Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Technology and Regulation

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...

Anything UN Can Do, ICANN Do Better

I wrote previously about the result of the recent world information summit that resulted in ICANN’s continuing governance over Internet domain registration worldwide. Fast Company Now provides us a link to the letter from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Continue Reading...

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Crisp Image

I wonder what’s on C-SPAN tonite. An interesting piece today by George Will, outlining what he calls a new government entitlement program that is being batted around the House and Senate: $990 million (according to the House) or $3 billion (according to the Senate) to subsidize digital converters for television sets. Continue Reading...

A La Carte

As much as I would love to have the choice to pick what channels I pay for and receive over cable individually, I think Arnold Kling is right: The FCC shouldn’t force cable companies to offer that option. Continue Reading...

The Digital Divide in the Developing World

A key barrier to economic growth in the developing world is reliable access to the global information network: the Internet. A UN-sponsored study, “Information Economy Report 2005” by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, (PDF) shows that one of the features of the digital divide between the developing and the developed world has to do with the cost of high-bandwidth Internet access. Continue Reading...

“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidise it.”

Alan Anderson of the Sydney Morning Herald notes that Ronald Reagan’s joke about the Government’s view of the economy has become United Nations policy toward the internet. The Belmont Club blog notes that placing control of the Web into the hands of UN regulators will have far reaching negative consequences: One of the reasons the Internet has been so successful is that it has so far escaped the restraints of Filipino judges, Tunisian government officials and United Nations bureaucrats. Continue Reading...

Digital Rights Fiasco

The newest phase in the fight for digital/intellectual property rights involves the recent Digital Rights Management software from Sony. Apparently, Sony’s “protected” audio CDs have been installing a “rootkit” onto your computer, and opening up your computer to yet more malicious software on the Internet (as if it isn’t bad enough already without a Sony rootkit). Continue Reading...

‘Your mind makes it real’

Check out this Marketplace story about real money being spent in the virtual world. The commodities of online gaming have real-world value to people, to the extent that a virtual island can cost upwards of $26,000 in the world of Project Entropia. Continue Reading...

Faith in Science

To expand the “scientist” as “priest” metaphor a bit, you may find it interesting to read what Herman Bavinck has to say on the fundamental place of “faith” with respect to all kinds of knowledge, including not only religious but also scientific: Believing in general is a very common way in which people gain knowledge and certainty. Continue Reading...

Lime Green Trickle Down Machine

At the the UN net summit in Tunis, MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte has showcased his hundred dollar computer. The small, durable, lime colored, rubber-encased laptop is powered by a handcrank, and is designed to make technology more accessible to poor children in countries around the world. Continue Reading...