Zoe's 'Serenity' Foam Being Realized - R&D at Work

J-Sun

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I thought this notice about a new medical foam (via Popular Science) was cool. It's more for internal bleeding than Zoe's slash wound (and not that Serenity's the only place such stuff has been used) but, still, kinda neat. And, on the serious side, it seems like this could be a substantial medical advance to help soldiers who really need it and presumably even civilian accident victims.

I initially thought there wasn't much else to say about this and just wanted to pass on the information but an angle does occur to me. DARPA, like any large organization, has its issues but, man, do they crank out some neat stuff (like the means by which I post this over the net with a click of a mouse). And, of course, near to my heart, they've helped initiate the 100 Year Starship Symposium. And that raises the issue of both generally effective government R&D organizations like DARPA and private ones like the old Bell Labs and how we might be being penny-wise and pound-foolish by cutting these sorts of things in government and focusing only on short-term profitability for the rest.

Either way - the foam stuff is nifty. ;)
 

Dave

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...and how we might be being penny-wise and pound-foolish by cutting these sorts of things in government and focusing only on short-term profitability for the rest.
Right there you touch upon a much wider and bigger argument between Pure and Applied Science. Many people want government money only spent on Science projects that will deliver real foreseeable benefits. However, private companies can do that job well without any government intervention. They are looking to make a profit for their shareholders and they need some tangible benefit from research within a reasonable time-scale - that is just basic economics. Gone are the days when rich men did research in their spare time. Only governments can stump up the money to do Pure Science which may not have any immediately tangible benefits, if in fact ever at all, but long-term they are the only way that any major breakthroughs would occur.
 

J-Sun

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Right there you touch upon a much wider and bigger argument between Pure and Applied Science. Many people want government money only spent on Science projects that will deliver real foreseeable benefits. However, private companies can do that job well without any government intervention. They are looking to make a profit for their shareholders and they need some tangible benefit from research within a reasonable time-scale - that is just basic economics. Gone are the days when rich men did research in their spare time. Only governments can stump up the money to do Pure Science which may not have any immediately tangible benefits, if in fact ever at all, but long-term they are the only way that any major breakthroughs would occur.

True except that I think even private interests could do more. Let's say they can't be as pure, but that's not to say that they have to foolishly make themselves bankrupt in a decade after having been outclassed by only spending on things that make them money this quarter. We need longer-range vision more than ever, really, but seem to be getting more myopic. But, yeah, (as long as the public realizes its importance and supports it), governments potentially do have more resources and more latitude.
 

Dave

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I've done a little economics. What I was thinking of was how cost-benefits analysis tends to discount anything with a value more than 5 years away in favour of more immediate gains. That is why I believe it is wrong to let accountants run any science company, indeed any film studio, or most other things. Unfortunately, more and more they are in the top positions of companies. I'd like to see more decisions that are instead based on the premise of "will that be a good idea for my children's children?" but that isn't going to happen often.

Still, this is a whole different matter to the Z Foam.

That is being picked up by other news outlets now, but you can say I read about it here first!
 

J-Sun

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...I believe it is wrong to let accountants run any science company, indeed any film studio, or most other things. Unfortunately, more and more they are in the top positions of companies.

No argument at all there.

I'd like to see more decisions that are instead based on the premise of "will that be a good idea for my children's children?" but that isn't going to happen often.

Indeed. Still, maybe the more people whose lives are saved with this stuff, the more such projects will be viewed properly. Every little bit helps.

Still, this is a whole different matter to the Z Foam.

That is being picked up by other news outlets now, but you can say I read about it here first!

The Chrons News Service: accurate, dependable, fast. :)
 
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