Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Technology and Regulation

If You Believe They Put a Man on the Moon…

Next stop… Last week, it was reported that NASA’s budget is so thin that it puts “America’s leadership in scientific research is at risk.” (Last year’s NASA budget was around $16 billion, give or take a few hundred million.) The National Research Council says the space agency is “being asked to accomplish too much with too little.” The group points to the competing demands of building the international space station and returning astronauts to the moon. Continue Reading...

Apples and Oranges?

An apple a day… Here’s an interesting story–Apple Corps is suing Apple Computer for breach of contract. You probably recognize the first Apple as the company owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the widows of the other two Beatles. Continue Reading...

Making Media History

Google announced plans today to partner with the National Archives to digitize the institution’s media holdings, specifically through a pilot project to “digitize their video content and offer it to everyone in the world for free.” The plan is to make these resources readily available for educational use. Continue Reading...

The World is Not Enough

Not satisfied simply with privately-funded space flights, the X Prize Foundation is currently drafting rules for a lunar lander challenge. The foundation is looking for comments from the public on the current draft, and here are some of the details according to SPACE.com: According to draft rules for the lunar lander contest, competitors will be challenged to build a vehicle capable of launching vertically, travel a distance of 328 to 656 feet (100 to 200 meters) horizontally, and then land at a designated site. Continue Reading...

Concerns about A La Carte

Some new developments on the idea to move cable television to an a la carte subscription model: Christians and minorities are “concerned.” According to the Christian Science Monitor, FCC chairman Kevin Martin is pressuring cable providers to move away from the tier-based subscription system to “a full thumbs-up/thumbs-down choice of individual channels.” In what’s sure to tweak the sensibilities of the cable industry, Martin threatened that if no such moves were made, “basic indecency and profanity restrictions may be a viable alternative.” In other words, it’s the “Do what I want or there’ll be trouble” method of politicking. Continue Reading...

Federal Vouchers Are Coming!

The long wait is finally over. Federal vouchers are coming! Before you get too excited, however, I have to inform you that the vouchers are not for education. You can’t use these vouchers to send your child to the school of your choice. Continue Reading...

A Case of Common Domain

The US government is getting set to open up a set of airwave frequencies, vacating the prime estate for obscure channels that will serve its purposes just as well. In addition, the newly available channels will provide a big boost to the capabilities of current wireless telecom providers. Continue Reading...

The Stewardship of Space

As the newly-burgeoning field of space tourism takes the first steps towards reality, elements of the federal government are already pushing for stringent regulation. In a 60 Minutes report last night, the Ansari X Prize, “an extraordinary competition created in 1996 to stimulate private investment in space,” has spawned the new space race. Continue Reading...

The Digital Divide and Civil Society

A new UN report examines the “digital divide” in developing countries and concludes that the “gaps are still far too wide and the catching-up far too uneven for the promise of a truly global information society.” Stephen Grabill examines the issue and the role that civil society plays in enabling access to information technology. Continue Reading...

New Mexico – Gateway to the Stars?

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has taken another step forward with the announcement of an agreement with the State of New Mexico: Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport. Continue Reading...