Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: A week being a long time in politics, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I'm not going to change anyone else's mind and vice versa

    That seems to be the message of this election entirely. For all the sound and fury, for all the photo opportunities, the polls* seem to show that people made up their minds 6 months ago or more.

    It doesn't stop us having discussions.

    * But the polls may not be correct, sample sizes are small and sampling is not random so that leaves me very curious about the results of the only poll that actually matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Some things just don't let…,

    Two women somehow managed to talk to each other constantly, rapidly, loudly – and at the same time.

    No judge would convict you ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Some things just don't let…,

    Thank you!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science,

    We can of course do both. There are times when it is possible to establish the industry in NZ and times when that simply doesn't make sense but you make money from a discovery that someone else can use.

    In the plant science field, some of our discoveries are best applied to crops that we just don't grow. In that situation it make perfect sense to license the discovery to someone who can use it. Other projects can create or improve NZ farmers/growers directly.

    Both models can work and both models can generate earnings for NZ. It's worth noting that improving rice production or yield by a fraction of a percentage could make NZ more money than producing a new apple that is only grown in NZ.

    "Selling out" is simply not a helpful term nor is "benefit to NZ" or "industry alignment".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science, in reply to Geoff Willmott,

    I don’t think physical scientists in NZ could ever be accused of having preferred status.

    I do agree. Look it's great they are getting money. Basically there isn't a science sector in NZ that isn't starved of money.

    I just hope they give the money to the good science groups in IRL rather than targeting the money to perceived growth sectors.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Nice link, I particularly liked

    Even the wizards of venture capital have a hard job assessing the commercial impact of a discovery.

    “To expect a researcher, or a research council committee, to make any worthwhile judgement - and make it before the work has even been done - is surely absurd.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science, in reply to Ross Mason,

    well below the crtical mass required to support this sector

    Yup true of most sectors. No worries about IRL deserving input.

    My only issue is still with the idea of predicting winners rather than simply (hah!) supporting those who can do great work regardless of what sector it happens to be in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science,

    I find it interesting that IRL is the current golden boy. They were the golden boys a few years back too, just after they laid off a bunch of their science staff. Then they almost went bankrupt and had to be bailed out and were seriously the tarnished boys. Now they are golden again, and they aren't even doing alchemy.

    Underneath all that I hear the folks on the bench do some good stuff.

    However, the problem I have with the IRL initiative is the same as any government led science initiative. Rather than being led by successful science groups and responding to areas we are actually good at, it is a direction imposed by bureaucrats. Picking predicted winners rather than funding actual winners. It's like they heard Paul Callahan speak but missed the point entirely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science, in reply to Ross Mason,

    New Zealand suffered from the New Right insisting that any contribution to industry was a subsidy, subsidies were the work of the devil and we have been the only ones to follow that path.

    To be fair the 9 year Labour government had exactly the same attitude.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On Science, in reply to NBH,

    NBH, you are right. I searched the OECD figures directly, man do they need Keith on their team. These are the figures for 2010 and seem to show OECD average at about 0.75% of GDP and NZ at about 0.55%, and Korea, Taiwan, Finland and the USA all over 1%, it’s a 2 page pdf.

    As pointed out in the text interpreting what is and isn’t funding isn’t easy. I seriously doubt that our general university funds in NZ are what most scientists would consider science funding but we kind of have to take the figures at face value.

    Ok so how about we just ask for one of the political parties to promise to get up to the OECD average – still close to a 50% increase in funding. Not even asking to be better than average.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3786 posts Report Reply

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