December 4, 2007Greenpeace has released the latest edition of its quarterly Guide to Greener Electronics. While I haven't read the study in full and I don't know exactly what goes in to determining the one through ten ranking that Greenpeace assigns to various famous tech companies, I did find their graph (see below) a little odd. Look how close together one to three are! Then look at the space between seven and ten--it's half the graph! By making three numbers take up half the graph, a greening tech company can move quite a way across the "dial o' green" if it moves from a seven to an eight, but a move from three to our doesn't result in such a pronounced leap.
Adopting cleaner technology standards and practices is important, don't get me wrong. But such a blatantly misleading graph makes me question...
November 16, 2007The Evansville Courier brings us a story that should be disheartening to libertarians and anyone who respects the right to own private property. The Liberty Dollar office have been raided, their assets seized, their records confiscated, and the dies for casting the alternative currency are now in the hands of U.S. officials.
It seems like an innocent enough activity, stamping out a few silver dollars, but the U.S. treasury will have none of it. After all, with that mess in Iraq solved, the war on terror won, the immigration issue behind us, and our school kids outscoring every country in the world, it's time to start tending to these other major problems.
While I still trust in the fiat-based greenbacks, I have a soft spot for our coin stamping friends in Evansville. I hope they get their day...
October 9, 2007On a note related to Jerry Brito's post on "L'iPhone" at TechLiberation.com today, I'd like to point out Thomas Hazlett's "How the 'walled garden' promotes innovation" in the September 26 Financial Times. The piece discusses the virtues of closed and controlled technological ecosystems and how the "walled garden" can often be a prosperous and vibrant one. Best paragraph from the piece:
Unbundling phones from networks is suggested as a policy fix in the US. European phones, working with different Sim cards across carriers and borders, are the model. Innovation in the European Union is said to flourish. But the iPhone came first to the US, as did the BlackBerry and advanced...
September 27, 2007Minor abuses at the FCC, such as the one mentioned in my last post, warrant at least investigating how the FCC assesses fines, if not looking for ways to reform the FCC's governance of broadcasting. But when we look at the incredible distortion created by the central planning of broadcast spectrum the case of dramatic and rapid reform becomes very clear.
More specifically, the FCC is now placing caveats on the 700Mhz auction--perverting the one reform, auctions, that have worked to replace bureaucratic preference with market forces. The XM/Sirius Satellite radio merger is also a symptom of the disease of FCC regulation. Satellite spacing requirements, spectrum allocation, and the inability for terrestrial firms to sell their spectrum assets and move skyward are all standing in the way of more competition in satellite markets.
September 27, 2007Seems as though the FCC can't get enough fining done within the bounds of its legal fining regime and is now fining arbitrary 3rd parties related to broadcasts. According to Yahoo! News:
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a $4,000 fine against Comcast Corp. for airing a pitch for a sleep aid without telling viewers that the spot was financed by the maker of the product.The story goes on to point out that:
The fine, while small, is significant for another reason: It is being assessed against a cable company. Comcast Corp. says cable programming is not covered under the statute cited by the FCC.This remind me of the Onion story from either years ago that reported "Aging Pope 'Just Blessing...
September 27, 2007GlobalWarming.org was relaunched two weeks ago by CEI and has enjoyed hundreds of thousands of views since. I want to thank those who have linked to our new site and who have helped get the word out about this great new source for climate change information. I'd especially like to thank Robert Bluey of the Heritage Foundation for giving my colleague Iain Murray and me the opportunity to speak to bloggers at Heritage about the new site. Keep linking to the site everyone!
September 26, 2007Playspan dubs itself "The Game Industry's First Publisher-Sponsored In-Game Commerce Network." What does that mean? To put it more simply, welcome to Wall Street for World of War Craft.
In the pre-web world, what I like to call "The Before Time," people's puny brains used to be limited to thinking of products as physical objects or services to be performed in the physical world. No more! Commerce now extends into the virtual world and is no longer limited to our crude meatspace.
In all seriousness, it's great that more people are becoming entrepreneurs, even if it is in the weird new business of selling shields, potions, virtual plots of land, or the occasional level 45 cleric. This should serve to remind us that...
September 24, 2007I saw In the Shadow of the Moon, Ron Howard's new documentary about the Apollo program, yesterday evening and have done some looking into the space program. Turns out, Google has now thrown their checkbook behind the Lunar X Prize, which will award $20 million to the first group to land a robotic rover on the moon by the end of 2012.
Sounds like a great idea--moon landing on the cheap. But government threatens to stand in the way. As Morgan Smith of Slate explains, while world governments have no prohibition against private moon roving, it is a bit tricky to get something into space. So, while it may be perfectly legal to bound over moon dunes with a 21st super-long-distance RC car, it takes some...
September 23, 2007Check out this great cartoon about the virtues of capitalism. Turns out that at one point Americans (or at least American animators) knew that although state solutions and promises of utopia might be tempting, they ultimately result in us all becoming slaves to the state. A great cartoon, but Hayek beat these folks to the punch.
September 21, 2007Despite ICANN's protests, the .su top-level domain remains for sale. That's right you can still get a Soviet Union top-level domain and now the the Russian Institute for Development of Public Networks is marking these historic beauties down to deep-discount prices. Every Soviet domain must go! The ultimate irony: the 3000 Russian ruble per year registration price is about $120 US. Even at discounted prices these domains show that the law of supply and demand is the law of the land in the former Soviet Union. Any domain hack ideas?