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Pentagon's New Goal: Put Science Into Scripts [Grant for scientists-to-Holllywood]
The NY Times - Arts ^ | August 4, 2005 | DAVID M. HALBFINGER

Posted on 08/04/2005 12:58:13 PM PDT by summer


Scientists ...at an American Film Institute workshop.

LA -Tucked away in ...Hollywood...an elite group of scientists from across the country and from a grab bag of disciplines - rocket science, nanotechnology, genetics, even veterinary medicine - has gathered this week to plot a solution to what officials call one of the nation's most vexing long-term national security problems.

Their work is being financed by the Air Force and the Army, but the Manhattan Project it ain't: the 15 scientists are being taught how to write and sell screenplays.

At a cost of roughly $25,000 in Pentagon research grants,
the American Film Institute is cramming this eclectic group of midcareer researchers, engineers, chemists and physicists full of pointers on how to find their way in a world that can be a lot lonelier than the loneliest laboratory: the wilderness of story arcs, plot points, pitching and the special circle of hell better known as development.

And no primer on Hollywood would be complete without at least three hours on "Agents & Managers."

Exactly how the national defense could be bolstered ...may be a bit of a brainteaser. But officials at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research spell out a straightforward syllogism:

Fewer and fewer students are pursuing science and engineering. While immigrants are taking up the slack in many areas, defense laboratories and industries generally require American citizenship or permanent residency. So a crisis is looming, unless careers in science and engineering suddenly become hugely popular, said Robert J. Barker, an Air Force program manager who approved the grant. And what better way to get a lot of young people interested in science than by producing movies and television shows that depict scientists in flattering ways?...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: California; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: hollywoodmovies; pentagon; scientists; screenwriting
This is a very interesting article, and I think the Pentagon is correct in their thinking. However, I have two additional suggestions for the Pentagon, to come, below.
1 posted on 08/04/2005 12:58:14 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer

Let's hear 'em.


2 posted on 08/04/2005 12:59:56 PM PDT by brivette
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To: All
And what better way to get a lot of young people interested in science than by producing movies and television shows that depict scientists in flattering ways?...

One way is to help students remain interested in science by having elementary teachers and middle school teachers who can actually teach science.

Right now, science is probably the most beloved of subjects by young children, along with art, because teaching both subjects requires a lot of hands-on activities for kids, which kids love.

But, most elementary school teachers are female -- and, if they are being honest, they will tell you they hate science. Well, that needs to change. Yes, there are some elementary teachers who like science, but they are few and far between.

I really think American elementary schools need to treat science as a separate subject, and have experts come into the classroom to teach it, so that kids' natural interest in science can be nurtured and maintained.

That's suggestion #1 from me to the Pentagon. Suggestion #2 is coming, below...
3 posted on 08/04/2005 1:02:38 PM PDT by summer
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To: brivette; All
Suggestion #2 involves changing our current Hollywood/actor-celebrity obsessed culture into a culture that places a higher value on scientists, by including scientists more in other forms of popular culture, beyond movies -- so that more parents are encouraging their kids to become scientists.

The only time I ever see a scientist on a tv talk show as a guest is, well, never. Unless there's a space launch, then, maybe, an astronaut is invited on a talk show.

I would much rather hear more from a scientist on a popular tv or radio talk show, than from yet another actor about that actor's latest movie or tv show.

Just my two cents.
4 posted on 08/04/2005 1:17:32 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer

Even if he WAS a Liberal, I kind of miss old Carl Sagan, for JUST that reason: he was the scientist they ALWAYS interviewed, and he never came off as nerdy or uncool. . . which is critical for getting kids to watch.

Likwise, more shows like "Bill Nye the Science Guy", and perhaps an update of "Mr. Wizard" for the 21st Century. . .


5 posted on 08/04/2005 1:21:32 PM PDT by Salgak (Acme Lasers presents: The Energizer Border: I dare you to try and cross it. . .)
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To: Salgak

That's right. I also like that one guy on Food Network, Alton Brown, who does a lot of science in his cooking show.


6 posted on 08/04/2005 1:22:38 PM PDT by summer
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To: Salgak

BTW, I hate to say this, but it is actually true, that many kids, having listened to rap lyrics for so long, now want to grow up and become a "hoe" [whore] or a "pimp." These are actual career choices I have heard kids say in school. Very disturbing to me.


7 posted on 08/04/2005 1:24:03 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer

Great idea...wonder if hollyweird will adopt it...


8 posted on 08/04/2005 1:25:13 PM PDT by brivette
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To: brivette

Thank you, brivette! :)


9 posted on 08/04/2005 1:26:02 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer

For all us science-geek accuracy purists, the Millennium is at hand. We're being joined in our nitpicking crusade by the mightiest military force in history!

"I'm sorry, Mr. Director -- that line in the shooting script about crystal energy has no foundation in reality. I'm calling in an air strike on your house in Malibu."


10 posted on 08/04/2005 1:29:03 PM PDT by Trimegistus
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To: summer

Easily the best "science" show on TV right now. Not flashy, very practical.


11 posted on 08/04/2005 1:29:23 PM PDT by leoncaruthers
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To: summer
So they think if they pay Hollyweird to pretend that science is cool, then kids will be fooled into studying science more?

Hello, McFly!

Why are they wasting our tax dollars on Hollyweird, who is out of ideas and boring their ever-dwindling audiences.

Kids know what is interesting and what is not.

Let businesses do interesting projects,

and Hollyweird and everyone else will take notice.

Lead and people will follow.

Trying to gin up interest in a ever-constrained career field will only waste time and money.
12 posted on 08/04/2005 1:30:14 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: summer
One way is to help students remain interested in science by having elementary teachers and middle school teachers who can actually teach science.

That is very true. Unfortunately, there are conservatives that would love to cut science funding at all levels, including research and college teaching. There are some Creationsist/evolution threads where this really comes out. Have to get rid of the liberals science professors that teach evolution. We need to change science to fit religion.

13 posted on 08/04/2005 1:33:15 PM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: summer
One way is to help students remain interested in science by having elementary teachers and middle school teachers who can actually teach science.

That is very true. Unfortunately, there are conservatives that would love to cut science funding at all levels, including research and college teaching. There are some Creationsist/evolution threads where this really comes out. Have to get rid of the liberals science professors that teach evolution. We need to change science to fit religion.

My point is that kids get turned off of science by the 'rap' and 'hip-hop' type mentality and by the religious zealots that see it as a threat to the morality of our nation. I'm glad to see that the pentagon understands this threat to national security and has formulated a counter strategy. I just hope sceince education is not further eroded by both the etreme left and right.

14 posted on 08/04/2005 1:34:25 PM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: summer
One way is to help students remain interested in science by having elementary teachers and middle school teachers who can actually teach science.

That is very true. Unfortunately, there are conservatives that would love to cut science funding at all levels, including research and college teaching. There are some Creationsist/evolution threads where this really comes out. Have to get rid of the liberals science professors that teach evolution. We need to change science to fit religion.

My point is that kids get turned off of science by the 'rap' and 'hip-hop' type mentality and by the religious zealots that see it as a threat to the morality of our nation. I'm glad to see that the pentagon understands this threat to national security and has formulated a counter strategy. I just hope sceince education is not further eroded by both the etreme left and right.

15 posted on 08/04/2005 1:34:52 PM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: doc30
I'm glad to see that the pentagon understands this threat to national security and has formulated a counter strategy.

They really need to get into the public schools, too. Thanks for your comments.
16 posted on 08/04/2005 1:38:22 PM PDT by summer
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To: anymouse
Kids know what is interesting and what is not.

Yes, you're right -- young kids LIKE science, and like it very much. The problem is their elementary teachers don't.
17 posted on 08/04/2005 1:41:29 PM PDT by summer
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To: leoncaruthers
Thanks. :)


Alton Brown, host of Food Network's "Good Eats"
18 posted on 08/04/2005 1:46:43 PM PDT by summer
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To: anymouse
From elsewhere in the article:

...Later, over meatloaf, the workshop participants batted around their favorite depictions of science and scientists (the television show "Numbers" and the films "Starman" and "Deep Impact," among others) and what they considered the most odious ("The Day After Tomorrow," hands down).

And then there was one they could not agree on: "Falling Down," the 1993 film starring Michael Douglas as a downsized defense-industry engineer who has a violent breakdown in Los Angeles. "Why'd they have to make him look like that?" said Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, a physics professor at the University of Nebraska, of Mr. Douglas's crew cut, black-rimmed glasses and pocket protector. "He's a good-looking guy. None of my friends look like that."

But Mr. Marcu, who works at a defense-industry plant, begged to differ. "I hate to say it, but people inside those defense plants look like that," he said. "You should see the people at my company."...

19 posted on 08/04/2005 1:52:22 PM PDT by summer
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To: Rocket Scientist

FYI.


20 posted on 08/04/2005 1:53:11 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
Their work is being financed by the Air Force and the Army, but the Manhattan Project it ain't: the 15 scientists are being taught how to write and sell screenplays.

I've got an even easier method -- develop films from some of the classic "hard" science fiction novels. (Note for the newcomers: "Hard" science fiction is sci-fi based as much as possible on the actual laws of nature, or reasonable projections about future discoveries, whereas "soft" sci-fi relaxes all the "rules" and just about anything is allowed for the story, as in "Star Trek").

There are *countless* great stories, based on firm scientific foundations, in sci-fi novels that have never made it to the screen. Just make screenplays from them, with a good technical consultant to make sure nothing gets mangled in the process.

21 posted on 08/04/2005 1:53:25 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon

That is an A+ idea, IMO. Start by doing adaptations. Very smart!!!


22 posted on 08/04/2005 1:54:44 PM PDT by summer
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To: Ichneumon
Because here's what it says at the end of this article:

"I really believe we will be able to point to something that will emerge, maybe 5 or 10 years from now, and say, Gee, that name of that screenwriter is familiar, with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering or something," Dr. Barker said.
23 posted on 08/04/2005 1:55:57 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
I believe that you just aren't going to find a lot of smart children that want to struggle for years as a minimally paid postdoc after many years as a poor grad student http://www.adsumo.com/index.cfm?attributes.fuseaction=employer.display&id=371&flag=18:

Best Places To Work for Postdocs: 2005

Who does the best job of nurturing the hardworking heroes of science?

The Scientist

02/16/05

Five government organizations, four universities, three private institutes, two cancer centers, and one hospital. Those are the US institutions that landed in the top 15 slots in The Scientist's Best Places to Work for Postdocs 2005, which is based on a survey of postdocs who rate their own institutions.

It is not clear why government and private research centers outranked academic institutions in this year's survey, but Keith Micoli, chair of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) says, "In general there's more incentive for government and for-profit institutions to take care of their employees." Lou Simchowitz, head of the fellows' office at the 15th-ranked National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), agrees: "Government institutions have recognized the need for change and have dedicated money, personnel, and resources" to addressing postdocs' needs.

Some benefits are institute-specific, such as NIDDK's grant-writing workshops and career-transition awards, which provide bridge funding to young scientists during career transitions. But postdoc offices throughout the National Institutes of Health also cosponsor programs, such as brown-bag career development lectures, with support from the NIH intramural research office, says Simchowitz, who previously worked at 10th-ranked Washington University.

Private institutes might have earned high marks because of their size, says John LeViathan, NPA executive board member and human resources manager at the J. David Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, which placed 12th in The Scientist's survey. "A smaller population is easier to manage, to elicit feedback, and to find out what [postdocs] are feeling," he says. "It's easier to be consistent in your practices." Many private centers have affiliations with larger academic institutions, he adds. For example, Gladstone has a relationship with the University of California, San Francisco, so postdocs get the best of both worlds.

Three of the top 15 in this year's survey – the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and the Research Triangle Park campus of the Environmental Protection Agency – are located in North Carolina's Research Triangle, which encompasses Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Melanie Sinche, director of UNC's Office of Postdoctoral Services, says that NIEHS, which ranked fourth this year and third last year,1 "really led the charge," but that postdoc advocacy has become a region-wide mission. NIEHS, UNC, and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem work together to host career fairs, professional development workshops, and lecture series. "In this area, it's been easy to find support," she says.

Almost all the top 15 institutions have either a postdoc office, which mediates between administrators and fledgling scientists, or an association, which is an advocacy group run by postdocs themselves. In the past 15 years, the number of on-campus post-doc associations increased from 10 to almost 30, according to Micoli, a pathology postdoc at University of Alabama, Birmingham. He says that these organizations help facilitate dialogue between postdocs and administrators and raise awareness of postdocs' needs.

For places without an office or organization, postdocs are at the mercy of their principal investigators (PIs) or mentors to determine their salaries and working hours. "There's almost no quality control at the institution level," says Micoli.

Even at institutions with postdoc offices, young PhDs still face roadblocks to successful research careers. Some problems are directly related to the postdoc-PI relationship, and according to Sinche, success in that area depends on clear communication and mutual respect for career goals. "Make expectations clear. Keep talking. Discuss the PI's research goals with the postdoc and try to work on the postdoc's career goals," she advises. "You can take a look together and come up with a plan that works for both people."

Compensation has also historically been a concern for postdocs, who frequently feel that they're being used as a "cheap labor source," according to one survey respondent from the Children's Hospital of Oakland Research Institute in California. LeViathan says that the NIH postdoc compensation guidelines, which "tend to be on the low side," are only recommendations, not requirements, so many postdocs are underpaid. (According to the NIH, a postdoc with less than one year of experience should be paid $35,568, while one with seven or more years of experience should receive $51,036.) Others find it difficult to get paid at all. Simchowitz says, "It's virtually impossible for people to slip through the cracks [at government-run research facilities]. That's not true in academia."

Other complications lie outside the control of the PI or institution. Several survey respondents bemoaned the fact that if they receive independent funding, such as an NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA), they lose benefits and privileges such as health insurance, parking, and access to recreational facilities at their own institutions. In some cases, they're even removed from the university phone and E-mail directories, says Micoli. "At some places, if you're on a fellowship, you don't even exist at that institution." Unfortunately, that's not the fault of the universities; the wording of the NRSA prohibits institutions from classifying fellowship recipients as employees. "The NIH is working hard to rectify this," says Micoli, but meanwhile the 10% of all postdocs on these fellowships feel like they're being punished for their accomplishments rather than rewarded.

Such mixed signals only exacerbate another problem facing post-docs: the inability to assess their professional performance and make a smooth transition to independence. "It's very unclear what you're supposed to do to move on," says Micoli, "and it's very hard to monitor your progress." While the number of postdocs has almost doubled in the last 20 years, the number of tenure-track, faculty positions has not increased. Institutions are hiring more adjunct faculty, and less than 15% of the approximately 50,000 postdocs nationwide are landing tenure-track positions.

The doubling of postdocs in the United States is largely due to an influx of postdocs from other countries, as domestic postdoc numbers remained flat, according to Micoli. This influx of international scientists, however, presents its own set of problems. International travel is restricted because reentry visa stamps are hard to get, and some funding sources are limited to US citizens and green-card holders. The United States is now reliant on this "imported talent" for the future of its science and technology industry, says Micoli, and if these barriers aren't resolved, the United States may lose scientists to Europe, where travel between countries is getting easier and the visa process is "less antagonistic."


24 posted on 08/04/2005 1:56:10 PM PDT by snowsislander
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To: summer

bump


25 posted on 08/04/2005 1:57:35 PM PDT by Sentis (Visit the Conservative Hollywood http://www.boondockexpansionist.org/)
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To: snowsislander

Very interesting. Thanks for posting that.


26 posted on 08/04/2005 1:58:27 PM PDT by summer
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To: Ichneumon

Here's another idea they could be developing right away: A tv series showing biographical films of famous scientists. Kids do not read enough biographies, and this kind of tv/film is something elementary teachers could and would show in a classroom. Kids might then pick up a book about a scientist.


27 posted on 08/04/2005 2:01:48 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer

They should make Scientist rap! That will get kids attention.


28 posted on 08/04/2005 2:03:25 PM PDT by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: escapefromboston

Another A+ idea there!


29 posted on 08/04/2005 2:04:01 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
and what they considered the most odious ("The Day After Tomorrow," hands down).

I haven't seen "tDAT", but my nomination for "most odious" out of the films I *have* seen is "Armageddon". Here's an old list of mine of just a few of the scientific howlers:

The "a large object could hit the Earth and ruin your whole day" premise may be "scientific fact", but that's about ALL that was in the film which could be even remotely called "scientific fact".

For just a few examples, out of many:

   1.  An asteroid of the specified size ("the size of Texas")
       is large enough that even the largest nuclear bomb in the
       world wouldn't do more than scratch its surface.
   2.  Even if the thing were pre-split into two halves that
       were lying against each other, a nuclear bomb wouldn't even
       separate the two halves by an inch, much less the 10,000 miles
       depicted in the film in order to have Earth pass through the
       gap between them.
   3.  Even if you *could* separate the two halves, the asteroid's
       own gravity would rapidly bring the two pieces back
       together again.
   4.  And even the two halves of the thing *did* pass by on
       either side of the Earth in a "near miss", tidal effects would
       devastate the Earth nearly as much as in impact would have.
   5.  You simply could *NOT* "jump off" an asteroid of that size,
       or even get blown off of it -- its escape velocity would
       be several hundred miles per hour.  I don't know about you,
       but *I* can't jump that quickly.
   6.  Nor could you fly a dune buggy across a canyon without it
       plummeting to the ground and killing you.
   7.  Nor could large mountain-sized rocks float through the
       space over your head like clouds -- the gravity on the
       asteroid would approach 1/10th of a G, making it fully
       half as strong as the gravity on the Moon.
   8.  When you land on the BACK of an asteroid which is
       approaching the Earth, the Earth will *not* be overhead
       when viewed from your landing site.
   9.  When landing on an airless asteroid, it is insane to
       land horizontally on "skids".  You will actually save
       fuel, not to mention wear-and-tear on your spacecraft,
       if you just land straight down.  There's a reason that
       the Lunar Module didn't make a "runway" landing on
       the Moon.
  10.  The "eleven G's for several minutes" rocket boost
       that they showed would cause the shuttles to overtake
       the asteroid like a Ferrari passing by a bicycle.  Oops,
       time to slow down and come back for another pass, I guess.
  11.  It strains credulity to presume that drilling a hole less
       than two one-hundredths of one percent the diameter of
       the asteroid would allow a nuclear weapon to have a far
       greater effect than just putting it on the surface, AND
       that being a hundred feet short in the targeted depth
       would turn success into failure.
...and that doesn't even mention the stereotypical and insulting depictions of the scientists in the film.

30 posted on 08/04/2005 2:08:03 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon
..and that doesn't even mention the stereotypical and insulting depictions of the scientists in the film.

Fascinating post, thanks. And, I think what you said above is also quite important. I am trying to think of the last time I saw a "scientist" as a likable character on a tv show, and I want to say that guy on Northern Exposure a few years back, but even he was not really a leading man type.
31 posted on 08/04/2005 2:10:05 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
Here's another idea they could be developing right away: A tv series showing biographical films of famous scientists. Kids do not read enough biographies, and this kind of tv/film is something elementary teachers could and would show in a classroom. Kids might then pick up a book about a scientist.

I like it. Among other things, it would show how scientific ideas first arise, and then how they are developed, tested, and verified.

A lot of people have *no* idea how this is done -- or even that it *is* done. A lot of Freepers make posts that make it clear they think that all science is "just speculation".

Isaac Asimov did a lot of this "walk the reader through the process" in his many excellent non-fiction essays about science.

32 posted on 08/04/2005 2:10:07 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon
Thanks. What is especially sad is that kids truly do love science.

But, you need role models around, in the classroom, in the media, constantly, to keep influencing kids.

I would be more than happy to never see another rapper on tv for the rest of my life, and I'm sure others disagree, but I am fed up with their negative lyrics impacting kids to want to become hoes and pimps. I wish all rappers were relegated to pay radio and that's it.
33 posted on 08/04/2005 2:13:42 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
I would be more than happy to never see another rapper on tv for the rest of my life, and I'm sure others disagree, but I am fed up with their negative lyrics impacting kids to want to become hoes and pimps.

Did you see "Mind of Mencia" last night? In one skit, it started with a guy in a "Barney-the-dino-like" suit singing an insipid song, then Mencia came out in a (surprisingly accurate and cool) T-Rex costume and kicked "Barney" off the stage. Then he sang songs that "tell it like it really is". One question was from a girl who asked if she really needed to study and finish school. Mencia launched into a sugary-sweet song where he got really sarcastic about no, no need do that hard studying, as long as she doesn't mind learning how to pole dance and just being a stripper for the rest of her life...

That description doesn't even do it justice -- I've got it on the DVR, but don't have time to transcribe the lyrics right now. I'll do that later this evening when I have the time.

Mencia kicks butt. In another skit, he went on the street with a megaphone during working hours, and when he saw a Mexican loitering on the street (Mencia himself is hispanic, by the way), he yelled into the megaphone, "hey, you, go get a job and stop blaming your problems on the Republicans!"

34 posted on 08/04/2005 2:23:05 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: snowsislander

This is so true. I love science. I love biology. I love working in a lab. Unfortunately, I can make more money working at Papa Johns than doing research in a lab. I was published 3 times in the 2 years I worked in cancer research (as a lab technician, which is rarely heard of). Never saw a raise or bonus. All I got was that my boss wanted me to work 7 days instead of 6 days of the week. Few Americans will work every day of the week making less than the person delivering your pizza. I donated bone marrow (for research) and also cut lawns part time to make ends meet.


35 posted on 08/04/2005 2:26:19 PM PDT by WomanBiologist
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To: Ichneumon
"hey, you, go get a job and stop blaming your problems on the Republicans!"

LOL....

No, I did not see it. But, on a very serious note -- kids today actually think it is "cool" to become a stripper, because they see these half-clad women in seductive lighting in all these music videos, and so they conclude -- this is a way to make money. They don't often think of becoming a scientist nor do they think about a long list of other careers!

Meanwhile, every other article I read in the newspapers these days tells about yet another upcoming "crisis" for our nation, if more kids don't suddenly become interested in science, etc.

The media needs to help us out here, and I believe great ratings are quite possible with better programming. That guy you mentioned is very popular right now!
36 posted on 08/04/2005 2:28:20 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer

The IEEE and some other professional societies suggested similar in the past. I don't think kids have had a favorable view of science in this country scince Apollo was flying. We need to fix this if we don't want to be a third world country.


37 posted on 08/04/2005 2:28:40 PM PDT by The_Repugnant_Conservative
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To: WomanBiologist
Unfortunately, I can make more money working at Papa Johns than doing research in a lab

My goodness! I hope the Pentagon sees this thread!
38 posted on 08/04/2005 2:29:34 PM PDT by summer
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To: The_Repugnant_Conservative
I don't think kids have had a favorable view of science in this country scince Apollo was flying. ...

I think there are academic studies showing that by middle school, they don't; but, when very young, kids do have a favorable impression of science.
39 posted on 08/04/2005 2:31:42 PM PDT by summer
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To: AFPhys

FYI. :)


40 posted on 08/04/2005 2:34:20 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
This is an interesting article. But I think that it misses some important points:

1. I believe there are plenty of smart creative children and young adults that are interested in science and engineering. This is in spite of the poor educational system in America. We have enough of these people, in absolute numbers, to satisfy the demand in the US. But school does not teach a high enough percentage of children to use their brains much less learn science.

2. There must be a prospect of having a reasonably stable career if someone goes into science or engineering. These children are not stupid. They have fathers that are engineers, programmers, etc. who are dumped on the trash heap when they are 40; while there are trade organizations and corporations that cry "We don't have enough talent in this country!" (and this is especially true with defense contractors). What are these children going to believe; what people tell them or their own experience?The "technology" companies want recent graduates or foreigners who they can use for at most 10 - 15 years and then fire.

3. In light of 2. let me just outline a path to the PhD in mathematics that I am somewhat familiar with:


41 posted on 08/04/2005 3:27:40 PM PDT by RATkiller (I'm not communist, socialist, Democrat nor Republican so don't call me names)
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To: summer; Ichneumon
"they considered the most odious 'The Day After Tomorrow' hands down"

"Paycheck" beats this and "Armageddon" for the poor science award. Ben Affleck is not believable as a scientist anyway. His friend Matt Damon can pull of the intellectual role, but Mr. Affleck makes his own eyes glaze over when he starts trying to sound scientific.

There is pretty much no science at all in this sci-fi.

With "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Armageddon", most teenagers would overlook the scientific holes, but with "Paycheck" the whole notion of plausibility goes out the window.
42 posted on 08/04/2005 3:50:31 PM PDT by unlearner
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To: unlearner
, but Mr. Affleck makes his own eyes glaze over when he starts trying to sound scientific.

ROFL! Great description.

43 posted on 08/04/2005 5:03:55 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon; summer
[Did you see "Mind of Mencia" last night? In one skit, it started with a guy in a "Barney-the-dino-like" suit singing an insipid song, then Mencia came out in a (surprisingly accurate and cool) T-Rex costume and kicked "Barney" off the stage. Then he sang songs that "tell it like it really is". One question was from a girl who asked if she really needed to study and finish school. Mencia launched into a sugary-sweet song where he got really sarcastic about no, no need do that hard studying]

Okay, here's a transcript:

Girl's question in a 'phone call': "Carlos, school's boring. Do I really need to study hard and get good grades?"

Carlos the Dinosaur: "Of course not. Listen to this song..."

[singing to bouncy "Romper Room" type music:]
If you're gonna drop out of school...
And grades are not your goal...
Then change your name to Candi,
And learn to work a pole!
[Carlos grabs a giant seven-foot prop pencil and dances around it]

Find yourself a G-string
And learn to spot big tippers
If you don't study and go to school
Then you'll end up a stripper!

Another song from the same skit:
Caller: "Some kids offered me some marijuana. What's marijuana?"

Carlos [singing to the tune of "Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah:]
If you think about using marijuanaaa..
Here is something you should know-oh-oh-oh
Marijuana is a gateway drug
And soon you'll be doing blow!

And... crack and speed and meth and X
And PCP and rock...
Pretty soon you'll be out of caaaaash
And then you'll have to [bleep] my [bleep]!

[spoken:] For five dollars!


44 posted on 08/04/2005 5:24:13 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: summer
No, I did not see it. But, on a very serious note -- kids today actually think it is "cool" to become a stripper,

I don't normally quote a lot of TV shows, but they've been hitting a lot of these topics recently, so here's my second one in this same thread...

On one of the episodes of the animated satirical cartoon, "Family Guy", Brian ends up being a substitute teacher for the most incorrigible inner-city students. He tries dressing up like Mark Twain, etc. but nothing interests them. Finally, one day he expresses his frustration, and says: "I've tried everything. You kids are going to end up as drug dealers and hookers..."

Suddenly the students get all excited, and say things, like, "wow, you think I could actually be a prostitute?! No one's ever believed in us before!", and they do a take-off on the "O Captain my Captain" scene from "Dead Poets Society" and start hitting the books with enthusiasm. Brian starts to say, "No, wait, I didn't mean..." Then he just shakes his head and says to himself, "...okay, whatever gets the job done."

45 posted on 08/04/2005 5:35:12 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: RATkiller
We have enough of these people, in absolute numbers, to satisfy the demand in the US. But school does not teach a high enough percentage of children to use their brains much less learn science.

I agree that we don't need larger numbers of graduates in technical fields, but it is still important to ensure that the general public stays as scientifically literate as is practical, so that there will be continuing support for America's technical advantage (which is rapidly fading), so that people will better be able to tell apart valid arguments from propaganda, and because a better grounding in science will generally improve the quality of *most* jobs in the US, not just the most directly "science related". We need more Thomas Edisons in the American car industry, for example, if we're going to stay competetive, not to mention general competence and expertise in so many other professions.

46 posted on 08/04/2005 5:42:37 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: leoncaruthers; summer
Easily the best "science" show on TV right now. Not flashy, very practical.

If you enjoy that, I highly recommend the book, "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen", by Harold McGee.

684 pages of pure gold. I love this book. Not only is it fascinating and informative, but it's supremely practical -- understanding the processes which are at work when you cook can *really* help you produce better food, since you'll know what and how to adjust in order to achieve the desired results, as you tweak recipes and recover from unexpected problems.

If you want a "preview", the entire text of the book is searchable and viewable at Amazon.com. Click on the above link, then "hover" your mouse over the picture of the book's cover in order to get a "Search Inside" box. It's like Googling the book's actual pages.

47 posted on 08/04/2005 10:15:28 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon
Some of the best depictions of scientists come in the fifties science-fiction films of George Pal and Ivan Tors. Both of them, especially Tors, were very scrupulous about getting their science right and depicting both scientists and their work accurately as well.

Although it's incorrectly viewed as being anti-science because of the Carrington character, the other scientists in The Thing From Another World are depicted very sympathetically, and they're actually the ones who wind up defeating the monster.

48 posted on 08/05/2005 9:34:00 AM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Creationism is not conservative!)
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To: RightWingAtheist; Ichneumon; unlearner

Thanks for the info.


49 posted on 08/07/2005 10:30:43 AM PDT by summer
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