Re: Guest Post - USDA

1

Everybody is interested in rural development.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 8:37 AM
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The ethanol give-away was a tremendous boon to the rural areas I know. I don't know if they think of it as a government gift or not. I do know it was basically dumping money on my cousins (and parents).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 8:43 AM
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hobbling civil service for a generation

I've wondered about this. I think that if he's gone and replaced by a Democrat after one term, there will still be enough institutional memory (and enthusiasm) to get back to normal pretty quickly. (Harper tried something similar with the Canadian census, and I think they've bounced back.) But if he's in for two terms, yeah, I think that would be disastrous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 9:09 AM
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Yes, but what about the corn?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 9:11 AM
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3: Harper tried that with a bunch of stuff. The census bounced back because ordinary people were pissed (they crashed the website the first day the long form census was re-opened). Other programs not so much.

The long-term lake research site in Manitoba went non-profit although it was very cheap to run. The research definitely suffered in the mean time.

The federal gov't ramped up hiring after Harper left to replace all the scientists he fired but that's also meant a decided lag in the science, not to mention the weird hiring practices that I could rant about at length.

And finally, the general funding situation for university-based science in Canada has totally shifted. It started with Harper but Trudeau is continuing it. Basically now much of the funding goes to large research groups with specific objectives rather than individual researchers. This means research is more concentrated and you have to be much more established before getting funding. This means there's a generation of university scientists that are underfunded. It is making Canada's funding situation more like the US' but I don't want my country to mimic the Ivy/State/crappy regional schools divide.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 9:37 AM
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I don't know much about Canada, but I think that you don't want to spread out science too much. There are benefits from concentrating it, at least for people who don't want to move across the country to get a new job.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 9:59 AM
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3: Have you read how many people have left? Many senior personnel aren't young, and although they are dedicated, I'm not sure how many 75 year olds want to come back and teach kids these days how to govern. Many at State are being forced out in terribly undignified ways. Some are accepting buyouts; I wonder whether there is contractual language that blocks a return. The younger people leaving are going to build careers elsewhere. Government jobs don't pay well, but they did formerly offer stability and good benefits. That has been failing slowly for a long time (eg no COLA for years upon years), but if you have a family to support, it's now a moderate risk to work for the government.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:01 AM
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6: Yes, exactly. So you do want some science in Iqaluit, St. John, and Swift Current.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:02 AM
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If there's a travel budget, I'll love to go to St. John for a conference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:04 AM
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I'd like to go to Saint John, but I'd rather go to St. John's.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:09 AM
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Probably you mean St. John's (/Canadian who has an inextricable but strong dislike of New Brunswick).

Regardless, Canadians don't move much for university (because the universities are generally/currently the same quality) so having science spread out means people not from Southern Ontario or Vancouver can have access to practicing scientists as profs. But the new programs proposed by Trudeau aim to change that and create a 'Silicon Valley North'.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:14 AM
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inextricable and inexplicable


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:15 AM
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I was thinking of people like myself (technical staff) who are really only needed by larger research centres.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:18 AM
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7 the buyouts are truly pitiful. Tillerson and Trump are destroying State. Did you see that quote, something like "I'm the only one the matters"? I'm afraid the destruction of America's soft power is never going to be undone.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:34 AM
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Yes, but I think the destruction of America's soft power happened the instant they called the election for Trump.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:35 AM
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People like I want to be! Which is why I'm so into this. But I don't want to move to Southern Ontario and Vancouver is too expensive to live as a tech (arguably, Southern Ontario is too but depends on where you are exactly).

I don't know, maybe I'm making too much of Canadian local ties but if they're hiring at University of Alberta or Calgary, I don't think they'll get many Ontario or east people. If they're hiring in Ontario, they're not even going to consider people from outside Ontario (or even northern Ontario) because there's more than enough in the province. There'll just be swaths of Canada that don't see a benefit from these research centres and that's not the Canadian way.

Most of the folks I know working as techs (not genetics though) are on gov't contracts for years. Which is okay since health care and sometimes child care is covered by the province/feds. But the federal gov't is likely to switch from funding these local projects in basic science to the centres and their more applied research.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:35 AM
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I just sort of fucked-up and landed on my career path before I noticed. Then I married into Pittsburgh before I realized that was part of the vows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:38 AM
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But, even though Pittsburgh is really a small town, it is certainly a huge research center with few equals in the country. If it wasn't, my half-assed switch from failure to adequacy would have never worked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 10:39 AM
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14: The same thing is happening in more places than State. Hence this article. I'd hate to be a researcher at EPA, or NOAA, or pretty much anywhere other than NIH, which is fairly well protected. Agreed that State has been the loudest, but I'm not even sure it's the worst.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 11:25 AM
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I said everything is the worst.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 11:43 AM
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IT'S WORSTED ALL THE WAY DOWN!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SWEATER COSMOLOGIST | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 4:08 PM
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But if Trump vandalism results in Trump voters losing the de facto federal subsidies they were too stupid/irrationally anti-govt to notice, that counts as the tiny upside we're allowed to savour, no?


Posted by: edna k. | Link to this comment | 11-14-17 8:47 PM
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It's the Project for a Post-American Century.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 12:27 AM
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5: hydrobatidae- can you talk about the hiring practices. Tim's sister-in-law got a job as a Research Associate after 3 years taking care of her kids. She had one straight from grad school to having a kid .. water broke days after defending. She wanted to make a career change so she did a 6-month internship at Health Canada but otherwise she was running a side business taking wedding photos. Once she got to the NRC, her boss drowned, and she was the only one standing with a PhD, so she got his job -even though she had never done a post doc. But, as far as I can tell, they do no basic research. The policy is for that to be university-based. Instead they are basically a contract research organization. A lot of what she does is trying to sell her services to pharmaceutical companies. It seems both sad and stupid to me. That's an area where the private market works pretty well, to state the obvious, government is better suited to research that isn't immediately commercializable.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 5:51 AM
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As a quick addendum to 24, her boss who drowned had been her grad school supervisor. She had actually been trying to leave research but she approached him, and it was the only job she could get.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 5:56 AM
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This is why Harvard insists on a swim test at all Ph.D. defenses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:03 AM
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22: It's had for me to muster up much schaudenfreude over kids losing food stamps and health clinics, regardless of how their parents voted. Rural development serves tribal lands and border towns, too, not just Trump voters. Also, I suspect that the assholes who hate government would just take losing their subsidies as another example of why government sucks/doesn't get anything right. I don't know how they'll live, but I don't think they would even comprehend what happened.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:05 AM
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22: It's had for me to muster up much schaudenfreude over kids losing food stamps and health clinics, regardless of how their parents voted. Rural development serves tribal lands and border towns, too, not just Trump voters. Also, I suspect that the assholes who hate government would just take losing their subsidies as another example of why government sucks/doesn't get anything right. I don't know how they'll live, but I don't think they would even comprehend what happened.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:05 AM
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Weird.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:05 AM
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The really small towns can hardly keep doctors these days. They need help with things that the used to not need help with. Though sometimes they blame the government for that (e.g. sure this doctor lost his doctor license, but we think he's better now especially since he's the only person interested in living here.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:09 AM
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Yep, so the federal program that forgives loans in exchange for working in rural areas is one of the few things keeping doctors in small towns. I suspect part of this is two body problem. A friend tells me that pediatric dentistry is even harder to find. Apparently, some dentists won't see kids under a certain age.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:12 AM
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30: I almost put "proximity to a really great children's hospital" on the thread about urban life, but that was my number one requiremenr even before my life became "oh, it seems your child has a complicated genetic disorder."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:14 AM
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Babies just try to eat anything that gets in their mouths.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:14 AM
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I would figure that kids were most of the work in dentistry since adults I know have bad habits about skipping for ten years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:15 AM
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Further to 32, a really good Medicaid practice does a lot of good. I'm going to switch the girls to just getting their dentistry done there too rather than the other places we've tried that will take state insurance but see private patients too. (Our place does take low-income people who don't have Medicaid. Miniver knew more about the way it works at a program level, but as the person whose children are getting care it seems great.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:17 AM
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34: Possibly, but apparently, there is a perception (!) that children don't need dentists until after they lose their baby teeth. The friend, a pediatrician, says he spends a lot of time instructing parents about the need for brushing and seeing a dentist.

32: Yeah, I drive 90 minutes when I need anything complicated. And I'm not somewhere rural, just not with good medical facilities.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:31 AM
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My town had one surgeon and the rest were GPs. You had to see the old guy if you had anything serious as the other doctors were pretty green.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:34 AM
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We drove to Omaha for anything serious and non-urgent. Also, to buy clothing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:43 AM
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You didn't spin your own sackcloth?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:44 AM
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Sackcloth is made with jute, a tropical plant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:46 AM
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And they wouldn't ship further than Omaha? Assholes.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:48 AM
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The nicest place in town to buy clothes was J.C. Penny's. That space is a bar now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:51 AM
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Priorities.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 6:54 AM
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a perception (!) that children don't need dentists until after they lose their baby teeth

This is horrifying but on reflection makes a ton of sense. If people have no/bad dental insurance and are living hand to mouth, I totally get why going to the dentist to take care of teeth that are going to fall out anyway would seem like a waste of money.

(I assume dentists have their own reasons for avoiding small children, like not wanting to be bitten and kicked. And the screaming.)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 7:22 AM
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And the Washington Post interviews.


Posted by: Opinionated Roy Moore, DDS | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 7:24 AM
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44: Yeah. The friend is a pediatrician in a place where many adults are missing at least a few teeth, so that possible outcome not a really big deal to some of the parents. He explains that the kids' gums need to be healthy, too, and that kids can get dangerous infections. He was kind of surprised at how bad some kids' mouths looked. Lots of soft drinks, little or no brushing.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 7:33 AM
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Honestly I didn't take dental care for milk teeth that seriously. I mean, we took them to the dentist and all, but I treated it sort of like the homework packages they send home in kindergarten.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 12:03 PM
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24: My experience is the opposite of SIL's. Applying a bunch and failing. IME for open positions, they have an online form, a timed written test, and an 'in person' timed behavioural interview.

In the timed exam which is basically like comps 2.0 but with less prep possible, my friend flunked out. Fortunately she ended up getting a TT job at the best research schools in the country for her field. Another friend flunked the ornithology portion of his and now is head of ornithology at a major museum.

I passed the written exam (with questions ranging from nesting differences among bird species to conservation threats to major ecotypes of a region I've never spent more than 5 days in) and failed the oral because I was "indecisive". They send you a form email telling you you failed to. Good times. I also had to drive 5 hours for this 'in person' meeting that was actually a conference call and had no choice in date or time.

Anyway, the only people I know who were hired knew someone and/or had the job ad written for them after being a tech or intern.

The last DFO hiring campaign was apparently a shit show but not sure anything will change.



Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 1:54 PM
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Oh right, a point!

The federal gov't hiring process doesn't look like it's hiring the best researchers (my super talented friends) because it requires inside connections and information. It's significantly different than the academic hiring process (for TT or grad students) in a way that's opaque to people not familiar with the system. If the objective is to branch out from established gov't folks, they need to change their process.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 2:03 PM
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48: She wasn't on the tech track. I totally don't get how she got it, because she's not that bright.

Is there anything good I could read about Harper's attacks on the Civil Service.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-15-17 7:20 PM
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but I treated it sort of like the homework packages they send home in kindergarten.

I think it's illegal to throw dentists on the fire.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-16-17 2:45 AM
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I'm turning over in my mind that the "positive agenda" the Dems need to run on in '18 and '20 is something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The rot is so deep and pervasive, the corruption so broad and open, that I honestly think the only way the country can function again is root-and-branch destruction of Trumpism. And it would extend beyond direct Trumpists to encompass voter suppression, gerrymandering, and even stuff like policing and harassment.

That's a crazy amount of stuff, and you can't get it all, but I feel as if you can actually tackle a lot if that's the unifying theme, sort of like the incredible breadth of experimenting that happened under the early New Deal.

The specific spark for this came from the nomination of that worthless prick to a judgeship. There are no actual limits on judicial impeachment, and while I hate to open that can of worms, I also hate the idea of Trump appointees on the bench until literally after my death. I wouldn't literally seek impeachment for every appointee, but every last one of them would be subject to his own personal Starr inquiry. Failed to recuse on a case with interest? Gone. Shaded the truth during confirmation? Gone. Stole gum from a 7-11 in 1998? Gone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-16-17 10:11 AM
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52: The actual TRC did nothing whatsoever to eliminate systemic injustice or corruption or racism, nor AFAIK was it even intended to. You're looking for something different.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-16-17 10:33 AM
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On topic? Keystone pipeline leak in South Dakota.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-17 4:42 PM
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There's an app that will let you take a picture of a leaf and then tell you what kind of plant is it. Hint, hint, suburban police.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-16-17 9:04 PM
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