Tag Archives | fracking

The Lesson of Elon Musk’s Thai Cave Rescue Fiasco

I held back on criticizing Elon Musk about his Thai cave rescue grandstanding because he claimed he was encouraged to help by the rescuers, even though his solution came after divers were already pulling the boys out of the cave, and I figured, who knows? Maybe it was true. Maybe he really was trying to […]

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Just “Imagine,” or Trust But Verify?

Five Things You Need to Read Today Here is your latest update, for subscribers only, recommending five stories that are worth catching. 1. Just “Imagine”–or Trust But Verify? So is this peace overture from North Korea for real? Well, maybe. But probably not. North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un has visited South Korea–in itself a first–and […]

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Five Things You Need to Read Today

Here’s your weekly update, for subscribers only, drawing your attention to five stories that are worth catching. Today, the main theme is the technological dystopia Silicon Valley is creating for us. 1. Samizdat Social Media The Internet era was supposed to set information free, wasn’t it? So why is it becoming the new era of […]

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Gated Boomtowns

Policy Ideas for the Age of Automation, Part Two In this series, I have been considering what we can do to smooth the adjustment to a technological revolution in automation—but from the perspective of a skeptical free-marketer who doesn’t buy into ill-conceived utopian schemes like the basic income. In part one, I considered what policies […]

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But He Fights (Against Liberty)

My readers may have noticed that I am occasionally wrong in my predictions about politics, including such little things as who is going to win the presidential primaries or who is going to win the general election. But the more important part of my job is to figure out who ought to win, so I […]

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Knowledge Is Power

Matthew Boulton, of the 18th Century engineering firm Boulton & Watt, once boasted of his company’s steam engines, “I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have: power.” He and James Watt had demonstrated the ultimate meaning of Francis Bacon’s famous dictum “Knowledge is power.” Watt’s knowledge of the science of energy made […]

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How Not to Predict the Future

When you spend a lot of time thinking about emerging technology, you begin to notice certain things that are naturally just assumed to be true about the future, as if everyone just knows them. These ideas are so widespread and infrequently challenged that they come to seem inevitable. These are also things that a lot […]

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Don’t Count Out the Internal Combustion Engine

Is the electric car the inevitable wave of the future? Is the internal combustion engine finished, through, a relic of the 20th century—as many are now saying? I have argued before that electric cars are overhyped. I calculated that the Tesla, for example, is still a really bad deal when you compare its substantial extra […]

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The Era of “Green Energy” Hype

Two of Elon Musk’s companies, SolarCity and Tesla, have made an initial agreement to merge. The logic of the conglomeration seems to be entirely based on the idea of combining SolarCity’s rooftop solar panels with Tesla’s Powerwall battery storage. “SolarCity is going all in on a strategy that some analysts say is ahead of its […]

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Atlas Is Still Shrugging

A Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged, Part 7 Spoiler Alert: You do not need a reader’s guide to Atlas Shrugged—at least not for your first reading. Ayn Rand’s novel is clear, compelling, eminently readable, and perfectly comprehensible on its own terms. Yet Atlas is also a rich and complex novel, with an intricate plot in […]

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