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Abolishing Serfdom in Academia

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Columbia's Mark Taylor says that "graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning" and that it needs to be revamped. Taylor suggests restructuring the curriculum, abolishing departments and creating problem-focused groups, increasing collaboration, transforming the dissertation so that alternative formats such as websites, films, and video games are acceptable, exposing students to job possibilities outside academia, and replacing tenure with seven-year contracts.

Bayblab's Bayman says that Taylor is "right on the money" and that he has "good ideas but I don't think any of his proposals would address the most serious problem, which is the supply-demand/slavery issue." At Tomorrow's Table, Pam Ronald says she's "not wild about the idea of abolishing tenure" but does like the idea of encouraging collaborations.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.