This month's cover story, on privatization of weather service, was not prompted by the Reagan administration's recent announcement of its plan to sell off the weather satellites. We began work on this story back in June 1982, inspired by a phone call several months earlier. It was from a private weather service whose president had heard about the Reason Foundation as a fount of knowledge on privatization and wanted us to know about his company. We published our first report on private weather services in Trends back in April 1977. But that phone call started me thinking about weather forecasting as part of what futurist John Naisbitt calls the information industry.
To get a handle on this emerging business, we signed up economic journalist Patrick Cox and sent him across the country, interviewing large and small weather services, Comsat Corp., Weather Service officials, and several economists. In editing the story we also talked with meteorologists at NASA and United Airlines and with our contacts in the private space-launch business. Even before this issue appeared, USA Today devoted a whole page to the Reagan proposals vis-à-vis weather satellites, including a short piece by me drawing on Patrick's article.
This issue is REASON's 10th annual Financial Issue. As we usually do, we've asked some of the country's leading investment advisors to give you their assessment of where the economy's heading—and what you can do to protect yourself. We sometimes waver on whether to have special issues. So if you especially like—or dislike—this one, I wish you'd let me know.
Our March cover story on competing private fire services has attracted some attention. WCKY radio in Cincinnati did an hour-long interview with author Gaines Smith on March 15. And the journal Current Municipal Problems is reprinting the article and will include it in its annual bound volume. Reprints of the article are also being used in a class in microeconomics at New Hampshire College. Our April cover story by Gerry King on the home schooling movement is being reprinted by the California Home Education Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse pointed out that the article appeared at a propitious time, since the state's new school superintendent, Bill Honig, is currently researching the home-schooling situation in California.
The Reason Foundation continues its program of interdisciplinary conferences. In March, 17 scholars—economists, sociologists, political scientists, legal scholars, and philosophers—assembled in Los Angeles for two days of intensive discussion of "The Welfare State and Individual Responsibility." Organized by Senior Fellow Tibor Machan and supported by the Liberty Fund, the conference was part of our ongoing exploration of the idea and values of a free society.
California subscribers will be getting this issue just a few days before REASON's gala 15th Anniversary Banquet at the Beverly Hilton. At press time, it was too early to tell whether there would be any tickets left by the time you're reading this. If you'd like to attend this $125-a-plate benefit, your best bet is to call our office first: (805) 963-5993. With Ed Clark, John Hospers, Arthur Laffer, Robert LeFevre, William Niskanen, Congressman Ron Paul, Robert Ringer, and Walter Williams all on the program—plus Master of Ceremonies John McCarty and all of REASON's editors and staff on hand—this promises to be the event of the year for advocates of freedom.
Several months ago we reported that a Reason Foundation supporter, Jay C. Wood, was willing to donate REASON gift subscriptions to college libraries that were willing to accept them. He'd been frustrated by rebuffs from several libraries—including that of his alma mater! One brief mention here brought in over 20 requests, including one from an economics professor who noted that he'd been bringing in his personal copy of REASON for his students to share—and that if and when he got it back, it was usually missing a few pages. A bit overwhelmed by the response, Mr. Wood has nevertheless made good on his offer—but has now asked for help from other subscribers. If you would like to donate library subscriptions, we have a few more requests to fill and would love to have your contribution (at the special rate of $10 each).
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Notes".