10 posts • joined 21 Aug 2009
Isn't the operative phrase on the ROI "to date"?
How many of these projects have been out ther for a year? Let alone 3 years... Most cases don't make thier big paybacks in the first year or 2, normally year 3 will provide the bulk of the savings as the project is up and running and the user community mature.
No, you can use it - you just have to pay.
You can improve it - get a new patent for your improvement, then go and have a chat with the original patent owners.
You can do more - when you see their idea, and their way of doing it you can simply think of a new way of doing it.
In fact, if you have half a brain some one else's patent is a great way of moving forward with new ideas.
Been there seen that
On my father in law's farm, on Mull. One of the buggers came to eat afterbirth during lambing.
It looked at me as I came over the wall to do the count, with a bright yellow eye. I have never been near something so wild and proud before. It leapt up into the air and spiraled around, I heard the beat of it's wings and it was gone.
Closer to god than you or me.
the idea behind patents
Patents exist to incentivize people publish the details of their invention so that it can be used for the greater good (after 20 years).
If patents didn't exist then there would be a lot more trade secrets.
And this is it
Spreadsheet management ; it costs £n to get someone to do that so why pay £n+1?
answer ; in 3 years you will pay n*n to sort it all out, but who in your management team will either be in post in 3 years, or have this stuck to them in 3 years.
If the gravy train was stopped and no one would do it for those rates then you would get the budget to get someone half way decent.
MSc vs phd
The US PhD - at least from an Ivy League college is the most demanding qualification in the world in my experience. Just read the thesis's that are produced.
The differences are :
- A committee, not an examiner.
- Public viva defence.
- Thesis defended; not contribution demonstrated.
- Contribution to knowledge + demonstrated expertise in subject.
That's not to say that the UK PhD is bad (I have one); it is stronger than the continental version I think, but US PhD's are ahead.
Also, the MSc in the US is usually 2 years of self directed work, so I would tend to rate them as pretty considerable as well.
At least they are trying something
Rather than this waste of time nonsense sheet.
Your ability to differentiate between people who are doing good work and trying their best and charlatans is highly indicative of your own personal capabilities; I suggest that the author of this article and the peanut gallery here all go and dig a hole in their gardens and lie in it until they have had quite enough (I would like to say much more florid things, but I realize the pointlessness and wickedness of loosing my temper).
Bit of a throw away comment in there about BSE.
My best friend died of new variant CJD.
I know that is an anecdote, and not meaningful as a datum, but it should make people reflect that for all the arse covering in the world Mark still died.
He was 32.
R&D in the UK
I have an advantage over you lot - I am a paid scientist in a large UK commercial company.
Here are my observations in case anyone reads them.
The University sector in the UK is extremely good, in the US it is much better. European universities are no where in comparison.
UK academics are foolishly smug.
A great deal of the research undertaken in UK universities is total cock. The peer reviewers know it is going no where - in the sense that not only will it never impact on the life of the people who are paying for it, or the lives of their children, but it will never be of interest to the other people working in the field beyond the narrow community that the proposing team and the reviewing team are working on. This could be fixed by building larger teams (3 per key subject area in the UK) and funding them to do what they want and allowing them to be publically humiliated if their research is poor. This is how good science actually should work, the peer reveiw process is much better than the government deciding, but I say use it once every 5 or 10 years to decide on who does what in a general area (for example PEV research or AI or Software Engineering) and then leave the PI's to spend the f'ing money how they see fit. If they screw up and don't create and maintain a team that is recognised as *the best* in *the world* then they can *get lost* and *find something else to do*
The EPSRC and other colleges are parochial and provincial; they cannot be relied on.
My belief is that if this was done the 3 or so teams in each area would forge strong links with UK industry and would produce genuinely high quality work - driven by curiosity and a deep and developed understanding of what is important.
It takes 10 years, at least, to get good at something - R&D is no exception. The problem in the UK is that we are not building a system that can provide that time and then exploit the result to the full.
My team built http://btrules.com as a demonstration of what can be done with web 2.0 tech.
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