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  • Green Technology’s Cutting Edge

    October 5, 2006
    But would Progressives against Progress endorse this great invention?
  • Pesticide Bans No Minor Mistake

    October 5, 2006
    Tina's Rosenberg's article in today's New York Times addresses the devastating impact that misguided bans of the pesticide DDT have had on people in developing nations. The New York Times presents the DDT issue as simply a serious policy mistake. But it's not simply a single mistake—it's part of a dangerous effort by environmental activists around the world to deprive people of various life-saving technologies. The DDT case alone should discredit these groups, yet they continue to have a harmful influence on public policy. Despite the problems DDT bans have caused, environmental activists have successfully advanced a worldwide ban on DDT under the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (known as the POPs Treaty). The treaty has been ratified in enough nations for it to take effect, and the United States Senate plans to ratify it soon. It allows for only limited...
  • X PRIZE launches another prize – mapping genes

    October 5, 2006
    The foundation that gave a huge prize for launching a private spaceship yesterday announced a multi-million dollar prize for fast-track technology to map human genomes. The X PRIZE Foundation said it would be offering a $10 million prize to researchers who devise the technology “that can successfully map 100 human genomes in 10 days.” In its press release the foundation said it was trying to stimulate faster advances in genomics for preventative medicine and procedures. “Only after we have access to affordable and fast genome sequencing will we be able to take advantage of the countless benefits.” Here's to the newest X PRIZE — using private funds to finance private research and innovation.
  • More Katrina Waste

    October 3, 2006
    Yesterday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued an executive order commanding businesses seeking federally-funded disaster relief administered by the City of New Orleans to award at least 50 percent of their business to local businesses and at least 35 percent to minority and women-owned businesses. Assistance will now be denied those businesses that contract based on merit, rather than discriminating based on race or geographic origin. Nagin's minority set-aside rule violates court rulings from the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled that a government entity cannot impose racial preferences except to remedy its own past discrimination, or the past discrimination of the entities it seeks to force to engage in racial preferences. Under Fifth Circuit decisions...
  • Tobacco Litigation Update

    October 3, 2006
    In Schwab v. Philip Morris, a federal judge in Brooklyn recently approved a class-action racketeering lawsuit against tobacco companies on behalf of millions of smokers of "light" cigarettes. Up to 30 million smokers will be able to sue based on allegations that the tobacco companies exaggerated the health benefits of smoking “light” rather than regular cigarettes. Many smokers compensate for the reduced nicotine in light cigarettes by inhaling more deeply or smoking more cigarettes. That offsets much of the health benefits of light cigarettes. The tobacco giants apparently suspected as much but didn't tell the public. This ruling has triggered debate, since the Federal Trade Commission arguably approved the tobacco companies' use of the “lights” label, as the Illinois Supreme Court concluded last year when it quashed another class action lawsuit against the tobacco companies. But...
  • Let It Ride While You Can

    October 2, 2006
    Sad news for online poker fans: Congress has effectively outlawed Internet gambling, as part of legislation widely expected to be signed into law by the President. The efforts to keep you from winning it big (or losing the rent money) via the web are not new, of course. We need only look back to analysis done by our good friend Thomas Pearson, Esq., that appeared as early as 2000 and 2001 to see how long our would be saviors have been trying to protect us from the temptations of e-games of chance.
  • Masters of their own Domains

    October 2, 2006
    ICANN is moving toward greater autonomoy and away from direct ties to the U.S. Department of Commerce. As long as it doesn't end up under some kind of United Nations control, this looks like a positive development.
  • Liveblogging an Environment Debate

    October 2, 2006
    The Conservative Party Conference in the UK are discussing the environment this afternoon. The Conservatives have rebranded themselves as a green party, fully in favor of restrictions on carbon emissions. The spokesman in favor of these policies is terribly posh. Questions from the floor have been very hostile to new taxes, and have pointed out the economic costs of higher fuel prices and air travel. One lady pointed out that she went to the Alps by train. The "opposition" spokesman pointed out those trains are powered by nuclear power, which the Tories are also against.
  • Needed: Broad-based Coalition to Fight for Ag Reform

    September 29, 2006
    A Financial Times article today points out how difficult U.S. reform of its agricultural programs will be with the collapse of the WTO's Doha Round. The 2002 Farm Bill expires in 2007, and bringing farm subsidy programs in line with WTO obligations has been a major impetus for reform. Now, without that pressure, prospects are dimming for substantive changes. In fact, farm supporters are calling for an extension of the 2002 legislation instead of a new bill. Some reformers, like Cal Dooley, president Food Products Association (and soon to be head of the Grocery Manufacturers Association under a merger plan) has said that “a coalition including environmentalists...
  • New study shows promise, but not cure

    September 28, 2006
    A new study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows mixed results in dealing with Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes — the most severe type of diabetes that requires close monitoring of blood sugar, multiple insulin injections during the day, and a careful balancing of food. In the study islets, which are cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, were transplanted into 36 patients with Type 1 diabetes. Results showed that the transplanted cells provided insulin independence for up to two years for some patients, but a majority needed insulin again at two years. The islets also helped in controlling blood sugar levels. The cells are taken from the pancreas of dead donors, and in 2001 only 400 were available, while there are...

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