Monday, December 26, 2011

Markets in Everything: Solar Paint

ScienceDaily — "Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light -- electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside.

A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive "solar paint" that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy."

HT: Robert Kuehl

125 Comments:

At 12/26/2011 9:51 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

"This research was funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences."

 
At 12/26/2011 10:03 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

what happens when the day comes that solar "paint" or certain kinds of solar are able to provide 30-80% of the power needs for many homes.

No doubt, it will be characterized as yet another evil "job killing" govt plan..., eh?

 
At 12/26/2011 10:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"This research was funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Science"...

Yet another extravagant waste of extorted tax dollars ala Solyndra...

 
At 12/26/2011 10:27 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Zachriel says: "This research was funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences."

It should be noted, almost the entire U.S. Industrial Revolution was funded by the private sector.

And, perhaps, over 99% of the U.S. Information Revolution was funded by the private sector.

Of course, government can spend $2 for something worth $1 or less. Just look at the public education system.

What I find interesting is the Biotech Revolution hasn't peaked yet (like the Information Revolution likely did from 1982-07).

And, it seems likely, a Nanotech Revolution will follow the Biotech Revolution.

 
At 12/26/2011 11:51 AM, Blogger rjs said...

juandos said...
"This research was funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Science"...
Yet another extravagant waste of extorted tax dollars ala Solyndra...


A boom in shale gas? Credit the feds - Since the high-profile bankruptcy of Solyndra, the solar company that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees, many have concluded that government efforts to promote energy technologies are doomed to fail. Critics cite the abandoned synthetic fuels program, attempts to capture carbon pollution from coal plants and next-generation nuclear reactors as further proof of this conclusion. Many often point to the shale gas revolution as evidence that the private sector, in response to market forces, is better than government bureaucrats at picking technological winners. It’s a compelling story, one that pits inventive entrepreneurs against slow-moving technocrats and self-dealing politicians. The problem is, it isn’t true.
“Slick-water fracking, the technology that Mitchell used to crack the shale gas code, was adapted from massive hydraulic fracturing, a technology first demonstrated by the Energy Department in 1977.”
“Mitchell learned of shale’s potential from the Eastern Gas Shales Project, a partnership begun in 1976 between the Energy Department’s Morgantown Energy Research Center and dozens of companies and universities ….”

While details vary, the story is basically the same for nuclear power, natural gas turbines, solar panels, and wind turbines — pretty much every significant energy technology since World War II. That’s because the private sector alone cannot sustain the kind of long-term investments necessary for big technological breakthroughs in the midst of volatile energy markets and short-term pressure to produce profits. No doubt, government energy innovation investments could be made more efficiently and effectively. But it would be a mistake to imagine that we’d be better off without them.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-boom-in-shale-gas-credit-the-feds/2011/12/07/gIQAecFIzO_print.html

 
At 12/26/2011 11:52 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

the private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt.

we forget... radar, computers, miniaturization, networking/internet, GPS, Sat phones, gravity mapping, weather satellites, terrain mapping, etc, etc...

Many, many technologies got their start in US Govt R&D facilities - usually for weapon systems...

it's these things that have powered the US ahead of other countries in many technologies....

in fact the problem we often have is that we do the R&D and basic research and then other countries use it to develop their economies.

And of course one of the major contributors to manufacturing was an American called Demming whose theories were adopted by Toyota who, in turn, cleaned the American manufacturer's clocks on quality.

 
At 12/26/2011 11:57 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: public education "failure" - NOT!

"public education" in 15 other industrialized countries is world class - literally so over generalization on the US-only experience is not a legitimate criticism of "public education"

 
At 12/26/2011 12:34 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Larry, those goods would've been inevitably produced, because of "human capital," whether they were financed by the government or the private sector.

A big difference is the private sector would've produced those goods more cheaply, i.e. with far less resources or waste. So, more inventions-innovations would've been produced for society.

 
At 12/26/2011 12:43 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

@peak - I don't disagree with you but businesses have a serious weakness with basic R&D.... in terms of how much they can invest in it and still remain competitive for what they are selling and that includes being competitive for what investors expect in the rate of return.

given two companies in the same field that are in hot competition and at the same time have investors expecting returns.. just how much money can one allocate to basic research before it puts itself at a competitive disadvantage?

Drones are a good case example.

they have been with us all along...since WWII but only when the govt got on them did they reach the tipping point on technology.

One would have thought that given the innate value of drone technology that a private company would have beat the military to it.

autonomous vehicles are another example.... DARPA has been working on them for decades... no private company would have the sustained, "patient" investor capital available for that long term endeavor.

 
At 12/26/2011 12:45 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

one more... if the Govt could charge for patents ... for things like GPS and weather data... could it reduce income and corporate taxes?

would it still be a "tax" if the govt charged for GPS use?

 
At 12/26/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

rjs I don't where to start with your comment since there is absolutely nothing factual about any of it...

Then again you've read the WaPo (a truly pathetic and delusional commentary as expected) so its understandble why you are so misinformed on the subject of how government interfers with private industry...

BTW can you say Fredonia Shale?

Timeline

 
At 12/26/2011 12:54 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"he private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt"...

Well larry g why should government or universities care about producing something in a timely fashion, its NOT like they're spending their own money on it?

"And of course one of the major contributors to manufacturing was an American called Demming..."...

Now Demming was a government employee?!?!

Who knew?

 
At 12/26/2011 12:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"given two companies in the same field that are in hot competition and at the same time have investors expecting returns.."...

larry g have you heard of drug companies?

 
At 12/26/2011 1:10 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we've reached so far is 1 percent, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15 percent efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells," explains Kamat."

Yawn.

 
At 12/26/2011 1:12 PM, Blogger Emil Perhinschi said...

"cadmium sulfide-coated ..."

nothing new ...

Cadmium is a lot more toxic and expensive than what is used in "normal" solar panels, and the efficiency of this solution is inferior to that of "normal" solar panels.

 
At 12/26/2011 1:52 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"This research was funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences."

Yes but, the umbrella organizaiton of ND's nano research is MIND.

Let's see where the Notre Dame sponsored Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND) gets funding.

From the Semiconductor Research Corporation.

What organization is the Research Sponsor for the Semiconductor Research Corporation?

The Advanced Technology Investment Company.

Who owns the Advanced Technology Investment Company?

Mubadala Development Company.

Who owns Mubadala Development Company?

The government of Abu Dhabi.

It should be noted that many private companies companies are members of the Semiconductor Research Corporation.

 
At 12/26/2011 1:55 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: drug companies - perhaps an exception to the rule but even drug companies cannot put too much into basic R&D unless all of their competitors are also.

perhaps a good example is how difficult it has been for sat phones...requires a substantial up front, long term investment with major risks from satellite failures, etc...

GPS..on the other hand ... private companies rely on the govt-provided infrastructure and expect the govt to maintain their role in keeping those satellites in orbit and operational.

 
At 12/26/2011 2:07 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The problem is, it isn’t true. Slick-water fracking, the technology that Mitchell used to crack the shale gas code, was adapted from massive hydraulic fracturing, a technology first demonstrated by the Energy Department in 1977. Mitchell learned of shale’s potential from the Eastern Gas Shales Project, a partnership begun in 1976 between the Energy Department’s Morgantown Energy Research Center and dozens of companies and universities ….That’s because the private sector alone cannot sustain the kind of long-term investments necessary for big technological breakthroughs in the midst of volatile energy markets and short-term pressure to produce profits. " -- WaPo via rjr

Whether or not private companies can "sustain the kind of long-term investments necessary for big technological breakthroughs in the midst of volatile energy markets" isn't the question.

The technique of horizontal drilling, without which "fracking" is impossible, and the technology necessary to accomplish it was developed in the private sector as was the offshore drilling platform in all its iterations. But companies involved in the energy sector have learned that long-term investment is an extremely risky proposition not because energy markets are inherently volatile - after all the financial markets have developed to allow them to hedge a significant portion of that risk - but because of regulatory uncertainty.

If any company invests heavily in a technology only to be told at the end of that process that they will not be allowed to exploit what they have developed they wind up putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage, perhaps risking bankruptcy. No company would be willing to gamble its future under those conditions. So, the government, if it wishes to secure the economic benefit of its resources, finds itself in the position of having to fund energy development as a consequence of its own belligerence.

The most recent example of this was ANWR, where oil companies having spent many years and millions of dollars developing environmentally sound methods of extracting oil and demonstrating the efficacy of those methods on adjoining state and private land were denied the right to drill on federal land because of objections raised by political cronies of the Democrat Party.

 
At 12/26/2011 4:07 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Buddy R Pacifico: Let's see where the Notre Dame sponsored Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND) gets funding.

"In addition to funding from NRI, NIST, and participating universities, MIND gratefully acknowledges support from the city of South Bend, the state of Indiana, and IBM."
http://mind.nd.edu/about/Overview.htm

 
At 12/26/2011 4:44 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/26/2011 4:51 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Zachriel notes about MIND:

"In addition to funding from NRI, NIST, and participating universities,..."

What is NRI? the Nanoelectronics Research Iniative is a consortium of companies in the Semiconducter Industries Association.

What is NIST? the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

It appears that both of these organizations work under the umbrella of the Semiconductor Research Corporation in collarboration with private companies and universities in nanotechnology research.

 
At 12/26/2011 4:53 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

CORRECTION:

What is NIST? the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

 
At 12/26/2011 5:11 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Buddy R Pacifico: What is NIST? the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Yes, a cabinet level department of the U.S. federal government.

Buddy R Pacifico: What is NRI? the Nanoelectronics Research Iniative is a consortium of companies in the Semiconducter Industries Association.

"Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), a consortium of companies in the Semiconductor Industry Association, seeks to accelerate research in nanoelectronics for the benefit of the technology industry. Concentrated in U.S. universities with sponsorship shared by industry and state governments, ..."

In other words, like most basic research, it's a cooperative endeavor of government, universities and industry.

 
At 12/27/2011 12:32 PM, Blogger randian said...

what happens when the day comes that solar "paint" or certain kinds of solar are able to provide 30-80% of the power needs for many homes.

Nothing, solar will never be that good. The basic physics guarantee that.

 
At 12/27/2011 12:37 PM, Blogger randian said...

Cadmium is a lot more toxic and expensive than what is used in "normal" solar panels

I have always wondered how a pro-solar greenie doesn't gag at the toxic waste created by solar cell production.

 
At 12/27/2011 2:18 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: bad physics for solar...


please explain

re: cadmium

compare cadmium to mercury poisoning from coal and gamma radiation from nukes... fish-killing dams and bird-killing wind.

cadmium as a manufacturing byproduct does not have to enter the environment any more than you'd let plutonium or mercury enter the environment, right?

 
At 12/27/2011 2:50 PM, Blogger randian said...

re: bad physics for solar...please explain

Typical solar-to-electric power plants require 5 to 10 acres for every megawatt (MW) of generating capacity. A 200 MW solar plant in West Texas would need about 1,300 acres of land. Wind is even worse in terms of energy density. Sprawl isn't evil, so long as it's in the service of a favored greenie cause. 200MW of coal uses a fraction of that land, and actually delivers 200MW continuously. 200MW solar very rarely actually delivers its rated capacity, so you have to have waste money on a backup just in case. So why bother with solar or wind?

Progress is about increasing energy density, from human power to oxen to large-scale power electricity from coal and nuclear. Solar and wind are the opposite of progress. We will need and use more power with higher intensity, not less. Progressives want us to regress to our animal-powered days, which their so-called pollution regulations will push us toward.

 
At 12/27/2011 3:15 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

energy density is good..but it has an inherent weakness in that the grid is vulnerable to cascading failures if too many of the point plants go down.

ideally you'd have a redundant network with many smaller sources so that it basically cannot fail even if a bunch of the smaller units do much like the internet stays up no matter how many node failures.

that's what you'd want in a power grid and sun/wind play well in a scenario where there are thousands of smaller sources feeding the grid rather than major point generators that can fail and in doing so ..lead to cascading failure.

wind/solar could play an important and useful role in that regard though if we ever got to the point where we could produce smaller scale thorium nukes - sealed and meltdown-proof... the same benefit could come.

the coal plants are giant dinosaurs ...doomed at some point.. the only thing they have going for them is that they can produce very cheap power - at a cost to people with breathing problems and mothers/kids susceptible to mercury poisoning.

 
At 12/27/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger randian said...

ideally you'd have a redundant network with many smaller sources

Ideally not. Small plants are inefficient. Power plants are basically heat engines. Scale is what makes them efficient. There is also the matter of "good" power. The small plants tend to put out poorly conditioned power. Individual solar installations are the worst. Bad power messes up the grid.
the only thing they have going for them is that they can produce very cheap power
Who could ever want that.
at a cost to people with breathing problems and mothers/kids susceptible to mercury poisoning.
Modern coal plants don't have emissions problems anymore. The particulates that used to cause breathing problems and acid rain have been eliminated (along with the acid rain).

 
At 12/27/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Small plants are inefficient"

like small nodes in the internet?

large nodes are points of failure... right?

you need to have redundancy in the grid because a regional/inter-regional blackout is far, far more "inefficient" than a redundant grid...

every major data center..hospital...911 dispatch...Food Lion... has a very large "inefficient" power generation system out behind it these days....

no matter how big and energy dense a point source is... there's a good reason why these institutions now have backup power - redundancy.

 
At 12/27/2011 4:09 PM, Blogger randian said...

"Small plants are inefficient"

like small nodes in the internet?

No, as in "the thermodynamic efficiency of a small power plant is terrible". Scale brings huge benefits in efficiency.

large nodes are points of failure... right?

An energy grid builds redundancy in terms of excess capacity, not in terms of number of generating nodes.
That excess capacity (and our ability to avoid blackouts and brownouts) is disappearing because of Obama's anti-coal jihad. There is also, generally, more than one point of entry into a grid just in case somebody gets the idea of bombing a distribution center.

there's a good reason why these institutions now have backup power - redundancy

The expense and inefficiency of backup power doesn't matter because it's only intended for short-term use. There is no reason to build that kind of expense and inefficiency into the main grid. Anybody who needs backup (hospitals) will have it, but most don't need it.

 
At 12/27/2011 4:18 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" but most don't need it"

I'd invite you on a little tour on the back sides of most shopping malls and county govt offices...

WalMart is dead in the water without power... not only for business but hundreds of thousands of dollars of perishable food in each store.

the only reason they use grid power is because it's cheap - not because it's bulletproof reliable.

 
At 12/27/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger randian said...

I'd invite you on a little tour on the back sides of most shopping malls and county govt offices...

Malls and govt offices are only a small percentage of real property.

 
At 12/27/2011 4:41 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Malls and govt offices are only a small percentage of real property"

geeze guy..

traffic lights, airports, trains, elevators, cell towers, water, sewer, pipelines, service stations, etc ... just about anything that the real economy needs... to function...

 
At 12/27/2011 5:40 PM, Blogger randian said...

traffic lights, airports, trains, elevators, cell towers, water, sewer, pipelines, service stations, etc ... just about anything that the real economy needs... to function...

Many of which don't have backup and never will. Let the grid design itself.

 
At 12/27/2011 6:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Wonderful but how do you move the electrons? Will you need millions of tiny silver wires to send the current to the copper wires?

It is hard to get excited about this without any real information about the process.

 
At 12/27/2011 7:11 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

I'm assuming some sort of self-aligning widgets in a liquid substrate that hardens...

or perhaps a "print" type process....

it will be something of this nature that turns the corner on SOLAR but a lot of false starts.... and "cold-fusion" type hype.

 
At 12/27/2011 10:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"the private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt."

Heh! Words of wisdom from Larry.

Oops! Perhaps you shouldn't have included the part about Demming. His life's work is at odds with the above.

You must be unaware that not only did his work have nothing to do with government, but a good part of his management philosophy was an emphasis on long term commitment.

Try reading more than the headlines next time.

 
At 12/27/2011 10:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Che: "Yawn."

Boy, you've got that right. Maybe if I paint my whole yard.

 
At 12/27/2011 10:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/27/2011 11:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"One would have thought that given the innate value of drone technology that a private company would have beat the military to it."

Two things:

First, there is no "innate drone technology." There is nothing unique about drones, and no technology not already available in aviation, and other industries, so there's nothing particularly valuable about it.

Second, It's hard to imagine much of a market for drones outside the military. For non hostile environments there are already a variety of other aircraft that are cheaper and more versatile, so why would you expect private companies to develop them for non government applications?

What you think is government driven innovation, is really government becoming a customer for a relatively small and inexpensive, device, that can be used in hostile environments without endangering human pilots.

 
At 12/28/2011 12:56 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Slick-water fracking, the technology that Mitchell used to crack the shale gas code, was adapted from massive hydraulic fracturing, a technology first demonstrated by the Energy Department in 1977."

Hmm. I see the word "demonstrated", not "developed". Does that mean the DOE didn't actually devolop the process? words are important when trying to spin a story, so let's find out.

When we go further back in history, it turns out that a form of fracking was first used in the 19th century.

And hydraulic fracking as we know it was actually developed by Standard Oil in 1949. The best information available indicates this was a private company.

Now, we CAN credit government with this novel approach to fracking, that we should probably be thankful never become popular.

Horizontal drilling? Well, slanted drilling, a direct precursor, was in use by 1931. Perhaps other than providing some financing, government had less to do with fracking than we are led to believe by big government cheaerleaders.

Which raises a question: How did Goerge Mitchell finance his lengthy quest for shale gas? One of the two answer folling this excerpt from the WAPO opinion piece cited by rjs must be true, and both are troubling to different groups of people.

"George Mitchell and his engineers developed the techniques to exploit shale in the Barnett Shale formation in North Texas. The wildcatters started trying in 1981, finally nailing it in the early 1990s.

"My engineers kept telling me, 'You are wasting your money, Mitchell,'" the 90-year-old billionaire told Forbes this week.
"

to which he replied "No I'm not, boys, I'm wasting *taxpayers'* money, to which there is no end in sight, so don't worry."

Or: He actually spent his own money for 10 years before meeting with success.

The first explanation is troubling for those of us who are opposed to crony capitalism, and know that once turned on, the federal spigot is difficult to turn off.

The second should be troubling to big government cheerleaders, as it doesn't fit the stock narrative that private businesses are shortsighted, interested only in next quearter's perofits, and incapable long term commitment.

 
At 12/28/2011 1:00 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"the private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt."

You have no basis for this belief, and are only parroting unfounded opinions you have read elsewhere.

If you think you have something, let's see it.

 
At 12/28/2011 1:20 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

randian: "I have always wondered how a pro-solar greenie doesn't gag at the toxic waste created by solar cell production."

Possible answers:

1. They don't know.

or

2. Most of that happens in China, so that's their problem.

 
At 12/28/2011 1:31 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "In other words, like most basic research, it's a cooperative endeavor of government, universities and industry."

What is about a willingness to spend taxpayer dollars that allows government agencies to get credit for the development of new technologies?

Perhaps private lenders who provide financing to companies should get credit for new innovations from those companies.

"In 2001 Citibank developed the first generation of iPods."

 
At 12/28/2011 7:13 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" "the private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt."

You have no basis for this belief, and are only parroting unfounded opinions you have read elsewhere."

since R&D comes directly out of any companies bottom line - within a given sector - a company that devotes some of it's revenues to R&D and is competing against another company that is not - then the second company has a better bottom line in terms of profits and investor dividends.

the more a company puts into R&D, the more at a disadvantage it is in a competitive environment where it's competitors do not.

re: drones

I think you'll find if you read a little more that drones have an ever expanding role in the private sector.

One that I read about is the fast delivery of life-saving drugs fast to remote areas without airstrips.

The GPS and weather satellites do have a good analog with Sat phones.

The govt R&D'ed GPS and satellite technology.

Imagine how much money the govt can get in revenues (and reduce income taxes accordingly) - if they charged a royalty for each GPS device.

In a perfect capitalistic world - the GPS system would have been developed by private industry but the military wanted it before then and they usually wanted technology that can be weaponized and went ahead with the R&D and basic engineering.

Many, if not of our breakthrough technologies that benefited private industry in the US and made it the first and top provider of that technology came about that way.

 
At 12/28/2011 7:45 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: Second, It's hard to imagine much of a market for drones outside the military.

Drones already have commercial applications, including remote sensing, mineral exploration,monitoring pipelines, hurricanes, forest fires or livestock, even rapid transport of goods to remote locations.

Ron H: What is about a willingness to spend taxpayer dollars that allows government agencies to get credit for the development of new technologies?

Because when it comes to basic research, the type of research that may not have an immediate commercial benefits, the government is an essential partner. Nowadays, it even includes many nations cooperating on ventures, such as the Large Hadron Collider on the Franco-Swiss border.

 
At 12/28/2011 7:52 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

heaven forbid that there is something that the govt does better than private industry, eh?

In Ron's world - the interstate highway system SHOULD have been done by private industry and not only be 100% tolled but all the right-of-way obtained ONLY through willing selling-willing buyer.

we don't need no stinkin govmint.

 
At 12/28/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Larry: In Ron's world -

Ron World is an imaginary world with little relevant to the lives of people. Governments are inevitable. As they are inevitable, the question becomes what form of government will you have. If people don't control their government, the government will control them.

 
At 12/28/2011 4:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Zach says: "Ron World is an imaginary world with little relevant to the lives of people"...

In Zach's world and apparently larry g's world too the nanny state lives and grows stronger everyday...

 
At 12/28/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" In Zach's world and apparently larry g's world too the nanny state lives and grows stronger everyday..."

ha ha ha...

when someone tells me that you don't need govt to do "binding arbitration"... who is living in LA LA land?

I'm not in favor of a nanny state but I'm also not in favor of believing in LA LA LAND.

govt provides a rule of law that does not exist without govt.

you can call that "nanny" I guess but the alternative to it is not what most folks would like or want.

if that is your definition of "nanny", most people in the world - want it...

 
At 12/28/2011 5:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

me: "You have no basis for this belief, and are only parroting unfounded opinions you have read elsewhere."

"If you think you have something, let's see it."

you: "since R&D comes directly out of any companies bottom line - within a given sector - a company that devotes some of it's revenues to R&D and is competing against another company that is not - then the second company has a better bottom line in terms of profits and investor dividends."

Jeez! I meant something other than the unsupported opinion you have already expressed. How about citing some supporting references?

Based on your logic, or lack of it, no company should ever do any R&D, as it hurts their bottom line and puts them at a competitive disadvantage. No one's product or service could ever improve, as to innovate would require diverting funds from dividends returned to shareholders.

Of course some products are so perfect in their original design, that no improvement seems possible.

Other products, although various newer models have been introduced over time, are still as effective in their original form.

 
At 12/28/2011 5:20 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Based on your logic, or lack of it, no company should ever do any R&D, as it hurts their bottom line and puts them at a competitive disadvantage."

the better companies that are better run, more efficient and more profitable can afford SOME R&D but in a hot competitive industry - R&D is an extra cost....and it's got to have a near-term ROI or else it's a sunk cost and sunk costs ..sink companies.

 
At 12/28/2011 5:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Ron World is an imaginary world with little relevant to the lives of people. Governments are inevitable. As they are inevitable, the question becomes what form of government will you have. If people don't control their government, the government will control them."

Spoken like a true statist. We see you have nothing meaningful left to contribute.

Who do you believe is controlling your government?

Perhaps you meant to say that tyranny is inevitable. The idea of the people controlling the government was tried, but it hasn't worked out well.

 
At 12/28/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Who do you believe is controlling your government?

Perhaps you meant to say that tyranny is inevitable. The idea of the people controlling the government was tried, but it hasn't worked out well.

compared to?

got some good examples?

 
At 12/28/2011 5:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "In Zach's world and apparently larry g's world too the nanny state lives and grows stronger everyday...The ridiculous maneuver would help the state offset its $10 billion budget deficit by enforcing a $10 per license plate fee and fines up to $100 for those, including children, caught riding unregistered bikes."

Well, there you go. The obvious reason for this nonsense is right there in the first paragraph.

LOL

I didn't realize what a serious problem bicycle hooliganism against seniors was in NJ.

I wonder how well they will be able to read those bike license plates from their face plant position on the ground?

Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) said balancing the state’s budget isn’t her motivation for the outlandish proposal; it’s protecting senior citizens from getting run over by kids on bikes.

 
At 12/28/2011 5:47 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"when someone tells me that you don't need govt to do "binding arbitration"... who is living in LA LA land"...

Yet another beautiful example of nanny stater thinking...

Why should there be binding arbitration in the first place is what you should be asking yourself...

"govt provides a rule of law that does not exist without govt."...

Which particular form of government are you talking about?

Federal?

State?

Local and or county?

"if that is your definition of "nanny", most people in the world - want it"...

Which people? The ones that don't pay income tax?

 
At 12/28/2011 5:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Well, there you go. The obvious reason for this nonsense is right there in the first paragraph"...

You still don't get it do you larry g, the problem isn't revenue, its spending...

 
At 12/28/2011 5:53 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" You still don't get it do you larry g, the problem isn't revenue, its spending."

ha ha ha

where are the balanced budgets from the folks who say it's a spending problem?

If you say that - shouldn't you show how to do it?

the guys who say that say it's the OTHER GUY's job to show how.

now..just how hypocritical is THAT!

;-)

 
At 12/28/2011 5:55 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: the ones that don't pay income tax....

I AGREE... there are way, way too many "deductions, exemptions and credits".

EVERYONE should pay some reasonable share ....

and when they don't - then no one else wants to pay either.

we basically give tax breaks to people with kids and homes.

if you have a big enough mortgage and enough kids..you get to pay no taxes.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"the better companies that are better run, more efficient and more profitable can afford SOME R&D but in a hot competitive industry - R&D is an extra cost....and it's got to have a near-term ROI or else it's a sunk cost and sunk costs ..sink companies."

Still waiting for references instead of more stuff pulled out of your ass.

You have it exactly backwards in any case. Companies become more efficient and more profitable *because* they spend on R&D.

R&D isn't an afterthought, and is no more a sunk cost than any other such as labor, building rent, electricity, advertising, etc. It is how companies improve their products and invent new ones.

Do you even know what a sunk cost is?

Companies that do no R&D will make the same product until it becomes obsolete, and they go out of business, unless they can free ride on their more successful competitors.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:11 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Companies that do no R&D will make the same product until it becomes obsolete, and they go out of business, unless they can free ride on their more successful competitors"

maybe. but if what you say is true why did the govt create GPS and not the private sector?

by the way... a LOT of companies do NO R&D at all... they leave that to to others...

or they try to get a tax-funded University to give them bargain basement rates on R&D OR they watch what DARPA and the DOD labs are working on.

if you force me.. I'll go get those "references".

;-)

 
At 12/28/2011 6:16 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

juandos: In Zach's world and apparently larry g's world too the nanny state lives and grows stronger everyday...

"Tucker’s proposal has been met with opposition by a diverse group of interests including bicyclists, environmentalists, business owners and even her own colleagues in the State House." "Big Gov’t Bureaucrat Back Pedals on Bike Bill"

Ron H: Based on your logic, or lack of it, no company should ever do any R&D, as it hurts their bottom line and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

Research timelines for businesses vary, but large investments generally require quicker payoffs. Also, businesses have an incentive to keep their advances secret for as long as possible, while government and universities fund research that is largely made public, allowing for broader advancement in a field.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:21 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Research timelines for businesses vary, but large investments generally require quicker payoffs. Also, businesses have an incentive to keep their advances secret for as long as possible, while government and universities fund research that is largely made public, allowing for broader advancement in a field."

I keep saying.. if the US could/did charge royalties for things like GPS.. we could zero our corporate tax...or at least allow credits for R&D...

 
At 12/28/2011 6:27 PM, Blogger randian said...

maybe. but if what you say is true why did the govt create GPS and not the private sector?

1) the government wanted GPS before it was commercially viable
2) the government made accurate private GPS illegal for a long time
3) the private sector can't launch satellites without government approval

 
At 12/28/2011 6:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" 3) the private sector can't launch satellites without government approval"

BZZZTTTT!

"anywhere" in the world?

;-)

GPS has transformed the world but the world was not ready for it until US DOD did it?

 
At 12/28/2011 6:38 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/28/2011 6:40 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: Governments are inevitable. As they are inevitable, the question becomes what form of government will you have. If people don't control their government, the government will control them.

Ron H: Spoken like a true statist.

Merriam-Webster: statism, concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.

Nope.

Ron H: The idea of the people controlling the government was tried, but it hasn't worked out well.

Yes, the worst of all systems—except for all the rest.

 
At 12/28/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger randian said...

GPS has transformed the world but the world was not ready for it until US DOD did it?

Have you seen early GPS units? Not ready for consumer primetime.

 
At 12/28/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Have you seen early GPS units? Not ready for consumer primetime. "

what they were using - the govt created GPS Satellite system.... was READY though... and keep in mind that the GPS units themselves were created for the military under contract to the govt... and they DID WORK.

 
At 12/29/2011 12:25 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"if you force me.. I'll go get those "references"."

That's what I keep asking for, Larry. Remember, this is what you're trying to support:

"" "the private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt."

 
At 12/29/2011 12:41 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"maybe. but if what you say is true why did the govt create GPS and not the private sector?"

My guess would be that here wasn't much percieved need in the private sector for accurately launching nuclear missiles from submarines.

 
At 12/29/2011 12:58 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I keep saying.. if the US could/did charge royalties for things like GPS.. we could zero our corporate tax...or at least allow credits for R&D..."

Nonsense. US taxpayers have already paid for the entire GPS system, and continue to pay for it's operation for both military and civilian use. Who would you like to charge?

 
At 12/29/2011 6:40 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

they would pay the same reason they pay the private sector the embedded costs of R&D in their products - like drugs.

If you have a special kind of entity that is going to invest longer term in basic research for much longer periods of time than a business could without getting an timely ROI then why not let them recover those R&D costs from the people who directly benefit rather than all taxpayers but it would also include other countries buyers also.

Why not have the govt recover R&D costs to have it basically self-funded over longer horizons that business cannot afford and taxpayers should not have to?

re: GPS in missiles...

GPS EVERYWHERE once developed and developed extremely quickly.

it wasn't the lack of uses - it was the up-front costs of developing the system and deploying it.

compare to commercial sat phones whose Achilles heel is the up front costs of the satellites.

here's a couple of links for you:

http://goo.gl/YQYaL

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System

but you pretty much admit that in the case of GPS - the govt saw a use the private sector did not - at least one that has near term commercial use.

most companies do not engage in basic research and R&D of which they have no specific use in mind whereas govt and publically-supported universities do as there investigations are not pointed at near term pay-backs.

the type of R&D that the private sector does usually has a specific goal in mind... a breakthrough in an area that would then yield commercial use.

Solar is actually a good example of this.

you note who funded the research...

and one more link:

http://www.balancedscorecard.org/BSCResources/ArticlesWhitePapers/MeasuringGovPerformance/tabid/126/Default.aspx

 
At 12/29/2011 9:43 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

since R&D comes directly out of any companies bottom line - within a given sector - a company that devotes some of it's revenues to R&D and is competing against another company that is not - then the second company has a better bottom line in terms of profits and investor dividends.

Actually, that is not exactly true. Profit margins for mature products keep falling as more and more competitors try to convince consumers to buy their own products. A company that does no R&D is doomed to a low margin existence and has a harder time attracting investment. A company with effective R&D programs introduces newer products that have a much higher margin. This allows it to earn higher profits and to stay ahead of competitors. That gives the company a higher priced stock that can be used as currency to take over smaller companies with promising products that need some tweaking and integration into a deeper product line and stronger distribution chain.

 
At 12/29/2011 9:55 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Drones already have commercial applications, including remote sensing, mineral exploration,monitoring pipelines, hurricanes, forest fires or livestock, even rapid transport of goods to remote locations.

Try again. Aerial surveys for mineral companies are done by using helicopters or satellite imagery. Hurricane studies are done by using special planes and disposable sensors. Nobody relies on military drones to monitor livestock or forest fires because there are other more established, cheaper, and reliable means to do so.

I think that you are playing your usual game by making stuff up. Try thinking before you hit the 'publish your comment' button.

 
At 12/29/2011 9:57 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

heaven forbid that there is something that the govt does better than private industry, eh?

It can't happen even in theory because there are no incentives in bureaucracies to deliver effective services or to eliminate what is wasteful.

In Ron's world - the interstate highway system SHOULD have been done by private industry and not only be 100% tolled but all the right-of-way obtained ONLY through willing selling-willing buyer.

It was done by private interests before the government took over. Most of the roads that you drive on were initially put in by private groups.

we don't need no stinkin govmint.

Correct.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Aerial surveys for mineral companies are done by using helicopters or satellite imagery.

Georanger is one of many drones used in minderal exploration. Expect to see more going forward.
http://www.barnardmicrosystems.com/L4E_georanger.htm

VangelV: Hurricane studies are done by using special planes and disposable sensors.

GALE is one of an upcoming generation of storm-trackers.
http://innovationnewsdaily.com/gale-missile-drone-hurricane-suicide-2284/

The biggest holdup for more general use is government rules concerning aircraft due to safety concerns.

 
At 12/29/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Georanger is one of many drones used in minderal exploration. Expect to see more going forward.
http://www.barnardmicrosystems.com/L4E_georanger.htm


That system did not require spending billions by the military. It is based on available technology.

GALE is one of an upcoming generation of storm-trackers.
http://innovationnewsdaily.com/gale-missile-drone-hurricane-suicide-2284/


Again, this has nothing to do with military drones. A fin for a military drone costs about as much as the entire probe you are talking about.

The biggest holdup for more general use is government rules concerning aircraft due to safety concerns.

As usual, government gets in the way. It does not help.

 
At 12/29/2011 12:09 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: That system did not require spending billions by the military. It is based on available technology.

That wasn't what we addressed, but Ron H's inability to imagine non-military applications of drones, and your own dispute of that.

 
At 12/29/2011 12:10 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: The biggest holdup for more general use is government rules concerning aircraft due to safety concerns.

VangelV: As usual, government gets in the way. It does not help.

The safety concerns are legitimate.

 
At 12/29/2011 2:24 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

unauthorized drones around airports, nukes, and other infrastructure are going to be a real problem.

re: interstate highways

you need to read up on the IHS guy.

it was a Govt thing... and originally it was envisioned as all built and all tolled... by the govt....

virtually every time you get into your car - you're driving on govt roads... not private ones and you're drinking govt water and using govt sewer...and govt satellites for GPS and weather and terrain mapping...govt-controlled cell phone (frequencies), govt-controlled cable, electricity and phone...

etc, etc, etc

we have a govt-centric system and it's not just us..it's most if not all..countries in the world.

If you want a place that is not gov-centric - you have to head to the 3rd world countries where, "in theory" your "natural rights" are truly unfettered and you have no "stinkin" gov to mess in your life.

 
At 12/29/2011 3:15 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"re: GPS in missiles..."

If the links you provided are intended to support your contention that:

"the private sector cannot and does not invest in basic research unless they can bound the costs and see a path to a viable product in a much shorter time-span that Universities and the Govt."

Then you have grasped at straws and come up pretty much empty handed.

A definition of GPS?

Nope.

A promotional statement from a management software company?

Nope.

A statement by a congressional committee, chaired and co-chaired by two of the most far-left big government cheerleaders in Congress, who contend that big government spending of taxpayer money for no particular reason is a good thing?

Nope.

You are confusing several things here, among them are the value of basic research, and the costs of implementation.

Obviously the cost of implementing a global satellite system could only be justified as a military expenditure, where taxpayer money is virtually unlimited.

From your source:

"While there were wide needs for accurate navigation in military and civilian sectors, almost none of those were seen as justification for the billions of dollars it would cost in research, development, deployment, and operation for a constellation of navigation satellites. During the Cold War arms race, the nuclear threat to the existence of the United States was the one need that did justify this cost in the view of the United States Congress."

So you argument justifying government spending on GPS as a consumer good is wrong. You must argue that it was justified by a need to maintain a nuclear deterrent during the cold war.

"GPS EVERYWHERE once developed and developed extremely quickly.

No, it developed slowly. Not until after 1983 was GPS available to non military users at all, and not until 1996 was it practical for individual users.

"Why not have the govt recover R&D costs to have it basically self-funded over longer horizons that business cannot afford and taxpayers should not have to?"

You keep missing this one. You have already answered your own question several times.

The tremendous cost that kept the private sector from developing GPS is the same tremendous cost that would keep GPS from having a market if the full cost was born by the end user.

Would you buy a GPS device if the monthly subscription cost for the service was $100 due to government license fees?

The only justification for this system was, and still is, a military one.

You have also answered your own question about this when you mention the small market for satellite phone systems.

Just so it's clear, the GPS system wasn't devoloped out of thin air, but was based on existing technology. It's not that no one thought global positioning would be useful, only that the cost of implemention could only be justified by invoking an existential threat to the world as we know it.

You should ask all the taxpayers who were robbed to make GPS available to you if they think they got their money's worth.

When you credit government, you are, in effect, saying "Thank you for stealing from all those taxpayers over the years, to give me this free service."

If you wish to thank government for preventing your vaporization in a nuclear holocost, you should frame it in that context.

 
At 12/29/2011 4:26 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Georanger is one of many drones used in minderal exploration. Expect to see more going forward."

That's an awesome little plane. We would love to have one. Where can we buy one, and how can we talk to existing owners about their experience?

Oh! There aren't any in use yet? Hmm.

You realize, don't you, that in your zeal to make a point, you have pointed to a private business, that takes credit for all its own development. Are you making one point at the expense of another?

 
At 12/29/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That wasn't what we addressed, but Ron H's inability to imagine non-military applications of drones, and your own dispute of that.

You are out to lunch as usual. We are talking about the military drones, not cheap vehicles made by private companies and even hobbyists.

The safety concerns are legitimate.

They aren't. The government has a tendency to use just the models it wants in order to support its predetermined conclusions.

 
At 12/29/2011 4:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

First, I use government roads because government chose to take them over so that it could justify ripping off drivers by taxing gasoline heavily. Second, most of the roads that I drive on on a daily basis were initially built by private developers or associations. That is probably true of the roads that you use, even if you don't know it.

 
At 12/29/2011 4:38 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The biggest holdup for more general use is government rules concerning aircraft due to safety concerns."

What?! We thought government was a benefactor in the ongoing march toward innovative technology, now you tell us it's an impediment.

 
At 12/29/2011 4:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


You realize, don't you, that in your zeal to make a point, you have pointed to a private business, that takes credit for all its own development. Are you making one point at the expense of another?


Of course he is. That is what happens when your first point is totally wrong and unsupportable by logic and facts.

 
At 12/29/2011 4:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "That wasn't what we addressed, but Ron H's inability to imagine non-military applications of drones, and your own dispute of that."

Our ill advised use of the word "imagine" is the problem, then. Perhaps "we are not aware of much of a market for drones" would have been better, and would have kept us from this side issue.

Hopefully that will change in the future, and private companies - not governments - are betting on it, but that's tomorrow, not today, and little of it can be credited to government.

The point remains that there is little current use of drones outside the military, and even in that application there are some serious concerns about collateral damage.

 
At 12/29/2011 6:02 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Second, most of the roads that I drive on on a daily basis were initially built by private developers or associations. That is probably true of the roads that you use, even if you don't know it. "

Nope. The vast majority of interstates and US and State signed roads were built by the govt - Fed, State and Local.

Subdivision Roads in some states are built by developers but once you get out on a public road - it was built by the govt.

re: " You realize, don't you, that in your zeal to make a point, you have pointed to a private business, that takes credit for all its own development. "

well..no more or no less than Garmin would have you believe they invented GPS...

it reinforces the point that the govt does the initial basic research and up-front R&D costs and then private industry comes along to build patent-free products.

If the govt got patents and charged royalties for things like GPS, it could seriously cut taxes... perhaps zero out corporate taxes...

but the nature of govt is to collect taxes to make "investments" that then get released for free use.

imagine the rest of the world paying the US Govt for use of the GPS systems

and put a GPS on a civilian drone and what have you got?

you've got something that would not work without GPS.... a groundbreaking technology used once again "free" by the private sector...

 
At 12/29/2011 6:25 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

you're confusing basic research with follow-on civilian adaptations....

do you think the private companies like Garmin/TomTom that developed GPS did so independent of the technology the GOvt pioneered?

and then you said earlier that there were no civilian drones and this proves, once again, that you don't understand the link between the govt doing the initial technology breakthroughs and subsequent civilian adaptation of it.

autonomous drones...need GPS to operate.

without it you'd have to have an inertial navigation system - and that is the reason we did not have drones before the advent of GPS.

drones are likely going to transform the world in much the same way that GPS has - even if you cannot see it.

but it took the military initial basic research and R&D to demonstrate it could work and then it took the civilian sector a while to see potential in the civilian world.

many, many technologies proceed along this path.

DARPA has far years sponsored challenges for autonomous land vehicles.. and now GOOGLE is getting into it.

can you imagine a drone being used to direct a autonomous tank... or can you see a drone being used to direct a tank-like autonomous vehicle to move through a crippled Nuke...

there are some areas of basic research and R&D where the up front costs are high and the development period long - and no obvious near-term entrepreneurial potential.

Some of these technologies - may play out in unpredictable ways to actually create brand new industries...like drones.

 
At 12/29/2011 9:42 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Nope. The vast majority of interstates and US and State signed roads were built by the govt - Fed, State and Local.

I said roads, not just interstates. And if you know the history of the interstate system in the US you know that the first interstate roads were privately financed. And that the current system was built on an old network of roads, many of which were privately built.

But you are missing the bigger point that some of us have been making over and over again. You look at what is and imagine that it is the best way. In your world the private sector could not build a transportation network that is as effective or efficient as what has been built by government. You look at the the benefits without considering that they may not outweigh the opportunity costs. Actually, you don't even look at the opportunity costs. You don't consider the $0.50 or so in taxes that you pay each time you purchase a gallon of gasoline, do not consider the licensing and vehicle registration fees, and all kinds of other duties and charges that are applied to drivers. And the last time I looked the interstate system was hardly free. It charged money to drivers. As we all know, where there is money to be made there is great interest to private companies.

I have given this link before but it is clear that you have failed to look at it. So here I provide it again. Read and you will find how most of the infrastructure that is in demand has been provided without much trouble by private capital. Of course, there is a more comprehensive argument for private ownership of roads but if you could not bother read the first reference I doubt that you have what it takes to look at the second.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:27 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" you know that the first interstate roads were privately financed. And that the current system was built on an old network of roads, many of which were privately built. "

not true guy.

A FEW of previously-built toll roads in the North East were incorporated into the IHS but most of those were not private but public.

And those highways that say U.S. were built by the US.

and the ones that say STATE ROUTE were built by the states.

and the ones that say County Route were built by localgovts.

the vast, vast majority of roads in this country were not built by private parties.

even a majority of the existing toll roads are not private but public.

" But you are missing the bigger point that some of us have been making over and over again. You look at what is and imagine that it is the best way. In your world the private sector could not build a transportation network that is as effective or efficient as what has been built by government."

nope. but I do recognize the realities and they count for something no matter one's theories.

I actually support toll roads ...everywhere.. now that they have the ability to use open road tolling rather than toll booths.

you may remember that I also support dynamic tolling...as well

I very much support private sector infrastructure and very much understand that govt is inherently wasteful but there are some things that only govt can really do even if they do it badly.

there are things the private sector cannot or will not do.

the reason the Interstate Highway was not all tolled early on - by the way - is that they wanted a national grid including the rural connections and their analysis showed that people would not pay to use the rural connections - at that time.

Eisenhower pitched a fit when they told him that they would not be paid for with tolls.

in terms of non-interstate primary arterials and surface streets - tolling them is more difficult but some cities have instituted cordon tolls where you are detected entering and leaving and tolled for the time inside the cordon.

I support that also and I support dynamic pricing of cordon tolls also - i.e. the toll increases when demand increases...

but a lot of folks don't trust private industry to toll.. they see it as giving them license to abuse by charging more than they should.

and so.. they want govt to control them and/or to do the tolling themselves (even though there are countless examples of the govt screwing drivers also on tolls).

so I think you might want to reconsider what you think I believe because you're off the mark on much of it.

 
At 12/29/2011 10:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

nope. but I do recognize the realities and they count for something no matter one's theories.

Theory has nothing to do with it. Government used its power to tax to divert resources into projects that were supported by bureaucrats who had no incentive to do what was most efficient or effective. And government still uses the power to tax to extract payments for the use of roads via gasoline and diesel taxes.

 
At 12/29/2011 11:07 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" nope. but I do recognize the realities and they count for something no matter one's theories.

Theory has nothing to do with it. Government used its power to tax to divert resources into projects that were supported by bureaucrats who had no incentive to do what was most efficient or effective. And government still uses the power to tax to extract payments for the use of roads via gasoline and diesel taxes."

true.

that's a reality.

it ought to change.. but it is what it is...and for roads.. it's been that way for a long time.

I'm not justifying it.

new toll roads are being built all over the place - by govt who allows the private sector to build and operate on a franchise basis but the reality is that roads don't get built without eminent domain. Virtually every road you use whether built by govt or private sector took land from people...

right?

 
At 12/29/2011 11:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"well..no more or no less than Garmin would have you believe they invented GPS..."

Garmin has made no such claim. you are either confused, or just making up stuff to be argumentive.

"Nope. The vast majority of interstates and US and State signed roads were built by the govt - Fed, State and Local."

References please. I don't think you understood the comment.

"If the govt got patents and charged royalties for things like GPS, it could seriously cut taxes... perhaps zero out corporate taxes..."

You just skipped right over my explanation for that, right? Did you not understand it?

"do you think the private companies like Garmin/TomTom that developed GPS did so independent of the technology the GOvt pioneered?"

You really are confused. Neither Garmin nor TomTom developed the GPS system, Larry, they developed GPS *receivers*.

"but the nature of govt is to collect taxes to make "investments" that then get released for free use."

Are you serious? You believe the role of government is to steal money from taxpayers to sprinkle it around on the ground to see of anything takes seed?

"there are some areas of basic research and R&D where the up front costs are high and the development period long - and no obvious near-term entrepreneurial potential."

And who decides that those are things that huge amounts of taxpayer money should be spent on? Those who know what's best for us?

Dooesn't it bother you that someone knows better than you do how to spend your money?

 
At 12/29/2011 11:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

new toll roads are being built all over the place - by govt who allows the private sector to build and operate on a franchise basis but the reality is that roads don't get built without eminent domain. Virtually every road you use whether built by govt or private sector took land from people...

right?


Wrong. You can build without eminent domain. Most roads were built by developers on their own land. Government has no more a place in providing roads than it does in providing food or shelter.

 
At 12/30/2011 7:05 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

the govt develops GPS and companies like Garmin become who they are because govt-generated GPS enables their entrepreneurial existence.

I'm not confused on this at all.. I think you are.

the point made over and over here is that there are some things that are too large and too long-term...and far too expensive for the private sector to develop but once developed - they benefit enormously from it.

this is the GPS story.

re: roads

you're the one who claimed that most roads were private...and they're clearly not and never were.

you can go to wiki all by yourself and search the Interstate highway System entry for the word "private".

then you can check the US Highway System for the word "private":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Numbered_Highways

Both the IHS and US numbered highway system were primary built by the govt - using eminent domain guy.

and yes..big bad govt stole money from people for GPS and highways and most people are just fine with it and the results of it.

your views are misfounded because apparently you want to believe things that are simple not facts but you need to - to hold on to your narratives.

you want to know how the west was opened up by railroads?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Transcontinental_Railroad

search the article for the words "government" and "private" and "right of way".

 
At 12/30/2011 7:21 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: You realize, don't you, that in your zeal to make a point, you have pointed to a private business, that takes credit for all its own development. Are you making one point at the expense of another?

We weren't engaging that point, but the manufacturer points to a long history of development, primarily military.

VangelV: We are talking about the military drones, not cheap vehicles made by private companies and even hobbyists.

We were addressing specific comments. The larger question has been whether government investment in drones has led to advances in the civilian sector.

Zachriel: The safety concerns are legitimate.

VangelV: They aren't. The government has a tendency to use just the models it wants in order to support its predetermined conclusions.

Of course the safety issues are legitimate. Having an unknown number of drones flying in crowded skies is inherently dangerous. A single drone can take out a jumbo jet. A drone with no markings could drop on your house. Yes, governments tend to be slow to react to new developments, but there is little doubt these issues will be resolved.

VangelV: What?! We thought government was a benefactor in the ongoing march toward innovative technology, now you tell us it's an impediment.

If only life were so simple. Most things have positive and negative effects.

Ron H: Our ill advised use of the word "imagine" is the problem, then. Perhaps "we are not aware of much of a market for drones" would have been better, and would have kept us from this side issue.

As it directly addresses the question of whether government investment can spur advances in the civilian sector, it doesn't seem to be a side issue.

Ron H: Government has no more a place in providing roads than it does in providing food or shelter.

Can you point to a country which has a highly developed road system built entirely without government involvement?

 
At 12/30/2011 7:41 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Can you point to a country which has a highly developed road system built entirely without government involvement? "

I keep asking for a short list of the best countries that have the least government with things like private healthcare, private roads, few taxes, no entitlements... etc..

and the answer I get is deafening silence.

the mantra here is anti-govt - ALL govt is wrong, the enemy and needs to go away so we can revert back to 3rd world conditions.

If you take him at face value - the actual model would be a country like Somalia where the govt is so minimal that "private sector" gangs with AK-47's essentially run the place.

the problem is that he does not realize that despots ...real despots.. RULE anyhow with their own form of "government" when there is no way for people to elect a govt.

I know of few, if any, places in the world that have no govt but I now quite a few that are 3rd world with truly terrible governments.

but no non-govt utopias.

and none that fit the model that Van says should exist.

 
At 12/30/2011 12:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"the point made over and over here is that there are some things that are too large and too long-term...and far too expensive for the private sector to develop but once developed - they benefit enormously from it.

this is the GPS story.
"

For the last time, you cannot justify GPS as a consumer benefit, but only as a nuclear defense strategy.

The fact that there is now a benefit to consumers is beside the point, and the system would never have been developed as a consumer service, because it cost too much.

The only reason you now have GPS service is because taxpayers have previously spent tens of billions of dollars to provide it for you. If you were asked to bear the actual cost yourself, as you have suggested, you wouldn't do it.

"the govt develops GPS and companies like Garmin become who they are because govt-generated GPS enables their entrepreneurial existence."

Let me remind you that you suggested that Garmin claimed credit for GPS:

"well..no more or no less than Garmin would have you believe they invented GPS..."

It would be helpful if you remembered what you had written previously.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"you can go to wiki all by yourself and search the Interstate highway System entry for the word "private".

then you can check the US Highway System for the word "private":
"

LOL

Well, VangelV, he's got you there. The word "private" doesn't appear in either of those wiki entries.

The mind boggles.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: The only reason you now have GPS service is because taxpayers have previously spent tens of billions of dollars to provide it for you.

That's exactly right. The government spent billions to develop the system for military purposes. Now that the basic technology has been developed, new commercial industries have evolved based on that technology. It's called a spin-off. The space program also had numerous spinoffs, as did cryptography.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"For the last time, you cannot justify GPS as a consumer benefit, but only as a nuclear defense strategy."

I'm not spouting a theory here. I'm looking at how things actually work out.

"The fact that there is now a benefit to consumers is beside the point, and the system would never have been developed as a consumer service, because it cost too much."

can you show a negative cost/benefit?

"The only reason you now have GPS service is because taxpayers have previously spent tens of billions of dollars to provide it for you. If you were asked to bear the actual cost yourself, as you have suggested, you wouldn't do it."

how would you know - ahead of time - with ANY R&D effort - whether govt or private - the outcome ?

are you not in essence arguing that we cannot afford to invest in scientific research unless we know for sure that it has a positive cost/benefit before we start?



"the govt develops GPS and companies like Garmin become who they are because govt-generated GPS enables their entrepreneurial existence."

Let me remind you that you suggested that Garmin claimed credit for GPS:

I did not "suggest". I said that the public perceived Garmin as experts in GPS but that Garmin - as a massive producers of GPS equipment - would not exist at all if it were not for the Govt-created GPS system.


"well..no more or no less than Garmin would have you believe they invented GPS..."

It would be helpful if you remembered what you had written previously.

I think it would also be helpful if you remembered what I actually said.. and not what you wanted to believe...

my original premise is the same.

there are some technologies that are too expensive and too long term with unclear benefits that most private sector companies cannot afford to pursue - and still go head-to-head with competitors who may not spend any money on R&D.

You have to have revenues.. you have to compete.. and whatever you spend on R&D is a cost of business that competes with profits and investor ROI.

The govt does not have those restrictions and can (depending on one's point of view)..."afford" to pursue R&D that has no quantifiable goal in terms of ROI.

It's not only this govt. It's a pretty standard thing with all govt around the world.

It's a strategic imperative with some countries like China...and the US.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:29 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Can you point to a country which has a highly developed road system built entirely without government involvement?

Government is involved in all activity. That does not mean that it makes such activities efficient or effective. The best example of a place that uses private financing of infrastructure is Hong Kong. Given the financial difficulties in most municipalities and states I suspect the US will move towards privatisation of bridges, roads, and highways. But as long as the regulators make most of the calls the money will continue to be wasted by incompetent government bureucrats.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

LOL

Well, VangelV, he's got you there. The word "private" doesn't appear in either of those wiki entries.

The mind boggles.


And you thought that Benny had problems with logical thinking. Actually, I don't blame his ignorance because the information is hard to find. What I blame is his inability and unwillingness to learn even though he is given plenty of references that would set him straight.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:32 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: the inability to "learn".

indeed...

facts are a troublesome thing sometimes.. eh?

 
At 12/30/2011 1:37 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: the word "private" in the context of public roads.

remember what a public road is guys.

it's a road that anyone can legally use.

and also remember that the costs of any road has 3 principle components:

1. - the original construction

2. - operations

3. - maintenance

even roads originally built by private means .. need 2 and 3.

do you see 2 and 3 in the context of non-tolled "public" roads?

the number of truly private toll roads in the US is tiny compared to the number of miles of public roads.

Virtually ALL the miles of the IHS and U.S. signed highways were public funded and used eminent domain .. i.e. the taking of property by a govt entity...

eve now.. with PPP - pubic private partnerships.. the govt is the entity that condemns property for right-of-way.

my original premise stands .

and that is the vast, vast majority of the roads in the US are publically funded....not private.

if you believe otherwise.. show me.

I gave you the links.. and asked you to find references to "private" (or pick your own terms) but both links show massive govt involvement.

the problem with "private" roads is the right-of-way.

it's damn near impossible to design an efficient point A to point B route by acquiring ONLY through willing seller/willing buyer.

at some point you could have 99% of the route procured but one guy is demanding far, far more than his land is worth OR.. he just does not want to sell his land.

what do you do then?

would you have a rule of law that said that no matter what a private road ALWAYS had to have 100% willing seller/willing buyer?

what say you?

 
At 12/30/2011 1:38 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "We were addressing specific comments. The larger question has been whether government investment in drones has led to advances in the civilian sector."

And based on your references, it appears that this question remains unanswered.

 
At 12/30/2011 1:43 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

civilian drones are moving forward at a rapid pace but civilian drones don't work without using the govt-built GPS satellite network.

If the govt charged just one penny per GPS use - they could drop all corporate taxes... AND pay for all the R&D and then some.

if the govt charged for GPS like the cell phones charge for minutes, we may not need income taxes at all...

if the govt charged for roads...we'd not need gas taxes...

if the govt charged for weather and terrain info.. we could REBATE monies to taxpayers...

why doesn't the govt charge for GPS ?

 
At 12/30/2011 2:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I think it would also be helpful if you remembered what I actually said.. and not what you wanted to believe..."

But I do remember, Larry, I copied exactly what you said. If you meant something different, you should have written something different. You can't just squirm out of this by claiming you meant something else, Larry.

"The govt does not have those restrictions and can (depending on one's point of view)..."afford" to pursue R&D that has no quantifiable goal in terms of ROI."

That's Right! Taxpayer money is virtually unlimited, and bureaucrats can spend it on whatever they wish without justifying cost.

To see that as a good thing, you must believe that the bureaucrats know what is the best use of taxpayer money. That spending on government R&D is the highest valued use of money the taxpayer has among many alternate uses.

That means that the bureaucrat knows better than the taxpayer what his own money should be spent on.

Is that pretty much your take on it?

 
At 12/30/2011 2:24 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"I think it would also be helpful if you remembered what I actually said.. and not what you wanted to believe..."

But I do remember, Larry, I copied exactly what you said. If you meant something different, you should have written something different. You can't just squirm out of this by claiming you meant something else, Larry."

out of context.. twisted and turned is not something I'm take pride in though..

it's one thing to maybe not be clear about articulating it's quite another to jump to conclusions without at least first checking to insure you did understand.

eh?



"The govt does not have those restrictions and can (depending on one's point of view)..."afford" to pursue R&D that has no quantifiable goal in terms of ROI."

That's Right! Taxpayer money is virtually unlimited, and bureaucrats can spend it on whatever they wish without justifying cost. "

no.. not true... you just don't like the way it is done.

R&D by the govt is typical and inevitable - both by this govt and around the world. It's a reality.

You disagree. but it's a reality.
you say that NO govt should do any of it? you're in a minority guy.

"To see that as a good thing, you must believe that the bureaucrats know what is the best use of taxpayer money. That spending on government R&D is the highest valued use of money the taxpayer has among many alternate uses."

I don't really disagree on one level but I also have no doubt that there are some things that the private sector will not do and that leaves the govt to do it.

"That means that the bureaucrat knows better than the taxpayer what his own money should be spent on.

Is that pretty much your take on it? "

No more than that little despot Steve Jobs thought he knew better than you...

or Bill Gates knew better than you for an OS on a laptop

or Oracle or Verizon know better than you...

you see govt bureaucrats differently than you see arrogant CEOs of private companies.

I don't.

you think that the market will keep corporations in check.

I don't.

you think anything the govt does is wasteful and inefficient.

I agree but point out that some things will not be done by the private sector and I further poit out that the military shows that they can achieve their mission.. and that's govt also..

I believe that all countries inevitably have govt and that there are good and bad govt...but not perfect govt but I don't think the private sector is perfect either.

 
At 12/30/2011 7:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "That's exactly right. The government spent billions to develop the system for military purposes. Now that the basic technology has been developed, new commercial industries have evolved based on that technology. It's called a spin-off. The space program also had numerous spinoffs, as did cryptography."

That there are benefits isn't the question. The question is whether they justify the cost, and the answer is almost always no.

No one in the private sector, and no one in the public sector could, or can, justify the cost of GPS except for the claim of nuclear deterrent.

The space program, although exciting, was a tremendous waste of money. Other than bragging rights, there was never any direct benefit. Spin-offs? Sure. Money well spent? Certainly not. What would taxpayers have chosen to spend their money on instead?

To claim that government has a role in developing technology, at great cost, which consumers may or may not want, is to claim that politicians know better than you do how your money should be spent.

 
At 12/30/2011 8:06 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"would you have a rule of law that said that no matter what a private road ALWAYS had to have 100% willing seller/willing buyer?"

We already have that rule.

 
At 12/30/2011 9:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"out of context.. twisted and turned is not something I'm take pride in though.."

Squirm, squirm, You responded to my comment with one separate sentence. that's the context.

Here it is again, Larry. Exact words:

Me: " You realize, don't you, that in your zeal to make a point, you have pointed to a private business, that takes credit for all its own development. "

You: "well..no more or no less than Garmin would have you believe they invented GPS..."

What could this mean, except you stating that Garmin wants us to believe they invented GPS?

"If the govt charged just one penny per GPS use - they could drop all corporate taxes... AND pay for all the R&D and then some."

How about some numbers to support that? show your work, Larry. I've explained why this won't work, so show me I'm wrong. Numbers, Larry.

 
At 12/30/2011 10:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"R&D by the govt is typical and inevitable - both by this govt and around the world. It's a reality."

It's not authorized by the Constitution.

"I don't really disagree on one level..."

What level would that be?

"...but I also have no doubt that there are some things that the private sector will not do and that leaves the govt to do it."

If the private sector won't do something, it probably shouldn't be done. That means it's too expensive, or there's no perceived market for it. Who should decide that money from all taxpayers should be spent anyway? Even if there's no reason to believe there's a benefit?

The private sector won't develop military systems unless there's a government customer paying for it.

Me: "That means that the bureaucrat knows better than the taxpayer what his own money should be spent on.

Is that pretty much your take on it?
""

"No more than that little despot Steve Jobs thought he knew better than you...

or Bill Gates knew better than you for an OS on a laptop

or Oracle or Verizon know better than you...
"

That's a ridiculous non-answer. None of those private business entities can take money from me and spend it without my permission on things I don't approve. When and if I do business with Verizon it's because I choose to do so. And, they have competition. I have other choices.

"you see govt bureaucrats differently than you see arrogant CEOs of private companies.

I Don't.
"

Well of course I do, because they are different. I see why you're struggling with this.

"you think that the market will keep corporations in check."

If allowed to, yes. Corporations can't use force unless they enlist the help of government.

 
At 12/31/2011 7:39 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

let me explain.

My intent:

that Garmin and other companies MIGHT have you believe that they did their own R&D for GPS but none of what they did would have counted for anything without the prior govt investment in GPS R&D.

re: show your work

yes.. since you said govt R&D does not pay off while I said a penny royalty would more than pay off - no work shown on either point.

but to say that govt should do NO R&D at all?

but then do you also believe we should not a military with competitive weaponry?

I would say trying to calculate ROI on R&D and/or military weaponry + spin offs would be very difficult and ultimately subjective.

 
At 12/31/2011 9:12 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: No one in the private sector, and no one in the public sector could, or can, justify the cost of GPS except for the claim of nuclear deterrent.

It's just one of many spin-offs from government investment in space and technology. The space program spurred the development of communication satellites, and microelectronics. Most people consider these important benefits.

Ron H: It's not authorized by the Constitution.

If you mean the U.S. Constitution, sure it is. The Congress has great latitude on spending. That can mean spending on the Lewis and Clark expedition or modern research and development.

 
At 12/31/2011 12:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How about some numbers to support that? show your work, Larry. I've explained why this won't work, so show me I'm wrong. Numbers, Larry.

Show his work? Why start now? He has been busy making stuff up and bases most of his arguments on feeling rather than fact. You should know that by now.

 
At 12/31/2011 12:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "If you mean the U.S. Constitution, sure it is. The Congress has great latitude on spending. That can mean spending on the Lewis and Clark expedition or modern research and development."

As you offered no specific constitutional citation, we know you are just joking. You cannot use clearly unconstitutional examples like the Louisiana Purchase, or the Lewis and Clark expedition to justify more recent examples of unconstitutional government spending.

 
At 12/31/2011 2:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"yes.. since you said govt R&D does not pay off while I said a penny royalty would more than pay off - no work shown on either point."

You can't have it both ways.

You have stated that some projects are too costly for private businesses to risk investment dollars on. Everyone agrees. That means that there's not a large enough estimated market for the idea, and not many people willing to pay the necessary price.

GPS is one of those things. While the technology was available, and well understood, the $12 billion cost of the initial Navstar constellation of satellites was prohibitive. Everyone agrees. GPS wasn't a viable project based on the market demand for such a clearly beneficial system. Cost/benefit was too high.

Here's something from your favorite source:

"While there were wide needs for accurate navigation in military and civilian sectors, almost none of those were seen as justification for the billions of dollars it would cost in research, development, deployment, and operation for a constellation of navigation satellites. During the Cold War arms race, the nuclear threat to the existence of the United States was the one need that did justify this cost in the view of the United States Congress. This deterrent effect is why GPS was funded."

As that initial cost was paid, and ongoing operation and maintenance costs of $750 million are now being paid, by taxpayers, the "free lunch" offered to consumers is attractive.

To recover those costs through user fees, as you suggest, would once again make GPS prohibititively costly, as it would have been initially. Few consumers would be willing to pay the true cost.

Your claim that $0.01 per usage, whatever a "usage" is, would offset the cost of GPS in any meaningful way, is baseless.

While your suggestion that users should pay is generally correct, it wouldn't work well for GPS. The costs are sunk, and have been justified with a nuclear deterrent argument. If you want to do the same, you will be on firmer ground, but the market value argument doesn't fly.

So, how did you decide on a price like 1c per usage, and what is a "usage"?

 
At 12/31/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Article I, Section 8

 
At 12/31/2011 2:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V: "Show his work? Why start now? He has been busy making stuff up and bases most of his arguments on feeling rather than fact. You should know that by now."

Do you mean like, I feel good about GPS?

 
At 12/31/2011 3:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Article I, Section 8"

Hmm. Let's see. Will he invoke "general welfare", or "necessary and proper" to support government R&D? We see no other possible misinterpretations of congressional power.

Clearly, there is no support for the example of the Lewis and Clark expedition, as Jefferson well knew, and the Louisiana Purchase was accomplished by stretching the definition of a treaty well beyond the constitutional intent.

Expediency won out over integrity.

It's amazing how quickly power corrupts even the most staunch defenders of small government.

 
At 12/31/2011 8:12 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: power corrupts vs GPS R&D

jeeessus h.keeeerist!

 

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