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).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 30 Sep 05

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 30 Sep 05 Washington, DC

1. NASA: SO THE DAMNED SHUTTLE WAS A MISTAKE, WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
This week, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told USA Today that both the space shuttle and the International Space Station were mistakes. His candor is admirable, but after all, these were not Bush initiatives, and Griffin's opinion of them was known before he was tapped for the top job. What is disturbing is that Griffin pledged to complete the ISS before the shuttle is retired in 2010. There are no plans to send a shuttle to service the world's greatest telescope, but the schedule calls for 18 shuttle flights to finish the ISS, plus 10 ISS supply missions that's an average of 5.6 shuttle flights per year. Anyone who would bet on getting 28 flights out of these rickety-old jalopies has been living on some other planet. Even with a crew of just five, that's 140 rolls of the dice. That's a big gamble to support a space station that is now acknowledged to be of little value.

2. FIRST AMENDMENT: CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION LAUNCHED.
Yesterday, a group of the nation's leading scientists, clergy and legal scholars announced the formation of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, an online grassroots movement to combat the threat posed by the religious right to American democracy, public education and scientific leadership http://www.defconamerica.org. The Campaign's first "DefCon Alert" is a map showing the nation's top ten "islands of ignorance," where science education is under attack - including, of course, the Dover school district.

3. DOVER: DISCOVERY INSTITUTE WATCHES GLUMLY FROM THE SIDELINES.
The first week of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District got underway on Monday. Eight families are suing the school board over a requirement that a statement on Intelligent Design be read to students before classes on evolution. The first witness for the plaintiffs was Ken Miller, a Brown U. biologist who wrote Finding Darwin's God, which demolishes intelligent design. An attorney for the School Board, probing for softness in support of Darwin, asked, "Would you agree that Darwin's theory is not the absolute truth?" "We don't regard any scientific theory as the absolute truth," Miller replied. That just about said it all.

4. fiction n. Imaginative creation that does not represent truth.
For weeks the news was dominated by Katrina and Rita, which drew their energy from the record warm waters of the Gulf. The news this week included satellite images of an open ocean. What made it news was that it was the Arctic Ocean, where the ice cap is rapidly shrinking. What do you do if you're Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and you've assured people over and over that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"? If you're Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), you hold a full committee hearing and invite a science fiction writer to testify. Michael Crichton, author of "State of Fear," an environmental thriller in which environmentalists cook up evidence to keep federal bucks coming, was Inholfe's expert.

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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Archives of What's New can be found at http://www.bobpark.org




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