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Saturday, March 7

Kepler lifts off

The most fortunate people in the world were at Cape Canaveral last night, when at precisely 10:49 PM Eastern Time they watched a Delta II rocket lift humanity's hopes into the heavens. John Batchelor was not at the Cape, but he had been waiting for the moment all his life; he wrote about it here, with accompanying pictures, of course.

Pondering the launch of Kepler's historic mission against the backdrop of a gathering global economic depression, I found myself recalling something that Les Brown, the great motivational speaker, said many years ago. He observed that often, just as we're making great progress in our lives, we're hit with a host of problems. He made a gesture with his hand to emulate a plane climbing in altitude and said, "It's just normal turbulence that can occur when you're moving to a higher level."

Humanity is now officially launched on a search for planets like Earth. Will we find them? The odds are good that we will.
Comments:
I'm looking for a planet like Earth too, only I'm looking around me right where I am. Dude, where's my country? This Obama Administration is really freaking surreal. This Kepler thing, while of interest, is strictly a diversion, a rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic type of distraction. If we find a star that dims slightly, periodically, we'll know that there might be a planet there...in some umpty-umph decades of (unlikely) uninterrupted scientific pursuit and discovery we might learn whether they might be unfrozen water on it; a century later maybe we make contact...only to find out that some other civilization tanked because they were their own worst enemy. This is not a plan.
 
Oh, don't be a wet blanket. Kepler really is a giant step forward for humankind. Or rather, if you do want to be a wet blanket, how'd you like to nail down a statistic for me?

Couple nights ago I heard an astounding statistic on the telly: 68% of the scientific and engineering jobs in the U.S. are held by foreigners here on the H1-B visa.

So I did what any red-blooded American would do. I banged my ear with my hand and said, "I must have misheard."

It is possible that I did mishear. Maybe he said 16%. If I heard correctly, something is seriously out of whack. It's just that I haven't had time to research the stat. If you find it, please enter the info in the comment section. Thanks, Mark.
 
Yeah the 68% sounds whacky but maybe you heard it wrong.

http://www.nber.org/papers/w11457
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=755693
The Census data show that in 2000, the foreign-born made up 17% of...

http://www10.giscafe.com/nbc/articles/view_article.php?section=CorpNews&articleid=58246
http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/09s0784.pdf

in the following see esp. slide 7:
http://www.economics.pomona.edu/kuehlwein/Econ164/S&E%20Workforce%20Presentation.ppt

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12067&page=11#p200154949960011001

Well, that's all I'm good for tonight. Could only see the abstract of the most likely source, but from the powerpoint piece one could extrapolate...
However, I'm going to go hibernate with my wet blanket.
 
Thanks, Mark, the data you provided is a start, but (I haven't yet checked out the links you sent) it looks as if the census data in the first link is from almost a decade ago.

I wish I had scribbled down the source for that statistic I quoted (or misquoted, as the case may be). It came out during a debate the other day on either CNBC or Fox about the H1-B visa issue.
 
Oh, wait, I just remembered: The debate was specifically about the controversy that's arisen about companies laying off American workers during the recession while keeping foreign workers on the same payrolls.
 
Got kitchen duty today, somebody's 60th b-day, so I'll follow up later
 
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