Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad Day for Humanity...

It seemed like the bad news just kept rolling in today. It definitely reinforced my fundamental mistrust of government.
  • TSA destroys the RepRap's first child: As Boing Boing states, "This year's OSCON was treated to a chance to see the first RepRap "progeny." RepRap is a deluxe 3D printer that is capable of printing copies of itself. On the way back, the TSA opened the case it was in and destroyed the printer." I think the RepRap team's conclusion is quite cogent:
    I recommend that anyone, anywhere shipping any equipment of value by air goes out of their way to avoid having it pass through the United States of America. Otherwise their badly-trained insecurity chimps and box-throwers will wreck it for you.
  • Botched Raid on Innocent Family Earns Cops Merit Badges: Radley Balko puts this embarrassing display of the police protecting their own instead of the citizens for whom they work into perspective:
    This is really beyond outrage. The city of Minneapolis is commending and rewarding its police officers for firing their weapons at innocent people. A family of eight was terrorized, assaulted, and nearly killed, and it’s the "perfect example" of a situation that could have gone wrong?
  • The Doha round of trade talks has collapsed: This quote from Indian negotiator Kamal Nath seems to sum up the apparent economic illiteracy of those who, had they made the right decision and liberalized global trade, had the opportunity to improve the living conditions of millions, perhaps billions of poor people around the world.
    "I come from a country where 300 million people live on 1 dollar a day and 700 million people live on 2 dollars a day. So it is natural for me, and in fact incumbent upon me, to see that our agricultural interests are not compromised. You don't require rocket science to decide between livelihood security and commercial interests."
    By reducing India's agricultural protectionism, obviously some Indian farmers will lose their jobs and experience economic hardship. But that seems like a relatively small price to pay to allow the 700 million people living on 2 dollars a day to gain access to cheaper food purchased on the world market. Protecting agricultural interests at the expense of cheaper food (and better lives) for a far greater number of people is a classic example of the flawed reasoning of the Make-work Bias. (And yes, of course, I think the U.S should eliminate all of its subsidies, farm-related or otherwise.)

Image from here.

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