Quick Roundup 205

Friday, June 15, 2007

They're Back!

Galileo Blogs has returned just in the nick of time to comment on a rather appalling effort by the nanny state to solve the problem of childhood obesity -- by making it impossible even for responsible parents to buy tasty cereal for their children. The post is titled, "Goodbye, Toucan Sam".

Under the coerced non-agreement, Kellogg may still use cartoon characters if the cereals can be reformulated to meet certain nutritional standards, such as zero trans-fats, less than 200 calories per serving, less than 12 grams of sugar per serving, etc. In other words, the cereal has to be bland.
He summarizes himself best in a reply to a commenter: "Liberty is lost ... one spoonful of cereal at a time."

Andrew Dalton is also back. I found the following observation of his rather amusing: "[A] few years ago on the Saudi-based Arab News site, ... the "Art and Culture" page was completely empty. It's still blank."

Well, I guess at least that part of the web site is reporting accurately!

Past, Present, and Future

Diana Hsieh seconds the recommendation of the book Getting Things Done made by the new blog Powell History Recommends.
[T]he basic organizational problem the vast majority of us have in the modern world is the same. It's the problem of having too much "stuff" to do.


Allen defines "stuff" as "anything you have allowed into your psychological world that doesn't belong where it is, but for which you haven't yet determined the desired outcome and the next action step." It's often this overwhelming amount of "stuff" that we haven't tamed that reduces our efficiency and saps our motivation, and renders our myriad goals into what one of Allen's clients called "an amorphous blob of undoability!"

The answer to this problem is an efficient procedure to capture and process the "stuff" in our lives, remove it all from our consciousness, and put it into an organizational system. The result is a higher level of clarity and definition. Your mind is freed from the lower-level value tracking that it otherwise insists on performing at the expense of the focus you need to be optimally productive.
I'll be curious to see what others have to say about this book.

Myrhaf Knocks Hollywood

Myrhaf blogs Knocked Up and asks, "Is it my active imagination or is Hollywood turning religious?" The New York Times recently considered the same type of question, but within the narrower context of the stand on abortion.

I agree with his overall conclusion, that "Hollywood is changing and more religious people are making movies." I would add that the shift on abortion is indicative of the inevitable loss of moral certainty the left in general was going to suffer sooner or later. The notion of "doing your own thing" is thin moral gruel, and no basis to defend the right of a woman to end a pregnancy. Religion is now seeping in to fill that moral vacuum.

Edwards vs. Innovation

Part of the Edwards plan to force private citizens in the business to lower the cost of medical care will, if enacted, be a body blow to future innovation in the pharmaceutical industry:
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Thursday proposed cutting health care costs by overhauling the patent process for breakthrough drugs and requiring health insurance companies to spend at least 85 percent of their premiums on patient care.


Edwards' plan would offer cash payments in place of long-term patents for companies that develop certain breakthrough drugs and then reap large profits because of the monopolies those patents provide. [bold added]
The only way this idea would cut costs is by depriving a drug company of a substantial portion of the profits it would have made under patent protection by substituting some lower amount in the form of a "cash payment". This will have exactly the opposite effect on innovation from what he implies.

The whole purpose of patents is, in the words of a document Edwards would do well to become acquainted with, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." It's called "The United States Constitution".

Well! On second thought, this would save money! No pesky breakthroughs, no monopolies -- and no need to dole out "cash payments" from the money we'll "need" so every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a head cold can go to a clinic at government expense.

The foolishness that this debate churns up on a daily basis makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes.

Here's some imagery for the opera snobs.

I fell asleep in front of the television last night -- I tend to do that when my wife is away. -- and woke up around 3:00 a.m. to find comments here. One commenter pointed me to a very unpleasant display of snobbery and childishness over at Solo, which I rarely visit. (Cut and paste the URL at your own risk.) In any event, I like what I wrote about it while half-awake:
[I]f you want a civilized discussion of the merits of this performance, you may wish to go elsewhere than Solo. You will not get a pleasant stroll through the park there, but an unplanned and hurried romp through a cow pasture. And you will leave soiled and smelly.
Heh! And It looks like another blogger might agree with that assessment as well.

Oh! And on a much more benevolent note, that reminds me.... I really like Dan Edge's sense of humor!

-- CAV


: Minor edits.


Apollo said...

I think I saw the book recommended on the Dr. Hurd, Jean Moroney, and StrongBrains.com website.

I've seen it recommended on a lot of Objectivist websites.


Gus Van Horn said...

Thank you for pointing me to Jean Moroney's review, and to her website, for that matter.

Dan Edge said...

Howdy Gus,

I'm flattered, sir, that you liked the plunger-head picture. I shan't fail to don a plunger when first we meet.


--Dan Edge

Gus Van Horn said...


This makes me want to promise to wear head gear for such an occasion....

Maybe I'll reprise the single horn I applied with spirit glue to the center of my forehead the first time I passed out Halloween candy with my wife.

That was a hit -- except for this one toddler dressed like Zorro. He took one look at me and started crying!