Incentive Inspired Irony

While I think that the research at Ames itself is very worthwhile, I recently learned yet two more delicious examples of why the research being under the direct purview of big government is silly:

 It turns out that if, in the course of a government project, you invent something that you then patent, your choices to avoid  ‘conflict of interest’ are to either immediately cease working on it (making the patent incredibly worthwhile) or quit your job.

 Related to both the above point and Monday’s post, if a foreign national working at NASA (there are quite a few) writes code that is then used as part of a military or otherwise protected project, it immediately becomes a federal offense for them to even look at the code they just wrote.

 Upshot: the larger the institution, the more broadly it’s rules (even ones that make sense in a vacuum) apply, and the more stupid corner cases (and thus inefficiency) they will generate. 


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