TCS Daily : March 2002 Archives

Worshipping the Frozen Cocytus

The Los Angeles Times this week said that President Bush has an "obsession" with drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Now, this is an amazing, howling hypocrisy. The barren, desolate, inhospitable sliver of ANWR that has... Read More

All Eyes On Me

"Even paranoids have enemies," pronounced a bumper sticker on the back of a ratty old Ford I spotted several years ago. I suppose my reaction was vaguely sympathetic, considering a mild disposition in that direction, especially when it comes to... Read More

Mistaken Powell Doctrine

A dangerous idea is floating around Washington - the idea that a monopoly can do a better job for consumers than a load of feisty competitors, slugging it out. We tried the trust-the-monopolist idea before in telecommunications with a... Read More

Common Sense and Sensibility

Editor's Note: This article is the first of two parts. Part two is here. Economists are not well thought of these days by environmentalists. Or so it seems from accounts such as a recent Scientific American excerpt of Edward... Read More

Arab Summit Folly

Be wary of coming news articles trumpeting the Arab League summit meeting in Beirut this week. Despite all the positive spin by talking heads - even on Fox News! - the Arab confab won't be positive, since its main topic... Read More

Here's the Bill

Last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Microsoft signed an antitrust settlement, now under review by federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Nine states, led by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, rejected the agreement and proposed alternative penalti Read More

Warming Chic

The sweet anticipatory adrenaline that escalated before the Academy Awards is fading, and the sincere black Chanel gown will be cleaned to return to its quiet security at the back of the closet. Black, as the timeless color of an... Read More

'Slow Drips of Death'

Six months after one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in modern history, the reality of the length and costs of the struggle against terrorism still seems to have eluded many. Time magazine for instance described the recent offensive... Read More

Don't Blame Analysts

Every bear market breeds scapegoats. This time around, politicians are pointing at stock analysts. Their particular crime was the failure to predict that high-tech shares -- and especially Enron shares -- would tumble. The reason for the failure, we're told,... Read More

Democrats vs. New Media

Terry McAuliffe is worried. What the Democratic National Committee chairman is worried about is asymmetrical political warfare: while the Democrats have done well with big donors and big media, they're being flanked by the Republican party, which has done far... Read More

Green Machine

A former White House Chief of Staff is popping up everywhere of late. And, though John Podesta's activities are not always on the radar screen, they deserve a close look. Connecting the dots of Podesta's activities and influence presents an... Read More

How Swede It Is

Sweden is synonymous with greenness. As Europe's eco-leaders, the Swedes have driven first their own, and then the EU policies on environmental matters. Every month a steady stream of delegations from other nations arrive in Stockholm to learn more about... Read More

Pulling Steel Wool
Over Our Eyes

BRUSSELS - President Bush gambled that his protectionist policies would gain GOP votes in the upcoming congressional elections and for his reelection bid in 2004. Now Europe is gambling that they can effectively strike back at those constituencies that Bush... Read More

Casino Royale

Over the long run, there is no investing goal more difficult to achieve than losing money. Just take a look at mutual funds that sell stocks short -- that is, their managers try to make money for investors by... Read More

How Swede It Is

Sweden is synonymous with greenness. As Europe's eco-leaders, the Swedes have driven first their own, and then the EU policies on environmental matters. Every month a steady stream of delegations from other nations arrive in Stockholm to learn more... Read More

Over-the-Counter and Through the Woods

Do you ever get the feeling that pharmaceutical companies care more about their own bottom lines than they do about your health? Of course they do - and they should. Pharmaceuticals are like any other good: the fiercer the competition... Read More

The Boston Orioles?

Editor's note: TCS is proud to announce the birth of a new feature called the "Chartifact." Dr. Willie Soon will use helpful charts and illustrations to help educate and inform readers on the complicated subject of climate science. We hope... Read More

Powering Fantasies

Wind. Sun. Hydrogen. They are odorless, tasteless, invisible and abundant. And they can be harnessed to generate electricity, power cars and heat homes. So, hey, let's stop dallying! Replace those shameful fossil fuels with clean renewables. What is taking so... Read More

Getting Connected

Quotes are powerful weapons, especially when they come from an unexpected source. So Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., seemed to have unleashed a bombshell last week at Sen. Ernest Hollings' Senate Commerce Committee hearing on... Read More

An Energy-Efficient Tax Code

Taxpayers struggling to figure out their 1040s by April 15th might have a few choice terms to describe this annual ordeal, but "efficiency enhancing" is probably not one of them. Congress, in contrast, sees things a little differently - both... Read More

The Weakest Link, Goodbye

It is often said that a warming world will lead to greater epidemics of infectious diseases like West Nile and dengue. But the 10th International Congress on Infectious Diseases (March 11-14) did not talk much about climate change. In fact,... Read More

Globo-Flop

The most depressing aspect of the current debate about globalisation -- and its manifestation via anti-globalisation protests such as those at the Barcelona summit -- is the assumption that the world is rapidly going to the dogs. This is not... Read More

Globo-Flop

The most depressing aspect of the current debate about globalisation -- and its manifestation via anti-globalisation protests such as those at the Barcelona summit -- is the assumption that the world is rapidly going to the dogs. This is... Read More

Killer Fashion

CHICAGO - Any Comdex show is always a feast for geeks. The latest show, held in the Windy City earlier this month, was much smaller than the Las Vegas cybercopia. But in keeping with the changing times since September 11,... Read More

Peruvian Prophet

Editor's note: Tech Central Station editor Nick Schulz recently interviewed the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, author of the influential book, "The Mystery of Capital." De Soto is no stranger to terrorism having been targeted by Peru's violent Shining... Read More

Bitter CAFE

Only days ago that it seemed likely that the solons in the Senate would jack up the CAFE standards to a draconian 35 miles per gallon despite the protests of the automobile industry, its labor unions and temperate thinkers everywhere.... Read More

Dissecting the Anaconda

A common refrain from young GIs returning from Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan has been that this was their first time in combat. Yet they weren't the only first-timers in the field - at least three new ways of war have... Read More

Deregulator in Chief

A new report from the Office of Management and Budget indicates President Bush is ready to apply some brakes to the regulatory state. Bush is calling for better scientific analysis, more public involvement in rulemaking, better attention to small... Read More

Reality Check on ID Theft

Identity theft is a serious concern, but despite calls from regulation advocates, new privacy laws are not the answer to this insidious crime. As a new report shows, consumer awareness and better enforcement of existing laws are the ways to... Read More

Withdrawal Symptoms

To surprisingly little fanfare, the United States recently announced that it was withdrawing from the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems. There was nothing illegitimate about this the Treaty specifically allows for such withdrawals but Read More

'Disturbing Statistics'

Junk Science Judo is not your typical self-help snorer. Unlike Chicken Soup for the Soul, or Who Moved My Cheese?, Steven Milloy's new book provides something all of us can actually use. And it's entertaining to boot. A Fox News... Read More

Corn Cartel

California, ever the trendsetter, again faces troubles that presage dangers to the rest of the nation - all thanks to legislative and administrative efforts to bolster a special interest. Last week, California Gov. Gray Davis ordered a year's delay in... Read More

Bountiful Incentives

Senior officials at the Pentagon are acting as if they have flunked econ 101 if they took it at all. Frustrated that dirt-poor Afghans have not responded to multi-million dollar rewards by supplying true tips about the whereabouts of... Read More

The Four (Wheel) Freedoms

Like an increasing number of America households, mine contains a jumble of computers and automobiles. While this is an example of the surfeit of riches that seems to enrage the Arab world, the fact remains that multi-car, multi-computer families... Read More

Nanopork

Even the smallest industries can be big porkers. Or make that "even industries that deal in the smallest things." Take semiconductors for instance. Small product, huge government research and development grants. And now it's time to count a new little... Read More

2002, A Boom Odyssey

Just about everyone is on the record saying that the recession looks like it is over now. In his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on March 7th, for example, Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan said "we have seen encouraging signs... Read More

The Companies You Keep

When people ask me what stocks to buy, my answer sounds flippant, but I'm dead serious: Buy the stocks of the best companies. Or, to put it simply, buy the best businesses. As simple as that exhortation sounds, many... Read More

The Senator vs. Security

Editor's note: TCS Host James K. Glassman interviewed Arizona Republican, Sen. Jon Kyl, to discuss his legislation to tighten the U.S. visa system. Kyl is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Technology. Jim Glassman: Senator,... Read More

Vidal Baboon

ALEXANDRIA, VA - Gore Vidal is a weird hybrid, an intellectual schizophrenic with equal affection for radical leftists like Noam Chomsky and America Firsters like Charles Lindbergh. In a 1992 lecture at Harvard University, Vidal described the radical half of... Read More

Mexican Jumping Genes

A common nightmare for opponents of genetically modified (GM) (also known as "transgene") crops: 'What would happen if the genes got loose?' Would the herbicide resistance in some GM crops spread to regular corn, resulting in a mutant super-weed... Read More

Bully, Bully

To avoid future Enron's , Tech Central Station Host James K. Glassman called on the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday to "use its bully pulpit to exhort accountants, corporations and pension funds to act responsibly." But the financial... Read More

Effective Threats

Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont bolted the GOP and as a result got his hands on the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works committee (and as an "independent," he is stumping for Democrats to make sure he holds on... Read More

Broadband Roadblocks

What does a Manhattan Beach, Calif., "beach improvement fund" have to do with a speech last week by Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell about broadband deployment? You'd think the answer would be "nothing." You would be wrong. Deep in... Read More

Capital Punishment

Testimony by James K. Glassman before a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services on H.R. 3763, "The Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency Act of 2002" on March 13. The Enron scandal is primarily a story... Read More

The Future of Combat

At first glance, the Armys decision last Thursday to give Boeing the job of spearheading its Future Combat Systems (FCS) may seem surprising. Why would the boots-on-the-ground Army choose an aerospace company to lead its modernization? The answer is simple.... Read More

Chicken Out

President Bush last week showed Clintonesque skill in the art of political triangulation. A champion of free markets and free trade, the Bush White House last week announced plans to impose tariffs as high as 30% on steel imports to... Read More

Political Science

Some scientific controversies have deep meaning for the field, but relatively little impact on daily life. Last month, for instance, the New York Times reported that three separate groups of scientists were unable to repeat an observation of "dark matter"... Read More

Demand vs. Supply

Sometimes backing up can help you forge ahead. To the disdain of some supporters of the so-called Tauzin-Dingell Act (TD) that passed the House Feb. 27, the Bush administration has not fallen all over itself endorsing that particular rewrite... Read More

Separating Fact From Fiction

Editor's Note: What follows is testimony provided to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Sen. James M. Jeffords. Fossil fuels currently provide around 84% of energy consumed in the United States, and roughly 80% of the... Read More

Nuke Nonsense

Nuclear warfare planning was long dubbed "thinking about the unthinkable." Now it's become "un-thinking about the unthinkable." A new nuclear flap erupted last weekend. The Pentagon leaked possible U.S. nuclear use against "axis of evil" states - Iran, Iraq, and... Read More

Patriotism and Preferences

Everyone seems to be amazed that the flags are still up, six months after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Have Americans suddenly become more patriotic? Probably not. More likely, they always have been - they just didn't realize... Read More

Freedom to Pharm

I've been a farmer for decades -- but now I'm in the process of becoming a pharmer. On the surface, there isn't much difference between the two. Both live primarily in rural America and grow crops. But while farmers... Read More

Stocks Are Not Overpriced

The market has risen smartly in recent weeks, but the average stock is still down by more than one-fifth from its high of two years ago. Does that mean shares are still cheap? On the contrary, say analysts like James... Read More

Enron Is Us

Who would you like to see go to jail if it is found fraud was committed in the Enron collapse? Should the corporation be put behind bars or the people there who committed the fraud? Seems like a silly question,... Read More

Myopic Congress

One of the major problems facing Democrats in the post 9/11 world is how to support the war on terrorism while simultaneously opposing President George Bush and the Republican Party. Democrats unveiled their newest strategy late last month when Senators... Read More

A Disgrace to American Science

The January 'issue' of the Scientific American was surely nothing less than a disgrace to American science. The now notorious attack on the young Danish statistician, Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, and his important book, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real... Read More

A Disgrace to American Science

The January 'issue' of the Scientific American was surely nothing less than a disgrace to American science. The now notorious attack on the young Danish statistician, Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, and his important book, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real... Read More

Breathing Evil

Hard on the heels of President Bush's recent announcement of a plan to fight global warming, the administration's prime advocate of the new policy started handing out prizes to corporations she termed "Climate Leaders." At a Feb. 20 ceremony, EPA... Read More

Cars in Utopia

Logic seldom wins battles of the heart. It therefore becomes nearly impossible for those trying to inject sense into the debate over CAFE standards and related subjects dealing with the future of the automobiles to seize the moral high... Read More

Vetting Agent Orange

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported last year that exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide used in the Vietnam War, might have caused leukemia in the children of Vietnam veterans. But on February 27, they revised their analysis and changed... Read More

As Zimbabwe Goes...

JOHANNESBURG -- Tomorrow the electorate in Zimbabwe will attempt to go to the polls; whether they will be able to vote for the candidate of their choice is another matter. With the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, charged with treason, and... Read More

Stop Getting Defensive

Here's the sort of headline in the Washington Post that every missile-defense advocate dreads: "Group Says Exaggerated Target Used In Missile Test." The March 2 article details allegations by the Union of Concerned Scientists that the Defense Department, testing.. Read More

Don't Know Much About History

One of my favorite indicators of an impending bullish stock market -- the breadth of the NYSE - has been strengthening for about a year. Breadth is the number of advances, as a positive sum, added to the number of... Read More

Courage in a Brave New World

We're back to a more traditional Fodder format today, with more links than a Rikers Island prison fence - and, we hope, just as much social utility. Biotech Brouhahas -- So much happens so quickly in the world of biotechnology... Read More

As Zimbabwe Goes...

JOHANNESBURG -- Tomorrow the electorate in Zimbabwe will attempt to go to the polls; whether they will be able to vote for the candidate of their choice is another matter. With the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, charged with treason, and... Read More

Polluting the Debate

Wednesday's front-page news that scientists have linked particulate air pollution with early mortality from lung cancer and cardiopulmonary causes has certainly caused a stir. Every major newspaper has carried the story (the Washington Post placed it squarely on it Read More

Nothing New Under This Sun

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated, Mark Twain said in response to a premature obituary. About the same can be said about a recent report from Reuters titled "Nuke Test Fallout Caused 15,000 U.S. Deaths." The story was... Read More

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

While U.S. soldiers in the line of fire are clearly the heroes of the renewed campaign to wipe out the Al Qaeda terrorists in eastern Afghanistan this week, a fair amount of awestruck praise has been reserved for an... Read More

Free Speech Under Attack

When Bjorn Lomborg wrote his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, I imagine that he expected to be criticized; one doesn't accuse an entrenched establishment of fraud without encountering some blowback. So when a critical issue of Scientific American came out,... Read More

'Time Is Not On Our Side'

The new concern of those mildly (even grudgingly) supporting President Bush's war against terrorism is "American overstretch." The U.S. military is over-stretched, if not overwhelmed, by fighting in Afghanistan - which flared up again over the weekend - and far-flu Read More

Star Trek and Moral Clarity

The latest "Star Trek" series, "Enterprise," hit television screens this season, and it has garnered rather positive reviews. Indeed, in many ways, it started out as the most promising Trek TV installment since Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy... Read More

Air(wave) Pollution

The vast majority of "environmentalist" groups are anti-growth groups with the same ultimate axe to grind. After all, economic or population growth means more earthly space touched by humans. That's why technological or physical developments that would yield afford Read More

Lost in Space

America's federally run space program faces a funding crunch. According to Space.com, NASA has run $5 billion over budget in attempting to complete its portion of the International Space Station. The agency has also been forced to cut back... Read More

Green Mountain Man

Remember Jim Jeffords? Of course you do. He's the Little Senator That Could - America's bravest legislator. At least that's what the press's line was last year when Vermont's Milk-Marxist opportunist saw his chance to become a national media darling... Read More

Hot TIPS

In August 1979, a Business Week cover story pronounced "The Death of Equities." It was terrible timing. The market immediately surged, and the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500-stock index returned 18 percent that year, then 32 percent the year... Read More

The Two Jimmies

In the run-up to the Senate debate over the President's energy proposals, Senator Jeffords of Vermont has proposed an amendment to the Democrats' bill. He would require that all electricity in this country be 20% renewable - wind, solar, or... Read More

Pipe Dreams for the Poor

SOUTH AFRICA -- Many arid countries of the world are running out of water; the result will be wars - and the poor will suffer most. For the past decade these concerns have been shouted from the world's largest newspapers,... Read More

Pipe Dreams for the Poor

SOUTH AFRICA -- Many arid countries of the world are running out of water; the result will be wars - and the poor will suffer most. For the past decade these concerns have been shouted from the world's largest... Read More

Mr. Hollings' Opus

Jim Glassman: Before the passage of Tauzin-Dingell legislation in the House, Congressman Tauzin had said earlier that the bill is going to quote, "soar through this chamber, and then we will invite the Senate to take this up. I don't... Read More

RIP for TD?

Who said be careful what you wish for? The regional Bell phone monopolies this week got their wish, at least in the U.S. House, by getting its members to approve the so-called Tauzin-Dingell bill. Campaign donations, measured by the... Read More

Casualties of the Press

No war in history, with the possible exception of the 30-minute conflict between Zanzibar and the British Empire, has been conducted without civilian casualties. Modern public opinion, however, at least in the West, demands that those casualties be kept to... Read More

Kyoto or No-Go?

BERLIN -- Almost 100 of Germany's political intelligentsia crowded into a restaurant here on Feb. 28 to witness a debate between some very American and some very European ideas about energy use and environmental protection. The cordial but heated arguments... Read More

Mr. Jefferson's Technology

Personal privacy is a rare luxury for anyone elected to national office, so most Americans know that Vice President Cheney is being treated for heart problems. Any casual newspaper reader could learn that the Vice President, who is, as the... Read More

Kyoto or No-Go?

BERLIN -- Almost 100 of Germany's political intelligentsia crowded into a restaurant here on Feb. 28 to witness a debate between some very American and some very European ideas about energy use and environmental protection. The cordial but heated arguments... Read More

New Machines, Same Worries

"One of those achievements beyond the reaches of the soul." No, that's not a review of "The Lord of the Rings." That's the editorial judgment of the New York Times, and not about the passage of campaign-finance legislation either.... Read More

Inefficient Ideas

I plead ignorance on the subject of economics. A "Gentleman's C" left me with the suspicion that this quasi-science can be reduced to two laws. Law No. 1: Too many bananas, cut the price; not enough bananas, jack it up.... Read More

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