‘This is a new disease and we are
entering the unknown.’ Britain may still
harbour CJD timebomb, warns professor.
‘This is a new disease and we are
‘This is a new disease and we are
entering the unknown.’ Britain may still
harbour CJD timebomb, warns professor.
I’d been following this (Boston) story. The survivor’s story just didn’t add up. Now, desert mercy-killing man charged with murder.
More Rx-Free Medications: “The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it would
consider making several kinds of drugs — from blood pressure
treatments to birth control pills — available without a doctor’s
prescription for the first time.”
A Brazilian Convict’s Path From Poverty to ‘a Very Dark Place’: ‘”This is a shadowy place,” Mr. Dias said, stirring from his
reverie. “Fear lives inside every prisoner. Anyone who
denies that is lying. Fear of the violence. Fear of this
all-male darkness. Fear you will never get out. But I talk to
God every day and ask him to see me through.”‘[New York Times]
Mikhail Gorbachev Warns The US Of Its Dangerous “Superiority Complex” ‘and said that, if the 21st century became known as the second “American
Century”, the rest of the world would have suffered.
Speaking in New York, the former Soviet President criticised Madeleine Albright, the US
Secretary of State, for saying that there were exceptional circumstances in which the US
had the right to use military force unilaterally, even if other countries objected.’
[BBC]: beer ‘may be good for you’; “However, one should not drink alcohol to
special feature : Wake up and smell the chocolate. Good news for chocoholics: it’s not only good but may be good for you. (And we’ll ignore the opposite possibilities.) [Nature]
Top Internet Art Prize Goes to Science-Fiction Writer
Neal Stephenson, the only science fiction author to riffle my imagination seriously in the last few years, will receive the top
prize in the Internet category of the Prix Ars Electronica, the prestigious computer arts award. This is the second consecutive year that the award
has gone to something other than an online art work.
As I said, I’m a psychiatrist who liked Wonderland. Now it’s been cancelled after just two episodes. Acclaim Couldn’t Assure a Home for Dark `Wonderland’
“ABC executives said that as proud as they
were of the unsettling series, “Wonderland” was simply rejected
by audiences, who probably found it too dark and harrowing.
Those executives said that viewers were turned off by the show
and that neither protests from mental health professionals nor
the skittishness of some advertisers had any bearing on their
decision. ABC had ordered eight episodes, which leaves six
unseen on television.” [New York Times]
‘But they acknowledged that Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov and
the chief Russian arms control negotiator, Georgi Memedev, had
revealed no significant shift in their opposition to the missile
defense plan. “The Russians have shown a willingness to intensify
the process,” a senior administration official said. “But we’re not
seeing a huge shift.”‘
Sure, we’re not seeing a shift. That’s because the US wants to abrogate the ABM treaty to develop the Star Wars missile defense system. We say we’re trying to defend ourselves against rogue states’ or terrorists’ ballistic missile attacks. But because Russia can’t afford to build all the extra warheads that would be necessary to overcome our new defensive umbrella, the deterrence parity between our two nuclear arsenals would be lost. So, quite naturally, they don’t want to let us bow out of the ABM Treaty. I still say that the solution would be to develop anti-missile defenses jointly with the Russians.
Peace, Love and Murder: Punk Rocker Stalks Killer Hippie for A&E: “I’m a short film maker. On the strength of one of my Super 8 films I was hired as a cameraman for a documentary
entitled Peace, Love & Murder–The Search For Ira Einhorn, that would be airing on A&E’s Investigative Reports. I
was sent by myself to France for a month, armed with my wits and a digital video camera, to shoot footage of Ira
Einhorn, a 60’s hippie leader from Philadelphia, who killed his girlfriend Holly Maddux in 1977 and has been
hiding in the south of France ever since.” [broken pencil]
Jorn Barger points us to this information about Pynchon’s next one.
“Imagine an innovative
device, representing a
change as significant as
the motor car’s invention
almost 100 years ago.”
Whether you are a thrill-seeker or complacent may come down to a tiny protein that controls how much stimulation it takes to cause adrenaline release. [New Scientist]
Egg Breakthrough Lifts Hopes for Infertile Women: even with donor eggs, infertile women can have their own genetic children, it appears.
Two Pairs Beats All: Woman Gives Birth To Two Sets Of Twins. “The odds are one in 24 million, but a Groton, Mass. couple beat the odds when they became the parents of two sets of identical twins.
Cheryl Scammell-Battles gave birth to four boys by C-section at St. Elizabeth’s Medial Center in Brighton early Saturday morning.” My very best wishes to the Scammell-Battles!
A writer named Jay Jennings whines about how his New York Times op-ed piece got passed around the Web without attribution. In the process, he makes bad jokes about amputees (really). Too bad this Slate article by him isn’t worth passing around without attribution.
Slate: economist Steven Landsburg on why shopping carts keep growing. Really. And it’s interesting.
Jury Nullification: Judge Flips Over Jury’s Verdict by Coin Toss: “A Kentucky judge has declared a mistrial in a murder case after finding out that the jury decided the defendant’s
fate with the flip of a coin.”
“Jailing a woman with a newborn baby for a traffic offense and allowing testimony from a 500-year-old spirit are just two stories
recounted in the National Law Journal’s ‘Stupid Judge Tricks,’ a compendium of injudicious judicial behavior.”
Yahoo! News – Almost human: Completing the sequencing of the human genome is only the beginning. How to figure out what are the significant parts of the data derived, and how to use it? Sequencing the mouse genome may turn out to be the Rosetta Stone for understanding the human genome. “Both genomes have about three billion bases,
only about 3 per cent of which codes for functional genes–the other 97 per cent being “junk DNA”. In the many millions of years since
mice and humans diverged from a common ancestor, much of the important DNA has been conserved, while the “junk” has mutated
freely and is now very different. That means that simply comparing the two genomes will be an efficient way of identifying vital
stretches of DNA, including genes and sequences that regulate gene expression.
Even better, by “knocking out” selected genes in lab mice, we get a good idea of what they do. The equivalent genes in humans should
have very similar functions.”
Toronto’s Homeless Live Longer Than U.S. Homeless
“Possible contributory factors include the effects of universal health insurance and access to health care in Canada, lower homicide
rates, particularly among young men, and the differential health effects of short-term versus chronic homelessness,” said study author
Stephen Hwang of St. Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto.
Going Backwards: U.S. Nuclear Stockpile Plans Draw Scrutiny. >180 signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty are critical of U.S. plans to refurbish and upgrade more than 6,000 deployed strategic warheads and decisions to maintain an “inactive reserve” of weapons withdrawn from deployment due to weapons reductions negotiated in disarmament treaties. [Washington Post]
Send a free fax from the
ACLU website to your Senators, in opposition to the proposed “Victims’ Rights Amendment” to the Constitution.
This week’s Senate vote is expected to be
close as proponents have already lined up more than 40 co-sponsors. More than 20 senators still have not
indicated how they will vote on the proposed amendment.
Why on earth oppose victims’ rights?? In my opinion, as that of the ACLU, although victims should be heard and protected in
the criminal justice system, this proposed amendment would jeopardize the
principle of innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trail.
Amending the Constitution to allow victims to voice their opinions at every
step of a prosecution could undermine the foundation of our justice system
and the ability of the courts to operate in an impartial and fair manner.
In addition to Wendy Kaminer and other leading columnists, the amendment
has drawn the opposition of domestic violence groups and other victims
advocates, hundreds of law school professors, editorial boards from across
the country and more than 8,000 civil liberties activists.
Drugging Elián: Was there a tranquilizer behind the blissful picture of Elian reunited with his father? Will Elian fall prey to the Soviet-style machinations of Cuban psychiatrists and be “brainwashed” into the desireability of Cuban life? Are U.S. psychiatrists their moral equivalents, having already started the process? [Slate] And here’s more discussion of the sensationalized photographs, by William Saletan.
Swap meat: Salon profiles
David Schisgall’s “The
Lifestyle: Group Sex in the Suburbs,” a new documentary that
“explores the huge, secret, all-American world of suburban
swingers and finds that it does not resemble a ’70s porn movie
in the least.”
In-Eliánable Rights: Slate reviews the European press’ reactions to the Elian affair. There seems to be a remarkable consistency behind sentiments like this:
In the Observer, Hugh O’Shaughnessy…described Cuban-American activists as “one
of the most unattractive group of voters on the US electoral
roll short of the Ku Klux Klan” and said that by teaming up
with “nationalist extremists such as Senator Jesse Helms in
Congress, the exiles have screamed and shouted and
flourished their voting power so that most US politicians have
quailed at the thought of crossing them….I certainly would not
want the six-year-old Elian—or indeed any of my own
grandchildren—to be constrained to grow up amid the
sickening lawlessness of South Florida.”
Death notice pinned on door: Coroner’s policy distresses mother. ‘But as Mary Sprague stood near her front door April 5, she wondered the same thing she
wonders now: “Is this how they do it? Is this how they tell you that your only son is dead?”‘ [Sacramento Bee
Radio station’s egg promotion poses a taxing problem at post offices. _It was a raw sort of idea whose time was not now ‘Philadelphia radio station managers and personalities have egg on their faces after promoting a contest that
asked listeners to mail raw eggs to the station in a letter-size envelope…. the first person to
successfully mail an unblemished and properly packaged egg in a No. 10 envelope was to win $1,000.’
Diary by John Lanchester, John detects the seeds of disaster in London’s new, eight-digit phone numbers. [Slate]
The new Impressionists: “John Kennedy, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, is busy showing
that paying close attention to the blind may tell us a whole lot about art, after all.
Over three decades of experiments, the Irish-born scientist has shown that the blind can
make and understand pictures in ways that no one had imagined. And that fact forces us
to rethink many of our preconceptions about representational art in general.”
Chilling effect of Kimberly Glasco’s reinstatement – CBC Infoculture: a prima ballerina is ordered back to work at the National Ballet of Canada by a judge pending the outcome of her wrongful dismissal suit. Extremely uncomfortable for all concerned.
Martyrs, demons, or splendid anti-role models? David Edelstein reflects on the cultural significance of the Three Stooges, dares to admit he finds them hilarious, and even lets his toddler watch them on TV. She promptly smacks him upside the head. [Slate]
An Inquiry Out of Control: “No one investigates the investigators. So they sometimes
run wild.” New York Times, tell us something we don’t know…
David Irving Unrepentant After Libel Suit Dismissed: “The worst was the way
he kept repeating in an insinuating manner that if he
were Jewish, he would be asking himself exactly what
his people had been doing for thousands of years to
make everyone hate them so much.
He was clearly trying to imply that the Jewish people
deserved what happened to them during the Holocaust,
and they should be looking to correct their errant
behavior and perhaps redeem themselves.” [Jerusalem Post]
Genteel Auction Houses Turn to Hearse-Chasing: “Every weekday a list of rich New Yorkers who have died
recently is faxed to desks at the city’s dominant auction
houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Compiled by an outside
service, it contains names of the deceased, the value of
their estates and names and addresses of relatives and
executors.” [New York Times]
Tom Lehrer spotting! [SF Weekly]
Put Ananova, the computer-generated virtual newscaster, through her paces.
The New York Times makes public the history of the CIA-engineered coup in Iran which returned the Shah to power in 1953 and toppled its elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh. The document was written in 1954 by one of the coup’s main planners.
Bedbugs make their return in UK and perhaps US.
Feds Try Odd Anti-Porn Approach: “The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly recruiting critics of filtering software to help it
defend a controversial anti-pornography law in court.
Government attorneys are asking librarians and academics who have published criticisms of the
controversial filtering products to testify in an expected trial over the Child Online Protection Act. The Justice Department’s reasoning is simple: If products like Cyberpatrol and Surfwatch are
so badly flawed that they don’t block what they should, then the judge in the case should
uphold a federal law making it a crime to post erotica online instead.” [Wired]
FBI works to head off plans to pardon Leonard Peltier: ‘FBI officials across the nation are mobilizing to prevent a presidential pardon for Leonard
Peltier, the American Indian activist imprisoned for murder whose claim of innocence has inspired a two-decade protest movement in his behalf.
(Officials)… say they fear that Peltier, in prison for killing two FBI agents will be freed by President Clinton on his way out of office.
“Recently, information has been received to indicate that Leonard Peltier, who has been convicted for his direct participation in the murders of
two Special Agents of the FBI, will be considered for release from prison as a result of executive intervention,” David Williams, special agent in
charge of Milwaukee’s FBI office, wrote in a letter to the Journal Sentinel, one of a number of letters the FBI sent to newspapers around the
country….Amnesty International considers Peltier to be a political prisoner who should be unconditionally released. Gina Chiala, a coordinator for the
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee in Lawrence, Kan., said “the Justice Department has been pretty tight-lipped” about any possible plans for
With Peltier’s growing status as a political prisoner in Native-American circles, the FBI appears to be taking the unusual step of entering into a
public relations battle to affect the possible actions of the executive branch. ‘ Fascinating development, as is the fact that for the first time an Administration might finally be listening to the longstanding fervent advocacy on Peltier’s behalf.
Pot Calls Kettle Black: “They said they were going to do this in a sensitive way. What does this do to this little boy? What have
they done to this boy? He lost his mother, and now this.”
I realize that I seem to be posting more stuff recently related to my interests as a physician. I’m thinking about recent days’ items such as the feuding addictionologists, the research findings about face recognition in autistic-spectrum disorders, and the comparative ratings of state medical boards. Is this stuff meaningful to you lay people or would you rather see it shifted to a second weblog geared more for medical or mental health professionals? I’ve toyed with the idea of separating it out. [Of course, then I could have two weblogs nobody reads instead of just one!] Comments?
“Mafiaboy” wiretaps also land his father: Police allege that surveillance in international hacking case turned up plans for assault. [Montreal Gazette]
Showdown With The Pinkertons
“…Jim told me something I hadn’t quite grasped: the anonymous reporting culture is a growing
business, now deeply entrenched in the United States, a result of the victimization movement
and lawsuit epidemic rampant for nearly a generation. Encouraged by federal and local
governments, and many corporate and educational institutions, hotlines operate all over the
country to report date rape, sexual harassment, abuse, and other forms of brutality and
insensitivity. Since so many institutions in the United States are now presumed to be
unresponsive to the needs of one group or another, privately-administered anonymous
reporting hotlines are spreading. Pinkerton itself runs more than 800 such lines. It was
inevitable, said Jim, that they would move into schools…”
[via Phil Agre’s Red Rock Eater News Service]: PRIVACY Forum: Massive Tracking of Web Users Planned — Via ISPs!. “Picture a world where information about your every move on the Web,
including the sites that you visit, the keywords that you enter into search
engines, and so on, are all shipped off to a third party, with the willing
cooperation of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). None of those pesky
cookies to disable, no outside Web sites to put on block lists–just a direct
flow of data from your ISP to the unseen folks with the dollar signs (or
pound, yen, euro, or whatever signs) gleaming brightly in their eyes behind
the scenes. You’ll of course be told that your information is “anonymous”
and that you can trust everyone involved, that you’ll derive immense benefits
from such tracking, and that you have an (at least theoretical) opt-in or
This is seemingly one round fired in an internal battle between two luminaries in the addiction medicine field. Stanton Peele’s website attacks Doug Talbott’s Recovery Program by hosting the open letters of a disgruntled attorney who had a terrible experience under Talbott’s care and knows an ethical violation when he sees one. But, since you probably don’t care about Peele or Talbott, this is interesting to read as a good encapsulation of the clash of two treatment paradigms. Patients best understood as “dual-diagnosis” are often, in my opinion, ill-served and even damaged at the hands of rabid “recovery” proponents. [As an aside, Talbott’s Recovery Campus has been one of the flagship sites of Charter Behavioral Health Systems, the largest for-profit owner-operator of mental health care facilities in the country which is about to be liquidated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I’m currently acting as medical director of a psychiatric hospital that was until recently a Charter facility.]
“It’s virtually impossible for animals to consent to sex with humans…”
Health officials warn of transgender tuberculosis risk.
Newest installment in the Annals of the Age of Depravity: Mich. Moves to Ban Sale of Babies
The Cosmos is Coming:
“When it comes online in six months to a year, Microsoft’s SkyServer will be the astronomical
equivalent of the company’s popular TerraServer, which catalogs aerial images of the Earth
and is one of the biggest databases on the Internet.
In the same way users of the TerraServer choose a region of the planet and drill down for
pictures of the ground at ever greater resolution, users of the SkyServer will be able choose
a region of the sky and probe deeper and deeper into space…
But unlike the TerraServer, which is essentially a collection of unprocessed pictures, the
SkyServer data will be somewhat ‘cooked’ –- analyzed and catalogued — allowing members
of the public to do science with the data.” [Wired]
The Sociable Media Group at MIT investigates issues
concerning identity and
society in the networked
I just found out that Dave McReynolds, whose work for the New York-based pacifist organization the War Resistors’ League I’ve watched for more than thirty years, is running for President on the Socialist Party ticket.
“On the eve of the
Columbine massacre anniversary, stunning new allegations
about the killings emerged from long-expected lawsuits filed
by victims’ families late Wednesday. They include charges that
a law enforcement officer, not Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris,
killed student Daniel Rohrbough, and that officers knew early
on that Klebold and Harris were dead, and thus could have
saved teacher Dave Sanders, who bled to death four hours
after he was shot.”
Born to pop pills:
“I was a Girl Scout in pursuit of my pharmaceuticals badge. I
was a walking medicine cabinet; I nearly rattled when I
walked. I trusted pills. I could have kissed the chemist who
created gel caps. Two blue-green gel caps — meditate on that. I
mean, was there any image more soothing? Not for me.” [Salon]
Molly Ivins tries to goose up your outrage level.
Lies, Damed Lies Statistics and Yellow Journalism: Sure I’m defensive about this. The advocacy group Public Citizen has posted a report by Sidney Wolfe MD ranking the 50 state medical boards’ rates of serious disciplinary actions in 1999 and earlier years. My state, Massachusetts, rates near the bottom. Wolfe and Public Citizen imply that that means the medical board is lax, or that its members are covering for their inept colleagues:
“These data raise serious questions about the extent to which patients in many states with poorer records of serious doctor discipline are
being protected from physicians who might well be barred from practice in states with boards that are doing a better job of disciplining
physicians. It is likely that patients are being injured or killed more often in states with poor doctor disciplinary records than in states
with consistent top performances.”
But, at least for Massachusetts, couldn’t it mean that the quality of medical care is higher and the need for disciplinary action lower, as I think it might be? The state has four medical schools and an enormous proportion of its medical practitioners are medical faculty, leaders in their disciplines; another large proportion are researchers without enough patient contact to commit disciplinable offenses. Think about it: the four best-ranked states are AK, with a total of just 1160 physicians; ND, with 1596 physicians state-wide; WY, with 981; and ID, with 2278. Massachusetts had 27622 physicians in 1999.
Why Web Journals Suck by Diane Patterson. Some of the comments are germane to weblogs too. There’s a section called “Hit Sluts” on how to attract more readers, with some thoughtful suggestions. One of them is to post a long diatribe about how web journals suck. Good work, Diane. Another is to link to other journals or weblogs, especially popular ones. Good work, Eliot. Let’s face it, I’m a hit slut too.
HIV puzzle explored:
new report of an elderly patient
who has survived with the infection for about 15 years, untroubled by any virus-related complications,
according to a group of Italian physicians.
Mounties Probe Fragrant Student
“A teacher (in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia) has asked Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate whether a student is ignoring the
school’s policy against wearing scented products and intentionally trying to cause her to experience allergic reactions.
If investigators deem the boy is intentionally trying to harm the teacher, the student could be charged with assault or mischief.”
Can George W. Save Bill G.? by Ted Rose
Last week, the New York Times reported that George W.
Bush campaign consultant Ralph Reed was moonlighting for
Microsoft, lobbying Bush about the company’s antitrust case. Could
Bush really make a difference in the case if he assumed the
presidency in 2001? [Slate]
Slate: Baby Needs a New Set of Genes – Everyone’s against genetic discrimination. Or so they think. by Michael Kinsley
“So this ban on genetic discrimination that everyone seems
to be for would, if applied consistently, be an exercise in social
leveling like nothing since the Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia
into Kampuchea. That seems to leave only two logically
coherent positions, both intolerable: 1) level away; or 2) don’t
start down this road, because there’s no place to stop.” Does Kinsley really think we’ll stop and think just because we’re on a slippery slope??
The scoop on The Copernicus Plot: Seven of the 260 surviving copies of Polish
astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ momentous 1543
book De Revolutionibus Orbium
Coelestium (On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres), in which he argued that the Earth goes around the
sun and not vice versa, have been stolen from university
and scientific libraries worldwide over the past several
years. Worth $400,000 apiece but virtually impossible
to fence, why have multiple thieves, or one thief very
gifted at disguise, used various ruses to take the tomes
from cities as far apart as Krakow, Kiev,
Stockholm, St. Petersburg and
the University of Illinois? [Chicago Tribune]
Old News: former
Washington Post pop-music critic Richard
Harrington filed suit in February alleging that
he had been demoted to a part-time job on the
weekend section as a result of his age.
What is the link between depression and artistic genius?
An Oscar-nominated documentary about emotionally tortured concert violinist Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, Speaking in Strings, “looks at her difficulties
sympathetically but in the process may have turned her into the next David Helfgott as far as the public is
concerned. That’s unfair to Salerno-Sonnenberg, who is vastly more talented and capable than Helfgott,
the pianist whose story was chronicled in the movie Shine, and who was then exploited by his wife and
managers in a concert tour for which he was not fit. But it does raise a question: Do depression and other
emotional problems have a particular connection with artistic creativity?”
NPR says it supports low-power FM, a new standard for a class of 10- and 100-watt grassroots community stations. But it’s joining with industry lobbyists to gut the standard by claiming it fears interference with existing broadcasting signals. [Salon]
Last fall, British and Danish investigative reporting sugggested that the US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade had had a motive, contrary to NATO claims that it had been a terrible mistake based on outdated maps. Reportedly, NATO intelligence had discovered that the Chinese were helping Serbian military command broadcast to troops in the field. These reports were buried by the US media, but the New York Times now weighs in. After its full investigation, it can find no evidence for the British/Danish charges. “The bombing resulted from
error piled upon incompetence
piled upon bad judgment in a variety of places – from a frantic
rush to approve targets to questionable reliance on inexpert
officers to an inexplicable failure to consult the people who
might have averted disaster, according to the officials,” writes
Steven Lee Myers.
And this is all I’m going to say about this matter: “The notion that a 6-year-old child should somehow be paraded on TV as capable of determining whether he should stay or go is a tremendous distortion and at some level an abuse of the child,” child psychiatrist tells the Los Angeles Times. And: “The little kid from Cuba has overtaken some of the
biggest media feeding frenzies of the past decade,” according to Center for Media and Public Affairs analysis of network news
coverage. Bigger than Princess Di’s death, far surpassing JFK Jr., and if the debacle goes on for much longer, threatening to topple the ascendency of the OJ Simpson affair!
Shouts Bring Murmurs, And That Works: cultural critic and sociologist Todd Gitlin in the Washington Post about the significance of the IMF/World Bank protests.
I lauded the President’s proclamation establishing the Sequoia National Monument below, but in the back of my mind wondered whether it was real protection or window-dressing. Here’s a concerned environmentalist’s criticism.
A peer-reviewed report commissioned by Greenpeace and released today by a team of
Swiss scientists reveals that tests submitted by the biotech companies Novartis and Mycogen to determine
whether their genetically-engineered corn could harm non-target insects were so poorly designed that there
was virtually no chance that adverse effects would be observed. Despite the flawed
methodology, EPA accepted the tests as scientific evidence that the gene-altered crop was
harmless to non-target insects, and continued to accept the same flawed testing
procedures for approval of other companies’ insect-resistant “biotech” crops.
Clinton’s Cruel Decision On Land Mines Risks Too Many Lives: a recent editorial in the Seattle Post-intelligencer reminds us of U.S.’s shameful 1997 decision not to be signatory of treaty to ban anti-personnel land mines. “The global banning of a weapons system is rare but not unprecedented. Exploding bullets
were banned in 1863, fragmenting (so-called “dum-dum”) bullets in 1899, poison gas in
1925 and blinding lasers in 1995.”
Jeremy Rifkin in the LA Times: It’s Death of a Salesman as Shared-Savings Catches On: “I have long been a skeptic when it comes to the prospect of persuading companies to take
responsibility for protecting the environment and public health. Yet now a revolutionary new
way of doing business called “shared savings” is changing the basic rules of commerce
and, in the process, making environmental protection and public health synonymous with
the bottom line. The implications are profound.”
Military wing of BAe Systems (formerly British Aerospace) confirms it has launched an anti-gravity research program.
If you’re interested in cognitive neuroscience, keep following the leaps and bounds coming out of fMRI (functional MRI) studies. They are the most exciting window into the localization of function in the CNS we’ve had. For example, this: People with autism and Asperger Syndrome process faces as objects, Yale study of brain abnormalities finds. The study demonstrates reduced activity in the part of the brain subsuming facial recognition as well as increased activity in an adjacent area processing non-face objects.It seems to me that finding such an impairment in the neural substrate of a function so crucial to the essence of human interaction goes a long way to explaining the etiology of the profound social interaction deficits that characterize autism and other so-called “pervasive developmental disorders” such as Asperger’s Syndrome.
Toddler diet influences adolescent test scores “Toddlers fed a wide variety of foods may have a long-term academic
edge over children fed more restricted diets, researchers conclude.
…(S)tudies have suggested that children fed diets consisting of only a few types
of food are more likely to be deficient in specific ‘micronutrients’ such as iron or zinc.”
Several months ago it was a British laptop with British state secrets; now: FBI Looks for Laptop Missing With U.S. Secrets
“A laptop computer which may have held classified
information disappeared from the State Department about two months ago and the
FBI is investigating whether it was stolen, the State Department said Monday.”
A paean to walking by James Hillman [Utne Reader]
Probably everybody with a weblog is going to link to this: Game console ‘could be used in missiles’ “Japanese authorities have restricted the export of Sony’s new game
console, PlayStation 2, amid fears that it could be exploited for
weapons technology…The government’s concern centres on a powerful processor
responsible for the console’s realistic graphics. Experts believe this
could be converted for use in missiles that read visual information to
home in on targets. Sony said it did not expect the restrictions to
affect PlayStation 2’s release in other countries.” [The Telegraph]
I’ve seen a couple of weblogs that linked to this with comments like, “I don’t believe it!” They obviously didn’t follow the directions to read all the way to the end of the page. (It’s easy to be smug, isn’t it?)
R.I.P., Edward Gorey, age 75.
Cadaver donations line somebody’s pockets to the tune of millions, an expose in the Orange County Register reported Sunday.
Why didn’t I think of that? [BBC News]
Chipping Away at Leptin’s Effects
“Leptin is produced by fat tissue and secreted into the
bloodstream, where it travels to the brain and other
tissues, causing fat loss and decreased appetite.
Identifying genes regulated by leptin will improve
knowledge of how leptin causes its effects on weight
and appetite, and may also offer new targets for
drugs designed to stimulate weight loss.”
Rx for hospital nurses: unions Laudable trend toward nurses’ organizing may be an important response to profit-driven cuts in healthcare if it catches on.
Penn State cancer researcher shows cancer cells can be contained from growing at second site. Stopping metastasis may be an effective and fundamentally different type of intervention in cancer therapy. Might be less noxious to the patient as well.
This doesn’t happen much: Saudi Arabia Says Amnesty Official Invited to Visit. In response to human rights criticisms by Amnesty International, the Saudi regime has asked a representative of the organization to visit to assess the human rights situation there.
Seven Die, 65 Hurt in Lisbon Disco Attack ( later reports say nine dead): two canisters of an unknown toxic gas were hurled into a Lisbon club crowded with immigrants from Portugal’s former African colony Angola. Police cannot comment on a motive but would you be surprised if it were a white-on-black attack?