China: The Economics of Religious Freedom

Here’s a summary of a piece over at Forum 18: Economics has a large effect on China’s religious freedom, Forum 18 News Service notes. Factors such as the need of religious communities for non-state income, significant regional wealth disparities, conflicts over economic interests, and artificially-induced dependence on the state income all provide the state with alternative ways of exercising control over religious communities. Continue Reading...

Wind Power: Not So Novel After All

How different is this… In a recent WSJ story, “A Novel Way to Reduce Home Energy Bills,” Sara Schaefer Muñoz writes about the possibility of adding windmills to homes in order to cut down on the cost of utilities. Continue Reading...

Sharks for Social Change

“Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear / And it shows them pearly white… Ya know when that shark bites, with his teeth, babe / Scarlet billows start to spread…” –Bobby Darin, “Mack the Knife,” 1959 He asked for it. Continue Reading...

Republicans Gone [Buck] Wild

I have previously commented on the failure of Republicans in Congress to exert any semblance of fiscal discipline, and have suggested that limited government principles do better when governmental power is divided rather than being dominated by one party, whether Democrat or Republican. Continue Reading...

The Minimum Wage: A Denial of Freedom and Duty

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “The Minimum Wage: A Denial of Freedom and Duty,” I look at the concept of minimum wage legislation from the perspective of the employer/employee relationship. In his second epistle to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul sets down a moral principle: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” But Paul’s words seem also to imply the opposite positive principle, something like, “If you will work, you should eat.” Even so, I argue, it does not follow that the government should be the guarantor of this reality. Continue Reading...

Chimera Nomenclature

Another round of stories are out about the possibility of creating a modern-day wooly mammoth, Jurassic Park-style. The process would include injecting frozen wooly mammoth sperm into an egg of a closely related species. Continue Reading...

The Effects of Federal Unionism

According to figures recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, federal workers receive on average about double what private sector workers make: $106,579 vs. $53,289. These numbers are based on total compensation. Continue Reading...

‘Beyond Petroleum’ or ‘Big Problem’? UPDATED

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams is asking, “Was the BP pipeline problem preventable?” It seems that BP has allegedly been giving required maintenance to the pipeline short shrift: “Allegations about BP’s maintenance practices have been so persistent that a criminal investigation now is under way into whether BP has for years deliberately shortchanged maintenance and falsified records to cover it up.” BP shut down the Prudhoe Bay oil field earlier this week, after a “spill” resulting from “unexpected corrosion.” While BP shuts down the field to repair 16 miles of pipeline, there are concerns that about 400,000 barrels per day will be taken out of production, and will deprive West Coast refineries of a quarter of their supply. Continue Reading...

GM Bacteria and Malaria

“Scientists have discovered a way to help stop the spread of malaria by genetically altering a bacterium that infects about 80 percent of the world’s insects. Malaria is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites and kills more than a million people every year.” Source: “Genetically Altered Bacteria Could Block Malaria Transmission,” by Lisa Pickoff-White, The National Academies, Science in the Headlines, August 2, 2006. Continue Reading...