Author Archives: Ray

Rack and Pinion Steering

A reader writes: Dear Ray: What exactly is rack and pinion steering? Thanks, — Claude Bawls Dear Claude Bawls: The steering rack, as it’s known in the parlance of the trade, is a long iron bar, flat on one side, with thin serrations, known as “teeth,” which run the entire length of the steering rack.…

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Are The Fish Really Being Mercury Poisoned?

If you smell something fishy in this latest wave of methyl mercury talk, the reason is that there is something fishy in it — very fishy — and it stinks to high heaven. Don’t be lured in. The relevant facts are these: In this country, there hasn’t been a single scientifically documented case of fish-related…

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Vasily Grossman

The following is from Chapter 30 of my book Leave Us Alone — A Capitalist Credo: The Russian writer Vasily Grossman was born in 1905 in what is now the Ukrainian town of Berdichev. At that time, Berdichev was still part of the Russian Empire. Vasily Grossman attended high school in Kiev and then the…

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Rose Wilder Lane And The Discovery Of Freedom

In 1943, a lady by the name of Rose Wilder Lane published a book called The Discovery of Freedom. It’s an absolutely original work of non-fiction, a salvo to human energy and the creative mind unshackled, and it influenced classic liberals beyond number — and yet it has largely gone unacknowledged. From a good review…

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McDonald’s And The Clam Shell

Speaking of clams without shells, it was in the late 1980’s that McDonald’s was bullied by burgeoning environmental groups (who were concerned about “how many trees it takes to make paper” ) into switching from paper packaging to Styrofoam containers. These containers are what McDonald’s soon came to call (apparently without irony) “clam shells.” Clam…

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Interview

The following interview, which was brief but I think penetrating, was conducted January 27, in Aspen, Colorado, and appeared in the February issue of Cunning Stunts. The questions were put forth by the interviewer, Ms. Eileen Appleton, who has graciously allowed me to reprint it here: If he’s anything — and there does seem to…

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I, Pencil — By Leonard Read

What goes into the making of a single pencil? In 1958, Leonard E. Read asked himself that very question — and wrote an elegant explication: I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a…

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A Clam Without A Shell

A reader writes: Dear RayHarvey: I have heard that a clam without a shell grows into a huge phallic-looking creature that would horrify and intimidate people who are not usually horrified or intimidated. Can you verify? If true, is this reaction indicative of an underlying psycho-sexual issue and is it in any way related to…

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Are Organic Foods Worth The Price?

In February of 2007, the Los Angeles Times ran an article that said, among other things, the following: Since 1989, when organic-food activists raised a [bunked] nationwide scare over the pesticide alar in apples, many scientists have seethed quietly at what they perceive as a campaign of scare tactics, innuendo and shoddy science perpetrated by…

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Small Penis, Big Belly

A reader writes: Dear Ray Harvey: I’m one of these guys with a big belly and an extremely small penis. I’m heterosexual, and I drive a truck for a living. I do not get a lot of exercise. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been pained by the size of my penis. I’m…

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Johann Bessler And His Perpetual Motion Machine

Johann Bessler was born in Zittau, Germany, in 1680. He died in 1745. His claim to fame is that, in the 1712, he built a remarkable machine — called the Bessler Wheel — which he said was a machine of self-perpetuated motion; by 1717, “he’d convinced thousands of people, from the ordinary to the most…

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Legalizing Drugs

Everyone believes in freedom — until everyone finds out what freedom actually means. Then almost no one believes in it. Freedom means you are left alone; you are neither helped nor hindered. And that’s all it means. Rightwing politicos and leftwing politicos don’t usually agree on specifics, but they do often agree on principle: namely,…

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Does Exercise Really Promote Weight Loss?

There’s an old joke lumberjacks still love to tell: “Why did the train stop?” Answer: “To let the lumberjack off.” This quip was coined around the same time that a famous study was conducted. It was a study that measured the caloric intake of lumberjacks, whose appetites are about as notorious as the size of…

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Metaphysics: Theory of Everything

Reality is existence, and existence is everything. Every theory of everything must start there. There’s existence, and there’s essence. These two things are separate but not separable. In the language of Thomas Aquinas, esse (or essence) is identity: To be, in other words, is to be something. The conclusion is inescapable because (as Aristotle noted)…

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Nuclear Waste Doesn’t Exist

There is no such thing as nuclear waste — and that’s just one of the many beautiful things about nuclear energy. A nuclear reactor is refueled by its waste. Quoting Dr. Pierre Guelfe, chief engineer of France’s main nuclear facility, in an interview he gave with William Tucker, author of an excellent book called Terrestrial…

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