Thursday, April 24, 2008

Economics 101: Why Is Gas So Expensive?

Are gas prices really all that high? Yes? Here, have a history lesson: "Something that cost $1.00 in 1950 would cost about $8.78 today. As for gas prices, in 1950 the price of gas was approximately 30 cents per gallon. Adjusted for inflation, a gallon of gas today should cost right at $2.64, assuming taxes are the same." (Which they aren't, of course.)

So says this article on the Mises Institute site that contains more common sense and overlooked facts than anything you are likely to have been reading in your newspapers or hearing on your daily newscast -- or reading in the online blogs, for that matter, or you will EVER hear from your Congressperson.

And get an answer to a surprising question: "Why are gas prices not higher than they are?"

Never thought to ask the question that way, did you? Lots of interesting surprises in this short article -- give it a look, upgrade your understand A LOT.

Cato: U.S. Lawmakers Address Safety of Chinese Imports

"Lead in toys," reports The Christian Science Monitor. "Melamine in pet food. Toxic chemicals in toothpaste. And now, tainted pharmaceuticals. The unfolding scandal of contaminated blood thinner from China is the latest in a string of revelations about dangerous imports from a country that has risen to become manufacturer to the world. U.S. lawmakers now are pushing for more protection for American consumers, as hearings in Congress this week have made clear. Even the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says he needs more money -- and a new approach -- to try and ensure that products entering the country are safe."

In the Cato-@-Liberty blog post "Food Safety and Imports," Daniel Griswold, director of Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies, writes: "Consumers have every right to be concerned about the safety of the products they buy, but the problem of potentially harmful products is not unique to China or even imports. ... Americans have been poisoned by beef from Nebraska, spinach from California, and peanut butter from Georgia. The same safety standards apply to imported food as to domestic food. The right response is not wholesale restrictions on imports, but to find better ways of keeping harmful products out of stores no matter where the products originate."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Scientific American Mag takes on Ben Stein's "Expelled"

Scientific American was given a chance to see Ben Stein's documentary, "Expelled," a movie which takes the position that the so-called 'Intelligent Design' so-called 'theory' set up in opposition to Darwinian evolution is being unfairly disallowed in the so-called 'debate' on the subject.

SciAm proceeds to deconstruct not only the movie as you see it, but to gather a lot of background from real scientists, including some who are misquoted and misled on screen. It's a good starting place if you are taken aback at the idea of this weird movie. You'll find the SciAm page with all the links at .