December 14, 2016

"It could be a prickly meeting. No other industry was more open in its contempt for Trump during the campaign."

"In an open letter published in July, more than 140 technology executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists skewered Trump as a 'disaster for innovation.'"

That meeting is today. But just yesterday, one tech guy — Bill Gates — who's already talked with Trump, said:
"A lot of his message has been about ... where he sees things not as good as he'd like.... But in the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that.... I think whether it's education or stopping epidemics... [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Trump's] administration [is] going to organize things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation."

104 comments:

Graham Powell said...

Pfft, Bill Gates - what's he ever done?

Sebastian said...

"whether it's education or stopping epidemics... [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Trump's] administration [is] going to organize things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation." Wait, so the disaster for innovation BS was just a cover for PC posturing?

Long term, serious innovation is a big issue, regardless of policy. I think Robert Gordon is right.

Oso Negro said...

I will always remember the Drudge headline the morning after the election - "Silicon Sultans Shit Themselves".

CJ said...

To be fair: it's not that these tech titans don't like Trump. The tech titans mostly don't like the folks that voted for Trump.

LarsPorsena said...

Does this really mean that Trump doesn't want to use clay tablets and cuneiform for record keeping?

AReasonableMan said...

Politicians have modest effect on innovation. By supporting basic research they provide the raw material for entrepreneurs to exploit commercially but otherwise they have a limited impact.

tcrosse said...

Who put the pricks in prickly ?

AprilApple said...

My guess is the mainstream hack press will completely ignore that Bill Gates quote.

Doesn't fit the hack narrative.

Kristian Holvoet said...

WRT business men, I wonder if Trump can be more gracious, or at least pragmatic in the 'It was just business' sense, than people expect?

He may not like some of these people, but if they can help with jobs, with innovation, with hope, he may be able to work with them. I think the real question is whether the tech guys can let it go (pride and / or investment in SJW thinking can hinder that), and work with him.

Chuck said...

Bill Gates is a member at Augusta National. So is Rex Tillerson. I think The Donald really wants an invite.

If I were President, in my First 100 days, my top priority would be to play Seminole, Augusta, Cypress Point, Chicago Golf Club and the National Golf Links.

Jason said...

Mark Cuban can't. Everyone else can.

AprilApple said...

I will always remember the Drudge headline the morning after the election - "Silicon Sultans Shit Themselves".


Oddly, all these same Tech Sultans no longer have the pressure to give to the Clinton Foundation. You'd think they would be happy.

David said...

AReasonableMan said...
Politicians have modest effect on innovation.


They can't mandate innovation, but they sure can stifle it.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Chuck said...
Bill Gates is a member at Augusta National. So is Rex Tillerson. I think The Donald really wants an invite.

If I were President, in my First 100 days, my top priority would be to play Seminole, Augusta, Cypress Point, Chicago Golf Club and the National Golf Links.
12/14/16, 9:24 AM

That's really interesting. It is a wonder that you are not President.

buwaya puti said...

Politicians can have a significant impact on innovation.
Most actual, implemented innovations are not simply ideas popping out of labs but refined and made real through engineering development, production design, infrastructure design, and etc.

- reduce or increase barriers to entry through regulation is a big one.
- change the economic risk to investment, as in political or legal risk premiums.
- change cost structure through regulation - environmental regs are a very large part of "hard" innovation costs for instance.
- change incentives for career paths for the talented. More engineering, less finance and law. This is tied to the factors above.

Etc.

JPS said...

OK, at this point I'm starting to think Trump could be an excellent president.

I'm not yet confident of it. I could just as easily see him being a national-level Governor Schwarzenegger, the outsider who inspires such hopes, then gets rolled by the system exactly because he's moderate and pragmatic. But I could see it happening.

Being confused, I've decided the thing to do is to freak the eff out over every tweet I don't like, and to find the absolute most incriminating take on every single one of his nominees, rather than admit I might have been wrong about him. It'll be an exhausting four and possibly eight years, but hey: I'm a giver that way.

JSD said...

Tech executives will be very happy when a deal is struck to repatriate their offshore money. Money has a funny way of resolving differences. Corporate tax reform has been a long standing problem that the Democrats were incapable of addressing.

YoungHegelian said...

Well, I imagine the muckety-mucks at Google just got used to waltzing into the White House whenever they felt like it. Or, just ignoring federal contract regulations to help bail the Boy Wonder out after his disastrous ObamaCare Web site roll-out.

I'm sorry, unlike the Old Guard West coast tech industry (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle, Sun) that was bright enough to grease the palms of both parties, with a tiny dollop more to the Dems, the New Guard Tech industries have all gone rabidly Democrat.

And now the Dems are not in charge at the federal level anymore. Anywhere. Now, the young turks get to find out what happens to you when you spend eight years fucking people over, & those people get into power.

Couldn't happen to a nicer buncha guys!

Original Mike said...

AReasonableMan said..."Politicians have modest effect on innovation."

David responded ..."They can't mandate innovation, but they sure can stifle it."


Liberals never get that.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya puti said...
Politicians can have a significant impact on innovation.
Most actual, implemented innovations are not simply ideas popping out of labs but refined and made real through engineering development, production design, infrastructure design, and etc.

- reduce or increase barriers to entry through regulation is a big one.
- change the economic risk to investment, as in political or legal risk premiums.
- change cost structure through regulation - environmental regs are a very large part of "hard" innovation costs for instance.
- change incentives for career paths for the talented. More engineering, less finance and law. This is tied to the factors above.


This is not a compelling argument but rather right-wing group think. To take one example, energy efficiency regs increased innovation in lighting leading to a golden era of innovation in lighting. The humble incandescent light bulb remained largely unchanged for nearly a century until efficiency demands required new thinking.


madAsHell said...

Bill Gates was a 2nd-grader at View Ridge Elementary in 1963. I was a year behind him.
The only thing I remember about JFK was running home at lunch, and seeing the flag at half-mast.
Gates lived behind the school. He never saw that flag.

If Trump can sway bill gates......what a magnificent bastard!!

AReasonableMan said...

David said...
They can't mandate innovation, but they sure can stifle it.


Give a good example. Regulation of drugs doesn't count because of the complex risks for direct personal harm e.g. Thalidomide.

EMD said...

If I were President, in my First 100 days, my top priority would be to play Seminole, Augusta, Cypress Point, Chicago Golf Club and the National Golf Links.

So you want to be just like Obama then?

Original Mike said...

"The humble incandescent light bulb remained largely unchanged for nearly a century until efficiency demands required new thinking."

Regulation invented the LED.

And Al Gore invented the internet.

EMD said...

The humble incandescent light bulb remained largely unchanged for nearly a century until efficiency demands required new thinking.


I remember all of those hours spent working in offices under inefficient, incandescent light. Drop ceilings full of incandescent light!

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
Al Gore invented the internet.


Much like buwaya puti's argument that politicians have a large impact on innovation.

Arthur James said...

Funny Original Mike. Regulation did nothing to advance the LED use in home lighting. It was an evolution of electronics extending into many fields. Wasn't the first energy efficient light bulb promoted by the government insanely expensive?

AReasonableMan said...

EMD said...
I remember all of those hours spent working in offices under inefficient, incandescent light. Drop ceilings full of incandescent light!


If only this had some relevance to the original point.

buwaya puti said...

Artificially imposed energy efficiency demands.
This was deliberately chosen path; the alternative was cheap abundant energy, which is more practical, more proximate, and more likely to open paths to innovation. The US government or rather its bureaucracies' internal brain trust since the 1970s chose the crabbed, constrained, paralyzing technology strategy of "efficiency".

We are all paying for that gross error.

Big Mike said...

Considering the environmental hazards posed by CFL bulbs I think ARM needs to pick a better example.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya puti said...
We are all paying for that gross error.


When even China is expanding renewables and emphasizing energy efficiency it might make sense to also consider the external costs of energy generation.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
Considering the environmental hazards posed by CFL bulbs


That we should consider external costs when evaluating energy technology is a good idea but your specific point is weak because CFL bulbs have already been superseded.

Arthur James said...

ARM you are sounding like a college student and maybe that is what you are. It is now time for men of achievement and worldly advancement to bring adult thinking to this country. Watch Trump succeed in ways those stuck in the classroom could never accomplish.

bagoh20 said...

Trump dragged people into the mud by flinging it liberally, then he climbs out of the muck, cleans off and stands there holding the towel for them. Of course, that only works if you win.

Nonapod said...

Not so much "right-wing group think" as simple logic. Even the best intended regulation can certainly slow innovation. To take an extreme example, if there were no FDA regs obviously drug testing would be far less expensive and time consuming (of you could also end up with Dr. Mengele or whatever).

holdfast said...

Tax law and accounting rules, and laws relating to limited liability can have a large effect on whether innovative ideas make it off the napkin.

Over the last 30 years we've had a lot of innovation in tech/software, because it's relatively lightly regulated. We've also had a lot of financial innovation - partly because it paid so well and partly because the innovators were able to stay ahead of the regulators.

Innovation. In nuclear power generation has been anemic. Yes, safety is incredibly hat field, but where's the incentive to invest in innovation when a politician with cold feet, like Frau Merkel, could just murder your whole industry on a whim?

eric said...

Trump has seriously benefited from the coverage the media gave him. It probably hurt him up front, in that it made it harder for him to win the election, or at least, that was the hope.

But now that he has won? They've created this monster. And now that you know you can't beat the monster, what's left? Surrender or appeasement.

In the past, it seems like the option was to co opt the monster. Make him their monster. And sadly, it's worked. The monster wants to be liked.

But there seems (or maybe I'm blinded by hope) like something is different this time. That they can't co-opt this monster. So now, he has moved the overtone window and they've got to move with it.

AReasonableMan said...

holdfast said...
Innovation. In nuclear power generation has been anemic. Yes, safety is incredibly hat field, but where's the incentive to invest in innovation when a politician with cold feet, like Frau Merkel, could just murder your whole industry on a whim?


It would seem that this would be a huge incentive to create technology that was in fact safe over a long time window. Apparently there are intrinsic technical hurdles that are not easily overcome related to the fundamental nature of radiation and its effects on biological organisms.

Fernandinande said...

Working together, Trump and the Silicon Valley billionaires may very well invent a more efficient golf course.

eric said...

Blogger Arthur James said...
ARM you are sounding like a college student and maybe that is what you are. It is now time for men of achievement and worldly advancement to bring adult thinking to this country. Watch Trump succeed in ways those stuck in the classroom could never accomplish.


When it comes down to it, college professors are people who have been in school their entire lives.

Not exactly the sort of person you'd like to run anything of consequence.

Arthur James said...

Let's be respectful also. This is a college professor's blog and I thoroughly enjoy her insight and observations.

Kristian Holvoet said...

"They can't mandate innovation, but they sure can stifle it.

Give a good example."

Telecom / Ma Bell Monopoly. The allowed it, and regulated it death. Compared to a lot of the world, our telecom infrastructure is slow and brittle. Most of Africa has better cell coverage than the US. And most developing nations have better high speed internet.

Car headlights. Modern European ones can adjust to not blind oncoming drivers, but DOT can't create a 100% coverage test, so they aren't allowed in the US. Dumb stuff like that.

buwaya puti said...

In re nuclear - its not the dangers but the regulation. Just an example -
Required operating staffing at Nuke plant is at least 10x that of a normal thermal/hydro plant, nearly all the excess being in documentation of compliance.
R&D in nuke tech is many times worse burdened by compliance costs and hence extremely expensive.

AprilApple said...

Leftists do not understand that the government doesn't innovate. They suffocate.

mockturtle said...

April Apple supposes: My guess is the mainstream hack press will completely ignore that Bill Gates quote.

Except for the JFK link. They definitely want the public to associate 'Trump' with 'assassination'.

Hagar said...

What ARM sounds like to me, is an elderly mid-level Sandia management employee.

bagoh20 said...

"It would seem that this would be a huge incentive to create technology that was in fact safe over a long time window."

Not if the entire industry is stifled by regulations and activists that tell you that no matter how safe you make it, we will not allow it at a reasonable cost or even at all. That's the real situation that power companies have faced for decades. If there is no opportunity to profit, so there is no innovation.

If we had supported nuclear power the way we have "green" alternatives all this time, by now we would be meeting every environmentalist's, and climate change alarmist's deepest desire for carbon emissions and pollution reduction, while also eliminating the negative effects the Middle East has had over American and world events. It could be argued that no single thing has had such a negative effect on the environment, climate change, and world peace, as the anti-nuclear power movement.

Gahrie said...

This is not a compelling argument but rather right-wing group think.

That's the way to start...roll out the ad homs!

To take one example, energy efficiency regs increased innovation in lighting leading to a golden era of innovation in lighting.

What's so golden? The increased profits to GE?

The humble incandescent light bulb remained largely unchanged for nearly a century until efficiency demands required new thinking.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Keep it simple stupid. Mottos to live by.


Bruce Hayden said...

Well, I imagine the muckety-mucks at Google just got used to waltzing into the White House whenever they felt like it. Or, just ignoring federal contract regulations to help bail the Boy Wonder out after his disastrous ObamaCare Web site roll-out.

Another place where the govt can have an impact in this area is in patents and patent law. The head of the USPTO job was first sold to IBM during Obama's first term, in order to move the country from a First-to-Invent to a First-to-File (essentially regardless of invention) system that moves from American First to Multinational Businesses First in the (typically misnamed) America Invents Act. And then to Google during his second term in order to weaken patent enforcement and reduce damages owed by blatant infringers like, coincidentally, Google.

These mega tech multinational tech companies had a good thing going with Obama and the Dems in power, so little surprise that they backed the status quo so heavily this last election. Sure, we see self-driven cars and drone deliveries from these companies, but on a per dollar sales basis, these companies are no longer innovators, but rather IP misappropriators and monopolists. They have discovered that their ROI spent in DC is far, far, higher than if they had spent it on R&D.

AReasonableMan said...

Nonapod said...
Not so much "right-wing group think" as simple logic. Even the best intended regulation can certainly slow innovation. To take an extreme example, if there were no FDA regs obviously drug testing would be far less expensive and time consuming


Imagine there's no FDA, no governmental drug regulatory agency below us, above us only sky. In the absence of the FDA all liability for bad drug outcomes would fall on individual practitioners. Can you think of a setup more likely to stifle innovation than that? Doctors, who are arguably already overly cautious, would never change anything, ever. Malpractice insurance costs would skyrocket for anyone who deviated from the tried and true. Without the FDA to absorb the blame and potential liability, innovation in medical practice would come to an almost complete standstill.

AReasonableMan said...

Kristian Holvoet said...
Telecom / Ma Bell Monopoly. The allowed it, and regulated it death. Compared to a lot of the world, our telecom infrastructure is slow and brittle. Most of Africa has better cell coverage than the US. And most developing nations have better high speed internet.


Not clear to me whether you preferred the monopoly or the freer market. I miss Bell Labs. The tradeoff between losing Bell Labs and having cheap phones is not something I would have voted for, but then I rarely use a phone and when I do, more often than not, I regret it.

Hagar said...

"Elderly" in this case meaning "prematurely elderly."

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya puti said...
In re nuclear - its not the dangers but the regulation.


This is just nonsense. The dangers to biological organisms like us are the problem, full stop. The regulations are a result of the vast time span of the risk associated with containing large amounts of radiation. No one is stifling nuclear power. Everyone would love cheap safe power. To date, nuclear has not delivered. Ask the people of Fukushima if they would like their town back in exchange for marginally more expensive energy costs.

Original Mike said...

Sure hope Perry reopens Yucca Mt.

And let's name it after Harry Reid. The Harry Reid Nuclear Dump has a nice ring to it.

SukieTawdry said...

@JPS: OK, at this point I'm starting to think Trump could be an excellent president.

Could be, could be. I'm slogging my way through the questionnaire the transition team sent over to the DOE with commentary by Willis Eschenbach at WattsUpWithThat. It's quite easy to see where the administration will be going and I approve of the direction wholeheartedly.

I used to roll my eyes during the campaign when Trump would essentially say that he didn't really need to know things because he would surround himself with people who would know everything. It's becoming apparent that he indeed is surrounding himself with people who even if they don't know everything, in fact know a quite a lot.


JAORE said...

Over thinking abounds!

All these comments and not a word about H-1B Visas. You know, the ones given out like candy in silicon valley even when US workers are available. Then add in the ability though crony capitalism to direct billions upon billions of bucks.... hell yes the Sultans of Silicon loved them some Hillary. After all, she was going to win*.

It was the smart thing to do.

Now the smart thing to do is get behind the guy with the power.


*(Think of all the money raked in by Jeb Bush, until he fell off his inevitable pedestal.)

buwaya puti said...

Nuclear has delivered.
France has been between 70-80% nuke for over 30 years.
Thats a country without local fuel resources.

Original Mike said...

"I'm slogging my way through the questionnaire the transition team sent over to the DOE ..."

Me too, but I didn't know about the WUWT post. Thanks for the tip.

Original Mike said...

"France has been between 70-80% nuke for over 30 years."

Concerning article in the Wall Street Journal today about a French firm covering up manufacturing flaws in the nuclear plant components they made.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

AReasonableMan said...When even China is expanding renewables and emphasizing energy efficiency it might make sense to also consider the external costs of energy generation.

Sure, and that's why the use of ethanol is such a stupid idea! A government-mandated use, mind you. The waste and inefficiency from ethanol represents a loss, and without that loss more money could have gone to good renewables, and efficiency research, and other innovation...which is what you were asking for examples of, right?

Look, it's the invisible man/the forgotten man problem: you seem to be arguing that unless someone can point to a situation where a government regulation said "stop innovating in the area of X" then the idea that regulation stifles innovation isn't valid. That ignores the many other ways regulations and government actions affect and shape different markets, all of which definitely impact innovations (as companies decide what research avenues to pursue, how to allocate budgets, etc).

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya puti said...
Nuclear has delivered.


You would have said the same about Japan until a few years ago. Accidents are inevitable, neither technology nor humans are perfectible. France is particularly problematic because of the added risk of terrorism.

Men of a certain age bought into the idea of limitless nuclear energy and life on Mars. Neither is happening because radiation and humans are incompatible. Physics and biology are not a gubmint plot.

Fabi said...

You have great taste in golf courses, Chuck -- Seminole is incredible. I shot 77 the last time I played it and felt like I shot 63.

CWJ said...

"Without the FDA to absorb the blame and potential liability,..."

So when Brown & Croupen ask mne to call 1-800-bad-drug, they're suing the FDA? Huh, how 'bout that.

bagoh20 said...

The risks of nuclear power could be easily and effectively managed: There have been only two serious instances with nuclear power over the entire world and half a century. Chernobyl was completely preventable. It was caused by a decision to purposely bypass the safety controls to do a test, which was just stupid, and unnecessary. Japan foolishly placed them on shorelines in very active earthquake zones. But, even those disasters pale by comparison to the costs in emissions, pollution, environmental damage, health and lives as a result of using the alternatives to nuclear. Nuclear if done wisely is the safest, least destructive and most sustainable source of power we have and may ever have. A reactor away from populations, shorelines, and earthquake zones with modern technology would be extremely safe.

bagoh20 said...

How many lives and how much destruction has been caused by our dependence on foreign oil?

SukieTawdry said...

@Kristian Holvoet: Telecom / Ma Bell Monopoly. The allowed it, and regulated it death. Compared to a lot of the world, our telecom infrastructure is slow and brittle. Most of Africa has better cell coverage than the US. And most developing nations have better high speed internet.

I've read that way back in the day (before cable, before cell phones, before the Internet, you know, communication's dark ages) Bell Telephone cum AT&T had quite a lot of innovation available to put into general use but the government wouldn't allow them to charge extra for any of it. So they stuffed it in a closet and locked the door.

Original Mike said...

Back in grad scholl I used to to roam the stacks of the Engineering Library randomly perusing the Bell Labs technical journal. Fun times.

SukieTawdry said...

@Original Mike: Me too, but I didn't know about the WUWT post. Thanks for the tip.

You're welcome. H/T Thomas Lifson at American Thinker.

Bruce Hayden said...

Nuclear technology has evolved significantly since the Chernobyl, Japanese, and even Three Mile Island, reactors were designed. First and foremost, modern reactor designs are "fail safe", which means that they have to be actively kept running, and will automatically shut down if anything happens. Instead of having to flood the reactors to keep them from melting down, in case of failure, they just stop. Secondly, there are a number of highly modular designs on the books. No longer would you need to generate nuclear power regionally, but could do so town by town, city by city, which would result in a much more robust national grid, not having to move electric power long distances.

SukieTawdry said...

@Original Mike: Back in grad scholl I used to to roam the stacks of the Engineering Library randomly perusing the Bell Labs technical journal. Fun times.

My town was a bedroom community for a lot of people who worked at Bell Labs. Smart, smart people. I went to school with their kids. They were plenty smart, too.

mockturtle said...

I've always been against nuclear power plants due to the waste issues and, while I know the problems are being addressed, I'm glad we aren't forced to depend on these plants here in the US as they are in Europe.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Not clear to me whether you preferred the monopoly or the freer market.

Freer market. The government hamstrung AT&T AND Competitors. Bell Labs did create a lot of wonderful tech, much years ahead of its time (Unix, C Language, etc for example), but wasn't allowed to monetize it, so it was stuffed in a drawer, or handed out under pretty weird licensing. So we got bad monopoly service, with little benefit of the innovation.

The US is poorer in real and knowledge terms for the way AT&T + Bell Labs was handled. And that is how bad government policy can stifle innovation.

buwaya puti said...

There has been insignificant damage resulting from nuclear power overall, compared with the alternatives. A massively ignored side effect of bypassing nuclear are higher electricity costs, the result of artificial shortages. This directly harms people and societies far more than any environmental damage. The deaths caused by lower standards of living and suppressed progress are on a massive scale.

The suppression of progress in the name of safety and environmentalism is the second largest ongoing act of mass murder in modern times, after abortion.

buwaya puti said...

The entire opposition to nuclear power is due to an irrational inability to compare and rank risks. Nuclear radiation has beeb assigned an inordinate fear factor, compared for instance to economic stress which is many orders of magnitude more lethal.

Original Mike said...

"I've always been against nuclear power plants due to the waste issues..."

Waste storage is not the problem that the opponents make it out to be. The volume of material is not that large, radiation levels fall rapidly at first, and properly chosen geological formations are incredibly stable over time.

mockturtle said...

My 'irrationality' about nuclear waste may stem, in part, to the leakage problem in my own state of Washington at the Hanford waste site.

Original Mike said...

"Nuclear radiation has beeb assigned an inordinate fear factor,..."

Even within the field, we had to be circumspect when discussing hormesis. Thankfully, that's changing. I do believe scientific progress can't be held down forever, though it can be impeded for a few decades.

Original Mike said...

@mockturtle - Our government was incredibly irresponsible at Hanford.

JAORE said...

" I do believe scientific progress can't be held down forever,..."

By the anti-science party. You know, the Democrats.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
Even within the field, we had to be circumspect when discussing hormesis.


No amount of DNA damage is a good amount of DNA damage.

Original Mike said...

"No amount of DNA damage is a good amount of DNA damage."

The science is passing you by, ARM.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya puti said...
There has been insignificant damage resulting from nuclear power overall, compared with the alternatives. A massively ignored side effect of bypassing nuclear are higher electricity costs, the result of artificial shortages. This directly harms people and societies far more than any environmental damage. The deaths caused by lower standards of living and suppressed progress are on a massive scale.


This is all unsubstantiated assertion. Among the many problems the West has had a lack of adequate power is not high on the list. In poor countries a lack of power is a problem, along with a million other things. Nuclear power in poor, poorly educated, poorly regulated countries would have been a nightmare, without accounting for the problem of terrorism and a black market in fissile material.

The number of lives saved in the West by limiting the spread of nuclear technology is unknown but possibly vast.

AReasonableMan said...

Original Mike said...
The science is passing you by, ARM.


I don't think you really know much about biology.

Original Mike said...

At the least, the linear no-threshold hypothesis is losing support.

Original Mike said...

I know a lot about radiation risk

Nonapod said...

Imagine there's no FDA, no governmental drug regulatory agency below us, above us only sky. In the absence of the FDA all liability for bad drug outcomes would fall on individual practitioners. Can you think of a setup more likely to stifle innovation than that? Doctors, who are arguably already overly cautious, would never change anything, ever. Malpractice insurance costs would skyrocket for anyone who deviated from the tried and true. Without the FDA to absorb the blame and potential liability, innovation in medical practice would come to an almost complete standstill.

The whole liability thing is a different but tangentially related issue from excessive regulation. Excessive liability is an issue in a system with a legal framework that greatly rewards it (which is what we currently have unfortunately). A system that richly rewards lawyers and overly punishes risk takers (class action law suits) will always drive costs upwards. In fact these failings are examples of an over abundance of centralized systematic control rather than an argument for innovation stifling not being due to regulation.

Original Mike said...

My favorite was the work of Bernie Cohen. He had extensive data on lung cancer mortality vs. radon concentration. His data showed falling mortality vs rising radon concentration up to 4 pCi/L (that level should ring a bell if you know the field). Above 4 pCi/L risk rose. There is no doubt that high radiation levels are dangerous.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Imagine there's no FDA, no governmental drug regulatory agency below us, above us only sky. In the absence of the FDA all liability for bad drug outcomes would fall on individual practitioners.

Because that has completely halted the development of sports supplements, diet supplements, allergen free foods. I mean, we can't find a single company to help people with gluten allergies unless the FDA prevents lawsuits...

AReasonableMan said...

Kristian Holvoet said...
Because that has completely halted the development of sports supplements, diet supplements, allergen free foods. I mean, we can't find a single company to help people with gluten allergies unless the FDA prevents lawsuits...


Everything on this list is useless crap that has no real effect, scams inflicted on idiots. Real drugs kill you, destroy your liver, induce psychotic episodes, mutate your children and render you infertile. Real drugs are dangerous and have to be regulated.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Real drugs are dangerous and have to be regulated.

Substitute any number of things for drugs, and this holds true. Dangerous is not the be all and end all of need for government regulation

Water
Food
Sugar
Showers
Football
Cutting vegetables with a dull knife
Cleaning Gutters
Changing a blown fuse
Distracted walking
Jumping Rope
Playing Catch

All of these can lead to serious injury (cuts, broken bones, heart attacks, falls, soap in the eyes). We are humans who can bloody well take on the risks of living. You can't nerf reality, but you can enslave people to a state.



Original Mike said...

The FDA only acknowledges one side of the risk equation. Being too cautious is equally deadly. The way they dealt with eteplirsen was both typical and unfortunate.

holdfast said...

"Neither is happening because radiation and humans are incompatible. Physics and biology are not a gubmint plot.

Unlike France and Japan, nations like the US, Russia, Canada and Australia are blessed to have Great Tracts O' Land - we can locate nuclear plants fairly far from people, and pick the most tectonically stable places to do so. Yes, that will require a more robust grid, but that's something worth doing anyway.

jrapdx said...

@Original Mike 11:57

Know what you mean, I did the same thing way back when I attended Arizona State. Still member some of the contents of those dusty Bell Labs Monographs. Would be so interesting to reread them now...

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AReasonableMan said...

Bruce Hayden said...
there are a number of highly modular designs on the books. No longer would you need to generate nuclear power regionally, but could do so town by town, city by city, which would result in a much more robust national grid, not having to move electric power long distances.


While true that these would be more robust technically they would be vastly more fragile in terms of protection against terrorism.

Bruce Hayden said...

My 'irrationality' about nuclear waste may stem, in part, to the leakage problem in my own state of Washington at the Hanford waste site.

Arguably apples and oranges. At least for the reactors there. Hanford is one of the big places where we learned how to generate nuclear power. Many of the earliest nuclear reactors in the country. And, if they are actually shipping new nuclear waste there, thank Dingy Harry Reid, the Dems in Congress, and the Obama Administration, after halting the Yucca Mountain facility. Short of burning up the waste in breeder reactors, like the French do, best thing to do is bury it deep, in seismically stable salt mines like Yucca Mountain. They passed a 100,000 year certification, but were sent back for, if I remember correctly, a quarter million year certification. Which is completely asinine.

While true that these would be more robust technically they would be vastly more fragile in terms of protection against terrorism.

Maybe, but what is the risk there? Essentially we are talking a dirty bomb, which here means conventional explosives used to distribute radioactive materials around a bit. With modern "fail safe" design, we aren't talking meltdowns or confinement breaches, as we do with conventional reactors. So, all you are really talking is the damage you can do with conventional explosives blowing up nuclear material. These new style reactors aren't going to blow up, and indeed, can't be made to blow up. And aren't going to melt down. With the amount of nuclear material involved, just not that dangerous to that many people.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

AReasonableMan said..While true that these would be more robust technically they would be vastly more fragile in terms of protection against terrorism.

Not necessarily, ARM. Something like a pebble bed reactor doesn't make a great terrorism target--it'd be tough to steal enough individual fuel elements to make anything useful and it'd be very difficult to induce the plant itself to cause much destruction. You'd probably want to protect against fire....but that's true to about the same degree for most fossil-fuel burning power plants. "Fragile" is a relative measure.

AReasonableMan said...

Safe nuclear is like flying cars, always just around the corner.

OldManRick said...

Re Fukushima
Japan foolishly placed them on shorelines in very active earthquake zones

The Japanese just ignored the wisdom of their ancestors. Their ancestors had put up tsunami stones to show where it was safe to build and to identify tsunami zones.

But from:
http://www.zmescience.com/other/feature-post/tsunami-warnings-japan/

To most people in Japan, this type of warning would seem archaic, a remnant from another era.

Rusty said...

The number of lives saved in the West by limiting the spread of nuclear technology is unknown but possibly vast.

No.Stupid assertion. Six people died of radiation poisoning at Fukushima. I can only find one in the US as a direct result of radiation poisoning. This is for commercial reactors. "safe nuclear" exists

Kyzernick said...

Probably too late to this one as well, but the Navy has been using nuclear reactors since the 1950's and they've had zero nuclear accidents. Scale up a navalized reactor core, designed for warfighting, and then "bury" it somewhere surrounded by concrete with a control station nearby and a sturdy fence/wall barrier and a contingent of National Guardsmen providing security.

I grew up a few miles from Knolls Atomic Power Labs in the Capital District of NY. Always loved driving by the place. I'm a big Clancy fan and nuclear powered subs feature prominently in his work, and that's where many of their reactor cores were designed and tested. Today, I live south of Chicago, pretty much between 3 nuclear power stations. One is about 5 miles from my house - it's one of my landmarks when out biking, when I see it I'm almost home. Couple of folks my wife introduced me to, the "teacher's husbands" I suppose, are nuclear engineers. I talk with them extensively about new developments and general safety practices. I have no problem living near nuclear power. The only concession I make to the Gods of preparedness are 28 potassium-iodide pills in our home emergency kit.

Kyzernick said...

28 is enough for 2 people for 13 days. Apparently you take 2 immediately to saturate your system, and then take one every day afterwards for maintenance until the danger has passed.

AReasonableMan said...

Rusty said...
No.Stupid assertion.


Stupid misreading. I was referring to the proliferation of nuclear in nonwestern countries and its use in terrorism.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Rusty said...
No.Stupid assertion.

Stupid misreading. I was referring to the proliferation of nuclear in nonwestern countries and its use in terrorism.

You got me.
No Iran deal for us then.