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OpenMarket: Risk and Consumer Freedom

  • Re: Guns in Virginia

    April 17, 2007
    Following up on Eli's post below, the blog Classically Liberal (linked to from Freedom News Daily) notes that not only is the Virginia Tech campus a gun-free zone, but that last year Virginia Tech administrators actively opposed a bill to allow college students and employees to carry on campus if they held "a valid concealed handgun permit."
    The legislation went to the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. And the vote was a quick one. The process was over almost before it began. A spokesman for Virginia Tech was thrilled at the results. He...
  • More from Monbiot today

    April 10, 2007

    The Guardian columnist George Monbiot today has yet another article attacking global warming deniers — to wit: “There is climate change censorship - and it's the deniers who dish it out.”

    Not much new in the column — but the comments posted are often fun — from the slavish paraphrases of “Oh George, you're so insightful!” to those hoping that mankind will indeed erase itself from the earth --


    April 10, 2007 9:33 AM

    Rich and poor will all be affected if we allow our planet to die. This planet doesn't need us to keep it going it will carry on long after we are gone. But it would have freed itself from the flea like planet draining creatures such is mankind.
    There are, surprisingly, numerous comments from more informed...
  • Golf Carts and Safety

    April 10, 2007
    A front page article in today's New York Times comments on the rise of electric carts around the country. Particularly in retirement communities, they've caught on big time. I like the idea: internal combustion engines don't do well on stop-and-start trips, produce a lot of pollution when they start, and make a lot of noise. But why only retirement communities? Electric carts also seem perfect for most city driving. They're much more practical than Segways or motorcycles in that they can actually hold groceries. Traffic on arterials in dense center cities never moves faster than the 25-35 MPH speed limit the golf carts have anyway. They cost less than cars and, in general, require less work to keep running. They're cheap, at least in theory, so they seem perfect for people with low incomes. So why don't we have...
  • Adapting to the IPCC

    April 6, 2007
    The IPCC's second summary report of the year is out. Working Group II's report on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability predicts a world facing food and water shortages and risk of flooding. The environmental lobby is already up in arms because of "government interference" with the conclusions. We could have told them years ago (hang on, we did) that polticizing the science in the way they did when the IPCC was set up would lead to such pressures. In fact, it's inevitable. Anyway, on to the substance. If the IPCC is correct and the world is facing exacerbated damages in this way (these problems existed before global warming, after all), then we need to work out our best response...
  • Bailey on "Consensus"

    April 6, 2007
    Another former Brookes Fellow, Ron Bailey, writes in Reason today on green activists' speaking out of both sides of their mouth when they say "scientific consensus":
    [T]the overwhelming scientific consensus is that current varieties of genetically enhanced crops are safe to eat and don't pose unusual risks to the natural environment. But that isn't stopping Greenpeace from waging a global "Say no to genetic engineering" campaign or the Friends of the Earth from demanding a GM Freeze. Perhaps the idea of scientific consensus is not all that it's cracked up to be. After all, scientific consensus does not mean "certain truth." Whatever the current consensus of any scientific issue is can change in the light of new research. Nevertheless, environmentalist ideologues accuse those...
  • YouTube on fire with "Cigarette" song

    April 6, 2007
    These days even expressing ambiguity about cigarettes can put you in danger of the anti-smoking thought police. Conversing about the pleasure of smoking or the difficulties of quitting can get you called a shill for tobacco companies. So Canadian singer Jeremy Fisher is at the center of a storm with the video for his song "Cigarette." The song compares relationships and breakups with the pains and pleasure of smoking and trying to quit. It features lines like, "I'll be your cigarette ... Good or bad, I'm just your habit." Fisher, who sings in the lite alternative rock style of Ben Folds, makes the tune infectious. You can't help but tap your foot and sing along. But it's the video itself that's really making YouTube go aflame. It features a dancing cigarette, like those in commercials of old. Needless to say, it's attracting...
  • Climate Alarmism for Fun and Profit

    March 29, 2007
    Via Roger Pielke Jr, we have the unedifying spectacle of at least one leading IPCC scientist engaged in selling alarmist predictions of what climate change might do to your property in a new venture called Climate Appraisal Services LLC. If you get a free report, you get temperature measurements for your address, some information about UV radiation and some chilling maps of how much of the USA will be under water if sea level rises 20 feet (and we can't be bothered to build sea defenses, presumably). Now, for $30 you can get a report that gives you all this and more:
    • Will your home be submerged from climate change?
    • How many hurricanes can you expect this season?...
  • Mitigating Factors

    March 27, 2007
    Roger Pielke Jr has posted a letter to his Prometheus website that he wrote in response to an op/ed by CEI Adjunct Fellow Dr Henry Miller, which commended Dr Pielke Jr for drawing attention to the benefits of adaptation to global warming.  Dr Pielke Jr says:
    Any effective approach to climate policy will require that we both mitigate and adapt. The urge to present adaptation and mitigation as somehow in opposition is a reflex shared by those on opposing sides of the debate over greenhouse gas emissions. On climate policy we must walk and chew gum at the same time.
  • The poor are always with us (and enviros mean to keep it that way)

    March 26, 2007
    In Scotland and Australia, two places as far apart on the globe as you can get, people are realizing that rationing carbon is a socially regressive move. In Scotland:
    An energy underclass could develop in Scotland if personal carbon trading is introduced in the fight against climate change, urban planning experts warned yesterday.The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland voiced concerns that low-income households could be driven into an eat-or-heat situation if tradable allowances were introduced.
    In Australia:
    THE jobless would be hardest hit by carbon pricing, with new research showing low-income households would have to pay about $600 a year to fight...
  • Death by Regulation 2.0

    March 26, 2007
    A firefighter in the UK is facing suspension for breaking fire service regulations.  His breach?  Saving a drowning woman's life:
    The brigade's rules state: “Personnel should not enter the water.” The fire crew should instead have tried to haul the woman out using poles and ropes. Stephen Hunter, chief fire officer of Tayside Fire and Rescue, admitted that fire engines in Perth were not equipped with the correct poles and ropes, but insisted that Mr Brown had broken the rules. He said: “Firefighter safety is of paramount importance to us. Although our duties include rescues from flooding, there is no statutory obligation to carry out rescues from moving water."
    Tim Worstall has more.


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