Friday, March 07, 2003

EO wrote:

> This could be taken as strong evidence in support of intellectual property
> regulation, in its role as a protector/encourager of innovation. What is
> shown is that, in the absense of any mechanism to protect IP in the area of
> illegal drugs, real innovation is very low.
> Comments?

I would certainly be interested to hear what extropians think of Patents (at least, mechanical innovation patents) There is a large portion of libertarians here, and I generally consider myself one (a 'neo'-libertarian I guess to be more accurate) but I do not see much value in the arguments against IP. They seem to center around 'see, there has been plenty of innovation without patents, the wheel, steam engines, etc' to which I would respond 'yeah, but those took thousands of years to come about'

It seems to me so accurate to assume that patents spur innovation for the sake of innovation alone, as opposed to necessity innovation. Imagine a middle ages feudal lord who gave 10 acres to anything that a peasant invented that he considered directly valuable to the lands? Which meant that instead of people happening to come across good ideas, here was a cash prize waiting for a good idea. So people would actively pursue and think about what could be a good idea. This seems so much more efficient at generating innovation that a mere necessity based system.

Additionally, it seems to me that a parallel can be drawn to the common argument against communism, that not rewarding a worker gives them no desire to excel. Sure some people who love to be doctors would slave for years in schools to be a doctor, only to get the pay of a garbage man, but capitalism dictates the rewards for efforts based on the demand, so if there are not enough Doctors around, they would start making more, and more people who otherwise would have been content as garbage men train to become doctors. (Not to put down sanitation workers, their efforts are easily as valuable in some sense, considering the diseases that can come from poor sanitary conditions)

Similarly, sure some innovations will come about without IP, but no where near as many as would with it, since it gives people incentive to be inventive for the pure reason of inventing.

And its also important to note the value of IP in medicine, would pharmacuetical companies really invest 400 million dollars to make a first pill only to have everyone else start making them for a buck a piece? I doubt it.

Strange insights into different cultures. The unfamilitarity with much of the Japanese culture in America coupled with slightly wrong translations make these interesting reads.
"Peep box offers hole to the real world"
"Beckham changing the face of female genital hair"
"You've butchered my girlfriend! Marry me! "
Finally, let South Korea deal with its own Ambivilance and flights of fancy in regards to North Korea.

15) Rumsfeld may pull troops from Korean DMZ
USA Today

"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that he might move
U.S. troops away from the Demilitarized Zone that straddles the
Korean peninsula. Rumsfeld said South Korea, which has an economy 25
or 35 times bigger than North Korea's, ‘has all the capability in the
world of providing the kind of up-front deterrent that's needed’ to
prevent war." (03/06/03)
Criticisms of more crazy left attempts to revive communism.

33) Disorganizing the world
by Ronald Bailey

"Ehrenreich claims, 'No one yet knows how to make collective
decisions on a national or global scale, and to do it in a way that
is both flexible and inclusive of the illiterate street vendors and
laborers of the world.' No one? How about we start with the 86
electoral democracies that Freedom House identified in 2001 as
'free?'" (03/05/03)

Thursday, March 06, 2003

"How does this apply to Iraq? For one thing, as Michael Novak has pointed out, the war with Iraq is not a pre-emptive war. It is a war made necessary by the failure of a military aggressor to abide by the terms of its peace agreement, after its invasion was forcibly repelled.

For another, the anti-war strategy that poses as the moral high ground may in actuality be a selfish swamp. Think it through. The French, German and Russian position is that war is not necessary because we can contain and degrade the ability of Iraq to threaten its neighbors through economic sanctions and inspections. Sure, we may not find every weapon of mass destruction, but we can prevent full-scale re-armament of a kind that would allow Saddam to invade his neighbors.

Meanwhile, how many people Saddam kills, rapes and tortures remains his own business unless he threatens to invade another country. What he does with terrorists is also his own business unless a smoking gun can be found. What the international economic sanctions needed to degrade his military power do to ordinary Iraqi people is also none of our business.

The anti-war strategy thus amounts to substituting vast civilian suffering for direct attacks against military targets. Is this just? The war envisioned by the Bush administration is less a war against Iraq than a war against the bloody Hussein regime, using postmodern warfare methods, which tend to reduce civilian casualties through precise targeting. "

"But the biggest reason for Limbaugh's success is simple: Liberals have given him so much good material to work with. Thirty years ago, when liberal Democrats stood for a few clear principles and weren't consumed by guilt, he would not have caught on. And if all liberals disappeared tomorrow, his talk show would tank within six months. (That's why I think his program has lost some energy since the Clinton-Gore team left. There's nothing very compelling about defending George W. Bush, and his demonizing of little Tommy Daschle is like the class bully picking on the class weakling.)

It's not just the liberal mainstream media that set the table for Limbaugh every day. It's that since the Democratic Party began to atomize in the 1970s, it increasingly has been associated with the left-wing fringe: radical feminists; environmental and animal-rights wackos; blame-America dregs from the Vietnam era; political-correctness police; the hate-Israel crowd; and a long parade of Hollywood airheads. These people invite ridicule almost every time they open their mouths, and Limbaugh knows how to deliver it."
Oklohama City politicians thought they would broadcast the mug shots of John's and Prostitutes to deter the activity, instead ""The scrolling and repeating mug shots of disheveled streetwalkers helped would-be customers identify prostitutes, the spokeswoman said. "It was almost a promotional thing for them. It wasn't a deterrent at all," Ingersoll said. "

City Finds 'Shame TV' a Turn-Off

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

13- Lincoln's lessons
Tech Central Station
by Duane D. Freese
"But as the ancestors of slaves and children of Holocaust
survivors know, an aversion to war can pave the way to a
crueler despotism. Their pain doesn't fit neatly on a
bumper sticker." (3/5/03)

Lincoln's Lessons
By Duane D. Freese 03/05/2003
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"War is not the answer." So reads a sign posted at an entry to I-66 on the outskirts of Washington.
(A pretty lame rebuttal to the 'top ten pro war arguments' conspicuously absent from these 'top ten' are 1) Saddam is a murderous tyrant and has killed ~400,000 of his own people 2) Saddam is a murderous Tyrant that controls the worlds second largest energy supply and uses it for, surprise, murder and tyranny and 3) no one is free unless everyone is free, corrupt murderous tyrants need to go ASAP. Included, however are arguments such as (which I have never heard) 1) A War Will Save the US Economy 2) Because We're Already There. Funny how some of the best pro war arguments are left out, but some of the lamest are included. - Mike)

Top ten bogus justifications for the Iraqi war
by Christopher Deliso
"[T]oppling the flimsy foundations on which the pro-war
edifice rests is not a very difficult matter. While the
War Party's fraudulent justifications for war are
myriad, debunking the top ten will suffice." (3/5/03)
30) Real environmental racism
by Ronald Bailey

"That the world's poor breed environmental destruction is a
disturbing, and possibly racist, tenet propounded by many prominent
ideological environmentalists. ... the issue is not that the poor
breed too much. The issue is that they are poor. Ehrlich and other
would-be population controllers have confused poverty with
overpopulation." (03/05/03)
10) Time to throw out "myth" of recycling
London Daily Telegraph/Washington Times

"Throw away the green and blue bags and forget those trips to return
bottles -- recycling household waste is a load of, well, rubbish, say
leading environmentalists and waste campaigners. In a reversal of
decades-old wisdom, they argue that burning cardboard, plastics and
food leftovers is better for the environment and the economy than
recycling." (03/04/03)
A testament to the limitations of 'Public opinion' 36 percent of russians think Stalin did 'more good than harm' I wonder how the 15 million dead would have swayed that tally? - Mike

5) An unflinching look at Stalin 50 years later
Moscow Times

"While in the West, Stalin is seen simply as a monstrous dictator,
the view in Russia remains divided, as a survey by the Public Opinion
Foundation showed last month. Thirty-six percent of those polled said
Stalin did more good than bad for the country, 29 percent said the
opposite and the rest were unsure, Interfax reported." (03/05/03)

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Stalin's rule perverted communist ideals

By Michael Prowse
Published: February 27 2003 20:36 | Last Updated: February 27 2003 20:36
Good article on lifesharers program.

from -

Excerpt - "But if someone dies waiting for a kidney because Mark Fox and Jeffrey Kahn are all enamored of The Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals? No problem. How about 6,000 people a year? Same-same; they're only numbers. And if Joe Sixpack takes his corneas into the ground with him because Mark Fox and Jeffrey Kahn consider it "unethical" to give him any reason not to? De nada."

Perhaps combining the excellent life sharers program with a system of financial reward which merely moves the waiting list faster (In other words, if I am rich and I need an organ, any money I put into some pool to pay donors would merely move the list faster) would be passable to the general public, though certainly not with these 'ethicists'