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Old 03-16-2011, 09:36 AM   #41
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The US certainly has strong protections for free speech and that's good, and I have issues with the way countries like Germany legislate against "Nazi speech". But I referred to "diversity of thought" being valued. You could argue that the 2 party US state is a practical expression of the lack of diversity in American political thought when compared to the large number of viable parties in many European countries.
The two-party "system" is a by-product of an electoral system that lends itself to the natural formation of two dominant parties. Had our government and electoral system been created in a way that provided for proportional representation and a ban on candidates winning elections with less than a true majority vote, we might have more than two significant parties.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:59 AM   #42
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Isn't the US one of the biggest polluters per capita on the planet?
Unbelievable, considering the current modern form of the Gestapo (EPA)...........
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:50 AM   #43
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Unbelievable, considering the current modern form of the Gestapo (EPA)...........
As with many things, the "idea" of an EPA is easier than the "implementation"...
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:23 PM   #44
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It's my opinion that the US is actually one of the least free countries in the world now. Every little thing is regulated to death.

[...]

My point is that the aggregate of all these little laws, constantly being passed, add up to a serious erosion of the "Freedom" that USAmericans have historically been so enthusiastic to brag about.

[...]

Are you more free or less free today than you were 100 years ago? 25 years ago? Last year? What will be the case next year?
Forgive me for repeating/quoting myself, but as a non-USAmerican, this question fascinates me. Do you Americans feel that you're every bit as "free" today as you were 25 years ago? Do you think your country's signing forefathers would be proud of the "freedom" exemplified in the US today? Do you agree that the US is actually getting staggeringly bogged-down in freedom-eating regulation? If so, does it concern you, or does it comfort you? Or maybe you're concerned, but simply feel you can't do anything about it, so there's no reason to get yourself worked up over it?

How do you feel about the famous Jefferson quote about those who would trade liberty for security deserving neither?
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:51 PM   #45
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The two-party "system" is a by-product of an electoral system that lends itself to the natural formation of two dominant parties. Had our government and electoral system been created in a way that provided for proportional representation and a ban on candidates winning elections with less than a true majority vote, we might have more than two significant parties.
It's also because there's such an enormous administrative and financial threshold for other parties to get a foot hold. This is enforced by the two main parties. I'm continually amazed at how may times the "foxes are guarding the chicken coop" in US politics. Partisan politicians run elections and decide on redistricting and election regulations. The dirty tricks employed and events like Bush v Gore in Florida and the whole history of elections in the South give me a very jaundiced eye when it comes to America politics.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:25 PM   #46
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The dirty tricks employed and events like Bush v Gore in Florida
Let it go, Al....
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:59 PM   #47
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I'll feel free as long as I have a gun safe full of guns and a pile of ammo.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:07 PM   #48
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I'll feel free as long as Jeffrey Sachs stays at an elite US University.
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:11 PM   #49
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Well...I have a BS and MS in chemistry and I can say without a doubt that the jobs go to the guys from either Ivy League (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc) or big tech schools (MIT CalTech). A degree from a state school is basically a joke-its about how "smart" you look on paper.

As far as salaries, I stand to make about as much as a Chicago Cop which only requires 60 credit hours, no degree.

Reality is that most jobs in science boil down to doing "skilled" manual labor. Sure, I'm not breakin' up bricks on the highway, but lifting gallon jugs of dichloromethane after a while gets really old.

(Guess I can't type swear words on here, huh)
Did you know the numbers before you started school? That is, did you know that MIT grads typically got jobs paying $xxx but state school grads were happy to settle for $yy ?

(I'm claiming, of course, that the school should have told you as soon as you were a prospect.)
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:34 PM   #50
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Let it go, Al....
I wasn't referring to the outcome, but the the whole process.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:28 PM   #51
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I don't think that America is on the decline as much as the rest of the world is catching up. On a relative basis this bad for the US, but it is pretty good for the rest of the world.

Since retiring 11 years ago, I have been startled to read quotes in business publications from four different Intel colleagues, who have returned home to India, China, and Vietnam to start companies in their native countries. In every case these were people who had established roots in the US had lived here at least decade and all but one had a family here. They aren't the type of people the US wants to lose, with engineering and/or MBA degrees from top schools. Although, they weren't so exceptional that I didn't snigger a little when I saw CEO after their names.

Two of the guys had told me of their desire to return home, but the opportunities just weren't there in India, and Vietnam 15-20 years ago. I think opportunities in the US (certainly in California) have gotten worse in the last decade. But I think more importantly is that with internet, cell phones, and the embrace of capitalism (with an Indian, Chinese flavor) opportunities in the native countries have dramatically improved.

It is in unclear to me from the standpoint of the US, are we better off having these folks toiling away at some big tech company in the US. Or are we better off having these people back in their native countries, using their capital, expertise, and business knowledge, creating jobs and eventually consumers for US companies goods and services?. I can argue either way. However, it is clear to me that it is good for these countries that brain drain is slowing.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:16 PM   #52
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Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs Says America in Decline, Politicians Corrupt
I think Sachs is just grinding his axe talking his book.

That headline is just as much "news" as if it'd been published in 1982, 1954, 1940, 1875, 1823, or 1796. Or some other number in between.

I think we Americans tend to forget what the rest of the world looked like in 1946. No wonder we had a 30-year head start that today makes us feel all "Pax Americana" and "The Decline and Fall".

Hunh. I guess that headline would've looked about right in 2nd-century Rome, too...
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:25 PM   #53
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It's funny how there is always a shortage of engineers and scientists willing to work for the ~$57k/yr salary.
At one of my previous jobs, we paid our grad student interns (usually cs) the equivalent of $72k+ /yr. I think that pay rate was acceptible but not particularly competitive.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:25 PM   #54
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At one of my previous jobs, we paid our grad student interns (usually cs) the equivalent of $72k+ /yr. I think that pay rate was acceptible but not particularly competitive.
What does one of my kids need to do to qualify for a $72k+ job as an intern?
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:30 PM   #55
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What does one of my kids need to do to qualify for a $72k+ job as an intern?

... wear a blue dress?

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Old 03-17-2011, 10:16 AM   #56
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What does one of my kids need to do to qualify for a $72k+ job as an intern?
Basically be a smart, motivated grad student with a quantitative background and reasonable programming ability. A prototypical project would be go read research paper X, apply the ideas to problem Y, and by the way you'll probably need to do something about Z.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:26 AM   #57
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Did you know the numbers before you started school? That is, did you know that MIT grads typically got jobs paying $xxx but state school grads were happy to settle for $yy ?

(I'm claiming, of course, that the school should have told you as soon as you were a prospect.)
Well no of course not. I don't think any school is gonna tell you that, or even elude to it at all. I had to learn the hard way went I started in industry. The guys from the big schools also have better job security.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:32 AM   #58
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Well no of course not. I don't think any school is gonna tell you that, or even elude to it at all. I had to learn the hard way went I started in industry. The guys from the big schools also have better job security.
If you read your response carefully, you may find the answer you seek.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:45 PM   #59
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Basically be a smart, motivated grad student with a quantitative background and reasonable programming ability. A prototypical project would be go read research paper X, apply the ideas to problem Y, and by the way you'll probably need to do something about Z.
I was thinking examples of field, school, year. Like are we talking a near phd in chemical engineering at MIT? or a first year MS candidate in IT at Univ of Minnesota?
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:03 AM   #60
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Primarily computer science but also EE, would consider stats from top public / private schools. Some students from good but not top tier schools as well. Ranging from second year to ABD. Most students had research experience under their belt with at least one or two papers as lead author.
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