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In this post: the large versions of the Education & Careers and Politics channel photos, comments from readers, and the best posts of the week.

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Education and Careers. From Flickr, by david_terrar

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Politics. Protesters scuffle with police outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul From Flickr, by Ligadier Truffaut

Reader comments of the week:

In Barack Obama: A pro-vaccine pharma shill who doesn’t care about autistic children? Orac takes on the touchy subject of vaccines and autism by looking at Senator Obama’s stance on the issue, and the reaction from around the internet when Obama came out against selective vaccinations.

Well, here’s a rare bit of good news in the endless tedium that has become the U.S. election. It appears that Barack Obama has ticked off the antivaccine contingent. I know, I know, I said I would try to lay off this topic for a few days, but this is just too amusing. Apparently, he’s gone a long way towards redeeming himself for his previous gaffe when it came to vaccines and autism, and the antivaccine zealots over at Age of Autism are all in a tizzy over it:

Reader the AsMan worries that preventing autism is removing autistic people from the society without due cause:

Hi
What about the fact we are “losing” the war on a prenatal test. And In fact in danger of losing generations of autistic people. Wiping out a whole spectrum of people deemed defective despite the accomplishments of many of us. Isn’t tht more important the vaccine debate??? I think that the whole vaccine debate is diverting the attention of the neurodiversity community from the more important and pressing issue of pre natal testing and genocide.

However reader Joseph mentions that he is autistic, and is throwing his hat in with Obama:

I liked Obama even before this. As an autistic man who is the parent of an autistic boy, I sure hope Obama wins. His science advisers are apparently much better informed than McCain’s. Either that, or Obama is more intellectually in tune with what’s going on.
Add to that the fact that Sarah Palin is a global warming denialist, and the choice is clear.

Over at Pure Pedantry, Jake Young looks at Ph.D. completion rates as boken down by race and gender, and decides that completion rates aren’t the problem. This means that some other phenomena at some other level is reducing diversity in university faculty, but Young doesn’t hazard a guess about what that might be.

Reader Becca posits her own theory as to where the discrepancy starts:

Darn. I wish they had gender + field.
The info on the gender gap in life sciences is interesting. I wonder if we had equal numbers of both genders entering the programs (which I think is now the case).
I also wish somebody would actually study “number of times one’s thesis advisor/lab/committee members/thesis topic” changes vs. gender and ethnicity. At my university, it seems like a lot of students get kicked out of labs. It also seems like a lot of those students are female and non-white. That can’t be good for time-efficient completion.

Some other Education and Career posts we thought were cool this week were:

Women and Their Sexy Hawt Bodies: Reprise

What the heck are HBCUs anyway?

Beyond Paper, Beyond Wiki

Animal poop identification.

Quantum Physics for Dogs Preview

And from the Politics channel:

The Definition of Theistic Rationalism

Warmonger McCain

Charging women for their own rape kits?

Neurological bias = a liberal media? I don’t think so

The Original Mavericks: The Genius of Rove’s Former Deputy

Look for highlights from other channels coming up!