Tuesday Highlights

Well, the startup push is still on after working the weekend. So posting yesterday (and comments responses have been slow). Sorry.

  1. A big bug.
  2. She blinded me with “science”.
  3. An approach to Jewish/Christian communications.
  4. Of schooling and culture.
  5. The flexibility of Obamacare exchanges … or not.
  6. The poster also notes the number of people beaten and/or mugged “for being not-black” right? Oh. No? Hmm.
  7. Paul Krugman is an idiot. Seriously, … he actually pretends to think that the “cost” of bureaucracy and regulation is the salary of the bureaucrat(s). Man that’s top fuel stupid.
  8. Terrorism is best defined by the method not the motive.
  9. Madness.

35 responses to “Tuesday Highlights

  1. 5.The flexibility of Obamacare exchanges … or not.

    This proves that Obamacare is successful. Look at this horror story. Family buys insurance from private insurance company. They pay premiums but insurance company puts the wrong birthdate on the id cards that they print. Because of that the insurance company rejects a million dollar claim from a hospital for neonatal care.

    Ok so I’m not seeing how this is either Obamacare or an Obamacare typo. Nor do I see any shortfall in the law here. This is pretty simple stuff, there’s a private contract between the insurance company and family (whether they ‘found’ each other thru an exchange is irrelevant). Family pays premiums, company pays health expenses. The insurance company then has to simply correct their IT system, print a new ID card and, most importantly, pay the hospital.

  2. #7 Hmmmm the source of this is here (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/libertarian-fantasies/)

    Upon reading this, what accounts for Mark’s assertions? Choices are:
    A. Dishonesty
    B. Stupidity

  3. 8.Terrorism is best defined by the method not the motive.

    A train wreck of an argument. For example, shooting hundreds to thousands of rockets into a country is not an act of war but is terrorism because those rockets lack guidance systems. OK so from the invention of artillery and rockets until maybe the late 90’s almost all bombs and rockets used by all the world’s militaries lacked guidance systems. Does that mean before maybe the 2nd Gulf War there were no militaries in the entire world, only terrorists?

    If you want to define terrorism as simply any group that uses violence for a cause you disagree with, then fine. Be upfront about that. But try to do something better than tossing out a dozen contradicting definitions and trying to apply them all at once.

  4. #6

    So you are equating police to muggers? I’ll keep that in mind should you ever run for office.

  5. Boonton,

    If you want to define terrorism as simply any group that uses violence for a cause you disagree with, then fine. Be upfront about that.

    Didn’t. So, what are you a talking about?

    For example, shooting hundreds to thousands of rockets into a country is not an act of war but is terrorism because those rockets lack guidance systems.

    Not my definition of terrorism. Shooting rockets (unguided) is not terrorism because the rockets are unguided. It’s terrorism because you’re shooting them using civilians as intentional cover while not wearing uniforms. When you fire at civilians to prompt a military response which will kill schoolchildren because you just “happen” to be firing from a occupied schoolyard … that’s terrorism. This definition has nothing to do with “causes I disagree with”. I might even have sympathy for Palestine but I won’t consider that until they stop perpetrating horrors. You apparently will have sympathy for mass murderers because you can look beyond that to their cause. I’m unclear on why my hesitance to do that is something for which you have no tolerance.

  6. Boonton,
    Well, I was going by the quoted piece and … on reading the original … I stand by my claim. Krugman is indeed pretending the first (highest) cost of bureaucracy is the salary of the bureaucrat. I maintain that is top fuel stupid. To claim that this “isn’t the License Raj” doesn’t mean that we aren’t suffering from over-regulation. Heck. You (I thought) work in pharm. How can you pretend that regulations aren’t high cost?

  7. Boonton,
    On a more serious note, how would an economist pretend to measure lost opportunity to regulatory burdens? If they don’t have a good way of measuring a thing, do they pretend it doesn’t exist?

  8. Not my definition of terrorism. Shooting rockets (unguided) is not terrorism because the rockets are unguided. It’s terrorism because you’re shooting them using civilians as intentional cover while not wearing uniforms.

    Yet we are talking about the post you linked too which made much of whether or not the rockets were guided, not whether civilians were used as cover, as the definition of what is or isn’t terrorism. Of course that’s strange because then your blogger is actually saying Hamas’s victims are Palestinians, not the Jews who they shoot rockets at. An assertion that would strike Jewish residents who periodically have to shelter from rockets as a bit strange. Of course then he switched course and asserted terrorism is whatever the US state department lists as a terrorist organization.

    When you fire at civilians to prompt a military response which will kill schoolchildren because you just “happen” to be firing from a occupied schoolyard … that’s terrorism.

    Is the Pentagon terrorism then? It’s clearly located in a civilian zone, one that would be destroyed if it was hit by even a modest sized nuclear weapon. If we say a 5 mile radius is a reasonable ‘nuke buffer’ for major military installations is there any state in the union that could not be called a ‘US Terrorism victim’ by your definition?

    I stand by my claim. Krugman is indeed pretending the first (highest) cost of bureaucracy is the salary of the bureaucrat. I maintain that is top fuel stupid

    So you’re claiming to be a type of stupid rather than a type of dishonest? Or since your attention has been called to the fact that maybe you’ missed some important context by not reading the post you are purposefully keeping yourself ignorant by then not reading it. An indifference to one’s duty to the truth can be said to be an act against the truth itself, which would make you dishonest.

    On a more serious note, how would an economist pretend to measure lost opportunity to regulatory burdens? If they don’t have a good way of measuring a thing, do they pretend it doesn’t exist?

    At best it would have to be measured very indirectly. For example, how much would someone be willing to pay to avoid the regulation? Consider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priority_review_voucher. The idea is simple, if you found a drug for a very rare tropical disease, you could have a voucher to get faster review from the FDA for some future drug. You could sell this voucher so even if you yourself don’t happen to have a new drug up your sleeve, you can sell it off to someone who does. When the program was instituted it was estimated that the voucher could go for $300M or more. So if the review regulations were very burdensome, it would be a huge incentive to invent tropical drugs or buy vouchers from those who did. Yet the program has had few vouchers issued and they’ve gone for much less.

    There are other areas where you can pay to avoid regulatory authority. For example, railroad land is subject to Federal regulation so you can dodge many state and local ones by leasing land from a railroad. Yet does land leased from railroads carry a huge premium relative to other like land?

    Likewise in places that have a ‘license raj’, you can probably measure the economic value lost by measuring the bribes collected by ‘license raj’s’. You wouldn’t pay a $1000 bribe, for example, unless whatever it is you want has a value of at least $1000.

  9. It’s terrorism because you’re shooting them using civilians as intentional cover while not wearing uniforms. When you fire at civilians to prompt a military response which will kill schoolchildren because you just “happen” to be firing from a occupied schoolyard … t

    Something about this didn’t make sense to me. If you see a rocket launcher being set up in a school yard why not wait until schools out and bomb it? Then it occurred to me to read a bit out the Hammas rockets:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qassam_rocket

    In short they are bout 5-6 feet high. Essentially hand held or carried in a car. So are they literary shooting rockets from among a gathering of children? Probably not. If one is shoot from a school yard it makes no sense to bomb the yard unless you do it immediately after the launch. If not then the yard ceases to be a legitimate target (after a brief while, odds that the launcher is still there get low and the chance of non-combatants coming by goes up). Likewise at only 5 feet high they can be considered a ‘personal weapon’ meaning a military could expect militia members to store them at home.

    This doesn’t mean rocket stores are not a legit target for the Israeli army, they are. It does however make the need to define what the difference is between terrorism and war more pressing.

  10. Boonton,
    Are you asking me to intuit and then defend the linked blogger’s definition of terrorism or mine. I’ll choose the latter (and we can talk about yours). You want to identify terror vs war as “protest vs purposed” political actions. Hamas terror is purposed. It is to drive Israel out of existence. Right now they seek to discredit Israel in the eyes of the West/world. One technique is to provoke a response to an attack and publicize (or invent) the horrors those responses engender on their civilian population. Do you or do you not disagree with that? Is that terror or war?

    Let’s go to the professionals for examples. Stalin and Hitler practiced terror on their own and occupied civilian populations. This was effectively terrorism, although not called such often (exceptions exist) but the point is actions were taken specifically to terrorise and raise fear in civilian populations. When a group or individual targets civilians with death or fear of death or large-scale property damage in order to provoke a response either in the target population or a witnessing population that is terror. It isn’t about “motive”, it’s about tactics that define terror. You distinguish murder from theft not by motive but by tactics. Likewise you distinguish war from terror by tactics not motive. I’ve given examples of wars fought without what you would allow as motive. I’ve given examples of politics without goals (Thomas Paine’s pamphlet). Look. If you want to make a new definition for things, that’s find. It might be useful for examining hard cases. But it first has to agree the basics. If you want to make a new definitions for fruits (for example), and your definition works for oranges and bananas but alas, apples turn out to be “not-fruit”. Then your definitions is flawed and isn’t workable. Why? Because everybody knows apples are fruit. If your definitions finds Palestinian beheadings of journalists and firing mortars/rockets from schoolyards, hospital roofs, and mosques … so that they can provoke a response which they can use to discredit their opponent for “attacking children and so on”, that is terror. Everybody thinks it’s terror. It isn’t war. If your definition calls it war, then it’s a bad definition.

    So you’re claiming to be a type of stupid rather than a type of dishonest? Or since your attention has been called to the fact that maybe you’ missed some important context by not reading the post you are purposefully keeping yourself ignorant by then not reading it. An indifference to one’s duty to the truth can be said to be an act against the truth itself, which would make you dishonest.

    It seems you are hinting that I missed something which I didn’t see (in the first case reading only the quoted text) and on your suggestion going to the source link and finding nothing to contradict what I’d claimed.

    At best it would have to be measured very indirectly.

    Doesn’t mean it isn’t large. You suggest drugs. Let me ask you the following. Typically if you want to develop a drug you have to develop the drug with a given chemical makeup mfg’d in a particular way. Then you have to have a long series of animal and human trial. Yes? How then might you make a future drug, which goes down a different development route. I take your say, cancer cells and your T-cells, and from those cells develop particular targetted antibody which will bind to it and which will activate your immune system. This drug will not work on anyone but you and your cancer. How to get approval? My reading of the current FDA approval mechanisms is … you can’t. Ever. Seems to me “bureaucrat salary” isn’t the high pole in the regulatory cost tent. If you think it is, I’m going to call that Hi-Test Stupid. Sorry. That’s how I see it.

    Regulation. How about this. (skim it).

  11. Boonton,
    The “correct” response in wartime to a mobile rocket launch would to be put fire on the source location ASAP to catch the team before they can move. Not to wait until nightfall or query “gosh could they be shooting from a shopping center or school”. If they happen to be shooting from a shopping center, hospital or schoolyard (with kids) casualty blame lies on the rocketeer not the response. You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that. It’s just that lots of liberals (especially in Europe) like to forget that.

  12. The “correct” response in wartime to a mobile rocket launch would to be put fire on the source location ASAP to catch the team before they can move.

    I think I already said that. However you’re now talking about war. Before you said it was terrorism and you were using a rather strange definition of terrorism…namely it was terrorism against Palestinians because the expected return fire would likely harm Palestinian civilians (although I’m skeptical of this….we are hearing something like a few thousand Palestinians dead so far….that seems very low for a serious military conflict so that tells me either neither side are hitting each other or that little of the return fire is in fact hitting civilians). This is at odds with almost all mainstream commentary on the subject which considers the Hammas rocket attacks to be terrorism against Israel, not terrorism against fellow residents of Gaza!

  13. You want to identify terror vs war as “protest vs purposed” political actions. Hamas terror is purposed. It is to drive Israel out of existence. Right now they seek to discredit Israel in the eyes of the West/world

    The first would be war, not terrorism. If Russia invaded the Ukraine and sought to make it a terroritory of Russia we’d say that was war. The second might make a valid goal fitting a rational definition of terrorism but the key to the ‘politics vs protest’ distinction is pragmatism. Terrorism is disconntected from pragmatic ways to achieve the purported goal while politics/war is not. Here I would say you’re relying upon ‘mission statements’ for analyzing the Hamas-Israel conflict when you should look to what is actually being done on the ground on both sides. Israel is demanding Hamas disarm, Hamas wants Israel to life the economic blockade. This seems very political to me rather than an existential question of who gets to exist.

    When a group or individual targets civilians with death or fear of death or large-scale property damage in order to provoke a response either in the target population or a witnessing population that is terror. It isn’t about “motive”, it’s about tactics that define terror.

    I’m not following how this ties into your definition of Hamas acting by terror by using civilian centers to launch and store rockets? Are you saying Hamas is trying to terrorize Gazens by getting Israel to attack them? Your statement sounds like you’re moving back towards one of the blogger’s definitions you cited…the rockets are terrorism because they are supposedly ‘aimed’ at civilians (although they seem to be so unguided it’s a stretch to say they are aimed at anything over than Israel as a whole).

    Krugman

    It seems you are hinting that I missed something which I didn’t see (in the first case reading only the quoted text) and on your suggestion going to the source link and finding nothing to contradict what I’d claimed.

    OK you humiliated yourself enough here. Krugman’s blog post was addressing two ‘libertarian fantasies’. The first:

    Mike Konczal takes on a specific example: the currently trendy idea among libertarians that we can make things much better by replacing the welfare state with a basic guaranteed income. As Mike says, this notion rests on the belief that the welfare state is a crazily complicated mess of inefficient programs, and that simplification would save enough money to pay for universal grants that are neither means-tested nor conditional on misfortune. But the reality is nothing like that. The great bulk of welfare-state spending comes from a handful of major programs, and these programs are fairly efficient, with low administrative costs

    At that point Krugman backs up his assertion by noting the non-defense Federal Workforce consists of only 6% of Federal spending, so even if you found a way to dispense entitlement money without using any workers, there would not be some huge pot of funds freed up to pay for some type of ‘universal grants’ or ‘guranteed income’ in their place.

    Krugman then turns to the issue of regulation…

    And what Konczal says about welfare is also true, although harder to quantify, for regulation. For sure there are wasteful and unnecessary government regulations — but not nearly as many as libertarians want to believe. When, for example, meddling bureaucrats tell you what you can and can’t have in your dishwashing detergent, it turns out that there’s a very good reason. America in 2014 is not India under the License Raj…..

    This set of points begin with Krugman admitting it is much harder to quantify what the cost is for regulation as a whole. The salaries of regulators, though, is not presented as a way to measure the cost of regulation nor is it related to the regulation point in any way.

    I don’t think he meant it but Cowen’s blog is pretty distortive by snipping away the entire part about replacing welfare/entitlements with ‘universal grants’ thereby giving the reader the impression the payroll cost of the federal bureaucracy was related to the discussion over regulation. That doesn’t vindicate yourself since your attention was called to the possible misunderstanding and you refused to exercise due diligance which makes you dishonest.

    I take your say, cancer cells and your T-cells, and from those cells develop particular targetted antibody which will bind to it and which will activate your immune system

    I suggest you do some googling. This sort of thing is being explored as we speak.

    Also I’m not even sure you’re describing a drug. It sounds more like a type of genetic therapy where rather than introducing some chemical to the body you are trying to trigger some modification to the body’s cells themselves. If you hit google you’ll see a lot of stories about attempts to use genetically engineered viruses to insert DNA into people to treat or cure diseases.

  14. Boonton,

    Also I’m not even sure you’re describing a drug. It sounds more like a type of genetic therapy where rather than introducing some chemical to the body you are trying to trigger some modification to the body’s cells themselves. If you hit google you’ll see a lot of stories about attempts to use genetically engineered viruses to insert DNA into people to treat or cure diseases.

    No. I’m describing a machine. In goes target cells and T-cells, out comes therapy in solution in small amounts for injection. You want to sell said machine. How? If I wanted to use said machine, what risk would that entail for you? None, I venture. Which begs the underlying question, why do you think the feds should have a monopoly decision on what risk I think appropriate for myself?

    That doesn’t vindicate yourself since your attention was called to the possible misunderstanding and you refused to exercise due diligance which makes you dishonest.

    Actually you didn’t call “attention” to said risk you only said that I was stupid or lying. I asked what you referred to and just repeated the allegation. Finally you clarify. I see. I took the “is also true” statement of Krugman’s to mean that what held for his (actually lame attempt at defending entitlements) held for regulation (that is, that the costs were where I said they were). If you notice, his only rebuttal against high costs of regulations is that they are hard to quantify, which alas isn’t actually a rebuttal. So, apparently, Mr Krugmen isn’t hi-test stupid for claiming the costs of regulations are the costs of the regulator salaries, he just as stupidly saying the high costs of regulation don’t exist because he can’t measure them. That’s alas, just as dumb. Btw, I wasn’t defending the first part, but Krugman fails to make his case there as well. It has been pointed out (elsewhere) that based on the amount of money allocated to programs to assist the poor divided by the number of said poor people, would give close to a six figure income per year to said poor. However they don’t get that. Mr Krugman points out the federal (only?) salaries to regulators of such programs do not account for the loss. He alas, does not identify where those losses go. Where? Corrruption, graft, and other waste (because salary isn’t it) are two possibilies. Another possibility is Mr Krugman is being dishonest (or stupid) by not noticing State and local regulators suck off a the rest. But … even so, I was addressing the regulation end of it, …. you didn’t comment on the Sandefur pdf. Did you read it?

    Are you saying Hamas is trying to terrorize Gazens by getting Israel to attack them?

    You ask. Let’s see. What did I actually say? “One technique is to provoke a response to an attack and publicize (or invent) the horrors those responses engender on their civilian population.” What don’t you understand? They are trying to show Israeli atrocities. If they weren’t attacking, generating violent response … there would be no atrocities.

    Israel is demanding Hamas disarm, Hamas wants Israel to life the economic blockade.

    Let’s see. Hamas “wants Israel to lift the blockade”? Naivete rules, eh? Why the blockade? Hmm. Ongoing violence initiated by Hamas. If they’d stop the violence then the blockade would release. But … Hamas is doing the violence (by your lights) only to lift the blockade. Even Hamas is smart enough to see a way clear of that problem. The violence would end today if that was actually the reason for it. You need to lift your blinders and realize Hamas “reason for violence” isn’t an economic blockade.

  15. No. I’m describing a machine. In goes target cells and T-cells, out comes therapy in solution in small amounts for injection. You want to sell said machine

    OK, first that still isn’t a drug. Second, are you describing something like this?

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/07/health/cohen-cancer-study/

    Finally you clarify. I see. I took the “is also true” statement of Krugman’s to mean that what held for his (actually lame attempt at defending entitlements) held for regulation (that is, that the costs were where I said they were). …

    I specifically alerted you to the fact that you had made an important context error from not reading the actual post. You wrote:

    It seems you are hinting that I missed something which I didn’t see (in the first case reading only the quoted text) and on your suggestion going to the source link and finding nothing to contradict what I’d claimed.

    To me that sounds like you claimed to have read Krugman’s post (‘the source’) and saw nothing that contradicted your claim. Yet Krugman’s post was crystal clear. (BTW, his statement wasn’t actually a defense of entitlements but a criticism of the libertarian idea that serious amounts of money could be freed up by replacing all the rules about who gets entitlements with a single, simple, ‘grant’ of some type).

    If you notice, his only rebuttal against high costs of regulations is that they are hard to quantify, which alas isn’t actually a rebuttal.

    Actually he also makes the qualitative statement that the US has nothing like the ‘license raj’. Hard to quantify is indeed a problem but that doesn’t make the libertarian argument true. It’s hard to see what’s in the bottom of Loch Ness, that doesn’t mean those who believe the monster is real have a case.

    It has been pointed out (elsewhere) that based on the amount of money allocated to programs to assist the poor divided by the number of said poor people, would give close to a six figure income per year to said poor

    How exactly does that work if the Federal workforce cost is only 6% of Federal non-defense spending? This sounds like you are taking programs that do not just go to the poor (social security, medicare) and asking what would happen if converted them into lump sums to poor people? Well…

    1. Sure if you took tens of millions of people’s social security checks and gave them to millions you’d dramatically boost income for those millions.

    2. This isn’t the libertarian proposal. Such a proposal would still require workers to figure out who was really poor hence entitled to a lump sum. The libertarian ‘universal grant’ proposal would give everyone a lump sum and since you wouldn’t need as many workers to track who does or doesn’t make the cut you could give the poor more . The math simply doesn’t work.

    Mr Krugman points out the federal (only?) salaries to regulators of such programs do not account for the loss.

    Errr no Krugman is using federal salaries to provide a generous estimate of what could possibly be paid to people who are running entitlement programs. Of course that 6% is high since it includes people doing law enforcement, manning the parks, the library of congress, customs and so on that has nothing to do with deciding who gets food stamps or not. The fact that some of that 6% goes to regulators also reinforces Krugman’s argument since the actual figure of what it costs to run programs (i.e. printing checks, answering phone calls, inputting applications, updating the websites etc.) like medicare and foot stamps is less than 6%.

    They are trying to show Israeli atrocities. If they weren’t attacking, generating violent response … there would be no atrocities.

    I’m not convinced Israel has committed atrocities here. Even if they have it would seem to be Israel’s moral responsibility. “He made me commit an atrocity” doesn’t seem like sound moral reasoning to me.

    Let’s see. Hamas “wants Israel to lift the blockade”? Naivete rules, eh? Why the blockade? Hmm. Ongoing violence initiated by Hamas.

    Chicken and egg program. Politics is indeed complicated. There are other reasons for Israel to want to keep a blockade going than just Hamas. Even if Hamas turned non-violent, an open border Gaza is almost certainly uncomfortable for Israel given Iran’s willingness to attack Israel by proxy. Absent a strong state in Gaza, it’s hard for Israel to hold anyone really accountable for what happens to it from Gaza. But absent free trade, it is difficult for a healthy state to form in Gaza.

    From Hamas’s POV, it is also complicated. Lifting the blockade may get them much needed revenue and secure them in power by a grateful population….but it may also cost them support from radical elements cross the Middle East and may fund the rise of other political parties that will compete for power with Hamas.

  16. Boonton,

    OK, first that still isn’t a drug. Second, are you describing something like this?

    Ok. We’ll go with that. You have a machine which creates the “drug” (apparently the stuff in the hypo is “not-a-drug”. Well, perhaps … but it sure seems like a drug to me. It’s something injected or ingested to counter an illness, i.e., a drug. It’s apparently “not-a-drug” by your definition because it’s unique. Again. How does the FDA approve the machine which makes it?

    Actually he also makes the qualitative statement that the US has nothing like the ‘license raj’

    Yes. You make the point X (regulation is costly). But X isn’t Y (isn’t license raj = corruption) isn’t a rebuttal of regulation being costly. I said he makes two points in his “rebuttal” of regulation being costly, the first is “regulation costs are hard to measure” (which is rampant bs … see the Sandefur pdf. Specifically just because Krguman can’t can’t find an economic proxy to measure regulatory costs doesn’t mean they are high. As we’ve discussed before, regulation inhibits innovation and entry. Just because he can’t point to a metric doesn’t mean the cost isn’t high, just that you’re not smart enough to figure a way to measure it). “hard to measure” + “not something else” isn’t a rebuttal of the point that regulatory costs are problematic. You know that. I know that. Why pretend otherwise?

    I’m not convinced Israel has committed atrocities here. Even if they have it would seem to be Israel’s moral responsibility.

    Look. If you fire a rocket at me and I return fire killing you and 20 children in the school in front of which you were firing, the death of the children is on you not me. You may not be convinced “Israel committed atrocities” but the Western (European) elite and press don’t agree with you.

    Further not making sense from you. To whit: “There are other reasons for Israel to want to keep a blockade going than just Hamas. Even if Hamas turned non-violent, an open border Gaza is almost certainly uncomfortable for Israel given Iran’s willingness to attack Israel by proxy.” Let’s see let’s decode that. You offer, that if the Palestinians stopped being violence there’d still be a reason for the blockade. What is that reason? The reason apparently is Palestinians committing violence on behalf of Iran (which if you will notice is still violence from Palestine).

    Absent a strong state in Gaza, it’s hard for Israel to hold anyone really accountable for what happens to it from Gaza. But absent free trade, it is difficult for a healthy state to form in Gaza.

    Reason to move, eh? Leave!!!! Go somewhere else! Permanent refugee camp is the problem. A temporary camp is one in which refugees are housed for a short time as resettlement is arranged. That wasn’t done. That is the underlying source of the problem.

    From Hamas’s POV, it is also complicated. Lifting the blockade may get them much needed revenue and secure them in power by a grateful population….but it may also cost them support from radical elements cross the Middle East and may fund the rise of other political parties that will compete for power with Hamas

    And this is sympathetic or convincing in what way? “If I stop being a war criminal … gosh, that will just open the door for other people to become war criminals”. No. That opens the door for you to (grow up and) join the rest of us in opposing terror and war criminals.

  17. The process described in the article entails taking out some of your cells, breeding them and modifying them to attack a cancer, then putting them back in you. I’m sure it’s not a single ‘machine’ but no doubt a host of different machines are involved in the process.

    How does the FDA approve the machine which makes it?

    Beats me, but clearly people are working on this so clearly it’s not been shut down.

    Yes. You make the point X (regulation is costly). But X isn’t Y (isn’t license raj = corruption) isn’t a rebuttal of regulation being costly

    Not quite, the ‘license raj’ wasn’t a single regulation but a huge amount of regulations. Yes corruption was a problem with the ‘license raj’ regime in India but so was the huge amount of regulations…even without the corruption it was a huge amount of regulation to contend with. Likewise an informed observer can say the US regulation regime (state and local too if you wish) is nothing like what India had or even has now after numerous reforms.

    Specifically just because Krguman can’t can’t find an economic proxy to measure regulatory costs doesn’t mean they are high.

    Well actually it does. The libertarian fantasy argument is that there are huge economic gains to be had from a drastic downsizing and reform of regulation. If the gains are huge then being able to quantify at least some of them should be possible.

    Look suppose I said to you that you house is wasting a lot of electricity? Absent all other info, who knows if that’s true. But if I said you could double your standard of living by cutting out wasted electricity, then something has to be measurable. For example, if your electric bill is never more than 5% of your income then you can easily say I must be full of crap since even if I found a way to cut your usage to 0 you’d still only free up 5% of your budget for other things.

  18. Reason to move, eh? Leave!!!! Go somewhere else! Permanent refugee camp is the problem. A temporary camp is one in which refugees are housed for a short time as resettlement is arranged.

    The Gaza strip is 139 square miles with 1.8M people. In contrast Manhattan is 23 square miles with just 1.6M people. There are permanent Palestinian refugee camps but you are not talking about the Gaza strip and the idea that the entire Gaza strip can just be ‘relocated’ is about as serious as saying we could relocate Manhattan’s population.

    And this is sympathetic or convincing in what way?

    Why do you seek to replace calculation with emotion? My point here is that the Gaza-Israeli conflict is a war and war is ‘politics continued with other means’ which generally means calculation over emotion. The players are on all sides confronted with incentives and disincentives.

    Look. If you fire a rocket at me and I return fire killing you and 20 children in the school in front of which you were firing, the death of the children is on you not me.

    This doesn’t quite follow if the rocket fired upon you has a 99.5% chance of not hitting you but your return fire is almost 100% certain to hit. If someone is literally surrounded by children I think it gets much harder to justify attacking them.

    BUT I also think this is an exageration of what happens on the ground. I don’t think Israel has bombed school busses filled with kids because a masked Hamas rocketman was standing on the roof firing off rockets. I think what more often has happened is the school bus gets hit because the rocketman is not far away and because ‘return fire’ cannot be directed with the pinpoint accuracy we’d like it to be.

  19. Boonton,

    Beats me, but clearly people are working on this so clearly it’s not been shut down

    Because some researchers are experimenting doesn’t there is a path via which an automated process could be approved.

    Not quite, the ‘license raj’ wasn’t a single regulation but a huge amount of regulations. Yes corruption was a problem with the ‘license raj’ regime in India but so was the huge amount of regulations…even without the corruption it was a huge amount of regulation to contend with.

    So. Apparently there were a “huge amount of regulations” (note: the wiki points to the quote which started the term license raj which excplictly starts talking about corruption). But … we have an example were regulations are agreed to be problematic. And no way of actually measuring said influence.

    Well actually it does. The libertarian fantasy argument is that there are huge economic gains to be had from a drastic downsizing and reform of regulation. If the gains are huge then being able to quantify at least some of them should be possible.

    Counterfactuals are hard to prove either way. If said CON laws didn’t exist (for example) lots of people might be employed and consequently the costs of the services affected would go down + job produced + the spending by those now employed people. But how many? Hard to measure. Environmental regulatory laws meant that in the US no new nuclear plants are built. What cost? How much of the trillions that the warmest assign to CO2 driven warming? If I said “electricity is expensive” so I didn’t start a server farm business … how can you measure how much I’d make from that? You can’t. Just because you cannot use simple income metrics to measure doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    The libertarian fantasy argument is that there are huge economic gains to be had from a drastic downsizing and reform of regulation.

    That may be. But just saying “license raj” and “can’t measure” isn’t a counter argument in any way or form.

  20. Boonton,
    You still need to defend the FDA’s mandate to regulate my risk.

  21. Boonton,

    The Gaza strip is 139 square miles with 1.8M people. In contrast Manhattan is 23 square miles with just 1.6M people. There are permanent Palestinian refugee camps but you are not talking about the Gaza strip and the idea that the entire Gaza strip can just be ‘relocated’ is about as serious as saying we could relocate Manhattan’s population.

    Untrue and inaccurate. It’s been 70 years. If we felt it necessary and right we could relocate the entire NY metropolitan region in that time. So, you’re the President. You’ve been informed by your advisers that if Manhattan is not relocated ASAP conditions there will result in the Zombie apocalypse, the longer we wait the more likely we’ll be facing global disaster. Think you could do it in less than month? Or would it take a whole two months? So it’s not about “can do” it’s about what is right and desired.

    This doesn’t quite follow if the rocket fired upon you has a 99.5% chance of not hitting you but your return fire is almost 100% certain to hit.

    I don’t understand what you mean by this. The rocket fired “at me” will have a much higher than .5% chance of hitting someone. And return fire doesn’t have a 100% chance

    If someone is literally surrounded by children I think it gets much harder to justify attacking them.

    No. It becomes harder to justify firing the intial rocket. Oh. It’s not harder. It’s impossible. There no justification at all for firing the rocket. None. That is the crux of the problem.

    I think what more often has happened is the school bus gets hit because the rocketman is not far away and because ‘return fire’ cannot be directed with the pinpoint accuracy we’d like it to be.

    Except that Hamas has fired on Israel from the rooftops of hospitals. They fire from civilian occupied areas. This is the problem. Let’s try an analogy. Suppose there is an organization of women in Cincinnati. They want to protest the treatment of women in their city by men. Their method of drawing attention to their cause is to abduct men at night, castrate them and leave them bleeding on the entrance to city hall. My point is that because of these criminal actions the question raised by them should not be addressed until after they stopped irregardless of whether their cause is just. Similarly with Palestine. If there is injustice in the Palestinian and Gaza situation they have to stop committing war crimes, terrorist acts, and atrocities. Only after that stops should anyone give them the time of day.

    Why do you seek to replace calculation with emotion?

    You seem unaware that a politician needs public support and awareness of the purpose of his actions to act politically. And your notion that emotion = protest/terror is contradicted by what is required to enact terror (specifically planning and calculation).

  22. You’ve been informed by your advisers that if Manhattan is not relocated ASAP conditions there will result in the Zombie apocalypse, the longer we wait the more likely we’ll be facing global disaster. Think you could do it in less than month? Or would it take a whole two months? So it’s not about “can do” it’s about what is right and desired.

    Probably so. Suppose, though, we were told we had to relocate all of Manhattan because NYC and NJ just couldn’t get along. I suspect the rest of the country would be unimpressed by the need to make mass relocation happen.

    And in your hypothetical anyone who doesn’t leave Manhattan gets killed. That’s a pretty potent motivation for people leave their homes and go settle in Iowa. But since nothing like that is happening it would be much, much more difficult to get everyone in Manhatten to just ‘relocate’.

    I don’t understand what you mean by this. The rocket fired “at me” will have a much higher than .5% chance of hitting someone. And return fire doesn’t have a 100% chance

    As noted before Hamas’s rockets seem to be almost amazingly inaccurate to the point where it really begs the question of whether you can even say they are aimed at anyone or anything other than Israeli territory.

    Except that Hamas has fired on Israel from the rooftops of hospitals. They fire from civilian occupied areas. This is the problem. Let’s try an analogy.

    I’d be curious to know if that’s been documented. But as you agreed, returning fire becomes pointless unless you do it immediately after the initial fire given the fact that most of their rockets are essentially hand held weapons.

    But let’s just imagine Manhattan was at war with NJ. How might NYers attack NJ? I could see makeshift rockets being shot out of Manhattan’s deep caravans of buildings and then quickly move Given how dense Manhattan is most good places to shoot rockets from are also going to be distressingly near civilians. NJ could reply that Manhattanites could gather in the center of Central Park and shoot rockets off so the return fire won’t endanger civilians….but then when in history has one army talked another army into simply positioning themselves in a place that would be easy to pick them off?

  23. Boonton

    But as you agreed, returning fire becomes pointless unless you do it immediately after the initial fire given the fact that most of their rockets are essentially hand held weapons.

    Which makes it crucial that the fire-er not do it where civilians are endangered.

    NJ could reply that Manhattanites could gather in the center of Central Park and shoot rockets off so the return fire won’t endanger civilians….but then when in history has one army talked another army into simply positioning themselves in a place that would be easy to pick them off?

    Only since WWII has it been common practice for armies to use cities as places in which combat should take place. Gettysburg, for example, was not fought in a city or large town. It was fought between armies where they could maneuver, move, and not endanger civilians. Once upon a time this was a consideration for combatants. You seem to think that the innovation of not giving a damn about civilian casualties is was/is a good thing to lose.

    How might NYers attack NJ?

    Well, they would take their army, move into NJ territory and attack NJ armed forces. Their navy would move offshore and attack NJ naval vessels. Their army would wear uniforms. Why? So NJ soldiers could discriminate and not fire on NY civilians. They would not randomly lob bomb and rockets into Sandy Hook, Newark, and Parsippany. They would not behead NJ journalists. They would not torture NJ commuters.

    I’d be curious to know if that’s been documented

    It was done in years past. I don’t know about the current affair (Hamas in Lebanon used that tactic). From the very right wing site, “daily kos”

  24. So. Apparently there were a “huge amount of regulations” (note: the wiki points to the quote which started the term license raj which excplictly starts talking about corruption).

    Actually the ‘license raj’ was not just about regulation but regulation’s purpose. India, feeling that colonial rule exploited the nation, wanted to establish economic independence. Hence the purpose of the licenses was to ensure that the country would *not* trade with other nations but produce internally all the goods and services it needed. Hence the purpose of the licenses was not just to control who got to start a business but also to control what those businesses produced, who supplied them and who they sold too in order to prevent the economy from becoming dependent on outside trade.

    Because some researchers are experimenting doesn’t there is a path via which an automated process could be approved.

    I suggest you continue researching, you’ll find it’s an active area of development in the healthcare industry. I challenge you to find a single source that asserts the path is blocked by regulation.

    Environmental regulatory laws meant that in the US no new nuclear plants are built. What cost? How much of the trillions that the warmest assign to CO2 driven warming?

    Seems to be a problem with lack of regulation. If putting CO2 into the air was assigned a cost either via tax or cap-n-trade then the economic prospects of nuclear plants would be more tempting to investors. As it stands nothing prevents investors from funding and applying for permission to build a new nuclear plant. What you miss is that nuclear plants today get no benefit for reducing CO2 emissions and because natural gas is cheap their ability to quickly earn back their massive investment is more uncertain.

    If I said “electricity is expensive” so I didn’t start a server farm business … how can you measure how much I’d make from that?

    This sounds like Cowan’s ‘tacocopter’ fantasy. It basically consists of imagining a sci-fi possibility, then seeking out a regulation that might stand in its way, then asserting but for the regulation we’d have ‘taco-copters’ or the cure for cancer or free electric for everyone.

    You still need to defend the FDA’s mandate to regulate my risk.

    I ain’t gotta do nothing, you have to show me how massive economic growth in healthcare is possible but for reforming the FDA.

    Only since WWII has it been common practice for armies to use cities as places in which combat should take place.

    For hundreds of years it was SOP to fund armies by allowing them to rape and plunder cities and town as payment.

    Once upon a time this was a consideration for combatants. You seem to think that the innovation of not giving a damn about civilian casualties is was/is a good thing to lose.

    For not giving a damm about civilian casualities there seems to be a huge lack of them. How many civilians dead in the latest fighting? A thousand? Probably less. How would that compare to say the civilians killed by carpet bombing North Vietnam?

    I don’t know about the current affair (Hamas in Lebanon used that tactic). From the very right wing site, “daily kos”

    Lost in the article, though, is the sentence that rockets were found in a vacant school. If the school was empty, then how is Hamas supposed to get the PR coup if Israel attacked it? More importantly the rockets were found by UN inspectors hinting that the intent was to hide them there, presumably to use them elsewhere.

    Would it be nice if nations and groups behaved according to 18th century standards of intra-European warfare (European powers were much less inhibited when they were using their military power to take over colonies). But this was not the historical norm and war will not normally be conducted that way unless it is strategically advantageous to *both* sides. That worked only when military firepower was limited and the ‘Great Powers’ were roughly equal to each other. WWII ended the limitation on the potential of military firepower and the end of the Cold War enshrined asymetrical warfare as the norm.

  25. Boonton,

    Suppose, though, we were told we had to relocate all of Manhattan because NYC and NJ just couldn’t get along.

    Ah, but that wasn’t what you had said. Let’s suppose “NYC and NJ” can’t get along and for the last 70 years have been NYC residents have been kidnapping, killing, and torturing Parsippany folk. Oddly enough however, the rest of the country places the blame on the evil Parsippany dwellers. Effects of this violence has spread to the whole world.

    Then Mr Boonton comes along and suggests a 50 mile buffer zone between NYC and NJ to be emptied of everyone. Can we do it. (as pointed out “can” isn’t the question … the question is will we).

    And in your hypothetical anyone who doesn’t leave Manhattan gets killed.

    Actually it was more dire. In my hypothetical .. the longer people remain in Manhattan the higher the probability would be that everyone dies (not just those who remain).

  26. Boonton,
    Oh, I just noticed a typo. When I mentioned the License Raj wiki, the “first quote” noted by the fellow who coined the term mentioned corruption. Just sayin. In your instruction about the license raj I see you fail to offer how you might measure lost opportunity and by what metric such is used. Odd that. I thought if you had no metric it didn’t exist.

    I suggest you continue researching, you’ll find it’s an active area of development in the healthcare industry. I challenge you to find a single source that asserts the path is blocked by regulation.

    I’m still failing to see (a) why the FDA would regulate such in the first place (although they will) and (b) by what avenue that might be regulated.

    Seems to be a problem with lack of regulation.

    That’s because you don’t know the history. The green movement has managed to stop every single reactor. How? By getting passed regulatory laws that permit them to halt construction every time a environmental objection is raised. This was done serially. Construction would begin. Then an objector/petitioner would raise “but what about animal/plant/insect X, Y or Z and it’s impact.” By regulations in place, construction would halt. Studies would be funded. 6 months to a year would pass. Then the findings would be negative. Then construction would resume. A month later, repeat and rinse. Each repeat of this cycle would leach millions from the project in delays and add many years to implementation. This happens a few times and gosh. Surprise?! (not) Investors stop trying to start new plants. So stop with the “need more regulations crap.” And you still haven’t read the CON law pdf.

    How many civilians dead in the latest fighting? A thousand?

    Hmm. Odd that liberals in the last Presidents admin were shouting loud and long about military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan when they were historically very very low. But now you cite how low civilian losses are, you know, like in the Congo, and Somalia, and the Balkins.

    This sounds like Cowan’s ‘tacocopter’ fantasy. It basically consists of imagining a sci-fi possibility, then seeking out a regulation that might stand in its way, then asserting but for the regulation we’d have ‘taco-copters’ or the cure for cancer or free electric for everyone.

    No. I was (again) pointing out that just because lost opportunity has no glaring metric, doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

    I ain’t gotta do nothing, you have to show me how massive economic growth in healthcare is possible but for reforming the FDA.

    You have to product a lost opportunity metric and I’ll show you. Look my point on the FDA was more general. From a more abstract point, (not directly related to the question at hand) by what right does the FDA decide it is right to monopolize risk? Why do people accept this? Why do you think it is OK for the FDA to determine your personal risk which doesn’t affect others?

    Would it be nice if nations and groups behaved according to 18th century standards of intra-European warfare (European powers were much less inhibited when they were using their military power to take over colonies).

    Uhm, the armed forces of the US has always worn uniforms. You know that. I know that. Stop pretending it isn’t important or possible. How then did India get its independence? Lots of asymmetric fighting, oh, wait. Never mind. You know if Hamas tried that right thinking people would be ethical in giving their cause the time of day (unlike morons who do now irregardless of their war crimes).

    For hundreds of years it was SOP to fund armies by allowing them to rape and plunder cities and town as payment.

    Well, the Vikings may have done that. But in mainland Europe and England you had to pay your troops. Plunder was more in the way of bonus pay.

  27. I’m still failing to see (a) why the FDA would regulate such in the first place (although they will) and (b) by what avenue that might be regulated.

    I seeing pretty clearly you failed to make your point. People are already being treated with the types of therapy you are claiming regulation would make impossible.

    Then an objector/petitioner would raise “but what about animal/plant/insect X, Y or Z and it’s impact.” By regulations in place, construction would halt. Studies would be funded. 6 months to a year would pass.

    Nuclear plants are big undertakings. 6 month studies would be a drop in the cost bucket which investors wouldn’t care about if they could assure themselves the plant, once opened, was highly profitable.

    On top of that the nuclear industry demands not an end to regulations about insect Z.

    Look my point on the FDA was more general. From a more abstract point, (not directly related to the question at hand) by what right does the FDA decide it is right to monopolize risk?

    You were very specific and it appears very wrong. It’s like you told us a certain town has banned bars while a simple yellow page search reveals the town has a dozen.

    IMO the FDA isn’t so much about monopolizing risk as banning fraud. Making a drug that holds an aggressive cancer at bay for a year or so is very hard. Making snake oil and promising it cures cancer is very easy. Absent something like the FDA which requires medical claims to be backed up by proof levels the field for those trying to make real drugs.

    As you pointed out producing proof (or evidence) is very expensive. But if you say a clinical study won’t be done you haven’t made the production of proof cheaper, you just opted not to do it.

    I’m not sure what you mean by monopolizing risks. Lots of drugs carry very serious risks and they are approved by the FDA and some risks will not be known from FDA approval (a study of 100 or even 1000 patients may not reveal a risk that strikes 1 in 1M users….and that could be an issue if the drug provides a very small benefit but is meant to be taken by lots and lots of people)

    Anyway, estimating potential growth….US spends about 8.3% on energy (http://www.statista.com/statistics/189750/us-energy-expenditure-as-a-share-of-gdp-since-1975/). Figure maybe 60% of that could be electric max (http://css.snre.umich.edu/css_doc/CSS03-11.pdf I’m assuming all coal natural gas and nuclear power is devoted only to electric generation). That gives you 5% of GDP. If you could magically drop the cost of electric to zero (which I don’t think you’re claiming w/more nuclear plants) you’re at a cap of no more than 5% of GDP potential growth…

    Hmm. Odd that liberals in the last Presidents admin were shouting loud and long about military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan when they were historically very very low

    A thousand people dead is still a thousand. Just because we lost more people in D-Day than Iraq doesn’t make those lost in Iraq any less dead. But you were claiming people didn’t give a damm about civilian casualities…if that was the case wouldn’t there be a lot, lot, lot more?

    Uhm, the armed forces of the US has always worn uniforms.
    http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/.a/6a00d83451c64169e20120a66dfe5e970b-pi

    Pic of US special forces in Afghanistan. Note the absence of any insigna or other indication that would tell you this person was a member of a nation’s armed forces and had a rank in it. Likewise Geneva appears to say uniforms are not needed provided arms are carried openly (http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?151120-Combatants-not-in-uniform-Geneva-convention).

    Well, the Vikings may have done that. But in mainland Europe and England you had to pay your troops. Plunder was more in the way of bonus pay.

    In other words your contention that civilians became the prime victims of war in WWII appears to be wrong.

  28. Boonton,

    People are already being treated with the types of therapy you are claiming regulation would make impossible.

    I see. Just just try going to your corner drug store and ordering some of that for yourself. Oh, wait, those are all experimental therapies. Not an actual machine which does this automatically.

    Nuclear plants are big undertakings. 6 month studies would be a drop in the cost bucket which investors wouldn’t care about if they could assure themselves the plant, once opened, was highly profitable.

    Not one study a serial series of them. And you seem to have no concept of large projects and the costs of delays. Even in the small projects we are involved in where the number of companies involved rarely exceed 6, a delay by the prime of 4-5 months with an unpredictable delay means on restart, your project (being one of many our company is involved in) is in the back of the line. The engineers who did the initial work are most likely not available any more, or are not available when desired, or new ones have to be brought on and retrained and brought up to speed. Only if you are very lucky can the original guy(s) be right back on track. Multiply that to 500 or so subcontractors all of whose schedules have to be knitted together, the costs of delays paid, the moving back in of equipment, and so on. These are not trivial costs. Do it a bunch of times, and how do you attract investors who want a timely return on their investment. This kind of project isn’t the only thing out there, and it just got a lot uglier. Lost opportunity. Which naive economists ignore because (a) they can’t measure, (b) live in ivory towers and only can measure pretend numbers like GDP and such and (c) and most importantly are politically motivated to ignore. Lost oppotunity is a big regulatory cost. And you still haven’t read the pdf linked earlier.

    That gives you 5% of GDP. If you could magically drop the cost of electric to zero (which I don’t think you’re claiming w/more nuclear plants) you’re at a cap of no more than 5% of GDP potential growth…

    Is this “say naive things” week? I missed the meme. You apparently have no clue why runners and cyclists can’t just go 5 times faster. I mean, hey, they claim they are “oxygen” limited, but gosh … the atmosphere has lots and lots more available oxygen, they only use a fraction of the oxygen available and a tiny fraction of the fuels (carbs and fats) in their bodies. You apparently are unaware that the current grid is very very close to capacity. You are the sort that pretends that “if only we had a better battery, then immediately we’d all be driving electric cars”. Ignoring the point that we don’t have the electric capacity to power our transportation needs. You know what? I’d put money down that if the US could “magically” double our electric capacity, within a few months if not a single year, we’d be back just as close to 100% usage as we are now. A guy at work was talking about a former company he worked at, the electric power supplier paid them to run their equipment nights to even their load out. Odd that, cause jeepers, electricity is only 5% of GDP clearly more of it would have minimal impact. That reminds me of your fantasy that oil supply and prices (based on GDP) have little impact, ignoring the point that every single item you wear, eat and use is manufactured by, from, and using said oil.

    But you were claiming people didn’t give a damm about civilian casualities…if that was the case wouldn’t there be a lot, lot, lot more?

    and

    In other words your contention that civilians became the prime victims of war in WWII appears to be wrong.

    Not wrong. A small war generated small casualties. A big one more. As noted earlier in remarks, I’d listened to a Max Hastings audio book on WWII. He made the point that overall if you were a member of a nation involved in the war during WWII you had a higher survival rate as a soldier than you did as a civilian. If I recall 9 out of 10 soldiers who fought survived. The civilian casualty rate was higher than that. That wasn’t the case in WWI. How might that be? Oh, wait, perhaps my claim was about WWII civilians was right. (by wiki … The Soviet Union gives numbers of 7-12 million soldiers and 13-18 million civilians or Poland, which lost 240k soldiers and about 5 million civilians …) Do you think that was the case in WWI (Wiki puts civilian deaths at less than half of the military)? The Civil War? What do you think the civilian vs military casualty rates are in the Israeli conflict? How about Syria, in the last 3 years 200k people have died in Syria. Do you think those were mostly military? Or are you realistic enough to actually notice that is unlikely.

    The point is well taken. There are a lot more, now that we have stopped caring about civilian deaths.

  29. I see. Just just try going to your corner drug store and ordering some of that for yourself. Oh, wait, those are all experimental therapies.

    Well note quite drug store but…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer_immunotherapy#Approved_antibodies

    The production of pure monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic use was not available until 1975 when Georges J. F. Köhler and Cesar Milstein produced the hybridoma technology, although it wasn’t until 1997 when Rituximab, the first antibody treatment for cancer, was approved by the FDA for treatment of follicular lymphoma. Since this approval, 11 other antibodies have been approved for cancer; Trastuzumab (1998), Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (2000), Alemtuzumab (2001), Ibritumomab tiuxetan (2002), Tositumomab (2003), Cetuximab (2004), Bevacizumab (2004), Panitumumab (2006), Ofatumumab (2009), Ipilimumab (2011) and Brentuximab vedotin (2011). The production of vaccines for cancer came later than the use of monoclonal antibodies. As our understanding of human immunology has improved, so has our potential to produce effective cancer vaccines. The first cell-based immunotherapy cancer vaccine, Sipuleucel-T, was approved in 2010 for the treatment of prostate cancer.[1][2]

    Even in the small projects we are involved in where the number of companies involved rarely exceed 6, a delay by the prime of 4-5 months with an unpredictable delay means on restart, your project (being one of many our company is involved in) is in the back of the line.

    This seems to indicate the problem is the scale of the project, no so much regulation. For nuclear the problem to date seems to be that the projects are huge AND the payback period is long, leading to it being easy for a project to die if one or two major players gets cold feet. A while ago people were talking about smaller nuclear plants but this happened in the same environment where fracking unexpectedly caused natural gas prices to plunge giving natural gas an edge in the market.

    You seem to forget that nuclear benefits from a lot of regulatory encouragement. All of the US’s nuclear plants were built with gov’t aid and subsidy, not simply allowing market forces to work. Nuclear plants benefit from regulatory immunity for both liability and waste management. Even you proposed the stimulus bill be reformulated to do a crash building of 100 nuclear power plants. In essence you’re an advocate of socialized nuclear power trying to sell us on that as your vision of deregulation!

    You are the sort that pretends that “if only we had a better battery, then immediately we’d all be driving electric cars”. Ignoring the point that we don’t have the electric capacity to power our transportation needs. You know what? I’d put money down that if the US could “magically” double our electric capacity, within a few months if not a single year, we’d be back just as close to 100% usage as we are now.

    There’s no need to ‘magically double’ anything in a year.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car_use_by_country#mediaviewer/File:US_PEV_Sales_2010_2013.png

    The US has about a quarter million electric based vehicles sold versus maybe 250M vehicles on the road at any given time. Even assuming exponential growth continues:

    1. It will be years before a majority of transportation is done by non-gas powered vehicles.

    2. As electric demand changes, there’s a lot of things that can be adjusted along the way. For example, right now there’s a huge drop off in demand at night time. Yet more and more battery based power will mean the most logical time to charge would be the downtime at night. A huge problem with the grid and generation is the large swings in demand. Even dirty coal plants become more efficient if they are able to smooth out their generating capacity.

    3. Of course as gas powered transport decreases, demand for electric will increase but one has to consider the savings one gets from less need for gas based fuel.

    4. The future is uncertain. Over the last few decades the de-urbanization trend reversed itself. Congress is not properly funding highways anymore and car sharing services are increasing. As self driving cars become more common the real game changer may be less energy used for transportation in total regardless of whether it comes from gas and electric.

    A guy at work was talking about a former company he worked at, the electric power supplier paid them to run their equipment nights to even their load out. Odd that, cause jeepers, electricity is only 5% of GDP clearly more of it would have minimal impact.

    You think that would decrease if we had more nuclear plants? Nuclear,like big coal, is ideal for huge baseline power generation…not ‘swing’ generation which gas is great at.

    But why would you think this is shockingly inefficient? In reality it is what you expect from markets. Don’t airlines and hotels offer discounts for booking during off seasons? Are you shocked it is cheaper to order a pizza on a Tuesday night than a Friday? Prices are supposed to adjust to even out demand and supply.

    That reminds me of your fantasy that oil supply and prices (based on GDP) have little impact, ignoring the point that every single item you wear, eat and use is manufactured by, from, and using said oil.

    And almost every process in the economy requires water. By this logic then we should move towards a planned economy whose focus is over-producing water?

    The civilian casualty rate was higher than that. That wasn’t the case in WWI. How might that be? Oh, wait, perhaps my claim was about WWII civilians was right. (by wiki … The Soviet Union gives numbers of 7-12 million soldiers and 13-18 million civilians or Poland, which lost 240k soldiers and about 5 million civilians …)

    Is this metric backing out the purposeful genocide committed by the Nazis and Japanese? IMO it probably should as this gives the false impression that these civilians died due to ‘strategic bombing’ or getting caught in the cross fire. Many died because of purposeful policies that Hitler and Japan would have implemented regardless of whether or not there was a war.

    I think Stephan Pinker’s book works at this from a more interesting angle as he maps over time what was the chances that a typical person would die from violence of any type (which eliminates the need to get into academic debates over whether or not certain deaths could be chalked up to gov’t policies, to wars, or to something else). Even with the world wars, the 20th century comes out as less violent than previous ones. Given that our *ability* to create a lot of civilian deaths has gone up by multiple orders of magnitude, it seems in general the world has started caring more about civilian deaths.

  30. Boonton,

    The production of pure monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic use was not available until 1975 when Georges J. F. Köhler and Cesar Milstein produced the hybridoma technology, although it wasn’t until 1997 when Rituximab, the first antibody treatment for cancer, was approved by the FDA for treatment of follicular lymphoma. [… more … ]

    I don’t think those anitbodies are produced uniquely based on the signature of your particular cancer and your particular immune system. This approval is has no path, citing other things which are different which do have a path is not relevant.

    There’s no need to ‘magically double’ anything in a year.

    Uhm. You follow that with a list of 4 enumerated straw men, and the points you make have nothing to do with my claim. You’ve misunderstood. I’ve said two things. First that we are using very close to 100% of our electrical capacity right now. And furthermore, that if we “magically” overnight doubled our capacity to produce electricity (so that tomorrow our usage would be 50% of our capacity) … within a few months to a year, we’d be again using almost 100% of the capacity. How would that happen? Because if more electricity became available, we’d start using it for things we can’t even try right now. Right now electricity is not not a very “market” driven thing. Most regions have tight cost controls on the sale of electricity and the production of new plants is damped by this.

    You think that would decrease if we had more nuclear plants?

    No. That was to illustrate the fact that we are very very close to our full capacity.

    In reality it is what you expect from markets. Don’t airlines and hotels offer discounts for booking during off seasons? Are you shocked it is cheaper to order a pizza on a Tuesday night than a Friday?

    It was because the residential population in the area had risen and their daytime air conditioner and electric use meant that the plants in the area could no longer provide power for everyone. Because the plant’s contracts pre-dated the residential influx they couldn’t be cut off. Therefore the electric provider was forced to offer incentives for night labor at the plant.

    And almost every process in the economy requires water

    No. Again my point was only that just measuring “GDP” percentages is not a good metric.

    Is this metric backing out the purposeful genocide committed by the Nazis and Japanese? IMO it probably should as this gives the false impression that these civilians died due to ‘strategic bombing’ or getting caught in the cross fire.

    No. But it also doesn’t omit the purposeful genocide by Nazis and Soviets of military personnel. Read about the two offensives (by Germany for example, Taifun and Barbarossa … The Wehrmacht accomplished great encirclement of large Soviet armies (called “cauldrons”). They had no capacity to take, house, and feed more than 2 million russian troops. So they were encircled and starved. Those that surrendered. Were starved to death. These were military casualties). And further, the rape of Nanjing was not “purposeful”.

    Given that our *ability* to create a lot of civilian deaths has gone up by multiple orders of magnitude, it seems in general the world has started caring more about civilian deaths.

    I don’t buy it. I suspecct the main difference isn’t in wartime but in peacetime decrease of non-violent deaths because policing has become so much more effective … and that war has become somewhat less common. Not because we “care” about civilian deaths. Only the (some of) the first world powers with the advent of smart munitions have started trying to avoid civilian death.

  31. I don’t think those anitbodies are produced uniquely based on the signature of your particular cancer and your particular immune system.

    Then whose particular cancer are they for? Antibodies work by recognizing an antigen, essentially the antibody is a key and the antigen is a lock…the key fits in the lock and white blood cells tag any keys with locks in them for attack. Hence if you have an antibody for a particular antigen, say one that is on a cold virus, the antibody will flag the virus for attack.

    Your immune system is particular in the sense your laptop is particular from mine. You may have antibodies to certain things I don’t because we’ve differed in what vaccines we have had, what types of infections we’ve been exposed to etc. Likewise our laptops differ because we’ve downloaded different programs, have different styles of using them etc. but that doesn’t alter the fact that they both make use of the same underlying structure. If we both install Excel, we don’t get ‘particular’ Excels but the same code from Microsoft. Cancer is cancer not because it is particular but because it is the same. Certain genes are either broken in a precise way or they are switched to ‘off’ instead of ‘on’ or vice versa. If you can target a certain cancer via the immune system you don’t need a ‘particular’ treatment anymore than I need a ‘particular’ HepB vaccine. If I need protection from HepB, I go get the same vaccine you would get.

    This approval is has no path, citing other things which are different which do have a path is not relevant.

    See I think this is the error Cowan made with ‘tacocopter’. I guess there’s no ‘approval path’ from the FAA for flying time machines, hence that’s why we don’t get to have flying time machines! Regulation doesn’t drive innovation, innovation drives regulation. Consider all the regulation around the simple telephone. You have regulations for the protocols used, for who gets the right to string phone lines along the streets, for how phone calls are billed and how international calls navigate cross borders etc. Were all those’paths’ put in place before Bell invented the first phone in the US?

    Nope, the phone was invented and as it grew it pulled regulation with it. At first previous regulations were probably used as analogous (i.e. telegraph regulation), then new ones were invented to handle the unique needs of the new innovation.

    If you had such a machine that cured your ‘particular cancer’ by making ‘particular changes’ to your own immune system, an approval path would be created by demand for one, but no I doubt anyone’s sitting quiet on a cure for cancer simply because their lawyers say they don’t have a clear ‘approval path’.

    First that we are using very close to 100% of our electrical capacity right now.

    Makes sense. Why would you expect the market to have us use less than 100% of our capacity? You don’t make money building a power plant to produce 100 MW but only use it to make 50. If demand was for only 50 you’d build a 50 MW plant instead.

    And furthermore, that if we “magically” overnight doubled our capacity to produce electricity (so that tomorrow our usage would be 50% of our capacity) … within a few months to a year, we’d be again using almost 100% of the capacity.

    OK, and if tomorrow we double our capacity for cotton candy, we’d get 100% use of our capacity pretty soon. The price, after all, would fall and people would start using cotton candy instead of other fluffy deserts. If the price of electric fell like a rock, people would use space heaters more, for example, rather than oil furnances. The all electric house might make a comback, for example.

    Yet it doesn’t follow from that that ‘electricity’ is sometype of magic good that is the key to economic growth anymore than cotton candy is.

    It was because the residential population in the area had risen and their daytime air conditioner and electric use meant that the plants in the area could no longer provide power for everyone. Because the plant’s contracts pre-dated the residential influx they couldn’t be cut off.

    Pre-dated the residential influx? When were most of the homes in your neighborhood built? I’m guessing your ‘residential influx’ is nearly a half century old. Sorry I doubt any plant has a contract with any industrial customer that goes even 10 years into the future, let alone decades.

    Fact is huge plants produce electric very cheaply if you run them 24-7 at a constant rate. But humans tend to use electric at a non-constant rate swinging dramatically high in the day and low at night. One way to address this is to build plants that are good at changing production quickly (gas turbine plants), another way is to try to induce people to shift their usage away from peak hours to offpeak.

    Civilian deaths in war:

    . Not because we “care” about civilian deaths. Only the (some of) the first world powers with the advent of smart munitions have started trying to avoid civilian death.

    This is really, really recent. In Vietnam, for example, we were still carpet bombing. Even the first Gulf War, I suspect, had fewer ‘smart munitions’ and benefitted from the fact that the nature of the terrain made it easier to drop dumb munitions on military targets with less risk of accidently hitting civilians. I also don’t doubt that if they had nuclear bombs 500 years ago they would have used them by the hundreds in their wars, while we do not. I think Pinker is correct that the world has become more peaceful both in terms of war and violence (unfortunately this trend could be true but we could still see a massively violent war that kills millions just as you can have warming climate yet still get a record breaking blizzard…so you could end up with WWIII tomorrow killing a billion people and Pinker will still be right).

  32. Boonton,

    Then whose particular cancer are they for? Antibodies work by recognizing an antigen, essentially the antibody is a key and the antigen is a lock…the key fits in the lock and white blood cells tag any keys with locks in them for attack. Hence if you have an antibody for a particular antigen, say one that is on a cold virus, the antibody will flag the virus for attack.

    You are missing the point. Back up. You completely whiffed on the FDA risk question. You need to establish the reason why the FDA should monoplize risk. You’re answer was:

    IMO the FDA isn’t so much about monopolizing risk as banning fraud. Making a drug that holds an aggressive cancer at bay for a year or so is very hard. Making snake oil and promising it cures cancer is very easy. Absent something like the FDA which requires medical claims to be backed up by proof levels the field for those trying to make real drugs.

    That is one of the risks. And the FDA doesn’t even do that. If a drug passes the FDA tests and doesn’t cure what it’s supposed to, you have no claim on the FDA (or the drug mfg) to say you were cheated. There are two things the FDA tries to screen for, a drugs effectiveness and that it is safe. These are the risks when you have a serious illness and you are taking a drug. The risk you undertake is that this therapy (or drug) vs any other one will be the best, will be the right one. The FDA “chooses” that risk for you. They decide to exclude some therapies and allow others, they restrict access to most of them. Why is the same risk for a terminal patient and one who is under less threat? Why is the risk the same (with the same illness) for a 25 y/old with two children and a 60 y/old single childless man? By what mandate would the FDA control therapies which can only affect you? You offer that when a therapy as suggested was available there would be “new” ways to regulate it. But why regulate it at all? Me taking an antigen to trigger/train my own immune system has no affect outside of me. It may work to cure my cancer. It may kill me. That however does not affect anyone else. I’ve seen no reason for a government monopoly on risk offered, nor one which suggests why there should be a one risk-fits-all plan. So besides stifling medical advances it goes on an stupid model of “top down” information beats bottom up … Hayek told you clearly why that was wrong economically, his arguments move over cleanly to why the FDA should be gutted.

    Cancer is cancer not because it is particular but because it is the same. Certain genes are either broken in a precise way or they are switched to ‘off’ instead of ‘on’ or vice versa. If you can target a certain cancer via the immune system you don’t need a ‘particular’ treatment anymore than I need a ‘particular’ HepB vaccine. If I need protection from HepB, I go get the same vaccine you would get.

    But there is not necessarily an antigen or trigger for my cancer that will work for your cancer.

    OK, and if tomorrow we double our capacity for cotton candy, we’d get 100% use of our capacity pretty soon.

    Untrue. Following the “excess profits invite entry” economic maxim, in the 70s steel producers in the US found that cold rolled steel production had excess profits. So most of the steel mfgers in our country leapt for the chance to grab big profits and built plants. The bottom fell out of the market and those plants are now (mostly) out of business and rusting. Electricity is different. It is a government monopolized/controlled industry. Prices are strictly controlled.

    Yet it doesn’t follow from that that ‘electricity’ is sometype of magic good that is the key to economic growth anymore than cotton candy is.

    You are right (except that you are wrong that if we produced twice as much cotton candy there would necessarily be a market for you. There isn’t a magic good. There is a controlled stifled market and I think that if there was more that we’d use it.

  33. I think you missed the point here. You claimed regulation was inhibiting innovation because the FDA offered no approval path for a hypothetical cancer cure. I pointed out the fact is not only has some forms of that therapy already been approved, lots of people are rushing full speed ahead to develop more. Well actually that was after you had misread Krugman then acted dishonestly about his post…but wow it’s been over a month now….

    You then change the subject and ask if it’s right the FDA ‘monopolizes risk’. You point out snake oil is ‘one of the risks’….

    So say I have a lottery ticket from last week. I tell you it’s the winning ticket for $250,000 but because I’m wanted by law enforcement, I cannot cash it in. I will sell it to you, though, for $75,000 cash. Maybe I’m telling the truth and if you say no you risk a lost profit of $175,000. Maybe I’m not and if you buy it you lose $75,000. But wait, the State of NJ happens to put all the winning lottery numbers on a website. 30 seconds with your smartphone eliminates that risk. Is that NJ ‘monopolizing’ a risk? No it is eliminating a risk.

    Now as you point out there’s other risks in life. One is the risk that a drug that may help you, may end up hurting you more with it’s side effects. Here the FDA has made some decisions. A drug meant to be used by lots of people (say to remove wrinkles or lower blood pressure) is held to a high safety standard. If a drug lowers your risk of a heart attack from 4 in 1000 to 3 in 1000, then it should be very safe if 1000 people take it. If it randomly causes horrible death in 2 out of 1000 people taking it, then approval will be tougher. But I grant you the point, perhaps you are the 1 in 1000 saved from the heart attack and shouldn’t you be able to buy that ‘lottery ticket’ if you’re feeling you can beat the 2 out 1000 odds of being killed buy it?

    But I’m not all that enthused by your case here. For one thing, lots of drugs have ‘black box’ warnings (meaning they have to warn of seirous side effects, including death). It isn’t really the case that lots of good drugs have been rejected because the FDA doesn’t want you to be able to take risks. There’s plenty of drug risk out there and not all the black box warnings are for drugs that treat life ending illnesses like terminal cancers leaving you with less than a year.

    And the FDA doesn’t have a single safety standard. If you read the profile of many cancer drugs, for instance, you’ll see a huge amount of risk of bad side effects and in many cases the risk isn’t even a risk, its a certainity. Yet they are approved because of the nature of what they are trying to address.

    Me taking an antigen to trigger/train my own immune system has no affect outside of me. It may work to cure my cancer. It may kill me.

    This is like talking about FAA’s regulatory burden keeping flying time machines off the market. Just because you imagine something doesn’t mean that it is possible for it to exist. Clearly you don’t know much about cancer or the immune system (neither do I), why do you assume this would be how you would go about developing a ‘personalized treatment/prevention’ for cancer? Given an absense of knowledge, we have to look to otherways to test our theories.

    There’s a lot of unregulation places in the world, lots of people with money who travel and lots of medical tourism. Why wouldn’t a clinic offering this ‘antigen therapy’ open in the Bahamas or maybe the UAE?

    So most of the steel mfgers in our country leapt for the chance to grab big profits and built plants. The bottom fell out of the market and those plants are now (mostly) out of business and rusting. Electricity is different. It is a government monopolized/controlled industry.

    Electricity is highly regulated yet the fact is most plants are privately owned and like any other enterprise can make a profit if they collect more in sales than expenses or make a loss if the reverse happens. The price of things used to make electricity (coal, gas, uranium, oil) moves up and down every day as does the wholesale rate of electricity.

  34. Boonton,

    There’s a lot of unregulation places in the world, lots of people with money who travel and lots of medical tourism. Why wouldn’t a clinic offering this ‘antigen therapy’ open in the Bahamas or maybe the UAE?

    You’re begging the question. Why require regulation at all? To what purpose?

    One is the risk that a drug that may help you, may end up hurting you more with it’s side effects. Here the FDA has made some decisions.

    But they haven’t actually even done that. If you follow FDA rules and guidelines but people are harmed, does the fact that you are following FDA guidelines indemnify you from suit? No. Even when somebody poisoned aspirin with cyanide, the suit didn’t hinge on proving that the providers followed guidelines therefore they weren’t liable did it? When Thalidomide caused birth defects … did the fact that government protocols were followed in testing indemnify the drug mfger? No.

    The point is you haven’t given any reason why a drug that affects me only should be regulated. My suggestion has been that (a) FDA regulation should be optional and (b) indemnify the manufacturer if unless FDA protocols have been shown to be not followed in testing and manufacture and (c) you can only put an FDA-Approved badge if your product is actually FDA approved. If you make a gadget that detects breast cancer by IR analysis but you don’t have FDA approval, who besides (you) the patient is harmed if you use it?

    And the FDA doesn’t have a single safety standard. If you read the profile of many cancer drugs, for instance, you’ll see a huge amount of risk of bad side effects and in many cases the risk isn’t even a risk, its a certainity. Yet they are approved because of the nature of what they are trying to address.

    I didn’t say they have a “single standard”. I said they monopolize risk. You can’t legally or distribute take non FDA approved drugs. They have decided what drugs are safe and what drugs are allowed and how they should be used. They’ve made the risk decisions. They’ve decided how much testing, manufacture standards, and so on. This is a monopoly of risk. What you haven’t done is explain why a top down monopoly of risk is right or best. Why does Hayek not apply here?

  35. You’re begging the question. Why require regulation at all?

    It’s pretty conservative to ask of someone proposing a change “what problem are you trying to solve?”. If they can’t answer that simple question then there’s good reason to reject their proposal.

    When Thalidomide caused birth defects … did the fact that government protocols were followed in testing indemnify the drug mfger? No.

    Thalidomide was never tested with double blind studies. The company mailed samples to doctors, asked them to give it to their patients and tell them how it worked. The double blind controlled study is surprisingly young in our history. Anyway I’m not sure why following FDA rules should indemnify one from lawsuits? A company is still responsible for reporting adverse events and collecting data on the drug.

    You seem to think that just because you are harmed by a drug you automatically win a lawsuit, that’s not the case.

    If you make a gadget that detects breast cancer by IR analysis but you don’t have FDA approval, who besides (you) the patient is harmed if you use it?

    Here I think the real value of FDA approval is is claims. The problem is not so much approving the gadget as it is approving the claim that the gadget detects breast cancer. If you watch some drug commercials, you might note that they don’t say directly what they think they do. For example, they will say they lower BP or choelstrole but not that they prevent heart attacks. That is because they haven’t studied the question of heart attacks (or deaths from heart attacks…which I suppose is what you really care about). Instead they’ve proven the side issues which, the theory is, may prevent heart attacks.

    So the problem I have is how do you deal with a non-FDA approved product whose maker makes wild claims while the guy who took the trouble to actually demonstrate his product’s modest claims are true must compete with him? A drug that cures 5% of cancer would be amazing, but against snake oil that claims to cure everything it sounds pathetic.

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