthodoxy.

Re:An Idea (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219492)

The political dimension is something publicly-funded science will have to live with.

My main point, though, is that there is no pressure for quality floor because the system inherently encourages ever more paper and ever more esoteric obscure journals, i.e, more and more junk papers that rarely ever get verified/challenged, all subsidized by the research grants.

Solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219228)

Blow up the moon. Then we have no more tides!

Go Figure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219248)

Look at the anti-science rhetoric we see coming from Republican party.

The conservatives have fucked us.

Science falls behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219270)

science falls behind in america because god wants it to.

Not enough info (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219304)

I realize the linked article is in the Economist - but there's very little information regarding the methodology behind UNESCO's conclusions. What little that is there leads me to believe they're just doing bulk counting without regard to quality.

From what I've seen (FWLIW I work in a university engineering department), the top minds of countries such as India and China do their best to get out of there. They take faculty positions in the US; they go to Europe; or they go to Taiwan or Japan.

And while the article seems to imply that the lack of citation of China's journals from the western world might be some degree of latent racism, it provides zero evidence to support that conclusion. I am also left to wonder why Indian and Chinese scientists working in the west don't seem to have that problem.

non-proliferation side effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219330)

the whole nuclear non-proliferation thing means that the version of science taught in schools is flawed in a major way(s), while this deliberate inaccuracy helps prevent people from learning to build nukes and other things it also prevents them from performing cutting edge science. So the countries that don't give a rats bum about NP will always have an edge in:
nanotech
chemical/pharmaceutical design
chip design
precision engineering
rocket science
satellite tech
communications
"ufo" design
energy production
efficiency
recycling
next gen anything
etc
so what if there is a tiny chance some kid or crazy person might nuke your city, better tech is worth it.

Who in their right mind would choose science? (5, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219440)

My father has a PhD from a fancy school in the US. (Genetics)

When I was looking at a career path, he warned me off pure science. He was right.

Fighting for tenure and the climate towards R&D in general is nuts.

The days of Bell labs, PARC et. al were great - people forget many of the advances today came out of those investments made by public and private industry.

Now, increasingly, advances in semiconductor manufacturing, wireless tech - all comes from overseas.

Sigh.
 

deja vu all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219580)

I'm old enough to remember when Japan was the mindless plagiarizer, and now they are considered one of the "old guards", how times have changed.

rather obvious even without UNESCO studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219700)

It seems like half the scientific publications in the west feature participants Chinese or of said heritage, so even disregarding China proper, they were well in the game.

PacRim Jim (2, Interesting)

PacRim Jim (812876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219712)

Judging from an admittedly non-rigorous sampling of U.S. technical journals, much of the domestic U.S. corporate and university R&D is being done by Chinese and Indian nationals. Would someone please explain the wisdom of American universities allocating scarce graduate positions and funding to foreigners with no intention of staying in the U.S. It's a puzzle to this taxpayer.

Re:PacRim Jim (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219814)

Those 'scare' graduate positions are filled with highly qualified students willing to work for less than minimum wage. I know - I did it, and there was no great line of equally qualified Americans waiting for my job. And if you think that we have no intention of staying, I suggest you look at the makeup of the faculty at these universities.

They the best people for the job, and significantly lower the bar for US students. I've been on recruitment committees - some places are allocated domestic ahead of time, others have 'score 40(US)/60(foreign)' type set ups. Oh, and Mr Taxpayer? Your taxes do not pay my salary/tuition. My work teaching your kids is what pays my salary - whilst my classmates went on to make six figure salaries. Go round up a bunch of US students with masters degrees in physical sciences and ask them to work 60+ hour weeks for 18k per year. See what response you get.

"Economist" does not know shit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219728)

Their methodology is worthless, and even their name is a marketing gimmick. Why it is regarded as "intellectual" or even scientific is beyond me -- whenever they publish anything within the areas of my expertise, it is either some kind of fashionable bullshit or hearsay.

I am a CS professor, and I've been on review and program committees for conferences taking place in China. There are some good submissions, but most of the work submitted is incremental, or of inferior quality, and much of it gets through review, gets published, and brings the authors the "citation metrics" they are rewarded for by the Chinese government. Think of it as mutual grading on the curve for scientists, by scientists who want a promotion. Similar things exist in the US and EU in certain communities (especially when they are primarily funded by government organizations) but on a much smaller scale. I do not blame those researchers, though: they were handed the rules of the game, and they make the best of it. We still warn our grad students to beware of "International" conferences and journals - there is a strong chance that such a publication could be worthless for their careers.

Now, for those of us who went to school in Eastern Europe and in Asia, the situation with science teaching in the US public schools is incomprehensible -- how, on such comparatively huge budgets, can it be so bad? According to an American Mathematical Society study, Chinese high school graduates tend to know math better than US high school teachers! Teachers unions and BS pedagogical theories promoted by various "Ph.D.s in Education" who teach those teachers have a lot to do with it, but it still does not make sense. Many school districts are now considering "Singapore textbooks", as if Singapore is some kind of a math and physics powerhouse - but in fact these are just old style textbooks, before the Dept. of Education and dozens of BS pedagogical theories that made their inventors' careers.

Still, even though public education in the US has major problems, the supposed great upswelling of published research out of China is just a game of numbers, people organizing to work around arbitrary metrics with which an authoritarian government tries to steer economy. Anyone who knows could tell that to the Economist's jornos, if they would only listen instead of rushing to write fashionable crap.

Trantor - Terminus (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219776)

Note that the "old guard" are still firmly in the lead on these measures of scientific prowess, but the growth rate is higher in the newcomer states.

I'm sure it was many years before Terminus overtook Trantor in the sciences as well.

vote down (1)

parasite (14751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219810)

vote -1 for troll on the economists part

has anyone at all associated with this article any experience whatsoever with the kind of "science" that comes out of 3rd world countries? Some of my Chinese friends will openly admit what a farce they are.

Some of these countries submit 100's of shit shit shitty ass papers to conferences in an attempt to get something in by sheer numbers domination as opposed to actually making it in with work of quality.

It's our own fault (2, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34219872)

I don't know how it is in America, but here in the Netherlands a lot of Chinese and Indian people come here to get their Ph.D. They write their thesis and a few articles, get their Ph.D., and go back to where they came from, taking all the experience that you need for performing their specific 'trick' with them. One Ph.D. costs on average around 400.000 euros. I think when these people leave for their home country we should at least make them pay part of that money back. If they can't they have to stay here and we can pluck the fruits of our investment.

No worries. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34219908)

The TEA PARTY is in power now, so all our problems will be solved shortly.

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