September 24, 2015

If you follow my posts at all you know I concentrate on stories relative to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions.  Occasionally, I just have to “vent”.  Last week I read an article involving one soldier and one marine and their total disgust regarding the practice of Bacha Baiz.  New words for me so I had to seek help from sources knowledgeable about the practice.

A basic definition follows:

Bacha bāzī (Persian: بچه بازی‎, literally “playing with boys”; from بچه bacha, “child”, and بازی bāzī, “game”) is a much-used term in Afghanistan for a wide variety of activities that involve pedophilia. The perpetrator is commonly called Bacha Baz (meaning “pedophile“). It may include to some extent child pornographysexual slavery and child prostitution in which prepubescent and adolescent boys are sold to wealthy or powerful men for entertainment and sexual activities.   Bacha bazi has existed throughout history, and is currently reported in various parts of Afghanistan and apparently is still being practiced.  Force and coercion are a common component of this abuse, and security officials state they are unable to end it because many of the men involved in bacha bazi-related activities are powerful and well-armed warlords including former Northern Alliance commanders.

During the Taliban’s rule (1994-2001), bacha bazi carried the death penalty.  A documentary film by Najibullah Quraishi about dancing boys was screened by the UK Royal Society of Arts on March 29, 2010 and aired by the U.S. TV series PBS Frontline on 20 April 2010.” The practice of dancing boys is illegal under Afghan law, being “against both sharia law and the civil code”, but the laws are seldom enforced against powerful offenders and police have been reportedly complicit in related crimes.

Bacha bazi is a form of pederasty which has been prevalent in Central Asia since antiquity. It waned in the big cities after World War I, for reasons that dance historian Anthony Shay describes as “Victorian era prudery and [the] severe disapproval of colonial powers such as the RussiansBritish, and French, and the post-colonial elites who had absorbed those Western colonial values.”

“Bacha bazi or boy play” is a disturbing practice that entangles Afghanistan’s most vulnerable boys — recruited from the streets or sold to “masters” by their poor families — in a world of violence and sex.

The boys are kept by wealthy, powerful men who train them to sing, dance and play instruments — skills they’ll use to entertain parties made up of all men. The men force the boys to wear women’s clothes and jangling bells. Many times these parties are small and secret, but cameras recorded a bacha bazi circle taking place as part of a wedding celebration, with hundreds of guests.

When the dancing concludes, the boy is then sold to the highest bidder, or shared among the most powerful men for sex.

The bacha bazi culture is filled with exploitation, violence, rape and even murder, if a boy crosses his master or tries to escape the bacha bazi world. These children are puppets for their masters — they’re called names, abused and passed around to their master’s friends. The documentary crew caught one particularly disturbing conversation between men who, when they don’t know the camera is recording, recount a night when a dancing boy laid in a van while the men took turns having sex with him. The men gleefully recalled how “beautiful” the boy was.

Bacha bazi is a world where children are sex objects, and it’s a world where, often, the only escape is death.

The attendees of these parties and the masters of these boys are some of society’s most powerful men, from merchants to warlords. A United Nations report on bacha bazi found many are members of the government. Police told the documentary reporter that people who participate in bacha bazi will be punished no matter how powerful they are. But later, cameras find that same policeman at a bacha bazi party himself. Especially disturbing is the fact that the Chief of the Youth Crime Department was there, as well.

Buying and selling children, and sex acts with children, are illegal, but because such powerful people participate in bacha bazi, it’s extremely difficult to enforce the laws. After the documentary exposing the world of the dancing boys was released, some of the men featured in it were arrested. But soon after, they were back on the streets and practicing bacha bazi again.

The story of bacha bazi is tragic and the situation may seem hopeless, but these boys need our help too much to give up. They’re trapped in bacha bazi’s web and more people need to speak up against this cruel and exploitative practice.

Back to our story.  These two uniformed men were stationed in Afghanistan and witnessed this practice from several ranking members of the Afghan armed forces as well as high-level warlords in the Northeastern part of the country.  They were absolutely repulsed.  Upon bringing this to the attention of their commanding officers, they were told not to worry about it.  We cannot interfere with the society or customs of Afghanistan.

I had always known Afghanistan was behind in cultural and social skills so I pulled up the CIA World Factbook to see what information I could glean from the web site.  Let’s take a look.

  • Ethnic Groups– Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, other (includes smaller numbers of Baloch, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Arab, Gujar, Brahui, Qizilbash, Aimaq, Pashai, and Kyrghyz)
  • Languages– Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism, but Dari functions as the lingua franca.
  • Religions– Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%
  • Population– 32,564,342 (July 2015 est.)
  • Infant Mortality Rate— ( First in the world in infant mortality.)
  • Total:08 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Male:64 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Female:15 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
  • Country comparison to the world:1
  • Life Expectancy at Birth—
  • Total population:87 years
  • Male:52 years
  • Female:29 years (2015 est.)
  • Country comparison to the world:221
  • Literacy— Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    • Total population: 38.2%
    • Male52%
    • Female24.2% (2015 est.)
  • School Life Expectancy—
  • Total: 9 years
  • Male: 11 years
  • Female: 7 years (2011)


Afghanistan is a remarkably backward country and seemingly enjoys that position relative to other countries.  Social awareness is completely lacking as seen from literacy rates. There is no wonder bacha bazi is still practiced and from what we have been told,  “According to Abdulkhabir Uchqun, an MP from northern Afghanistan, however, the tradition “is on the increase in almost every region of Afghanistan. He asked local authorities to act to stop this practice but they do not do anything.” Indeed, the evidence suggests the tradition is making a comeback, and official connivance is rife.

Nascent democracies are susceptible to corruption, and often feature weak judicial systems, corporatism, and the absence of the rule of law. Poverty meanwhile fuels the trade in boys, just as it does illegal prostitution or trafficking. Bacha bazi is a disturbing practice that entangles the most vulnerable boys.

Why do we, the United States of America, do business with this so-called government?  Corruption is so wide-spread from top to bottom the country may be beyond saving, at least we have not as yet made much of a dent in corrections that will end this horrible practice.  We know that Burhanuddin Rabbani and Harid Karzai were absolutely corrupt.  Maybe Ashraf Gnani, the current president is somewhat better.  I do feel the American forces have accomplished great work but unless significant improvement is made relative to humanitarian and cultural concerns we just don’t need to be there.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.


September 22, 2015

Most adults are aware of the possibility there can be a decline in cognitive function as a process of normal aging.  Please  note—can be, not will be!  This decline is one of the most apparent signs of aging.  We are familiar with the two degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Dementia) and while not everyone will suffer from these debilitating problems, many seniors will be affected to some degree by memory loss as they age.  It’s a rite of passage.

Fortunately, the decline in cognitive function is being studied by the medical community and openly discussed more than ever before.  This is to everyone’s benefit and lessens embarrassment when the condition occurs.   Reality is, no matter how active and stimulated we keep our brain, memory loss, alertness and loss of concentration levels will decline at some point.

While it is certainly important to do whatever possible in terms of keeping the brain actively engaged, the use of pharmaceuticals and natural supplements has also become more popular.  There are an increasing number of products, called NOOTROPICS, available on the consumer market today.  It is up to the individual of course in deciding which product to take; pharmaceutical or alternative.  Many people will opt for the more natural approach.  These supplements, sold in health stores and online, can be just as effective as doctor-prescribed treatments and don’t carry the same risks of harmful side effects or problems with drug interaction.  In fact, some of the ingredients now used in many natural cognitive function supplements are often used to treat more severe degenerative diseases and have undergone rigorous clinical testing and consumer trials.

First, let’s define the word Nootropics:

Also called “smart drugs”, memory enhancers, neuro-enhancers, cognitive enhancers and intelligence enhancers.  Nootropic drugs are supplements claiming to improve one or more aspects of mental function.  Any type of compound or food that has the ability to improve your mental abilities, including your ability to focus, your motivation, and your mood.

A famous Romanian doctor named Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea created the word ‘nootropics’ in the year 1972. He made this unique word by combining two different Latin words: nous and trepein. While ‘nous’ means mind, ‘trepein’ means to bend. These two words fit the concept of nootropics perfectly, as nootropics have the ability to bend the mind and thus increase its pivotal functions, such as the ability to both recollect and focus.

Now, some researchers separate “smart drugs” from nootropics because nootropics are derived from natural compounds.  That distinction is important as we will see later on.

OK, what are the key, active ingredients that should be present in an effective cognitive supplement?  Let’s take a look.

  • PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE– This is a component of the membrane naturally produced in the body.  This membrane declines with age.  It is important for maintaining cellular function, improving thinking, skill and memory.  It has proven effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, with patients showing improvement in six to twelve weeks of use.
  • CHOLINE BITRATE—This chemical is often used in conjunction with other cognitive function ingredients in order to boost cognitive ability.  It is a natural nutrient that is also the precursor to Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that controls memory function.
  • BIOTIN—A member of the Vitamin “B” family, it can be found in foods such as nuts and certain vegetables.  Biotin helps support nerves, metabolism, and cells and is sometimes used to treat mild depression.
  • FOLIC ACID—While most often associated with the health of a fetus, Folic Acid can also be used to fight cognitive decline, macular degeneration and a number of other signs of aging. It is often found in fortified foods including breakfast cereals.
  • DHA—Officially known as Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA is an Omega 3 fatty acid that is vital to brain health in people of all ages.  A healthy fat that acts as protection for the brain while also encouraging optimal development in young people.  DHA has been thought to be responsible for reducing the incident of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • N-ACETYL CARNITING—This chemical is an amino acid that helps the body create energy and improves circulation.  A healthy flow of blood to the brain can boost the ability to think, solve problems and improve visual memory.  It is also used in the treatment of strokes.
  • GINKO BILOBA—The leaves of the Ginko plant have been used for centuries to help support levels of concentration and elevated mood.  The extract is often used in products aimed at younger people who may require increased memory skills when studying.  It is just as effective for age-related memory loss, particularly when combined with Ginseng.

Consumers of memory enhancement supplements should, in addition to ensuring they contain most or all of these ingredients, make sure the product has either free samples or a good money-back guarantee.  They should also check first with their healthcare provider to make sure there is no other problem responsible for their lack of mental ability.  (This is big!! Do this. )

Quality memory enhancement products should always contain proven ingredients that will help to enhance not only memory but focus and concentration.  The product should help in optimizing overall mental health.   Most importantly, the supplement must work safely and gently to restore cognitive functions.

There are several warnings that must be issued at this point when considering memory-boosting supplements.  These are as follows:

  • Do your research. Ask your doctor’s advice before taking. Specifically explore any possible interactions noortropic drugs may have with medications you are now taking.
  • Don’t take any substance, compound, or blend of substances unless the list of chemicals and the amounts are given.
  • Don’t chase suspicious chemicals in research status without the history of use and a safety profile.
  • Make rational and cautious choices and understand the side effects.
  • If the compound is NOT nootropic, it will have side effects.
  • Nootropics do NOT get you high, altered or weird.

I am recommending you log in to the web site “Daily Health Answers” and read the following article by Ms. Lisa Holt: Improving* Memory Function and Focus with Supplements.  This article rates the commercial products available now and will indicate customer reviews relative to effectiveness.  Again—consult your doctor prior to taking any drug—PERIOD.

I certainly hope you enjoy this one.


September 20, 2015

About fifty pages into this book I started casting for the movie.  It’s that good.  If I may, before I continue with this book review, let me give you several numbers.

Title:  The Girl on The Train

Written By:  Paula Hawkins

Published By:  Riverhead Books

Copyright:  2015:  323 Pages

The main characters in the book are as follows: Rachel, Megan, Tom, Scott, Kamal, Anna, and Cathy.   Of course there are others but these carry the plot to fruition and a very, very surprising climax.  Did not see this one coming.  Rachel IS the girl on the train.

The early plot involves what Rachel sees day after day riding on the train to and from London.  As you might expect, when you pass the same houses, stores, buildings twice each day you learn to notice what is new and what might be happening with those living within the row-houses along the way.    We learn early in the book that Rachel lost her position as an accountant and is desperately trying to keep her sister Cathy from knowing she has been fired.  The train ride each day is an absolute ploy.  Rachel is an alcoholic and a recent divorcee living with her sister until she “gets back on her feet”.  She still has great affection for her ex husband Tom and calls and texts him frequently.  This bothers to no end Tom’s new girlfriend Anna.  You might expect that.    One evening from a window seat on the train, Rachel notices something very odd and surprising.     What she sees is shocking.  Even though it’s only a minute until the train moves on, it’s enough time to realize that everything will change forever.  Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

“The Girl on the Train” is a mystery and suspense novel and follows the lives of three women – Rachel, Anna, and Megan – and the events surrounding Megan’s murder, ultimately bringing the lives of the three women together in a very dramatic manner.

We find out that Megan is suffering from depression based on a void in her life, caused by the accidental death of her baby girl years before. It is revealed that, although she loves her companion Scott, it wasn’t enough to fill the void, and Megan seeks to fill that emptiness any way she can.  This includes various affairs and therapy.

Paula Hawkins chooses to construct the book moving from character to character detailing occurrences in their past as well as “real time”.   This may sound complex but the book does flow in a fashion keeping the reader wondering what event might happen next.  Due to Rachel’s fight with alcoholism, you wonder, as does she, if her memory about events leading up to Megan’s murder are real or imaginary.  This is a plus in developing the plot and the climatic ending.  As it turns out, she remembers correctly more than once.  Anna and Rachel escape with their lives in a very dramatic fashion.

If I told you much more I would be giving away the plot entirely, but I can definitely recommend this book to you.  It’s quite frankly, an easy read and one that will keep you enthralled until completion.  Buy it—check it out of the library—borrow it from a neighbor.  Read it.


September 16, 2015

Do you ever wonder how smart is smart and what intellect qualifies as super smart?  How does one get there?  What does it take?  Are we born with intellect or do we develop intellect as we mature and grow?  Is there a “limitless” pill that can boost mental capacity?  Medical research tells us that maintaining good health is dependent upon: 1.) No smoking, 2.) No excessive drinking, 3.) Daily exercise, 4.) Proper low-fat diet and 5.) Continuous stimulation of our cerebral cortex can provide a long and healthy life.  Good physical condition produces good and lasting mental condition, certainly when mental stimulation is included in the mix.  If we look at I.Q. distribution on our planet, we find the following:

IQ Score Distribution

As you can see, this is a typical bell-shaped curve with the following basic delineations:

  • 140 and above—Genius or near genius
  • 130 to 139—Gifted
  • 120 to 129—Superior intelligence
  • 90 to 109—Average
  • 80 to 89—Dullness
  • 70 to 79—Borderline deficiency
  • 50 to 69—Mild mental retardation
  • 35 to 50—Moderate mental retardation
  • 20 to 35—Severe mental retardation
  • < 20—Profound mental retardation

Please note the percentage of each category.  By far, the average I.Q. lies between 85 and 115.  Let’s face it; we’ve done a lot with a normal I.Q.

It is very interesting to see a list of individuals considered to be the most intelligent people on the planet.  These people have been tested or their works have indicated significant I.Q.  Let me first state this list of ten (10) is subjective but evidence indicates they are definitely worthy of mention.  Let’s look.

  • Stephen Hawking—I.Q = 160. Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. At an early age, Hawking showed a passion for science and astronomy. At age twenty-one (21), while studying cosmology at the University of Cambridge, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Despite his debilitating illness, he has performed groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology.  He has written several books that have helped to make science accessible to everyone. To my great surprise, Dr. Hawking has penned nineteen books with most being translated into other languages.  Part of his life story was depicted in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything.
  • Albert Einstein—I.Q. = 160 to 190. Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany, on March 14, 1879. Six weeks later the family moved to Munich, where he began his schooling at the Luitpold Gymnasium.  Sometime later, his family moved to Italy while Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland.   In 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. In 1901, the year he gained his diploma, he acquired Swiss citizenship.   He was unable to find a teaching post so he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. In 1905 he obtained his doctor’s degree.  He spent his entire life working on the great mysteries of creation.
  • Judit Polgar—I.Q. = 170. Judit Polgár was born 23 July 1976 is a Hungarian chess grandmaster and is generally considered to be the strongest female chess player in history.   In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of fifteen (15) years and four (4) months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She is the youngest ever player, to date, to break into the FIDE (Federation International des Echecs ) top 100 players rating list, being ranked number fifty-five in the January 1989 rating list, at the age of twelve.  She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She is the first, and to date, only woman to have surpassed the 2700 Elo rating barrier, reaching a career peak rating of 2735 and peak world ranking of number eight, both achieved in 2005. She was the number one rated woman in the world from January 1989 up until the March 2015 rating list, when she was overtaken by Chinese player Hou Yifan; she was the No. 1 again in the August 2015 women’s rating list, in her last appearance in the FIDE World Rankings.
  • Leonardo de Vinci—I.Q. = 180 to 190 (estimated).  Born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci was concerned with the laws of science and nature, which greatly informed his work as a painter, sculptor, inventor and draftsman. His ideas and body of work—which includes “Virgin of the Rocks,” “The Last Supper,” “Leda and the Swan” and “Mona Lisa”—have influenced countless artists and made da Vinci a leading light of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Marilyn vos Savant—I.Q. = 190. Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1946, the young savant quickly developed an aptitude for math and science. At age ten (10), she was given two intelligence tests — the Stanford-Binet, and the Mega Test — both of which placed her mental capacity at that of a twenty-three year-old. She went on to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the “World’s Highest IQ,” and, as a result, gained international fame.  Despite her status as the “world’s smartest woman,” vos Savant maintained that attempts to measure intelligence were “useless,” and she rejected IQ tests as unreliable. In the mid-1980s, with free rein to choose a career path, she packed her bags and moved to New York City to be a writer.
  • Garry Kasparov—I.Q. = 194. Garry Kimovich Kasparov born Garik Kimovich Weinstein, 13 April 1963).  He is a Russian chess Grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.  From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked world number one for 225 out of 228 months. His peak rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the highest recorded until being passed by Magnus Carlsen in 2013. Kasparov also holds records for consecutive professional tournament victories (fifteen) and Chess Oscars.
  • Kim Ung-Young—I.Q. = 210.  Kim Ung-yong was born March 7, 1963.  He is a South Korean civil engineer and former child prodigy. Kim was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Highest IQ“; the book gave the boy’s score as about 210.  Guinness retired the “Highest IQ” category in 1990 after concluding IQ tests were too unreliable to designate a single record holder. Kim Ung-Yong was born in Hongje-dongSeoulSouth Korea. His father is Kim Soo-Sun, a professor.  He started speaking at the age of 6 months and was able to read Japanese, Korean, German, English and many other languages by his third birthday.   By the time he was four years old, his father claimed Ung-Yong had memorized about 2000 words in both English and German. He was writing poetry in Korean and Chinese, and wrote two very short books of essays both poems less than twenty pages in length.
  • Christopher Hirata—I.Q. = 225. Hirata was noticed to have an accelerated mind at an early age. At age three, he entertained himself at the grocery store,by calculating the total bill of items in his parent’s shopping cart, item-by-item, by weight, quantity, discounts, and sales tax. He was also reading the Dr. Seuss series to himself, able to recite the alphabet backwards, and had coded the alphabet sequence numerically, e.g. that the letter ‘O’ was fifteenth in the sequence. In the first grade, he was performing algebraic calculations.  Regarding his elementary and middle school years, by age twelve, he was talking college-level courses in physics and multivariable calculus. Hirata, at age thirteen, gained fame by winning gold medal at the 1996 International Physics Olympiad  (IPhO), an international competition among the world’s smartest math and science students (up to age nineteen), becoming the youngest medalist ever. Hirata’s showing at the IPhO was considered so record-breaking that IPhO organizers announced a special award for “Youngest Medalist”, awarded that year to Hirata, an award that has since become one of the most-coveted awards.  During meetings at the local McDonald’s, during this period, he and his friend Ben Newman, from the Physics Olympiad camp, “sat around writing general relativity equations out on the napkins,” recalls Newman. That year Hirata was ranked fifth in the world in physics, math, and science.
  • Terrance Tao—I.Q. 225 to 230.  Terence “Terry” Chi-Shen Tao was born 17 July 1975 in Adelaide. He is an Australian-American mathematician working in various areas of mathematics, but currently focusing on harmonic analysispartial differential equationsalgebraic combinatoricsarithmetic combinatorics, geometric  combinatoricscompressed sensing and analytic number theory. He currently holds the James and Carol Collins chair in mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tao was a co-recipient of the 2006 Fields Medal and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics.  Tao exhibited extraordinary mathematical abilities from an early age, attending university level mathematics courses at the age of nine. He and Lenhard  Ngare the only two children in the history of the Johns Hopkins’ Study of Exceptional Talent program to have achieved a score of 700 or greater on the SAT math section while just nine years old. Tao scored a 760.  In 1986, 1987, and 1988, Tao was the youngest participant to date in the International Mathematical Olympiad, first competing at the age of ten, winning a bronze, silver, and gold medal respectively.
  • William James Sidis—I.Q. = 250 to 300.  A human calculator and linguistic genius, Sidis was born to Russian immigrant parents in America in 1898, and is estimated to have had an astounding IQ estimated between 250 and 300.  He went to grammar school at six and graduated within seven months.  By eight years of age he finished high school. He petitioned Harvard University for admittance but, being too young, he was advised to wait two years and finally at age eleven, he became the youngest student to have ever enrolled at Harvard. He graduated at the age of sixteen and entered Harvard Law School at age eighteen.  During his course work at Harvard Law he became sick and tired of being considered remarkable and he dropped out before completing his degree. He taught math on the university level for sometime but left try something ordinary.   He tried to become anonymous by being a bookkeeper, a clerk and doing other jobs that were incommensurate with his talents. All the attention he got due to his remarkable mind made him almost a recluse and he died lonely and poor at the young age of forty-six.

These are remarkable individuals and most used and are using their great talents to make the world a better place to live.  Even with this being the case, I would like to close this post with my favorite quote.  It’s from “silent Cal”—President Calvin Coolidge.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Great quote and so true.  Think of all the things individuals with average intellect have accomplished over the past decades and centuries.  Average intelligence coupled with work ethic and resourcefulness can win the day.  You do not have to be a genius to reach your potential and do marvelous things.  As always, I welcome your comments.


September 7, 2015

Information for this post are taken from Design News Daily Magazine: Article by Mr. Rob Siegel Design News

Previously, in a post entitled “What Not to Do”, I provided three lists of occupations that just might not be too productive relative to employment or continued employment through 2022.  After spending four or more years in a course of study, then not being able to find a job, is at best very frustrating.  With that being the case, I also issued the following statement:

“I would again say—IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR A GIVEN PROFESSION, follow that passion, BUT make sure you are one of the best in the world.  Competition is global not just within the confines of our country.   In the post that will follow, I will indicate those STEM professions considered to be “everlasting” and indicate current open positions.  I was greatly surprised at the number of jobs that are waiting on acceptable candidates.”

OK, this is the post that follows.  Let’s take a look at those STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions that will remain viable and in demand through 2022.  These are not in any given order.  I would ask you to look at the text under each category indicating salary levels.  Also, I have listed job openings, at this time; i.e. right now, that exist.

Aerospace Engineering

Of the 1,375 jobs in aerospace, around eighty percent (80%) are mid-level positions. Twenty-five percent (25%) are located in California.

Applied Mathematics

In 2013 there were 3,500 job openings for mathematicians with a projected thirty-five percent (35%) increase expected through 2022.

Chemical Engineering

A good number of the 5,790 jobs are mid-level and yet twenty percent (20%) are at the senior-level.  The good news, there is no particular geographic location where chemical engineers are located.

Computer Engineering

Most of the 9,751 job openings are mid-level or senior-level.  As with Chemical Engineering, the jobs are dispersed evenly across the United States.

Electrical Engineering

There are 28,382 open positions for electrical engineers.  This discipline represents the second largest demand for engineers.  Software engineering is the first.  Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of the job openings are in California, with half in the San Jose area.  Most are mid-level but there are definitely openings for entry-level graduates.

Computer Science

There are 28,382 open positions for electrical engineers.  This discipline represents the second largest demand for engineers.  Software engineering is the first.  Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of the job openings are in California, with half in the San Jose area.  Most are mid-level but there are definitely openings for entry-level graduates.

Material Science

There are approximately 1046 job openings for professionals with degrees in Material Science.  Most in mid-level positions but companies are interviewing for entry-level positions.

Nucleur Engineering

In 2012, there were 20,400 NE job openings available in this country alone.  This number has greatly increased due to the need for engineers abroad.  We are beginning to wake up as a country and realize the technology has improved since Three-Mile Island.  We also know there were significant design errors made with Chernobyl and Fukushima.  Errors that will not be duplicated here in this country.

Petroleum Engineering

There are approximately 38,500 job openings for petroleum engineers.  A great profession and one that will not go away within this century.


This one may be a bit of a surprise but job growth for physics majors is projected to steadily increase at the rate of seven percent (7%) through 2022.  This discipline prepares an individual for employment in several other STEM professions.

                                      BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

Biomedical Engineering

This is not only a growing profession but a fascinating occupation.  The technology is advancing at an extremely rapid rate and there is no shortage of challenge.

                                    INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

Industrial Engineering

                                      PROCESS ENGINEERING

Process Engineering


                          MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING

Manufacturing Engineering

These 8,234 job openings are located throughout the United States.  No one industry captures a great percentage of the market.


                                        QUALITY ENGINEERING

Quality Engineering


                                     MECHANICAL ENGINEERING


Mechanical Engineering


                                    SOFTWARE ENGINEERING


Software Engineering

As you can see, software engineers are certainly in demand with 158,323 job openings available right now.  This is the reason for demands that HB-1 visas remain available.  Companies cannot find qualified US citizens to fill these vacancies.

The STEM professions will remain the most viable option for employment for the future.  I would like to indicate to you that YOU CAN DO THIS.  You do not have to be a genius to graduate with a four year degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the above professions.  Do NOT be intimidated with the work. IT’S “DOABLE”.

As always, I welcome your comments.


September 6, 2015

Data for this post is derived from the following sources: 1.) The Simple Dollar, 2.) Forbes Online, 3.) The Daily Beast, and 4.) Design News Daily: Article by Mr. Rob Siegel

If you follow my posts you surely know by now that I am a mechanical engineer-registered in the State of Tennessee as a professional engineer.  You also know that I have a great interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.  With that being the case, I make a concentrated effort to stay abreast of current trends relative to 1.) Graduation Rates, 2.) Starting Salaries, 3.) Developments in Technology, 4.) Salary Levels vs. time in profession, and 5.) HB-1 Visa allowances.  You get the picture.  I was asked the other day, “If you were doing it all over again, what career path would you follow?”  I would choose engineering again but possibly a different branch of engineering such as materials or biomedical engineering.  These two disciplines are experiencing tremendous growth and provide contributions to our society that will be everlasting.

The conversation got me to thinking, other than the STEM professions, which professions are in great demand.  What professions should a senior-level high school student steer away from?  Which careers might present difficulties relative to salary level, possible advancement and overall job satisfaction?   Many students ask the very same questions.  We all know that changing majors during college years can be time consuming and with the loss of credits, thus prolonging graduation.  The following three (3) lists were compiled by looking at probable job opportunities through 2022.  Now, please keep in mind, there is room in any profession for the VERY BEST in that profession.  I certainly don’t want to appear negative relative to having an individual follow their passion.   Also, these are not presented in any given order.    The first on each list does not represent the “worst” profession to steer away from.  I do consider the three sources to be reliable and capable in making a judgment concerning the viability of occupations for the long haul.  Let’s just look at what areas to shy away from.

The Simple Dollar: “10 Worst College Degrees to earn in 2015”

  • Communications
  • Psychology
  • Theater Arts
  • Fashion Design
  • Sociology
  • Liberal Arts (This covers a range of disciplines and I wish they had been more specific.)
  • Microelectronic Engineering
  • Fine Arts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Hospitality and Tourism


  • Anthropology and Archeology
  • Video and Photographic Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Music
  • Physical Fitness and Parks and Recreation
  • Commercial Art and Graphic Design
  • History
  • English Language and Literature


  • Political Science and Government
  • History
  • Music
  • Hospitality Management
  • Anthropology and Archeology
  • Journalism
  • English Literature and Language Studies
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • Architecture
  • Commercial Art and Graphic Design
  • Film, Video and Photographic Studies
  • Drama and Theater Arts
  • Fine Arts

Several on these lists really surprise me and I would take issue with.  Microelectronic engineering is really “hot” right now due to continuing demand for computer science.  We bring in through H1B visas, hundreds of individuals to fill needed positions within the computer science field.   Physical Fitness for a very fat America is not only needed but provides a great contribution to the health and wellbeing of those participants.  (I think participants is the operative word here.) In our global economy, there will always be a need for multi-lingual practitioners providing interpretation for the rest of us not to mention filling open positions abroad for multi-national American companies.

I would again say—IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR A GIVEN PROFESSION, follow that passion, BUT make sure you are one of the best in the world.  Competition is not global not just within the confines of our country.   In the post that will follow this one, I will indicate those STEM professions considered to be “everlasting” and indicate current open positions.  I was greatly surprised at the number of jobs that are waiting on acceptable candidates.


September 4, 2015

The data from which this post is taken may be seen from the following sources: 1.) Business Insider, 2.) Investopedia, 3.) World Stock Exchanges 4.) and 5.) The World’s Richest Countries.    The text is mine.

There is absolutely no doubt the United States of America exists in a global community.  Proof of this statement can be seen from various trade agreements between our country and others.  We have regional, multilateral and bilateral trade agreement with other countries with a fairly long list of agreements “in the works”.  published the following news release on February 15, 2015:

“U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that U.S. exports in 2014 set a record for the fifth consecutive year, reaching $2.35 trillion. International Trade in U.S. Goods and Services data released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce show that U.S. exports are up more than $760 billion since 2009.”

So much for exports.  Now let’s look at imports. From The World’s Richest Countries we see the following:

“America is the world’s second-richest country and largest importer. In 2014, the US bought US $2.410 trillion worth of imported products. That total is up by 22.5% since 2010.”

We export and import from just about every country in the world.  The top ten (10) imports from three of our most important trading partners are as follows:




There is other trading on a daily basis accomplished between investors through stock markets over the world. Hourly buying and selling occurs between markets providing huge opportunities for those individuals and financial institutions savvy enough to take advantage of trading mechanisms established decades ago. If we examine the market capitalization figures for the most prominent stock exchanges we see the following:


Let’s now define market capitalization.

“The total dollar market value of all of a company’s outstanding shares.  Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying a company’s shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determine a company’s size, as opposed to sales or total asset figures.  If a company has 35 million shares outstanding, each with a market value of $100, the company’s market capitalization is $3.5 billion (35,000,000 x $100 per share).”

The following list will indicate the top twenty (20) stock markets over the world.  I have given digital photographs of the trading floors for the top five (5) and brief information relative to each.

  1. New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)– Headquartered in New York City. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 14,242; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 20,161.

The largest stock exchange in the world by both market capitalization and trade value.  The NYSE is the premier listing venue for the world’s leading large- and medium-sized companies. Operated by NYSE Euronext, the holding company created by the combination of NYSE Group, Inc. and Euronext N.V., NYSE offers a broad and growing array of financial products and services in cash equities, futures, options, exchange-traded products (ETPs), bonds, market data, and commercial technology solutions. Featuring more than 8000 listed issues it includes 90% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 82% of the S&P 500 stock market indexes volume.


  1. NASDAQ OMX– Headquartered in New York City. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 4,687; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 13,552.

Second largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization and trade value. The exchange is owned by NASDAQ OMX Group which also owns and operates 24 markets, 3 clearinghouses and 5 central securities depositories supporting equities, options, fixed income, derivatives, commodities, futures and structured products. It is a home to approximately 3,400 listed companies and its main index is the NASDAQ Composite, which has been published since its inception. Stock market is also followed by S&P 500 index.


  1. Tokyo Stock Exchange– Headquartered in Tokyo. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 3,325; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 3,972.

Third largest stock exchange market in the world by aggregate market capitalization of its listed companies. It had 2,292 companies which are separated into the First Section for large companies, the Second Section for mid-sized companies, and the Mothers section for high growth startup companies. The main indices tracking Tokyo Stock Exchange are the Nikkei 225 index of companies selected by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the TOPIX index based on the share prices of First Section companies, and the J30 index of large industrial companies. 94 domestic and 10 foreign securities companies participate in TSE trading. The London Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange are developing jointly traded products and share technology.


  1. London Stock Exchange– Headquartered in London. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 3,266; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 2,871.

Located in London City, it is the oldest and fourth-largest stock exchange in the world. The Exchange was founded in 1801 and its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul’s Cathedral. It is the most international of all the world’s stock exchanges, with around 3,000 companies from over 70 countries admitted to trading on its markets. The London Stock Exchange runs several markets for listing, giving an opportunity for different sized companies to list. For the biggest companies exists the Premium Listed Main Market, while in terms of smaller SME’s the Stock Exchange operates the Alternative Investment Market and for international companies that fall outside the EU, it operates the Depository Receipt scheme as a way of listing and raising capital.


  1. Shanghai Stock Exchange– Headquartered in Shanghai. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 2,357; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 3,658.

It is the world’s 5th largest stock market by market capitalization and one of the two stock exchanges operating independently in the People’s Republic of China. Unlike the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the SSE is not entirely open to foreign investors. The main reason is tight capital account controls by Chinese authorities. The securities listed at the SSE include the three main categories of stocks, bonds, and funds. Bonds traded on SSE include treasury bonds, corporate bonds, and convertible corporate bonds. The largest company in SSE is PetroChina (market value – 3,656.20 billion).


  1. Euronext
  2. Frankfurt Stock Exchange
  3. Shenzhen Stock Exchange
  4. Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  5. Toronto Stock Exchange
  6. BM & F Bovespa
  7. Australian Securities Exchange
  8. Deutsche Borse
  9. Bombay Stock Exchange
  10. National Stock Exchange of India
  11. Korea Exchange
  12. OMX Nordic Exchange
  13. JSE Limited
  14. BME Spanish Exchanges
  15. Taiwan Exchanges

It is very obvious all of the exchanges exist and thrive with capitalism being the model.  Free unfettered trade has become the norm even though countries do place restrictions on imports to protect their basic industries.  It would be marvelous (I think) if all restrictions on goods other than weapons of mass destruction could be traded freely and without tariffs.

I certainly, as always, welcome your comments.

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