7-20-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Regulation as Strangulation

VIa HBL, I learned that John Stossel has, once again, hit the nail on the head. His whole column is worth a read, but I found the following bullet list quite informative:

  • Drug companies invented a vaccine against Lyme disease, but they won't sell it, because they're scared of lawyers.
  • Fearful medical device makers often stick to old technologies because trying something new, even if it's better, risks a suit.
  • Monsanto developed a substitute for asbestos, a fire-resistant insulation that might save thousands of lives, but decided not to sell it because the company feared it might be sued.
Believe it or not, Stossel provides a particularly sickening example of this process in action before he even gets to these.

Weekend Reading

"If you're too stressed-out to think, then you need to rearrange things to make time for it." -- Michael Hurd, in "Take a Deep Breath and Think", at The Delaware Coast Press

"I can't overemphasize the importance of making sure your goals are achievable and realistic." -- Michael Hurd, in "Planning Your Planning" at The Delaware Wave

"Opponents of assisted suicide place sovereignty outside the individual and view individuals either as the property of a supernatural deity or mere vassals of the State." -- Amesh Adalja, in "Does the Right to Life and Liberty Include the Right to Terminate One's Life?" at Forbes

"Gasland, Part II is a direct continuation of the original Gasland, which famously featured footage of a Pennsylvania man lighting his water on fire--a phenomenon that, unknown to many, is a frequent natural occurrence." -- Alex Epstein, in "Gasland II's Luddite Slander of 'Fracking' Is The Latest Technophobe Attack on Progress" at Forbes

"[B]usiness leaders are paid for their contribution - and paid well, we know - but precisely because their contribution is large." -- Richard Salsman, in "Americans Think Little of Business, and That's Bad for the U.S. Economy" at Forbes

My Two Cents

The Epstein piece does an excellent job of debunking the claims of the two movies that smear fracking. But there's a nice bonus: Epstein also describes the dishonest rhetorical tactics they (and similar Luddite attacks) employ. That can help numerous people notice when they are being used -- and they will be -- in the future, and perhaps be able to see through them.

A Heroic Moment in Medicine

Over at Futility Closet, Greg Ross relays the story of Evan O'Neill Kane, who wanted to show that some major surgeries could be performed under local anaesthesia:
[O]n Feb. 15, propped up by pillows on an operating table, he cut into his own abdomen, using novocaine to dull the pain while a nurse held his head forward so that he could see the work.

"Just say that I am getting along all right," he told the New York Times the following day. "I now know exactly how the patient feels when being operated upon under local treatment. … I have demonstrated the fact in my own case that a major operation can be performed by the use of a local anaesthesia without causing pain more severe than can be borne by the patient." [minor format edits]
Ross notes that Kane was sixty at the time and would repair his own hernia similarly nearly a decade later.


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