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The Future of Defense

A Beltway commission is not without honor. Save perhaps among those whose activities it’s trying to reform. Whatever else can be said about America’s post-Cold War defense dilemmas, they’ve spawned no shortage of official studies. BFS, BUR, CORM, QDR I, NDP, NSSG, QDR II . . . all adding up to a fine example of the Military Law of Inverse Read More ›

Preventing a Catastrophe in Cascadia

William D. Ruckelshaus is a Board Member of Discovery Institute and serves as the chairman of the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, to which position he was appointed by Gov. Gary Locke. He served twice as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice, a Senior Vice President of Weyerhaeuser Read More ›

SR 520 and the long-term effects of doing nothing

The surprising thing about the 520 bridge over Lake Washington is how well the thing is working, despite the poor planning that is its hallmark. Decades after the region's growth passed it by, the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge and its larger sibling, the 520 transportation corridor between Redmond and Seattle, is handling groaning levels of buses and cars. This despite decades of neglect, indifference, cross-lake infighting and regional leadership that would sooner run for higher office than face a tough issue head on. Two days of pertinent and penetrating analysis of the 520 problem stirs these emotions. Hosted by Seattle-based Discovery Institute, the forum brought comparisons to bridge spans in Scandinavia and a toll road in Ontario to discussions of a 520 fix. But the fix is in that the fix is a long time coming because of the way we do public business on process-captured Puget Sound. ...Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute prefers a tunnel solution. That offers engineering problems that are daunting, given the depth of Lake Washington and the slopes of the approaches to the lake. But that's not really the issue. Engineers can solve problems. It's the rest of us who can't. "520 is a hole in our transportation planning," said Rob Fellows of the state Department of Transportation. Action by the state Legislature once prohibited the department from even planning a 520 solution. "The 520 issue," Fellows said, "is part of the politics of veto." Read More ›

Creationism v. Evolution: Will Religion or Science Prevail?

Since the days of the Scopes' Monkey Trial, the debate over teaching evolution has captivated the nation. Recently, several states have passed laws that require evolution to be taught as theory not fact and some schools have even taken evolution out of the science curriculum. Should teachers be allowed to challenge Darwin's theories about the origins of the world in science class? Or
is the introduction of criticism of evolution just the latest attempt to
substitute religion for science education? Join us for a discussion of
evolution, creationism, intelligent design and a debate over the U.S. Constitution's call for a separation of Church and State.

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The Robot Rebellion of Richard Dawkins

British biologist Richard Dawkins’s latest book, Unweaving the Rainbow, is a set of chapters loosely connected around the theme of rebutting a poem by Keats, whose message was that “cold philosophy” spoils the charm of things like the rainbow by reducing them to physical causes. Dawkins responds, defensively but not unreasonably, that science has its own charms for those who Read More ›

Think tank: Innovate to fix 520

The state cannot keep the aging, overworked Evergreen Point bridge floating forever, and new options including tolls or tunnels across Lake Washington must be studied to preserve Highway 520. ...Speakers told of selling a highway in Canada to private interests and building a state-of-the-art tunnel at a bargain price in Scandinavia. "Let's start thinking differently about how we approach these things," said Jonathan Huggett, a Vancouver, B.C., expert on financing. Huggett said he's worked on jobs all over the world, often involving public agencies designing projects and then going to construction with the lowest bidder. "This is the most inefficient, worst way to deliver a project," he said. Instead, he suggested going to a design-build approach in which certain parameters are laid out, but then requests for proposals are put out to private developers, and it's left to them to decide how to fix a problem, at a set price. Read More ›

Think tank digs into debate over 520 tunnel

The two-day seminar, "State Route 520: A Corridor in Crisis," is being conducted at the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland by the Discovery Institute, a public-policy group. The seminar continues today and is open to the public....Although the session was privately sponsored, including funding from the McCaw Foundation, it included public analysis that essentially agreed with the private views. "We haven't built roads, we haven't built transit, we haven't built arterials, and we're surprised when we have a congestion problem?" asked Rob Fellows of the state Department of Transportation, who oversaw the Trans-Lake study. Another aim of the sessions is to try to get the area high-tech industry involved, said Bruce Agnew, Discovery Institute director, partly explaining the McCaw Foundation funding. Traditionally, he said, people with property interests in the Highway 520 corridor have been involved in seeking solutions, but groups with economic interests have been absent, partly because the transportation situation is so confusing. Read More ›

Experts study 520 corridor gridlock

"The 520 corridor is the classic bottleneck in what we call the Cascadia region," Discovery Institute Director Bruce Chapman said at yesterday's kick-off session. "Figuring out what to do with it is crucial to long-term regional planning." The aging 520 pontoon bridge now accommodates about 120,000 vehicles on an average weekday, state transportation figures show, with peak-hour flows now about equal in both directions. But even with growth and increased traffic volumes, peak flow counts haven't changed much in recent years, Fellows said. What has: longer periods of heavy traffic along the state route, as a growing population adjusts work and commute schedules before and after rush-hours, he said. "What we're seeing now is volume growth filling in the off-peak periods, accounting for longer periods of congestion," Fellows said.....While today's forum will examine such long-term solutions as building alternate highways and boring a tunnel beneath the lake, strategies that can be implemented in the short term are just as important. Creating more transit and light rail services, examining passenger ferries runs and improving local "feeder" roads could all have immediate effects, said Preston Schiller, a Cascadia Project consultant. "The table is set for addressing the 520 corridor as part of a long-term plan," added Burce Agnew, Cascadia Project manager. "But the big question we're dealing with is, how do you pay for it and how to get public support." Read More ›

The Man Who Offered to Eat The Dark Tower Ms.

It seemed ironic enough that in 1990 Collins (publisher of most C. S. Lewis books) paid biographer A. N. Wilson a small fortune to trash Lewis, and in 1995 Oxford University Press (publisher of six Lewis books) brought out John Goldthwaite’s Natural History of Make-Believe, trashing Lewis. An odd way for even the most cynical publishers to treat one of Read More ›

C. S. Lewis and “The Seeing Eye” (1963)

“Looking for God — or Heaven — by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play. But he is never present in the same way as Falstaff Read More ›