Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to BenWilson,

    demand has been pushed down

    Precisely.

    In the "pure sciences" (probably what you mean is the science projects without an immediately obvious product) the vast majority of funding comes from the government. This is true in every country, regardless of how you play with definitions to make projects look like they are one thing when they are in fact the other.

    Essentially the sole market is society as a whole and the government as their representative.

    While society has exactly the same need for pure science - what has happened is the governments (Labour and National) have taken from the science budgets to fund other things (eg tax cuts). Thus in real dollar terms science funding has declined and hence there are not enough jobs for the graduates ... even though society still needs them and their work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to BenWilson,

    I hate to use an economics word, but pure science does seem oversupplied

    Absolutely not true. What has instead happened is that funding in sciences has been steadily cut in order to make room for tax cuts. The value of pure science to the economy (according to economists) has not changed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to Amy Gale,

    If we frame this in the context of the current discussion: [some of] the sciences where women are participating at or even over a 50-50 ratio have more barriers to participating at the professional academic level

    Yup. A particular problem in the life sciences. And the punitive post-doc structure is particularly hard on women both as the scientist themselves or if they are the partner of a scientist, or worse both!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I can see the reasoning on the latter part.

    I'm not saying I believe the first part to be true just that I suspect a goodly portion of the Labour party are looking for anyone to blame for their failures other than themselves ... the relationship with The Greens is an obvious scapegoat.

    either provocative or stupidly clumsy

    Agreed. Certainly it's hard to argue that Shearer isn't a good choice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    What are they thinking?

    I suspect it's two fold. First they don't feel that the close relationship with The Greens has helped them win votes for themselves and it certainly hasn't been the magic bullet to kill NACT. Second with the loss of Russel Norman it's more difficult to find someone reasonable/respectable/serious enough - seriously Steffan Browning?!?!?!

    My bet - expect to see even more distance between Labour and The Greens over the next three years.

    Not sure if that's smart but I expect it will occur.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Women, science and superheroes, in reply to Amy Gale,

    I’ve never met anyone who has done an unpaid science/tech internship in the US, and don’t really ever expect to.

    Yes BUT.

    While it's true undergrads are usually paid and paid quite well, after the PhD it is a completely different story. I have seen several post-docs asked to work for periods on projects "while their stipend is sorted out" and when they do get money it is nowhere near what could be considered a decent salary. There are many reasons for that but ultimately it comes down to a willingness on the part of PIs to pay very low wages in order to spin the grant money out further. I've also seen it argued that importing cheap labour in the form of overseas post-docs effectively broke the labour market in the US.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When the fast track seems a…, in reply to richard,

    I was being somewhat flippant. The difference is that prof is highly variable ranging from revered academic to bureaucratic flunky, by contrast Dr is theoretically a bit more standardised. In practice though Dr is highly variable too with value depending very much on the granting university.

    In the end nothing beats actually talking to the person and in Dr Easther's case it doesn't take long to figure out he's a smart cookie.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When the fast track seems a…,

    they’re all good outcomes of the government’s legislative move to fast-track

    I think one of the fears of this kind of fast track is that a small panel could be corrupt. But equally a small panel can often achieve goals impossible for a larger group in a longer more drawn out bureaucracy.

    Whether the government actually intended the outcome it got or not, it does seem as though the panels put together recently have actually cut through bureaucracy to achieve really good outcomes for the communities affected.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When the fast track seems a…, in reply to David Haywood,

    In my experience a Prof is several degrees scarier than a mere Dr.

    In no small measure because Prof is conferred by the bureaucracy of the university whereas Dr is merely conferred by the scientific community. Be afraid of those able to wield the power of the bureaucracy.

    As for the German system it is arcane and terrifying, it is no wonder that German graduates casually wreck havoc whenever they feel the urge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Masters of Reality, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Still relevant: Matt Nippert's 2013 story A licence to print money:

    How good was SkyCity's winnings from that deal? An Australian casino consultant believes the Government significantly undervalued the gambling concessions it finally granted to SkyCity.

    The Government's own officials consistently raised concerns as far back as 2010 that the nub of the deal - the 27-year extension of SkyCity's exclusive Auckland casino licence - was being similarly undervalued. Across the ditch, casino licences have sold for hundreds of millions of dollars.

    There is an error in perception here. Most reasonable people think Key and his team are acting to make the best deals for the country. That is very obviously a false perception.

    John Key and his close team are acting to make the best deals for themselves and their personal friends AT THE EXPENSE OF THE COUNTRY.

    They have correctly identified a flaw in our system wherein providing you can retain an absolute majority in parliament you can do anything you like - in this case as in many others - what they like is making buckets of money for themselves and their mates.

    They are utterly corrupt and all the analyses of their actions fail because people keep assuming they are decent human beings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3535 posts Report Reply

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