Author Archive | Ronald Bailey

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Elon Musk Is Wrong about Artificial Intelligence and the Precautionary Principle

Joe Duffy/DreamstimeArtificial intelligence, or AI—the branch of computer science that aims to create intelligent machines—”is a fundamental risk to human civilization,” declared Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk at the National Governors Association’s annual meeting this past weekend. “It’s really the scariest problem to me.” He finds it so scary, in fact, that he considers […]

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Open the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

Hurray for the editorial board at the Washington Post! On Sunday, they published a op-ed forthrightly urging Congress and the Trump administration to move forward on opening the long-stalled Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada. “It’s past time the opposition was sidelined for good,” the op-ed declares. “The nation’s nuclear regulators have found that […]

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Red Teaming Climate Change

Giordano Aito/DreamstimeEnvironmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt wants to set up a Red Team vs. Blue Team approach to evaluating climate change science and policy, E&E News reports. “Defined loosely, red teaming is the practice of viewing a problem from an adversary or competitor’s perspective,” notes Red Team Journal. In this context, the idea is […]

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Politicians Choosing Their Voters vs. Voters Choosing Their Politicians

Michael Brown/DreamstimeThe U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford, a case where the issue is whether the Republican-dominated Wisconsin legislature drew the state’s voting district boundaries in such a way as to give their candidates an overwhelming advantage. Republican candidates garnered just 48 percent of the vote statewide in 2012, but took […]

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Overpopulation Scaremongering Never Gets Old

The tiny land-locked African country of Lesotho is the poster child for the impending population explosion in the mind of journalist Eugene Linden. In “Remember the Population Bomb? It’s Still Ticking,” an op-ed in the Sunday New York Times, Linden repeats a 40-year-old refrain: “Lesotho’s biggest problem probably was, and is, the obvious: too many […]

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The FDA Commissioner’s Novel Plan for Cutting Drug Prices: Competition

Anikasalsera/DreamstimeScott Gottlieb, the nation’s new head of the Food and Drug Administration, wants to tame drug prices the old-fashioned way: by letting more companies compete. Generic drugs are typically sold for far less than their chemically identical branded counterparts. Yet from 2010 to mid-2015, the prices of more than 300 of the 1,441 established generic […]

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A Spectacularly Stupid Idea: Governing Land as a Global Commons

“Land must be considered as a global commons—conceptually by researchers and legally by the international community,” argues Felix Creutzig, a climate change economist at the Technical University of Berlin. He makes this perplexing claim in “Govern land as a global commons,” an article in the current issue of Nature. Creutzig cites the arguments of the […]

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