American Elephants

These Kids Are Nearly Voting Age. by The Elephant's Child

A few of them know the capitol of Washington State because this was filmed in a Washington high school. Our schools have a lot to answer for.

These are the kids who will  grow up to be “useful idiots.” Please, have dinner with your kids every day, and discuss the events of the day. Make sure they know something about the world they will inherit. Even better, homeschool your kids.

If you can’t do that, you will have to make up for the deficiencies of the public schools.  The welfare of the country depends on you.

The Nannies Are Coming! The Nannies Are Coming! by The Elephant's Child

So far, it is just the nannies pushing for government regulation, as if we needed anybody encouraging the government to regulate more.  CBS News: “Should the government regulate sugar, just like it regulates alcohol and tobacco?”

A new commentary published online in the Feb. 1 issue of Naturesays sugar is just as “toxic” for people as the other two, so the government should step in to curb its consumption. …

They said that over the past 50 years, sugar consumption has tripled worldwide. That’s also helped contribute to the obesity epidemic – so much so that there are 30 percent more obese people in this world than there are malnourished people.

On the other hand, the Sugar Association disputes some of the statistics, particularly the tripled sugar consumption rates. They added a sensible statement:

“We are confident that the American people are perfectly capable of choosing what foods to eat without stark regulations and unreasonable bans imposed upon them.”

I’ll go along with the Sugar Association. If sugar is particularly bad for us, explain, make the case, but if you want to regulate — find me the passage in the Constitution that gives you the power to regulate what people choose to eat, and take a hard look at the federal government’s shameful history with malaria.

ADDENDUM: Here’s the other side of he story from the American Council on Science and Health; and from the same source, a report on malaria, a real killer, a peak of 1.8 million deaths in 2004, declined to 1.2 million deaths in 2010.  That’s a lot of death from a disease that can be prevented with indoor residual spraying of DDT, which remains the most effective mosquito killer and repellent and is completely safe for humans.

New Super Earth Detected Within the Habitable Zone of a Nearby Cool Star. by The Elephant's Child
February 5, 2012, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Environment, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

A new potentially life bearing “super Earth” has been discovered orbiting a relatively nearby star.  The planet (GJ667Cc) is described as the “best candidate” for supporting liquid water — and therefore life — and is believed to be about 4.5 times the size of Earth.

The parent star (GJ557C), an M-Class dwarf.  The planet is 22 light years away, and has a 28.15 day orbit. It is calculated to receive 90 percent as much light as Earth, and much of that is infrared, which means the actual energy delivered is about equal to Earth, hinting at similar temperatures and favorable conditions.  Not enough is known about the atmosphere to confirm the prospects of water, but it seems to be a hope for discovering life.

“It’s the Holy Grail of exoplanet research to find a planet around a star orbiting at the right distance so it’s not too close where it would lose all its water and boil away, and not too far where it would all freeze,” Steven Vogt, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told “It’s right smack in the habitable zone — there’s no question or discussion about it. It’s not on the edge, it’s right in there. …

The fortuitous discovery could mean that potentially habitable alien worlds could exist in a greater variety of environments than was previously thought possible, the researchers said.

“Statistics tell us we shouldn’t have found something this quickly this soon unless there’s a lot of them out there,” Vogt said. “This tells us there must be an awful lot of these planets out there. It was almost too easy to find, and it happened too quickly.”

(click to enlarge)

My astronomical knowledge begins and ends with locating the North Star, the Dippers  the Pleiades. and Orion’s Belt and Sword. Haven’t seen them for years, between city lights and constant overcast. You have to go out in the woods at night.  But technology is gradually making things visible that we only dreamed of or read about in science fiction.

Companies Moving Overseas? Try Treating Them Better! by The Elephant's Child

Of all the superlatives that describe the Obama administration, none surpasses the issuance of stultifying, job-killing regulation. Over the first two years of Obama’s term, the federal government issued 132 economically significant regulations (defined as having impact of $100 million or more per year). That averages out to 66 major new regulations a year, which is dramatically higher than the Clinton administration (47) or the George W.Bush administration (48). Business has protested, Congress has protested, affected industries have protested and the Chamber of Commerce has protested.

Obama’s regulatory czar. Cass Sunstein, announced rule changes last August to supposedly “save U.S. businesses billions of dollars in regulatory burdens.” Sunstein claimed that the regulatory relief would save business $10 billion over five years.  File that with the claims of a turnaround in the job market, and the claim that denying the Keystone XL  pipeline would save the environment.  The real growth industry in the midst of this recession is bureaucratic regulation. Democrats have a hard time understanding consequences.

The administration’s regulatory excesses have been a disaster to some of our most productive and innovative companies. “A recent survey of venture capital firms”, said Dr. Henry I. Miller, “has revealed that they have begun to avoid investment in early-stage pharmaceutical and medical device companies, which are therefore increasingly moving overseas. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they plan to increase investment in life science companies in Europe, while only 13% intend to increase investment in U.S. companies, and 31% said they plan to decrease investment in life science companies in the U.S., compared with 7% that intend to decrease investment in Europe.”

Sixty-one percent of the investors cited regulatory challenges as the primary reason; more specifically, they alluded to dysfunction, unpredictability and risk-aversion at Obama’s FDA.

One metric that reflects what the drug companies are experiencing is the plummeting success rate of Phase 2 clinical trials — in which the efficacy of a new drug begins to be assessed; from 28% in 2006-07, it fell to 18% in 2008-10, according to an analysis in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery in May. Facing regulatory uncertainty or obstructionism, companies are simply abandoning projects that might have yielded medically useful, profitable products. But regulatory excesses harm more than industries and companies.

The IRS Friday issued the rules for the new $20 billion ObamaCare medical device tax that is scheduled to take effect next year.  As Obama celebrates a lower unemployment rate, and extols his new initiatives for innovation, the new rules are estimated to kill another 43,000 jobs. There are always consequences.  Copy this down.

Capital will go where it is wanted and stay where it is well treated.  It will flee from manipulation or onerous regulation of its value or use and no government power can restrain it for long.
Walter Wriston

The reforms don’t work, the regulations don’t stimulate, the decline continues. You cannot declare war on capitalism, and expect business to grow and prosper. They’ll just up and go somewhere where they are wanted. It takes a certain depth of experience to think through the consequences. You have to have some understanding of how an industry works, what their challenges are and how changes will affect them.  You can, of course, decide to raise money by increasing their taxes, they have options as well.

It may surprise the administration, but companies are not in business to create jobs, nor to boost the economy, nor to make the administration look good.  They are in business to make a profit by creating products that people need and want. You forgot the customer. You may have been excited about a product that your ideology told you was a great green good, but if nobody wanted it enough to pay the price, it’s just another flop, and the hopes and the jobs and the innovation were all a waste. And there are consequences for that too.

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