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America Losing Its Edge In Innovation

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the chickens-coming-home-to-flip-burgers dept.

Education 757

jaywhybee writes "Forbes has an interesting article about America losing its edge in innovation because engineers and scientists in the US are not as respected as they are in other countries, and thus fewer youths aspire to become one. Quoting: 'I’ve visited more than 100 countries in the past several years, meeting people from all walks of life, from impoverished children in India to heads of state. Almost every adult I’ve talked with in these countries shares a belief that the path to success is paved with science and engineering. In fact, scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the US, but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the US, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.'"

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It's pretty much the same here in the UK (4, Informative)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972208)

Especially among crooks^H^H^H^H^H^H politicians.

Re:It's pretty much the same here in the UK (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972226)

I would say it's pretty much the same here in most of Europe, actually.

Gone are the days of sanity... (5, Insightful)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972496)

The popular belief these days is that everyone is allowed to a have 'democratic' opinion on any subject regardless if they have any clue [wikipedia.org] as to what they are talking about.

No more do we look up, listen to and expect people with expertise to give us the benefit of their experience. Rather we shun 'experts' with their 'facts', since surely that sort of commitment to their field has made them biased and unreliable sources. Only the truly uneducated and ignorant are 'pure' in their innocence, only the most intuitive, simplistic and superficial description of the world maybe be considered honest. Anyone with an explanation longer than a sound bite, let alone a formula, is a charlatan, using his book-knowledge to fool us!

Trust your gut feelings, your most primitive prejudice, that which you share with those who are the loudest. Because they are the ones in charge now, they are the ones who get what they want in this world. Who gives a toss about the laws of physics, logic or math, when the truth is determined by everyone - with mod points.

Re:Gone are the days of sanity... (4, Insightful)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972542)

Grats on pointing out the thesis of The Colbert Report since 2005.

The Nation speaks (4, Funny)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972644)

The funny thing is, the moment I pressed submit on that one, I realized I had been brainwashed by too much Colbert, and ashamed for having no original thought of my own.

Re:Gone are the days of sanity... (1)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972560)

The popular belief these days is that everyone is allowed to a have 'democratic' opinion on any subject regardless if they have any clue [wikipedia.org] as to what they are talking about.

No more do we look up, listen to and expect people with expertise to give us the benefit of their experience. Rather we shun 'experts' with their 'facts', since surely that sort of commitment to their field has made them biased and unreliable sources. Only the truly uneducated and ignorant are 'pure' in their innocence, only the most intuitive, simplistic and superficial description of the world maybe be considered honest. Anyone with an explanation longer than a sound bite, let alone a formula, is a charlatan, using his book-knowledge to fool us!

Trust your gut feelings, your most primitive prejudice, that which you share with those who are the loudest. Because they are the ones in charge now, they are the ones who get what they want in this world. Who gives a toss about the laws of physics, logic or math, when the truth is determined by everyone - with mod points.

Is that you Colbert?

What's missing from this article? (3, Insightful)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972456)

It seems that the article's author leaps to the conclusion that a lack of engineers and scientists in politics is a bad thing for innovation. I would like to see evidence of that.

In fact, one can argue the opposite: that engineers and scientists focused on engineering and science, rather than politics, is a better way to insure innovation.

But since this article was probably not written by a scientist, I suppose we're unlikely to see any scientific methods used in his argument.

Re:What's missing from this article? (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972570)

In fact, one can argue the opposite: that engineers and scientists focused on engineering and science, rather than politics, is a better way to insure innovation.

I've seen what science & engineering can do to improve everyday life. I'd be willing to take the chance that they can improve politics if they'd just give it a chance.

Re:What's missing from this article? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972606)

>In fact, one can argue the opposite: that engineers and scientists focused on engineering and science, rather than politics, is a better way to insure innovation.

Only if they can do their work on a zero budget and don't mind earning the equivalent of hourly minimum wage or less. Pretty good approximation for mathematicians (although the general /. opinion is mathematicians are not "scientists", they are artists or conquerors or circus clowns or some hilarious bs like that). Not so good of an approximation for aerospace engineers or chemical engineers.

Re:What's missing from this article? (3, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972656)

It seems that the article's author leaps to the conclusion that a lack of engineers and scientists in politics is a bad thing for innovation. I would like to see evidence of that.

Then you've not bothered to look at corporate America. Nor have you bothered to look at modern politics or the state of the global economy. The former of the two have have become, "What's mine", and "Fuck the rest of you."

In fact, one can argue the opposite: that engineers and scientists focused on engineering and science, rather than politics, is a better way to insure innovation.

Only so long as one can independently operate of the other. But they can't. Which means science is under foot of politics. Which means any time science is in conflict with, "What's mine", or, "Fuck the rest of you", politics wins and science loses. Oddly enough, that's exactly what we see everywhere.

Lastly, the current state of the economy and global markets is exactly what you get when greed becomes your mantra and literal sociopaths becomes the ideal corporate heads. Unless things change, such as what the article suggests, it can only lead to one end game; the destruction of America. Hardly surprising the world recently got a glance at what's just over the horizon.

Re:What's missing from this article? (1, Insightful)

fey000 (1374173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972684)

Who is more likely to invest in science and innovation? The right-wing religious extremist who bans work on stem cells or the scientist, who understands how innovation works? There's a reason the US was top dog in innovation and research for a long time but is no longer.

South America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972218)

is pritty edgy.

Instead... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972220)

"In the US, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics"

Instead, most of these posts belong to religious nuts.

Re:Instead... (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972224)

Hey, then there are some in Politics! Social Engineers and Psuedo Scientists!

Re:Instead... (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972408)

Does Economic Engineering count, or is that in Mad Scientist category?

Re:Instead... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972618)

Hey, then there are some in Politics! Social Engineers and Psuedo Scientists!

Is theology a (social) science? We have way the heck too many of that type in charge, here in the usa.

Re:Instead... (1, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972380)

Politicians in America (especially at the higher levels) are almost exclusively lawyers, with a handful of businessmen and sports or movie stars. The only exception are the two or maybe three former doctors that I can think of out of about a thousand in the house and senate. There are a few religious nuts sprinkled in, too -- but for the most part, almost 100% of politicians merely cater to the religious nut angle, because that's the lowest common denominator which consistently wins them elections.

Re:Instead... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972608)

There is nothing to qualify the statement ,"In the US, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics".
It is well known that the high level politicians in the U.S. are "Social Engineers","Social Scientists" and "Scientologists".
It must be so too. How else could we live our lives day to day without Republicrats to protect us from ourselves, raise and educate our children, use our individual value as labor to back the dollar, keep us fed, housed and healthy, decide our national morality, and utilize the full potential of the citizenry to drive their personal aspirations for wealth and power at the cost of the freedom we forgot we had ? Damn, as a nation of pinheads, we need our "political scientists and engineers" or we would surely languish in the pure hell of freedom,prosperity,life liberty and potential happiness the founding fathers tried to foist off on us.
Now just who the hell is Forbes trying to fool ?....

They once were (5, Interesting)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972222)

Think back to the TV shows of the '50's and '60's. We had an Astronaut/physics guy as the main character in I dream of Jeanie, A senior marketing executive as the husband of a witch in Bewitched, and many many others. The key factor was, they were all intelligent.

These days we have Homer Simpson and the King of queens, et al.

Re:They once were (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972350)

It seems like you cannot understand the intelligence behind the social commentary in The Simpsons. Do you seriously think that this show encourages people to aspire to the likes of Homer? And in any case, he is an engineer in that power plant, isn't he?

Re:They once were (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972458)

Unless he has a 4-year degree in engineering, he is not an engineer. Its very unfortunate that the job title "engineer" is so commonly misused in the US.

Re:They once were (1, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972658)

Unless he has a 4-year degree in engineering, he is not an engineer. Its very unfortunate that the job title "engineer" is so commonly misused in the US.

Unless he has a 4 year degree in photography, he is not a photographer. Unless he has a 4 year degree in english lit, he is not a writer. Unless he has a 4 year degree in business, he is not a manager. Repetition of a meme is not proof of a meme.

Re:They once were (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972398)

as anon posted, if you can't tell the difference between the social commentary and subtle jokes in shows today and how they draw/are inspired from shows like I dream of jeanie, bewitched, etc, then you are indeed the homer simpson of our era.

way to make an ignorant comment. doh.

Re:They once were (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972430)

I'm not sure that a lack of respect for science is necessarily somehow tied to the reduction of male television parts being reduced to blubbering buffoon that natters at his wife's apron strings.

I think a better example of the changes can be seen by recalling how much astronauts were admired and their pursuits followed by every man, woman, and child in the country (and outside of it), when my mom was growing up. The names and accomplishments stick with us today. Their generation watched it live on television in absolute awe.

In my life, the only big events were two exploding shuttles about twenty years apart. The only time there is television coverage is during the launch of the shuttle that directly follows the one that just blew up. The only modern astronauts any of us can think of are the crazy cross-country-driving adult-diaper lady and the husband of the blonde chick that was shot in the head a couple weeks ago. There is no major mission expected in the foreseeable future and most of us don't expect to have an experience like our parents in our life time. Exploration and advancement is seen as a waste. I don't need me no space explorations -- I need the potholes in mah gawd-dayum street fixed and a bigger social security check, so I can afford me some smokes when I go play bingo!

TV shows? (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972468)

We had an Astronaut/physics guy as the main character in I dream of Jeanie, A senior marketing executive as the husband of a witch in Bewitched, and many many others

Well, if someone thinks a "senior marketing executive" is a position that inspires technical innovation, I think I've found why the US is losing its edge.

In other TV shows of the time there was "Get Smart" with the most incompetent secret agent you can imagine and "Gilligan's Island" with the most incompetent sailor you can imagine. Of course, in the 1960s you also had "Hogan's Heroes" with a bunch of pretty competent fliers. Then in the 1980s there was "MacGyver" which is the epitome of technological ingenuity.

No, I don't think you can get much information on this trend from TV shows.

Re:They once were (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972626)

These days we have Homer Simpson and the King of queens, et al.

As mentioned in other replies, the social commentary in the Simpsons is the "intelligent" part of the show. The jokes wouldn't work if Homer was as smart as Professor Frink ... or Martin Prince ... or Lisa ... or even as smart as a monkey.

Re:They once were (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972638)

Think back to the TV shows of the '50's and '60's. We had an Astronaut/physics guy as the main character in I dream of Jeanie, A senior marketing executive as the husband of a witch in Bewitched, and many many others. The key factor was, they were all intelligent.

These days we have Homer Simpson and the King of queens, et al.

That has a lot to do with man bashing. Intelligent women are permitted on prime time, just not intelligent while normal men, for purely political reasons.

Re:They once were (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972652)

Even worse. You have people stating that the bible should be the subject ob Biology classes.

Given the anti-intellectial cheerleading.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972240)

Does anyone remember a film called 'A Face in the Crowd' that was done in the 1950s? This anti-intellectual bumpkin rises to the top of the media ladder on a wave of folksy intolerance and blather. Well, this was satire that's become truth. This weird form of popularism has become a way of attacking anyone with expertise. Elites are bad. People with specific knowledge are bad. If it's not blue collar around his neck -- DON'T TRUST HIM!

Amazingly enough, the brainwork of innovation doesn't thrive in that culture.

Re:Given the anti-intellectial cheerleading.... (2, Interesting)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972672)

Elites are bad. People with specific knowledge are bad.

No shit. We're having a great debate right now about the direction of our school district - no money, teachers getting laid off, school days are being cut, all that jazz. Instead of people saying "We need to fix the schools", the attack seems to be focused on teachers themselves - "cut their benefits, make them work for free" - and the involved parents, who have been called "elitist" and "segregationist" for wanting a good education for their kids. Note that the "segregationist" label is being applied to the mexican immigrants parents, the vietnamese immigrant parents, equally as much as the white native parents....

The message is clear - we want the cheapest teachers we can get, and we want parents who don't give a shit, so our kids can go to dumbed down schools as long as we don't have to pay a dime to the school system.

My kids attended half a year at a school in the Czech Republic. Every teacher there had an advanced degree; at least a Masters equivalent. A significant percentage had Doctorates. Class sizes are held to 22 kids. Kids attend school 10 months out of the year and get few holidays and vacations.

It's a scary thing, being in the US right now.

Only... (4, Insightful)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972244)

Only brainless jocks are perceived to have leader quality in the US, as long as you are tough and aggressive.
People think that fear is respect and thus think that the one instilling most fear has to be respected most.

Isaac Asimov (0)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972250)

Highly respected and loved by Americans of all ages...of course his time ended decades ago.

We've replaced Asimov (and others like him) with Glenn Beck and the Home Shopping Network.

No time.. (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972264)

No time to read this article, I have to see what my favourite hollywood actress is doing with her hair this week

Re:No time.. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972312)

I have to see what my favourite hollywood actress is doing with her hair this week

My guess: Brazilian wax.

News flash (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972272)

People tend to gravitate towards professions that pay better. For instance, your typical Wall St analyst has about the same level of education as an engineer. If somebody is looking at those two options (because they're good with numbers and analysis), and wants to make the big bucks, which one are they going to pick, the one that will pull in $120K a year or the one that will pull in $250K a year?

The wonderful thing about using the numbers here is that it's a completely objective measure. Unlike "respect" which is harder to quantify.

Re:News flash (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972368)

Funnily enough, making $250k on Wall St will net you a relatively modest apartment in craptastic Manhattan, while $120k in much of the rest of the country can afford a nice home and plenty of luxuries. Maybe it's just me, but apartments suck monkey balls. Particularly in NYC.

Or rather, maybe it's more scary than funny. I mean, it's the people who chose in work in our financial sector who are the ones unable to make this observation...

Re:News flash (1, Flamebait)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972376)

Wall Street analyst?

Please, some of us have more moral fibre than that.

Re:News flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972474)

Yeah, they're called poor people.

Re:News flash (3, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972492)

The one that doesn't require me to work 80 hours a week under insane stress levels. Money per hour factoring in living expenses is a much better metric to use.

The real problem is that the question you're asking when choosing jobs is the wrong one. Personally I'd aim for the job that is most likely to make me happy. In case you're wondering studies have noted that money does not correlate with happiness (assuming one's above the poverty line). Work satisfaction on the other hand is heavily correlated. So is health, relationship satisfaction/love and social life satisfaction. In other words all things that an intense high stress high hour job makes very difficult to keep up.

Re:News flash (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972568)

Perhaps it works the other way around as well: some professions pay better because they are respected more. It sounds counter-intuitive, but research has shown time and time again that it does work like that at the individual level: people who are better looking, taller, etc are usually found earning more than the average in their job group.

Over here, in the 40s and 50s, being an engineer meant something, and it put you right up there with doctors and lawyers (as the cliche has it). Somewhere along the way, being an engineer or scientist lost its social status, even before engineer wages dropped. Conversely, "managing something", be it a company, a project or just a team, became the hot thing in the 80s and 90s, even though salaries for project managers or lower managent weren't all that great. Even the prospects for getting into middle and upper management were slim as in those days a lot of management postitions were filled from the work floor rather than from professional managers. That didn't stop the social status of managers to rise explosively in those years. Perhaps it had something to do with the idea that managers are a bit like entrepreneurs, who've pretty much always commanded respect.

fortran! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972274)

heh, they don't even teach fortran anymore. It's all java this and java that. pfffft!

Depends... (1)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972284)

If you classify patent trolls as innovators then all is well.

Innovation without borders (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972286)

It doesn't matter if innovation ceases in the US because innovation will occur elsewhere. The ideas, the innovations, that tangibly improve life will be shared by their creators wherever those creators are. Those ideas will still benefit us, whether those ideas were conceived in Hydrabad or Sunnyvale. Ideas and innovation are a type of imaginary property. Ideas are written down and transmitted digitally. Like any digital copy, when you share an idea with someone else, you do not deprive the person who conceived that idea of their property.

Re:Innovation without borders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972464)

It doesn't matter if innovation ceases in the US because innovation will occur elsewhere. The ideas, the innovations, that tangibly improve life will be shared by their creators wherever those creators are. Those ideas will still benefit us, whether those ideas were conceived in Hydrabad or Sunnyvale. Ideas and innovation are a type of imaginary property. Ideas are written down and transmitted digitally. Like any digital copy, when you share an idea with someone else, you do not deprive the person who conceived that idea of their property.

1. Tell that to the poor slobs in Third World countries.

2. Countries that innovate increase their wealth standard of living. It's amazing what "imaginary" property can do.

I was just thinking of this the other day.... (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972296)

I was just thinking of this the other day. We put so much importance on children to excel in sports, hoping that one dey they will make it into the NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB that we neglect to realize how minuscule that chance is. The problem with trying to excel at sports is that if you aren't good enough to be in the top league, you are basically just a point where you don't make any money at all, or at best have to have a second job even to make ends meet. Even if you are good enough at football to make it to the CFL, you still have to have a second job because you don't make enough doing your sport. On the other hand, if we pushed kids to excel in school and intelligence, even if they didn't make it into the elite, for instance being a world class heart surgeon, they would still have plenty of good jobs to fall back on if it turned out they couldn't achieve being one of the best in the world. They could be a family practitioner, a nurse, or do many other things in the same field, and still make quite a decent living. There's only a market for 400+ (432 currently based on quick google) professional basketball players. The market for most other professions is quite higher. There's probably 400 doctors in my city.

Re:I was just thinking of this the other day.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972426)

It is all ok: we also need burger flippers </cynism>

Re:I was just thinking of this the other day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972670)

I was thinking a quote from one of my favorite movies "The world needs ditch diggers too"

Re:I was just thinking of this the other day.... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972434)

I still find it weird that you can get into a really big university on a scholarship because you're good at playing sports. When someone told me about that I thought they were joking.

But at least pushing children to excel in sports makes them fitter and healthier - so they're likely to live longer and happier anyway.

Re:I was just thinking of this the other day.... (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972454)

The average American eagerly pays the stupidity tax by forking out cash for lottery tickets on a regular basis. They don't understand probability. Hell, they barely understand the most basic of arithmetic. Having children is just like having a giant lottery ticket that takes a lot longer to get the results for.

Re:I was just thinking of this the other day.... (1)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972590)

I *do* understand probability pretty well (indeed I help with pricing and risk of the books of major investment banks) and yet I still think it makes some sense to spend a little money on the Lottery (in the UK's case, with a very large jackpot).

Yes, I know I'm immediately giving about 50% away of the price of each ticket, but what percentage do you expect to get back on each movie ticket that you buy for example, or condom, or other pleasure/risk related expenditure?

And the point is that winning any of the major prizes will have such a life-transforming effect for me as for almost anyone, it's worth a small punt. The price of less than half a pint of beer each week for example. Indeed, I'm probably healthier at the margins for not drinking that beer.

Rgds

Damon

Teach teamwork / competiveness (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972642)

I don't think that most parents dream of their children being professional sport players. But rather realize that participating in sports teaches their children how to work together in a team. For "single" sports, like tennis or golf, the child learns how to bring out the best in him or herself. That drive to do the best they can also is valid for academic work: "Are you satisfied with a B in math, or if you really try hard, you could get a A?"

Plus the health benefits, which don't need to be elaborated.

However, it is pretty sad that heroes for most kids are professional athletes or gangsta rappers. Not a scientist or engineer to be seen.

follow the money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972304)

why is it always the cynical capitalists that complain
about lack of engineering talent. it's not like they're willing
to pay for them.

if you're a bright kid and want to make money, you don't
go get an engineering degree. you go into finance.

Re:follow the money (4, Funny)

mick232 (1610795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972348)

Thanks. But you should have told me that 10 years ago.

Re:follow the money (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972394)

I also would have liked to have known that.

Nobody told me that stuff, so I went for being the best I could think of, and when that didn't work out I went into computers. If somebody had mentioned the money involved (and the seemingly endless potential to divert more of it into your own pockets) you can bet your ass I would have gone for that instead.

Re:follow the money (3)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972514)

I was just thinking how ironic it was that when I went to college (late '80s) we engineering majors made fun of the business majors because many of them were the wash-outs. Couldn't hack engineering --> change major to business. Now, it seems, we're on the wrong side of that equation.

public policy is made by real economics (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972320)

Only real economics sets real public policy.

You can debate in government until you are blue in the face, but if the government is the one destroying the economy, it will not help you, will not see things your way.

Government is the one, that is causing the fall of US economy, and from the time of capitalist industrial revolution, the sciences and engineering was promoted exactly because the capitalist industrialism needed the sciences and engineering.

Science and engineering will not be promoted in a society that has no production, we have talked about it before, didn't we? [slashdot.org]

The Slackers out there are all sliding to Hell (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972428)

This is the first generation that has lower expectations than the previous one.

We just got greedy, lazy and too drunk/stoned to give a shit.

I don't blame society, government or any other accretive social construct.

WE did it to ourselves.

Re:The Slackers out there are all sliding to Hell (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972440)

I AM blaming the government. But I am not sitting idle, I just want government out of my way, so I can do what I must.

Re:public policy is made by real economics (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972480)

You can debate in government until you are blue in the face, but if the government is the one destroying the economy, it will not help you, will not see things your way.

From an outsider's perspective, I'd have to disagree. I don't see your government doing that much differently than it has in the past. What I do see is corporate-controlled media promote a general deference to large companies. For instance, where innovators once thought of creating that great new gadget, then bringing it to market and building a huge company, I now see people who simply want to make that great gadget, then sell out to the first big company with a wad of cash. There is an inherently non-competitive mindset being entrenched, and IMO is the single greatest stifling force your imaginative entrepreneurs are up against. There is also the insane culture of litigation. Noone, *noone* can expect to bring a new thing to market in America, without enduring a barrage of utterly ridiculous lawsuits. If your product is popular enough to supply an income, the lawyers make sure that the bulk of it is diverted into their profession.

Re:public policy is made by real economics (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972648)

From an outsider's perspective, I'd have to disagree. I don't see your government doing that much differently than it has in the past.

- which past? If we are talking about the last 98 years, then you are right, the gov't is doing mostly the same thing (safe for Harding, who actually cut gov't by 70%, fired 70% of federal gov't to fight the Fed caused recession in 1920, which was a huge success, the recession was over in 1 year).

But the chickens came home to roost. The inflationary policies of the Fed and gov't, the borrowing, the spending, the growth of gov't, the growth of spending of borrowed money, the wars, the ever growing size of list of business regulations, the growing monopolization of all industries by gov't intervention, yes, all of those things have been happening in one form or another, but now, the USA is no longer a producer of goods. It's running 50+ Billion USD/month trade deficit because it cannot supply itself with goods, energy and even food (thank you, department of Agriculture). The USA cannot supply itself with educated people (thank you, department of Education.) USA has a gov't, which caused massive problems in everything, from foreign policies to civil rights. Yes, imagine, I am one of the people who is against all rules and regulations, including the part of the Civil Rights act, which concerns private establishments. Why, do you ask? Am I a racist? No. I am looking at this and seeing the exact same thing: backfiring. Before the Civil Rights act the young black people in USA from ages of 16-24 had 85% employment. Today they are 50% unemployed. That's not good, but the society is NOT more racist today, far from it. But the policy of the government has created this problem, it backfired, because the small businesses cannot afford any lawsuits and thus they would rather avoid hiring anybody who is a minority, than hire them, then risk having a lawsuit on their hands - be it a woman, and a possible sexual harassment lawsuit, be it a minority, and a possible discrimination lawsuit resulting from trying to fire them.

But you see, people were always hired and fired, but once you have gov't laws on your side, you can now try and apply them for any situation, and even situations that have nothing to do with you being fired.

Gov't policy on agriculture subsidies and food price fixing policies have backfired and caused massive obesity in population because fructose is in everything [youtube.com] , because it's subsidized and cheap, while prices on food are 'fixed' by gov't and so instead of having them fluctuate, the companies look for the most efficient ways to lower costs all the time - thus ingredients that are worse and worse.

Gov't foreign policy is constantly backfiring. All of the intervention, the wars - Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, Iraq, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other 'unseen' wars, Columbia... The drug wars.

The war on poverty - well, here is another war that gov't started and again, the poverty is winning.

-

I am of an opinion that anything that gov't does can be understood completely by just turning it on its head, upside down and looking at the opposite of what gov't is proposing, and then you will see the real meaning, the real results.

If gov't is 'fighting poverty', then it means gov't will increase poverty.

If gov't is 'fighting drugs', then there will be more deaths associated with that and more drug problems.

If gov't is helping Osama Bin Laden, then he'll be eventually trying to kill US citizens.

If gov't is helping Saddam Hussein, then eventually there will be a war with him.

If gov't is setting a liability cap of 10Million dollars to let deep water oil drilling while simultaneously prohibiting shallow water oil drilling - prepare for a disaster.

If gov't is saying: everybody must have a house, then NOBODY will have a house.

If gov't is saying: we will insure your bank deposits with FDIC, then they will eventually cause banks to gamble with those deposits (why not, they are gov't insured, right?) and if gov't is printing money at the same time, then fine, you will have your insured deposit, but it will be worthless.

If gov't is saying: 'No child left behind', then ALL kids will be left behind.

Etc.etc.etc.

There is nothing gov't can do to cause any good, it can only cause the bad stuff, even if sometimes (rarely) it actually tries to do good, it will still backfire and will be a disaster.

If gov't is saying it's against monopolies, then watch out. All monopolies will be government created and all competition will be destroyed, regulations will cause massive capital outflow, taxes will prevent anybody from saving money and starting a business, inflation will eat away your entire net worth and dollar will be printed out of existence, once the major debt holders/producers stop subsidizing this insanity.

Basically, gov't can only be tolerated, it cannot be welcomed, and it has to be the first item on the cutting block when things turn sour, but that's not happening, so that's why empires always collapse - under weight of their own gov't.

Written by someone who obviously is neither (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972322)

Yeah, a lot of those kids say they want to become scientists or engineers but very few actually have a passion for it, they only get into it because it's what their parents tell them to get into. It's been my experience that people without a passion for science/engineering and are only going through the motions because they were forced into make really shitty engineers. It's Friedman-esque reporting at its finest(ie taking PR points from companies as the honest truth and not scrutinizing a single thing they are fed provided it matches their preset narrative).

And? (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972334)

Who cares? Can't we just outsource that, too? Actually, *don't* we just outsource that, too?

Anyway, America is about money, jesus, and big tits. Success is about catering to the common denominator. Intellectual advancement and pursuit is for "elitist" pricks with their fancy words and all. Anyway, America loves Jesus and Jesus doesn't give a shit about it. Jesus cares about celebrity and sports. If you need proof, just think of the last time you heard a scientist thank jesus for their discovery? Never! Because jesus only helps football players blond bimbos accepting their Golden Globes.

And society reinforces this. I've been a jock and a nerd my entire life and I probably don't need to tell anyone what activities and accomplishments got audiences, rewards, cheerleaders, public acknowledgement, and respect . . . and which didn't.

Re:And? (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972404)

Very funny and, sadly, almost spot on.
BTW: Use shorter words for authenticity. Eg: "accomplishments" -> deeds, "audiences" -> viewers and "acknowledgement" -> applause. Using long words are for the elite loosers.

Chinese Engineer-Politicians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972336)

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for scientists to have more of a role in political decisions, but let's hope that China is not illustrative of what happens when engineers are in charge.

Is that really wise? (1)

mick232 (1610795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972338)

I don't see how putting engineers on political posts instead of letting them do what they have been trained for should be an advantage. Except, of course, if you have a surplus of engineers (which one never has).

Re:Is that really wise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972470)

I don't know. I think scientists would make better politicians in certain areas. Too bad they'd probably be unvotable.

Over here, most of the government are lawyers. Now I understand a lawyer being the minister of justice - but so is the Minister for Information Technology, Minister of Transport Infrastructure...

I think you'd get better results if you put a proper sharp mind in a position like that. The Minister for IT should be a computer nerd, not a lawyer. Lawyers are brilliant at twisting the truth, changing Points of View and pacifying the masses. A scientist is trained to think properly.

Re:Is that really wise? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972494)

If you don't have representatives for knowledge and advancement in politics, you're forfeiting everything to the decisions of the ignorant and selfish who pursue nothing but personal agendas on the backs of the masses that they placate with more religious and anti-intellectual rhetoric.

Re:Is that really wise? (1)

mick232 (1610795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972674)

You seem to assume that engineers and scientists are automatically immune to any selfishness. That's unfortunately very naive in my eyes.

Nationalism or capitalism. Pick one. (4, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972344)

In America, you purchase respect. America losing its edge in innovation because engineers and scientists in the US are not as well paid as they are in other countries relative to local prices. Why would anyone spend 4 years training to become a low paid engineer when they could become a highly paid lawyer or financier or manager?

Re:Nationalism or capitalism. Pick one. (1)

minorproblem (891991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972650)

Engineering is not a low paying profession. It is only low paying if you are not good at your job and never advance in your career. There are quite a few people i see who go into engineering with no passion and hence pay little attention to details (which is the key to a good engineer). They fail to garner respect from their peers and hence don't make any career progression, and get stuck in their decent paying (but not mind blowing) job.

Really what most of these articles are about is that there is a decline in manufacturing in the US. What i have noticed specifically to the sector that i work in (High Voltage DC Power). Most power authorities request a certain percentage of the project be manufactured in country (e.g. we manufacture thyristors, and transformers in Brazil for the local market) So jobs are not being lost so much as redistributed across the globe.

I get it regularly at my work, some old bloke will complain as if these markets are stealing "our" jobs. What he is failing to see is that this is just the next development. Its not a race to the bottom, its a race to equalise, and people have only realised in the last 15 years that the US won't be top dog forever and has to accept that it has equals.

Maybe communism is good... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972346)

In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers.

Maybe it's better not to have the people vote. To be more serious, I always thought it was weird that in the US, they elected everyone. From politicians, to judges, to dog catchers. I think elections are important, but that most people lack the interest in figuring out what to do in every single situation. It seems to work better in countries where people only vote for their member of parliament, and let the millions of little decisions be handled by someone else, so they can spend more time figuring out who to vote for in the first place, rather than obsessing over a million questions on the ballot.

Please don't call it communism... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972498)

I don't think China is communist by any sense of the word. It is a dictatorship and that's true. And I do think democracy is a mess.

But I don't think a country which lets large foreign corporations open large factories on its soil can be described as "Communism" by any sense of the term. In fact:

"7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. " ... "all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation"

Re:Maybe communism is good... (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972500)

Or maybe in China only the politically connected can get educated enough to be engineers.

Talking about China... (1)

ivanwyc (1649687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972358)

I don't quite get the meaning of the example about China. I don't recall when was the last time we have any significant innovation for the world. Oh, and we the people don't really care what did the top politicians study in college. End up they are just communists.

Now you notice?? (3, Insightful)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972364)

It has been obvious for more than a decade for anyone watching USA from abroad.
From watching US TV series I learn that brains have been replaced by God or other mysticism. Pseudoscience galore and the good science (from PBS) has no viewers.
Universities are graduation foreign students in the sciences and Americans with lawyers and political degrees. Luckily you still have a private sector that has a lot of innovation and hires brains from other countries. That keeps a lot of the patents and wealth in USA.

Re:Now you notice?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972532)

Your the first person I've run across who said God is replacing anything in media - its really the other way around. America had its greatest generations when they were tastefull and reverent. Now American kids don't know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence but they know what Bukake is

Imaginary property law is the problem (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972374)

Imaginary property law shifts the balance of power away from engineers and towards the paper pushers. It doesn't matter how smart an engineer you are if some lawyer waving a patent gets to determine what all engineers can and cannot build. By definition, patent monopoly grants prevent a free market in engineering services, distorting the market so that it's more profitable to be a lawyer with the right to control what thousands of engineers can do and horsetrading those rights. So smart americans aspire to be lawyers not engineers, because in america it's the lawyers in charge, thanks to patent grants. You have to really love engineering to become an engineer in america, because it's a fundamentally irrational choice to do so in america.

Patents are a "right" to prevent other people doing something - engineers, psychologically, typically simply don't want to do that (there are exceptions, and lo, they are giant douchebags hated by most actual engineers - see edison vs. tesla...).

I'm Glad America doesn't esteem PHDs in politics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972406)

I am an engineer and, like tens of millions of other people in America, would far rather have janitors and people who never went to college occupy political posts than scientists. Scientists are overwhelmingly socialist or communist in their political leanings. A PHD correlates with far less political and especially economical wisdom. Only an academic could ignore entire human history and say something as retarded as lowering corporate taxes will cut government tax revenue etc.

Re:I'm Glad America doesn't esteem PHDs in politic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972572)

Masterful trolling, sir. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

in 2008... (2)

avtchillsboro (986655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972416)

In 2008, NH Senator Sununu was the only graduated, certified engineer in the US Senate...and was replaced by former Governor Jeanne "Red Ridinghood" Shaheen...

The humanities have a role, too (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972420)

If the people of the developed world knew more of history and geography, they might realize that the lifestyle they enjoy is due to their societies' mastery of technology, and that it is not an entitlement. People of the developing world, for whom this issue is more clearly germane, can see that this is so.

Re:The humanities have a role, too (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972536)

You don't need to be a doctor of social studies to realise that technology makes everyone's life better. Even if you're an idiot who knows nothing, you realise that you can now take a mini computer in your pocket which is more powerful than the large tower you had 10 years ago.

I don't think having more people who can recall the date of the Vietnam war is going to be as useful as having more people who are technologically inclined.

Re:The humanities have a role, too (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972682)

I am not saying that it is not obvious, I am saying that people do not get it, anyway - more precisely, they don't get the implications of the fact, and they do not draw the connection to their own lives. Maybe more people would, if middle and high school humainities education tackled more relevant issues, and some of them might then become more interested in technology and/or policies that are favorable to technological development.

Re:The humanities have a role, too (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972668)

Americans learn a lot about history in school. I can summarize almost the entire curriculum, here:

* Washington never told a lie and chopped down a tree. And threw a coin across the Potomac.
* Abe Lincoln was called Honest Abe and freed the slaves (though, I've recently heard young people attribute this to MLK).
* There was a New Deal or something back in the old days when people lived in tents and jumped out of windows or whatever.
* Martha Washington sewed our flag.
* Some guy invented the Cotton Gin.
* A black guy named Washington, but not related to the president, invented like 300 things that can be done with Peanuts.
* MLK lead the civil rights movement to allow all men to have an extra day every year off of work, so they can BBQ and drink beer.

I might have missed one or two things, but that's largely it. Of course, in my public school, our "literature" class also consisted not of things like reading Antigone, but Jurassic Park. So . . you know . . . whatever.

Surprised? (2, Insightful)

maakri (1914602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972424)

This should not come as much of a surprise. After all, some American people want to teach creationism in schools. If science does not get respect at the bottom most level, its hardly surprising that it doesnt get it at the higher ones.

Welcome to Brazil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972432)

We used to be America, now we're occupied by Globalistan. The idealogues approve, but for differing reasons!

Our students are not dumb (1)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972482)

They follow the jobs.

My daughter went to a top high school, worked at NIH during the summer, and won an Intel semi-finalist for her NIH project. After noting the job insecurity of the post-docs at NIH she crossed science off her list.

She is now a successful lawyer.

Also -- note that the most famous engineer in the US is Dilbert.

Re:Our students are not dumb (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972564)

And, note that Dilbert is just a creation perpetuated to placate cubicle drones into being content with their lives.

Really, it's only a matter of time before most legal work is pawned off elsewhere, The only reliable work in America going forward are those that must be physically done here. Like being a bus-boy, stocking grocery shelves, or folding clothes at the GAP. Anything that is primarily knowledge-based can and will be outsourced to the cheapest global bidder and as long as there are places where they can live well for an entire year on the amount you have to pay for a cheap studio apartment in your city for one month, you'll never be able to compete.

!Surprise (0, Troll)

Krakadoom (1407635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972502)

When a country starts seriously teaching creationism in schools, how can anyone be surprised? It's likely no coincidence that the US comes out very high in surveys on religious belief and apparently fairly low with regards to respect for science.

Re:!Surprise (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972576)

Hey, screw you! We *also* overwhelmingly believe in alien abductions and psychics!

Who prospers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972518)

If you want to make the big bucks, you will go into business. Employees always have their salaries limited.

Engineers are usually employees. Even engineers who do consulting are like employees except their paychecks are less regular.

Employees are saps who just beg to be exploited. Intelligent and talented Americans make the logical choice.

Am I being too cynical?

Funding is part of the problem (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972548)

When we keep cutting (or allowing to stagnate) the funding for science and engineering research, this is exactly what we get. We can't expect good science to be done with no financial backing. Scientists who love their work will indeed work for embarrassingly little money, but eventually they do need to pay the bills to keep the lights on in the lab to keep the work moving.

The utter illogic of TFA (1, Insightful)

wagadog (545179) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972574)

From TFA: "Already, 70% of engineers with PhD’s who graduate from U.S. universities are foreign-born. Increasingly, these talented individuals are not staying in the U.S – instead, they’re returning home, where they find greater opportunities.

Part of the problem is the lack of priority U.S. parents place on core education. But there are also problems inherent in our public education system. We simply don’t have enough qualified math and science teachers. Many of those teaching math and science have never taken a university-level course in those subjects."

Um. If the jobs aren't there for US grads, it's the fault of their parents and teachers? Logic much? Seems like a rational choice to avoid areas where there's not a lot of work on.

Why not look at how entrepreneurs are funded -- by VCs who fund almost exclusively men, even though businesses started by and run by women are twice as likely to succeed.

Why not look at the gross discrimination against women in engineering, science and mathematics at all levels -- we could easily double the pool of US engineering talent by simply developing more objective measures of success, or at least heeding them where available.

If faith could bring the young back to CS (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972578)

Many grow up in homes of faith, if only the good news story of Bill Gates, the evils of Linux and a warning about Google could be presented in a more clear way:

1 In the beginning was the DOS, and the DOS was THE OS, and it was good. And behold the Gates said, “Thou shalt not tinker with my disciple Paterson's design for it is good and it workith. For Paterson made the DOS, and lo of all of his OS work, from the designs which I, the Gates, paid him upon the street.”

2 “And shouldst thou hack with it, and crack all manner of foul improvements upon it, and profane its internal parts, thou shalt surely have malfunctions, and in the midst of important work thou shalt surely come to crash.”

3 And as the versions passed men in their ignorance and arrogance didst forget the word of the Gates and began to profane the DOS. The tribe of the gamesman did place 3d and extended memory upon the DOS and their texture artists didst expand the tolerances and alter colors to their liking, their clearness of mind being clouded by imagination.

4 Their hackers did compile all manner of foul code upon the DOS and did so alter it that it became expensive to use. For lo, the developers didst charge a great tax upon the purchasers of the DOS so that the lowly cubicle worker could not afford a license. And the profaning of the internal code didst render it unworkable when the connecting of the net fell upon it and didst try and fit more users of applications onto the network than the holy number of ten, appointed for the Intel.

5 And lo, they didst install cheap 3d cards, which are an abomination unto the Gates. For they doth break and lose their zero when thou dost need true math. And those who have upgraded so will be rebooted in great numbers by their errors in the games.

6 And it came to pass that the Gates didst see the abomination wrought by man and didst cause, as he had warned, fearful malfunctions to come upon the abominations and upon the developers who thought they could code no wrong.

7 Seeing the malfunctions and the confusion of men, the student of the underworld did see an opportunity to further ensnare man and didst bring forth an OS copyrighted for free, whose CLI was such that they looked and coded like a UNIX server, yet the eyes of man being clouded, they were consumed by the free servers and did install vast quantities of them.

8 And being a deceitful European the student of the underworld did make these free servers difficult to the gamers of earth and they were unable to tinker much with the design, and lo these free servers did appear to function.

9 And the European one also brought forth servers in which the cores didst both power manage and scale smoothly and which require a “guru” to make them appear stable.

10 But admins being stupid did not understand these new servers and didst proceed to code themselves with the free servers and with the packet pushing and pulling for lo their manual of Emacs required great intelligence which admins had long since forsaken. Yet admins continue to gloat over these free servers blaming evil corporations for the negligent reboots which they themselves had committed.

11 And when telco networks had been totally ensnared with the free servers, the student of the underworld didst cause a plague of the terrible Google to descend upon man and the free servers delivered their retribution upon men. And there was a great wailing and phishing of credit in the land.

12 Then seeing that the eyes of man were slowly being opened and that man was truly sorrowful for his sinful misdeeds, the Gates did send his marketers in the form of academics who did hear and obey the teachings of the prophet and who didst restore the profaned servers to their proper configuration, and lo, to the amazement of investors they didst begin to profit as the prophet had intended.

13 And the deans of the colleges didst remove tenure from the charlatans and socialists on the facilities, and there was joy and profit in the internet, except for the evil trolls which tried occasionally to prey on the men and women of the internet and who were sent to the place of eternal negative moderation by the followers of Ballmer.

This isn't a problem (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972612)

.. or at least it won't be so long as we can hire techies from other countries. That way, the USA can play to its strengths: financial manipulation and lawyering.

Of course, when the day comes that Indian and Chinese scientists and engineers prefer to stay home rather than be second-class aliens in the USA we'll have to make other plans. Sue them, maybe.

Isnt this intentional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972614)

Wasnt that the whole point of the DMCA?? to stifle innovation?

I'm tired of hearing about "innovation" (1)

rocker_wannabe (673157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972620)

"Innovation" is thrown out to appeal to the young and the naive. Everyone wants to think they're doing something that is making the world a better place so our corporate overlords tap into that by turning every scientific and engineering innovation into something akin to the wheel or the light bulb. Let's face it, big-screen televisions and iPhones may bring pleasure to those who buy them but they don't meet any fundamental human need.

If you want to know why this country doesn't exalt engineers like other countries you just need to look around the U.S.. We may complain about our infrastructure but it far exceeds the infrastructure of most countries. We have well designed homes, roads, water distribution, and sewer systems. The really important areas have already been engineered, so what is left? The need to "green-up" some of these areas will keep some engineers busy but for the most part engineers are really working on luxury items. We don't really NEED a space program, genetically modified seeds, or a slew of other items. They are just adding to an already phenomenally complex world that is exceeding our ability to understand and react to in a rational way. We are trying to solve problems created by technology with more technology which, IMHO, is insane.

So we are cutting out the Middle[wo]man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972640)

Being of British origin, working in continental Europe for 5+ years as a research scientist and having a Canadian GF instrument engineer jetlagged from her flying back from Japan I note the bemoaning of some 'Innovation / Tech Tx' course presenters during my University career that summarises as:

"Invented in the UK, developed / marketed in the US and mass produced in the Far East."

Guess the Far-East have decided to cut out the middle[wo]man...

Not that our situation in the UK is peachy with the only worse career than a Scientist or Engineer being a Teacher (as in 'school Teacher') - the recent government recruitment slogan being turned into:
"Those who can['t*], teach."

[* - delete the negative for the official government version.]

Yes, it's definetly only that causing it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34972646)

The rampant abuse of patents of course has nothing to do with losing the edge in innovation, because new ideas happen to magically manifest, without being based upon earlier ideas (that aren't many decades old)

Too busy at sports practice (5, Interesting)

Bayoudegradeable (1003768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34972676)

I am not going for flames, I am being honest here. I teach at what would be called a "rich kids" school (in a medium sized metro area of 1.2 million), even though the real rich kids schools are even higher up the tuition scale than my school. I bring this up to point out what seems to be most important to a vast majority of "elite" families: playing, starting and excelling on sports teams. Science club? What kind of dork does that!? Focus most time on studies? Loser! I fear much of our nation is stuck in a trap where parents are reliving their lives and the kids are feeding like crack addicts off of this behavior. What the hell kind of future do we have when the "top" young people of the future will sit around at board meetings talking about the time they caught the game winning touchdown in a flag football game played in 8th grade?
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