We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This has been an educational experience for me. I've kind of had an 'educated citizen' understanding of viruses, but I've now realized how incredibly complex they are (and wonder how they evolved in the first place).
Researchers know the basic makup by tools such as x-ray diffraction (sort of like trying to figure out what a chandelier looks like by shining a flashlight on it and analyzing the light patterns on the walls) but it has incredibly complex structured that do things in a way not understood.
The thousands of atoms in each virus actually structure into 'organs' parts of the virus that have specific behaviors under specific circumstances. While all these atoms obey the rules of chemistry and physics, modelling what the actually do is a monumentally complex mathematical task... yet it has enormous potential to create a targeting molecule to 'jam' it up.
Quite a few supercomputers are now working on this, but there is another citizen level project (called Folding at Home--look it up) which uses the spare power of many thousands of home computers to do the preliminary work of winnowing away the data. Simple, just install it and the system will send jobs automatically to your machine. You can pause or stop it at any time. Recently this project has surpassed the worlds top 500 supercomputers combined in processing power.
The results are published in real time publicly to researchers.
[I fortunately have a gaming box that I don't normally use so I set it to run flat out... for the past several weeks it's been plugging away with all 8 CPUs fully pegged.]
Universities in the U.S. should be required to provide preferential treatment to Americans before foreigners. No foreign student should get into college if any American student is turned down. But even beyond that no college should be allowed to actively seek foreign students, they don't run our immigration system. The foreign student scam is nothing more than a backdoor immigration system that is full of payola for everyone involved in it. Also it makes no sense for a "for profit" school to have tax free donations and investments. How did this happen? There should be a forensic audit of every college and any money laundering or wrong doing should be punished.
The foreign funding to Universities story is a little perplexing. I'm sure there must be instances where influence is being used through the checkbook inappropriately - the Confucius Institutes scam comes to mind. And of course our modern university model has long been unseemly in its greed.
"As U.S. college students clamor for university endowments to divest from fossil fuels, the schools take money from the oil-rich kingdom. As they rally for social justice causes, Qatar has a checkered human rights record.". Students. Clamoring.
But in both the main stories and the linked ones, no where does it mention that Texas A&M has established a branch campus in Qatar for the petroleum engineering sciences. It's public knowledge, and has been functioning there successfully for 17 years; there's a regular program of internship and foreign exchange with A&M's other campuses. But mention of this doesn't appear anywhere in the story, only mysterious hints of behind-the-scenes influencing and unflattering notes about Qatar's draconian state religion. Why? I'm not defending either party, especially with these chronic reporting lapses, just pointing out that this is either an incredibly lazy or partisan journalist at work. Too bad.
"...this is either an incredibly lazy or partisan journalist at work."
Embrace the power of "and"
Formerly known as Skeptic
When I was in graduate school in the early 70's, the Middle-East (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Egypt, Turkey--upwards of 50 or 60 every year) was well represented in the science/engineering disciplines. With respect to the Saudi students, the University received $50K + tuition and other fees for each student. They all received a generous monthly stipend and most were able to bring their families with them. They all drove new cars and lived in the best apartments and locations in town. The students from other countries (Indonesia, India, and Norway) did not have such generous governments behind them, although they were still a moneymaker for the University.