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, November 20, 2005

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 18 Nov 05

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 18 Nov 05 Washington, DC

1. ISS BUDGET: WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE LABORATORY DROPS RESEARCH.

The $16.5B NASA spending bill Congress sent to the President, with an extra $50M for Hubble repairs, is actually a little more than the President asked for. Michael Griffin has the final say on a Hubble repair mission, but he won't decide until after the shuttle flight set for May. Meanwhile, preparing for an unlikely Moon-Mars mission is costly. NASA says it will save $344M by halting life-sciences research on the ISS. That was about the only scientific research left. So what's this turkey for? A NASA spokesman told the Orlando Sentinel that lengthy visits to the station are the key to preparing astronauts for a return to the Moon. It seems more likely that research on the ISS was of little value anyway. This is one more sign that human spaceflight is headed for extinction.


2. INTELLIGENT DESIGN: PAT ROBERTSON SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WITNESS.

Last week WN commented on the spectacle of televangelist Robertson calling down the wrath of God on a bucolic village in Pennsylvania. Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, which wound up testimony two weeks ago, turns on the issue of whether Intelligent Design is a scientific theory, as its proponents insist, or religion in drag. Several WN readers noted that this influential Christian evangelist has demonstrated that ID is religion. If Kitzmiller is appealed, as seems likely, WN urges that Robertson be called to testify.


3. ACADEMIC DECLINE: GROWING INFLUENCE OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY?

A front page story in Monday's Wall Street Journal describes the spread of college courses questioning evolution. The driving force is the Templeton Foundation, which provides start-up funding for guest speakers, library materials, research and conferences. Between 1994 and 2002 Templeton funded nearly 800 courses. Over a 3-year period Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State collected $58,000 http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN05/wn060305.html. ID should be taught in college, but it should not be confused with science.


4. VATICAN DEFINES: THE CHIEF ASTRONOMER SAYS ID IS NOT SCIENCE.

Earlier today, the Rev. George Coyne, the director of the Vatican Observatory said that "intelligent design" is not science and does not belong in science classrooms. This seemed to put the chief astronomer firmly on the side of Cardinal Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture and orthogonal to Austrian Cardinal Schoenborn http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN05/wn070805.html, and perhaps to Pope Benedict XVI, as we saw last week.


5. WEIGHT LOSS: NIH STUDY CONFIRMS THAT "THE PHYSICS PLAN" WORKS.

A one year study, backed by NIH, found that the weight-loss drug Merida is more than twice as effective if accompanied by a program of diet and exercise. Why am I not surprised? This is, after all the Physics Plan, first proposed in WN six years ago: "Burn more calories than you consume and we guarantee you will lose weight," http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN00/wn022500.html. It is the only weight-loss plan endorsed by the First Law of Thermodynamics.


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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