RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,584
Posts: 5,423,961
Members: 24,809
Currently online: 588
Newest member: Super Scout

TrekToday headlines

Star Trek: Alien Domain Game Announced
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Red Shirt Diaries Episode Three
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Made Out Of Mudd Photonovel
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Takei Has Growth Removed
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Retro Review: Tears of the Prophets
By: Michelle on Sep 12

New Wizkids Attack Wing Ships
By: T'Bonz on Sep 12

Coto Drama Sold To Fox
By: T'Bonz on Sep 12

Braga Inks Deal
By: T'Bonz on Sep 12

Remastered Original Series Re-release
By: T'Bonz on Sep 11

UK Trek Ships Calendar Debuts
By: T'Bonz on Sep 10


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science and Technology

Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 11 2014, 04:11 PM   #31
Jedi_Master
Commodore
 
Jedi_Master's Avatar
 
Location: Why do you care?
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

gturner wrote: View Post
It would just fly right over your head.
Try me I await your wisdom.
Jedi_Master is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 11 2014, 11:52 PM   #32
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

Well, first off you've asked

Here is my challenge to you.Can you provide a solution to the problem you started a thread to discuss?

If so can you make it one paragraph in length, maximum 200 words?
If a CEO asked me that (and I get cussed out a lot by them), I'd have to reply "Well sir, that's retarded."

There isn't one method that is optimal for funding, managing, and conducting all research, despite what you might be inclined to think. That's a common failing with bad management, who tend to seize on a method, codify it, and turn it into "the system." The idea that there's the same 200-word solution to a nearly infinite universe of circumstances (well-understood problems, poorly understood problems, unknown problems, wicked problems), organizations (research institutes, wings, sites, and departments, along with hospitals, production facilities, nuclear weapon labs, rain forest field stations), priorities (need it now or we all die?), staffing levels, and goals is, quite honestly, retarded, and comes from an alternate universe where the Soviet Ministry of All-Innovations isn't just a joke.

Government minded folks tend to think there's one best way to do something, if not everything. In the real world there are countless of different circumstances and a vast range of possible management structures, and the best one for a particular problem is often shifting in real time as the problem evolves, which is often how real-world research problems are addressed. During the Apollo program both government and industry learned a vast new array of management techniques, because the prior ways of organizing large research and engineering projects were completely inadequate to the task. I gave a good book on Apollo System Management secrets to a highly-stressed executive at Dell, which is still in the PC business, while the management at IBM stayed with their system of holding endless meetings (where anyone in a white shirt could veto a solution until they retired by referencing the appropriate codicils from the shelf of rule books) until IBM sold the PC line to the Chinese, who quickly gave up in frustration.

And often when you do rely on centralized decision making and bureaucracy, much of what's generated is just really brilliant ways to outwit it. When I was eighteen my first job was programming in a biomedical research lab (the same lab were Story Musgrave worked), which I got because they needed a Forth programmer for a data analysis package and I had just written an elaborate Forth interpreter in assembly language. But the university had a hiring freeze, so they cleverly ruled me to be a computer peripheral that was attached to a keyboard. Anyway, we kept getting high-end PC's for data collection while the rest of the university suffered under an extended hold on any new computer purchases, because every department was in a stampede to get their secretaries and other staffs equipped with laser printers and Microsoft Word. One day some other department heads were visiting our lab and asked how we were managing to get so many PC's when they were stymied. We said that we just tack on a couple extra thousand for high-end A/D converters and data collection equipment. Over the next six months, until the bureaucracy figured out what was going on, secretaries all over the university ended up with really nice computers with laser printers and high-speed A/D cards that took up two slots.

In research, everyone has an almost endless supply of anecdotes and stories about the strange ways around roadblocks, and the bizarre things that somehow get funded and published, and all the little tricks to getting a grant approved.

So no, there's not going to be a 200-word solution to all the world's research problems. Only Dilbert's pointy-haired boss would even ask such a question.
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 12 2014, 01:38 AM   #33
JarodRussell
Vice Admiral
 
JarodRussell's Avatar
 
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

That kinda reminded me of this one.




What are you gonna do this weekend?

That's a great question and an important one. And I WILL do something this weekend. But let me take a step back and answer a broader question. What are we ALL doing this weekend? As a nation? As a world? This weekend I will do something comprehensive and robust, yet fun. We all should.

But, what are you going to do?

What I am going to do involves three things. First, it's going to be relaxing. Second, it's going to be enjoyable. Lastly, I'm going to make sure that it is cost-effective so I don't get into a deficit. Four weeks ago, I said I was going to do something - and I did. This weekend will be no different!
JarodRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 12 2014, 02:06 AM   #34
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

Well, this weekend I'm slated to do some experiments on artificial muscles, round up materials to make a new type of spacesuit joint that doesn't require constant applied torque to remain flexed, and then some random engineering things like stripping electronics out of a wire-EDM machine.

I was going to have to continue the underground search for 8,200 gallons of gasoline that spilled into a cave system, but that got put on hold till next weekend at the earliest.

Meanwhile, I'm sure folks at Apple, Google, Siemens, GE, Microsoft, HP, BASF, Boeing, and 3M will have to be shooed out of their labs this weekend so the cleaning crews can empty the trash and sweep the floors. Passion has a high correlation to successful innovations, and making people go through a laborious and often humiliating grant process can kind of kill that feeling, which is one reason why the most innovative companies don't rely on it for research.

There was a recent NSF sponsored Berkley study covering twenty years of research and patents in the California university system that found that federally funded research was much less likely to result in patents across all technical fields, and those patents were half as likely to be cited by other patents (a measure of patent quality and broadness). Additionally, the corporate-sponsored research patents were less likely than federally sponsored patents to be tied up in exclusive licensing agreements that limit their widespread use. Admitting that must've been like root canal.

link
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13 2014, 03:57 AM   #35
Jedi_Master
Commodore
 
Jedi_Master's Avatar
 
Location: Why do you care?
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
That kinda reminded me of this one.




What are you gonna do this weekend?

That's a great question and an important one. And I WILL do something this weekend. But let me take a step back and answer a broader question. What are we ALL doing this weekend? As a nation? As a world? This weekend I will do something comprehensive and robust, yet fun. We all should.

But, what are you going to do?

What I am going to do involves three things. First, it's going to be relaxing. Second, it's going to be enjoyable. Lastly, I'm going to make sure that it is cost-effective so I don't get into a deficit. Four weeks ago, I said I was going to do something - and I did. This weekend will be no different!
I love this. Definitely gturner's style. Start a thread, make vague comments about the issue, refuse to answer direct questions, insult those who ask, and then ramble on about his own life.
Jedi_Master is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13 2014, 11:46 AM   #36
JarodRussell
Vice Admiral
 
JarodRussell's Avatar
 
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

I'm still trying to decipher his last post about artificial muscles, gasoline spills and cleaning crews at Apple.
JarodRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13 2014, 07:03 PM   #37
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
I love this. Definitely gturner's style. Start a thread, make vague comments about the issue, refuse to answer direct questions, insult those who ask, and then ramble on about his own life.
Confess. You are Dilbert's pointy-headed boss.

The big advantage the US currently has in research is that we're much more lax about seniority and position than Europe (we'll give a newly minted PhD from Europe a big lab and a staff, whereas he might have to spend 20-years working his way up the ladder to get the same facilities back home), and we have a lot more money to throw around.

But we do make really bright grad students slave away on projects where their professor will take the credit, and the professor might be "doing" the research because he managed to get a grant for it through the big grant pyramid.

Here's how the NIH lays out the suggested grant process:

******

Planning: Applicant should start early, collect preliminary data, and determine internal deadlines.

Writing: Applicant often begins writing application several months prior to application due date.

Submitting: Applicant organization submits most applications to NIH through Federal portal, Grants.gov.

Months 1 to 3:

Applications compliant with NIH policies are assigned for review by the Division of Receipt and Referral in the Center of Scientific Review (CSR).

CSR assigns application to an NIH Institute/Center (IC) and a Scientific Review Group (SRG).

Scientific Review Officer (SRO) assigns applications to reviewers and readers.

Months 4 to 8:

Initial level of review: SRG members review and evaluate applications for scientific merit.

Impact scores: Available to Principal Investigator on eRA Commons.

Second level of review: Advisory council/board reviews applications.

Summary statement: Available to Principal Investigator on eRA Commons.

Months 9 to 10:

Pre-award process: IC grants management staff conducts final administrative review and negotiates award.*

Notification of award: NIH Institute/Center (IC) director makes funding decision. IC staff issues and sends Notice of Award (NoA) to applicant institution/organization.

Congratulations: Project period official begins!

Post-award management: Administrative and fiscal monitoring, reporting, and compliance.

******

Imagine if we used the same procedure for art, or writing new iPhone aps. But with that much money being tossed around, the public demands strict accountability, because it's public money. As they say, you can go broke saving money, and staffing a bureaucracy with people whose inclination lies in running a bureaucracy (instead of doing science themselves), and tasking it with maximizing the number of fundamental insights generated per dollar by eliminating waste through multiple layers of review (by people whose inclination lies in running a bureaucracy) is not the best way to foster staggering feats of genius.

Little known fact: The time clock, and working a fixed number of hours, was invented by the US military to satisfy Congress that weapon production was being run in a highly-organized, cost-managed fashion, because Congress kept auditing the arsenals looking for waste - in terms of man-hours of labor per weapon. The arsenal response was to make all the local gunsmiths clock in and out instead of paying them by the piece.

So too we try to make insight a 9 to 5 job that can be managed, except for grad students who should work 9 to 9, and then to 11 so they don't have the free-time to calculate that they're making well below the minimum wage, an epiphany that sometimes leads them to take up a career in the food-service industry.
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13 2014, 09:18 PM   #38
publiusr
Commodore
 
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

gturner wrote: View Post

As they say, you can go broke saving money.

And that's the problem. We don't spend enough money on science publically, so all these folks have to compete.


Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Frankly, if you want to reduce corporate-minded motives in scientific research, you need more public funding of said research.
bingo

gturner wrote: View Post
Since it's public money provided through a bureaucracy...
Everything is a bureaucracy--and suffers from the Peter principle. Take a look at Dragon's Den/Shark Tank.

As Fallows said in his book "Free Flight" about the air taxi Very Light Jet debacle, entreprenuers and venture capitalists have a class grudge against each other.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_light_jet

One wants more money and a freer hand, the other will nickel and dime you to death, a 'la Bob Lutz's book "Car Guys vs Bean Counters"
http://www.amazon.com/Car-Guys-vs-Be...9808368&sr=1-1

You get dullards and road-blocks in both the public and private worlds.

There will never be a private NIF, Large Hadron, etc. And folks won't invest in green tech unless it is required.

You have to have strong public funding.

gturner wrote: View Post

Imagine if we used the same procedure for art, or writing new iPhone aps.
But that's the problem. You see, the reason the VLJ/Air Taxi model never really worked is that venture vultures would rather invest in something like an app--because there is no factory floor.

Musk really didn't invent anything. The ARPANET, AT&T's wiring, peoples computers--all this infrastructure was already bought and paid for before paypal came along.

Obama and Elizabeth Warren were right. He (Musk) really didn't build that.

What we have are profits without products--and that is why you have to go the public route, because the venture capitalists want to invest in something with the least up front costs and the most profit. Musk had no up front costs.

You don't make great strides doing that, except to come up with more crap like "Candy Crush" to waste peoples time. And people thought missile defense was a brain drain--quite the opposite, with Clementine.

So help me, I don't think Newton could have finished his principia had he had a mobile cell phone and e-mail to distract him. He'd be so busy in flame wars and end times stuff that he wouldn't have time to do anything. Wiles at least had the good sense to shut the world out so he could solve for Fermat.

Last edited by publiusr; April 13 2014 at 09:32 PM.
publiusr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13 2014, 09:42 PM   #39
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

But that strong public funding has to compete with Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, which together are 45% of spending, DoD at 18%, and interest payments at 7%, and then fund HHS, State, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Intelligence, HUD, Transportation, Justice, Treasury, Labor, Interior, and Commerce, which together make up 12.6% of spending, at which point the spending is already tens of billions of dollars higher than revenues.

We never sit around worrying about whether Google will have their budget slashed, because we don't have the power to slash it and because Google handles their own problems. But once you invest your everything in one giant budgetary process, hundreds of thousands of people start looking to raid your kitty for their own projects, and they'll keep at it seven days a week, 365 days a year, because that's what they get paid to do. The people in Congress, meanwhile, have to try and balance priorities between wildly different interests and activities, such as either upping SS payments by 1.1% or zeroing out NASA in its entirety (which represent the same amount of revenue).
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14 2014, 11:46 PM   #40
publiusr
Commodore
 
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

Well, Musk had that divorce, and I hear Drexler was all but wiped out by one. A private outfit is more vulnerable to that sort of thing. The USAF wouldn't have been hurt if Lemay had fooled around.

I want that same power structure for NASA. It will take some doing though.

Remember, where VLJ failed, F-35 looks unstoppable.
publiusr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15 2014, 07:02 PM   #41
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

That's why the government shouldn't be allowed to do business with or employ married people - I guess.

But back to reality, Elon's divorce didn't hurt the company a bit (corporations have legal personhood, and thus their own separate love lives), and it hardly even made a blip in the news.

But inside big government entities like NASA, they instead had an astronaut put on diapers and drive from Florida to Houston to murder a romantic rival, an episode so bizarre that politicians canceled the entire Shuttle program, canceled its replacement because the Ares-I looked too phallic as a follow-on to a diaper-clad astronaut sex scandal, and then they decided to delay launching astronauts into space on a US government rocket until perhaps the year 2021, just to give an entire generation time to forget about the incident.

Private sector divorces are much less damaging.

Also, one of the best ways to mess up a giant aerospace company is to get it dependent on Pentagon contracts. Pick a letter, any letter. C is for Consolidated, Convair, and Chance-Vought.

Last edited by gturner; April 16 2014 at 01:14 AM.
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 17 2014, 05:41 AM   #42
Yminale
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Democratically Liberated America
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

Was going to post this on it's own thread but the article seems to apply to the discussion.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...n_5161295.html
__________________
This Space for Rent
Yminale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 17 2014, 06:08 AM   #43
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

Can you provide a synopsis? None of my installed browsers has ever survived a trip to Huffpo for the past year or so, and they all lock up so quickly that I can't identify which URL's to block to keep it from happening.
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 17 2014, 07:41 AM   #44
Yminale
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Democratically Liberated America
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

gturner wrote: View Post
Can you provide a synopsis?
Here you go

But if the week was supposed to laud the forthcoming generation of amazing scientific discovery, the mood around the group was more dour. At a Tuesday conference organized by the Science Coalition at the National Press Club, 10 of these best and brightest warned that science in America is under a significant strain.

At the heart of their concerns were sequestration cuts and a budget that, even with some of those cuts fixed, is still stagnant. In 2013, the National Institutes of Health budget was reduced by $1.55 billion. Even after a budget deal at the end of the year restored some of those funds, the money was still $714 million short of the amount budgeted for 2013 before sequestration hit. It was also lower than where the funding stood during Obama's first year in office. Adjusted for inflation, the money allocated for 2014 was lower than every year but the first of the George W. Bush administration.
...
With more competition and fewer opportunities, the science and medical communities have watched a promising generation of young researchers leave their ranks -- disenchanted or lured to better opportunities elsewhere.
...
Goodman, meanwhile, spoke of the "brain drain" in more stark and concrete terms than others. Rather than watching colleagues leave for greener pastures abroad, he said, he's been watching them leave the field entirely.

"The people whose work has not been funded, they sort of disappear," he said. "Their website is gone. They don’t come to the meetings, and that's the last I hear about it."
__________________
This Space for Rent
Yminale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 27 2014, 09:26 PM   #45
publiusr
Commodore
 
Re: Interesting interview on the state of science

gturner wrote: View Post
But inside big government entities like NASA, they instead had an astronaut put on diapers...Private sector divorces are much less damaging..
People go nuts in both public and private worlds, and as for Private sector divorces being less damaging, I give you the Dodgers: http://news.yahoo.com/ex-wife-wants-...142907650.html

Now you mentioned Vought and other companies. They are gone, but the Air Force (sadly) remains. The tanker contract scandal shows how much Boeing is in bed with the USAF, as is ULA in general, much to Musk's disgust.

In the past, where polarization was less than now, we had the best of both worlds.

Kelly Johnson got money from Uncle Sam, but was allowed a free hand.

Everyone has more hoops to go through now--public and private.
publiusr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:01 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.