Dec 162009

This is so stupid it’s infuriating.

Subsidized science

“Baltimore-based company Champions Biotechnology has a business tale to tell, one reminiscent of Robin Hood. But there’s no robbing of the rich in this story. Rather, Champions uses revenue from premium services offered to wealthy clients to subsidize risky—and hard-to-fund—research.”


“Champions spent $1.7 million on R&D in fiscal year 2009, and it gathers those funds through a unique business approach: Research is funded with revenue from premium oncology services, offered to a select clientele. The company creates ‘personalized tumorgrafts’ for cancer-stricken individuals, each to the tune of $100,000…”


“By R&D, Sidransky is referring to Champions’ separate bank of anonymous tumorgrafts, or mice carrying tumors—grafted from spare tissue acquired through collaborations with academic institutions.”


“Peter Houghton, director of the Children’s Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, considers tumorgraft models ‘very good for identifying active drugs.’ Houghton is openly skeptical, however, about applying this technology to individuals…”


“In the meantime, the company is getting kudos for its unique business model. ‘I don’t think [using premium services to fund R&D] is done in practice today, though I like the idea,’ says Stuart Barich, Oppenheimer’s managing director.”

Are we living on Bizarro World?! Where do I begin to show how completely ass-backwards the author’s understanding of economics is? Continue reading »

Jun 112009

I’m not a fan of public education. I don’t like seeing children indoctrinated into blind faith and belief that we can’t be trusted to run our own lives and our wise and generous government should instead be obediently trusted with omnipotence and omnipresence in order to grace us with its omnibenevolence. Nor do think the best instruction bureaucracy can buy does a particularly good job at educating children. Consequently, if I have any real choice in the matter, my children will either be homeschooled or go to a private school. If only I could also opt out of paying for public education I’d rather not use…

But I digress. The point I really wanted to make when I started writing this post is that public education is funded by horrible compromise measures that cannot even please the socialists who want it so badly. I see some possible solutions to the problem, all of which are unfortunately politically leprous.

Continue reading »