Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    'breeding for a business' which are eugenic dog-whistles

    Any time someone raises this I want them to show actual data.

    Not anecdotes, not my sister's workmate has 3 cousins who ...

    But actual data, real numbers of mothers who have say more than 3 children and are on the DPB and have never worked. And with that real numbers on the actual costs.

    It seems to me that if those numbers were high then we'd actually get them shown to us, instead we get emotive phrases and anecdotes which suggests the numbers are effectively meaningless in our social welfare structure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to steven crawford,

    could lower life expectancy for some

    That would be impossible to show. No way the experiment will be done and no way to control for differences in health care as a result of changing budgets.

    An equally unprovable and untestable statement would be
    raising the age of retirement will increase life quality and duration for those working because of maintained self-worth and social contacts in the workplace.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to linger,

    Also a sweet victory to trounce a ‘proper’ hockey team.

    Depends what you mean by “proper” I suppose.

    Back when my knees didn't hurt I played basketball a lot. The team we most feared was the association for the deaf team. They were brutal and they had skillz. I'm sure it was just chance that they were all good players AND hard players.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Ahah! So Marsden is science that has a Point

    No no it's pointless science ... especially topology

    Science communication fail :(

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to merc,

    "The planned advanced technology institute will operate in the border between business and science, providing a welcome focus on the development side of research and development," he said. "Exploiting untapped opportunities in the high tech manufacturing and services areas including ICT will be a major step forward for New Zealand's economy."

    Because we just know that there are tons of great ideas in the lab that those scientists have just failed to exploit. All they need is the guidance of some businessmen.

    But sarcasm aside, any investment will result in some good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    Marsdenable, I’d call it

    Exactly. Blue skies isn't quite right because it carries an implication that there is no conceivable value or product. What Marsdenable science has is quality first and foremost. Work that gets a Marsden is high quality, well thought out, likely to produce work that gets published in top peer reviewed journals. It also just so happens that it quite regularly results in patents and has proven to result in commercial spin outs.

    This is nothing novel. Exactly the same thing has been seen with every fund that assesses quality first and foremost, everywhere in the world.

    Note this isn't about me feathering my own nest. As our chief science advisor to the govt has pointed out again and again, countries that invest heavily in science (4 or more times the govt investment than NZ) have higher GDPs. Science and innovation drives wealth. And it isn't wealthy countries can afford science because countries that change from low investment to high investment see an increase in GDP a decade or so later and vice versa. If it isn't cause and effect then something very very bizarre is going on.

    @ John - Is history a science? mmm I think we could drink several glasses of wine with that discussion. But I certainly was not intending that money go from the study of history into the study of the biochemistry of moth chemoreceptors.

    To put this into a little more perspective for those outside the sciences (yes you can skip the rest of this post ... you read this far?!?). Marsdens are given to a very small number of proposals from a range of fields, including the social sciences, based solely on which proposal is the highest quality, as assessed by a scientific panel (of 8 or so?), with input from experts in the field for each proposal. Feedback from the panels is that they could fund 2-3 times as many grants and give them twice as much money each with no loss of quality.

    By contrast MSI, the new ministry set up by our current government wants a description of the research in lay terms emphasizing how much the research will benefit the New Zealand economy in the next 3 years or so. The implication is that lay readers will be making the decisions. They will then pick which ones get money. This isn't too different from the FRST funding system that preceded MSI.

    My reading of history suggests funding quality of science is the more successful strategy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Is that a euphemism?

    No that's really what I am going to do ... right now ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Sacha,

    but NZ’s current indequate performance in those areas is wasting much of our good basic research.

    That's a myth Sasha. Around the world most basic research that gets spun out to develop into a product fails. Of 100 ideas maybe 10 will survive 5 years and only 1 might produce a profit ever. Experience around the world has shown that picking the 1 from the 100 is nearly impossible, you just have to try them all.

    The myth in NZ is that we have lots of good ideas we just need to develop them better. It just isn't true. We do have good ideas but nowhere near enough.

    The other part of the myth is that somehow we in NZ can take 20 ideas and produce 10 productive businesses. We will do this by being smarter and better in our innovation. Of course that ignores the fact that everyone else in the world says the same thing. It's a kind of arrogance.

    But you don't need to believe my words because that is exactly the funding and innovation model that we have been using in NZ for the last 20 years. Almost all our money going into developing the vast pool of great ideas we have hiding in the lab already. And we don't need to generate any new ideas.

    It has failed. I'd strongly argue that continuing to do something that has failed for the last 20 years is stupid.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think Labour’s plank could very well be transformative.

    One of the problems I've heard mentioned about that massive pool of money is that there aren't a huge number of places to invest the money in New Zealand and still get a decent return. The managers will be obliged to invest in other countries in order to get the returns expected.

    There is a myth that we have lots of great innovative companies in NZ that would succeed if only they had investment money. Starvation of our R&D sector over the last 20 years has dried up most of the sources of such innovation. If you look around the world those small startups are usually clustered around good research communities, discoveries get spun out into small companies, most of which fail, but some succeed.

    We do have innovative talented people in NZ but not as many as we need. While some of those kinds of people work their way up from the shop floor, in most places around the world those people come from universities and govt institutes.

    Sorry drifting off topic and I better go pollenate my petunias.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Why can’t we just use other people’s research?

    You can. And we do. But if someone else did the primary research then they get the greatest benefit because any time you derive something of value from it you have to pay them a cut.

    That's why making the primary discoveries is such a good thing because then you get paid for other folks development of your discovery. You also have the advantage that if you make the discovery the chances are that you will be able to apply it to problems of local interest better and sooner.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3754 posts Report Reply

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