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Geek Tragedy

Is America falling behind in the production of brainiacs?

Next time you catch the kids dismantling the vacuum cleaner and trying to feed its components to the cat, a little praise might be in order. America, it seems, is running short of people willing to do such work: Of all U.S. college grads, only 5.6 percent hold degrees in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), compared with almost 47 percent in China. This month in Houston, the Offshore Technology Conference hosts the latest in a series of STEM workshops for high school students, aiming to halt a slide that, as the numbers show, could have profound national and social implications. —CHRIS WRIGHT

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