What's up, Doc?

Amid all the Sturm und Drang about offshoring, America's academic decline in the sciences is getting relatively little attention.

Amid all the Sturm und Drang about offshoring, America's academic decline in the sciences is getting relatively little attention. The number of new science doctorates has been dropping since it peaked in 1998. Now there's something Lou Dobbs should be screaming about.

The bigger worry is that some of the foreign talent propping up places like Silicon Valley may decide to take their freshly minted Ph.D.s back home. If you believe the National Science Foundation, a mini-reverse brain drain is already under way. That's bad news in bells. And if the trend accelerates, don't be shocked if the next big thing gets invented by one of those same bright bulbs who studied here and then set up shop in India, Taiwan or China.

Speaking of Dobbs, what's up with his Howard Beale routine? The guy's a great financial broadcaster with a platinum resume, but the shtick is wearing thin.

The news media and the politicians running with this issue are relying on loosey-goosey numbers. Since the feds don't track the number of jobs exported abroad, whose stats should you believe? The author of the Forrester Research report that triggered so much angst now says the report's been hyped and distorted beyond recognition. Fair enough, but what does that suggest about the accuracy of all the attendant bloviation on the subject?

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Tech Culture
About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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