TCS Daily : April 2002 Archives

High Yield Heroes

A remarkably broad coalition of international heroes -- including two Nobel Peace Prize laureates - is calling for sustainably higher yields of crops and forest products in the crucial 50 years just ahead. The coalition kicked off their effort at... Read More

Japanese Stock Growth?

A visitor to Tokyo just can't believe that this is what a decade of stagnation looks like. Restaurants are full, shops are bustling, construction cranes are all over the place. Yet on Thursday, a government report showed that Japan's... Read More

Gore's Grossing

When former Vice President Al Gore takes pen to paper - or computer to email - he seemingly can't avoid engaging in hyperbole. Thus, it is no surprise the man who wrote that we live in "a dysfunctional civilization" in... Read More

Extreme Measures

The good news from the most recent EPA National Air Quality 2000's report issued September 2001 is that "national air quality levels measured at thousands of monitoring stations across the country have shown improvements over the past 20 years."... Read More

Deathly Bans

President Bush has sent the Stockholm Conventionon Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to the Senate for ratification amid cheers from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) head, Christie Whitman. It is no wonder that the EPA has hailed the move -... Read More

The Story That Croaked?

Those amphibians seem to have it rough. For over six years, we've seen news stories about a global decline of frogs and toads, as well as increasing numbers of amphibian deformities. No one knows exactly what is causing them,... Read More

Solar's Cloudy Future

For over a century, the world has faced a continuing energy crisis. We would run out of oil in 20 years, the alarmists clamored. Maybe some time the predictions will come true: just because somebody has been crying, "Wolf!" for... Read More


Ponder with me if you dare and care to the matter of bio-art: art that uses living organisms as a medium. I'm not talking about elephants with brushes in their trunks, but works of art made of microbes, or... Read More

A Day At The Protests

I'd planned on writing a snarky, mocking narrative of my day at last weekend's IMF/World Bank protests. A friend and I had set our sights on infiltrating the great unwashed activists, blending in, then collecting great stories to tell... Read More

Why Energy Conservation Fails

Harry Reid, the assistant Democratic leader in the Senate, recently built a 5,000-square-foot house in Searchlight, Nev., his hometown. This ranks it within the top 1% of homes in terms of size. Sen. Reid said that it would replace the... Read More

The Right Questions

Israeli actions over the past month are to be evaluated by a special United Nations task force. If we take military action against Iraq over the coming months, as I hope, the United States will likewise face such an... Read More

California Scheming

The Washington Post first reported internal memos revealing that the vocal "global warming" movement and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol were fruit of a stealthy and extensive corporate lobbying campaign. The ringleader? Enron (surprise!). The memos disclosed that "green" Read More

The Indian Gambit

Thirty years ago, the United States brilliantly neutralized Soviet power during the Cold War through a diplomatic opening to the People's Republic of China. For the rest of the Cold War, the United States successfully played the Chinese off... Read More

No Nano Secrecy, Please

I've been hearing some disturbing things about nanotechnology lately. I don't swear that they're accurate, but I'm getting whispers and too-pointed-I-can-neither-confirm-nor-deny remarks that suggest that the federal government is ever so quietly beginning an effo Read More

Trust the Bells?

"Broadband needs a new paradigm because the necessary investment is not being made," Matthew Flanagan of the Telecommunications Industry Association told TR Daily this month. There is no question that investment in broadband - high-speed connections to the Internet Read More

Barbosa's Flight

PARIS - One of the most important space-players in the world today is a Brazilian, Marcio Nogueira Barbosa, the president of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), headquartered here. And if most Americans haven't heard of either the man or the... Read More

Vaccinating Against AIDS

In my last column, I made the case that a vaccine is the only thing that can stop the catastrophic HIV epidemic, at least in the hardest-hit regions. But that statement raises key questions: Is it even possible to... Read More

Being There Is Best Revenge

Everyone's favorite hi-tech energy company goes bankrupt. Oil prices rise. The Middle East erupts. Housing starts drop. The federal surplus turns to deficit. Skeptics target the world's most valuable corporation. The New York attorney general claims massive fraud b Read More

Renewable Realities

"After the last woman has been sawed in half, after the elephant has been made to disappear, after the last brood of chicks has been made to appear in a spectator's pocket, the magicians will sit around for hours in... Read More

A New Organic Stew

A classic canard from supporters of organic food is that it is more healthy for you than regular, pesticide-grown food. Decent scientific evidence to support this position has never materialized and some supporters have had to admit that the health... Read More

A New Organic Stew

A classic canard from supporters of organic food is that it is more healthy for you than regular, pesticide-grown food. Decent scientific evidence to support this position has never materialized and some supporters have had to admit that the... Read More

No Kidding On Recycling

What will we tell the kids? The kids that have been so assiduously putting newspapers, glass and metal in separate containers so that, according to their teacher the world will be a better place this Earth Day? Dare we tell... Read More

IPCC's ex-"Political" Scientist

Environmental activists are attacking the Bush administration for orchestrating the ouster of an American scientist, Robert Watson, as chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the supposed ultimate scientific authority on g Read More

AID And AIDS In Africa

It is not often the head of an aid agency comes in for the kind of vitriol usually reserved for fat-cat businessmen and despotic politicians. But at a recent concert, Bono, the lead singer of U2, called Andrew Natsios,... Read More

Divided On Cloning

Nobody following the therapeutic cloning debate could have been shocked to hear that the Bush administration relies on opinion polling to sell unpopular policies. As Nick Schulz has discussed, the strongest argument against therapeutic cloning, and in support of.. Read More

Why Digital Dividers are Out of Step

Despite a recent Department of Commerce (DOC) report showing that the time is right to dump digital-divide rhetoric, some activists still cling to the idea that there is a gap between technology "haves" and "have-nots" that requires government help.... Read More

AID And AIDS In Africa

It is not often the head of an aid agency comes in for the kind of vitriol usually reserved for fat-cat businessmen and despotic politicians. But at a recent concert, Bono, the lead singer of U2, called Andrew Natsios, the... Read More

Listen to the Technology

The future is here. But distributors of music have tuned it out. Technology has made the CD-centric business model of the music industry obsolete. Fifteen years ago, the CD became the superior alternative medium for storing and transporting music.... Read More

Intelligence Dumb Show

If the United States is to conclusively win the war on terrorism, it must overhaul and enhance its intelligence capabilities. Past intelligence failures highlight this need. American intelligence failed to discover any information that might have uncovered the Sept Read More

Is Accutane To Blame?

America's blame culture was in evidence when 15-year-old Charles Bishop crashed a plane into the 28th floor of the Bank of America building in Tampa on Jan. 5. The media first asked whether he was emulating the 9/11 Al Qaeda... Read More

Open-Source Legislation

I've written before about why Fritz Hollings' "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act of 2002" is a terrible idea, and why it's likely to be a political disaster for the Democratic party. But I'm not the only one... Read More

No Strangers to Fiction

Among the more serious, yet least noticed, casualties in the war on terrorism now raging in Israel is basic truth. Along with attacking civilians, the Palestinians are attacking the truth and creating facts out of whole cloth. This attack on... Read More

No Fear

Cover your ears. The Cassandras are at full cry. Not only is the entire Middle East about to incinerate due to the Israeli/Palestinian mega-riot (not yet a real war, yet, despite hysterical claims to the contrary) but the nation is... Read More

I'm a Seoul Man

Fresh from my very first trip to Asia, I'm asked what impressed me most. Next to the toro sushi at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo and the giant Buddha at the Todai-ji temple in Nara, the answer is simple:... Read More

Radiant City Redux

Having spent about twenty minutes cruising around on a Segway, that scooter-like device that's been hyped up and down the Internet and TV, I can safely say that it's a technological marvel. But what its designers want to do... Read More

Listen Up, General!

In recent days, soldiers who fought in Afghanistan have vented their spleen publicly against the unmanned aerial vehicles that have received so much praise stateside, from the president on down. Operation Anaconda's grunts have suggested the pilotless planes that. Read More

Enter the Conspirators

"I am not aware of any evidence," Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) tells us "that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9/11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case." This... Read More

Analyze This

For the past 10 months, the attorney general of New York, Eliot Spitzer, has been investigating Merrill Lynch & Co. Although he hasn't charged anyone with a crime, he has accused the firm of misleading customers by hyping stocks to... Read More

The WTC 'Cough'?

When the World Trade Centers came crashing down, the casualties and the impact were obvious. But you may have heard of a threat to New York City which some worry could be much more insidious - the so-called "World Trade... Read More

Enron Is Us, Part II

"Reduce incomes for retirees," says USA Today editorial board contributor Ted C. Fishman. "Cut funding for charities," argues Newsweek's and the Washington Post's Allan Sloan. "Raise interest rates on home buyers," advocates Citizens for Tax Justice. Have these fo Read More

April Fools

April 1st is usually reserved for jokes, but what happened in the California Senate last week was no laughing matter. The Senate Committee on Environmental Quality, after just an hour of testimony and 30 minutes of discussion, made a scientific... Read More

President for Life?

The debate over human cloning stepped up a notch this week as President Bush pushed for a complete ban on human cloning. At issue are two separate but related procedures -- reproductive cloning and research (a.k.a. therapeutic) cloning. President... Read More

A Not-So-Silent Spring

CAMBRIDGE -- Thanks to the immutable laws of the natural world, Spring has dutifully returned again. But the predictability of seasonal change is quite unlike many of the climate predictions reported in the media over the last two months.... Read More

Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley

Hollywood and Silicon Valley are at war over how to stop illegal copying of digital property such as music and movies. Recently, a California senator and congressman supported plans to intervene in favor of the movie moguls. While the politics... Read More

Access Denied No Longer

Upon learning from newspaper reports in recent days that the Pentagon is planning to reduce considerably its dependence on basing in Saudi Arabia, many Americans doubtless bristled - after all, such a pullback is exactly what terrorist Osama bin Laden... Read More

'To Die for the Emperor'

It seems as though each time the news is updated from Israel, the "cycle of violence" is spinning ever faster and the commentary and public reaction accompanying it reflects a combination of grief, despair and helplessness. A significant reason for... Read More

Violent Couch Potatoes?

The TV is a double-edged sword for parents. Many worry that their children might pick up bad habits from it or become desensitized to high levels of violence. No parent wants their child to cuss or hit their friends after... Read More

'Worse Than Internet Addiction'

"Internet Addiction," experts say, is just the tip of the iceberg. Recent research shows that Internet Addiction is just a special case of what might more broadly be called Communication Addiction. Most healthy individuals tend to spend their time... Read More

Blogging: An Economist's View

Will the blogging boom be beaten back by big business? Blogging is a new Internet phenomenon where individuals write directly for their own web sites. Some bloggers have achieved massive success, attracting over 100,000 unique monthly visitors. Will these... Read More

All Tomorrow's Media

A few months back, I wrote about Old Media's unhappiness in the face of New Media, and in particular its unhappiness with the growth of weblogs. Since then, weblog-mania has skyrocketed, and the obligatory Old Media weblog-putdown-piece has reached... Read More

Our Military Economy

When John Grisham passed Tom Clancy on the bestseller lists in the early 90's, it was taken as a sign that in the post-Cold War era America's attention would be focused on the drama of the courtroom rather than the... Read More

Fuming About Gas

While the CAFE issue has been put to sleep by the Senate, the hysteria to reduce the use of much-hated gasoline in the equally-reviled private automobile has hardly subsided among the Greens and their media toadies. The rumble on the... Read More

Rising Sun

Editor's note: This lecture -- titled "The Rise of Corporate Governance and the Democratization of Finance" -- was delivered by TCS host James K. Glassman earlier this month in Japan. It is a great honor to be chosen to deliver... Read More

The Real Threat to the Planet

"...[G]lobal warming [is] the most serious threat that we have ever faced..." (Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, p. 40) "...[A large asteroid striking the earth is a] serious and surprising danger posed to our global civilization from outer space."... Read More

Science, Economics, and Morality

Editor's note: Click here for all of TechCentral's coverage of the controversy surrounding Bjorn Lomborg. Accept all but the most extreme environmentalists' claims about climate change and you still come down to the question: What ought to be done about... Read More

Delay No Longer

Despite President Bush's record approval ratings, and the particularly strong praise that he has garnered for the war on terrorism, much of the rest of his program is languishing. On the one hand, many important elements of the President's domestic... Read More

Understanding ANWR

The ongoing national debate regarding the potential energy resources contained in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is badly in need of facts and context. When ANWR was created 22 years ago, it was an outgrowth of the Alaska National... Read More

Prick Me, Please

Is the anthrax vaccine safe and effective? We need to know. Postal workers, Congressional staff and assorted journalists were all exposed to anthrax-laced mail this fall. Our soldiers are preparing for possible war with a dictator who has no qualms... Read More

Green Taliban

LONDON -- With the sad death of The Queen Mother, two contrasting news items relating to 'global warming,' the Kyoto Protocol and the United Kingdom have received far less coverage in the British press than they would normally have merited.... Read More

The Dot.Con Con Game

Almost since it went public nearly five years ago, the online retailer has been a poster child for Internet skeptics. How, they groused, could a new company selling books over the World Wide Web be worth more than Sears,... Read More

How Green Was the Valley?

A recent piece in the Financial Times offered a fascinating window into just how much attitudes and postures in the technology sector can change in a short period of time. No, it wasn't about dot com boom and bust... Read More

Digital Soldiers

ALBERT, France -- Last week I reported from Chicago, from the Comdex computer show, on the prospect of wearable computers playing a significant role for infantry in the modern battlefield (see "Killer Fashion"). This week, I'm in France, reporting in... Read More

Phone Slam Sham

Telephone slamming has gotten a bad rap. Really. Last month, WorldCom ponied up $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of hundreds of California consumers harmed by its alleged illicit switching their service from other long distance... Read More

Whacking Google

Several decades ago, mathematician Edward Kasner conceived a number so large, it would exceed the total number of elementary particles in the known universe, with room to spare. He asked his nine-year-old nephew to name this new number, a one... Read More

The Age of the SUV

One can only hope that blood pressure levels at the New York Times editorial offices have returned to normal. Surely hypertension was off the Richter Scale last week while the New York automobile show was underway a few blocks... Read More

Campaigns and Technology

The Washington Post has a knack for unintentionally framing issues in a way that proves exactly the opposite point they want to make. This week, the national capital's largest circulation newspaper opined that there was no damage done to... Read More

Enlarging the Problem

My longtime mentor, Donald Rumsfeld, is fond of saying: When a particular problem is intractable, enlarge it. Granted, that sounds funny, but it may also be profound. Let's apply it now to the Israel-Palestinian war, which has clearly become... Read More

Green or Gray?

Will the future be green? Or gray? Or, to put it another way, do we face a choice between a "biofuture" and a "machine future?" Biophysicist Gregory Stock will be debating artificial intelligence guru Ray Kurzweil on this very... Read More

Serendipity, Art and Technology

There's a scene in the movie "Pollock" in which Jackson is gearing up to paint one of his fairly unremarkable quasi-abstractions when he spills a little paint on the canvas. He curses, then looks at the drips with growing interest.... Read More

Lomborg's Lessons

Editor's note: This column is the second of two parts. Read the first part here. When the environmental movement first emerged, economists were very sympathetic. Clean air and water were soon introduced into economic textbooks as examples of "public... Read More

HIV, Hi-Tech, and Hope

No one who keeps up with the news needs to be reminded of the slow-motion HIV disaster. Looking at the statistics, though, it's as if there are two separate diseases. In most of the developed world, it's has taken a... Read More

Antarctica Is Cooling

So the Antarctic is cooling after all. Years of news reports claimed that it was warming, and that gigantic icebergs would calve off and melt, turning New York's Central Park into a pond. But the boy who cried "wolf"... Read More

Putting on the REITs

Many investors have discovered real estate stocks over the past couple of years -- and for the obvious reason. They were going up while almost everything else was going down. During 2000 and 2001, the Vanguard REIT Index fund, which... Read More

'The Havoc of Nature'

More than one million years ago the early tool-making hominid species homo erectus controlled fire as a means for bettering chances of the species' survival. Homo sapiens, the modern successor of homo erectus, continues in the hominid legacy of... Read More

Ignoring bin Laden

America loves to personalize its conflicts. Whether it is King George III, the Kaiser, Hitler or Saddam Hussein, America has a history of singling out a foe to focus our rage upon and put a face to the evil. Our... Read More

Collapse of Sound Science

News that an ice shelf collapsed in Antarctica in early March was an "aha" event for agenda-minded journalists and the environmental lobby. It was further evidence, they said, that man is destroying the Earth With grand urgency it was... Read More

Filter This Article

"Sex," "breast," "XXX" -- any of these words, embedded in the text of this Web page, could prevent you from reading this article if you were using a computer set up to filter out obscene content from the Internet (or... Read More

Scientific Prejudice

"Unequal Treatment" is the latest report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the medical arm of the National Academies and it made headline news across the country because it authoritatively attributed some of the known disparities in healthcare between the... Read More

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