What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Monday, May 25, 2015

Linkee-poo is proud to be an American, 'cause at least I know the corporations that own our government think I'll work for free

Sure, it may be a holiday for You. Okay, yea, I at least got to sleep in today.

I say ye, John Scalzi. Wow, $3.4M for 13 books over the next 10 years. Well, of course the real meat is in how the deal is structured (equal payments over the decade, or as books are delivered, edited, and then released). But this is excellent news. For John, of course. I know John, have met him, and dined in a group with him, he was an instructor at VP XIII and agreed to offer a critique of my story. As long as he keeps producing, this pretty well sets him for the next ten years, not that I expect this is the only thing he will be doing for income (let that one sink in a moment). John is good with finances so I have a feeling his daughter's college education is now paid for. But this is good news for all us other genre writers and wannabes toiling in the word mines. John is a cash cow to us as well, because Tor wouldn't be making this deal if they didn't know he can produce the cash. While he and PNH have this Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect buddy movie going on (and both are hoopy froods who know where their towels are - makes notation I've fulfilled my Union and Guild obligation on International Towel Day), John is making Tor a metric boatload of cash. This cash, while John will get some (and the printers, editors and art directors/illustrators), will leave Tor with enough left over to take chances on us newbies and mid-listers. John is a river to his people, as it were. It also means we're going to have 13 more cool books to read. So, John, congrats, well done and well earned. Now get crackin' McGee (okay, I'm taking the "John skips class for the next nine years, then pulls a year-long all-nighter to write 13 books before the final exam" in the pool).

Eva "Kor says that when a victim chooses to forgive, they take the power back from their tormentors. But that it is their choice to make." A mighty woman. Also note how she delineates between forgiveness and forgetting. She doesn't think the "Accountant of Auschwitz" should go free, but "(s)he'd make him travel the country to talk to young neo-Nazis, and tell them what he saw and that the Nazi regime should never come back."

"A new paper by a team of researchers from Duke University, University of Georgia, and University of Colorado looks at not only how extremely competent people are treated by their co-workers and peers, but how those people feel when, at crucial moments, everyone turns to them. They find that responsible employees are not terribly pleased about this dynamic either." OMG. Fuck. Yes. If you've ever worked with me, you've probably heard me say something similar, or to the effect of, "I've done management before, don't ever need to again." There's a reason for it. Also, this is the reason that I work hard, damn hard, to not be that guy everyone goes to. Because I have been for much of my professional life. I want someone else to be the God-damn expert and mentor me (which, BTW, is one of the many reasons I love writing fiction and being a radiographer). Also note, these people are often overlooked (or specifically looked at and rejected) for promotions because the management wants them to stay where they are doing good work (and are often doing management's job for them, also won't do that again). (Grokked from Debbie Morrow)

How to solve the antibiotic problem (few companies are researching, let alone producing, new antibiotics in the face of ever increasing resistance)? One proposal is to give pharma companies that develop new one guaranteed profits to the tune of $2b. That would be one way. However, I have to disagree with the authors of the research, this is exactly where government research an involvement works best. Low profits, little incentive, but necessary service/product, this is ideal. The Post Office is an excellent example of this. The NIH already does amazing basic research (of which for profit companies benefit). Governments could develop a limited non-profit corporation (like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac) that works with NIH to develop new antibiotics and vaccines. The profit model would be based on continuing development of new drugs. Such a proposal has zero chance in a GOP controlled legislature (which distrusts big government or government interference, but man they love the profits Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac are plowing into our treasury). But then, increasing government spending by $2b also has zero chance as well. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)


Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

So... Let me get this straight. Federal funding of research is bad because either lazy scientists have no reason to produce or it interferes with for-profit businesses. But giving a prize to businesses for doing what they should be doing if they weren't so damned shortsighted is good? National labs and university research are really cost effective for doing basic research that needs being done.

Dr. Phil

Steve Buchheit said...

You've got it, Dr. Phil. That's exactly the argument they're making. And prizes are so much better… mostly because of the reduced reporting, consent, oversight, and drive to produce results that comes with actual government funding of research (which most people don't know, believing government spending is wasteful and that nobody actually is watching the purse strings when exactly the opposite is true).