Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, July 08, 2005

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 8 Jul 05

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 8 Jul 05 Washington, DC

1. POLITICAL SCIENCE: IS THE CONGRESSMAN DOING CLIMATE STUDIES?
Who among us has not engaged in disputes over research findings? Disagreements between researchers are a normal part of the scientific process. The success and credibility of science is anchored in the willingness of scientists to make their data and methods available to other scientists for independent testing. Openness is a sacred obligation. However, three scientists, who have had their share of such disputes, recently received letters from Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, demanding complete records, going back 10 years, of their paleoclimate work, including computer codes and a list of all studies on which they were authors and the source of funding - by next Monday. Their climate studies, which support global warming, figured prominently in the 2001 report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It seems unlikely that Rep Barton plans to repeat their studies; his record of support for environmental legislation is 0%. Barton is, however, among the top recipients of campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, and the aggressive tone of his letters sounds to most scientists like an effort to intimidate.

2. WHAT'S IN A NAME? A SUGGESTED PUBLIC NAME CHANGE FOR APS.
When APS first opened a tiny Washington Office in 1984, it said "American Physical Society" on the door. I ran into a lawyer who had an office on the same floor, "You're the Physical Society guy aren't you? I'd like to come by and talk to you; I need to lose about 20 pounds." I stepped back and looked him over, "closer to 40 I'd say." In any case, our name causes confusion. It would have been better if it had been done 100 years ago, but it's not going to get any easier, so the Executive Board voted unanimously to poll the membership changing the public name of the society to American Physics Society. So far, about 75% favor the change.

3. IDENTITY THEFT: HIDING FROM THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
The 1966 Freedom of Information Act was a tribute to the self-confidence of our nation. No other nation has anything like it. But agencies hate it, and keep finding new loopholes that have to be plugged, http://www.bobpark.org/WN94/wn090294.html. Last week, the Federation of American Scientists filed a lawsuit charging that the National Reconnaissance Office has been hiding unclassified budget records by invoking the "operational files" exemption. "Operational files" refers to records that document how foreign intelligence is collected, which these files aren't.

4. CATHOLICS TOO! ARCHBISHOP FINDS A LITTLE INTELLIGENT DESIGN.
In yesterday's New York Times, Cardinal Schoenborn, editor of the official Catechism, rejected John Paul II's supposed acceptance of neo-Darwinism when he said evolution was "more than just a hypothesis." Schoeborn goes on to quote Pope Benedict XVI, "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution." Well, that's it, if we believe in science we're on our own. On the other hand, the Church's position is evolving.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the University of Maryland, but they should be.
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