The entity ‘we’ cannot have hopes and dreams

George Will expresses a profound truth about individuals versus collectives in his recent column:

The accusations and demands are ascribed to something fictitious, the “international community.” The word “community” connotes a certain cement of shared values and aspirations. So, what community includes Denmark and Yemen, Canada and Iran, New Zealand and Congo, Italy and North Korea? “International community” is empty cant that bewitches the minds of earnest diplomats such as John Kerry…

Yes. There is no ‘we’.

-JD Cross


Awesomeness: suspended animation

Research doctors have put pigs into a short-term state of suspended animation to test whether the procedure could be used to increase the time that doctors have in treating severe trauma patients. The results appear very positive.

It is worth, however, pointing out that gross oversight that the PRI reporter makes in describing the story. First, Alexa Lim states, “But that procedure could come to a hospital near you in the next few years.” But this time frame is completely unrealistic given the regulatory process, a fact that Alexa Lim points out near the end of the article:

Even such basic trials come with major safety and ethical concerns, so they must meet standards set out by special hospital review boards. Because the technique will need to be used on trauma victims where there’s no time to get consent even from relatives, doctors will have to educate all potential patients in a community — potentially hundreds of thousands of people — in case some want to opt out in advance.

“That’s why it’s extremely difficult and challenging and time-consuming and expensive to do these trials,” Alam says.

I find this internal cognitive dissonance disturbing for two reasons. One: Internal to their own (rather short) article, does the reporter not realize what they’re writing? Second, and much more importantly: white washing the destructiveness of the regulatory process helps nobody (save the regulators). People die because the regulatory process is a huge, lumbering, slow process. These are the very real but very invisible deaths of those who might have been saved had regulators not restricted a product or procedure or moved more quickly to approve something. I do wish that reporters would point this out more often.

-JD Cross


Awesomeness: Six Californias

Tim Draper’s ballot initiative to split California into six states has garnered enough signatures to get onto the 2016 ballot.

Regardless of whether this is actually a good idea vis-a-vis the ultimate implementation, it’s fantastic to see that people – 1.3 million, so far, in the case of Tim Draper’s initiative – recognize that government itself is a problem and that there is a way to try to fix it – namely, by trying to fix it and by recognizing that trying to fix it almost certainly means breaking it and/or starting from scratch.

There has been remarkably little innovation in government in the United States since its birth. It’s encouraging to see that maybe, finally, we’ll be getting some.

Joseph Ivy would approve.

-JD Cross


Immigration: manufacturing votes

I often write about government spending as a mechanism for buying votes.

There are other ways of getting votes, not buying them, but manufacturing them. Here is an excellent article that describes how the current crisis at the border with Mexico is or could be* an attempt to manufacture votes by the Dems.

For the sake of this post and any commentary on it, ignore the commentary in the linked article. I only focus my attention on the notion that the immigration border crisis is a tool being used to manufacture votes.

As Rahm Emmanuel has said, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Ah, the thinking of a master politician and altogether ridiculous human being.

-JD Cross

* – I am a little bit skeptical that it actually is an attempt to manufacture votes simply because it is a somewhat elaborate plan, the likes of which I doubt anybody in Washington has the intelligence or patience for. That being said, the one skill that politicians DO have is getting themselves elected.

Evolve, Part 1: Incentives is free this weekend

Free at Amazon.

-JD Cross


Ecology is hard

Turns out that for a long time scientists were wrong about whales’ role in the ecosystem.

Are they correct now?

Will policy change as a result of the new findings?

Should it?

-JD Cross


Life imitates art: some scientists are cheaters

Sometimes it’s an insider’s game.

Just like in Evolve.

-JD Cross



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