Today the weather is cloudy, the sky is covered by a white layer, no more blue, and the air is quite humid. It is still very warm.
The focus of the ESOF conference today is significantly on government policies regarding research funding. In many talks, there appears the notion that the US is far ahead, and that Europe needs to catch up. "Threatening" are the increased efforts in the Asian area, specifically by China. The consequence of this is that measures are being recommended, for increasing Europe's research activities and moving forward to a "Knowledge Economy", as outlined in the so-called "Lisbon Agenda". A lot of buzzwords here, many people talking and thinking, while the rest of the world is just doing, and is moving ahead. I personally believe that all this planning and policy making has a lot of inherent overhead built-in and reduces the effectiveness of any measure. As I have seen it in the US: there is less policy, less bureaucracy, must more immediate action, and a willingness to take more risks. That is why they are more successful, at least considered in a simplified viewpoint.