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OpenMarket: Michelle Minton

  • Pseudoscience and Clickbaiting Results in Beer Fear

    April 22, 2014
    There’s a lot of pseudoscience about food out there. From genetically modified crops to organic foods to corn syrup, to preservatives, passionate opinions abound, but well-reasoned, well-researched reporting on the issues is scarce. Normally, I selectively address the more egregious offenses and ignore the rest. But once in a while, an article comes along that is so misinformed, so hyperbolic, and so viral that it cannot be ignored. When such an article maligns one of my favorite food items, beer, I am duty-bound to come to its defense.

    Recently, Organics.org turned a post by the blogger Vani Hari, better known as the “Food Babe,” into the worst kind of clickbait with the sky-is-falling headline, “8 Beers That You Should...
  • Victory for Maryland Parents and Consumers: Energy Drink Ban Voted Down

    April 21, 2014
    A bill that would have banned the sale of energy drinks for minors in Maryland was recently voted down in committee almost unanimously. The bill was introduced after the death of 14-year-old Anais Fournier, which was reportedly linked to the consumption of energy drinks, and several news stories linking energy drinks to an increased number of hospitalizations fueled the panic over energy drinks potential hazards. However, Maryland lawmakers, to their credit, did not rush to legislate on a matter that would affect all Marylanders based on a few anecdotal cases.

    While it’s understandable that parents would want lawmakers to do something to protect their children from potentially hazardous products, legislating based on anecdotal evidence isn’t...
  • Professional Licensing: A Risk to the Free Markets and Freedom of Speech

    April 7, 2014
    From physicians to dentists to lawyers, the licensing requirements of many professions are well known—but for bloggers? A recent case in North Carolina demonstrates the dangers that mandatory occupational licensing poses to liberty and how established interests use such requirements to protect their bottom line.

    North Carolina resident Steve Cooksey was ill, obese, and struggling with type 2 diabetes. In 2009, after being rushed to the hospital, nearly in a coma, he decided to do everything in his power to get healthy. By following a low-carbohydrate diet, Cooksey claims he was able to drop 45 pounds and get off insulin and drugs. He documented his story on his personal blog, where he provided advice to others practicing the “paleo” diet that he believes saved his life.

    That sounds like a win-win situation, but not...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Hydrogen Power from Plants

    March 29, 2014
    zhangEarly in the week I wrote about a major breakthrough toward the peaceful use of nuclear fusion. While that type of energy could drastically change human life on earth by providing bountiful clean and safe energy, it is, unfortunately, likely decades away from being commercially viable. Fear not because there are armies of researchers working around the world to find other affordable alternatives to fossil fuels that will help humanity cruise into the future. In this past year, one group of scientists have discovered...
  • Human Achievement of the Day from HumanProgress.org: Organ Replacement Technology

    March 27, 2014
    We are only three days away from Human Achievement Hour (March 29, 8:30pm to 9:30pm)! What better way to celebrate than with a post from our friends at HumanProgress.org. Stephanie Rugolo, HumanProgress’s managing editor, is spreading the good news about how far humankind has come by discussing some of the recent developments in organ replacement technology. Since this is a perfect example of how technological advancement benefits human life on earth, I wanted to share her insights:
    Medical breakthroughs are giving hope to hundreds of thousands of people waiting for organ transplants. There are 120,000 people waiting for organ transplants in...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Breakthrough toward Unlimited Clean and Cheap Energy

    March 25, 2014
    sun-epaShocking as it might seem, some of us at CEI agree with environmentalists that reducing personal waste is a good idea. Voluntarily reducing our individual energy consumption and waste material can have a number of benefits, including saving your household money!

    However, we also believe that the solutions to global environmental issues will not come from taxes or limitations on consumption, but rather from scientific advancement—whether it’s finding new ways to feed the world, methods of providing unlimited clean...
  • New York Alcohol Bill Benefits Big Business at Consumers' Expense

    February 5, 2014
    New York’s consumers and small alcohol retailers could soon be paying more for their tipples, for the benefit of big wholesalers. A bill now making its way through the New York legislature would require all wine and liquor sold in the state to be warehoused in in-state for 24 hours prior to sale. While the bill would be a boon to the state’s two largest wine wholesalers, who already store their products in-state, it will significantly raise the cost of business for small and mid-sized wholesalers who warehouse in New Jersey—possibly even putting them out of business. Consumers will see prices increase not only right away, but also in the future as competition dwindles.

    The bill’s (S3849-2013) author, Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx), touts it as a way to even the playing field and protect warehouse jobs in the state,...
  • Should States Legalize Sports Gambling? Yes!

    February 3, 2014
    With Super Bowl XLVIII in the history books, all that remains now is for the losers to lick their wounds and for the victors to collect their spoils. The Seattle Seahawks will return home to their adoring (and loud) fans while the winners of friendly bets and office pools will collect their winnings. Of course, in most states wagering on sports is illegal. Should it be, or is it about time that states legalized the widespread activity of sports gambling?

    The short answer: It should never have been banned in the first place. Legalization would protect gamblers from the dangers of the black market, increase revenues for cash-strapped state governments, and restore adult Americans’ right to decide how to spend their own money. The question of whether some gambling should be legal has...
  • Good News to Share Over the Holidays: The World Is Getting Better

    December 2, 2013
    In the middle of this holiday season my colleague Stephanie Rugolo over at the Cato's new project, HumanProgress.org, is spreading cheer by getting out the word about the improving human condition. She offered these thoughts which I'd like to share:

    Good News to Share Over the Holidays: The World Is Getting Better


    You’ve heard it all before, “The world is becoming increasingly violent,” “Work-related injuries are on the rise,” “Soon, we’ll have no more forests.” As it turns out, pessimism is often at odds with the real world.

    Long term trends for nearly every indicator of human progress are positive. For instance, forest coverage in rich countries is increasing in line with the Environmental Kuznets Curve. This trend will hopefully continue in the developing world as...
  • Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda to Show the "Evils" of Private Alcohol Sales

    November 21, 2013
    As if there wasn’t enough money in politics, now government agencies are using taxpayer dollars—our dollars—in an attempt to influence state policy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded The Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group almost $650,000 a year for five years to research the effects that alcohol privatization in Washington State has had on prices and alcohol-related harms. At first glance, it may seem like a perfectly appropriate research topic for the NIH to support, but the details make one wonder whether the motives for such research are scientific curiosity or pure politics.

    The organization that received the grant and its scientists have a long history of...

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