science and policy

Every relatively wealthy country on Earth could be energy independent if it chose to be. That's because, unlike foreign policy, countries can "go it alone" on energy.

Here's how: Build nuclear power plants. Yes, energy policy really is that simple. Any deviation from that simple formula is a needless distraction. Unfortunately, there's a lot of money to be made in distracting people.

Far from being a free market, the energy sector is a radically distorted behemoth of bizarre subsidies and regulations. We demand, for instance, that gasoline...

The online news arm of the journal Science is a solid source of information. However, recently it made a very strange editorial decision that could potentially harm its reputation.

Yesterday, Science reprinted an article that was provided by E&E News, a website that bills itself as "a news organization focusing on energy and the environment." That's true enough, but it also seems to take a particular viewpoint on energy and the environment, specifically that green energy is the way to go and the environment is full of scary chemicals. The reprinted article quoted only Democrats, and E&E seems to have...

Should a public university, which derives much of its funding from state and federal government, be in the business of using that taxpayer money to fund a project whose sole purpose is to besmirch the reputation of scientists, including those of other public universities?

That's the dubious position in which the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) finds itself. And those in charge of the project won't answer any questions about it.

UCSF operates an online archive called the Industry Documents Library. Its "About" page begins with this ominous warning:

Increasingly, connections are being made between tactics taken by the tobacco industry and other...

In the grand tradition of misidentifying problems and offering proposals that won’t work, the city council of Washington, D.C. wants to force manufacturers of flushable toilet wipes to change the label to “non-flushable.” There are four reasons it's bad policy.

First, flushable wipes are flushable. It's true some older versions were not perfect, but newer ones are made of cellulose fibers – just like toilet paper. That means they are flushable and break down after being submerged in water. Yes, some varieties can take longer to disintegrate than toilet paper, but they lack the plastic fibers found in the non-...

The California Energy Commission just voted unanimously to require new homes to be constructed with solar panels. Amazingly, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade organization, openly bragged about manipulating the government to force new homes to be equipped with solar panels.

"One of the more amazing things in environmental policy is how brazen solar advocates are when bragging about cronyist regulations that line their own pockets," Todd Myers wrote in a tweet. Mr. Myers, who serves as environmental director at a free market think-tank called the Washington Policy Center, is absolutely...

Every so often, the media likes to warn us that we're all dying from air pollution.

Headlines like, "Air Pollution 'Kills 7 Million People a Year'" are common and repeated like a morose version of the childhood game "Telephone." Predictably, that leads to calls for tighter environmental regulations, and anyone who disagrees is labeled an Earth-hating, cancer-loving industry shill.

Now a team of researchers from the University of Chicago has created a map that depicts the average number of years of life per person that could be saved if countries adopted the...

It reads like a headline from The Onion. Alas, it is real: “EU court: Vaccines can be blamed for illness without scientific evidence,” writes CNN.

The EU court’s ruling was based on the case of a Frenchman who accused a hepatitis B vaccine manufacturer for causing his multiple sclerosis. (Vaccines do not cause multiple sclerosis.) The court’s decision is Kafkaesque:

“The EU's highest court said that if the development of a disease is timely to the person's receiving a vaccine, if the person was previously health [sic] with a lack of history of the disease in their family and if a significant number of disease cases are reported among people receiving a certain...

Every discussion about postmodernism quickly devolves into accusations that the writer doesn't know what postermodernism is1. Of course, that's true, because nobody knows what postmodernism is. Even the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy agrees2. As the ultimate manifestation of intellectual and cultural relativism, postmodernism means whatever its adherents want it to mean.

Yet, this nebulous concept poses an existential threat to science and technology. How so? Because postmodernism is largely characterized by a rejection of objective truth. This is antithetical to scientific inquiry.

Marcel Kuntz, Director of Research at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), has made it part of his life's work to...

For the first time, President Trump is giving a speech to a joint session of Congress*. Since the President has a habit of keeping us all guessing, here is a wish-list of things we would like to hear Mr. Trump talk about.

Healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act had good intentions. It is obviously within society's best interest to have as many people covered by health insurance as possible. However, the ACA is flawed. Medical costs keep rising. CNN Money reported in September 2016 that "[p]rices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984." Our award-winning resident pediatrician, Dr. Jamie Wells,...