Links for 3-17-2008

You just have to read Non Sequitur today. It's a great strip in general but I really liked today's comic for reasons that will be obvious to you.

Lab Cat has announced a Fortnight-long Food Fest.

In fact I am so excited about food and my "F" that I am having a food fest for the next two weeks. I am not going to promise that I will only post about food*, but I am going to try to center my blog around food science, food, molecular gastronomy. If you want to join in my Fortnight-long Food Fest, post a link in the comments.

That's Lab Cat's comments, not mine, of course.

The Science Debate 2008 folks held a press conference in Philadelphia last Friday, at the Franklin Institute. (I wasn't able to attend, which was a bummer for me.) You can watch the press conference here. The press conference is about 30 minutes long. Are the candidates listening? I hope so. One of the more interesting reasons I heard given for why the candidates should debate is that preparation for the debate would take at least 40 hours. That's 40 hours more that the candidates would spend learning about science & technology issues facing the nation than they would otherwise.

Bill Gates testified to Congress last week. Bill says we must prioritize four fundamental goals:

  1. Strengthening educational opportunities, so that America's students and workers have the skills they need to succeed in the technology- and information-driven economy of today and tomorrow;
  2. Revamping immigration rules for highly skilled workers, so that U.S. companies can attract and retain the world's best scientific talent;
  3. Increasing federal funding for basic scientific research, to train the next generation of innovators and provide the raw material for further innovation and development by industry; and
  4. Providing incentives for private-sector R&D, so that American businesses remain at the forefront in developing new technologies and turning them into new products and services.

Dan Greenberg is annoyed because he thinks this is the same old scare-mongering about a shortage of scientists and engineers that never materializes, and is only designed to provide university research budget increases and relaxed immigration rules so that companies can hire cheap foreign labor. I don't think this is exactly what Bill Gates is saying but you can decide for yourself. Well, except maybe the "revamping immigration rules for highly skilled workers" bit.

Greenberg writes for the Chronicle's Brainstorm blog, commenting on science and technology policy and politics. He usually has something interesting to say.

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I just recently found your blog, and I'm fascinated by it. The whole debate about science and engineering policy is really interesting to me. I have tentative plans to go back to school (at age 35, yikes!) to study civil/environmental engineering, something I always wish I'd done when I went to college the first time around. But I am seriously wary of all the reports of unemployment among engineers. I'll be keeping an eye on this issue.

Anyway, thanks for the great blog.

Yay for you for going back to school for engineering! I wish you all the best luck. I think there will be plenty of need for civil/environmental engineers in our future.