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Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the funding-favors-the-bold dept.

Government 126

coondoggie (973519) writes "Gotta love this letter published in the guardian.com this week. It comes from a number of scientists throughout the world who are obviously frustrated with the barriers being thrown up around them — financial, antiquated procedures and techniques to name a few — and would like to see changes. When you speak of scientific mavericks, you might look directly at Improbable Research's annual Ig Nobel awards which recognize the arguably leading edge of maverick scientific work."

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To infinity and beyond! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46529683)

I built an Arduino-driven, vibrating buttplug. Is this awesome?!!

Re:To infinity and beyond! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530007)

Did you print the buttplug from a makerbot? Purchased with bitcoins?

Re:To infinity and beyond! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530041)

Yes and it was molded after St. Jobs' rotting cock.

Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46529801)

That's exactly what my inspiration was (per my subject-line) http://tech.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org] and the design of that application (that takes something VERY OLD, & uses it effectively for more speed, security, reliability, + even added anonymity (to an extent vs. DNS request logs &/or DNSBL's even)):

"A fool makes things bigger + more complex: It takes a touch of genius & a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - Einstein

* :)

I'm no "maverick" - just a guy that had the means & ability + saavy to offset a great deal of issues online... simply because it needed doing (& BETTER than layering on MORE, & in fact, doing it with less than say, browser addon "so-called 'competitors'", & far more efficiently, as well as doing FAR MORE of benefit, + with LESS moving parts complexity + room for breakdown...).

APK

P.S.=> Heck - I had it DONE (in 3 parts/apps) back as far as 2003, & assembled it into that single app in 2004, but held off (for webmasters' sake really only) - that is, until I saw the "malware explosion" take place in 2004 & with adbanners being infested with malicious script? Then, I decided finally in mid-2012 to release it, & out the door she went (for good reasons, the net's a wee bit "outta control" imo)... for anyone's sake... apk

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530029)

But a giant hosts file to maintain a blacklist of domains is NOT a simplified solution! Simple is a centrally maintained blacklist that supports regex syntax that can be queried. Loading your hosts file blows up the RAM usage and startup time of the Windows DNS client. And that's just one thing wrong with it.

Jeremiah

It operates in kernelmode via tcpip.sys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530111)

Ring 0/RPL 0/kernelmode = FAR faster than usermode/ring 3/rpl 3... by far & it works for better speed, security, reliability, & even added anonymity online, today... lol, especially, online out there, today... + BETTER with less moving parts layered on SLOWER usermode complexity (such as browser addons yield, & for instance, "Almost ALL Ads Blocked" (crippled by default)?? Slows down usermode browsers it layers MORE CRAP onto... & CLARITYRAY will be adblock's ending too!).

APK

P.S.=> It's well documented online that with a relatively LARGE hosts file, you offset the faulty with larger hosts file usermode (key = slower) dns clientside cache service, & instead, save the MEMORY, CPU, & other forms of I/O it was using wastefully + NEEDLESSLY instead opting to use the FASTER KERNELMODE diskcaching subsystem, + the IP stack itself (it uses hosts as filter there, 1st one querid by the 1st net resolver kernelmode subsystem no less) - doing it better, faster, & with less moving parts complexity stupidity too, using what you have, doing MORE, with LESS... period/fact, & it works... apk

Re:It operates in kernelmode via tcpip.sys (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46530229)

The search algorithm and data format matter more than the low latencies gained from ring0. There's a reason large databases don't use flat text files.

Right but I beat THAT too... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530283)

Putting my fav sites @ the top of my hosts file offsets it (negligible on misses, less "weighty term" (think math)) by offsetting the INDEXING LOSS placing my 24 favorite sites @ the TOP of my custom hosts file (binary search pattern, "do the math" - that exceed or @ least equals indexing up to 2-3++ millon seeks)... so, there ya go!

The REST of the speed gain is done by blocking out adbanners (up to 40% of MOST sites out there today that are large commercial concerns - like this one for example!), & doing favorite sites hardcoded @ top of hosts - this is as FAST as it gets (along with the fact my app "compresses" the host file using 0.0.0.0 vs. the traditional LARGER & SLOWER 127.0.0.1 blocking address, faster on line by line load/read & seek too...)

It just works - for added SPEED, SECURITY, RELIABILITY, & even added ANOINYMITY... & it does it in a FASTER mode of operation, with LESS MOVING PARTS message passing USERMODE complexity (think dns clientside faulty Windows dns cache OR browser addons).

APK

P.S.=> As per my usual? I "take on ALL comers", & win... there IS, no substitute (especially using facts & the weaponry of mathematics vs. naysayers)...apk

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46530253)

Your alternative might work better technologically, especially once the number of entries grows significantly, but it is not simpler than a text file used as a blacklist. Also, centrally maintained lists are open to political and economic attacks that might neuter their ability to do the intended job.

It doesn't (he's "trapped in the box") (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530323)

He can't THINK outside of it (never questioning) & here's why http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org] and here too http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

* :)

(Nothing like using the "weapons" of fact, math, & privelege of subsystems + LESS COMPLEXITY (and moving parts too), to "do the job" for me...)

APK

P.S.=> Which is, exactly what I did... taking on a "naysayer" that can't THINK for himself, using facts & math against his "objections" & easily overcoming them... apk

Re:It doesn't (he's "trapped in the box") (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530383)

You're quite mad, you know. Stop it. Now would be a good time to 'take a break' from computing for a few months. Really.

Same here goes for you too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530435)

http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

* :)

(Good luck - you'll NEED it (more like a miracle...))

APK

P.S.=> Incidentally: Do YOU have a PhD in the psychiatric sciences + a license to practice?? I doubt it... but, let's hear your reply (because in the end, you LACK a formal examination of my alleged "mental state"according to YOU, "Dr. Quack - the 'SiDeWaLk-ShRiNk' of /. http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org] and HERE -> http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

Give it up boys... you're FAR outclassed, outthought, & just in general OUTSMARTED (by someone who thinks outside the box in myself, & gives folks more SPEED, SECURITY, RELIABILITY + ANONYMITY online, with less moving parts complexity or faults + total end user EASY control too)... apk

Re:Same here goes for you too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530533)

IMO, the ac you replied to is correct, calm down, take some time off to relax, get a few good nights sleep. Slow your gears down a bit, friend. You do seem to be 'racing' a bit.

You mean YOU (posting ac again)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530571)

Please, lol - give me a break: Challenge STILL stands (unscathed no less... lol, especially vs. this http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org] & this too http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org] )

CHALLENGE: (since you FAILED those 2 above miserably, lol) -> http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

Now: All I can say on MY part after those 1st 2 links? LOL, well... "It's GOOD to be the KING" but well... not vs. mere CHILDREN whose level of "understanding" in the computer sciences hasn't taught them to THINK, especially outside the box, as this article alludes to... no, instead? My troll detractors have nothing but illogical off topic ad hominem attacks... thanks, for letting me ANNIHILATE you easily, with math & comp. sci. FACT!).

APK

P.S.=> ALL your trolling bullshit isn't standing up too well vs. mathematic & comp. sci. FACT... now is it/ Nope... you're doing a "Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" instead vs. that challenge in the 3rd link above, & that, IS that (you fail)... apk

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530261)

A madman's ravings are absurd in relation to the situation in which he finds himself, but not in relation to his madness.

IF that's directed MY way? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530373)

You're MORE THAN WELCOME to disprove 17 enumerated points here http://start64.com/index.php?o... [start64.com]

* :)

(Good luck - you'll NEED it... lol, more like a miracle, because you're fellow "naysayers" aren't faring too well on ANY front, especially those of mathematics, operating system subsystems & speed gains, + more here -> http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org] AND here too http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org] )

Keep "thinking inside the box" & depending SOLELY on faulty systems like DNS (kaminsky flaw anyone? Redirect poisoning like MAD, & 99% of ISPs aren't patched vs. it no less...), or more moving parts complexity & usermode slowness (e.g. almost all ads blocked crippled by default layering on MORE on browsers, slowing them up in messagepassing overheads in usermode) or faultiness (windows own local dns clientside cache faults with larger hosts files & yes, in slow usermode too)... vs. myself using a FAR FASTER kernelmode based solution (tcpip.sys/IP stack & the diskcaching kernelmode subsystem vs. SLOWER usermode dns clientside faulty cache in Windows)..

APK

P.S.=> So, let's see you disprove EVERY SINGLE ONE of those 17 points I have enumerated in the link to my program... ok? apk

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (2)

clovis (4684) | about 5 months ago | (#46530715)

"A fool makes things bigger + more complex: It takes a touch of genius & a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - Einstein

I think it was E.F Schumacher that wrote that.
BTW, almost none of the famous Einstein "quotes" were actually said by Einstein.

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530721)

what's funnier's how apk's destroying his opponents http://science.slashdot.org/co... [slashdot.org]

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#46531301)

I believe Confucius has a similar problem.

Re:Quoting Einstein (regarding computer science) (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 months ago | (#46533245)

"almost none of the famous Einstein "quotes" were actually said by Einstein."
--Mark Twain

Maverick theory of MH370 (-1, Offtopic)

goombah99 (560566) | about 5 months ago | (#46529821)

We begin with Goodfellows argument for a fire which, by the way, was also raised by another anaylyst. The we demolish Slates counter argument.

1) There's an electrical fire, all the breakers are tripped (removing the data transponders and maybe the communications). http://www.airtrafficmanagemen... [airtrafficmanagement.net] http://www.wired.com/autopia/2... [wired.com]

The Malaysian primary radar inferred a flight path with the turns at VAMPI and GIVAL after the Lankawi International airport overflight:
supposed: flight path :http://skyvector.com/?ll=10.332212843477643,95.11743164439306&chart=304&zoom=8&plan=F.WM.IGARI:F.WM.VAMPI:F.WM.GIVAL:F.VO.IGREX

So Slate asks how do we account for the red herring turns at VAMPI and GIVAL?

3) Coincidentally, after the incapacitated MH370 overshoots the airport, at that very moment UTC March 7 18:00, another 777 flown by Singapore Airlines (Flight SIA 68) crosses MH370s flight path.

http://www.flightradar24.com/2... [flightradar24.com]

4) MH370 is low since its trying to land and so the Malaysian Royal Airforce primary radar is having some trouble following it. The primary radar initially sees one 777 (MH370) then after losing it confuses this with SIA 68, which is the only 777 they can now see in the air at the same GPS coordinate.

5) SIA68 then executes two planned waypoint turns (GIVAL and IGREX), so we get the red herring that a skilled pilot was in control of the flight just before SIA 68, not MH370, goes off the end of the Malaysian radar

We add one more flourish to explain why the Indonesians also missed the (tiny) overflight of one of their archpeligo, a point Slate did not raise.

6) The pilots are incapacitated as MH370 continues on the same line, skims low over the tip of indonesia and flys out into open ocean. As it happens at 18:05 UTC Flight UAE343 (as well as one other flight before it) , also a 777, is also flying over the tip of Indonesia at that same moment so again a potential for misattributed distant radar returns.

http://www.flightradar24.com/2... [flightradar24.com]

Finally tie it into a bow to answer slates last objection:

7) if you extend that line out it will eventually intersect the supposed last ping satellite transmission radius somewhere far off the west coast of Australia, perhaps vaguely near the Coco islands. I can't be too precise because the maps are not draw with correct spherical geometry.

8) since Goodfellow's claim a new set of facts has come out that aid it further. It has been now revealed that the Lankawi overflight path was entered into the computer prior to the "goodnight all is well" message from the co-pilot to the tower. Some people saw that premeditaion as suspicious. However It has also been revealed that extremely conscientious pilots do this routinely. they program the nearest escape path into their flight computers and keep it updated as they travel from way point to way point. they don't hit the execute button. It's just there already to go if things go south and no matter who is flying the plane at that moment. Goodfellow also said the first thing he saw was a pilot who already knew what he was going to do in an emergency and didn't have to think about it. So rather than being suspicious it explains a lot.

Goodfellow also noted that while there is some uncertainty about the strange climb and dives inferred from the (altitude-unreliable) radar data, that these are consistent with a huge smoky fire: climb to 40,000 feet in a desperate move to starve it of oxygen. Then dive at a ridiculous rate to try to blow it out or at least get close to ground for a ditch in the ocean.

the theory is that by the time they got close to Lankawi the pilots would have used up all of the chemical smoke filters they carry for smoke protection (~ 15 minutes maybe) and cockpit would have been overhwhelmed by smoke. If they were not dead (most likely) then about all they might have managed was restoring the autopilot at that point.

Hire/promote dont just complain (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46529829)

If "scientists" want more maverick's in science...then they need to **hire** and **promote** more mavericks...then write and *publish* papers about their theories

Right now, anyone who doesn't toe the institutional line will get put with the Graduate Advisor who is either A) insane or B) can't speak English and only was hired to get more full-tuition-paying foreign students

If you want the pedigree you have to 'drink the kool-aide' of whatever academic is above you

Don't get me wrong, TFA is a good start, but they need to do alot more than this to make academia right again

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46529921)

If "scientists" want more maverick's in science...then they need to **hire** and **promote** more mavericks...then write and *publish* papers about their theories

...

B) can't speak English

We must have more mavericks... well, English speaking mavericks... well, English speaking mavericks that publish a lot... we need English speaking widely published mavericks that applied to our program....

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530093)

The "over-spending" on academic research in past decades has produced an over supply of PhDs that can't find jobs.
We'd probably be better off with fewer people entering grad school than throwing more money at them - thus creating an even bigger problem.
More researches doesn't equal more mavericks.

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530177)

The "over-spending" on academic research in past decades has produced an over supply of PhDs that can't find jobs.
We'd probably be better off with fewer people entering grad school than throwing more money at them - thus creating an even bigger problem.
More researches doesn't equal more mavericks.

So, for a fixed amount of research money, those damned academics realized that they could get the most done by underpaying PhD students and have them do all the work. Sounds like capitalism to me. I know, who would've thought that a bunch of PhDs could figure out how that works.

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530523)

The "over-spending" on academic research in past decades has produced an over supply of PhDs that can't find jobs.

That would be true if the only people in the world who could do lab work were PhD students. But career scientists can also do lab work. The obvious solution to the problem of excess PhDs is to use career scientists to do the lab work.

Imagine a world where each principle investigator would only train up one, or possibly two, people to "replace" that PI over the course of the PI's career. That is, a typical principle investigator would only graduate one PhD student over the entire course of the PI's career.

The problem with that is obvious. Universities see themselves as being in the business of educating students. So how would it look if, on average, each professor in the university only mentored one PhD student in their career? People would think that the University wasn't doing it's job.

However, Universities are now also the major players in hosting government funded research. So universities have a huge need for scientists (or scientists in training) to do all the actual research work. Universities don't won't to give up on all the lucrative research grants. But how would it look if Universities mostly consisted of career research scientists with very few students? The general public just wouldn't understand.

And all that leads to the main problem under discussion - lack of scientific mavericks. With such a ridiculous excess of science PhDs the competition for the few available faculty/PI jobs is insane. It's just not possible to take a few years of to research an interesting question that's likely to be a dead end - because that's a certain career killer. These days the mavericks end up out of science (and out of work) in their mid forties - wondering how it is that after years of study and very hard work they're struggling to find a way to feed their family.

more of a type vs more of all (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46531141)

More researches doesn't equal more mavericks.

surely not.

I think we're talking past each other...I'm responding to TFA's contextualization of the problem and their idea of how to "fix" it...the problem of a lack of "mavericks"

about how we have "too many PhD's"...to me that just sounds ridiculous, but I know what you mean at the same time.

the work exists...all of academia gets twisted b/c of how it interacts with the private sector which has caused a systemic problem that **keeps research from getting funded**

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530755)

You're quite the maverick yourself, pluralizing with an apostrophe and within the same sentence, pluralizing the same word without an apostrophe! The mind truly boggles! Or is it boggle's?

good kind of grammar nazi (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46531063)

hey AC...thnx for the comment...I lol'ed

yeah my punctuation sucks...but grammar nazi's suck more...

you however kept a lighthearted tone which makes it at least neutral if not constructive...

so, in reward for your only *mildly* annoying grammar-nazi-ness....I will endeavor to fix my possessive punctuation from now on

Re:good kind of grammar nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531681)

Cool response!

One of those (fairly rare) gentle, funny and polite interactions between strangers that gives me hope ...

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (4, Insightful)

the biologist (1659443) | about 5 months ago | (#46530819)

As someone going through a PhD program in biology you don't know what the hell you're talking about. The only institutional line that matters is, "Bring in grant money!".

The rest of it is pretty much spot-on, but not really any different than in business or anywhere else. You've got to convince your bosses to keep from firing you, after all.

"bring on the grant money" for your Prof not you (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46531103)

right on...good for you w/ your PhD program...I wish you all the best!

I understand that, say, in a happy hour gathering of grad students + recent PhD's you could fire off the comment, 'The only institutional line that matters is, "Bring in grant money!".' and the whole group would bellow in agreement.

I also agree...however if we're talking about a *fix* for this problem, you have to stop thinking like a student.

That "grant money"...it doesn't go to you...it goes to **your program** or **a specific professor** who has to do reems of paperwork to justify the grant...then of course after a fixed ammount of time, the grant needs to be renewed.

That means that if you want in on that grant, you have to "drink the kool-aide"

Now, **your** program may not operate like that, but that's this is the status quo. I got my MS in Information & Communication Science at a state school, did paid research work for a prof not in my department while there (i'm an SPSS jedi), and have worked as an adjunct at Washington State University in the CS program. I am starting my own biz now. I'm ABD so my goal is to launch this biz then go finish mine.

Re:"bring on the grant money" for your Prof not yo (1)

Stem_Cell_Brad (1847248) | about 5 months ago | (#46532309)

I am a professor who mentors PhD students on projects supported by NIH grants. I totally disagree with the assessment of needing to drink the kool-aid to get in on a grant. Most of the PIs (professors that wrote the grant) that I know really do not want a PhD student to come in an be a "parrot" by simply repeating everything the PI says and thinks. The PI gets very little out of this, and it advances a project to a much lesser degree than a student who can make an intellectual contribution. The problem with lack of support for Maverick-type people is that the granting agencies have become quite risk averse, which makes absolutely no sense in science. As a result, I believe te proportion of funding going to translational research focused on an application is too great and funding to basic science is too small.

stop blameshifting or just retire & make way (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46535365)

The problem with lack of support for Maverick-type people is that the granting agencies have become quite risk averse

no...the problem is that people like YOU are **risk averse**

you can't blame the granting agencies for decisions you make...I get your point RE: translational vs theory is off-kilter, but that's not b/c of "mavericks" it's b/c corporations fund research at universities that is intended to increase their profits + build equity.

Stop blame-shifting and start practicing what you preach! If you get NIH grants then people *will listen to you*

START TODAY....DO IT NOW...

yes...I mean it...start today Mr. PhD mentor!!!!

today your task is to find an opportunity to encourage, promote, edify a "maverick" student that will change this cycle...then continue every day...write papers, publish and make an affirmative effort to include "mavericks"....

***tell your professor friends at your little dinner parties about your change in attitude***

Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#46534919)

To be fair, grants seem to be awarded more to conservative, safe, boring studies. A grant application that either will totally break new ground or fail completely will not be funded. A grant which is sure to advance the field but incrementally has a much better chance.

Moreover, at least within biology, "translational research" is all the rage and is getting more and more money, while basic research loses money. Translational research seems to be "take things we already know and move them towards medical treatment." Which is traditionally the providence of private industry, while government grants should be dedicated to research that won't come up with a product that can be sold. I worry that translational research is taking money away from cutting edge research and putting it indirectly into private industry's pockets. That's an oversimplification and I admit I don't really feel confident that I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I think that OP is more accurate: grant committees, like all committees, are generally biased in favor of safety rather than taking a gamble.

25% grant success rates? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46529873)

TFA claims 25% success rate for grant applications which hasn't been true in a long time. Last I heard the NIH claimed 18%, which is bullshit, it's not anywhere near that good either. Some fields don't hit 10% funding rates.

Re:25% grant success rates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531209)

Last year the NIH had 7% success rate. This last year they had 1000 fewer submissions. In my work there is talk that no one should expect new funding.

Re:25% grant success rates? (1)

Phillip2 (203612) | about 5 months ago | (#46531979)

Shocking though it may be to you, these scientists who were publishing a letter in a British Newspaper are by and large resident in Britain. I would hazard a guess that the majority of their research funding does not come from NIH, but from the UK research councils.

Trust me, mavericks or not, I bet all the signatories could tell you the success rate for all the grants schemes they apply to.

Re:25% grant success rates? (1)

Stem_Cell_Brad (1847248) | about 5 months ago | (#46532323)

Agreed on the 18% being bullshit. They have some wacky formula that uses revisions of grants to reduce the total number of "grants" and inflates the percentage.

need more government sponsorship (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 5 months ago | (#46529939)

I'd love it if the government threw an extra 10-50 bil into researching diseases, working on stem cells.

I'd love if if they raised NASA's budget.

The only reason there's STEM problems is that the government is too busy paying off themselves: the corporations and senators.

Now would be the perfect time in our jobless economy. There's *TONS* of talented folk who don't even get a chance to work. These are the minds that could find the cures for diseases, or invent new materials for the future.

Re:need more government sponsorship (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46530329)

I'd love it if the government would throw that extra 10-50 bil (of raw tax income) into paying off the debt and do its part to help secure the financial future of the first world. The last thing we need are more silly blue ribbon programs that do nothing but shuffle money into political thinktanks and corporate welfare, like you suggested.

Re:need more government sponsorship (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 5 months ago | (#46530375)

Well that's not going to happen. So long as there are greedy politicians, they're going to funnel the money to their own pockets and their campaign contributors thus setting the nation up to fail through massive debt.

The least we can ask is for a pittance for science sake before they sink the boat completely. The whole problem as I see it is we let corporations legally buy off politicians via campaign contributions. They feel no loyalty to the American people, but lots of loyalty to the people giving them all the money. So when they're in office they want to serve whatever entity sponsored them. It should be illegal to do campaign contributions just like it is illegal to buy someone's vote. And buying a vote is many orders of magnitude less bad as what we have going on now legally.

Re:need more government sponsorship (1)

Stem_Cell_Brad (1847248) | about 5 months ago | (#46532341)

How is support for stem cell research the same as "shuffling money into political thinktanks and corporate welfare"? Did I miss sarcasm, or are you being a dickweed?

Re:need more government sponsorship (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 5 months ago | (#46530979)

I firmly believe that we should re-direct about 25% of the military budget back into NASA. NASA should also stop building rockets; obviously private enterprise is better at that (now) and instead develop NEW tech instead of re-building 40 year old stuff...at this point, SpaceX and such could easily "take over" this area as it's not as much science anymore as it is engineering. NASA should be pushing us to new frontiers, not just launching spy / comm sats...NASA can't even launch a human into space at the moment on their own, and that is messed up!

Re:need more government sponsorship (1)

grep_rocks (1182831) | about 5 months ago | (#46533317)

Rockets were always built by private corporations - like Lockeed Martin - the "innovation" in SpaceX is simply a change in the terms of the contract by which the rockets are funded - the Saturn V was built by Boeing, McDonnel Douglas and IBM as lead contractors - I love how we equate innovation with a change in contract, or how we equate money with actual value - it is like being confused over the difference between a pointer to an object with the object itself

funding (1)

vossman77 (300689) | about 5 months ago | (#46529993)

Well maybe we should start funding more basic research or off the main path ideas.

Re:funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530223)

http://www.innawood.org/

Why would anyone want to ruin their career (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46529995)

by being a maverick in science?

Face it, the scientific establishment has ruined science.

NOW they realize this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530045)

This is a lot of hand-wringing over a situation these guys created.

We have a system created by and for established academics. These guys have displaced both the great individual scientists of the past (think Feynman), but also the great scientific managers (think Oppenheimer). In combining these two roles, they have created hierarchies capable of continuous and low risk scientific advancement. Think about how steady and predictable scientific advancement is these days. This is an amazing and great achievement, but it also sucks the spirit and excitement out of being a scientist. And along the way certain fields just have to wait.

So, ok, let's talk about what happens if we want to fix this.

The main thing that needs to be reversed is to restore the separation of management and science. Scientists who want to manage large groups get to be management. They have to be able to content themselves with just being the grant writer, and not being in charge of the science, marketing, data presentation and every aspect of their colleague's career development. Scientists who don't want to be management have to be ok with allowing other people to be in charge. Running your own group can't be all of our goals. Professors need to get back to doing the actual work that got them their position.

Re:NOW they realize this (1)

Bowling Moses (591924) | about 5 months ago | (#46531149)

"The main thing that needs to be reversed is to restore the separation of management and science."

What separation? If as a PhD you can't think up more ideas worth following up than you can do the hands-on work yourself you're a piss poor PhD. This can start at a very junior level: I am no one special but I had three undergraduate research assistants assigned to me as a senior grad student and I was able to train them and still get back more work than I had spent in training and managing, a win-win as all were supporting authors on at least one of my papers and all went on to careers in science and medicine. I don't know of any PhD level scientists who did not have at least one direct report before finishing up their postdoctoral positions (which is roughly the transition from early to mid career in science for PhDs). Now that I'm nearly ten years post-PhD I don't see a change in trend: the more senior you are, the more likely you are to have more numerous and more senior people reporting to you. It's more a continuum than anything, and having spent over 15 years in academia successful professors are top notch grant writers, are completely in charge of science, oversee marketing (if any), are completely in charge of data presentation, and at a bare minimum oversee their subordinates' career development. It's a rare professor that does much bench work, and I've known awesome scientists who still spent an amazing 10 hours a week at the bench and awesome scientists who hadn't spent a single second at the bench in 20 years, though both extremes still had a typical 70 hour work week.

Re:NOW they realize this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531395)

I think you're missing the point. Yes, right now great professors do everything. That includes attracting great talent and then having those people work on uncreative, pre-existing projects for years at a time. That's the specific problem TFA was addressing. All of those guys (also great academics) realized this is an issue. Keep that in mind here.

You have a PhD. Great, so do I. Do you have a management degree? I don't. That's why I hired a professional manager to run my company. Do you think you're a good manager? Why do you think that? Who are you comparing yourself against? Have you ever worked for a professional manager? The debate here isn't about whether managing a few students is hard, it's about directing a lab with a seven figure annual budget. Why train so hard to be a great bench scientist and then have amateur bench scientists take your place? If you're talented at training people in the lab or working in the lab, why should you leave the lab? Really, you should ask yourself these questions. All postdocs and junior faculty should. So many of them waste their careers because they don't think about what they're doing.

The Penny-Arcade guys figured this out years ago. We scientists think we're so smart, but a couple of under educated cartoonists understand more about building an effective organization than most of us do. And yes, a lab is an organization.

If I tried to "pay" my employees (some of whom are students) in publications, they'd leave. You're part of a system ripping those kids off. In the real world we compensate people for their efforts with things like salary, bonuses and equity. Good ideas are acted on immediately and credit goes to the people who did the work, not to the person training them. When that system breaks down, everyone knows they work at a bad company. When it happens in academia, it's normal. That's insane.

I highly recommend you spend some time shadowing a professional (non-academic) scientist to see what life is like outside the bubble.

Re:NOW they realize this (1)

ganv (881057) | about 5 months ago | (#46534291)

Yes, a more realistic vision of managing science would be an important improvement. Currently you make your way to a permanent position by producing a lot of results that impress established scientists, which in practice often means you extend and confirm their work. This expands the community in which the senior established scientists run the show. But they are expected to manage and do science. Many of them are not skilled in managing, and when they do manage well, they are no longer able to engage in the actual science in a very substantial way. But the managing and doing can't be fully separated. How are management decisions to be made without an awareness of the subtle questions about where barriers to progress will pop up?

If I had one simple way to improve the situation, it would not be to encourage more maverick science. (It is just too difficult to separate true genius mavericks who will make major contributions from the much larger number of delusional smart people who are dreaming up new ways of being totally useless. If there are breakthroughs to be made by genius mavericks, they probably are going to need to make them while serving as patent clerks in the time honored model of Einstein.) I would replace the system of giving credit for large number of papers cited many times. This system reinforces a kind of 'follow the crowd' style of science that creates huge numbers of papers, none of which are particularly clearly written or provides a major advance. More credit needs to be given to people who write fewer clearer papers which waste less of their colleagues valuable time trying to review and decipher. The emphasis should be on the number of significant new ideas contributed and not on the number of highly cited papers which is more a measure of scientific fads than of substance.

Not so easy to do (4, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 5 months ago | (#46530163)

So ... let's say you're on a funding panel, with 120 grant proposals in front of you, and you have to recommend twenty of them as top priorities for funding. The rest of them are going to go without, because that's all the money you have to allocate. Thirty of those proposals are from established, productive researchers with track records of transformative discoveries. Another thirty are from promising young researchers with first-rate pedigrees looking for their first grants to launch careers that may span decades. Thirty are from mediocre old guys nearing retirement who have been in the funding pipeline forever, and have been getting grants mostly by inertia. Thirty are semi-coherent ravings from people who display very little comprehension of the existing literature or of the basic parameters of the field.

Now find the "mavericks". You have to have a ranked list by tomorrow afternoon.

Re:Not so easy to do (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 5 months ago | (#46530363)

Perhaps the problem is the whole grant system. The money could be directly allocated to laboratories. After all, if they exist, it means the structure that host them decided they have some value. Why do we have to evaluate them twice?

Re:Not so easy to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530797)

I don't understand your comment at all. You think congress should directly allocate money to laboratories? Or... I'm not sure what you are suggesting.

Congress isn't qualified to allocate money to each laboratory and it would to take a very long time to allocate it for all the laboratories (there's a lot of labs).
Congress therefore delegates that work to referees whom directly allocate the money to labs using the system described in the parent comment.

Re:Not so easy to do (1)

Heshler (1191623) | about 5 months ago | (#46530997)

Easy. Split between the first 2 groups. Currently, too much money probably goes to the 3rd group, but there is non-negligible value to an established lab.

The problem is not who to give the money to, the problem is what research ideas to fund. Currently, funding is too risk adverse. Especially in the hard sciences, you have to be able to make claims that your research will have near-medium term economic benefit. This is a great way to allocate a portion of funding, but once a researcher has made a name for themselves in some way, they should be given to go-ahead to pursue more speculative ideas, and then not punish them immediately in the next round of funding if it didn't work out.

Re:Not so easy to do (4, Informative)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 5 months ago | (#46531223)

What you describe is very close one of my first jobs when I worked for the government (100 proposals, one week, pick 4 winners, summary comments for all). It's not so hard to pick out the "good, but risky" proposals. (Another way to split up your proposal list is to point out that 80 of the proposals will be a re-hash of the same stuff, 30 of the proposals will be nonsense and 10 proposals will actually be about something unique and relevant.)

The most common reason for a creative proposal failing is simply that the program manager wasn't ready for it. You don't want to surprise a program manager because they have to properly prepare the bureaucracy around them to support your project *before* they get your proposal.

When a review committee makes a decision, there are still several government people who have to sign off on that decision before the money flows. There will always be at least one lawyer and one accountant with veto power over a committee selected proposal.

The last thing a program manager wants to do is end the fiscal year with money in their accounts. That can get them demoted or fired. They meet with their support staff sometimes for a year ahead of reviewing proposals to make sure everyone knows what's coming. Slowing things down, or failing to execute a grant, because of administrative surprises is very, very risky for a program manager. There's strong pressure to select institutions who have already worked with the office, and projects that fit well with the briefings given to everyone before proposals were solicited. For unusual ideas, it's better to convene a workshop and spend the next year developing a program around it (by which point all the usual suspects are involved).

Now it used to be that universities themselves funded research, and government scientists used to have broad authority to assign funding, and defense contractors had to spend 15% of their budgets on exploratory research, and we didn't have postdocs... To change things back requires a lot.

oi vey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531517)

Good description of what's wrong with government.

Re:Not so easy to do (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 5 months ago | (#46531653)

So ... let's say you're on a funding panel, with 120 grant proposals in front of you, and you have to recommend twenty of them as top priorities for funding. The rest of them are going to go without, because that's all the money you have to allocate. Thirty of those proposals are from established, productive researchers with track records of transformative discoveries. Another thirty are from promising young researchers with first-rate pedigrees looking for their first grants to launch careers that may span decades. Thirty are from mediocre old guys nearing retirement who have been in the funding pipeline forever, and have been getting grants mostly by inertia. Thirty are semi-coherent ravings from people who display very little comprehension of the existing literature or of the basic parameters of the field. Now find the "mavericks". You have to have a ranked list by tomorrow afternoon.

What is on the actual grant paper is more of a formality. The grant receipts are already semi-consciously selected.

The categories that you are placing their proposals are essentially the researchers themselves and not the grant proposals.

The grants go to the people who act like they deserve the grant, whether they do or not is another story.

If you want grants, you don't work on writing a kickass grant proposal. You work on building your contacts, being publicly viewable in conferences and activities and generally making an impression. Then, the grants come rolling in. You can ask for anything and they'll grant it.

Re:Not so easy to do (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 5 months ago | (#46534257)

What is on the actual grant paper is more of a formality.

Not when I'm on the panel.

Re:Not so easy to do (1)

Poorcku (831174) | about 5 months ago | (#46531971)

Absolutely true, but it does not explain everything. Talking as a psychologist, I can unfortunately report that this letter has some merit to it, and I can back it up with at least an example: Zimbardo's prison experiment regarding the psychological effects of being a prisoner and a prison guard have deeply changed the way we perceive group dynamics, in-group vs out-group processes and so on.

It is however impossible to replicate it, or do derivative work because the ethics guide of the APA forbid such treatment of individuals (except when torturing them for the "good of the country" - then APA has no problem sending psychologists to Guantanamo). Milgrams work on conformity would be another perfect example. The ironic part is that APA recently had a posting on their webpage celebrating 50 or so years since the groundbreaking experiment.

Many other experimental designs are also not possible due to strict ethic codes, though this was not the case before the 70-80s.

A bit of freedom is badly, badly needed and it does not involve financial aspects.

Re:Not so easy to do (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 5 months ago | (#46532421)

You seriously want to repeat Zimbardo's prison experiment and want to get rid of ethics comittees to do it? I suggest you rethink your research interests, and possibly spend some time improving your scientific ethics.

You want mavericks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530215)

Fine, fund them.

Hope you're kidding... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530311)

"When you speak of scientific mavericks, you might look directly at Improbable Research's annual Ig Nobel awards which recognize the arguably leading edge of maverick scientific work."

What we need is more people like Richard Feynman who are willing to tell it like it is, and press on with simple powerful stuff.

Re:Hope you're kidding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46535035)

"What we need is more people like Richard Feynman who are willing to tell it like it is, and press on with simple powerful stuff."

You mean people who dont take themselves too seriously, arent pretentious pompous assholes, who are willing and able to hang out with/get drunk with/fuck around with normal human beings and who dont give a fuck about ridiculous bullshit like social status or what other people think?

Good luck with that

In CompSci, Who Needs Academia? (2)

hax4bux (209237) | about 5 months ago | (#46530331)

Seriously. Hardware these days is awesome and cheap. Any language you could want is freely available. Tools are mighty. The entry barriers to CompSci research have never been lower. If you are truly gifted, then by all means hack away.

Look at AI (a broad topic, but please keep reading). I was at a conference where they said over half the published research is an AI topic and it has been this way for decades. What is the result of all this brainpower? Clearly the research institutions are not bringing the game. I believe someone working in their bedroom has as much chance of discovering a breakthrough as a funded researcher.

Perhaps grant committees should give way to something like kick starter...

Re:In CompSci, Who Needs Academia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530813)

That will never work. The only way one could get funding with a kick-starter-style popularity contest would be for the development of robot prostitutes.

Re:In CompSci, Who Needs Academia? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530955)

For AI and other pursuits where companies have a clear incentive to invest it can indeed be argued that the academic institution have not delivered on their promises, but I believe there are many areas where academics can be useful. For example, proving the validity of some algorithms. Not useful enough? How about building fast numerical libraries? Perhaps the best known and most widely used, FFTW, is to my understanding an academic project, and Sandia uses public monies to fund many others.

The Guardian? (-1, Offtopic)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 5 months ago | (#46530379)

The Guardian spends a huge amount of effort banning 'mavericks' from its comment boards regarding things like 'Global Warming'. Where you stand on the 'Anthropic Global Warming' (AGW) is less important than understanding that both proponents and opponents can provide insights into the issue. What matters is not 'consensus' (which is only invoked if the observations don't support a hypothesis), but the *data* ... and sometimes the 'mavericks' are pointing to critical data you may not have come across before.

It is thoroughly excellent the Guardian are promoting Free Speech for science, through their 'maverick' meme. I really just wished they'd put what they preach into practice - as we all should :)

There is *no substitute* for Free Speech. And Free Speech is not about what we all agree one, but the right of a 'maverick' to disagree and voice their opinion - and the right of many many more to listen to that maverick and then make their own minds up. Without this we have *no* Liberty - no matter how well intentioned the censors are.

Govt. grants for % of the take.. (1)

dthanna (1294016) | about 5 months ago | (#46530385)

Unfortunately no one wants to invest in anything as we (as a society) have become too risk averse. I blame the lawyers and their cabal for this one. How do we get out of this? By providing a means to fund risk.

Goes something like this... you write up a business proposal for something you would like to do. It could be for an invention, basic, applied or theoretical research. The Gov't provides you with a research grant with a small string... they get a percentage of the take (or your income) for 10 years or until the original grant is paid back (whichever is first). You can still hold the patents and copyrights - the Gov't just gets their cut until they are paid back.

Maximum grant 100K / person / year. Max grants 3 years (they can be consecutive) out of 10. You cannot apply for a second block (3-years) of grants until the first one is paid back.
You can create an consortium to pool resources if you'd like.
For an invention - 25%. Applied - 20%, basic 15%, theoretical - 10%. Reward those with the greatest risk with the least 'take'

For example, take out 100K for an invention - you either pay back 25K over 10 years you pay back the whole 100K earlier to get you to 100% profits. If the things a winner - we get our money back faster. If it's a dud - well...

A billion dollars would fund 10,000 such endeavors! That's a lot of monkeys banging out Shakespeare and a heck of a lot better ROI than bailing out the banks.

Catches:
All research, design, inventions, raw data, etc. must be openly published. You can own the copyright to the material and/or patents on the invention - but you have to publish it or make it available in some manner.
Must be a US Citizen of voting age to apply.

No requirements about degrees, education, etc. I've see a lot of farmers that knew more about building stuff than many engineers I've come across.
No limits regarding what you produce - except it cannot be illegal. Produce a film, write a book, invent a new firearm, electronic gadget or build a better mousetrap.

Going along with this - we need to clean house in the USPTO and get the Supreme Court to finally agree that continually extending copyright is the equivalent of making it in perpetuity.

Just a thought

SBIR program (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530977)

The Small Business Innovative Research program is pretty close to what you've described..

100k awards for Phase 1
1M for Phase 2

You get to keep the IP, etc.

oh yeah? (-1, Troll)

superwiz (655733) | about 5 months ago | (#46530421)

Why? Ran of out people to call "deniers"? Yeah, I am really not trolling. Between attacking people for as much as questioning calculations to attacking anyone who doesn't tow the Communist (aka Democratic) party line, do you really wonder why no one rocks the boat anymore in science? Everybody wants to be caught pining for mavericks. No one wants to be caught giving them shelter.

Maybe the Airforce does too (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#46530497)

AGM 65 maverick guided missiles?

I think the marines and navy can also use them, and you can put them on a AH64 apache for the army.

James Garner was not available to comment

i know how to get more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530561)

i know how to get more....increase copyright terms and patent trolling.....

Learning from the past (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#46530733)

When was US science great?
1920's? 1930's? 1950's? 1960's?
Over every decade stories can be found to show amazing advancements by skilled US scientists working alone or as part of their employment.
You also see great slowness, monopolies, cartels, red tape, lack of basic funding stopping the advancement on evolutionary or revolutionary ideas or just not keeping up.
Retooling was no fun and the contracts where politically safe.
From early radar, jet engines, guidance systems, computing, cryptography, heavy engineering the US was often playing catch up to under funded experts in other countries or new ideas within the USA.
The massive jump seems to have been 1940's 50's funding of science and education with an influx of German 'experts' and other experts post WW2. That allowed the US to jump ahead and keep the skills going thanks to very well educated later generations. Constant educational testing guided wealthy and poor college scholarships students to the military industrial complex public and private mil,gov sector opportunities.
A huge supply of US raw material, smart US staff, support of new ideas and never ending US contracts or gov funding. Science was very safe and US education was well looked after.
The propaganda value of the US been open for diverse arts, all science and religion was also well presented into the early 1990's.
The magic of jobs for life and never ending science boondoggles stops when the private sectors finds it can use a 100% US front company with a long just in time supply line to other cheap parts of the world. Same end price and maintenance contract, lower production costs. The product is still the same, the US design is secure but fewer costly US jobs and less need for funding for science at the mid and low end.
Over generations the lack of gov funding finally becomes apparent to the wider US science community.
The science is now in the magic of gov paper work to ensure a 100% US front company gets the next contract, not in the actual made in the USA part.
As long as the skill set exists to design and work on any given mil product over its life is ensured, everything else science related can be slowly defunded.

I'm afraid... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46532295)

...The massive jump seems to have been 1940's 50's funding of science and education with an influx of German 'experts' and other experts post WW2. That allowed the US to jump ahead and keep the skills going thanks to very well educated later generations. Constant educational testing guided wealthy and poor college scholarships students to the military industrial complex public and private mil,gov sector opportunities.... ...that you won't find many actual Americans with scientific skills. Most of the breakthroughs are made by foreigners - typically European.

What America is good at is attracting skilled foreign people by paying them more money, NOT creating them ourselves...

Mavericks Are The Old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530735)

I thought the scientific method had been changed. Now days, we poll all the right-thinking scientists, get a consensus, and then declare the science as settled. Anyone who tries to maverick forward some alternate hypothesis is quickly told to stuff it, since the science is settled.

What am I missing?

We dont need no stinkin' mavericks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46530789)

in the 21st century, science is either useful to the political class (and will be funded and considered "settled") or it is not (and it will not be funded and anybody who persists in it will be called an anti-science nut-job). Where the scientific method once rules, fraud, manipulated data, manipulated peer review, irreproducable results, and overheated cataclysmic rhetoric are standing-in. The people to blame for this sorry state of affairs? The very scientists who sold their souls to the politicians for the prestige and grants (a true Faustian deal) and found themselves "accidentally" producing the very results those politicians craved .... as predictably as the dogs of Pavlov. As always, follow the money .... all the way to the corruption.

we need more mavericks... (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#46530921)

But if you challenge the "scientific consensus", then you'll be ridiculed, lose your funding, and will be kicked out of academia.

show me the money! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531157)

The average scientist with a Ph.D. still working under NIH or NSF funding makes $40000 a year as a post doc and $50000 as a staff scientist. That is if you are lucky enough to land a job. I've personally seen maybe 80% of my fellow Ph.D. graduates leave research all together because they can make more money in construction. Good luck with that faculty position. I've got more than 30 authored publications and no prospects because the competition requires a publication in journals like nature or science just to get noticed for faculty recruitment. With funding levels at current levels and the number of people applying for grants, there is nearly enough to maintain the current group of researchers. Industry you ask? I talk with small startups that can't find venture capitol anymore because people are worried about healthcare? yeah right. The current culture is not to invest in long term risk that is basic research. But instead look for the quick turn around or the sure thing or the latest fad (big data?). If these guys want mavericks.... show me the money!

Im a scientific maverick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531343)

I consider myself a scientific maverick. I just started an open science movement to cure metabolic syndrome, a leading cause of death worldwide. Its going to be the first completely open genomics experiment that YOU can voluntarily participate in.

I got my training in academia, and YES, our current research processes are hindering progress. There are millions of people dying every day, and getting any interesting discoveries or observations of biology out into the world is too slow. Time for medical research to take on an open source model.

Escape your biological limits!
www.infino.me

- cosmo

Just so long as... (0)

Aeonym (1115135) | about 5 months ago | (#46531367)

Mavericks are great as long as they don't do things like challenge things like anthropogenic catastrophic climate change, amirite?

They are full of it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531521)

A few years back a similar letter was published by theoretical computer scientists decrying the lack of innovation. They went as far as to create a special conference for maverick new theory. It is called Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science and it has been running for five years and if you look at the accepted papers they look no different than those of a regular conference. At the end of the day, when confronted with a risky, novel idea that might or might not pan out and a solid, no-surprises-there advance, the reviewers consistently side with the safe choice and reject the true innovation.

So they can talk all they want about maverick scientists, when push comes to shove the grant review panels, the journal editors, the hiring committees always fall back on the safe choices.

We don't need no steenkin Mavericks... (0)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 5 months ago | (#46531645)

The science is settled!

Scientists Publish Letter Saying ... (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46531769)

Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

I hope that one lone scientist publishes a response saying "we don't".....

Obligatory Barzun (1)

ExecutorElassus (1202245) | about 5 months ago | (#46531783)

"Valuing knowledge, we preposterize the idea and say everybody shall produce written research in order to live, and it shall be decreed a knowledge explosion."

Yeah! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46531793)

Damn right. We need more mavericks and less pen-pushers!

Scientists Publish Letter Saying

Aww.

This is rich... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46531837)

Slashdot having an article about mavericks in science. You mean like Dr Hadwen?

http://www.whale.to/v/hadwen.html

You know, the one who dared to question the FRAUD of 'vaccination'?

Most of you would literally rather die than think.

Google 80/20 was for mavericks. (1)

andhar (194607) | about 5 months ago | (#46531965)

Google's 80/20 was for mavericks, but now it's gone. Why is that?

Re:Google 80/20 was for mavericks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46533733)

Lack of advertisement maybe?? What are you talking about?

So.... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 5 months ago | (#46532315)

So can we expect more funding for people doubting Global Warming, then?

Oh wait, no, that's DOGMA...we don't want 'mavericks' that question sacred cows. We want mavericks that challenge the Establishment in acceptable ways...

Re:So.... (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 5 months ago | (#46532369)

Getting funding for a satellite that can measure the effects of aerosols on global energy balance has been difficult. So, it would seem that the mavericks in that field are those trying to advance it, not the naysayers who wave around unsubstantiated fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Open the libraries (3, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 5 months ago | (#46532359)

Make the scientific literature available to all. The mavericks will emerge without any grant support.

Can't be a maverick while earning $0 (1)

fygment (444210) | about 5 months ago | (#46533091)

Maverick's don't get hired.
When they do, it's because their ideas maybe aren't so maverick-ish.
Maverick's work at MacDo's to make ends meet, which means they must do research on their own time and dime.

Stupid suggestion by the scientists. Basically egging others to 'take one for the team' ... before they're allowed on the team.

Let more people into Grad school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46534123)

You need years of perfect grades and strong interpersonal bonds with your professors to get the letters and research experience necessary to get in. There isn't any room for people with inconsistent performance even though their peak output may be higher, despite the lows.

Feynman was not a Scientific Maverick (3, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 5 months ago | (#46534219)

Feynman was a bit of a maverick; in somes ways a cultivated one. And at times -- Manhatten and the Challenger Inquiry -- a very useful one.

But as a scientists Feynman was anything but a Maverick. His work was entirely mainstream, even his most original and innovative work, as theoretical physics was at the time in a radical phase. Personally Feynman may have been somewhat goofy. Professional he was very creative. But he was not a Maverick who ever seriously went against mainstream opinon; even his objections to String Theory were muted.

The closest scientists who would qualify as Mavericks were the Quantum pioneers of the 1920s, Einstein with relativity, and possibly Micheal Faraday. You could also go back to Newton and Gelileo, but remember, for every one of these there are fifty Velikovsky's.

Fine line between Maverick and Crackpot (1)

JoeDaddyZZZ (3543989) | about 5 months ago | (#46534473)

Fine line between Maverick and Crackpot. And for most of us it's really difficult to tell the difference. You really have to be committed to stand up as a Maverick!

Semi-random grant awards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46535103)

I think that academics have to face the fact that they are terrible at determining what research is likely to bear fruit. They should stop trying to waste so much time splitting hairs.

I propose a simple system. Do a simple ranking of proposals into quintiles. The bottom two quintiles don't get funded. RANDOMLY choose half of the top quintile, a quarter of the next two quintiles get funded (for 20% of the proposals pay line, for example). Keep it simple, because we should recognize that there are radical ideas that we just aren't smart enough to know whether or not to fund. Yes crap will be funded, but it is being funded now, and assessing a proposal to figure out which quintile it belongs in isn't that hard.

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