For the three people (being generous) who actually read this blog, I am sorry for not posting more often. That aside, I have started working on a sci-fi story. Hopefully I can actually meet my goal of fleshing out the beginnings of an outline into a short story. It is a harrowing tale of loneliness during a regatta.
I would prefer to have some scientific studies and an informed opinion on the subject of this post. Unfortunately I can only bring up my ambivalence on the issue. The power to create a form of rice with Vitamin A fascinates me, but there are potential risks that come from this application of science. Plants with their own pesticides could potentially have the consequence of creating insects that are resistant. But I have read, in a Scientific American article from 2000, that farmers who use genetically modified foods use weaker pesticides, in smaller amounts.
One argument that I do not accept is the claim that there is something wrong with a plant that could not have come about naturally. Yes the process of inserting a section of DNA for one desired trait from a bacterium into the strand of another plant requires bring other traits along, but laboratory testing and field research over the long-term can give us a better basis for understanding the risks. Alas, I still have not seen enough to decide what to think on this issue.
Every time I read somethig about the American car industry, I fail to comprehend how they managed to last for so long. I was awaer that car delerships are endowed with monopolisitc powers only a government can create, but I had no idea that auto unions had a job bank (a method of giving people money for doing no work what so ever at the expense of others). Here is a quotefrom a book that is review in the second link I posted:
“When a machine broke down and stopped the assembly line, workers would take an unscheduled break and wait for an electrician or machinist instead of rushing to fix it themselves. Only skilled tradesmen were allowed to repair machinery, even if ordinary workers were capable of doing it — rules enforced not only by the national contract but also by the separate local contracts at each factory. The electricians or machinists often took their time getting to where they were needed, so that the plant would have to go into overtime to make up for lost production, and everybody would get more money.”
While writing my previous post, I ran into a problem. I was writing a sentence that required an inclusive or. The inclusive or is the case where A and B can be true at the same time. Unfortunately the english language has not evolved a word that acts as an inclusive or. Some may suggest the and/or construct as the solution to this problem, but I reject this on two principles:
- Combining two words into a new word is not proper when one word does not explain or limit the other (look up logophile).
- I do not like the look or sound of and/or.
Some may find it strange to reject what may be a perfectly grammatical construct on principles of aesthetics, but the rules of language are intuitive for the most part and the words that look nice tend to look nice are grammatically correct.
Since I could not find my copy of Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (first edition), I turned to a book called Grammatically Correct which says: “Some authorities frown on this quasi-word, viewing it as a lazy substitute for more carefully crafted phrasing; others accept it. In more formal writing, it is usually better to use a few extra words in order to avoid it.” It was this reasoning which led me to write “unconstitutional, against the framers intent, or both.”
With thanks to Brad Delong: A recent op-ed article has asserted that the filibuster, as currently written in the Senate rules, is unconstitutional, against the framers intent, or both. The article has the unfortunate style of most writing by those with legal training, circuitous and prolix. Like Jon Stewart’s interview with John Yoo, this article makes me want to stick my head in ice water.
Frank Hansen has created a graph comparing various amounts of health-care spending. It would be interesting to see what happens if inovation is introduced into the equation. I am also trying to understand how the quality scale was formed.