Wednesday, August 20, 2003


I am sorry to say that my first reaction on hearing that the United Nations headquarters in Iraq has just been blown up was: “Good riddance”. But the people who died were just as innocent as the people who died in 9/11. We must not blame the employees for the corruption of their political masters.

Australia’s strict gun control laws at work: “Amal Youssef sits in her garage with her two little girls playing on their bikes, her priest by her side, grappling with the news that a 13-year-old boy has been charged with murdering her husband. "He's 13. I cannot understand. How could he have a gun?””

Way to go! “A New Zealander who sent millions of junk emails out every day has shut his business under a barrage of email abuse after his personal details were posted on the web.”

"As many as six historically black colleges (HBCUs) have recently been given warnings or been placed on probation by accreditation agencies. Many others are struggling with budget shortfalls, ill-prepared students and inadequate facilities. Financial mismanagement notwithstanding, what other significant factor has contributed to the bleak future of HBCUs? The answer lies at the feet of an initiative whose intent was to redress past racial and sexual discrimination: affirmative action."

The mystery of the world wide extinction of frogs, variously blamed by Greenies on global warming, pesticides, etc has now been narrowed down to a fungus. See here and here. The next question is how did the fungus impact so many frog species in so many countries? The answer that the ecology establishment does not want to hear is that amateur conservationists (and perhaps some professional scientists too) are “croaking” the frogs. The findings suggests that researchers have inadvertently been spreading the deadly fungus.

An Iranian philosopher of science claims here that in the “golden age” of Islam there was greater freedom of thought than in Iran today because the leaders in the “golden age” (more of a brass age in my view) were despotic but not totalitarian -- unlike today.

Genetically-modified crops: “Literally thousands of laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies show the risks of GM plants and foods to be minimal, while their benefits — in terms of increased yields and reduced pesticide use — are legion” So any rational person would jump for joy, one would think. But the EU is not rational. It is bureaucratic. They want ZERO risk before they do anything. It’s a wonder that they do not ban boats, aircraft, cars and trains. They REGULARLY kill more people than GM crops ever will. But bureaucracy does have its own rationality and there is no doubt what their REAL reason for banning GM is: They already have huge agricultural surpluses created by their manic subsidization of their farmers. If their farmers got hold of GM seed and ended up producing twice as much as they do now, that would REALLY break the bank.

Excessive and badly designed regulations tend to reinforce the market position of the largest established players at the expense of smaller innovators. So the activists' nightmare of massive biotech monopolies dominating the globe is to an extent a Frankenstein’s monster of their own creation. But Big Business has always been comfortable with a regulated world.

"Even technologically challenged music fans who could no more download an illegal MP3 file than pilot a space shuttle owe a debt of gratitude to the Napster generation. For years record buyers have complained that CDs are overpriced and the music industry has responded by saying, as politely as possible, put up or shut up. Now, panicked by the pirates, they've finally been compelled to slash prices to a reasonable level and sales have reached an all-time high." I don’t often agree with the Guardian but I agree with that. I buy only classical Cds and a lot of them cost me $10 or less. That record-company monopolies of various kinds have made the poor old pop music fans pay three times that for their fix has always seemed one big rip-off to me. But monopolies almost always come unstuck eventually and it is good to see that one going. No free-trader likes monopolies and conservatives have been attacking monopolies since Elizabeth I.


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