Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, February 03, 2017

Three Things

1. In the Los Angeles Times is an interesting article about aviation entrepreneurs working to bring back supersonic air travel.

[Blake] Scholl [of Boom Technology] has staked his claim on several advances, including a primary aircraft structure built with carbon fiber composites -- like those in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's frame -- which should be stronger and lighter than the aluminum exterior of the Concorde.


"The reason why [Concorde] prices were so high is fuel economy was poor, and there was no economy of scale," Scholl said. "We have the technology for that today."

Scholl said he chose a modified commercial engine rather than a military-grade supersonic propulsion system because of the high emissions standards and efficiency offered by the conventional engines. And from a logistics standpoint, it would be more difficult for military-grade technology to clear export control, he said.

Advances in computing power and speed are also key to developing more efficient supersonic jets. Engineers can now test prototypes through computer models and make tweaks immediately based on those results. Previously, they had to build a plane, test it in a wind tunnel and then tweak the design.

"We're now able to bottle physical features in a computer that a short decade ago were unheard of," said Jim Ladesic, associate dean of industry relations and outreach at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's college of engineering in Florida.
Notice that technological advances are making it easy for them to "fail faster" when working on whatever problems haven't already been solved.

2. Believe it or not, the following three items are not from the Onion: 3. Three neat things coming down the pike are: The last story promises the following:
For diners who have grown tired of servers who introduce themselves and practically give you their life stories before reciting the specials and adding details, the notion of getting your food without a lot of chatter is welcome.
And the article calls this all a "taste of a people-free future," as if that's necessarily a bad thing, or even really true.

Weekend Reading

"[T]he best way to protect [women's freedom over their own bodies] is to protect everyone's medical freedom through free-market health reforms. " -- Paul Hsieh, in "Health Freedom for Everyone, Not Just Women" at Forbes

"Your problems are in the present, not the past, and they are primarily due to errors in thinking and/or behavior." -- Michael Hurd, in "Excuse-Making Blocks Personal Improvement" at The Delaware Wave

"One of the reasons homosexuality is such a hot-button issue is that it forces people to confront their contradictions." -- Michael Hurd, in "Your Life: It's Either Your Own, or It Isn't" at The Delaware Coast Press

"We have now inaugurated as 45th president of the United States a man who regularly threatens businesses with regulation and confiscatory taxation if they don't follow his preferred policies or run their businesses as he sees fit." -- Steve Simpson, in "Crony-in-Chief: Donald Trump epitomizes Ayn Rand's 'Aristocracy of Pull'" at Learn Liberty

In More Detail

Directly pertinent to a point I made yesterday, Steve Simpson says the following:
"Rent seeking" doesn't capture what is really going on. Neither, really, does "cronyism." They're both too tame.

A far better term is the one used by nineteenth-century French economist Frederic Bastiat: "legal plunder." Rand uses the term "political pull" to describe those who "succeed" by convincing friends in government to use the law to plunder others or to prevent them from competing.
His article is lengthy, but deserves a full read..

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you list this headline: "IP Scholars Explain Why We Shouldn't Use SurveyMonkey to Select Our Next Register of Copyrights." Thanks! That was hilarious and the article lived up to expectations.

Gus Van Horn said...

Agreed. A title like that will draw almost anyone in, causing them to learn of a serious issue in an entertaining way. The synergy between education and entertainment you see there crops up quite a bit in the other work of the CPIP, which I think is part of why it is so effective.