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USA to Pass Science Crown to China

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the not-even-miss-america dept.

United States 1247

instantgames writes "According to a working paper of the National Bureau of Economic Research, rapid development of a science and technology base by populous Asian countries soon may threaten the economic position of the United States. Not only is the U.S. losing ground in high technology exports, but its very capacity to develop new technologies is declining rapidly with respect to the rest of the world. According to Richard Freeman, the paper's author, the sheer population of Asian countries may allow them to train more scientists and engineers than the U.S. while devoting a smaller share of their economy to science and technology." From the article: "The phenomenal growth of China's industrial base has been widely publicized, but Freeman focuses on what is perhaps the more important long-term indicator of a nation's prosperity - its re-investment in science and technology education. "

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Crown! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169463)

I Rike Crown in Circus!

Bill Gates on US Education (2, Informative)

Ohmster (843198) | about 9 years ago | (#13169469)

Scary stuff, no question. Bill Gates, in a speech to the nation's Governors three months ago, cited some pretty startling takeaways on the state of Science education in the US. NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman had a great piece on it. More on both here: ahref= y.htmlrel=url2html-6897 [] /04/fire_aim_ready.html>

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (5, Interesting)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 9 years ago | (#13169514)

This nation does not have a history of education or academic excellence. Our WW2 genius was mostly imported, as was much of our cold war research.

We as a nation have been able to attract great minds with promises of "vast tracks of land", but that is about it.

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (4, Funny)

snorklewacker (836663) | about 9 years ago | (#13169581)

> We as a nation have been able to attract great minds with promises of "vast tracks of land", but that is about it.


Re:Bill Gates on US Education (1)

minus_273 (174041) | about 9 years ago | (#13169609)

I dont know, look at some of the most important inventions and look at where they came from. planes, light bulb, recording device, the Internet and the list goes on.

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (1, Insightful)

trentblase (717954) | about 9 years ago | (#13169660)

Why spend all that money on education when we can just steal smart people from other countries? Also, I know it sounds cliche, but it's historically been freedom that attracted these people. You know, escaping persecution and whatnot. Not the "vast tracks [sic] of land"... if you want land, China has a lot more than we do!

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (2, Insightful)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 9 years ago | (#13169663)

Harvard, MIT, Cal Tech...

The best and brightest from all over the world come to our universities because they are some of the best.

I think "American Dream" is more accurate description than "vast tracks of land."

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (1)

Ohmster (843198) | about 9 years ago | (#13169700)

well there's a different kind of homesteading going on...on intellectual property rather than good ol' dirt. The other thing to keep in mind is that India and China are equally focused on giving their kids an education in English as much as in Science. The anecdotes are interesting...Again Friedman had a column on this...more here on "The Importance of Language" in all this: l []

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (1)

T(V)oney (736966) | about 9 years ago | (#13169555)

Hopefully speeches such as Gates's, coupled with the phenomenon described in TFA will bring some attention to our dire need for better education. Let's face it, education in the US sucks, and it needs a dramatic improvement.

I'm not trying to be a pessimistic weiner here... but I am a college student, and the crap I see every day really pisses me off.

Re:Bill Gates on US Education (1)

yiantsbro (550957) | about 9 years ago | (#13169616)

Time to clear out that excess nuke capacity and show, once again, why we were on top.

That should go along nicely... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 9 years ago | (#13169470)

...with China's commensurate commitment to freedom of speech, human rights, free flows of information among its citizenry, support of protest and political dissent, and so on.

That's not the only critical front on which the US will be competing with China: the US will soon pass the oil/fossil fuel consumption crown to China as well if current trends continue.

Further, China is free to spend for its own growth with little oversight from the populace (such as investing heavily in pebble bed fission reactors [] , planning to build 30 new reactors by 2020 [] ), allowing it to spend money as it sees fit without the same social and political constraints as the US. And even with what little oversight you think we might have in the US, it's far greater than the influence a typical Chinese citizen has. It's too bad that we'll likely never see new nuclear plants built anytime soon here, with all the political baggage.[1] We'll just keep using the quickly diminishing supply of conventional fossil fuels.[2]

[1] An environmental research group came to my door the other day extolling the virtues of environmental law, conservation, anti-pollution law, and etc., as you'd expect. All noble causes, when tempered with economic reality. But they continued on to also say opposition to ANY nuclear project was critical. Could they "count on my support?" In a word, no.

[2] Bush is actually pushing hard for the nuclear plants we're in desperate need of. See the policy speeches [] here. Contrast this with some typical opponents' opposition to all ongoing nuclear research under the guise of nuclear weapons nonproliferation.

Not sure how this is a troll... (0, Offtopic)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 9 years ago | (#13169647)

...but thanks, guys.

Re:That should go along nicely... (2, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | about 9 years ago | (#13169678)

Not all environmentalists are anti-nuclear. Iirc, when the Ontario government shut down it's nuke plants, the greenies cried bloody murder. In the States, the problem isn't that environmentalists don't want nuclear power, the problem is that they don't trust the Bush administration with it.

Oh, and yeah, there are a lot of dumb greenies who think it's still the '60s and all nuclear power is teh evil.

Re:That should go along nicely... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 9 years ago | (#13169679)

[1] An environmental research group came to my door the other day extolling the virtues of environmental law, conservation, anti-pollution law, and etc., as you'd expect. All noble causes, when tempered with economic reality. But they continued on to also say opposition to ANY nuclear project was critical. Could they "count on my support?" In a word, no.

I once received a Times advertisement that asked (in very big letters) the question, "what would you do if they built a nuclear plant near Idaho Falls?"[A]

[A] For those who don't know, a few miles west of Idaho Falls is the INL (aka INEL, aka INEEL, etc), which is where the largest collection of nuclear reactors on earth exists (active or otherwise).

Nearby is Arco, which is the first city to be powered by nuclear power.

They also have a couple of nuclear jet engines on display, for which the plane was never built, but the hanger for the plane was.

USA prosperity metric (2, Insightful)

Sarojin (446404) | about 9 years ago | (#13169471)

How many managers you can hire.

The warning signs have been around (5, Informative)

tcd004 (134130) | about 9 years ago | (#13169472)

Yep, this has been creeping up on us for awhile, despite warnings from U.S. industry insiders. [] Both government and private funds for R&D are drying up.

Still, some economists argue [] that China isn't growing nearly as quickly as it could. How could that be?

One probable cause is that infrastructure for research and development has a long way to go in many developing Asian countries, especially China. Having some history behind your scientific community has its benefits. Thats why, even with our moral and ethical hurdles in the way, we're still winning the "great stem cell race." [] For now.

(enjoy the plugs for great articles in my favorite magazine)

don't worry we'll bomb them soon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169476)

We've done it to Arabic countries because of their oil but now that we control that but not science we should bomb China. It's imminent.

Re:don't worry we'll bomb them soon (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169510)

you're a f*cking idiot.

Re:don't worry we'll bomb them soon (-1, Offtopic)

jmv (93421) | about 9 years ago | (#13169656)

No, the US only bombs countries *after* they made sure that said country doesn't have WMDs [] .

They will catch up to 2005 in 2015? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169484)

Further down the page, it appears that China is just now releasing a CPU that is contemporary for 1995 [] . So which is it? They are getting ahead of the US or they're lagging ten years behind?

mobile search [] - coming soon

Re:They will catch up to 2005 in 2015? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 9 years ago | (#13169529)

Um, the Chinese are busy learning things like "physics" and "chemistry" and "biology". Perhaps you've heard of them? If not, then kindly step away from your computer and try to read something that doesn't have to do with programming for a change.

Re:They will catch up to 2005 in 2015? (1)

dpuu (553144) | about 9 years ago | (#13169553)

10 years behind. Hmm. So they're about due for their internet bubble :).

Re:They will catch up to 2005 in 2015? (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 9 years ago | (#13169584)

You didn't read carefully. It says they "May be able to produce more engineers" and they "may be able to catch up while spending less money proportionally."

Crap if you ask me. They "may" have been able to do it for years, but they "haven't" done it yet, and they probably "won't" because their ideological restraints are even "worse" than "ours".

This isn't to say that we shouldn't be getting off our asses and fixing some of the problems. Stem cell funding! Patent reform! Copyright reform! We need to provide resources and freedoms to the small innovator companies that historically produce the coolest stuff!

More people doesn't mean more smarts. (2, Interesting)

Eunuch (844280) | about 9 years ago | (#13169488)

It may mean more tall people, but the future will be ruled by the few. With robots, transhumans, posthumans, and such--large masses of people just aren't needed.

Re:More people doesn't mean more smarts. (2, Insightful)

heauxmeaux (869966) | about 9 years ago | (#13169508)

large masses of people just aren't needed.
But, what about the Soylent Green?

What do you expect? (5, Funny)

donleyp (745680) | about 9 years ago | (#13169489)

From an elementary school's billboard in my neighborhood: "Adequate yearly progress, once again!"

This is what we get for handing our children's education over to the government.

Moderators, please don't rate this post as "Funny", because it isn't.

Re:What do you expect? (2, Interesting)

ZiakII (829432) | about 9 years ago | (#13169566)

This is what we get for handing our children's education over to the government.

Not to sound like a troll, have you considred sending your kid(s) to private school? After seeing public schools though my own experiance, I wish I got sent to a private school one with teachers who actually give a damn. (Yes there are some dedicated hard working teachers out there but majority of them are not)

Re:What do you expect? (2, Insightful)

donleyp (745680) | about 9 years ago | (#13169682)

There is no question. I am sending my children to private school, but I am more worried about all the other children who will be educated by people who think "Adequate yearly progress" worthy of a billboard.

My take: anyone making even a pretty mediocre living can attend to their children's education if they're willing to live within their means. For the rest, I would dearly love to see true competition in education and I beleive that school vouchers could be structured to acheive that.

But this is not going to happen now that the "gimme" generation (aka baby boomers) has made just about everything the government's responsibility.


Re:What do you expect? (2, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | about 9 years ago | (#13169585)

This is what we get for handing our children's education over to the government.

Given that government-operated schools are the norm and not the exception among industrialized nations, I am curious as to what kind of alternative system you believe would be preferable.

Now obviously public schools don't have a 100% success rate, and there are significant pedagogical and bureaucratic problems with the current system that we should address. But the baby needs to stay even if the bathwater goes.

"Adequate yearly progress" is clearly better than "inadequate yearly progress", no?

Re:What do you expect? (5, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | about 9 years ago | (#13169592)

This is what we get for handing our children's education over to the government.

As opposed to China, where they've handed everything over to the government?

Re:What do you expect? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169669)

On the internet, nobody gives a shit what you say.

On the Internet, people give a shit about capitalization.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 9 years ago | (#13169595)

Sad, but very true. I remember the principal in my middle school who tried to convince those of us who were going to take algebra in the seventh grade to *not* take algebra. Her reason: we may actually have to take calculus before we graduated from high school (oh, the horror!). I guess she figured that if she was too stupid to understand calculus, everyone else should be.

Re:What do you expect? (3, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | about 9 years ago | (#13169599)

As opposed to those charming private institutions that handle Chinese education, and handled American education back in the good old days.

Oh, wait, good education has been done by many government programs. Oops.

American education isn't bad because it's run by the government. It's bad because people don't give a crap about fixing it.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169633)

Most of the education in the especially Asian countries is through the government, so it is not that bad.

Re:What do you expect? (5, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | about 9 years ago | (#13169640)

Last I checked, the Government was also handling children's education WAY back in our glory days during WWII and the space race.

What is a sin and a shame to me is the "one size fits all" mentality that shapes education. When are we going to finally grow up and realize that not everyone is cut out for college. Of course that would also require a measure of respect for the trades as a legitimate line of work, and not simply something for the "special" kids.

Would you prefer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169642)

Would you prefer an exclusivly for-profit system where only children of parents-with-disposable-income were given the privilage of a proper education? ... I for one would rather just pay an extra 5% on my taxes, or have a couple less stealth bombers defending me, to re-vamp the public system.

I'm sure you'd rather let 80% of the kids go without any real education anyway .. less competition for high-earning jobs that way, right?


The Real Chinese Growth (1, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 9 years ago | (#13169494)

phenomenal growth of China's industrial base has been widely...

...Fueled by their intellectual property theft from western countries. Without those countries for new ideas, China growth will quickly stall. As such, they are really not in any position to take the lead, but instead just remain a close second until such time as they can get leading foreign scientists to relocate to China. Just saying you have graduated more engineers doesn't automatically give you more inventions.

Re:The Real Chinese Growth (1)

BrianKHud (115884) | about 9 years ago | (#13169557)

I suppose Dr Kai-Fu Lee would be a good example?

Re:The Real Chinese Growth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169559)

So, a Chinese company "steals" an idea, expands it and actually creates new products from it, while American companies spend the same time suing each other and closing off markets using patent control.

I have to think not needing one IP lawyer per Engineer will make the engineers you do graduate much more productive.


Re:The Real Chinese Growth (2, Insightful)

sameerdesai (654894) | about 9 years ago | (#13169578)

While I agree on some part of your argurment it is not entirely based on theft. As well all know all science progress has been due to the result of collaboration on various studies and deriving from it. Once the ideas drain out on western front, necessity will drive the people in Asia to come up with novel ways and new ideas. Besides necessity is the mother of invention. It is a crude cycle and it will never end.

Re:The Real Chinese Growth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169600)

As such, they are really not in any position to take the lead, but instead just remain a close second until such time as they can get leading foreign scientists to relocate to China.

Have you been to any large research facilities in the USA? All the engineers are foreign! A lot are Chinese!

If the leading "foreign scientists" are already Chinese they don't have to do much to get them to "relocate" now do they?

Seriously, look at the people doing research at any major American university. They are mostly all foreigners. As soon as the Chinese and Indians stay home America is going to be really hurting.

Re:The Real Chinese Growth (1)

NatteringNabob (829042) | about 9 years ago | (#13169625)

>Fueled by their intellectual property theft from western countries

Which really tells you just how short sighted the current Western obsession with granting monopoly protection to the 'owner' every single idea, or every expression of an idea, really is. If China manages to avoid the IP regime of the west, they will blow on past everybody else regardless of how many engineers they graduate because those engineers will not have to worry about infringing somebodies bogus patent, or (effectively) eternal copoyright. You will have a country of 1 billion people standing on each others shoulders and seeing farther instead of trying to farther themselves by holding their would be competitors down in the mud and sitting on their backs.

Re:The Real Chinese Growth (4, Informative)

Sosarian (39969) | about 9 years ago | (#13169652)

It's just a matter of time.

The Hong Kong fashion industry grew out of the factories producing knockoffs of western designers, and now they are one of the fashion capitols of the world.

Also (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 9 years ago | (#13169655)

Being an engineer in China is a big thing, so you find that many people are one. However the reason isn't that they all studied what we consider engineering, it's that more degrees over there are engineering degrees. Nothing wrong with that, the US can't claim to have the perfect definition of an engineer, but when they consider people who are basically techs and tradsemen as engineers, the comparitive startics aren't very useful.

Re:The Real Chinese Growth (2, Funny)

bahwi (43111) | about 9 years ago | (#13169691)

Haha, I always said the same thing about Japan and China, as you can trace most any anime back to some Chinese legend. Of course there are exceptions, but without China's old legends, Japan's anime industry would be about 15% the size it is now.

This is not a surprise (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169502)

Hardly rocket science there... spend money on education, good science. Kids eat Mcdonalds and watch reality tv, bad science.

What baffles me even more is the fact that the USA's primary export seems to be entertainment, yet schools cut art and music programs like crazy.

I say all organized sports should be taken out of schools... there's enough money in those they could be privatized and still thrive.

Well, that's just fine! (1, Insightful)

rscrawford (311046) | about 9 years ago | (#13169506)

That's okay, though, because here in Jesus-land, we know that the only true science is the science that comes out of the Bible! So, while all of those other countries are polluting the minds of their children with ideas of the Big Bang and Evilutionism, we here know that we're actually pulling ahead!

Sigh. The scary thing is that there are people in the US who actually believe that.

Re:Well, that's just fine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169610)

...the scary thing is how bitter and sad and lonely you are, and will always be...

Is it me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169511)

..or has the US been readying itself to get humped by China, big-time.

On the one-hand, they're the Commie enemy and on the other their money has got the business class drooling.

Not so much population (1)

Bullfish (858648) | about 9 years ago | (#13169512)

The problem is more a lack of will to put funding into research and development. Many companies in the US have unfortunately fallen into a wait and see approach on technology and concnetrate on short term gains. Sad as the US used to be where most of the new ideas and approaches came about. When you hear of innovations now, they are coming from other countries.

Re:Not so much population (0)

1992 Called (893858) | about 9 years ago | (#13169568)

The US does massive amounts of R&D and technology advencement. Unfortunately it's all military R&D.
GWB doesn't mind research, as long as it's researching how to maintain the American vice-grip on poor nations, and keeping a stranglehold on the worlds oil producers.
Fuck 'em...let the US fall behind. They will end up with an arsenal manned with illiterate neocon farmboys protecting a long-drained oilpatch.

Re:Not so much population (1)

typical (886006) | about 9 years ago | (#13169650)

They will end up with an arsenal manned with illiterate neocon farmboys protecting a long-drained oilpatch.

And *that* won't be dangerous for the rest of the world, no sirree.

Re:Not so much population (1)

alvinrod (889928) | about 9 years ago | (#13169608)

I think it's more of a lack of ambition on America's part. There seems to be much more of a "Did you see what happened on The Real World yesterday?" attitude, than a "I wonder if this could..." attitude.

America has one of the highest standards of living in the world. "Poverty level" in America is "Rich as Bill Gates" in other countries. We've essentially been so productive and innovative in the past that we've become too comfortable. Why bother trying to make something better when your favority sitcom (or worse yet reality tv show) is on and you have a recliner that almost swallows you and a big old bowl of chips and dip right next to it.

Either that or all the techies are too busy being karma whores or trying to get first post on /. instead of working.

Emulation, not innovation (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | about 9 years ago | (#13169523)

China is still very much more a copier of technology than an innovator. Once they become successful innovators, then we have to worry.

Re:Emulation, not innovation (1)

rk_cr (901227) | about 9 years ago | (#13169621)

That may be true, but that's because China has had to catch up with the rest of the world in the last few decades. The chinese revolution and the cultural revolution left a tattered nation; while China has experienced amazing economic growth in the last year, it's mostly just to get caught up.

So, if there were any time that China would become successful innovators, I'd say now is a good time.

Cultural difference (4, Insightful)

sczimme (603413) | about 9 years ago | (#13169535)

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

I didn't buy the paper, but would like to make one point:

As long as the culture in the US continues to denigrate academic achievement and to glorify ignorance, this country will continue to fall behind the rest of the world in research and invention.

Re:Cultural difference (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169583)

We have a significant portion of the population who can hear "They hate us for our freedom", and not think 'what a croc of shit'.

This would be the portion of the country that has controll of the House, the Senate, the WhiteHouse, and soon the Supreme Court.

We aren't falling behind, we are dropping out of the race.

The destiny of an Empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169536)

... is to fall sooner or later.

Mentality? (1)

kuchin (902689) | about 9 years ago | (#13169543)

I'm very interested of how all those chinese people will integrate into US/Europe economy and business. Say, they have very different mentality, it's the fact...

It wasn't due to a "rapid development"... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169545)

but rather due to capital flight. Our corporations, in an effort to turn a quick buck, intentionally transfered our high-technology manufacturing assets to asia. Our design centers were sure to follow.

It only makes sense that a majority of future developments are going to come to us from Asia as we are no longer the experts -- they are.

Is it just me... (5, Insightful)

ultramk (470198) | about 9 years ago | (#13169546)

Does this remind anyone else of the dire warnings about Japan "taking over" in the '80s and '90s.

This just reeks of fear-mongering. I half-way expect Michael Crichton to write some stupid novel about it.


Re:Is it just me... (1)

typical (886006) | about 9 years ago | (#13169601)

Not Tom Clancy?

Re:Is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169697)

You are correct, this is more alarmist bait to which the slashdot crowd will knee-jerk to.

And the amount of R&D spending is nothing without guidance. The USSR poured large amounts into R&D with a large and arguable comperable educated population. The had Sputnik and all that, remember. But the centralized planning nature of it lead to much of the effort being wasted. Russian consumer good and electronics we crappy, but the math library is full of wonderful Laplace transform tables that armies of Soviet mathmaticians toiled on, only to be replaced by computers.

Re:Is it just me... (1)

interiot (50685) | about 9 years ago | (#13169698)

Yeah, but look at Japan now! They have a slice of the pie now, whereas before, they didn't! Look at where we are now, with Toyotas and Kawasakis and PSPs. If China follows Japan's footsteps and gains a slice of the pie, we will all be doomed!

Overlords (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 9 years ago | (#13169549)

I, for one, welcome... uh...nevermind...

I think this is great (2, Interesting)

Frangible (881728) | about 9 years ago | (#13169551)

One thing I've always thought about is the huge, wasted potential of people who could become brilliant scientists simply not having educational opportunities elsewhere in the world.

I for one care about science and the advancement of human knowledge far more than any sort of jingoism, and I'm very glad to see people in China getting the opportunities to use their talents better.

Well, their IT work is impressive (1)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | about 9 years ago | (#13169710)

Think of all of the brain power they're devoting to their efforts to keep the populace uninformed and subversive ideas from creeping in.

The great firewall of China is surely a paragon of what happens when China gets their people the opportunity to use their talents better.

And? (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | about 9 years ago | (#13169558)

I think it's pretty clear that fundimental research has not been a major priority in the United States for decades.

We need a paper to tell us that?

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169711)

I think it's pretty clear that we never finished learning our "fundimental" grammar either...

all we need is a slashdot post to tell us!!

The $5 comment. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169560)

So who here spent $5 for the PDF before commenting?

Eeeeeevil-ution! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169573)

Yup, now is the perfect time to ban the teaching of evil-ution in America's classrooms! We can spare a little science education for the lowar'duh!

Two years ago.. (2, Interesting)

pickyouupatnine (901260) | about 9 years ago | (#13169574)

My brother's company in California sent him to China for some work. When he came back after the two week trip, he immediately started learning Mandrin because the speed at which the chip production industry has been picking up scared him enough - that in case they fired him in America, he might be able to find work in China.

As long as American institutions have the research dollers to invest into the universities - I don't think America will lose its research crown.

I think China's simply playing catch up for now. But if my brother's experience is any indicator, then if we dont smarten up and invest even more into our research industry - then we'll be learning Mandrin too..

R&D is one of the reasons why Americans have been ahead of everyone else - even after the manufacturing went to China. If that goes, then it'll truly be a nation of Walmart workers.

The obvious solution... (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | about 9 years ago | (#13169575) to raise taxes and give the schools more money.

I mean hell, that's always worked so well in the past!

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." --Benjamin Franklin

How we will win the next world war ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169577)

We can fire ACLU lawywers, McMansions and Fox News zombies at them. That should destroy them. If that fails, we can run 'em over in our SUVs.

What, us worry? (5, Insightful)

gsfprez (27403) | about 9 years ago | (#13169580)

at least our kids know how to be politcally correct, don't have the stress of having to know how to read their own diplomas, are sensitive to every kind of form of sexual proclivity by the time they are in 4th grade, have shitloads of self-esteem, and can be sure that when they or their neighbors with little or no english skills work so hard that they reach the pinnacle of academic achievement - community college - they can be sure that there will be free childcare for them and their 4 kids when the go to class after working the all night shift at McDonalds.

why are we worrying about science? Thats for nerds that don't watch American Idol. Which is, in and of itself, a sad state of affairs when you look at it...that those people are who we collectively teach our children to idol.

just so long as we can yell and scream and blame every problem in the country on Bush and Judge Roberts, why would you want to fill our kids' heads with crap like science? They won't have room for remembering Nelly lyrics! /bitterness and dispair

Bah.... (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 9 years ago | (#13169582)

Bah, what has science ever done for us?

(queue monty python and the life of brian style response vs the romans)

Humans don't scale well (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 years ago | (#13169586)

Typically, the overhead required to put humans into a massivly parallel environment is enormous. Doubling the number of scientists will never double the rate of discovery. It takes so much time for individuals to process information, and so much effort (in terms of management) to herd them in a particular direction, that there is a great deal of inefficiency in armies of scientists.

Thats not to say that China doesn't have a leg up, having a significantly larger population. But its still more about the quality of the researchers than the quantity. I've hear it said that the US is where it is today because it got most/best of the german scientists after WWII (this was an aerospace-nerd dinner). Progress is made by hard work, and is infinitely slower than innovation - which is usually accomplished by a very few.

You get what you pay for (4, Insightful)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | about 9 years ago | (#13169587)

This is no surprise, but the extension of long-term trends of various sociological effects. When you have a country (USA) that looks down on intelligence (and yes, the culture for the most part does unless you live on the coasts or in academia), and you have huge sections of the country that put religion above science, or at least give it equal time, you have the basis for lower education standards. The geeks fight back, but they are always the minority.

Now couple that with right-wing attacks on public schooling in general, bleeding the public schools systems dry in order to push private schooling, and things get worse.

Now add in an economy where many of the jobs that really use your brain get offshored, and what's left are service jobs that require not as much education, and you have an increasing pressure not to care about higher education. Just get one of those service jobs and root for your team and have a beer after work and all is well in your world. Right?

Meanwhile India gets the tech jobs, and China is our major creditor, and suddenly all those smart Chinese students think why should they bother coming to xenophobic and dopey America when they can get the good science education and jobs back home. Where the economy is strong, education is encouraged, science is not neutered by religion, and things are moving forward.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

gsfprez (27403) | about 9 years ago | (#13169699)

we pay $11k per kid in Souther california....

public school funding would be acceptable if it was spent on educating kids.

instead it funds anti-Governor ads to the tune of $50M, paying elementary superintendants $250,000 a year to administrate 7,000 kids, and the like.

The single biggest problem (in California) is that our schools are having to subsume 2M children from other nations who's culture doesn't value education. Its that simple. Teachers always lament - and correctly lament - that so many parents don't care. Of course they don't care - because in their country, education is of very little importance.

The only thing amazing is that we continue to fund these /dev/null money ports we call public education. They are hamstrung by lawyers to kick out the kids that don't want to learn, and are forced by law to put up with kids that don't want to be there, and parents that don't want them there either.

if more money was the solution, how can we be spending over 50% of the state's budget, with nothing to show for it - while 40 years ago, it wasn't ANYWHERE near that level of funding?

The US doesn't have a science problem (1)

argoff (142580) | about 9 years ago | (#13169591)

The main thing holding back the US is not science, but freedom and government. While our sciences are well into the 21st century, our freedoms, especially our economic freedom has been on the decline for nearly 95 years and has not advanced at the same rate.

It's true, we don't have the freedom infrastructure necassary to keep up with the science infrastructure over the long term - but this is just another symptom of the freedom problem playing itself out in the public school system. A socialist system we are forced to pay for no matter how incompetent or top heavy they are.

it's a Chinese Calendar thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169594)

This is the year of the rooster and everyone know's things get done with cocks. I'm cautiously optimistic of the coming dog year. Now pigs and rats, I'm just not sure...

Good for them (1)

AlaindeBotton (872119) | about 9 years ago | (#13169603)

The US getting its ass kicked (economically) will hopefully put a lid on the arrogance that it has displayed by running roughshot over world opinion on matters of security, economic justice and the environment. Besides, the Chinese make better scientists anyway.

Kurt Vonnegut (1)

blzabub (889163) | about 9 years ago | (#13169606)

I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords. Didn't Kurt Vonnegut predict this in one of his novels? Galapagos maybe? He was writing about ratio between brain mass and body mass, the Chinese have the most people speaking the same language with the largest brain to body mass ratio.

I am ... (1)

ta ma de (851887) | about 9 years ago | (#13169613)

Studying math, physics, chemistry and ... Chinese. Though, at my age I should be contributing to the economy. However, I'm now part of the resilient american worker, working on a 10 year retraining program. If I had to guess, when I'm 45 and finished with the retrain, I will be subjected to age discrimination.

If I get too pissed I might just default on my tax/credit obligations and leave.

Run, little americans, run (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169614)

Your time as world bully is soon coming to a close. You had 15 years to do pretty much what you wanted, and ended up invading and killing like all previous empires. You won't be missed.

Crown? (4, Interesting)

slobber (685169) | about 9 years ago | (#13169615)

I don't quite understand what exactly the "scientific Crown" means, but on the balance I think this is positive news - science is not a zero sum game. What's invented in US works the same in China and vice versa. I don't view it exactly as US falling behind but Asian countries catching up because growth is always faster when you have lots of room to grow but then it slows down. Of course, US needs to do more to invest into and encourage better education to stay competitive. The fact that this is not currently the case is alarming.

It is also good to hear that developing Asian countries are on a way to contribute to progress rather than dig their heels in and do everything in a futile attempt to stop it (as seems to be popular in some Middle East contries now a day).

All I can say is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169618)


All empires fall, and your time has come.

China isn't training more Chinese engineers.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169619)

China isn't training more Chinese engineers than the U.S., U.S. graduate schools are training more Chinese engineers than American engineers. We are the problem.

In my program, 60% are not from the U.S.

blame the overpaid CEOs (0)

taybin (622573) | about 9 years ago | (#13169622)

I blame the overpaid CEOs. For just a small reduction in their rediculous saleries, they could avoid overseas outsourcing and kept technology jobs here, which is one of the best ways of reinvesting in technology.

Re:blame the overpaid CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169657)

CEO pay, although outrageous, is a miniscule portion of corporate expenses.

Not enough to offset the gains met by outsourcing, by a long shot.

And they also... (1)

couch_warrior (718752) | about 9 years ago | (#13169634)

The Chinese are going to stomp the west into the ground (And that's not a good thing). Not only will they have more scientists, but they censor their media to keep their kids from being mesmerized by sleaze, and teach the kids a work ethic both at home and at school. While our kids will be 30 year old virgins, working at Walmart, living in their parent's basements, drinking beer, smoking dope, and simulating sex on their Xboxes, the Chinese offspring will be starting the next generation of intels and oracles. Don't be surprised when the Microsoft software development offices move to Beijing in 2015. America is destined to take its place as a third-world debtor nation, and the republicans with their obsession with get rich quick schemes and huge deficits are leading the charge into economic collpase and a political oligarchy. Not that the democrats would fix anything with 60's era social programs. We need a new approach in the US, a true populist party with responsible economic growth as its mantra. And while I'm at it I'll wish for world peace and an end to tooth decay...

A Science Story (1)

Jambon (880922) | about 9 years ago | (#13169649)

Deck the hars wef brows of ha-ree, Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra!

China? (1)

jarek (2469) | about 9 years ago | (#13169665)

I have to say, I don't believe much in China. Sure, there are going to get better, much better, but with the current regime, they will take the third place (perhars) behind India and (perhaps) Japan. The sings are allready there (like underperforming stock markets). Right now the economy rides on the backs of the poor. When they are no longer so poor, the lack of economic efficiency (lacking a better word) will show up in terms of inflation and perhaps even an economic crash. India looks so much more promising. If they can come to terms with the corruption, I belive they will fly indeed.

Be Careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13169668)

Sure, having a high population will allow them to train more scientists and engineers. I just hope they are building enough temples and colosseums, or they'll fall into civil disorder and sheild production will cease.

If you want to see 5-10 years into the future... (1)

nystagman (603173) | about 9 years ago | (#13169675)

If you want to see 5-10 years into the future, skulk around the hallways of any graduate department of engineering or hard science.

The number of American students who choose to defer the instant gratification of making The Big Money would appear to be shrinking when compared to the number of students from abroad (e.g. India and, of course, China) who think grad student wages ARE The Big Money, and who will help their sponsoring countries by bringing back their new-found expertise.

I don't necessarily think that this is a bad thing, for we should be exporting knowledge to the world. However I AM concerned that intellectual pursuits no longer seem to be quite as valued by American culture as I [rose-colored glasses=ON] remember them being back in the misty dawn of time. [rose-colored glasses=OFF]

Perhaps someone in an English or Sociology or Psych department out there will let us know what they have observed of this trend.

benchmarks (1)

psykocrime (61037) | about 9 years ago | (#13169686)

When a lead story [] on one of the most popular news sites for US geeks concerns Nerdcore Rap, then yeah, I'd say the US has lost it.

US geeks have been pwn3d. Even Fortune magazine is running a story in this month's issue, with "Uncle Sam" on the cover, portrayed as a 97 lb weakling, getting kicked around by China (ala those old Charles Atlas ads that used to run in the backs of comic books).

It will take some time (1)

prakslash (681585) | about 9 years ago | (#13169693)

China sent its first man into orbit in an indigenous spacecraft just last year. It is planning to send a probe to moon in 2007, first woman to space in 2010 and manned missions to moon much later. India is yet to do any of this.

USA did these about 35 years ago.

One thing the Chinese and Indians are good at - is taking a design replicating it in large numbers. This is a good thing by the way. It makes the production costs of hardware and software smaller.

At the same time, true innovation is only just now starting to happen there. While they send early rockets in space and explode little nuclear devices, the US has moved onto technologies such as bombing deep space comets, Mars exploration, Nanotech Medicine and Stealth and lots of shit no one even knows about.

They may catch up but it will take time...

Scientists schmientists (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | about 9 years ago | (#13169694)

The U.S. will rule where it really counts! Sports heroes!

Why we NEED the Math and Science Incentive Act! (2, Informative)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 9 years ago | (#13169704)

From Ars [] :
In an effort to increase the study of math and science at American universities, lawmakers are considering
a bill that would pay up to $10,000 for student's accumulated loan interest through college. The benefits would be available to those studying math, science, engineering and technology, provided that after graduation students work in their fields for at least five years.
This is what we NEED! [] Not only is engineering tuition usually more expensive than that for liberal arts, but there are plenty of bright kids turning to business and econ so that they can start making six figures right out of college. Money matters to students, and most are not willing to put themselves through the stress of engineering education only to be saddled with loans the first 8 years after school. This bill of course would not eliminate that, but it would defray the costs enough to make engineering much more attractive to freshmen.

ANY bill towards reducing tuition costs is good, especially one towards engineering, math and science majors.
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