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  • Smoking ban in France, Yes France

    February 1, 2007
    Pubs in Ireland, pubs in Great Britain, bard in New York -- in recent years, long-established smoking traditions have been snuffed out in the unlikeliest places -- and the country whose love of smoking is legendary has now enacted a smoking ban: France. What's next, a global ban? Don't be too surprised.
  • Global warming debate: "A ninety-nine percent certainty of what?"

    February 1, 2007
    Last night “Larry King Live” hosted a debate on global warming featuring a large cast of characters that included Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, Bill Nye of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Julian Morris of International Policy Network, and Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel. Perhaps the best exchanges took place between eminent cloud scientist Lindzen and the “Science Guy” Nye, clearly out of his depth. Lindzen politely skewered the "Science Guy" Nye whose slogan-speaking seemed to have little to do with science. Here's an example from the transcript:
    LINDZEN: Not at all. I think time will tell. I think Mr. Nye is speaking about energy. Energy sources and balance have changed over time, it will change. I have no idea what the energy mix will be 50...
  • Roberts explains it all

    February 1, 2007
    For those who have been tempted by the attractions of Pigovian taxes, Russell Roberts provides a cogent explanation of why Coasean theory suggests that Pigou offered no solution to the world's ills. Students of Hayek and Burke alike will recognize the wisdom of Russell's words.
  • Heidi Cullen's modest proposal

    February 1, 2007
    Not content to report the weather, the Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen has become a global warming pundit, recently appearing on Larry King Live, where she seemed to say (incorrectly) that melting sea ice contributes to sea level rise. In a blog post a few weeks ago, Ms. Cullen scolded a fellow meteorologist, who declined to lecture viewers about global warming, noting how the issue had been "politicized" and that, given the cyclical nature of weather patterns, he was unsure what "generalizations" could be inferred from the warming trend of recent times. I admire her colleague for his lack of political and intellectual pretension. But Cullen found it unacceptable, and proposed a remedy: "If a meteorologist has an ...
  • More fun with numbers

    February 1, 2007
    I wrote earlier about how the IPCC has quietly changed its definition of its projected temperature rises to include all pre-industrial warming, not just warming from 1990 onwards. Our best information has it that the IPCC calculates that 0.8 degrees centigrade has already occured. Subtracting that 0.8 from the projected temperature rises in the Fourth Assessment Report gives us a projected temperature rise this century of just 1.2 to 3.7 degrees centigrade. It also lowers the "best guess" for temperature rise to 2.2 degrees centigrade. This compares to the Third Assessment Report range of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees. Yes, the IPCC has actually lowered the lower band of its projections, despite all the hype that it has raised it upwards. Interestingly, prominent "skeptic" Pat Michaels has been saying for years...
  • Gore is hot -- will the Peace Prize follow the Oscar?

    February 1, 2007
    Nominations closed today for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is supposed to be awarded to a person who “shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” It seems to be that the 1970 recipient Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution -- credited with saving a billion people from starvation -- is a prime example of the type of person to whom the prize should be awarded. In recent years, however, there's been a trend toward both political correctness and trendiness. Remember that the International Atomic Energy Agency and Jimmy Carter were recent Nobel Laureates. Now former Vice President Al Gore has been...
  • r u rdy 2 mt f2f re H.B. 515?

    February 1, 2007
    Unfortunately for members of the lower house of Maine's legislature, some of their colleagues have decided that they all have less self-control than most 14-year olds. The Pine Tree State's House of Representatives is considering enacting a ban on txt msgs ("text messages") from lobbyists to legislators while they're on the floor. It seems these newfangled electronic communications have the power to re-program the brains of state representatives, causing them to vote against their better judgement. Lobbyists will retain the priviledge of telling their pet politicians how to vote via written notes passed to pages. L8R!
  • A President France Deserves?

    February 1, 2007
    Everyone's favorite "walrus-moustachioed" anti-globalist has set his eyes on high public office. French sheep-farmer/McDonald's hater Jose Bove has declared he'll be running for President of France.

    The jolly martyr

    While Monsieur Bove enjoys great popularity among the anti-capitalist left around the world, we should remember that that popularity is intense but very narrow. As Sebastian Mallaby has recently pointed out, the popularity of American and capitalist icons has never been greater - even in France itself:
    In 1999 a...
  • Politicizing the politicization of science

    January 31, 2007
    A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists finds "unacceptably large numbers of federal climate scientists [have] personally experienced instances of [political] interference over the past five years."  At a Congressional hearing yesterday, Rep. Issa questioned the statistical validity of the survey, pointing to OMB guidelines that suggest the UCS survey's response rate was unacceptably low.  Roger Pielke Jr doesn't think this is a problem:
    Mr. Issa focused on the statistical power of the survey, which is the wrong way to look at it. The responses were the responses. They are not evidence of a larger population — the responses ARE the population. That being said the UCS supports my own contention that politics and...
  • Milton Friedman, psychic?

    January 31, 2007
    By proclamation of several cities and states, Monday was Milton Friedman Day. CEI was one of many free-market groups that joined in this celebration with events celebrating the great economist's life. But really, especially for the governments concerned, shouldn't every day be Milton Friedman Day? We should try our best not to interfere or advocate interfering with the free market. In that spirit, I want to share a passage of Dr. Friedman's from The Book of Predictions published in 1980. It turns out that Friedman was not just a a sage of free-market economics, but a sage,  period. He was four out of five in his prediction of future fellow recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics, and there is still time for...

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