one-upmanship aside, I am in full agreement with you on the need for pure science. It is a passion of mine, as it appears to be one of yours. What I said before is fully in line with that passion for scientific accuracy. And I mean every word of it in a very positive way.
I have noticed what you call "murderous competition for..." also in the machineshop trade. The individual is being discounted and management "already knows it all" and everything is already in the computer.
The result is: they don't need people any longer and lay off key employees. The result is unheard amounts of scrap, and even 100% scrap rate has become "acceptable" (I am talking about 300k$ bulkheads weighing tons, made of titanium, one blank alone costs over 100k$), where I used to work. It is all written off to old machinery, when two months before that same old machinery produced only 5% scrap.
Fact is, personall skill are being ignored and even despised in favor of insanity programmed into computers. The new virtual generation appears to be losing it all in the blink of an eye.
I am identifying with your frustrations and just want you to know I did not mean to ad to them.