Friday, June 30, 2017


History in Chains
Democracy in Chains has recently been published, authored by Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. It is the story of James Buchanan, the Nobel Prize winning economist, and his putative influence in American economic thinking.
I can not remember a recent economic book that has engendered so much scorn and anger.  
Capital in the Twenty-First Century  by French economist Thomas Piketty caused a lot of discussion and disagreement but this book is being reviled. The book seems to be constructed on a foundation of innuendo and calumny aimed at political positions the author does not like. She may not get away with it.

Here is a portion of a letter to the editor by someone who knew Buchanan:
"Even more astonishing is MacLean’s assertion that Buchanan-style libertarians’ “fundamental core concepts” come from John C. Calhoun.  Her only evidence for this claim – namely, that Calhoun was mentioned as an influence by the libertarian Murray Rothbard – isn’t evidence at all.  Buchanan was no great admirer of Rothbard, and the number of times that Calhoun is cited in any of Buchanan’s published works is zero.  As in “never.” Not once.  (I knew Buchanan for the last 28 years of his life and I do not recall ever hearing Jim mention Calhoun.)
The scholars that Buchanan did admire and cite most frequently, and who truly are major sources of the ideas that form the core of Buchanan-style libertarianism, are Adam Smith, James Madison, the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell, the American economist Frank Knight, and the Austrian-British economist F.A. Hayek.  (Buchanan had pictures of only two people hanging in his office: one of Wicksell and the other of Knight.)  That MacLean attempts to tarnish the scholarship and motives of Jim Buchanan by suggesting, without a shred of evidence, that his understanding of, and support for, private property rights spring from the ideas of an infamous apologist for chattel slavery is reason enough to dismiss anything that MacLean writes about Buchanan personally or about the classical-liberal tradition that Jim did so much to strengthen."

And this:
Unfortunately, anyone who takes the time to read the actual sources she’s working from, or who understands public choice theory, can see this exercise for what it is: a travesty of scholarly standards (no, Charles Dickens’ novels do not count as data about the economic conditions of the 19th century) and a smear job on one of the great minds of the 20th century.--Steve Horowitz

And this:
Once again, Nancy MacLean went casting about for a link between James Buchanan and unsavory connections to white supremacist viewpoints – this time by way of [John C.] Calhoun. Once again, she was unable to find any evidence of that connection in Buchanan’s own works. So what did she do instead? She invented one by stringing together other sources that do not actually show what she claims they show. And in fact, she failed to realize that the author she uses to build a link from Buchanan to Calhoun – Murray Rothbard – was deeply hostile to Buchanan’s own work, directly contradicting her claimed link.--Phil Magness

And this:
So, along comes Nancy MacLean. The government paid her over $50,000 to smear Buchanan and people like him. Rather than challenge his ideas, she accuses him of this and that. Yet, all the while, Nancy is quite literally a hired gun for the government seeking to rationalize its oppression and abuses.
It’s a bad book, and you, might notice, not peer-reviewed. But keep in mind it is quite literally a piece of government-funded propaganda. There’s no more point in arguing with Nancy than there is arguing with one of Goebbels’s essays. Asking about its intellectual value is a category mistake.--Jason Brennen

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Bad news: Abundant adoption and twin studies find minimal long-run nurture effects.  In plain language: The family that raises you has little effect on your adult outcomes.  A key caveat, though, is that almost all of these studies come from the First World. 

Looking at immigrant families in the U.S., children of immigrants have markedly greater educational success than you would expect given their foreign-born parent's education.  While children always tend to resemble their parents, the resemblance is stronger when both child and parent are native-born. A new study suggests why and it is surprising: It is not the success of the child, if is the limits of the parent.

The National Academy of Sciences all-new report on The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, according to Caplan, does provide data comparing the U.S. to other countries.

If you grew up in a relatively deprived American home, adoption and twin research imply that your educational success would have barely changed.  If you grew up in an absolutely deprived non-American home, however, your educational success would have been markedly worse - masking your underlying genetic potential.
So the success of the child of immigrant parents is a reflection of the opportunities the country offers; unlike his parents, he is allowed to develop. If you grew up in a relatively deprived American home, adoption and twin research imply that your educational success would have barely changed.
If you grew up in an absolutely deprived non-American home, however, your educational success would have been markedly worse - masking your underlying genetic potential.  The broader but still provisional lesson: Nurture matters after all. 
If you muse about the possible dynamics here, the implications are stunning.
This country may attract people who are capable and know they have not been allowed to flower. Immigration might be a truly successful filter system for the nation.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


"We are the friends of liberty everywhere but custodians only of our own."--John Adams

Ed Whiting is director of policy and chief of staff at Wellcome, a biomedical research charity based in London. He notes that much of the progress in the field is yet to be made: We urgently need new antibiotics. No new classes of antibiotics have been approved since the early 1980s. Between 1940 and 1962 about 20 classes were produced, but industry backing has decreased significantly since that golden age. The pipeline of new treatments is all but dry, the void fast exploited by resistant bacteria. A concerning number are now resistant to drugs reserved as the last line of defense, and the most vulnerable are in greatest danger -- the young, old and critically ill. Blood infections caused by drug-resistant microbes kill more than 200,000 newborn babies each year. The reason for the lack of interest from the pharmaceutical industry is simple: the economics don't add up. Developing new antibiotics is scientifically challenging, time-consuming and costly. The medicines we so badly need cannot be allowed to be sold in volume; they must be conserved for real need, with fair access guaranteed. This limits their retail value. Many early-stage projects will fail, making them a risky bet. Even those that are successful will take at least a decade to produce medicines that are safe for human use.

Nichols writing on the decline of experts, has a good point. Expertise implies a hierarchy and we  "cannot endure even the slightest hint of inequality of any kind." Unfortunately, Nichols notes, "specialization is necessarily exclusive." 
So expertise is "an affront" to our culture.

China MiƩville, an author of very bizarre science fiction, has written a history of the Russian Revolution.

"Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind, a presidential discretion that is largely immune to restraint by the Madisonian system of institutional checks and balances. So, it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict."--Will

One of New York’ Success Academy, a public charter school in New York,  now has an 11th grade whose students have just taken their SATs. These are kids from tough New York City neighborhoods, chosen by lottery.
Their mean SAT score was 1230.
None scored below 1000; one hit 1440.
That put the class in the 84th percentile nationally and in the 94th for students of color. 

Deirdre McCloskey argues that Marx was the greatest social scientist of the 19th century. There is much to support this view, and in promulgating it, she alienates many of her friends on the right. Likewise, she alienates many of her friends on the left by pointing out that Marx was wrong about everything. --Carden
Who is ....Bret Stephens?

We daily see men do for their party, for their sect, for their country, for their favourite schemes of political and social reform, what they would not do to enrich or to avenge themselves.  At a temptation directly addressed to our private cupidity or to our private animosity, whatever virtue we have takes the alarm.  But virtue itself may contribute to the fall of him who imagines that it is in his power, by violating some general rule of morality, to confer an important benefit on a church, on a commonwealth, on mankind.  He silences the remonstrances of conscience, and hardens his heart against the most touching spectacles of misery, by repeating to himself that his interventions are pure, that his objects are noble, that he is doing a little evil for the sake of a great good.  By degrees he comes altogether to forget the turpitude of the means in the excellence of the end, and at length perpetrates without one internal twinge acts which would shock a buccaneer.--Macaulay

Consider Jimmy Kimmel‘s appeal for “free” medical care. No decent person can help feeling sympathy for Kimmel and his ill child. But emotion should not cloud our judgment. When he says that no one should be denied medical care because he or she can’t afford it, he means that other people ought to be forced to pay for those services whenever the need is thought—by whom?—great enough. Why not say that openly? There’s no common pool of medical services or money to be drawn from.--Richman

It is so inconvenient to discuss and debate because value judgments are involved. This is partly the legacy of Marx.

"Much of the intellectual legacy of Marx is an anti-intellectual legacy. It has been said that you cannot refute a sneer. Marxism has taught many – inside and outside its ranks – to sneer at capitalism, at inconvenient facts or contrary interpretations, and thus to sneer at the intellectual process itself. This has been one of the sources of its enduring strength as a political doctrine, and as a means of acquiring and using political power in unbridled ways."--Sowell

Golden oldie:
There has been a lot of talk about the value of education, how it is the path to the middle class and how American citizens are suffering o...

Our view of human history is often biased by a historical effect of position, a kind of 21st-century glasses, undoubtedly amplified by the persistent myth of a precapitalist golden age, populated by cheerful people, eating their fill and living free, healthy, and long lives.  In reality, the daily life of an average person before the advent of capitalism was much crueler than even the images evoked by Balzac of the 19th-century industrial age, which have haunted our conscience since adolescence.--Jean-Philippe Delsol

It is curious that Venezuela is economically failing--and people are suffering--without much international comment. It is as if it has no significance. Just recently people who are thinkers--or claimed to be--were praising Venezuela to the sky. Perhaps these people truly do not know what they are praising. Bernie Sanders ran in the U.S. as a self-declared socialist. Historically, socialism has broadly been defined as the elimination of the private ownership of the means of production and the substitution of common or public ownership and economic planning for what Marx called the “anarchy of production” of the market. Socialism, at least historically, did not simply mean “a large welfare state” as in Scandinavia. In fact, the only way countries can afford larger welfare states is to have economies productive enough to produce the wealth that can be taxed away to support such programs. This is why the Scandinavian countries deregulated (and lowered tax rates) so much in the last decade or two: only through freer markets could they afford their transfer programs. 

The NYT has hired Bret Stephens away from the WSJ. He is a conservative guy who hates Trump and finds fault with a lot of the conclusions of the current climate science. His hiring has caused a lot of cancellations from the Times. Heresy cannot be abided.

1. Effusive; lavish.
2. Excessive to the point of being offensive.
"Fulsome" started out in mid 13th century as a straightforward, unambiguous word to describe abundance. By the 17th century, it had acquired a deprecatory sense, as in the second sense listed above. Then, in the 20th century, the positive sense of the word became more common. Language purists continue to stick with the second sense, while others use the word in its first sense. What to do? Avoid it, unless context is clear.

Forbidding insurers to discriminate among people according to their health condition (e.g., according to what types of illnesses, injuries, and risk factors they have had in the past or have currently) flies in the face of the insurance principle. Insurance is a means of pooling risks. The ACA actually reversed the process, charging the young and healthy more than people with known illness. That is not insurance. I am unsure what it is, but talking as if it were insurance only muddies the discussion.

One might hope, in any case, that people could find ways to feel whole without having to sacrifice themselves to anybody’s grandiose social causes.  To me, the great virtue of Americans is their diversity.  These United States are living proof that a nation need not be very united in order to be great. --Lavoie

An economist and a non-economist are strolling in Manhattan.  When they pass Carnegie Hall, the non-economist says wistfully to the economist, “You know, I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano.”  The economist replies “Obviously not.”

Here's some bad news: "To summarize, the question of whether tight money or financial distress causes deep slumps might seem almost unsolvable, if you simply focus on the Great Recession. But those with a deep knowledge of economic history know that causation clearly runs from tight money to falling NGDP to financial distress. Unfortunately, economic history is no longer widely taught in our graduate programs, so we now have an entire generation of economists who are ignorant of this subject, and who keep developing business cycle models that are easily refuted by the historical record." --Sumner

The hacking group known as 'The Shadow Brokers' is pushing a monthly subscription service offering members top secret information including "compromised network data" from the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

 AAAAAaaaaannnnnndddddd.........a chart:
Chart of the Day

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


"People tell me the game is complicated. I tell them the game is simple. People are complicated." "Have a plan, relax, see the ball and trust your muscles."
Keep it simple, I tell them That's the challenge."
This is from the introduction to H. A. Dorfman's The Mental Keys to Hitting, a little known book but a bible among ballplayers.

The game is simple; people are complicated. Do not complicate the simple.

Monday, June 26, 2017


Pareto Principle

The "Pareto principle" is also called the "80-20 rule." Italian engineer and social scientist Vilfredo Pareto observed a century ago that 80 percent of wealth is controlled by 20 percent of the population. This principle has subsequently been found a useful rule of thumb when applied to phenomena in computer science, biology, physics, economics and many other fields.

Researchers at Duke University, King's College London and the University of Otago in New Zealand, combined data from a long-term study of a group of people born in the same year in Dunedin, New Zealand with their electronic health records and governmental databases on such things as health, welfare and criminal justice. The quality and accuracy of these records is said to be quite high, unique among databases.

At age 3, each child in the study had participated in a 45-minute examination of neurological signs including intelligence, language and motor skills, and then the examiners also rated the children on factors such as frustration tolerance, restlessness and impulsivity. This yielded a summary index the researchers called "brain health."
A detailed analysis of the lives of nearly a thousand people from birth to age 38 shows that a small portion of the population accounts for the lion's share of social costs such as crime, welfare dependence and health-care needs as adults.
Just one-fifth of the study population accounted for 81 percent of criminal convictions and 77 percent of fatherless childrearing. This fifth of the group also consumed three-quarters of drug prescriptions, two-thirds of welfare benefits and more than half of the hospital nights and cigarettes smoked.
The researchers found they could have predicted which adults were likely to incur such costs as early as age 3 based on assessments of "brain health," giving them hope that early interventions could avoid some of these social costs.

The composite statistical picture the researchers created of this group shows that the most socially "costly" 20 percent of the study participants also carried 40 percent of the kilograms of obese weight and filed 36 percent of personal-injury insurance claims.

And the next step would be....? Well, anyway, it sounds a lot more interesting than phrenology.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


“Caravaggio’s ‘Narcissus’ in Rome”

Because of her preference for traditional rhyme and meter, Elizabeth Jennings (19262001) is often associated with the group of British poets known as The Movement, which included Philip Larkin, Thom Gunn and Kingsley Amis. Jennings herself, however, resisted such labels, opting instead for a sincerity and spiritual awareness in her work not shared by many of her contemporaries. She often credited a three-month holiday in Rome with solidifying her devotion to the practice of poetry and reawakening her Roman Catholic faith.

In “Caravaggio’s ‘Narcissus’ in Rome”, published in the TLS in 1965, the speaker at first seems to address Narcissus. She suggests that visitors come to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Rome just to be in the presence of Caravaggio’s painting of him, which “holds the eye / By subject and by symmetry”, serving as a mirror perhaps (“Clear / As glass it is”) into our own daily acts of vanity. Yet, in the second stanza, she begins to speak to the artist, speculating that he “must have come to self-knowledge” through the act of creating “that subtle thing”, an image that portrays the twin poles of human “suffering” and “joy”. Seeming to write as an artist herself in the final stanza, the speaker describes Caravaggio’s accomplishment with no small degree of envy. Ironically, she points out, by capturing the vanity of this young Narcissus by creating a perfect image Caravaggio escaped “the stare / Fatal within”. But it was only by seeking meaning outside the self that artists such as Chagall or Blake could avoid the “fatal” gazing of self-obsession.

Caravaggio’s “Narcissus” in Rome

Look at yourself, the shine, the sheer
Embodiment thrown back in some
Medium like wood or glass. You stare,
And many to this gallery come
Simply to see the picture. Clear
As glass it is. It holds the eye
By subject and by symmetry.

Yes, something of yourself is said
In this great shining figure. You
Must have come to self-knowledge. Read
Yourself within that image who
Draws every visitor. You made
From gleaming paint that subtle thing
Man staring at his suffering

And at his joy. But you stopped where
We cannot pause; merely to make
The picture took you from the stare
Fatal within; Chagall or Blake
Have exorcized your gazing for
A meaning that you could not find
In the cold searchings of your mind.

(From TLS)

Saturday, June 24, 2017


"The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar instead of how little he can give for a dollar is bound to succeed." - Henry Ford

Interventialists: They think in statics not dynamics, 2) they think in low, not high dimensions, 3) they think in actions, never interactions.
"...we end up populating what we call the intelligentsia with people who are delusional, literally mentally deranged, simply because they never have to pay for the consequences of their actions, repeating modernist slogans stripped of all depth. In general, when you hear someone invoking abstract modernistic notions, you can assume that they got some education (but not enough, or in the wrong discipline) and too little accountability
Now some innocent people, Yazidis, Christian minorities, Syrians, Iraqis, and Libyans had to pay a price for the mistakes of these interventionistas currently sitting in their comfortable air-conditioned offices. This, we will see, violates the very notion of justice from its pre-biblical, Babylonian inception. As well as the ethical structure of humanity."--Taleb   "pre-biblical, Babylonian inception"!

In August 2010, Google put out a blog post announcing that there were 129,864,880 books in the world. The company said they were going to scan them all.
When Google started scanning, they weren’t actually setting out to build a digital library where you could read books in their entirety; that idea would come later. Their original goal was just to let you search books.
They fell about a hundred-million books short. What happened was complicated but how it started was simple:   Upon hearing that Google was taking millions of books out of libraries, scanning them, and returning them as if nothing had happened, authors and publishers filed suit against the company, alleging, as the authors put it simply in their initial complaint, “massive copyright infringement.”

Who is...James Patterson?

Politico reports Hillary is launching a new group to raise money for the resistance to Trump’s presidency. The group will be called Onward Together, and she is said to be meeting with donors to form a board of directors. This could not possibly be a sign she will run again, could it?

An old joke about a British Foreign Office official who retired after 40 years: "Every morning I went to the prime minister and assured him there would be no world war today. And I am pleased to note that in a career of 40 years, I was only wrong twice."
Tom Nichols has a new book, "The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters." Our devices and social media are, he says, producing people who confuse "internet grazing" with research and this faux research with higher education, defined by a wit as "those magical seven years between high school and your first warehouse job." Years when students demand to run institutions that the students insist should treat them as fragile children.
"It is," Nichols writes, "a new Declaration of Independence: no longer do we hold these truths to be self-evident, we hold all truths to be self-evident, even the ones that aren't true. All things are knowable and every opinion on any subject is as good as any other."
The % of the government budget not spent during a shutdown? 17.
The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) says that per capita income growth has an environmental turning point. Initially increasing as per capita income rises, pollution levels start to drop when income reaches a $5000-$8,000 range. At that point the manufacturing sector and people’s concern with health both rise. The result is less pollution.

On the question of economic inequality: "The main predictor of living standards not just most people but the poorest people in the country is productivity in that country. Countries that produce a lot of stuff aren't just good places to be rich or middle class; they're good places to be poor. So when people complain about people being left behind ...China's got 1.3 billion people. Sure, someone's going to be left behind in there. But is it better to be poor now in China  than it was 20 or 30 or 50 years ago, when people were starving to death? There is no question. It is only by going and forgetting history, forgetting comparisons, and then searching through a vast number of people to find a sad story that we can forget the big picture. What is the big picture? Not that we can find something that happened that is bad in the world so vast we can't even imagine it, but seeing what is happening overall. What is the general trend, and how can we keep the general trend good?"--Caplan on Freakonomics Radio

Golden oldie:
Bad news for carbon opponents: 1.   2.    Rank   Country                                                           Consumption     ...

In 1845, the Franklin Expedition ships searching for a northwest passage were destroyed after becoming trapped in Arctic ice, killing all 129 people on board. 
Researchers have now taken DNA from the skeletal remains of several sailors to identify them. 
They discovered that four of the crew were women.

A group of self-appointed experts and leaders called The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) published a report claiming  “additional investments of around $300-$600 billion per annum do not pose a major macroeconomic challenge,” which they say will help the world meet the goals laid out in the Paris agreement. They estimate a total expenditure of $15 Trillion.
ETC is made up of energy executives, activist leaders and investment bankers, including former Vice President Al Gore.

Infant suffrage! A real problem with democracy is that most people whose taxes will rise in the future to pay off government debt when it comes due are not able to vote when that debt is legislated.

In 2016, Italy took the number one spot as the top exporter of wine to the USA, with total sales of nearly 1.7 billion dollars.

Eighteen Pennsylvania State University students and a former fraternity at the school are facing charges in connection with the death of Beta Theta Pi pledge Timothy Piazza, who died after falling down stairs at the frat house during a pledge ceremony.  His blood alcohol content reached 0.28 and 0.36 percent. This is a terrible story and the more you read of it, the worse it gets.

Black Commencement 2017 was the first university-wide ceremony for black students at Harvard.

Bill Clinton and James Patterson are teaming up on a novel. Won't these people ever go away?
Most people are still unwilling to face the most alarming lesson of modern history: that the greatest crimes of our time have been committed by governments that had the enthusiastic support of millions of people who were guided by moral impulses.  It is simply not true that Hitler or Mussolini, Lenin or Stalin, appealed only to the worst instincts of their people; they also appealed to some of the feelings which also dominate contemporary democracies.  Whatever disillusionment the more mature supporters of those movements may have experienced as they came to see the effects of the policies they had supported, there can be no doubt that the rank and file of the communist, national-socialist or fascist movements contained many men and women inspired by ideals not very different from those of some of the most influential social philosophers in the Western countries.  Some of them certainly believe that they were engaged in the creation of a just society in which the needs of the most deserving or ‘socially most valuable’ would be better cared for.  They were led by a desire for a visible common purpose which is our inheritance from the tribal society and which we still find breaking through everywhere.--Hayek

Apparently it was Obama's fault that Flynn was not vetted.

An ABC story suggests that Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have to recuse himself from overseeing Special Counsel Mueller's Russia probe. That would make Rachel Brand acting AG. Who is she? According to ABC, 
As for Brand, she previously led the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy, and she most recently served as a member of the government's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. She graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to the Justice Department.
Sessions recently said she "has proven herself to be a brilliant lawyer."
"She is also a dedicated public servant who is strongly committed to upholding the rule of law and our Constitution," he added.
Brand is clearly a Conservative and has been an active contributor to several Republican campaigns in recent years, including "Ted Cruz For President" and "Ted Cruz For Senate."
She was only confirmed in the Senate 52-46, with voting along party lines. (According to the esteemed Elizabeth Warren, she 
“...has extensive experience, years of experience, fighting on behalf of the biggest and richest companies in the world.)
  • She was appointed by the Trump administration and confirmed on May 18, 2017
  • She is an active contributor to Republican campaigns
  • Democrats hate her.Therefore, by the transitive property, we also know with absolute certainty she is a Russian spy.

  • China’s first three five-year plans had no mention of the environment. Then in plans five through nine, there was more. And now, looking at plans 11 to 13, we would see that 5% of all words relate to ecology, energy or the environment.

    AAAAaaaannnnnndddddd....a picture of one of our fellow mammals we share Mother Earth with:


    Friday, June 23, 2017


    Freeman Dyson gave an interview recently published in Nautilus. He said this about Robert Oppenheimer:
    "Robert Oppenheimer did one really important thing in science, which was the theory of black holes. He really discovered black holes, which turned out to be extremely important. That was done in 1939 with his student [Hartland Snyder]. They developed this theory of why black holes exist, how they are formed, and he got everything right. Essentially, he was the originator of black holes as a concept and it was a prediction that turned out to be true.
    The sad thing was that this paper was published on the first of September, 1939—actually the day that Hitler walked into Poland. So the whole world was looking at Poland and not at Oppenheimer. That piece of work somehow got forgotten and Oppenheimer himself lost interest in it and he never went back to it later. It went out of his life and that was a shame. He could have done a lot more with it, so it all had to be redone 20 years later.
    He was a big scientist. The strange thing is, the really great thing that he did was not what he wanted to do. He wanted to do particle physics and wasn’t interested in astronomy. Anyway, that’s the way the ball bounces. You never know what you end up being famous for.
    He was a very temperamental, unpredictable kind of character. He would suddenly blow hot or cold and you never knew which one you had to deal with. He could be extremely generous and friendly or he could be very harsh.
    Leon Cooper was a young kid who came to the Institute at Princeton, and he had this crazy idea that he could understand superconductivity, which was one of the big unsolved problems of that time. Cooper had this idea that superconductivity had something to do with pairs of electrons and Oppenheimer said that was total rubbish. Cooper tried to give a talk about his theory of superconductivity and Oppenheimer would just interrupt all the time and tell him why it was nonsense. He decided Cooper was no good, so Cooper left the Institute and went to Illinois, where he met Bardeen and Schrieffer, and the three of them produced the correct theory of superconductivity, which was in fact Cooper’s idea. They all got the Nobel Prize and Cooper got his revenge."

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    RNs Vs. MDs

    The American Medical Association (AMA) is essentially an organization of general and family practitioners. Most of the specialties have developed their own organizations--which often oppose each other and the AMA. As a result, the medical voice is often divided--and poorly heard. But, despite being the largest physician organization in the country, the AMA lacks a true public relations department that represents physicians, however narrow. Physicians are often portrayed negatively, with stories of narcotic abuse, greed and medical mistakes dominating the news. How could the anti-vaccine movement get a foothold anywhere physicians had a respected voice? Survey data from 2012 revealed that only 34 percent of Americans have “great confidence” in physicians, compared with 73% in 1966.

    The same is not true for nurses. Nursing groups have had an ongoing public relations program for years and it has worked. According to the latest Gallup poll in 2014, over 80% of American state nurses have “very high” or “high” standards of honesty and ethics, while only 65% of Americans feel the same way about doctors. In Great Britain there are studies that show that the nurse is the lynch-pin of the health service's support.

    In the U.S. nurses often pit themselves against physicians. The “ACNM Project,” launched by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, has focused on making nurse midwives the “norm for women’s health care service in the United States.” Their aggressive public relations campaign has been successful. Midwives attended 3% of births in 1989 compared with 10% today. Rather than show patients the benefits of their profession, however, they have focused on negative rhetoric towards obstetricians. Many midwifery websites discuss high Cesarean rates or “unnecessary” interventions of physicians. The website of the American College of Nurse-Midwives is very clear on “disruptions to a normal healthy birth” which include medications and Cesarean delivery.
    The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) promoted themselves on social media with the slogan “brains of a doctor and heart of a nurse,” and with memes stating: “Be nice to nurses. We keep the doctors from accidentally killing you,” and “Behind every great doctor is an even greater nurse.”

    Much of this centers on the shortage of physicians and the nursing profession's hope to fill that gap with nurse practitioners. But, while medical and nursing fields are overlapping, they are not truly competing. The average nurse practitioner has 1.5-3 years of training in a Masters program, or about 500-1000 clinical hours, after college. A family medicine physician, on the other hand, will work 6,000 clinical hours in medical school, which lasts four years, followed by a 3-year residency, averaging an additional 9,000-10,000 clinical hours. Those numbers would be even higher for specialists.

    And the problem is really a complementary advantage than an antagonism: Medicine is regrettably more a science than a service and nursing thankfully more a service than a science.